Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wine County - Photographer's Work and Pleasure

Welcome to this week's blog (a tad late - but seems a few wineries distracted me).  I hope you find the pics and words enjoyable and will tell your friends to stop on by for a read and subscribe.  Let me start with a few items in the news:

In the news:
  • Tubac Center of the Arts "Beyond the Lens" Exhibition Opening October 15 to November 15.  Tubac Arizona.  One of my works is on display!
  • Just received another 10 or so products to shoot for
  • Practiced some portrait shots (Thanks to Debbie for being my model)!
  • Started adding cameral setting specs to blog pics for those of you that are interested in such info.
  • Napa "Signs" special offer now available on my site, check them out!
  • Now to the pics and words....
Seavey Winery, Napa Valley : 50mm, ISO 400, f9, 1/1250
©Bob Ochoa Photography, 2010
Over the past decade, my wife and I have had the good fortune to visit Napa Valley, California many times.  Each visit has only gotten better.  Better pictures, better wine, and better memories.  This trip is no exception other than I was more focused on improving my photos of the area  The above shot is that of a refurbished diary farm wall dating back to 1881  I used a 50mm prime and had to compose and focus using my feet.  You can visit Seavey Winery...check them out at

Rose, Howell Mountain, Napa ; 200mm lens, ISO 400, f5.6, 1/60
©Bob Ochoa Photography, 2010
On the softer side of Napa, there were some spectacular roses in all phases of blooming.  This one happened to be in the garden of one of the owners of Hunnicutt Winery  We tasted some great wines at Hunnicutt and recommend going there for a visit, but give them a few weeks to finish the road up to their new wine cave.  Ask for Jennifer!

"Red Brand" sign, Chappellet Winery : 50mm lens, ISO 400, f2.5, 1/400
©Bob Ochoa Photography, 2010
2006 is when we first visited Chappellet Winery ( and it was chilly and much so, we were not able to go out to the vineyards.  This year...very different, beautiful blue sky and warm (okay, it was hot!).  Add some nice wine, some education in how Chappellet makes wine = another fun experience.  I shot the "Red Brand' sign off a walking path close to the winery.  The good news here is there was shade for this shot.  Other shots on this trip required some thoughtful setups to minimize the effects of mid-day sun.  

The following shots were of the fruit of the vine.  Both had some direct sun challenges but all-in-all they turned out pretty good.  
50mm lens, ISO 320, f1.4, 1/2500
©Bob Ochoa Photography, 2010
50mm lens, ISO 1600 (whoops), f2.2, 1/3200
©Bob Ochoa Photography, 2010

I hope to have my favorites from this year's Napa trip up on my site in the next week.

Thanks and please tell your friends to check out my blog.  Leave a comment!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

The In-Betweens

                                 View of Elephant Head - from Tubac!  

I just listened to the latest "GoingPro 2010" Podcast #17 hosted by two of the best names in photography, Skip Cohen and Scott Bourne.  It was the topic of the first listener question that is pushing me to devote this week's blog.  The question was when does someone go from an "Uncle Harry" to a professional.  Let me explain...

"Uncle Harry" 
With the technology advancements and lower cost of photographic gear, specifically DSLRs and the availability of training and workshops, there is a significant growth of amateur, semi-pro and professional photogs out and about nationally and globally. (if this were a sponsored blog, I would take the time to provide the readership with some interesting stats to prove the point...but it is not, so if someone wants to google and comment, please do).  This is where "Uncle Harry" enters the scene.  Uncle Harry (aka Soccer Mom with DSLR) is a characterization for those that have nice gear and can be found doing weddings or portraits for their friends, families, acquaintances for free or for a fraction of what a true professional would charge (aka the market price).  

"The Professional"
The Professionals are accomplished, making a living...whether home grown or educated, the professional not only has the gear, they have the bumps and bruises; the lesson's learned; the moxie to have made it.  They "see the light" consistently better, composition is second nature, the professional knows their strengths and core competencies and more importantly, executes day-in-day-out.  Important to note, many of the them (especially Scott and Skip) to give back to the photog community and offer their time, knowledge and heart often with the same fervor they put to the business of Photography.

So what's my point?  I don't think Scott or Skip answered the listener's question.  I think the closest to the answer is what Scott said near the end of the segment...he boiled it down to "commitment" and I agree that commitment is key.  In addition to commitment, equally important is confidence.  For good or bad, this is what moves those of us "in-betweens" from being "Uncle Harrys" to professionals.  Many of us are committed and most of us can learn the craft (no shortage of workshops!), but many of us struggle with our confidence that we can make it.  As a result, we price low, or we trade money for experience.  I submit, there is a direct correlation between confidence and being a professional. 

So, I think the more complete answer is to continue to be committed AND to highlight the importance of building confidence.  Identifying and celebrating the small wins, the continuous improvement toward becoming a professional.  I also think it is important for us in-betweens to surround ourselves with objective and sometimes critical council.  We have a choice, either make it or we shake ourselves out.  If we don't the cold hard market will do it for us, no matter how much we spent on our gear.  

In the news:

  • Tubac Center of the Arts "Through the Lens" Exhibition Photo printed and in route for display between Oct 15 through November 14.
  • Some wonderful person at D'Vine Bistro & Wine Bar purchased one of my fine art prints (at market rates) - exciting 
  • Phase 1 of the Mankinddog shoot is done...just need the customer to identify the final versions that will get posted to their website. 
  • Twitter followers have increased by 5 or 6 over the last several weeks...this is big for my little business.  A shout out to @MommyMentor who helped me kick-start my Twitter practices...shows the power of a re-tweet!