Wine: A Photographers Journey
I am no professional photographer. Or rather, I am not what I would define as a professional photographer. As such, I thought I would develop a study that was based on photographing wine in its local environment of ambient lighting and small spaces but, from the perspective of someone who is learning.
Displayed before the written portion is a progression of photographs beginning with a series of more ambient photos that are unedited, and do not possess the greatest composure. Then we have the same photos, recreated or edited to be more visually stimulating. Essentially a composition of ‘best’ to ‘worst’ from top to bottom. The better series of photos included a more ‘standard’ collective of photographic materials such as white backdrops and macro lens’s which focused on the liquid itself. After the written portion, there is a series of fewer images composed as a more fluid visual essay about journeying from far to close; eliminating space between people and wine and getting intimate with it’s properties.
While there are various key themes and technical terms that can be touched upon within a photographic essay, I only want to focus on specs and certain images that spark interesting dialogues between a photographer and her subjects. First, I want to point out that working with wine, is a difficult feat. Much more difficult than I could have anticipated and similar to how there are distinct flavours of each grape, every glass, bottle and space must be shot differently. The space in which Wine is most popularly served is that which comprises more ambient-mood lighting. In order to get, what I would deem, a decent photograph your exposure must be at least 0.7-1.0 with a ‘faster’ shutter speed otherwise, blur and reflection will be more visible than aesthetics’ please. After several conferences with visual media experts such as those in journalism, I also discovered that in order to compose the best image, I would need to make wine the main focus and the only way that I could be totally successful is if I changed the background of the photo and the space it was shot.
I new natural light was going to be the key, as shooting glass and liquid with a flash did not produce a successful photograph (see 10th image from top). I purchased a white, cardboard, fold-away back-drop and began setting up and shooting photos in the early afternoon when the sun was high and bright. Finally, I thought that those most effective photos, such as the first two of Hess and Santa Carolina, were ones where perspective was slightly from the left, and my lens was on Macro setting. This setting is not only an intense zoom feature, but allows for a much broader spectrum of focus as fas as the bottle of wine in front, the glass of wine in behind, or both or neither. As I have also expanded my photographic subjects to food and animals, this feature bodes well as it will photograph whatever I deem important as opposed to what might suit the programs on the camera or lens itself.
Aside from composure aspects, there are a few images I would like to briefly expand on to round off my examination. The first photo was a test shot. While in theory, with the right frame and focus, a full 8oz glass of wine with the bottles in the background could produce an effective photograph. However, this was obviously not what happened and I do not view it as a very great photo. With that said, it was a good starting point in my journey as far as what angles were most impactful and how I could change the settings and program of my camera to better suit the restaurants lighting. Similarly, the fourth image (from the bottom) is an action shot of white wine being poured. I was losing the natural light, and was finding it difficult to increase the exposure without blowing out the shade of the Chardonnay. This, again in theory may have been a nice shot, but even after heavy editing with the App Snapseed I was unable to effectively make the wine the ‘star’. I feel that I could discuss every photo individually, however I feel the ones worth discussing speak for themselves, and the ones in the ‘worst’ category are more test shots which act as a learning curve rather than something to speak for Wine as a dialogue and a lifestyle.
Overall, I was amazed at how much I learned through simply taking the time and fidgeting around with each button and dial on my camera. With that came what techniques suit which program, when flash may or may not be effective, how to steady the camera body and focus the lens – on different settings – while also maintaining the most effective exposure level, shutter speed, aperture value and how these differ with red or white wines, restaurants or studio spaces and glasses or bottles.
Please continue scrolling for another visual composition of Wine as a Journey and experience.