grape vines

A Bit Out of Place?

A Bit Out of Place?

On the north side of Napa Valley lies the town of Calistoga. Made famous by Chateau Montelena in 1973 when all 11 Judges in the historic ”Judgement of Paris” wine competition awarded their top scores to Chateau Montelena, putting Napa wine on the map. Chateau Montelena was also featured in the 2008 film Bottle Shock.

Chateau Montelena has a gorgeous chateau building that greets you on a hill when you arrive. I’ve taken some photos there in the past and found that it’s also a great spot to take photos of people because the background is just so interesting/fun. Below the chateau is a small pond with some walking bridges that lead you to two picnic tables (the photo above). I thought it was interested that they fill their chateau with japanese architecture! At least it was something pretty to photograph ;)

Nikon D300s w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/7.1, ISO 320, Handheld
HDR composed of 3 photos merged in Photomatix Pro and edited in Photoshop CS5.

Available for Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena

I posted a shot the other day of my friend leaning against these wine barrels and today I’m posting a wider shot of the front of the Chateau Montelena. Chateau Montelena is a Napa Valley winery most famous for winning the white wine section of the historic ”Judgement of Paris” wine competition. Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay was in competition with nine other wines from France and California under blind tasting. All 11 judges awarded their top scores to either the Chardonnays from Chateau Montelena or Chalone Winery, another California wine producer. Chateau Montelena was featured in the 2008 film Bottle Shock.

We didnt really like their wine, but their Chateau was pretty cool looking!

Nikon D300s w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
25mm, f/9, ISO 400, Handheld
HDR composed of 5 photos merged in Photomatix Pro and edited in Photoshop CS5.

Available for Purchase at Aaron M Photography

I’m Gunna Be Rich!

I'm Gunna Be Rich!

Last week I posted a photo of one of the windows in Prager Winery and today I’m showing off what the rest of the winery tasting room looks like! Since about 1985 people have been tacking dollar bills onto the walls at Prager Winery. The place is literally covered with dollar bills. I can’t even begin to imagine how much money is on these walls (then again, there’s a lot of fake money on the walls too). This is another HDR — I prob. didn’t need to HDR it and I realize many of you aren’t going to like it because it’s HDR, but I thought it had a cool artistic effect here.

Nikon D300s w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/5, ISO 200, Tripod
HDR composed of 5 photos merged in Photomatix Pro and edited in Photoshop CS5.

Available for Purchase at Aaron M Photography

The Great Hall

The Great Hall

The great hall at Castello di Amorosa is a very eleborate room. The great hall features frescoes painted by two Italian artists who took about a year and a half to complete and showcases a 500 year old fireplace.

I had to wait several minutes for people to clear out before I could capture this photo. The folks behind me were kind enough to wait for me to get my 5 shots before coming in to explore themselves.

The castle interiors, which include 107 rooms on 8 levels above and below ground, cover approximately 121,000square feet (11,200 m2). Among many other features it has: a moat; a drawbridge; defensive towers; an interior courtyard; a torture chamber; a chapel/church; a knights chamber; and a 72 by 30feet (9.1 m) great hall with a 22-foot (6.7 m)-high coffered ceiling.

The masonry, ironwork and woodwork was fashioned by hand using old world crafting techniques. Building materials included 8,000 tons of locally quarried stone, in addition to paving stones, terra cotta roofing tiles and some 850,000 bricks imported from Europe. Extending into the hillside adjacent to the castle lies a labyrinth of caves some 900feet (270 m) in length. Beneath the castle are a 2-acre (8,100 m2) barrel cellar and tasting rooms where visitors can sample the wines-all sold only at the Castle.

Nikon D300s w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
19mm, f/9, ISO 200
HDR composed of 5 photos merged in Photomatix Pro and edited in Photoshop CS5.

Available for Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Lava Vine Persimmons

Lava Vine Persimmons

The Persimmon Tree at Lava Vine Was in Full Bloom and the Owners Daughter Brought in Some Persimmons for us to Eat.

Lava Vine also makes *delicious* olive oil but they didn’t have any out while we were there. I asked and Joe, the owner, if he had any and he brought some bread out with the oil (which you see in the background). This is exactly as things were laid out while we were tasting — I Just leaned down and grabbed the shot while we were talking with Joe about the delicious wines we were drinking.

Nikon D300s w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
32mm, f/5.5, 1/15 sec, ISO 500

Available for Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

As I mentioned in my previous post I was in Napa Valley for a couple days doing some wine tasting and having a good ol’ time. Calistoga is doing a ”Passport Weekend” (2 month long weekend) where you can try 16 different wineries on the list in the Passport.

One of the stops was at Chateau Montelena. Montelena is famous because they were the ones that put Napa Valley on the map by beating several of the top French wineries in the annual wine competition. See the movie Bottle Shock if you want to know more!

We stopped at Chateau Montelena, had some wine (which wasn’t all that good) and then we went outside to snap some photos. I didn’t intend for this photo to come out so well but her smile and pose were so perfect I had to pull her away from the rest of the photo and single her out here!

Nikon D300s w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
24mm, f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 400

Available for Purchase at AaronM Photography