“Above Saint Helena”
“There are times when the beauty and wonder of what lies before us brings an unspeakable joy and peace. Savour those moments so that they can sustain you in times of trial.” – Ed Lehming
The image I chose for today was made above Reverie II Winery in California’s Napa Vally. It was our first stop of a day of wine tasting and touring both Napa and Sonoma Valleys and our first full day of a two week vacation in California.
The day began with a private tasting of some absolutely beautiful Bordeaux-style mountain wines in the property’s tasting room on a bit of a drizzly overcast morning. Our host asked us if we would be interested in a quick ATV ride up the hillside of Howell Mountain that overlooks the vineyards. We, of course, said yes to this adventure and after a quick and bouncy ride up the dirt trail we ended up on the side of a ridge overlooking not just the vineyards but the entire north end of Napa Valley. The drizzle had stopped by then and the sun broke through the cloud deck, lighting the valley up with stunning light.
What had started out as a nice view of the valley turned into this stunning scene, which I further enhanced using some of my art plug-in ins to make it look more like an impressionist painting. The resulting image has become a favourite of mine and I find myself looking back to it frequently, whenever I get feeling down. It’s one of those special, unexpected scenes that resent themselves when least expected, which make it all the more special.
In the image, you can see the cottage that serves as the tasting room to the middle left and the production building near the bottom centre, the vineyards fill the centre of the image while the valley, brightly lit by mottled sunlight dominates the scene, framed behind by the Mayacama Mountains that separate Napa valley from Sonoma valley to the west. In the foreground are some rather dark looking shrubs, survivors of the recent Napa Valley fires which came over this ridge and threatened the valley below. Fortunately, the fire did not make it all the way to the valley floor and the buildings.
I love this scene and the unique perspective it offers of this oft too busy valley. Above the valley, there is peace, calm, and stunning beauty. Mind you, when we got back to the winery itself we were treated to some of the most wonderful wines I experienced during our stay, and a few bottles have found their way home to Canada, to be savoured on a special occasion.
I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to enjoy this vantage point and the memorable images it has offered me.
Tamron SP 24-70 mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 24 mm
1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 100