Sour Grapes – A Morning in the Vineyard

When most of us think of pictures of grapes we conjure up visions of large, plump fruit with an attractive sheen of moisture. But early in the season at the vineyard grapes are tiny little pods of green seeds. So when I spent the morning photographing a local vineyard I had to think of a different way to draw attention to them…

Since the seed clusters themselves were only a couple inches high, with each seed being about the size of a pinhead I knew I’d have to add more to the image to make it pop. But I still wanted the grapes to be the center of interest.


The key in this case was finding some grapes which were framed nicely by their leaves. As a bonus the warm dirt colors provided a surround for the edge of the frame along with the sky. I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to process the image so I bracketed three shots at +0, –1, +1. Given how easy it has become to do HDR photography and the added flexibility of a couple bracketed exposures I’ve started to shoot bracketed frames more often when I’m doing landscapes and scenics. (We’re even adding a feature to DigitalPro which will automatically stack together all the sets of bracketed images from a shoot with a single click!).

For this image I used PhotomatixPro to process the three images into an HDR image. I decided I liked a bit of the soft feeling that it provides so I left it set to Details Enhancer and used most of the default settings. I could have made the image look more “over the top” by choosing the Painterly setting. If I’d wanted to render the image as more of a “straight up” photograph a quick “single shot” HDR Toning in Photoshop CS5 provides an image like the following:

pl_pv-vineyard_0143To be able to create images like this quickly I’ve created my own preset for Photoshop CS5’s HDR Toning command, which I call Landscape Saturation. Below is a screen clip of the settings in case you want to experiment with them on your own: