Morning at the Silverado Ranch, Napa Valley

Still on east coast time, I woke up in Napa just a bit after sunrise  and was about to head out on a quick run when I caught a glimpse of  morning light shining through trees in the distance. Switching my  headphones for my camera, I followed the paths around the golf coarse at  the Silverado Ranch, photographing a handful of trees and shadows until  coming across this scene. The shadows on the grass are so abstract, so  out of the ordinary. I hadn't experimented much with post-sunrise  photography before this morning, but now I can't imagine capturing the  patterns in these trees and branches at any other time of day.

That afternoon I talked with photographer Dennis Hogan of the Blue Heron Gallery,  just up the highway in Yountville, about photographing landscapes in  the valley. He shoots mostly vineyards and fields, rows of colors which  shine in the morning fog. Bright daylight tends to add distracting stark  shadows and also excess blue that reduces the impact of other colors.  Visiting beautiful places is not enough to make beautiful photographs,  we must understand the light.

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