This posting is from our wine blog where I am a little more verbose. My wife set up Smells Like Grape 13 months ago and edits my writing. She doesn’t dabble in ShootingMyUniverse, so I keep the blog photo driven. (If you don't write too good, don't write too much.) I thought I’d cross post this piece because of the use of photography to illustrate the posting.
I love the Pacific North West. It is rich and green. I was particularly interested in the grape vines. In the grape world, too much moisture means thin, watery wines. Although this region is moist, as the moss on these vines shows, I am impressed that they can grow some world class grapes. Nevertheless the purpose of this trip was to visit my children, so I did not do a lot of photography. I think I took about 30 frames in all.
I took a trip to Portland, Oregon to visit relatives. I was pleased to spend some time with my mother who flew out with me. Unfortunately, [my wife] had to work and couldn’t make the trip.
Mom and I had some free time and I decided to take her out wine tasting. This was going to be an adventure because I know next to nothing about the wine regions of Oregon and have not been to the area in some 15 years.
The hotel had a Washington-Oregon wine region booklet, but I wasn’t finding much joy. I though that the graphics were nice, but that was about it. I did decide that Ponzi Vineyards might be within distance of the hotel and decided to consult the GPS. It was an 18 mile trip through Portland and should make a nice little day trip.
We arrived at Ponzi Vineyards at 10:30 in the morning. Stepping out of the car, the air was crisp and moist and the vineyards had the strange appearance of moss. This is truly the Pacific North West. Ponzi has a beautiful vineyard and a great tasting room. We were greeted by a little sign that said "please ring the bell." The voice cheerfully greeted us and the opened the tasting room. Our host was David Nielsen who introduced us to the flight and chatted with us.
The first wine was a Pinot Noir Rosato with lively flavors and very refreshing taste. So impressed was I, that I photographed the bottle.
Next was a Pinot Noir, which was an absolutely classic Pinot Noir followed by a really intriguing Chardonnay. In order to give you a reference point, I prefer Sauvignon Blanc to Chardonnay. I have had too many Chardonnays that disappointed me. This Chardonnay was so extraordinary that I forgot to photograph the bottle!
Our host David chatted with us about sniffing corks, serving wines, and wine making styles. This was among the top wine tasting experience that I’ve had and I would recommend Ponzi wines. If you are going to the area, put Ponzi on your short list.
David gave us instructions to visit Dundee, Oregon and stop into the Dundee Bistro. The restaurant is owned by the Ponzi family and is just a great place to have a fun dining experience. I had the Beer Battered Ling Cod and my mom had local sturgeon. The food was excellent, the service was great and the wine selection was fabulous. And remember, I live in a fishing village, so when I recommend a restaurant where I’ve had fish, it’s nothing to “throw back”.
I’ve learned a lot about what makes a good Pinot Noir on this trip. My former lack of excitement about this wine has been exacerbated by having lack luster Pinot Noir wines. Now that I have a good reference point, I’m more interested in Pinot Noir wines.
Some many have noticed a lack of commenting activity from SMU. I’ve been out of town for the last few days visiting relatives in the Pacific North West. I wanted to travel fast and light, so I didn’t lug out the lap top. Before I left town, I did schedule some posts to keep the blog fresh.
I got back into the airport at midnight last night and arrived at home at 3:00 am. I slept until 10:00 and spent the last three hours catching up on my commenting. Thanks for all of my loyal commenters for sticking in there without reciprocation.
I understand the weather was NASTY while I was gone. It seemed okay, the roads were damp at 1:00 am when I started home. When I got out of my car in Gloucester, I noticed that the garbage can has gone missing and I could hear the ocean roaring. Yup, the weather was terrible as mentioned in other New England area blogs.
I didn’t have as much time to shoot as I would have liked to. Here is a shot of a Fox Sparrow. This was a pretty large sparrow, bigger than, say, a White-crowned Sparrow and smaller than a Towhee. He flew through the brush like a big tank. A real dapper chap, I love his colors. I’ve been out of Fox Sparrow territory for the last 19 years, so if I misidentified this, please let me know!
This second photo is a little flawed, but I like the field marks. Again, for you folks in the PNW, if this is not a Fox Sparrow, please let me know!
I just couldn’t resist taking this photo of a Great Blue Heron. It was take about 45 minutes after the sunrise. It was just hunkered down in the cold, most likely just chilling out until something tasty swam by.
The Choate Bridge was built in 1764 in Ipswich Massachusetts and is reported to be the oldest stone arch bridge in America. I found this vantage point last Sunday. I’ll be coming back here in subsequent seasons.
We had heavy fog all Saturday. This makes it difficult for gulls to find food. On Sunday the high winds kept most on the ground taking shelter while some seem to be content to play in the high winds. Later in the afternoon Cabaret IV was coming back from fishing and the weather was starting to break allowing the gulls to get about their business. Often old bait is thrown overboard and the gulls will mob the boat looking for a handout. This is the most intense mobbing I’ve seen.
This is a tough time of year for an amateur photographer. The sun rises while I’m getting ready for work and the sun sets just before I leave for home. The only time to get outside to shoot is on the weekend. My challenge is to find a diverse and interesting set of images in a short amount of time. This past weekend was rather challenging. Fog on Saturday and heavy winds on Sunday.
Pea soup fog can be fun to experiment with. This fog was so thick that visibility was only a hundred yards at times. So this week you will see some foggy-soggy shots.
This is a statue honoring Fitz Henry Lane, a Gloucester artist that I have grown to really admire. He painted his universe and did it very well. I’m amazed when I see his paintings that the colors that he saw are the same colors that we see in Gloucester. I hope that if you come to Gloucester that you visit the Cape Ann Museum and see his work.
On the fifth of November, John mentioned that Portland Head Light is the most photographed lighthouse in New England. I wouldn’t doubt it. I took these shots in April 2007 with a point-and-shoot.
I'm starting a new series. Forgotten Photo Friday. Photos that that I was going to publish but didn't because I got to excited to publish newer photos.
8 Nov 08 Post Script, I hope you go up to take a look at Eve’s shots of the Portland Head Light and shots of the rocky coast of Maine. (She has some very kind words about yours truly, for which I’m thankful, but the post is about the photo.) I know many of my fellow bloggers have links to Eve already, but for those surfing by, go poke around her blog for a while. She takes these grass photos, ringer after ringer. I visualize these types of shots in my head, but when the “results come back from the lab” they hit the trash bin. She just captures them with precision. This is what our community is all about, inspiring one another.
Anyone else have a photo of Portland Head Light to post on their blog? Drop a comment and I'll get another P.S. listed. I'm hoping that John from Maine Nature Photos (with his fabulous new book A Pictorial Guide to Maine's Roadside Flowers) has an image to show us.
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