Sunday Scenery

Paradise has never been about places. It exists in moments.
In connection. In flashes across time.
Victoria Erickson

“Even the Devil was once an Angel”

Road Trip by Debra

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My husband works every other weekend, the weekends he is home we love to go exploring and take a day trip just to get away.  This weekend we decided to visit some wineries in Brandywine, PA.  We went online and found one that we thought looked really lovely.  We drove 90 minutes to get to the Brandywine area in Pennsylvania, stopping on the way for breakfast.

We arrived at the winery, the vineyards were completely bare, not even a hint of color in the vines, looking as though they were a prop from a horror movie.  After driving such a long distance, we decided to get out of the car to walk around hoping to be pleasantly surprised.  I grabbed my camera and jacket, as I closed the car door, I noticed the building door was opened a crack, a woman proceeded to walk out of the building to greet us.  I asked her if they were open, she said yes and invited us in, Brian and I look at each other, not sure if we should go in or get back in our car, but feeling obligated, we followed the woman inside.  Once inside there is a wood stove burning with an overwhelming smell of smoke, then she closed the door to keep the wind out.  I think our hearts skipped a beat, looking nervously at each other, Brian asked if they had wine tastings, she said yes.  We are then asked to step into the wine tasting room, which was the size of a large closet, wine bottles and chocolate covered pretzels laid out on the table. A second older woman introduces herself and begins to explain the process of grape growing and how wine is made.  Still unsure about the entire winery, we ask if there is any scenery for photos, she says yes. Then leads us outside to a very unkept area where there are the most adorable sheep.  I think that was the highlight of this winery, not the wine!

While walking around the property I came upon this birdhouse, which I thought described the essence of where we were.  I knew once I photographed it there was something oddly special about it.  This particular birdhouse expressed the entire mood of the winery and described everything we had been feeling since we stepped out of the car. To add to the eery and creepy feeling, the sky was very overcast and the day was damp and bone chilling, which enhanced the overall feel of.   While driving to the next winery, I was thinking of the strangeness of the place we had just left.  It was a true experience and not a good one.   Not every experience is good but I do believe we always come away with feeling something from each experience we have.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time … Debra

Photo Session at the Mission
by Carolyn

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It was a cold and dreary day when we pulled up to the old mission in San Miguel. Not a bit of blue in the sky and the threat of rain. There weren’t too many people at the mission, just a few wandering about, looking at the work of those who lived there once upon a time.

We were there for a different purpose. I arrived with a family of six and we were set to do a family photo session. The mission is a great location for family photos or just for visiting. The beautiful adobe building was built more than 200 years ago. It was named for the Archangel Saint Michael. It is the 16th of the California Missions and is located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The twelve arches are a variety of shapes and sizes. At first glance, it isn’t noticeable, but with a further look you can see that they are indeed different.

On this cold November day, we started out front near the large archway opening with our photo session. We moved in to the plaza and took some photos near the fountain. As we continued on, we headed around the back to the cemetary and got a couple of unique shots near the bell tower. The old church doors made a perfect backdrop for the four adorable children. If you click here you can see some of the photos we took that day.

We ended up getting just a bit of rain on us … the clouds overhead didn’t produce much, but it was the beginning of a very rainy season for us here in California.

Thank you so much for stopping. We’d love it if you followed along on our journey as we share our lives coast to coast.


Locally Grown – trees & vineyards

∼  Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. ∼

Robert Lewis Stevenson

In today’s photographs Carolyn and I wanted to give you a feel for the agriculture grown locally.  Since she lives in a warmer climate than where I live, our photographs are very different, each reflecting the temperature in our respective homes.

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New Jersey is called the Garden State and during the summer months there is a plethora of locally grown vegetables, fruits, and flowers.  However, it’s November and since the weather has gotten colder many of the farms are now closed until next spring. The one place locally grown goods can be found this time of year is at a Christmas tree farm.

Growing up in a city, I never had a live Christmas tree until I got married. My first married Christmas, we went and bought a live Christmas tree, which was very exciting and has remained a tradition in my family.  A few years ago, we went to our first Christmas tree farm to tag our tree.  Tagging a tree is done by many families in our area, and is a tradition for many of our friends. Families bring their children to find the perfect tree.  Once the tree has been found, an ornament or a large stuffed toy is placed on the tree they have chosen, so it’s easier to find the tree when you return to have it cut it down.

Today, was the first day the farms were open to tag your tree.  For today’s image I wanted to show a bit of a human element, so I recruited my daughter to come with me.  While looking for a tree, there was a local photographer hosting mini sessions, there were several small children, Christmas props and parents oohing and ahhing over their children.  The tradition of tagging a tree is something many families look forward to.  It’s even more exciting when you see the joy and excitement on a small child’s face.  Afterall, Christmas really is for children, isn’t it?

I hope you enjoyed today’s peek into one of our family traditions.

Until next time … Deb

These luscious grapes blanketed in gorgeous fall leaves are part of the grape harvest here on the Central Coast of California. The vineyards are just part of the beautiful landscape in San Luis Obispo County and provide a great subject for photographers.

The harvest and all it means has become something that is a very close part of my life since my husband began work as a wine hauler about four years ago. He mainly hauls wine, but during the harvest, he hauls juice (freshly crushed grapes) and grapes themselves. During other parts of the year, a wine hauler will also haul glass (or bottles as we would call them) and corks.

Some things you might want to consider yourself when photographing grapes are:

  • the lighting and time of day … early morning or late afternoon light make the grapes look their best with the sun coming in under the leaves
  • composure … the rule of thirds is a good place to start
  • depth of field … shooting with a very shallow depth of field also highlights the actual fruit itself and gives a soft dreamy look to the rest of the photo

Here are my camera settings 85mm lens, 1/350 sec, f/1.8 ISO 200

Check back or follow us here to see more photos in the future of both San Luis Obispo County and New Jersey.

Thanks again!