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MiguelLecuona

Blue Pearls



Any guesses as to what this is?


At top Bordeaux Grand Cru properties, no expense is spared to produce the highest quality wines. This is Mer...
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Any guesses as to what this is?


At top Bordeaux Grand Cru properties, no expense is spared to produce the highest quality wines. This is Merlot, speeding through a hi-speed optical sorting machine, where each grape is laser-verified for uniformity. Anything that is not a grape gets rejected by a tiny jet puff of air, allowing only ripe grapes through to the tank. At the rate of many thousands per minute. Taken at Chateau Lagrange, St. Julien, 2009 Harvest. Nikon D90, Nikkor 50mm F-1.8D at 1-125, no flash
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4 Comments | Report
frenchiepooh
 
frenchiepooh August 30, 2016
unique
SalayPhotography PRO
 
SalayPhotography September 02, 2016
I love this !!
Byronfairphotography PRO+
 
Byronfairphotography May 23, 2018
Very cool, Outstanding capture
MiguelLecuona PRO
 
MiguelLecuona May 23, 2018
Thank you

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken in France -- Chateau Lagrange, Grand Cru Classé winery, St Julien, Bordeaux. Photo taken during Harvest in October, 2009. What you see here is Merlot grapes as they pass through an Optical Sorter at high speed.
Time
This photo, Blue Pearls, was taken during a very active wine harvest and production at a Grand Cru Chateau on the Left Bank of Bordeaux. I was in Bordeaux as a wine student, learning about production, tracking the events of the day, waking up in the vineyard, following the fruit from vine to the crush pad, and finally through the sorting process, which is where this image was captured, around 11AM.
Lighting
This image, while not macro, is close-focused as the grapes, like glistening ball bearings, flow through the sorter at high speed. The grapes caught the light source, through a hooded shroud, from over my left shoulder. No Flash. ISO at 1600 and F/1.8 allowed the single point light source to work favorably and still capture motion, while putting the flow of glistening grapes in beautiful bokeh cascade.
Equipment
This photo was taken with a Nikon D90, Nikkor 50mm F/1.8D at 1/125, no flash, no tripod, but camera braced against the machine.
Inspiration
At top Bordeaux Grand Cru properties, no expense is spared to produce the highest quality wines. This is Merlot, speeding through a hi-speed optical sorting machine, where each grape is laser-verified for uniformity. Anything that is not a grape gets rejected by a tiny jet puff of air, allowing only ripe grapes through to the tank. At the rate of many thousands per minute. As I marveled at this process, it just fascinated me to see this cascade of glistening grapes flowing through like a waterfall, then hitting a conveyor to be "judged" individually for suitability in a Grand Vin. The speed was astonishing, and I wanted to convey several elements -- velocity, motion, lush liquid, and that deep steel blue color. My two passions in life - wine and creative expression through photography - came together in this image. It assured me personally that I could indulge my own perspectives and still offer something unique to the culture of fine wine, and one day, perhaps earn a living as a professional. Today I am a photographer in the Texas Hill Country Wine Region, using many of the techniques I developed in Bordeaux. Now, Texas does not have an optical sorting machine for grapes, but when the first one arrives, you will find me there!
Editing
Very little post. I was overseas with my laptop, using Aperture. I continue to use Aperture to this day (despite Apple's choice to discontinue), and supplement with MacPhun Intensify and Creative Kit.
In my camera bag
When traveling, I carry a Manfrotto shoulder bag with one body, two primes and one variable zoom, and a flash. This Summer, I have been shooting on the job with the new Nikon D500 in a wide range of applications -- from weddings to portraits to wine events -- and I am sold on this DX, with the 16-80mm F/2.8-4 lens. The improved focus, viewfinder, and low light capabilities are all big pluses. Primes: Sigma 50mm F/1.4 Art Series and lately, the Nikkor 300MM F/4. With the DX crop, and the additional 1.3x boost from the D500, I find this setup to be very practical as well as creative. Primes are key for me -- they simplify decision-making and provide the best DOF control. That was the most important factor in the choice of lens for Blue Pearls, at F/1.8. When I need to go wider, I match the Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 with the D810. Three other prime options: 24mm F/1.4, 35mm F/1.8 (great for video) and the Nikkor 200mm Macro.
Feedback
As for technique, if you have not "discovered" primes, I can't stress enough how they change your mindset and allow you to creatively explore the subject matter, keying on Depth of Field control, low light accessibility, and deliberate compositional and focus point elements. I find that when I have a camera in my hand, I am pretty fearless about where I will go to fulfill the potential of the equipment, whatever the limits are, and capture the image As for motivation... follow your passions. Become knowledgable about your subject. That will enable you to be in the right position at the right time. This particular image is not a commercial image, but I love it for what it is -- a creative expression of just one of the many beautiful and hidden steps in the pursuit of making world class wine. Not too dissimilar from the pursuit of making world class images.

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