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July 02, 2006

Santa Ynez winery tour

Friends called, inviting us on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Santa Ynez for a "passport tour" of about a dozen wineries. We started here, where I found this still, chilly room where the barrels waited after being filled. It reminded me of a cathedral, its architecture glorifying and sanctifying the grape's ascendance to a higher, more worthy state of existence.

It was also my first time using a new digital camera, the Casio EX-S600. It's very small and takes very good pictures, but to change any of the settings requires pushing buttons to access menus. I prefer the more extensive controls available on the slightly bigger EX-Z750, but it has been replaced by the EX-Z850, which reportedly has a video mode that is inferior to its predecessor.

I'm still mulling over whether I want to keep the S600.

But even with its shortcomings, I'm not tempted to drag out all the Nikon gear and start shooting 35mm again; too big, too heavy, and the images are not -- to my eyes, anyhow -- any better at anything less than poster size. The only reason to use the film camera is if I need the capabilities of its long lenses, for distant subjects. For everything else, the Lilliputian digi's zoom suffices.

Posted by Mike Lief at July 2, 2006 11:36 PM | TrackBack


Nice shots. I remember visiting the Robert Mandavi vineyard in Napa about 15 years ago but the shots I got didn't nearly capture the effect I was going for.

I recently upgraded to a Canon 30D and it is far superior to the 20D when it comes to low light pictures. I haven't shot slide film in years and I much prefer my digital darkroom to the makeshift darkroom in my bathroom.

Your comparison to a cathedral is right on.

(Shameless self promotion of my work: Click here)

Posted by: Greg at July 3, 2006 01:50 PM

I've been using the Canon A-80 for low-light photography for about three years; it's superb, and don't think I've used the flash more than a handful of times -- mainly for fill on back-lit subjects.

If you're not familiar with Ken Rockwell, I highly recommend his site; tons of useful information, and his gear reviews are superb. The link is on my main page, on the right. I'd post it here, but I'm tired and cranky, so go to the front page, dammit!

Posted by: Mike Lief at July 3, 2006 11:31 PM

Your comment about the cathedral was right on target - dare I say, brilliant. It was a lovely day and the photos are beautiful, but it is too bad your favorite snapshot of the day was not recorded and you will only have the memory. The good thing is, no one can snatch that from you!

Love you more than Six Gun Syrah.

Posted by: Thin Ice at July 5, 2006 09:39 AM

Smaller cameras make vacations so much easier. Santa Ynez is really a nice getaway.

Reminds me of Sideways showing the vineyards and all the beauty in the valley. Totally crazy in parts and filled with a few morally-challenged characters but I loved it. If I can't get there to the real-deal place, maybe I'll just rent the dvd!

Posted by: Vermont Neighbor at July 6, 2006 07:56 PM

Forgot to add, great shots. Really interesting perspective on these.

It's funny how one can live in an area and forget what's there. I ran across the link for the Old Creek Ranch Winery. Nothing can quite match the Santa Ynez experience but this place is so beautiful, and they invite people to bring picnic lunches to enjoy the view and the wines. Oh, to have out-of-town company and think up fun and interesting day trips! The Disneyland route gets old quick.


"The Winery is open Saturday and Sunday 11 am -5 pm. The tasting room is attached to the winery facility and looks over part of the ranch property. Some visitors bring picnic lunches to enjoy with wine purchased at the tasting room."

Posted by: Vermont Neighbor at July 9, 2006 11:26 PM

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