I used to be known primarily as a travel photographer, whatever that may mean. I’ve spent 40 years traveling the world taking photographs for most of the great travel magazines and for a couple of dozen books but those days are over. “Everybody is a photographer now”, magazines are disappearing faster than polar ice caps and those that are left have pitiful budgets.
I still travel, I still take photographs but for the past 20 years I have made most of my income from taking photographs for the wine industry and that just happens to involve extensive international travel. The problem is that making wine is almost the same process whether it’s in Napa or New Zealand so I’m always looking for new ways to illustrate the same process. A fermentation tank is a fermentation tank and a barrel is a barrel but at least vineyards vary. The flat vineyards of the Medoc in France are completely different from the steep hillsides of Germany’s Mosel. I find I often plagiarize myself but every region has its own character and it’s my job to search out those differences.
I’m always looking at light too. I was photographing vineyards at this winery and when I went back to the winery building I was stopped in my tracks but this sight of backlit sulfur smoke from sterilizing the barrels. It’s surprisingly often that these unexpected, serendipitous moments make the best shots of the day.