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Posts tagged “Williamsburg Virginia

Fisheye Lens: Pros and Cons


Yorktown Beach captured with a fisheye lens; you can see the slight curve in the foreground from lens distortion

The 8mm Rokinon fisheye lens is a great lens to capture landscapes and to create surreal images. There are definite advantages and disadvantages to using a fisheye lens.  The photographer has to decide what adds to or takes away from the image.

Pros of using a fisheye:


Using the fisheye to creatively “bend” the subject is a pro of this fine lens. The clarity throughout remains intact. It creates a snow globe effect when used close-up.

When shooting with a fisheye lens it is possible to capture sweeping landscapes with a greater depth of field. The image quality and sharpness throughout the image is a definite pro.  The photographer can also create surreal images with a fisheye lens.

Getting low to the ground will provide for interesting foreground in the image.

Cons of using a fisheye:

While the pros listed above are very positive uses, they can turn into cons if you do not want your subject to bend or curve. Even in the best case scenario you may end up with a slight curve on the edges. When looking  through the viewfinder, move the camera up and down and watch for the bend.  The image can be exaggerated or will look fairly normal as the camera is moved.

Photoshop and Lightroom have excellent lens correction features; with practice, lens distortion can be corrected or enhanced depending on the final vision of the photographer.

In the sunrise photos above you can see how the clouds curve, but the horizon is fairly level. It does make for a nice effect with the arching clouds.  In the photograph of the boat, the horizon is curved and the foreground is bubbled toward the viewer.  While this may not be a desirable outcome, the photographer has to decide if that is what the end result should be.

The fisheye lens definitely has its place in the photographer’s bag and there are many creative uses for it.  Adding a slight curve to a photograph can enhance the image or provide an unwanted distraction to the viewer. It is up to the photographer to decide how to use the lens. If given the opportunity to try one; see what kind of images can be made!

Photography is a skill with infinite learning opportunities!


Williamsburg Winery: A Worthwhile Stop

Williamsburg Winery Vineyard

Williamsburg Winery Vineyard

When traveling to the Williamsburg, Virginia or even to the Virginia Beach area, you should add on a stop to the Williamsburg Winery.  Located on about 300 acres in the Williamsburg area, the driveway into the winery is surrounded by vineyards.  On the day of my visit it was a very cloudy and rainy day…a great day for an indoor activity such as wine tasting!

Walking around the gift shop it is difficult not to notice the assortment of awards their wines have received over the years.  There were ribbons, metals, and plaques adorning the rooms.  This was my first visit to the winery. Our tour guide poked fun at the group I was in because we all had “real” cameras with us!  No cell phone photographers in this group! We watched a video on the history of the winery and the wine making process. Our guide led the way into the very large banquet room just off the meeting area.

Wine on display in the gift shop

Wine on display in the gift shop


Banquet hall at Williamsburg Winery

I was impressed with the size of the banquet hall and the winery itself.  Sometimes “local” wineries are much smaller and produce a product on a smaller scale.  Williamsburg definitely has a world class facility to produce a large volume of their product.

After leaving the banquet hall we made our way into the wine cellar where the wine is stored in oak, stainless steel, or concrete tanks/barrels.  Yes, concrete!  Our guide showed us an egg shaped fermentation tank that they have been using.  I can’t remember all of the details but I believe he said it gave the wine a more milder flavor. The oak barrels are used for about 3 batches before they lose their flavor and then those barrels are recycled for flower pots or decorative use.  Stainless steel is primarily used for the sweet wines.


Wine aging area


Barrels in the wine cellar


The egg-shaped fermentation vat

We also went past the private tasting area.  I thought it looked very “secretive” like out of a spy movie.


Private tasting area


Spiral staircase leading to the private tasting area

We made our way to the tasting room.  The James River White was very good.  I do like their spiced wine, Settlers’ Spiced Wine for the holidays; heavy on cloves and cinnamon, it will great warmed up with apple cider for a mulled wine.  I also liked their sweet dessert wine, Petit Fleur.  They give us a taste of the private reserve red wine, Virginia Trianon Cabernet Franc; it was very smooth and a mild wine. I also came home with a bottle of the Virginia Claret; close to a merlot in flavor. I am looking forward to making my spiced wine this winter! It will make the house smell so good!

During the tasting, Matthew Meyer, the vice president and winemaker made a visit to the tasting room.  Our guide said Matthew travels a great deal and they call him the “traveling winemaker” because he travels around the country to different wineries.  He, too, has won many awards for his winemaking skills.

Our guide on the left; Winemaker Matthew Meyer on the right

Our guide on the left; Winemaker Matthew Meyer on the right

If you enjoy a great glass of wine, the Williamsburg Winery is a perfect stop…especially on a rainy day!

Vineyard at Williamsburg Winery

Vineyard at Williamsburg Winery