Cluster Photos

Sarah Ciardi —

When I started getting into photography, I thought I’d take a few cool pictures, maybe print a few to hang up, and share the best on Facebook and Instagram. Little did I know I’d be going down a rabbit hole that would result in me wanting to do more and more and improve as much as I can.

While playing the Bay Photo ROES, I found that I could order a group of photos in a cluster. As a researched photo clusters online, I was drawn to those that tell a story and those that match a theme. I wanted to put my own story on the wall of our dining room.

One of the best parts of living in Northern California is the wine. I’m spoiled with the wineries being only about an hour and a half to two hour drive away, which means I can get up to Napa and Sonoma pretty regularly. I have not been up to Wine Country since before the fires, but I know that part of rebuilding will be people returning to the wineries and drinking the bottled poetry. When the time is right, Alex and I will be back up there, enjoying each sip.

Napa is a story that I wanted to capture and put on the wall. With that in mind, I went through my photos taken on my birthday and went through about 10 different possible combinations of photos before I decided on the set that should be hung up. I chose a Flagstone layout: six photos circling a center photograph.

Centered view

I wanted the viewers eyes to follow the light. Starting at the bottom, there is a bee pollinating a lavender flower at dusk, the purple popping against the fading green backdrop. If you move clockwise, you then get to the row of vines, the shadows creating a line straight down the middle of the row. The glass of wine is next, the top of the liquid lining up with the green field, foothills and blue sky in the distance. The the top is Bunny FooFoo of Hall Winery. The brilliant blue sky marks the brightest of the photos, letting the chrome bunny pop against the brilliant cloudless sky. As we continue to go around, the barn reflected in the orb marks the photos getting darker in composition again. The fading afternoon sun glows around the barn, but there is only a tint of blue. Finally, the grapes finish the circle. Their rich color would be lost if it was exposed any more, which landed it towards the bottom.

The center photograph shows Alex and I in the same vines as the photo to the left. We wanted one photo with us in it (What was the point of getting a tripod if we didn’t use it for a couple of self shots!) and decided that it would make sense as the middle. We were surrounded by the things we love about Napa: the wine, the vines, the grapes, the hills, the art, the history.

View from an angle

These photos encompass everything I love about wine and everything I love about the wine making process and the art behind it. Years of labor and love go into each bottle Alex and I drink, and getting to visit the place where the magic happens just makes it even better.

Farther away view