Shooting and Sipping: Photography Lessons in California Wine Country (Video)

Napa Valley Photo Workshop with Joe Baraban

Taking pictures is one thing: lazily lifting your mobile phone and snapping what strikes your fancy.  MAKING PICTURES is something quite different. Ace photographer Joe Baraban should know. He has been making pictures deliberately, carefully setting up each shot, waiting for the right light and capturing masterpieces since the 1970s. Remember film?

We helped organize a week of shooting and sipping, a photography workshop for Joe in California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys and Bodega, near the coast, which Alfred Hitchcock terrorized with “The Birds.” We also followed him and captured some of his tips (and antics) on video.

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Big Splash: Following the Whales Off Gloucester [video]

Whale breaching near Gloucester, Mass

You wouldn’t know that whales are threatened with extinction watching this show. I am in a Whale Watching Boat on the Stellwagen Bank, a national marine sanctuary southeast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, watching a performance of hefty gymnasts: humpback and fin whales. I have spotted a couple gray whales off of the coast of California but never any this big and up close. Here, whale watching boats offer a money back guarantee. You WILL see whales. I do.

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4th of July in Sonoma, CA [Video]


The 4th of July is a big deal in Sonoma, California, a tourist attraction that swells this town of ten thousand in California’s wine country to bursting. This year it celebrated the 200th birthday of Augoston Haraszthy, who founded the California wine industry here. Watch for the marching grapevines and the rockets red glare as the moon rises.

Getting Out Of Vegas: The Valley of Fire

“Get out of Dodge” is a line from the 50s TV Western Gunsmoke in which Marshal Dillon admonishes ne’er-do-wells to high-tail it out of Dodge City Kansas. The Valley of Fire State Park, in Nevada is hardly Kansas, although Dorothy would be quite pleased with its yellow rock roads. The Valley of Fire is the perfect place to go to get out that outlaw town Las Vegas, as we did during the chaos of Consumer Electronics Show.

CES attracted some 150 thousand people and completely transformed Sin City. A restaurant manager friend tells us that the nerds don’t spend any money on dinners and luxuries, they get hammered on beer and attempt to engage the local professionals, and we don’t mean Real Estate Professionals.  But Las Vegas is ringed by some spectacular places, such as the Valley of Fire, a Nevada State Park, where my wife and I spent the day without connectivity, meditating upon a total absence of technology.

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