Vineyard Vignettes

Ever since coming to Europe a few years back, I always wished to do a photo shoot in a vineyard; and finally a few days back, I got the opportunity to do so in the vineyards of the Kahlenberg region in Vienna. I, along with my model Giovanna, trekked down a few dozen meters from the hill to the more flattened lush green slopes. Situated at an elevation on the northern edges of the city, the vineyards provided with a breathtaking panorama of the city and the Danube basin beyond it.

The golden hour evening light had just set in and it created the perfect blend of natural contrast and light intensity for the shoot.  I started with some normal portrait shots and then moved on to taking some perspective portraits to accommodate the rows of grape climbers in the plantation. I proceeded to take some beauty shots with the grapes and creepers in my composition. However, as the grapes were just in fruition, I did not get the exact shot I was looking for. Nonetheless, these shots highlighted Giovanna’s expressions quite successfully.  We continued our descend through the plantation in search of better locations. We found some country streets meandering through woods and dissected by small streams where we took shots in a beautiful scarf draped top which gave the pictures an added edge and, gave depth to the bodily spirit of the model.

Wrapping up with shots amidst the panoramic background of the city, the photo shoot ended with my learning of controlling light and shade in rapidly changing light conditions from the vineyards to the woods. As we were also interrupted with bad light on account of large black clouds passing through, this lesson in quick adaptation on my prime lens was a valuable lesson.  Tired from the shoot as I walked down to the bus stop, the smell of barbecues from the nearby farmhouses was also a lesson that I need to carry some food to long photo shoots in adventurous locations to not find myself satisfying my appetite with the just the smell of barbecue sauce on grilled meat.

Formals

The shoot with TM was long and exhaustive that summer afternoon. After an hour of shooting, as we decided to take some snaps in one-piece lingerie. We tried different shots against the wall, and none seemed to do justice to the lingerie.

Formals June 2020

We moved on to back shots and ended up with some really artistic ones. The heels gave the lingerie a formal appeal. The moment I asked to keep her hands on the wall and slightly lift one of the heels, the picture took a new dimension. Though the light was quite splattered, I could manage a reasonably good shot, contrasting the skin tone and the lingerie.

Flame

When my model, TM, insisted on using the plant as a prop, I was sceptical about how we could use it in our composition. I was in two minds about including the pot at the base of the plant. So, I asked TM for ideas, and she took the lead in the experimentation. We took a dozen shots and sat down to finalise on a couple of them.

Flame June 2020

We ended up selecting this picture as I felt that drooping of the leaves from the left contemplated her pose and gave depth to her expression. The way she played around with her skirt, harmonised with her pose in general. It pushed the boundaries of her sensuality, igniting a flame of curiosity in the viewer’s mind.  

A Shoot After A Summer Shower

The unpredictable weather throughout the day had rolled into an evening of suddenly gathering rain clouds and fairly strong gusts. Despite the unfavourable conditions and the cloud of the possibility of further deterioration looming large over my head, quite figuratively, I set out with my camera to meet Eva for the photo shoot. By, the time I met her at a bus stop in one of Vienna’s suburban districts on the edges of the Vienna Woods, the rain had ceased and the Sun was hazily shining in the sky.

We started trekking up the hill along muddy tracks and tall grass and soon realised that the short spell of showers had caused the heat of the ground to evaporate and make the surroundings extremely humid. We were both sweating and in discomfort. However, we braved the conditions and started to shoot some basic portrait and upper body shots. Since, the hazy sunlight was a bit tricky to deal with on my new 50mm prime lens, we moved to a different location further uphill where I found the perfect light and shade conditions behind a wooden godown with felled tree trunks around it, for numerous creative portrait, upper body and full length shots.

The summer dresses with beautiful elaborate flower and foliage patterns that my model, Eva, wore synced very well with the different shades of green of the woods. This combined with a predominantly overcast sky provided me with the apt natural contrast settings for me to be flexible with my creativity during the whole course of the shoot in multiple locations in the woods and in the adjoining meadows. Like all my other photo shoots, I tried to focus on communicating with the multitude of expressions of my model and paint the rest of the picture around it. After a couple of hours of such communication and painting, the air started getting nippy and the street lights started glowing in full brightness. And with that, as we trekked down, we left behind an evening of fun filled and adventurous portrait shooting in the hills of the Vienna Woods.