8.15.2021

Toiling in the fields of photography and wine. What I did for fun on Sunday morning.

Sigma fp camera with Sigma 24-70mm DN DG Art lens.

I started my day early. I was up at 5 making breakfast for myself and on the road by 5:30. I haven't had as smooth a drive anywhere around Austin in decades as I did this morning. No traffic anywhere. I probably went a half hour without passing anyone on the four lane highway and without being passed. It was one of the most pleasant drives I've had in ages. A silly thing, I guess, but it made an impression. 

I arrived at Ab Astris winery, just West of the LBJ Ranch, right on time and a got my camera ready to document this giant machine as it wended its way down row after row of plumb, purple grapes and stripped them right off their vines. 

The vineyard dog was adamant about chasing after and barking at the giant machine and eventually had to be locked into the winery building for his own safety. I can't imagine what he would have done had he actually confronted the noisy contraption directly but barking a continuous warning is in a dog's nature.

After the last harvest I was prepared to spend a lot of time in the heat and muck getting photos today but this great machine was able to harvest a complete 200 meter row in about eight minutes. The crew was only harvesting certain varieties of grapes and the job was done in about two hours time. After finishing up and offloading the picked grapes into tubs on the back of a trailer we headed over to the Rustic Spur Vineyard which is just West of Stonewall, Texas; about 15 miles away. It's the winery where I photographed people picking by hand just a couple of weeks ago. 

Last time we were there the crew was harvesting the Sémillon grapes which are a green grape famous for serving as the base for some of France's dessert wines. Those are more fragile grapes so handpicking is the way to go, but today they were harvesting the Tannat grapes and those are hardier and easier to grab with the big machine. 

Today's photo project just took the morning. I stopped by my favorite car wash in Dripping Springs, Texas on my way back home to wash off a month's worth of vineyard visits and crud. I stopped by my favorite sandwich shop, near my house, to get my current favorite sandwich. Thundercloud Subs is the name of the Austin based sub chain. Their new sandwich is called, "The Ladybird" after Mrs. Johnson. It's chicken salad, guacamole, bacon, thunder sauce, provolone cheese and jalapeños on whole wheat. I get mine with lettuce, tomato, onions and cucumber slices. It's wonderful. 
Early work on a Sunday morning. (Love those Sigma colors).
My harvester riding companion. (Love those Fuji flesh tones). 
This year's harvest of grasshoppers was prodigious. They manage to stay alive on their trip through the harvester so we pull them out of the tubs by hand....
Old cotton farmers taking a ride down the rows on the harvester. 
A nice observation spot on the top of the machine.
The Rustic Spur Winery Canine. By the name of Tannin.
All portraits done with the Fuji X100V. It's really a lovely camera.
I love my old boots. They kept the spiky sharp sticker burrs off my feet and ankles.
The view from the top of the machine. 

The camera selection was just right. 

The long pants I bought yesterday were perfect.

I made it back to Austin in the early afternoon, just in time for a series of dramatic thunderstorms. 
Better enduring the downpour here in the office than out on the highway...
or on the unpaved farm roads. Mostly bracketed by low water crossings.

That's all I've got for now.