Spectacular view in Ste. Genevieve County

As we head into Fall, a good way to enjoy the nice weather and take in the scenery is to visit a local winery near you. Many of these places are set on high hills or bluffs which provide spectacular views. This photo was taken for from one of Chaumette Winery’s Chalets overlooking farms surrounding Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.

Chaumette Chalets

With Fall just around the corner now is the time to start thinking about heading out to a local winery or an interesting B&B out in the country. This is a photo of the “Chalets” at Chaumette Vineyards and Winery near scenic St. Genevieve, Missouri. Chaumette has it all: winery, restaurant and their beautiful Chalets.

This area actually sits high in the rolling hills in the area. The views are spectacular. My wife ad I spent the night in one of the Chalets and I ventured out early one morning to capture the sunrise.

Drama on the hill

Here is another photo of Chaumette Winery. This was taken on a dreary overcast day. With the help of a three shot HDR process, the clouds became more interesting and some colors seemed to pop out.

Old Barn

Missouri’s St. Genevieve, situated in the rolling hills of the Ozarks, is an old historic town surrounded by scenic countryside. Here is an old barn restored by a local winery.


An early morning near St. Genevieve, Missouri. A sunrise or sunset can produce a wide variety of light from very bright to very dark. HDR photography can help record all levels of light and produce beautiful photos. This is a combination of three photos taken at different exposures and processed in Lightroom and Photomatix. A wide 14mm lens helped capture the whole scene at an ISO of 100, 1/3rd of a second shutter speed at f13.

Using wide lenses to add drama

I used to think that getting in tight on a subject may make a more interesting photo and, that may be the case. However, over the years I have noticed that the wide lenses add more drama and so I have been adding wider and wider lenses to my stock over time. This photo is of a simple porch. However, the 10mm lens used here provides interesting converging lines and a dramatic sky, making a less than ordinary subject interesting. This was done with a Sigma 10-20mm 3.5 lens on my Nikon D7100 (3 shot HDR, processed in Photomatix and Lightroom).

Also see: Improving your photos during the Golden Hour

Improving your photos during the Golden Hour

Golden Hour-10

Golden Hour-11If you would like to really improve your photos, you should shoot mostly during the “Golden Hour.” This is about 20 minutes before sunrise/sunset to 20 minutes after sunrise/sunset. At these times you will get softer but more dramatic images. This includes sunrise/sunset images, better color and fewer shadows.

If there is a particular subject you would like to photograph or if it’s an outdoor portrait, check a weather app on your cell phone to determine the best times.

The top photo was taken a few minutes after sunrise at Chaumette Winery in St. Genevieve. The bottom photo was taken about 5 or 10 minutes after sunset, following a tip I learned from another photographer: Wait! That is, don’t snap the picture of the sunset just as the sun is on the horizon. If you wait, you will see subtle colors and lighting from the sun past the horizon making a more interesting picture. By waiting I was able to get a better reflection off the lake plus the nice silhouette of the hills surrounding the lake.

For more information on taking these types of photos, see my photography tips on this page.

The bottom photo was taken at Devils Pool Restaurant at Big Cedar Lodge. I was having dinner out the deck and as the sun started to set, a number of people came to the railing to take photographs (with iPhones). I waited until the sun had set, put the camera on the railing and took this shot. Click on either photo to see a larger version.