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Critique Wine: Art Deco wine label

Discussion in 'Miscellany' started by Mike Buckley, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. It's rare that I purchase a bottle of wine purely to photograph it but that's why I bought this wine. That's because I really like the label's art deco style. Considering that it's a Mendoza Malbec, there is little chance that the wine won't be at least a worthy value.

    La Posta (translation: the tavern) is a winery made up of a group of small winemakers that get together occasionally in a local tavern to discuss farming the vineyards and making the wine.

    This label isn't just gorgeous; it's also informative. It is the first front label I remember explaining either the wine's taste or its aromas. It explains both.

    The background is translucent art paper. A small continuous-light lamp flagged with matte black aluminum foil to control the light falling on the background was above the subject slightly on the left. A white reflector on the left added the reflections to that side of the bottle to add interest and help define shape. I especially like that the curvature of the bottle's shoulder produced the reflections in a shape that so nicely complements the shape of the top and bottom edges of the label.

    Mike 2018-03-13--007-S.jpg
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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  2. Great story and photo.
  3. I'm not sure what to say. It's a record shot of a wine label. If I have any criticism it's that one side of the bottle is very close to parallel to the frame but the other side isn't and I find it visually disturbing.

  4. Thank you to Nick and Larry!

    Larry: You have an eagle eye! Even after you explained that the image was slightly tilted, I still couldn't detect it until I laid a very small grid over the image. The image in the thread has now been corrected and replaced. Many thanks!
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  5. Some bottles are hard to shoot since they don't have parallel sides. Anyone who has ever tried storing a bunch of them in a cellar knows this--the hard way!
  6. A few things stand out to me on this one. I like the way you have highlighted the curve of the bottle leading to the neck with your reflector. It's an interesting element. I think the background is a little too close for my taste here. While the pattern is diffuse, it is still too distinct to my eye and a bit distracting. I also would prefer to see the top and the bottom of the bottle. I like how you usually add some interest to the shot by how you rest and light the bottom. This shot is lacking there. I guess, for me, its more than just about the label.
  7. Thanks for your comments, Mitchell!

    As for the background, it's too small to move any farther to the rear (it just barely filled the frame). If I had used a larger aperture to blur the background more, the bottle wouldn't have been sharp at the edges. Even so, if the detail in the background had bothered me, I would have used a different background.

    The image for me is definitely all about the label, which explains why I excluded other parts of the scene that could have been included. I've made lots and lots of photos of wine bottles both ways (displaying only the label and displaying the entire bottle and its environment). It's understandable that you aren't aware of that considering that I've been posting my wine photos here at the Cafe only for a few months.
  8. The most important question remains. How was the wine? My wife and I have been drinking Malbec most of the time over the past 2 years. I've been amazed at the quality of some of our bottles in the $20-30 range.
  9. I haven't tried the wine yet. This is the only bottle I bought and I had to wait until I photographed it. If you've been drinking Malbecs mostly made in Mendoza, the price range you mentioned should indeed offer a very good wine. $30 for a Mendoza Malbec is a relatively expensive wine as Mendoza Malbecs go.
  10. To use a larger aperture to blur the background and still get enough of the subject in focus, focus stacking is a good solution. One doesn't need a D850, because manually shifting the focus is easy and there are a couple of free stacking programs available.

    • Like Like x 1
  11. That's one way of accomplishing more of a blurred background, Larry. It would have been easier for me to simply blur the background more in a second image, and then make a composite image using the bottle from one image and the background from the other image.
  12. Perhaps for you but I have no experience with composite images :) . Stacking I can do.

    By the way, are you happy with the sharpness at f22? In tests I've done I find it at least one stop too far.
  13. Exactly! Mike likes to play with his food and wine before he consumes them.
    Malbec and grilled red meat, or string cheese based dishes offer fabulous pairings. French Cahors can be softer since many may contain up to 30% Merlot.
    I've seen this in stores, now I'm curious to try it.
  14. Speaking of Cahors...

    A couple weeks ago a friend who has a LOT more money than me decided to challenge my wine knowledge when she and her husband and other friends joined my wife and me for supper in our home. Our friend explained that Chinon is the region in France where they make Malbec. I politely told her that Chinon is the region for making Cabernet Franc. She was so certain she was right that she bet me a $100 bottle of wine. Her husband pulled out his smart phone and, after looking up the information, asked her not to make any more bets with me about wine. He added the detail that it is the Cahors wineries make Malbec.

    Later in the evening but still at the supper table, the husband mentioned that the Bordeaux red wines can be made from a combination of four grapes: Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot. I reminded him that they can also include Malbec. He didn't bet me about that. :ROFLMAO: 
    • Like Like x 1
  15. My wife will be home for the evening soon and I just now realized that we have no bottles of red wine open. She always starts off the evening with a glass of red wine, so we will sip this Malbec and I'll report back to the thread.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. The wine's silky tannins and smooth and fruity character make it an excellent wine. At $18, I wish I could buy more of it. I bought this in South Carolina, I live in Virginia, and I haven't determined whether any of my local stores that I frequent carries it.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  17. Mitchell: My wife agrees with you that the background is a bit distracting. That doesn't make either of you right or wrong but it does make both of you in good company. :) 
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  18. Hi Mike. The bottle and the label look very nice as always. I don't think blurring the BG would be a good solution, but using a plain material for the BG might look nicer and certainly less distracting.
  19. Thanks, Binnur! I agree that if I were to use a different style background, it would be to change to a completely different background rather than a different treatment of the same background.
  20. Apologies, Larry! I accidentally overlooked your most recent post above containing the following question.

    I'm not nearly as concerned about diffraction as those who pay close attention to it. That's mostly because I have never printed an image that is large enough to have noticeably suffered from it and because I'm not a pixel peeper. More important, I do what I can within reason to get the best shot of whatever composition I'm photographing. If the smallest aperture on a particular lens is the only way to make that happen without doing focus stacking, I'll go for it every time.
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