Paso Robles » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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Apr 202013

Photograph copyright Jessica Silvius

It was a gorgeous week on the central coast in California. My very last spring break as a college student was here and I was soaking up every wonderful minute of it. Staying in my hometown of Paso Robles, I was busy making the thirty-minute trip to the local beaches, downtown San Luis Obispo and the backcountry roads that led to some amazing wine tasting venues. It was during a wine tasting trip that I brought my camera along. After spending time with some friends at Tobin James Winery, my boyfriend and I hopped into his truck and took the back roads on our way home.

Paso Robles literally means, “pass of the oaks” and the hilly vineyards are dotted with gorgeous oak trees. This time of the year the grass is a gorgeous bright green and the grape vines are just beginning to bud. We pulled over on the side of the road and I jumped out of the truck with my Canon DSLR in hand and went to work. I spent sometime taking macros of barbed wire fences, laying down in the grass for varying perspectives of the sky and landscape, and creating interesting lines in the frame with the vineyard rows. Then I looked up the road and saw this majestic oak tree in an opening between vineyards. Luckily it was unobstructed by a fence or a no trespassing sign and I was able to walk around to capture the best perspective. I always shoot at an ISO of 100, only adjusting for very extreme lighting areas. I played around with the depth of field, finally deciding to set my camera to f/10. I then manually adjusted my shutter speed while glancing at the histogram to get the desired exposure. I ended up shooting at 1/250 second and using the kit lens, adjusted to 37mm.

Once back in Flagstaff for the rest of spring semester at Northern Arizona University, I imported my images into Lightroom and began editing. For this image I brightened it, and using a VSCO preset toolkit, I added fill light, cooled the highlights, and faded the image to give it a softer look. The colors were perfect. The soft pastels of the blue sky with the brighter green grasses and soft gray tones of the bark on the oaktree go perfectly together. This image enhances my love for nature and its beautiful gifts.

About the Photographer:
Photography has always been integrated into my life. As a child I was fascinated by cameras and enthusiastically captured every moment of family camping vacations. Inspired early on by nature and frequent trips to Yosemite National Park instilled a love of the outdoors and capturing its beauty. With a minor in photography, I now capture landscapes and close-ups of nature’s gems every chance I get. In portrait photography, I love to work my clients into gorgeous outdoor areas. Capturing the beauty and personality of my clients and integrating their surroundings is important to me. My work has an understated, natural feel, timeless and romantic. I plan on continuing my photography path by growing my boutique business, Jessica Silvius Photography.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction on our April 15 post at