Insider Insight: Five Best Photo Ops for Scenery
August 3, 2017
Suzanne Becker Bronk is one of the most sought-after commercial photographers in the Napa Valley. Her striking contemporary images are known for their nostalgic feel and she has a particular gift for capturing the energy of movement – among the many reasons her fine art work is collected by wineries, restaurants, private patrons, and the di Rosa Foundation. Her photography has also appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Space Magazine, Imbibe Magazine, Traditional Homes Magazine, Edible Magazine, and Napa Valley Life.
We asked Suzanne for some of her favorite photo locations in the valley for spectacular scenery shots – all accessible to the public without trespassing or paying any entry or tasting fees. Her suggestions here are places where people can safely pull over or walk to – but do exercise caution when exiting your car or walking along roadways. “Napa’s natural landscape is our best asset for photo ops,” she says. “Vineyards, mountains, bodies of water, seasonal changes – this valley has it all.”
1. The intersection of Rutherford Crossroad and Conn Creek Road. “From the north side of the road, this is one of my go-to spots for lush mustard shots in the early spring, but it’s lovely any season of the year. You can include Frog’s Leap’s iconic red barn or the wind machines in the frame. There’s an obvious spot to park your car that will keep you off the road.”
2. Yountville Crossroad. “Park at the Napa Ecological Reserve and walk east or west. Facing north, you can include the wind machines in some lovely vineyard shots with hills in the background. If you get up at dawn and face southwest, you’ll see a profusion of balloons on most days. Or hike into the ecological preserve for some beautiful nature shots.”
3. Carneros Region. “Drive down Duhig Road to photograph the rolling hills and vineyards, then head over to Cuttings Wharf Road ending at the wharf. From the dock or from the river bank, it's the perfect spot to photograph the Napa River looking either direction. Keep your ears open for geese!”
4. The bridges in downtown Napa. “The Third Street bridge offers a wonderful view of the riverfront with a reflection in the water, and the river adds a feeling of serenity. Photograph early in the morning before many people are around. Or shoot later in the day with a slow shutter speed, keeping the buildings sharply in focus and the people bustling. You can use the bridge rails to keep your camera steady. On the First Street bridge next to the Oxbow Market, there's a quiet, natural scene which belies the bustling activity just to the west.”
5. Napa Valley Vine Trail. “Rent a bike and ride the Vine Trail starting in north Napa going toward Yountville. Once you've hit Oak Knoll Avenue, you can cross over the frontage road to take some seasonal vineyard shots with the hills in the background (be sure not to include the telephone wires). Biking up the Vine Trail or on the frontage road (Solano Avenue), you’ll find several spots to pull over and, if you go early enough, you’ll likely capture some stunning balloon shots.”
You can check out some of Suzanne’s own gorgeous work on her website.