This past Sunday we went on an adventure of the more sedate variety. Climbing mountains and waterfalls is certainly fun but it’s nice to slow things down a bit every now and then and have a nice relaxing time. And boy did we get to do that on the East Coast Instameet. The great people at Discover Tasmania laid on a most splendid day of wine, wine and more wine, all within the beautiful confines of the East Coast of Tasmania.
Our first port of call was Spring Vale Vineyard & Cellar Door near Cranbrook. There’s been a vineyard here since 1875 so they know a thing or two about producing good wines in this area. The grounds surrounding the Cellar Door were lovely with a long drive in off the road where a flock of black cockatoos took to the sky upon our arrival. There was of course the obligatory dog which no food & drink business should be without, especially with a bus load of Instagrammers who can’t resist a cheeky doggy photo.
After trying a couple of Spring Vale’s tipples, it was on to our next stop, Gala Estate was just up the road and was to be our designated stop as the other half of our group continued on to Craigie Knowe Vineyard. I think we got the sweet end of the deal with Gala as it was just beautiful. A small, rustic venue that just oozed quaintness and charm from every pore…..yeah that doesn’t sound very pleasant…..oozing…..pores…..hmmmm need to work on my descriptive language me thinks…..
Aaaanyhoo where was I? Ah yes, Gala. Wonderful little place that’s been in the family since 1821. How do you like them apples Spring Vale?! Now now, it’s not a competition as you should go to ALL the vineyards and enjoy ALL their delicious tasty grapey beverages. Of all the wines we tried that day, my personal favourite was the Gala Pinot Noir, either the Black or White label as both were delicious. Tassie does Pinot Noir REALLY well. I’ve yet to try one that hasn’t made me go “mmmmmm, that is nice” or “ooooh…..yummy” so that’s gotta count for something right?
The Cellar Door building itself used to be the old Post Office and General Store in Cranbrook and the good people at Gala Estate have left it pretty much how they found it structure wise. There’s lovely little motifs in every corner and the whole building is a texturephilia’s dream. I’m pretty sure that’s not a word and if it is, I don’t really want to know what it involves but suffice to say, this place has lovely textures 🙂
So far this Sunday had been going rather well indeed on the aul relaxing front. The only thing potentially missing from it was some epic views to really seal the deal and make the Instagrammers on our bus truly at peace with the Photography Gods. Our final wine stop of the day was sure to guarantee that. If you’re from Tassie or have been up the East Coast then you’ll probably know exactly where we were going. Devils Corner Vineyard has some spectacular views! I mean really just wow, slap me am I dreaming? views.
We happened to be blessed with a super nice day weather wise and the setup at Devil’s Corner lends itself perfectly to the landscape around it. The Cellar Door is very different to our earlier locations. Rustic charm is replaced by modern style and resort like structures. It’s not soulless though, it blends in well with the surroundings and there’s plenty of seating looking out over THIS…..
We spent a nice bit of time at Devil’s Corner, soaking up the sun, taking in the view and chatting with the other Instagrammers from our group. It was really nice and relaxing and a great way to end the more formal location visits of the day. We weren’t done yet though, we were joined by Canon ambassador Neal Walters (@nealwalters_) who shared some great tips with the group as we stopped off at a couple of locations on the way home. Our first stop on return journey was Spiky Bridge….aptly named because it’s a) a bridge and b) you guessed it….spiky. It’s a tricky location to get a good photo of but Neal got straight into it and focused on doing location portraits. One of the girls, bless her was roped in to be the model and promptly hid in the tall grass at the base of the bridge while a phalanx of photographers snapped away. The glitz, the glamour, it was all there.
While they were busy doing that, Gemma and I cheekily ran across the road to the beach to get some photos and leave the rest to their photoshoot. It was a beautiful beach and I could have spent ages there taking photos but we only had a limited time, so we promptly ran back to the group at the bridge. We panicked when we saw the bus and nothing else. Nightmares filled our heads of having to get back on board and apologise to everyone for running off. Thankfully they were still there out of view at the base of the bridge! Phew! Bullet….dodged 🙂
We just about had enough time to squeeze in one more location before we had to hit the road and stay on it until Hobart. One of the group was a local and suggested to Neal that we check out a jetty near the Salt company. If you’re into photography, you’ll know that jetties and/or piers=long exposures. The solidness of their structure in combination with the moving waters lend themselves perfectly to this type of shot. It basically involves putting a dark piece of glass in front of the lens, in this case something like a 10 stop neutral density filter. This blocks the light getting into the sensor and lets you shoot with shutter speeds much slower than you usually could, often up to several minutes if you put enough darkness between your sensor and the sun.
Unfortunately, this jetty was a little bit lacking in water when we got there. Not to worry, Neal showed his professionalism by working with what he had and still made a nice demonstration of long exposure photography to the group. There were a few bemused faces from the phone toting members who thought it would be impossible for them to get such a shot. And sure enough it would be with a standard phone, but with a manual control providing camera app and miniaturised version of the huge 10 stop filters Neal was using, it would certainly be achievable.
It was really cool having Neal along to add a bit of photographic expertise to the day, it is for Instagram after all so it’s nice to have a bit of theory to go along with the subject matter and encourage those in the group to try new techniques and get that passion for photography going.
Links to the vineyards:
Of course, can’t end this post without saying a huge thank you to Discover Tasmania and East Coast Tasmania for putting on yet another fantastic day out. Each Instameet unlocks another little part of Tasmania I haven’t seen before and further enforces the special feeling I have about this place. Thanks also to Neal Walters for being a great Canon ambassador despite sporting an injury, he just got on with it like a boss. And lastly, a big thanks to Gemma for her wonderful company on the day 🙂