The Digital Photo Guy

Out of My Gourd

by on Jun.28, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips

International Gourd Festival

Say what? A gourd festival? Yep, you read that right. I attended the 14th Annual International Gourd Festival this weekend. You’re all probably green with envy.

Held in De Luz, CA, a tiny wide spot on the road between Fallbrook and Temecula, CA, the gourd festival is on the grounds of Welburn Farms, the largest US gourd producer. I first heard of this event 10 years ago and always thought I should check it out. This year, I finally got a “round tuit”.

The gourds looked great on the web site but lost something in real life. I must have been in a crotchety mood because much of what I saw fell into the class of kitschy Elvis on black velvet style of “art”. Then, I saw the piece in the photo above. This was a piece of traditional Peruvian gourd art. I don’t know diddly about gourd art, Peruvian or otherwise, but even I could tell this was different from the painted gourd Santa Claus or the fat gourd puppy.

Here’s a macro of the detail. Notice how the lines are so precise yet primitive. This one is about 8″ wide and 6″ high and nearly perfectly symmetrical. I’m not gonna tell you what I paid for it because I hate being laughed at but, suffice it to say, the vendor and I went 6 rounds before I scored a knockout.

The macro was taken in the vendor’s stall with a Canon 100/2.8 and Canon 20D on a Gitzo 1228 and an off-camera Canon 550EX remoted with CyberSyncs. Exposure was 1/60, f/2.8, ISO 200. The flash was set to 1/32 in manual mode. I controlled the exact fill flash amount by moving the flash closer or further. The purpose of the fill flash was to add a bit of depth to the etched lines and make the details pop out.

The “formal” shot at the top of the page was in my office with a white seamless BG. Again, I used the 100/2.8 and 20D on the Gitzo 1228 with the Canon 550EX. This time, the 550EX was set to Multi Mode, 1/128 power at 10Hz. Exposure was 1/16, 5 seconds, ISO 200. I use Multi (stroboscopic) Mode for nice, even, shadowless product lighting.

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4 Comments for this entry

  • Shelley

    Hi Lee:

    My boy friend and I took the back road drive between Temeula and Fallbrook yesterday and saw all the (many) signs to the festival along the curvey, beautiful road. I wanted to stop at the festival; he didn’t. Based on your impression, I’m glad we didn’t. The drive is worth the time, especially with camera in hand when/where you can pull over to safely take pictures. At least it wasn’t a busy road. Nice macro shot.

  • Vesta

    Lee,
    My husband,Don, and I demonstrate victorian rocking horses and fan bird carving from the 17th century and are fortunate to have a lady that does the gourds and raises her own hybrids to get very small ones. Beautiful art work on them. He pruchased a small coffee scoup with line work and paid $35 for it which is now in the hands of our daughter( that seems to happen quite often :). I saw it in her coffee and sure enough she was using it as a coffee scoup. Maybe I shouldn’t have told her about the cost but I wanted her to appreciate what she had but that it should be used and enjoyed.
    Kindest regards
    Vesta

    • Lee

      Hi Vesta,
      The farm had all sizes of gourds for sale from little tiny ones like you’re describing to huge mommas that required a wheelbarrow to move. I like the coffee scoop idea. I should have bought one of the tiny gourds.



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