Travel Photography: Taste of Summer Cover and Feature for National Geographic Traveler

So when the photo editor of National Geographic Traveler calls you up and asks if you want to spend a few days down in the Foodie-est place on earth, Sonoma, California, for an upcoming story and COVER about the holy trinity (that would be cheese, pork and olive oil), what can one do but put the phone on mute while you scream, and then unmute and very calmly say, "why not?" as if this were nuthin' but a 'G' thang. 

And so you go, and are embraced by Sonoma, the people (who can't stop smiling), the food (which is always organic and amazing...even if salsa does cost $8), and the weather (which is jacket optional even in November).  You stop at Barndiva, a restaurant where the herbs are picked out back, you take part in a cheese and wine pairing at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens, you pet baby goats and see cheese wheels as big as your head at the family run Achadinha Cheese Company, you sample pie and ice cream at Chile Pies Baking Co., then wander the hills with free range heirloom pigs at Front Porch Farm and Acorn Ranch and finally drive like hell to hit a 360 degree sunset at Jordan Vineyard's Vista Point  And that is just day one.

So it goes on, a blur of sunrises and sunsets and shutter clicks. Just when you think you have to rest you attend a party at DaVero Farms & Winery, where almost everything on the menu has come from less than a mile away. You sit at a table with a group of newly made friends, under a circle of willow trees, drinking wine with the winemaker, and think how you tightly you want to hold on to this moment.  But then you think, "Crap, I better get up and make some photographs." And so you do.