Archive for 'Events'

The 2010 Deschutes Brewery Street Fare

Deschutes Brewery Street Fare

Deschutes Brewery Street Fare

Deschutes Brewery Street Fare

Deschutes Brewery Street Fare

Deschutes Brewery Street Fare

Deschutes Brewery Street Fare

Deschutes Brewery Street Fare

Wow, I might as well just call this blog Beer and Photography.  Most of my work these days seems to revolve around beer in one form or another: events, products, process.  It’s a tough burden to carry.

Let’s get right to the point of this conversation: as a photographer, should you separate work from fun?  The answer to that is going to be different for everyone.  The question is really about balance and finding the right combination of work and play.  At the extremes of the spectrum are places like total objectivity and complete immersion.  For photography, total objectivity is like shooting fish behind glass where where people and activities become examined specimens.  On the other hand, complete immersion can become a scary place if you forget to say, shoot the event because you’re so caught up in the action yourself.

It all boils down to understanding your subject.  In this case, the subject was the Deschutes Street Fare.  On the surface, an event is just an event.  It doesn’t get interesting and unique until you break it down into it’s components: food, music, beer.  But the devil is in the details, and we want to get much more granular by asking questions about these broader categories.  For music, these questions are important to me: who is playing the music, both individually and as a group?  How are they interacting with or affecting the audience?  How are they interacting with each other?  What piece are they in the bigger picture of the whole event?  Answering these questions with photos can make it much easier to figure out how to cover an event.

As a self-titled connoisseur of food, beer, and music, asking these questions and being immersed in an event event like this comes naturally.  With a connection already in place, it’s easy to fall into the rhythm of the event and seek out all of the aspects you want to cover.  This is the perfect scenario for me as a photographer.  It makes my job easier and hopefully I can translate my enthusiasm into great photography.

But what if you are not attached to an event?  Most of us can’t absolutely love every single assignment, but if you can still break it down into a series of questions that need to be answered, you can still get great shots of the next Guinea Pig Olympics for your client.  Is the event more about the owners or the animals?  How are the animals treated?  How can the competition versus comradery be measured?  Is there nothing more savage than a Guinea Pig owner and can you capture their essence?  Coming up with these questions and answering them with your camera can lead you through the whole event.

In the end, I was once again guided by the Ten percent Rule: I shot around 1000 photos, was happy with about 100, and really liked 10.  It’s still a low rate of return, but ultimately I’m happy with it.   You have to take some chances to get truly great shots, and with those chances there are a lot of mistakes.

Check out the rest of the photos here.

Mixing Beer and Photography Again

Oakshire Brewing Company, Eugene, OR

Hop Valley Brewing, Eugene, OR

Oregon Trail Brewery, Corvallis, OR

Hop Valley Brewing, Eugene, OR

Block 15 Brewing, Corvallis, OR

Wow, the first post of the new year and it already almost March! A lot of times, blogging and being really busy are inversely proportional and that’s the case for me. I try to strike a balance and post regularly, but when it comes down to paying bills, blogging is lower on my list of priorities.

Beer, however, seems to stay at the top of that list. So, mixing beer and photography is never a stretch for me. In mid February, I was sent to Eugene and Corvallis on a beer journey by: Travel Lane County, Visit Corvallis, and Travel Oregon.  My job: hang out with brewers and drink beer.  Sure, when you boil it down, it sounds like a breeze.  In reality, while fun, it’s also a lot of work.  Try this experiment at home: stand in a cramped space, surround yourself with giant metal tanks, turn the temperature down to 50 degrees, turn off the lights, take notes, take photos, hold and drink a beer, and change lenses.  You find strange places to hold things in these situations.

On the trip, I did six breweries over two days. Whew! I came back with over 10 GB of photographs. On Saturday, I hit Hop Valley Brewing, Ninkasi Brewing, and Oakshire Brewing. On Sunday, it was Oregon Trail Brewery, Flat Tail Brewing, and Block 15 Brewing.  I used this trip as an opportunity to rent a lens and I ended up with a Canon 35mm f/1.4 L.  Hot damn!  Great focal length for cramped spaces, and a wide aperture for all of the low light situations.  I shot with this lens for 95% of my trip, making it a good candidate to replace my ailing, if not broken 50mm f/1.4.  The price points for these lenses differ greatly, so I need to start replenishing my photography gear fund if I’m going to be able to add a $1400 lens to my bag of tricks…

I’ll be writing several articles on the trip at my other site: portlandbeer.org.  If you want to read about the details, you can start here.

Check out the rest of the photos here.

Baltic / Imperial Porter Tasting at Upright Brewing

2009.06.13 -- Baltic and Imperial Porter Tasting at Upright Brewing

2009.06.13 -- Baltic and Imperial Porter Tasting at Upright Brewing

2009.06.13 -- Baltic and Imperial Porter Tasting at Upright Brewing

I was asked to attend and photograph a Baltic / Imperial Porter tasting tonight at Upright Brewing.  I don’t mind mixing work with pleasure, especially when it comes to beer, but the physical aspects of holding a glass and shooting photos can be tricky at best.  Couple this with the fact that we are gathering in the basement of a building with uneven lighting and there can be some issues.

I used my 50mm 1.4 for most of the night because of the low light where the taps (and hence, most of the people) were gathered.  I also used my 10-22mm around the brewing equipment where there was much more light available.

It took about two hours to go through the photos tonight with selection and remastering.  Make sure to click on the photos to see the larger versions as the tones and brightness are compressed in the thumbnails to the right.  Great night, awesome beers, and now it’s late and I want to go to sleep.

Firkin Fest 2009

Firkin Fest 2009

Firkin Fest 2009

Firkin Fest 2009

It’s not all coincidence that I’m able to mix beer and photography.  It takes careful planning: 1) Find an event, 2) See if someone needs photos for the event, 3) If you can budget in time to photograph and attend the event, even better!  It doesn’t always work out that way, but when it does, it’s great for both you and the client.

Well, the upside for me is pretty self-explanatory: free event.  The upside for the client is that the more I’m involved in the event, the better I can understand what it’s all about–and then translate that into photography.  The perspective of an attendee and photographer can tell two different stories.  It is the job of the photographer to not only capture the spirit of the festival through the eyes of the attendees, but also capture unique angles, subjects, and action that require much more than a casual eye.

For this year’s Firkin Fest, I took photos for the Oregon Brewer’s Guild.  The festival was split into two three hour sessions.  I attended the first session as a photographer and the second as a patron.  But, as a photographer, even when I’m not on duty, I usually carry around my equipment.  So, it’s usually safe to say that whatever label I’m under at any given moment (patron, attendee, employee, student, staff), you can always append /photographer to the end.  Today, the energy was very different at the second session and about half of the final photos ended up coming from the then, when I was supposed to be off the clock.