Archive for the ‘Calendar’ Category

Diving in to 2016

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

The good people from LBQ.

It is now 2016 which means that you should have a new calendar on the wall. If you’ve been paying attention you’ll be lucky enough to have a New Zealand Beer Calendar (or two!). This was the second year that Megan Whelan and Jess Ducey organised the calendar to raise money for the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network. The 2015 calendar made $15,000 to help SAPN train Wellington bar staff to identify and limit possible sexual assault. You can read about how the idea came about here.

It was a bit of a scramble to get the first calendar done, given it was conceived at the end of October. This year there should have been plenty of time. To make it an even tougher assignment Megan and Jess decided there needed to be a small NSFW calendar to complement the main calendar (and to give you something to compliment your favourite bartenders, barflies, and brewery staff with). Twice as many photos to take. Surely that would mean we would shoot them over at least two months instead of just the month of November we had last year. We had October and November available, and a bunch of talented photographers around the country.

Somehow the timing didn’t quite work out and the first Wellington shoot took place on November 17. Two hectic weeks, and seventeen shoots later, I was done. I had also more than enough naked butts for one year. Somehow we still managed to have the calendars ready earlier than last year. This year we start earlier, right Megan and Jess?

Because there are generally only one photo per month, there were many great photos that didn’t make the final calendars. This is a chance to celebrate some of those. If you like what you see then I hear there may be a few copies left. Get along and order from the Beer Calendar website now. Thanks to all who have already supported the calendar: the bars and businesses that sponsored, all the people who pledged or bought a calendar, the wonderful models – naked and clothed – (especially the LBQ crew who jumped in the harbour twice for us even though they made us promise they’d only have to jump once. I owe you all a beer), Meg the designer, all the photographers, and the printers. It’s a mission, but damn, it’s worth it.

Kerry Gray (Choice Bros.) and Llew Bardecki (Wild & Woolly) soak away a hard day of brewing. This was the first shoot and there were so many great photos we could probably make a Choice Bros/Wild & Woolly calendar.

Mike Conroy, Wellington’s most entertaining beer enthusiast has a present for you.

The Beerded Ladies.

“Yes, I do like a good handpull.”

It’s sad to realise now that this was Funk Estate’s final farewell to Wellington before their move to their own brewery in Auckland.

Blue Steel from Ted, Baz, and the rest of the crew of the Kelburn Village Pub.

More Blue Steel at Beer Without Borders.

Just a little more Blue Steel.

Kia Manawanui. The Thirsty Bitches at Bin 44.

David Wood and Van. If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

Having starred in two naked shots already, David Wood thought the Hashigo Zake photo should be naked too.

Dom and Tasi wait to get their beards.

“Look, I wasn’t calling you bitter!” Golding’s has gone to the dogs.

Pete Gillespie reveals the secrets of a dog wrangler.

Secret rituals of the Society of the Third Eye.

I may enter this outfit into the World of Wearable Art next year. #whenPhotoshopGoesBad

Craft Beer Calendar – July 2015 – LBQ

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Today is a new month on your Craft Beer Calendar and you’ve probably flipped over the page and exclaimed “What the…!?”. That is unless you are as big a Bob Dylan fan as Dan Hargeaves, bar manager at LBQ. One of Dan’s early ideas for their calendar shot was an homage to the cover of Dylan’s album, The Basement Tapes. I remembered the excitement in his eye as he suggested it. I nodded pretending to share his enthusiasm before heading home to google the album. What a mad cover. My enthusiasm became real.

It offered great potential for utilising the extended LBQ family. Dan spent six weeks pulling together props and costumes. Getting everyone together for the shoot proved tricky but at last, indeed as the last shoot for the calendar, we gathered in LBQ one Sunday morning in December – not a favourite time for bar staff – just in time to make the printing deadline.

Costumes were donned, furniture moved, camera positioned, people arranged, camera repositioned, album cover referenced repeatedly, poses tweaked until at last, the shot. And what a stunning array of characters. All the LBQ crew make great musos and assorted weirdos, and Matt’s years of keg lifting come in handy as the strongman. A well-trained pig instead of a dog. To make up numbers, a few regulars were enlisted. Shiggy from Funk Estate as an Inuit wearing a Funk Estate cap. Ciaran, from the Malthouse, lurks in the shadows as a sad clown. Wellington beer scene royalty, Ted and Frances, jointly occupy the throne, happy to be sitting as the photographer insisted on taking shot after shot to get the one that was needed. Hungover, Stacey would have loved a seat but was forced to pose gracefully as a ballerina over and over. Bar regular Sam dared to eat fire. Halena put her hair to good use as a beard. And Dan, where the hell did Dan find such a great cardy to match Dylan’s jacket?

It’s not perfect – I would have loved more space out to the right so the composition was balanced better, were we not constrained by calendar format and camera lens – but the wonderful people from LBQ make it shine.

I wish to hear this band play.

May the fourth be with you

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Today is first of May and that means you all will have been excited to flipp over to a new month on your NZ Craft Beer Calendar and see the Golding’s crew in all their Star Wars-loving glory, right?

An alternative version of the calendar shot.

If you don’t know about the craft beer calendar, I’ll bring you up to speed. Vague thoughts of producing a calendar of my photos has crossed my mind in past years, usually at the time of the year when you are thinking about buying a new calendar, which is always too late to actually produce one. September would be the latest I would consider starting to organise a calendar for the following year, and that would be using photos I already have rather than taking new ones. Last year on October 25th, the night after the first day of the Pacific Beer Expo, I received an email from friend and fellow beer-lover, Megan.

“So, at PBE today, a couple of us had the idea of a craft beer calendar, with the proceeds to go to a charity, probably Sexual Abuse Prevention Network. (They do work with Wgtn bars to identify and limit sexual assault.)

How would you feel about shooting it? We want to get it done so people can buy it for xmas. Thoughts?”

A wild idea for a good cause. I respond, “That’s a great idea. My only concern would be the short timeframe.”

Of course I had underestimated the production skills of Megan and Jess. Wrangling brewers, bar people, and photographers for photos shoots, handling the PledgeMe campaign, rustling sponsors, organising printers, and keeping Golding’s in business all at once is no easy task. I am in awe of their commitment and perseverance.

Originally I was hoping to use some of my existing photos to ease the load of making 12 photos in a month. But then bars and brewers started jumping on board with great crazy ideas. Photographers in other cities offered to help out. English photographer Nicci Peet, who had been travelling around New Zealand photographing women brewers for her Caught on the Hop project, volunteered to help out while she was here in Wellington. This all meant we could have thirteen new photos just for the calendar. People are awesome.

The shoots ranged from the stressful (most of them), the hilarious (again, most of them), heart-breaking (the loss of some beer from a barrel that fell from a fork lift while arranging a pleasant backdrop at Panhead), to the downright terrifying (photographing Taika Waititi, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, and Stuart Rutherford from What We Do in the Shadows at Tuatara). The ideas seemed to grow more and more outlandish as the month went on as people heard what other bars and breweries had done for their. I expect they will be even more outlandish this year (and I hope they’re all making plans already, hint, hint).

May – Golding’s Free Dive

Each month that one of my photos appeared in the calendar I had intended to write a bit about the story behind the shoot. Obviously we are now into the fifth month of the year and I have missed two of my photos, January and February. I’ll tell you about those in my next installment. This month we’ll look at the shoot for May at Golding’s Free Dive.

In one way the shoot was a doddle. Sean Golding, bar owner, manager, and creator of the bar’s whole aesthetic, is also a great art director, drawing on his experience as a minion in Peter Jackson’s movie empire. Sean had pitched me the concept as Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper with a Star Wars theme. Sounded good. When I arrived on the morning of November 25th it seemed even better. Trestle tables were set up, laden with beer, food (Massimo, the owner of Pizza Pomodoro, was taking part and supplying pizza), and beer. Sean had organised costumes for everyone and had printed out several copies of The Last Supper to use as reference. We tweaked the position of the tables to get the Beer is Love mural in the background and get the perspective right (one of the key features of the original painting is that all of the lines of perspective converge on Jesus’ head, drawing your eyes to him). I found the perfect shooting position. The Golding’s crew perfected their gestures and looks. Steve supplied incredible Chewbacca impersonations.

Then little things started going wrong. The light took some tweaking. Curtains and blinds were closed, flash power adjusted. I pushed the ISO a bit too high to compensate for the low light. In some shots the light sabre had turned itself off. The background could have been a bit darker than the foreground so the people would be more defined. Tom wore the storm trooper helmet in some shots, hiding his beautiful face.

This led lot of things being fixed in post. I removed a shadow from Owen’s face by grafting on a nose from another photo. The Millennium Falcon was also transferred from another photo. The most obvious problem were very uneven tablecloths. Somehow I missed this during the shoot but it was immediately obvious once the photos were on my computer screen. Praise be for Photoshop’s content-aware fill. I spent longer working on this photo than all of the other photos I took for the calendar put together, learning a lot about the capabilities of Photoshop along the way. The end result was worth it and I’ve learnt a few lessons. Next year I’ll use the force and get it right in-camera.

Spot the difference:

From this Sunday, Golding’s celebrate Star Wars Week (including May the Fourth). I hear seven beers with a Star Wars theme have been created especially. Get along there. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.



Thanks from Golding’s and the NZ Beer Calendar crew, Megan and Jess, to everyone who bought or supported the calendar.