Archive for June, 2014

Print Sale

Friday, June 27th, 2014

UPDATE: orders are open for the rest of the day today (Monday, 30th of June). I got a bit busy over the weekend so I will be printing the photos tonight.

I have decided to have a quick little print sale to help fund a new camera. Because it is one of the tools of my trade I am offering a selection of my favourite photos of the tools of the brewing trade. These look beautiful as prints, even better than they look here.

The sale is on for a limited time. You have until lunchtime on Sunday, June 29th, to get your orders to me. I will print them on Sunday and get them sent to you early next week. To order email me at with the print number and name and the size you would like. I will reply with payment instructions (from Friday night). There are special prices for three or more prints. All prices include shipping and GST. The prints are printed using pigment ink on archival paper. Signed on the back. Email me with any questions.

Size Price for 1 for three
6×4 $12 $30
7×5 (approx) $20 $50
A4 (approx) $60 $150
A3 (approx) $120 $300

If you live in the United States then the prices are the same but in US dollars instead of NZ dollars. I will ship them to you when I am in the US next month. The larger size is excluded though because it won’t fit safely in my bag. If you live anywhere other than NZ or the US get in touch and I’ll work out shipping prices but please note, I won’t be able to ship to other countries until August.

1. Heart beer. You can hang this one up either way.

2. Hydrometers

3. Steam

4. Space station (actually it’s a keg washer)

5. Ladder.

Why do I need a new camera? Well, my current camera is over five years old, which is an eternity in the digital era. Sensor design has come a long way in that time especially for performance in low light, which are the conditions most of my photos are taken. Also, recurring back problems have me looking for a lighter setup. My current favourite lens and camera combination weighs 1.5kg. The camera and lens I am looking at buying would be 700g. My back is thanking you already.

Photographing Festivals, an Existential Dilemma

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

If there was a World Cup for beer festivals then the SOBA Winter Ales Festival would have won. Great beers, great venue, plenty of old friends to catch up with, and a great atmosphere to make some new ones. Just like the real World Cup only with much, much better beer and less chance of the English going home early. Congratulations to David Waugh and the rest of the SOBA team who made it such a special day.

I didn’t take a photo of David Waugh but if you squint hard enough you might spot him in this one.

I was very thankful that it was such a great day because photographing beer festivals is becoming increasingly difficult for me. Relaxing with friends and beers makes the stress of coping with this much easier to bear. But why am I having trouble? First up, I am rather shy and reserved. This is a problem easily solved with a few beers, which are thankfully plentiful at a beer festival. Drinking helped me immensely when I photographed my first ever beer festival back in 2009 and the success of those photos indirectly led to the creation of the Beer Project. Looking back at them now, I don’t think I’ve managed to match the variety and decisive momentness of that set since.

Which leads on nicely to perfection paralysis: how can I make photos better than those ones, or even a photo I took last week? A little secret: I have no idea how to take a good photo, but, here’s the funny thing, it has gotten easier over time. The trick is ignoring the fear of failure and just taking photos anyway. Again beer is a great enabler (you’re probably beginning to understand why The Beer Project is the perfect project for me). I am constantly surprised and delighted at the photos I end up with when I just start shooting.

Next, I hate repeating myself. I’d get rather bored (and I‘m sure you would too) if I pumped out the same old shit every time. Of course this is the point where some of you will say that I’m always pumping out the same shit and it’s time for me to move on to photographing something new, say craft toast culture or people who milk hedgehogs. Screw you guys. I like beer.

But my biggest struggle, when photographing festivals, is that I am at my best photographing people working hard doing what they love. Usually this is brewers brewing. When I see passionate people I tend to feed on that and get passionate myself (I can even get passionate about the overuse of the word passionate but that can wait for another post). Fanatics and lunatics, both make for great photographic subjects. So who are the passionate people at a beer festival? Why the beer drinkers of course. But wait, I’ve already photographed beer drinkers before… how am I going to make it look different? By this stage I’ve had enough beer that I don’t care any more, so I give to you Beer Drinkers of the SOBA Winter Ales Festival.

Jules and friends.

James and (possibly, my memory is a little vague) Nina.

The wonderful crowd.

A shady deal, I’m sure.

Paul Wicksteed showing off his great t-shirt

Scott taking notes for his blog Buzz and Hum.

Jerseys and ParrotDog shirts, featuring Lester Dunn.

Jerseys, ParrotDog shirts, and funny faces, featuring Lester Dunn.

Sean Murrie wearing one of the awesome Tuatara Delicious Neck t-shirts.

Sam Whitney, The Apprentice at Panhead Brewery.

Pete and Nick.

A happy man caught being piggy-backed.

Beer Fit for Our Queen

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

It is not often one receives an invitation to a special event hosted by the British High Commissioner. So unlikely in fact, especially given the event was a craft beer and whisky tasting, that I had initially thought the email was an elaborate phishing scheme attempting to take advantage of my one (or two) weaknesses. Also, the email arrived while I was celebrating another glorious day of Melbourne’s Good Beer Week. The combination of my suspicion and my mind’s haziness meant that the invitation soon slipped my memory. A few days later when I was back at work in NZ, a colleague’s mention of a wedding invitation reminded me, and my curiosity overcame my suspicion. If there was free beer to be enjoyed then no amount of money siphoned from my bank account was going to get in the way of that.

And it wasn’t just any free beer. The logos on the invitation were three great craft beer names: Yeastie Boys, Epic, and Good George. Yes, New Zealand beers at the British High Commission, particularly ironic given Neil Miller’s investigations last year into beer being served at New Zealand High Commissions around the world.

These breweries are the three New Zealand breweries who have been invited to brew in the UK for the Weatherspoon Real Ale Festival over the last five years. This provided the British connection. British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell, a beer lover, put on a mini beer festival of the local versions of beers they had brewed in the UK. As an added treat, Yeastie Boys Stu and Sam were pouring a cask of Gunnamatta that had been brewed for the festival this year and specially shipped out from England for the night.

Thank you, Mrs Treadell, for being such a tremendous host, and thanks to your wonderful staff. The beers were delicious, all the more enjoyable for being shared with Wellington’s beer-loving crowd in your fabulously old-world, wood-panelled and foreign-gift-laden residence, Homewood. Many portraits were taken with the wonderful portrait of our Queen, although she did induce some finger-waggling from noted republican and beer writer, Martin Craig. It was a pleasure to catch up with so many old friends plus finally put some faces to the words of some interesting beer writers whom I had only ever read.

Apparently Trevor Mallard was also there but as he is not a common sight in the craft beer scene I didn’t recognise him. His presence was balanced nicely by a distinguished beer blogger whose political leanings are so pronounced that his regular walk home from the Malthouse is often prolonged by his stubborn refusal to turn left.

The Yeastie Boys, Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie, with British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell, and some cask-conditioned Gunnamatta.

Luke Nicholas from Epic, Kelly Ryan, ex-Good George, The Yeastie Boys, Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie, with British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell and some of her staff.

The Yeastie Boys, Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie, with British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell.

The Yeastie Boys, Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie, posing with British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell.

Beer writers Hadyn Green and Martin Craig.

Fork & Brewer brewer, Lester Dunn.

Fork & Brewer brewer, Lester Dunn.

To steal Stu’s line from Twitter, “how to know when you’ve stayed at a party thirty minutes longer than you should have”.