Thursday, December 29, 2011

Soulslinger Black Ale

So the recently bottled, but then unnamed black ale, is now named. This tasted pretty good going into the bottle when it was still flat and warm, so I think it should taste good enough to get it's own label (when it's cold and carbonated). So, over Christmas break beers at Taco Mac with my brother-in-law, we discussed some possibilities. The then working title was First Name Smith Black Ale, as I wanted to get this one named after Smith (Yes, it really is his first name) and this is what he goes by - at least on PS3.

Anyway, I thought it should have something more dramatic, and since Smith is a climber, I thought we should brainstorm in that direction. Not being a very good rock-climber myself (I struggle to do 5.9s), but knowing how cool some of the rock route names are, I asked Smith if perhaps there were some epic routes he had climbed and if they should be immortalized on beer bottles. Turns out there were a few with names suitable for a dark black ale.


That's what we decided on. It's a current favorite climb of Smith's in Bishop, CA where he boulders a lot. It's also a V9, which is a pretty frigin hard route up the boulder.

Yep. That's Smith on Soulslinger. Errr, thanks to ? for the shot of Smith (I'll get that credit in there). And yes, of course I did some work in Photoshop. I thought of slinging one's soul, which could be considered a bit dark, though I suppose it depends where your slinging it. So, I gave the label a bit a mystical quality, added the idea of duality (the two sides of Smith) and kept the basic slice of rock and climber.

Note to self: Change the lower landscape drawing to a more dramatic charcoal drawing of a distant mountain range.

Note to self:  Tweek the recipe a bit the next batch to get the ABV up to 9% (matching the V9 climb).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Barley's London Porter

New beer bottled: Barley's London Porter. It tasted great going into the bottle.

It was originally going to be called Otto's Big Bark Porter, but at 5.5% ABV, it's probably the lightest beer I've made. So, it's more like a gentle lick. And so the nod went to Barley. Otto will get Otto's Big DoppelBark, with goes much better with her name. Plus, she had a great bark complete with flying slobber that I have well documented in photographs.

So cheers to the new label.

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Ever tried getting a Boxer to sit still?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Indie's Mutt Brown Ale: The Verdict

Indie's Mutt Brown Ale is ready. It is good stuff (Duh. It's beer.)

The taste and aroma of the Belgian aromatic malt is really apparent. If i liked Belgian Ales better that would be great, but I'm not a giant fan of Belgians. The beer poured a light brown/dark amber color. Next time there will be more chocolate malt. I'll bump it up from .25# to 1# of pale chocolate malt. Maybe. I'll give it about 40 more beers of consideration. Then tweak.

Next up: Otto's Big Bark Porter. Yummy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Beer: Indie's Mutt Brown Ale

Indie's Mutt Brown Ale is bottled.

Now I try to be patient as it carbonates...I really, really want to taste it. Indie was a special pup, my first, and despite her barking flaws, she was an big sweetheart. I hope this brown Ale does her justice. I'm wondering it will have the intensity and drama that Indie's personality had. I've been drinking so much Oatmeal Stout lately (hmmm...does that sound bad?) that I think this beer will be tame by comparison.

I did add plenty of Belgian Special B Caramel Malt, some aromatic malt, honey malt, pale chocolate malt, and Munich malt. Plus, I tossed in some flaked oats because I like to pretend that beer is good for me.

Cheers to Indie Rock! You were the best.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Left Nut

I think the title of this one is still up in the air. But the work is done. I think I'm happy with the way it came out. It was such a powerful initial photograph that I was not quite sure how to do it justice. And, like all creative works, it's quite possible I didn't. The full 360 degree panorama is on my website.

Any suggestions for a title? I'd give my...

Now I can get to work on my beer labels for Indie's Mutt Brown Ale.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Back to work...

I'm back to working on my Dig series. I'm pretty happy with this one I'm calling Oracle. It took me a bit to figure out what exactly should be emanating from the dead frog (thanks to Malena Bergmann for allowing me photographic access to her dead things collection). I had originally had an oil rig placed on the mountaintop, but this seemed far to obvious. Like all the images in this collection, the work will exist as a printed piece on cloth with a wax coating. It's already published as a 360 degree Flash-based panorama on my website.

What? Digging for oil isn't good for the environment?

So, I went with two frogs and smokey breath. As are the other pics in the series, the landscape comes from my poor attempts at charcoal drawing. Hooray for low-fi!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quinn visits the SPE (Society for Photographic Education) national conference in Atlanta, March 2011.

I gave the rough cut video track to my Digital Media class and each student created an original soundtrack using GarageBand. I thought Christy Megenbir's audio track fit the work best, especially since Quinn's getting a new bike for his upcoming birthday. I have visions of him growing out of the tricycle and I'm feeling nostalgic already.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Mighty Quinn Oatmeal Stout Redux

The Mighty Quinn Oatmeal Stout (version 2) is bottled and labeled.

The re-shoot with Quinn, the mighty, didn't go quite like I planned. I had the boots, the shirt, the shovel, the helmet - everything I thought I needed. But I also got a big dose of (the) protest.

That's okay. Boy was tired and wanted to watch some Yo Gabba Gabba. I understand. And I can work with this. An Oatmeal Stout seems to be a good solid beer for those exhausted after a long day at work (Fuck yes I love a few after a 13 hour day of teaching). Why not just go with the slightly exasperated, more melancholy than I had hoped for, expression on his face?

I did. And I think I'm happy with the photograph I came up with. Grittier than I'd planned at first, but Stout!

Hopefully, this beer will best version 1 which for some reason, tasted great but poured with a mighty foam. This version scales down the hops a bit and ups the chocolate and crystal malts. Tasted great flat and warm when I bottled it, so I have my fingers crossed.

Daddy put that camera away.

The terrible two's are almost over. And they haven't been terrible at all. Quinn had some epic toddler tantrums when he was about 20 months old. Frigin legendary. He would protest everything. But until recently, he's been happy to oblige daddy for the most part.

Except he appears to be tired of getting his picture taken. And I'm talking stills images here. He still loves watching himself in the video LCD (he insists on watching the footage as it records). But pull out the DSLR and just try to get some cooperation.

Here are a few shots as I tried to get him to show me his Popsicle stains on his chin:

Not very happy with daddy. But still frigin cute.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Now that I've found somewhere safe

To bury my bone.

I'm thinking that maybe this is not the best music for the gym.
The song, Pigs on the Wing, really just makes me want to do three sets of staring (I'm typing this later as I recollect).

But, frick, the album cover art for Animals is still inspiring.
One of my favorites still. A shelter for pigs on the wing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How I love thee...

Oatmeal Stout.

One of my goals in life, besides doing a Fulbright and raising a good boy, is to craft the perfect Oatmeal Stout. My mind has shifted to this goal last night when I bottled the latest brew - the Barley DoppelBark.

So up next is The Mighty Quinn's Oatmeal Stout (version 2). I was just working on a rough of the label:

I'm digging the boots and the gesture. There is some mighty in there. Quinn stepped into these not on my urge, but on his own. And it was frigin cute. Now I need to get him to do the same thing while holding a shovel above his head while I shoot from a lower angle. of luck with this.

Quinn will never do the same thing twice. So, I'm sure this will be a battle of wills. And I doubt that me repeating "but Quinn, you'll have your own beer named after you" will help.

I should be working on The Mighty Quinn's Oatmeal Cookie.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Squirrel, You Will Find a Home.

Today was a visually productive day. Or at least it will be. I photographed a friends bone collection. Err, well, her collection of dead things. There were a few incredibly fascinating specimens.

Like this squirrel whose arms were spread as if it had been crucified. As soon as I framed it in my viewfinder I knew...I will use this image.

And now I feel as if I have some sort of responsibility for it. Not the dead squirrel, but the image of the dead squirrel. You see, the image, bathed in it's white surround - it's such a beautiful metaphor already. I just want to use it and not fuck it up.

And we digital artists and digital photographers do this some time. We take things top far. We make the real artificial and in doing this it becomes superficial. So squirrel, I promise you this. You will find a home within my imagery (hopefully, within this Dig series I'm currently constructing), where you belong. A visual home that makes you metaphorically stronger. You will be the amazing bionic dead squirrel.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Probably The Best Pantry Photograph Ever

But possibly not. I mean I do really like it. How could I not? It's Beer. Ten gallons of really good (I hope) home-brewed beer with an ABV of about 16% between them. And an added bonus - it's sitting next to 20 lbs. of pasta (Bucatini, another fave).

Wait, where were we...Oh yeah, thinking about photographs.

Photographically, this isn't going to become one of the images I exhibit, though perhaps, in the right context it could impress some meaning on the viewer. I'm thinking that a powerful photograph should transcend it subject, should shed some light on it. It should "set the stage" (as a former professor of mine at Ohio State used to say) for some meaningful dialog with the viewer.

This is not that kind of image.

I find gratification in the image not for it's formal qualities, or because it reflects some profound meaning. Let's face it. An photographic image is subject bound. It can't escape this fact. But I should separate whats great about the image from what's in the picture.

So while my pantry has never looked so beautiful, this is not a product of my photographic skill. Just my love for beer and pasta.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Failure: The Opportunity

I've been teaching at the University level for many years. One of my mantras has always been that failure, for an artist, can be a good thing. Creativity can't exist without a struggle. One can't break new ground if the ground doesn't present an obstacle. If we end up just where we thought we would well, then, what have we really learned?

I'm not the first to notice this. There have been countless artist before me who have recognized that artistic creation is not just the product of moving from point A to B. It's more like swimming through a fog. I know I'm on my way to SOMETHING. What that SOMETHING is still a bit obscure...distorted...fuzzy.

Lately, however, I've noticed that parenting magazine are commenting on this as well - recognizing that a child can't grow without facing challenges, and more importantly, overcoming their initial failure with independent persistence. So, we are encouraged to step back and let the little one fail. Right. Sure. No problem. This is what I've been saying to my students all along.

In truth. It's pretty hard.