I just wish I knew which one it was. But It's Boxing Day in Canada. No work to be done other than a bit of laundry and the eating of leftovers or leftovers recreated into things semi-new. A day of reflection. Or maybe non-reflection. What's the opposite of reflection, of introspection? Exo-spection? Here are the contestants, the short listed. Click on these for a bigger, sharper view:
I am going to think about these and add notes as this morning's Chelsea v. West Ham game progresses. As the smell of bacon wafts. Because that's what it does. It wafts.
Zak Rotello sent the first image up there which he explains is of Revolution Brewing's head pub brewer Wil Turner tapping a cask of Rev beer. He added "outside, thankfully" which makes me wonder if the photo was taken at Zak's bar, the Olympic Tavern of Rockford, Illinois. An action photo, it captures an instance. It also captures at least three people capturing the instance. I like the depth of field, ably assisted by the out-of-focus red building in the background. One quibble I have is entirely unfair. It is extremely similar to the 2009 grand prize winner. You've been keeping track, right? It might actually be better than the 2009 winner. It is certainly busier. Which may be better but could be worse, too. I need to think...
Fabio Freire, the Brazilian of Brooklyn, NY sent in the next image. He told us that it was taken in London: "I love how the hammered glass window in pic 4 fuzzes out everything except the beer sitting by the windowsill, just magical." I like that, too. Old glass. I like that there is depth to the obscuring effect. Then I notice I like depth apparently. That's the thing about judging these photos. I realize I have a certain taste even if not what could be called standards. This is going to stretch into the second game. Back to the image, the arm is sharper than the background. The arm is in a suit jacket. The suit and the glass are modern. The window frame is rustic. The stone window sill looks like Guinness cheddar. And it's like the beer is looking out, wishing it was away from the glass and the company, saying to the potted plant: "get me outta here."
Thomas Cizauskas of Virginia sent in photo number three and I have to admit it is both unusual and fantastic. First thing you see is just a jumble. But then again that use of colour to create depth - the yellow emergency rinse station, the red trolly. Then I start to think I have seen this sort of structure before. Not the brewing structures but the layout of the image. It's like a Vermeer. Like this or this or this or this! The light is from the upper left. The steam acts as the curtain or the doorway Vermeer used to create a frame within a frame. Much of the scene is ordinary like so many 1600s Dutch household paintings. The red cart is the girl. Amazing. Quite certain Tom thought none of that. He named it "Steam Brew" and gave this note: "on a cold winter day outside, steam billows, inside, during a brew at the Heavy Seas Brewing Company, Baltimore, Maryland.
David Bishop of West Yorkshire sent in the next semi-finalist. Or is it a finalist? I was immediately struck by the use of the glass as a lens, the effective juxtaposition between the colour of the beer and the muted colours of the shore behind it. The image has fine detail. It is sharp and squarely balanced. No notes came with the photo but it is clearly of a tidal estuary. Did Dave sail in himself? Fluid on fluid. The whole scene is wet. Low tide. The beer is out of focus but you don't see that immediately. It glows. I have a think for glowing beer. Who doesn't. He's had a drink. It's an intimate image of a beer in progress. In nature. From a first person perspective. Oh, good. The next game is Man U v. Newcastle.[Brunch Break.]
Robert Gale of Wales sent in the next one. Dubbed the "Good Ship Brewdog" the images is of a neon sign in one of BrewDog's latest bars in Liverpool England. At first, I was not taken with it. Sometimes there is a problem with photos of well designed things. It is the photo or the object that looks good? Then, I had a second look at the three sorts of material: the red glowing neon, the wire cage and the rough lumber background. While the first obviously gets the attention the other two receive the light and share it back. The cage shading itself in umbra and penumbra. The slabs of plank rough, uneven, random. The anchor forms twin devil's tails.
Alan McCormick of Montana sent in the sixth semi-finalist. My main concern is the distortion of the glass But look at the colours and textures. The light also glows from the left. A healthy single draw on the ale has taken place. The nonic is hearty and confident. It shows four stages of cask: in the cask, the beer engine, in the glass and - by implication - down the cake hole. It is unashamedly hazed ale, too. The brickwork in the back provides structure that contrasts with the chaotic pattern of shade and light on the black cask cozy.
Jan Zeschky of Burnaby British Columbia sent in the seventh and last semi-finalist. It is deceptively simple. It's the old back glowing beer photo. We've seen it all before. But look at this one. The table is perfectly clean even though it is an outside bar patio. It is a glowing ball of beer which goes someway to excuse the stemware. The pickup truck contextualizes the image in a normal North American street. At the back near the guy three tables over there are light beams. What my wife calls "Jesus light". The glass, as a result, appears to be in a spotlight even though it is outside. The beer is local. Never heard of Dageraad before. Lovely.
And that is it for now. I will either winnow to three or just right to a winner. Check in later.