stills from the week | 11 nov 2019

One of the many highlights from Brussels Coffee Week 2019, which I documented here a few weeks back, was meeting and interacting with a lot of folks in the Brussels coffee scene. Energetic people I must say. Although I’m normally photographing, attending festivals for, having conversations about, and enjoying beer, it was a nice change to experience a new environment.

On the final day of BCW, I attended a roasting workshop at Wide Awake Coffee Roasters who had just officially opened the day before. They are a specialty coffee roaster selling beans and brewing equipment and also offering training workshops for baristas. Senina and Rutger are the ones behind this new endeavor. Cool people, enthusiastic, and very knowledgeable about coffee.

It was a brief conversation with them that day, followed up by another quick chat a few weeks later as I was buying some beans, that led me back to their roastery this past week. They were in the middle of building their new website and needed some photos to fill in the gaps, so I was more than happy to lend a hand. By the way, the website is now LIVE! You should check it out, and also pay their shop a visit when you’re strolling though Dansaert.

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I consider myself to be very good at capturing moments. Think festivals, weddings, or an event. In these scenarios, I am trying to capture moments and help illustrate to the audience what it felt like to be there. This is very different than creating moments (although there definitely is some intersection of the two). I don’t think I am as strong of a photographer when I’m creating moments, scenes, poses, etc. It’s the whole ‘act natural while a point a camera at you’ conundrum. Good photographers make it look easy, but I assure you it’s tough.

This shoot was a nice example of the intersection where we wanted a natural, lifestyle feel that felt as though I was capturing them in the moment. However, we needed to create the ‘scenes’ that were necessary to tell their story for the website.

It was also a challenge due to the lighting conditions of the roastery. When I’m capturing moments, the lighting is what it is to a certain extent and helps to tell the story. Here, however, we needed solid lighting that accentuated certain aspects of the photo, so an off-camera flash system was needed - another challenge. I rarely use artificial light, but it’s such a powerful tool when you know how to use it properly.

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This was definitely one of the more enjoyable shoots as of late. Fun, challenging, and the client appreciated the work. And make sure you follow Wide Awake to stay up to date on what they’re doing. They are a welcome addition to the Brussels coffee scene. Enjoy the photos!

Gear Used: camera - sony a7iii | lenses - sony 85mm f/1.8, sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | lighting - profoto b10

 
 

 
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stills from the week | 14 oct 2019

Brussels Coffee Week just wrapped after a caffeinated 7 days of roasting sessions, cuppings, filter coffee workshops, latte art competitions, and much more. About as accurately-named an event as you will find, #BCW19 had me running all over Brussels experiencing new cafés and diving head first into the coffee scene. While beer and breweries normally find themselves in front of my lens, immersing myself in Brussels coffee culture and the folks who drive it forward was a welcome change!

While it’s not hard for me to enjoy an event/festival/weekend morning focused on coffee, Brussels Coffee Week took it a step further by putting a major emphasis on sustainability. Sustainability in coffee bean sourcing, production, packaging, and many other stops along the supply chain. It’s promising to see this becoming a larger part of the production conversation and on the minds of consumers.

To start the week, I attended a Coffee Collective cupping at My Little Cup. Callum Hare from Coffee Collective talked about their sourcing strategies, their transparency in pricing and how much is returned to the producers financially, and even introduced a new bean that is fermented in plastic buckets!

The next evening I found myself listening to Alpro’s head of sustainable research and Billiecup founder, Ineke Van Nieuwenhove, talk about sustainability through cow milk alternatives and by introducing a new reusable cup. Thanks to Knits & Treats for welcoming everyone into their shop. This was followed up by a filter coffee workshop at Kaffabar where attendees learned different methods of brewing with both an Aeropress and Chemex. Team Aeropress here!

Thursday got a little heated. After searching long and hard for the speakeasy-esque entrance to Cantine, I watched a round robin latte art tournament full of non-dairy milks, an automated milk frother from Perfect Moose, a ‘televised’ boxing ring, and a three-man jury comprised of two coffee experts and a rapper. I would say this was the highlight of the week!

Lastly, #BCW19 wrapped with a roasting workshop on Sunday at the newest roaster in town, Wide Awake Coffee Roasters. Rutger and Senina are both coffee fanatics experienced in sourcing and roasting and can certainly teach you a thing or two about how to roast the perfect bean. I’d recommend their Juicebox roast from Ethiopia. Apricots, Golden Kiwi, Yellow Plum, Cherries. This blog was actually powered by a Juicebox if we’re being honest with each other.

Gear Used: camera - sony a7iii | lenses - sony 85mm f/1.8, sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art

 

My Little Cup

 

 

Knits & Treats | Kaffabar

 

 

Latte Art

 

 
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stills from the week | 16 sep 2019

*Wanderlust (n):

  • a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

  • bbp’s anniversary beer festival

Brussels Beer Project celebrated 6 years this past weekend and threw one of the wildest beer festivals I’ve ever seen.  Switching locations back to where the inaugural festival was held, BBP brought close to 6,000 of their closest friends to Marché aux Poissons at Metro Sainte Catherine.  15 breweries and a bunch of hard-working volunteers rounded out the attendees at BBP Wanderlust 2019.

I was lucky enough to be shooting for the festival, so I spent two days looking for creative angles, the best light, and as many photogenic folks as I could find to help tell the story of Wanderlust.  

My approach to festival photography, or any event for that matter, is to capture the wides and tights that show what’s happening in the big picture, and then focus on the interesting details.  I wanted to show the magnitude of the festival so you’ll see those long shots over the heads of the crowd.  These turned out great with some leading lines towards the ‘WANDERLUST’ sign on one end and the church at the opposite end.  The close-up details were mainly pouring shots from the brewers, closer portrait-style shots of people enjoying their beers, and then playing around with some out of focus shots to get some nice bokeh.

Enjoy the photos! I had a blast capturing them.

Gear Used: camera - sony a7iii | lenses - sony 85mm f/1.8, sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art

 
 

 
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stills from the week | 9 sep 2019

Early September marks the beginning of what I’ve termed ‘beer festival season.’ As most of Belgium slowly returns from their August ‘vacance,’ weekends start to see a flurry of activity with festivals, concerts, and events claiming most Saturdays and Sundays. This lasts well into winter capping off with the Christmas markets that will be covered in this blog in a few months!

This past weekend, 6-8 September, was Belgian Beer Weekend on the Grand Place. It is mostly traditional Belgian breweries whose core beers are your typical Belgian Blondes, Dubbels, and Triples, but there’s always a few offerings from smaller breweries that peak my interest. For three days, the central market of Brussels sees a constant flow of beer geeks, beer lovers, and unknowing tourists passing through, and it always makes for an entertaining festival.

This year, I was shooting for Brasserie St-Feuillien and covering the event from their point of view. Alongside their core range, they were pouring a Spéciale Belge, and often times opening some larger-than-you’re-used-to-seeing 6 Liter bottles of their Triple. Weather was great, crowds were great, and because I did enjoy quite a few beers, I can report that the beers were great as well.

Enjoy the photos!

Gear Used: camera - sony a7iii | lenses - sony 85mm f/1.8, sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art

 
 

 
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stills from the week | 2 sep 2019

Part of my 9-5, which is anything but, takes me to quite a few breweries to shoot. For me, it’s the best of both worlds being a lover of photography and beer (all kinds). Watching the production of beer, or really the production of anything for that matter, can give you such a better understanding and appreciation for the finished product, and getting as close to the action as I do, while trying to capture it in unique and creative ways, is definitely a rewarding way to spend my days.

This past week, I traveled south to the Belgian town of Waterloo, famously known for its namesake battle in 1815. Here, Brasserie de Waterloo brews up a nice range of beers alongside some distilled spirits, too. Seeing that they’re located on a farm, it’s no surprise they’ve also got some hops growing in their courtyard, which just so happens to be the reason for my visit.

I was there to capture some stills and video of the hop harvest, and to follow one of their brewers around as he hand-picked these hops growing on the exterior of the brewery. Up and down the ladder he went grabbing as many buds as he could, and I got to enjoy it all from behind the lens. Hope you enjoy the shots!

Gear Used: camera - sony a7iii | lenses - sony 85mm f/1.8, sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art