Thursday, March 11, 2010

ph: Last Looks

The Baristas of Spro Hampden: Lindsay, Ilenia, Kimmy, Rebecca, Jess, Devlin and Jeremy.

As project hampden marches towards its final week as "project hampden", it's time to assemble our crew for one last photo shoot.

Years ago, when I used to shoot film and do stringer work, I used to tear through rolls of film. Better to burn the film and capture the image than try to selectively shoot and miss that one crucial moment. With my old Canon F1-N and motor drive, we burned through more rolls of film than I can imagine. Back then, I used to think that if I could pull one great image off a 36 shot roll then I was onto something.

Times have changed and the advent of the digital camera is both a curse and a blessing. With digital, it's much easier to delete any sort of incriminating image. Film was permanent. You had to destroy film. With digital, you just press a button and whatever you were capturing never happened. That is the one thing about digital that I dislike the most.

When shooting film, one had to carry rolls and rolls of film with you. You had to be fast and efficient at changing the rolls. You had to do it on the fly, running down the street with the camera back open, pulling out the old roll and spooling the new roll into place. Then you had to process the rolls, print contact sheets and only then could you really see if you got anything at all, or just screwed it all.

In the digital world, seemingly hundreds of rolls worth of images can fit on one memory card. No more fumbling with rolls or trying to load them properly in the rain. Which means I can fire away at high speed with little concern about changing rolls or running out of film. In many ways, digital is very liberating.

Because of this, I'm confounded by shooters I know who treat each shot so preciously, as though they've only got a 36 roll of film. For me, I'm looking for that little nuance. That brief moment when something real comes out of the subject. Many people pose or maintain self-consciousness when they know their picture is being taken, but most people can't maintain that for long. As they become used to the clicking of the shutter, they loosen up and forget that their photo is being snapped. That's when the magic happens.

Next week, project hampden becomes Spro Hampden when we open our doors to the public at 7am on Friday, March 19th. And today was the last day that I would have our crew together before the opening. So what better way to celebrate the opening (and Rebecca's birthday) than with a little Japanese beer to toast with and a few shots of everyone together?

ph: Beck's Birthday

Jeremy, Ilenia and Becks enjoy baguette, camembert and sopressata.

After a long winter of sub-zero temperatures and six feet of snow, today was the first really nice day in Baltimore. And what better way to celebrate Rebecca's birthday than with a little al fresco drinking and dining?

Some Hitachino White Ale and Diet Coke for toasting and baguette, camembert and sopressata for noshing. It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours with the baristas of Spro.

I'm looking forward to more afternoons just like it.

Drinks of Choice: Hitachino White Ale and Diet Coke

Can Jeremy open the Hitachino with the Diet Coke? No!

Jess, Devlin, Ilenia and Kimmy.

ph: Installing Refrigeration

No matter how much I plan, I can't seem to get things "just right." In spite of my careful drawings, plans and measurements, sometimes a plan just doesn't come together. Take the espresso bar, for example. Lots of planning went into it to fit a freezer, 48" refrigerator and drawer fridge, but the placement of the floor sink wasn't as far to the right as I wanted, the back reefer was deeper than originally anticipated and the legs supporting the granite counter were 1/4" off.

What a pain in the butt.

Oh, it doesn't quite fit.

Luckily, the legs are easy enough to move. The only concern is that the counter doesn't droop while moving the leg, resulting in a cracked counter. That would be bad. Worse yet, our entire support calculations could be off and I'll be crushed to death as the weight of the espresso machine and grinders causes the granite slab to crack and collapse. That would be really bad.

Happily, none of that happened and my life and limbs were spared for yet another day. Since the floor sink is too far to the left, preventing the drawered fridge from moving any further to the right, there's no way to scooch the equipment to the right and somehow fit the freezer into the corner space it was designated.

On top of that, for some reason, I ordered the freezer with a left opening door, completely negating the possibility of using it in that corner anyway. Next time, I'm going with custom solutions so I don't have to worry about fitting stock pieces.

I'm just glad the rest of the install went smoothly.

Ice machine

How long have I wanted one of these?

Finished and installed.