Boulevard Brewery Tour

Does anyone out there like Boulevard Beer?  You would be hard-pressed in Kansas City to find someone who is not a fan of this impressive company.  We had the privilege this past weekend of taking a tasting tour of the facility and learning about the process behind the midwest’s best craft beer brewery.

Our tour started with a look at the original vintage brewhouse founder John McDonald imported from Bavaria and a taste of a current brew in the testing stage, Black Rye I.P.A., not yet being produced for sale.  A little on the bitter side for me, but one in our group loved it!

We viewed the fermenting tanks, which just recently held the Nutcracker Ale that will be in the stores in just a few weeks.

We also had a look at the Barrel Room.

Then we moved to the tasting room where our tour guide enlightened us on the history of the company while we sipped on Long Strange Triple coupled with Green Dirt Farm cheese.  Now this is a GOOD beer!   I love how local companies support other local companies!!

We were able to get up close and personal with the new brewhouse, even to the extent of peering into the very large, very deep vats.

In this room we were treated to the taste of Double-Wide I.P.A. and then taken to the hops room to experience the aromatic dried flower that adds flavor to beer.

The last tasting of the day, The Sixth Glass, was taken on the roof of the new brewhouse and packaging building which is a testament to Boulevard’s commitment to being a good corporate citizen.

In addition to the plant covered roof that decreases the building’s carbon footprint, Boulevard has implemented several corporate sustainability measures including the founding of Ripple Glass which is the areas only glass recycler and a commitment to be a zero land-fill facility.  Kansas City should be proud Boulevard calls this city home.

To learn more about Boulevard Brewery or to sign up for one of their tours, click here.

Cheers Everyone!

KC Pictures and Photoshop

I am working on a photography project for my soon to be completed main bathroom.  I want to do a gallery grouping of black and white pictures and have decided to use downtown Kansas City as the theme.  I took several downtown pictures last fall when I was taking a photography class, but I really have been wanting to take pictures of the Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts.  Since I am a bachelorette this week (DG is at the Sturgis Rally) I went on adventure this evening and took pictures just as the sun was setting.  Here are the color versions of the two I like the best.

When I got home I started looking at a few of the other downtown photos I have and started trying to select the other pictures I wanted to use.  I found one I had taken at the Richard Berkley Riverfront Park that I thought would look good in B&W, except there is a sign that really distracts from the composition.  Here is the original.

I decided to try some Photoshop magic and see if I could remove the sign.  I have to say that Photoshop is one of the hardest software packages I have ever tried to use.  It has SOOOO many features which for me just adds to the complexity.  After about 8 months of playing with it, I am finally making progress with its tools.  Here is the photo after removing the sign.

So do you think this cheating?  Before I started using Photoshop I must admit that I had a tendency think this was cheating.  I read some thoughts once on digital photo editing by Rod Hanna, a professional photographer, who embraces post processing by explaining it as no different than the tricks that were used in the developing room many years ago.   So I decided that if it is good enough for someone who has made his living from photography for fifty years, surely it is good enough for the likes of me who needs all the photography help she can get.  Besides that, it is just so darn much fun to play with pictures in Photoshop.

By the way, here is the B&W version of the picture above.

Creativity……or lack thereof

I am a left brained accountant who is logical and analytical.  I prefer structure and organization over randomness and unpredictability.  So why then, am I taking a creative photography class?

In my observation there are two types of photographers, the technical photographer and the artistic photographer.  The technical photographer will follow the rules they are taught and eventually learn how to make decent pictures.  The artistic photographer does not even think about the rules and creates incredible images.

As much as I long to be a creative photographer, I totally understand and have accepted my role.  I will learn the rules and attempt to make a decent picture.  I am ok with that…….Albert Einstein once said that the secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.   I have no problem aligning myself with Albert, another probable left brained human.

In our first class last week we were given two assignments:

  1.  Shots using depth of field – this is a technical task I can handle.  I understand the use of aperture to gain a shallow or long depth of field.
  2. Impressionistic shots – Say what?  One definition I have found of impressionism is “an art of immediacy and movement, of candid poses and compositions, of the play of light expressed in a bright and varied use of color.”   Huh?!?   Fortunately our instructor gave us some techniques to try or I would be at a total loss.

Here are a couple of my images with regard to a long depth of field.

Now two more illustrating a short depth of field.

Try not to laugh, here are the impressionistic shots.  My feeble attempt at “art.”

Right or wrong, left brained or right brained, I am loving this class.