Black & Tan

            Recently, with my still life work, I have been experimenting by creating dark images using key and rim lighting with little or no fill.  I have found this to be an enjoyable excursion from my interiors work, which is typically bright and well lit. 

            So, over the break, I decided to continue experimenting by producing a Black & Tan (Guinness Stout over Bass Pale Ale) pour shot keeping within the same lighting style. 

            Typically this drink is made at the bar with draft beer, and a unique bent spoon is used so they don’t mix.  Getting the spoon was easy, but I don’t own a pub, so I had to settle with using bottled Guinness.  This, however, presented a couple of problems. 

            First, in order for this lighting to work, everything needs to be precisely positioned, including the Guinness logo facing camera.  Otherwise, the reflections and tiny splashes of light would not fall where they need to be.  So hand holding the bottle was not optimal. 

            Second, since there is only one opening in a bottle, the stream tends to “burp” when it is being poured.  This produces an inconsistent pour that would be hard to light precisely and probably not photograph well anyway. 

            So what’s the solution to these problems? 

            Simple, we carefully broke the bottom of the bottle off.  This allowed us to clamp it to a metal arm on a c-stand and position it exactly where we wanted it.  Then, after getting everything else set-up, we just poured Guinness through the bottle, onto the spoon and into the glass.  Furthermore, since there was now a second opening in the bottle, we did not have to worry about the stream burping as it was poured.