Friday, August 7, 2009

It's Time for a Beer Summit!

"Great Taste....Less Filling!"

In light of President Obama's "Beer Summit," I decided to have a beer summit of my own by making a pilgrimage to the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston, Massachusetts. Yes, the mecca of American craft brewery beer!

Dave and I share a drink with our tour guide

This was perhaps the best brewery tour I have ever taken due to two reasons. One, it's located not too far from the Boston subway or "The T," so that means no getting behind the wheel which is great for obvious public safety concerns. Two, the guided tours are FREE! They do ask for a donation to help with local charities, but I figured for all the years I have been an ardent patron of Samuel Adams beer I have done my share funding the coffers (i.e. drinking beer) of Mr. Jim Koch's company.

Along with my sister, Diane, her husband, Dave, and her three boys we endured the hot and muggy Boston weather only to be rewarded by some great beer.

Dave and Diane at the Sam Adams Beer Garden

Once at the brewery we lined up to get our tour tickets and then proceeded to the beer garden to wait for our appointed tour time. To our great surprise and relief they were handing out two samples of beers. These two unreleased beers (a pilsener and an ale) were available for tasting and we were to vote on which one would available to the public next year. I gladly volunteered myself for the task at hand.

Sam Antonio, not Sam Adams, Master Brewer

Upon embarking on the one hour tour, we spent about 10 minutes learning about the brewing process and a brief history of Sam Adams' founder Jim Koch. We spent the remaining 50 minutes in the beer tasting room. Did I tell you this was one of the best brewery tours I have taken!

We sampled about four different beers: their staple beer Sam Adams Lager, a seasonal beer, a summer ale, and a cherry wheat ale. All the while our tour guide was educating us on how to appreciate a Sam Adams by giving kind attention to: taste, aroma, complexity, body, smoothness, finish, and balance. Actually, I just pulled that list from their website because I was too busy drinking rather than listening but I think that's what he said.

Dave and I have our own "Beer Summit"

In the end my "Beer Summit" proved to be a success (not much can be said for President Obama's "Beer Summit"). Maybe on my next trip to Boston I'll have a beer with Sgt. James Crowley.

All photos (with the exception of the Obama "Beer Summit" photo) taken with my Canon 50D and Canon EF-s 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens.

See more of my Boston trip (I'll be updating it periodically):

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Over The Line or Over the Top?

Welcome to the 56th Annual World Championship Over-The-Line (OTL) Tournament 2009. A San Diego original, OTL is a form of beach softball, with 1,200 three-member teams competing in almost 2,400 games leading up to the final match.

With free flowing beer, outrageous team names and bikini clad women some may ask if this is a sporting event or one huge beach party. Well, it's a combination of both satisfying players and gawkers. In addition, it was a good use of my Canon "L" lenses -- if I'm going to photograph anything why not beautiful women?

The World Championship Over-The-Line is held every year in July at Fiesta Island on Mission Bay in San Diego, California. It was on the beaches of San Diego where OTL was founded. Admission is free but the host organization, The Old Mission Bay Athletic Club (OMBAC), requires all guests abide by the "Five B Rules." No bottles, babies, bowsers (dogs), birds and Boa Constrictors.

OTL teams are comprised of three players on each side. Many teams wear outrageous uniforms, or skimpy bikinis, and sport adult theme team names that either leave you laughing or nauseated. Where OTL differs from softball is that the pitcher and batter are on the same team and there is no base running.

OTL requires more precision than power from the batter as their objective is to hit the ball into fair territory without the opposing team fielder catching the ball.

I have been photographing OTL for the past couple of years and I have found the best camera outfit to have is two camera bodies - one body with a wide angle zoom and other camera body with a telephoto lens. My Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS lens mounted on my Canon 50D provided the tight portrait action shots. I used both my Canon Powershot SX1 IS and a Canon 20D with a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II lens for my wide and medium range shots.

Its gets windy on the playing field and sand blows everywhere. I use a micro fiber cloth to wipe off the sand and shower caps (yes, one of the secrets of travel photography I learned is that shower caps from motel rooms come in handy to cover your SLR camera in the event of inclement weather) to protect my cameras from the sand. One sand grain lodged in your camera will put you in camera hell!

So it is Over-The-Line or over the top? Well one thing is for sure that The Over-The-Line Tournament provides over the top photo opportunities!

All photos and text copyright Sam Antonio Photography.

Be sure to view more photos from The Over The Line Tournament over at my Flickr site: