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Away we go

In a very, very technical sense, this was the first photo
taken for the book.
When +The History Press agreed to publish my book, I was a little worried about getting the right photos. But not quite as worried as they were at first.
You see, Eastern Shore Beer was to be a pretty book, as well as an informative one. I got something like 32 color pages for a photo insert and was responsible for the cover and back cover art. When they asked if I thought I could get photos I said, "Kind of." There were three problems as I saw it.
First of all, beer hasn't been all that well-documented on the Eastern Shore. Certainly, it hasn't been treasured until recently, so the archives that aren't bare, aren't well marked.
Secondly, there weren't the kinds of high-profile prohibition busts in the 20s as there were in metropolitan areas, therefore there were no photos of colorful characters in bowlers smirking for the camera after destroying a beer barrel.
Finally, what photos were available weren't print quality. The folks at the Star Democrat and the Cambridge Banner had taken some lovely photos of Wild Goose Brewing, for instance, but the negatives were lost to time and to the consolidation of resources that shuffled newspaper digital files around until they missing considered deleted (MCD in faux military jargon).
When I told them my wife was a photographer and that we'd get mostly new photos for the book and color insert they were kind, but vaguely skeptical. What they asked was if they could see some test shots, what they didn't say was that the number of middle-class white women making nuisances of themselves because they had invested in Photoshop was getting tedious.
So one morning, my wife and I set out for quintessential Eastern Shore shots to use for cover tests. We were going to leave at 3:30 a.m. to catch sunrise at Wye Island.
Then we figured, we could leave at 4 a.m. and still catch sunrise at St. Michaels.
Hooper's Island?
Vienna, Maryland is a great place for sunrise photos, we decided as we pulled away from our house just after 5:15 a.m.
We got a great opportunity as the sun came up over the marsh at the Vienna bridge (we'll post the photos we didn't use once we get them cleared).
I have a New Jersey sensibility when it comes to following the rules/law. Kelly's is more Midwestern. She will never break a rule she could just as easily follow, and often won't break one if it's really inconvenient to follow. Unless she's wearing a camera.
Dangerous is a relative term...
Once her camera is on, she's pretty much down for trespassing, breaking and entering, contract murder, as long as she gets her shot, which is why we came to a screeching halt on the Vienna bridge (I'm sure it has a proper name) as the sun rose over the Nanticoke River.
Kelly stuck on her flashers and scampered out onto the shoulder. The morning commute was not quite heating up, so cars passed infrequently and trucks as if there were no such things as speed traps.
And I guess there weren't, because before too long, a Trooper rolled up. I saw him half-a-mile off, and gave Kelly the heads up. She dismissed or acknowledged me with some kind of hand signal and continued to shoot. She was still shooting when the Trooper got out of his car. I walked up to meet him, explained we were taking photos for a beer book and were looking for something that was Eastern Shore-y without being particularly identifiable.
"Have you tried Blackwater?" he asked. Over my shoulder Kelly was packing up as the officer and I walked toward her car.
"We were on our way, but this was just too great to pass up."
He sent us on our way with a good luck and a promise to look out for the book. I took that as an omen, got in the car and pointed it toward the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge.

This is the first in a series chronicling the research and production process of Tony Russo's first book, Eastern Shore Beer: The Heady History of Chesapeake Brewing.

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