Dead of Night Distillery

It seems that most people think of gin as that nasty pine needle tasting liquor that your grandfather had at his house. And I used to think the same thing. 6 months ago if you offered me a gin drink, I would have ignorantly turned it down thinking that all gin just tastes like floor cleaner. Dead of Night Distillery has completely changed my mind though. I’ve always been a beer guy, never much for liquor, but tasting this gin and the cocktails made with it, has me singing a different tune. Really great stuff and i’m excited to see where this recently opened distillery goes.

Follow them on Instagram @dead_of_night_distilery or go tot their WEBSITE.

The Basketball Hoops Project

Of the many things I learned while shooting for the barbershop book, is that the longer you shoot one project, the harder it gets. And for only one reason, that the bar continues to rise. Which by all arguments is good. When this project first started, it was fairly easy to find unique hoops. Now I can drive to the east coast and back with only actually shooting 4 or 5 hoops. And as long as they are quality, then it doesn't matter. But I can drive thousands of miles without finding anything that works, and it makes you wonder how much farther you can take the project. Then right around the corner you find a gem, and all the sudden you're back on track. Love that. 

ABB-"Build Greater" campaign wins a Clio Award

Found out last week that the ABB "Build Greater" ad campaign I shot last year, won a Clio Award.

 "Honoring the best in sports advertising and marketing internationally, the awards are judged by the Who’s Who of the sports industry – from marketing executives and commissioners, to broadcasters and professional athletes.  The Clio Sports Award recognizes “breakthrough communications that elevate sports culture in the collective consciousness.”

It 's huge honor to be involved as other winners in this category are Nike, Reebok, ESPN, Gatorade, Foot Locker, NBA, NFL, and EA Sports. Everything about this shoot was awesome. The location, athletes, client, and agency were all great. Quad's Gym is a really old school joint in Chicago. The type of place that just doesn't exist anymore. We scouted it the day before, and I knew we would come out with some great stuff. My only complaint is that we didn't have a week to shoot, so we could take advantage of every little nook and cranny in the place. Everyone at ABB was awesome. And I gelled really well with "Take Third Street", which was the agency in charge. Would love to collaborate with the whole team again. 

Fishing-British Columbia

Fishing and golf are two sports that seem directly related. Not because of the skill set needed to perform each of them. Although you could argue that the motions are at least a little similar? Rather, they seem alike, in that you can totally suck at both of them, and still have a great time doing it. Beer is usually involved too, for whatever that's worth. A bunch of us went up to British Columbia last month intending to snowboard/ski. Unfortunately, BC is setting records for bullshit amounts of snow. It's sad really. Driving up there felt like spring, not winter. Half of the mountain was dirt. Whatever. The trip was booked a while ago, and we couldn't do anything about the weather. So instead of cry about it, we focused out efforts elsewhere. Those efforts happened to be fishing. And despite all the effort, the desired outcome was not achieved. There were no fish caught, but each day felt like a success none the less. Lots of laughs, good food, tasty beer, incredible scenery, and great company. 


Rob Hammer

Travel Portraits

There are so many things to love about travel, but high on my list are the people you meet. Most of them unexpected. And making portraits of these people is something I love to do. Even if it's a brief encounter, you can learn so much about a culture by talking to the locals. This woman was set up on a roadside on our way in to Rovinj, Croatia, where fruits are a major commodity. And she made the most of it. Her whole "stand" was filled with tons of dried fruit and homemade jams, which we left with plenty of. Lady knew what she was doing, because it was all delicious. Just by looking at her, you can tell she knows. The late afternoon light was just flooding in her stand, so I couldn't help but ask her for a portrait. Glad I did. 


Rob Hammer

The Jam Lady

Istanbul, Turkey

It's been a about a month since we left Istanbul, and I still can't make any sense of it. Not sure there is any point in trying either? Don't take that as a negative thing though. I couldn't be any happier that I went, but it's an exhausting place if you do it right. Istanbul is a city that never stops moving. With the exception of a few wee hours, the Turks are always hustling. And as a 6'5" American, I was a victim of that hustle. It's hard to knock it, but after a while, it definitely gets old. Rather than make myself look like an idiot by trying to describe Istanbul, here are some random thoughts on things that really stand out: 

  1. Religion (Muslim) is bigger then anything else in the city
  2. The Muslim's are unapologetic about shoving their religion down your throat
  3. The "Call to Prayer" is played 5 times a day throughout the entire city and every town in Turkey. If you don't know what the Call to Prayer is, Google it
  4. Turkish Coffee and Tea are a big thing. Wherever you look, the men are drinking it together on little stools. Not chairs. Stools
  5. Turkish woman rarely leave their homes. And if they do, it's to buy groceries 
  6. "Turkish Delight" is no joke. Before going to Turkey, I thought it was just a saying. It's not
  7.  Turkey knows how to do Tomatoes. If you have a meal with tomatoes in it, chances are, that meal will be great
  8. Almost all of the street food is delicious 
  9. The Mosque's scattered throughout the city are extremely impressive. Especially when you see all the detail up-close
  10. They are even more impressive when you realize that they were built in the 16th Century
  11. There are building in Istanbul dating back to the 5th Century
  12. Istanbul is awesome


Rob Hammer

Rovinj, Croatia

It's hard not to fall in love with Croatia. The more you explore, the better it gets. We drove from Dubrovnik, all the way up the coast of the Adriatic Sea, to Rovinj. And even if there was no Rovinj, the ride itself could have been the payoff. The coastline alone is gorgeous. And the seemingly never ending chain of islands is just icing on the cake. That route should be a requirement for everyone visiting Croatia. With the exception of a few small towns, It's completely desolate, with nothing to do but enjoy the view. 

Then there is Rovinj. Right away you know it's a different place because people are speaking Italian. Turns out there are actually two official languages in Rovinj, Croatian and Italian. Which means you know there is going to be great food. Hence the reason why Anthony Bourdain is such a big fan. Do yourself a favor and get your grub on in at least one of the places he visited. You won't be disappointed. It general, it didn't seem like you could go wrong with the food, just by snooping around a little. We went out to Giannino's one night and let the waiter bring us whatever he wanted for every course. And he was on point with everything from the apps to the limoncello.  

Side note: Rovinj is located on the Istrian Peninsula, which is known for their truffles. So this is the place to get them, it that's your thing. They have it all. Straight truffles. Truffle cheese. Truffle meat. Truffle oil. Truffle Vodka. Etc. 

Travel. More. 

Rob Hammer