ABQSlams Grand Slam 2016

The ABQSlams Grand Slam 2016 was another barnstormer.

A year ago, when I shot this same event, I was overwhelmed. I’d just purchased a new camera, and new lenses. I was finding my first feet as an event photographer, and with poets, particularly. Granted, I’d shot the Women of the World Poetry Slam a few weeks before, and I was feeling good. But it’s obvious to me now, with a year’s distance, that what felt like comfort was far from comfort. If you could say I’m now cutting my teeth, then, I was just opening my mouth.

This time out, I knew my camera. I knew my lenses.* I shot a color calibration sample before the show, and set my white balance properly. (And I knew I’d probably ignore color completely.) I knew what I’d get when my images came off the camera later, and I trusted my instincts. Where last year’s show was like riding a monster wave of stress and self-assurance, this time was calm, easy, deliberate, and structured. I’m learning to sail this boat, by golly.

And the poets brought it, too.

2016 ABQ Poetry Slam City Championship: The team (minus Eva Crespín)Chances were taken at the ABQSlams Grand Slam. Brooke von Blomberg and Damien Flores both read new, tested-but-not-guaranteed work. And though a lot of standards were trotted out, they all came with fresh energy. What emerged was a fresh team:

  • Mercedez Holtry
  • Avery Frank
  • Audrey Lynn
  • Damien Flores
  • Eva Crespín

I couldn’t be happier about that spread of voices, talent, experience, and approach.


*Okay, not quite. Hard to say if it’s the camera or the lens, but autofocusing on onstage faces, one lens hit its mark in about 1 of 20 shots. I’ve used it a lot over the last five months, but I spent a lot of this show taking test shots and manually dialing in. So 2017, look out.

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