This is the 2nd of what will be 3 blog posts that document my experience of attending a photographic excursion lead by Wyatt McSpadden to some premier BBQ restaurants in Lockhart, Texas. This trip occurred back on February 7, 2013.
Wyatt is famous for his photography of family-owned and operated Texas barbecue establishments. He has published a beautiful book on Texas BBQ, named appropriately enough “Texas BBQ: Photographs by Wyatt McSpadden“.
In my first post of this series, we had visited Smitty’s Market, which was in a building built about 1890. Our next stop was at Kreuz Market (pronounced “Krites”), which is located just 4 or 5 blocks away.
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There is a complex history that tangles Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market. I am not sure that I have all of these facts absolutely correct, but here’s what I understand.
Charles Kreuz Sr. started Kreuz Market in 1900 as a meat market and grocery store in the building that we had explored in my previous blog post. In 1948, Charles’s sons sold the market to Edgar Schmidt, who had worked there since 1936. The establishment kept the name “Kreuz Market”. In 1960, Edgar closed the grocery store, and kept the BBQ operation going. In 1997, Edgar sold the place to his sons Rick and Don.
In 1999, something happened that caused Rick Schmidt to leave the old building and move to a brand-spanking new facility 4 or 5 blocks away. He kept the name Kreuz Market for the new facility.
Even though Schmidt had move Kreuz Market to a new location, the old building remained a BBQ establishment, owned by Nina Schmidt Sells, and with a new name of Smitty’s Market.
Confused? Me too…! It seems like both Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market are owned and operated by different members of the Schmidt family. At least that’s what I think. It doesn’t really matter, though, now does it?
I guess that explains why the wooden doors entering this new building built in 1999 say “Since 1900”.
After you go through those doors, and take a short jog to your left, you get a nice view of one of the three major dining areas in this restaurant. I do not know what they refer to this area as, but it seems like it is the “fancy dining area” (as compared to the other two areas). This next photo was the only one that I took all day long with the Olympus 12mm f/2.0 lens on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera. I also used my little Gitzo GT1542T Traveler tripod for this photo.
The windows on the right side of this photo allow you to look into the brightly lit dining area where several customers were enjoying their BBQ lunch at the time. That area had linoleum floors, and lots of fluorescent lights. I never took any photos inside of that dining area.
To your left is the third of the three eating areas. It is a very long, relatively narrow, dining area with dozens of wooden picnic tables. That area seemed very inviting, as all of the light was diffused sunlight. We will visit that area later.
Straight ahead, in the photo above, through the doors where you see a few people, is the massive area where all of the meat smoking pits are located. I think that’s where all of the other photographers had immediately disappeared to.
I changed my lens to the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens.
Backing up a bit, just inside of the front door, it appears that Rich Schmidt had brought several old implements as reminders of the old location with him to this new location.
Does anybody remember accounting machines like this?
I headed back to the area where the meat smoking pits were located.
These BBQ pits have heavy metal lids covering them. To make it easier for the pit masters to raise them, they have a rope attached to them that goes up and over a pulley, where a counter-balance weight is attached.
I started just wandering around the area to get a feel for it, and looking for things to photograph.
In this next photo, behind the counter where you can order your meat “to go”, you can see several of the counter-balance weights hanging from their pulleys.
There didn’t seem to be much activity in that area right now, so I headed back out into the “fancy dining room”. This “menu” was high on the wall, just outside of the doors.
Note the smaller sign underneath the larger black one. No BBQ sauce, No eating utensils. No kidding!
As I wandered around the fancy dining area a bit, the reflection off of the back of a chair seemed to catch my eye.
The light that was being reflected off of that chair was coming into the room from that 3rd eating area – the one with the dozens of wooden picnic tables. Note the long wall of diffused window light on the right. (That will be put to good use in a little bit!)
Since nobody was out there at this time, I headed back into the area with all of the smoking pits. I’m not sure how much oak wood is needed to cook lunch at a place like this, but I think this is what they thought they would use on this day.
I noticed that Wyatt was getting set-up to do one of his lighting demonstrations. Jeff Stockton (in the red T-shirt) was moving the softbox around, and Taylor Jones, of Texas Grip, was getting his tethered shooting station all set-up.
Frank Grygier was also watching the pros in action.
Before you knew it, Wyatt had brought Frank around the end of the counter and had taken his portrait, which you can see here on the iPad (part of Taylor’s tethered shooting station).
I noticed that the pit master had pulled out a juicy brisket from a smoking pit, and was carving it up for one of the customer’s orders.
It was the next day, after I was at home, and was looking at all of the great photographs in Wyatt’s book, that I became aware of who these two people are. That is definitely Roy Perez on the left, and I *think* that is Ella Townes helping him with serving up the order.
After a few minutes, I noticed that Wyatt had moved out to the eating area with the wooden picnic tables – and he was photographing an actual customer while he and his buddies were enjoying their BBQ lunch.
He had the benefit of the remotely triggered small softbox, just out of my photo – the right. The photos that Wyatt was taking looked stunning on the tethered shooting station! So much so, that some of the
other photographers took Wyatt’s place.
Soon all 12 of us photographers were taking photos of the one person photographing this customer who was just trying to enjoy his BBQ lunch. Note in the photo above, that’s Wyatt standing on the bench directly behind the BBQ customer, and Wyatt is photographing all of us, who are photographing the guy photographing the customer…
That’s funny enough, but this good-natured fellow told all of us to stay right where we were for a minute. He then got up, walked back to where Wyatt had been on the bench, pulled out his smartphone and took a photo of all of us acting like we were photographing him!
After that episode, I wandered off again. I remembered the sign saying that they didn’t have BBQ sauce, so I was sort of curious what these little bottles were.
Hot sauce is definitely not BBQ sauce. If you are not familiar with hot sauce, then you should proceed with caution!
I talked Wyatt for a minute about the shot above, and after he walked off, I talked to Frank for a couple of minutes. I then wandered back into the pit room, and Wyatt had corralled yet another customer and was directing him, and telling Jeff where to move the softbox.
Again, Wyatt’s photo is absolutely stunning, and doesn’t look anything like mine. (Of course Wyatt was at a different angle, and didn’t have that strip of light coming in from the hinged side of the outside door, and of course, he had that very useful little softbox, too!)
Here’ the team hard at work, perfecting their craft. That’s Frank on the left, Jeff Stockton in front of the light he was in charge of, Kimberly Davis (with her back to me), and of course Wyatt McSpadden.
It was nearing 1:00 PM, and it had been a little over an hour since we had eaten some wonderful BBQ over at Smitty’s Market, but now it was time to sample some of the wonderful BBQ that Kreuz Market had to offer.
The photo above was set-up on top of one of those long wooden tables, near the wall of windows with the diffused sunlight. To further soften the light, Wyatt had Jeff open up a large (40 inch-ish) collapsible circular diffuser, and had it positioned to the right, between the window and this arrangement (which Wyatt had arranged).
I had changed my lens to the Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens for one reason – it has a “macro” mode. In this mode, the focal length is fixed at 43mm (86mm equivalent), and it does not actually get to a 1:1 magnification (generally to be defined as “macro”), but it does get pretty close at 0.72 magnification.
I did use my tripod for that photo. I stopped down the aperture to f/14, which meant that the shutter would be open quite a while. I kept the ISO at 200 and fired off 2 shots – with a 0.8 second shutter opening, you’ve got to take more than one shot!
Starting in the lower-right corner, and going around in a clockwise direction, what you see here are onions, pickles, brisket (beef), a sausage link, and in the back is a pork chop. That’s right, a pork chop!
Also, lots of photographers wanted to get a shot, so I stepped aside, and put my tripod away – something that I would not normally do whenever I think about macro photography. When another opportunity to wiggle into position, I got this photo, which shows just how “macro” this kit lens will get.
I kept the ISO at 200, but I did stop down the aperture to f/9.0. That resulted in a shutter speed of 1/13 second – something that I thought I might be able to handhold without motion blur. I took 6 photos. Good thing, too, as that photo was the last of the six, and it is only one worth keeping!
Now that huge pork chop had started quite a conversation among us. I personally had never heard of Texas BBQ’ing a pork chop before. It turns out that this is one of the things that Kreuz Market is famous for. We pulled out a small knife and cut into it. Tender, juicy, and delicious. It was gone in just a couple of minutes!
Even though we were not actually hungry, we couldn’t help but taste all of the BBQ that Kreuz Market had brought out to us. So we tasted it. And we “tasted it” some more. Soon we were completely stuffed, and started moving very slowly. We were about to go into a coma, but someone realized that we still had to make another stop on this Lockhart BBQ Trip!
It took us nearly 30 minutes to get up enough gumption to pack our stuff and head on out to the bus.
I hope that you will return a few days from now for Part 3 of my Lockhart BBQ Trip story. In that next post, we will visit Black’s Barbecue. Hopefully I can show you a little bit of why Blacks’ Barbecue has been recognized by both the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives for their part in Texas History.
Thank you for visiting my blog!