All posts by Tom Dills

You’re Pointing Your Camera The Wrong Way

Tourists taking selfies on the Ponte della Paglia bridge, with the Bridge of Sighs in the background. Venice, Italy

This New York Times article has been shared on a number of forums already, but I thought I would add it here for anyone who might have missed it. Further discussion of the pros and cons of our “selfie society” is pointless and tiresome, but as photographers the history, as well as the ideas, in this story have special meaning. If we take the time and spend the money to go to a special place, let’s be sure to look at and take pictures of that place, and not just take pictures of ourselves!

“I keep thinking of what it might be like if we all took the time to photograph such commonplace miracles. What it would be like if all the people with cameras in their pockets transformed themselves into documentary photographers — like Dorothea Lange, like Baldwin Lee — to make a collective record of a truth about the world that most people haven’t yet troubled themselves to see?”

NYT: You’re Pointing Your Camera The Wrong Way

 

 

Chasing A Sunset

Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky

After we finished up at Limestone Branch in Lebanon, we headed back to our motel in Bardstown. At some point during the drive I noticed that the sky held some promise for an interesting sunset. I knew that we would be passing by Heaven Hill distillery and thought it might make for an interesting foreground, but I wasn’t sure we would get there in time.

Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky

We probably missed the peak of the dramatic sky, but we stuck around long enough to get a little color. I didn’t carry a tripod on this trip (I know, I know, but it was about the baby, remember? 🙂 ) so I had to be a little careful to balance shutter speeds and ISO.

Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky

Heaven Hill is a nice distillery, and we have visited there previously. Their visitor center is one of the best. We arrived well after closing time, but the parking lot was accessible so I was able wander around and get a few shots in the nice light.

Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky
Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky
Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky
Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky
Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky
Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky
Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky
Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky
Sunset at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky

Tiny But Mighty: Limestone Branch Distillery

Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky

After our visit to Maker’s Mark, Kathy & I drove to Lebanon, KY for some lunch. Lebanon also happens to be the home of Limestone Branch Distillery, another of our favorites. It was on the way back to our motel and it was open, so of course we needed to stop. And tour. And taste. And buy! 😉

Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky

Limestone Branch likes to say that they are currently the only distillery owned and operated by someone named Beam. Stephen & Paul Beam opened Limestone Branch in 2012, and while the distillery is fairly new in bourbon terms, they are producing some old-timey bourbon using old-timey recipes. The distillery traces its roots back to Jacob Beam in 1795, is best known for producing Yellowstone bourbon from the original mash bill. Yes, the bourbon is named after the National Park. And while it is not affiliated with the TV series, they are not minding the free publicity. 😉

Samples! Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky

The place is not very big, and there are no picturesque acres of rickhouses on the property like the big boys, but what they lack in size they make up for in enthusiasm.

Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky
Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky
Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky
Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky
Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky
Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky
Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky
Worlds Smallest Rickhouse! Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky
Thieving it straight from the barrel! Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky

A Detour To Kentucky

Sour mash getting happy at Makers Mark Distillery

On our way back from Ohio we made a slight detour to Kentucky. See, they have bourbon there, and we needed to get some. 😉

Where the magic happens. Still house at Makers Mark Distillery

Several years ago I signed up to be an “Ambassador” for Maker’s Mark. The deal was that as an Ambassador I had a barrel which was “mine,” and when the barrel was ready for use I would be invited back to the distillery and given the opportunity to buy some of the bourbon. I received my “Golden Ticket” in October, and I had until the end of March to make my pilgrimage to take the tour and buy our bourbon. Since Kentucky was kind of on the way from Ohio it was easier to go on our way home than to make a special trip.

Rickhouse at Makers Mark Distillery

As it turns out, the bourbon is regular Maker’s Mark from a batch that contained “my” barrel and not just from the actual barrel itself. No matter. It was as good an excuse as any to go there, and we always enjoy the tour. Of course we purchased a few bottles, and at the end of the tour we went to the gift shop to hand dip our bottles with the famous red wax seal. We are now well stocked with Maker’s Mark! 🙂

Print shop at Makers Mark Distillery
Bottling line at Makers Mark Distillery
Bottling line at Makers Mark Distillery
Hand-dipping our Ambassador bottles at Makers Mark Distillery
Hand-dipping our Ambassador bottles at Makers Mark Distillery
Souvenirs! Our haul of Ambassador bottles from Makers Mark

New Arrival

Ben

This is Ben, the son of my brother’s oldest daughter. He arrived about a month ago, and Kathy and I came to Ohio to meet him. He is my brother’s first grandchild, and my first grand nephew.

It’s pretty cold up here, although not as cold as it could be! We start back south in the morning, with a little bit of a detour on the way. ;

Tiny Hand

Happy New Year

Sunrise in Cozumel, Mexico aboard Norwegian Prima

We had dinner with neighbors last night, and during our conversation we talked about the past year. My comment was that “my weight went up, my investments went down. Let’s hope that trend reverses in 2023.

Best wishes, good health and safe travels to all. Happy New Year!

A Stop In Cozumel

Waterfront area near the cruise terminal in Cozumel, Mexico

We don’t usually get too excited about Cozumel, because we have been there a number of times and have done most of the touristy things. We don’t go to the beach, so that leaves out a lot of activities.

Sunrise in Cozumel, Mexico aboard Norwegian Prima

On this recent cruise, Cozumel ended up being our only stop, so we decided to at least get off the ship and have a drink or two. Thanks to The Google, I located a bar and restaurant called The Thirsty Cougar which was a short walk from the cruise dock.

The Thirsty Cougar Bar in Cozumel, Mexico
The Thirsty Cougar Bar in Cozumel, Mexico
The Thirsty Cougar Bar in Cozumel, Mexico

My usual Mexican libation is a Paloma instead of the traditional Margarita. A Paloma is made with tequila and grapefruit soda, and I like the combination. The Thirsty Cougar also does an awesome Margarita, as I was assured by our friends who sampled some. They also do a mean Nacho platter!

Guitar players entertaining at The Thirsty Cougar Bar in Cozumel, Mexico
Guitar players entertaining at The Thirsty Cougar Bar in Cozumel, Mexico
Guitar players entertaining at The Thirsty Cougar Bar in Cozumel, Mexico

When visiting Cozumel on a Norwegian ship, it docks in the downtown area where a lot of the restaurants are. Many of the other lines dock at a different terminal about 3 miles away. There are restaurants there, too. But in my mind The Thirsty Cougar might just be worth the taxi fare! 🙂

Waterfront area near the cruise terminal in Cozumel, Mexico
Waterfront area near the cruise terminal in Cozumel, Mexico
Waterfront area near the cruise terminal in Cozumel, Mexico
Waterfront area near the cruise terminal in Cozumel, Mexico
Waterfront area near the cruise terminal in Cozumel, Mexico
Waterfront area near the cruise terminal in Cozumel, Mexico
My Friends Call Me Chip. Waterfront area near the cruise terminal in Cozumel, Mexico

Photos from this most recent trip are here.

Oh Ship! More Cruise Photos

Sunset aboard Norwegian Prima

Our most recent cruise was a 5 night cruise on Norwegian Prima, a nearly new ship for Norwegian Cruise Lines. We went with friends who live in Florida and are also our travel agents. They were there for a travel agency soiree, so they were “working” while we were having fun.

Artworks aboard Norwegian Prima
Artworks aboard Norwegian Prima

We only visited one port – Cozumel – since our second port stop was cancelled due to high seas and strong winds. So here are just a few random photos from the ship. It was a great time and a beautiful new ship, although being around all those travel agents is contagious!

Artworks aboard Norwegian Prima
Gridwork above the Indulge Outdoor Lounge aboard Norwegian Prima
Shadows aboard Norwegian Prima
Glass railings aboard Norwegian Prima
Glass railings aboard Norwegian Prima
View of the bow of Norwegian Prima
View of the bow of Norwegian Prima
Shadows aboard Norwegian Prima
Artworks aboard Norwegian Prima

What’s The Rush?

The Prima Speedway, 3-level go kart track aboard Norwegian Prima

Everywhere we go, people are in a hurry. They blast down the highway like they are a doctor late for a baby delivery (probably not), they slam down the first drink to get to the next (possibly precipitating the previous?), rush through dinner to get off to something else (with indigestion). But for what? To just rush on to the next thing? Sheesh! How about taking the time to enjoy each experience, each moment?

Kathy & I recently came across this article that was shared by a local writer. ‘and then?’ references someone wanting to watch a movie or listen to a podcast at 2X speed because it was “too slow.” Apparently listening to music at 2X speed is a thing on TikTok. I especially liked the statement that “The whole attitude seems to be: Let me get through this thing I don’t especially enjoy so I can do another thing just like it, which I won’t enjoy either.” That doesn’t seem like much of a way to live, if you ask me.

The Prima Speedway, 3-level go kart track aboard Norwegian Prima

Just this morning I was looking at the New York Times website and saw a link that said “The Year In Pictures – 3 Minute Read” I thought, wow, only 3 minutes? It is nearly 150 pictures (I counted but lost my place once or twice – distracted by the photos). Paging through the article without even slowing down to look at the pictures took almost 3 minutes! And yes I understand that the “3 Minutes” was probably automagically calculated based on the amount of text in the article, likely not counting the photo captions, but still. I haven’t gone back through it yet but expect that it might take me 30 minutes.

The Prima Speedway, 3-level go kart track aboard Norwegian Prima

When we travel, Kathy & I enjoy taking back roads, even if it adds an hour or two to the trip. Coming home from our recent trip to Florida, we could have made it home in a freeway-filled 9 hours, but instead chose to break it up into two days, 6 hours the first and about 5 the second. All but the last 100 or so miles were on roads that pass through small towns, past interesting scenery and occasionally a new “roadside find.” Once we got onto I-77 in Columbia, it was like stepping into a cement mixer! It was nice to get home, but I often equate the freeway experience to a cross section of society. Most people go along doing their own thing, but there are always those few who either aren’t completely involved with the task of driving or are convinced that there is a prize for getting somewhere at light speed. We made it home safely, and mostly relaxed, which was the most important thing!