Category Archives: Photography

About Photos And Words

Sunset over Pantego Creek on the Belhaven North Carolina Waterfront

I’ve gotten a few questions lately asking why all of a sudden I’ve been posting a lot to my blog, and posting photos with no text. Have I been off work, am I traveling, have I suddenly gotten inspired to post more? It’s actually nothing that exciting! Except for the last one, maybe.

Sunset over Pantego Creek on the Belhaven North Carolina Waterfront

First, some background. It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been writing this blog for almost 11 years. My posts have mostly been about things that I’ve had on my mind, usually photography but on occasion I may wander off to other topics. I find that writing helps me clarify my thoughts on a given subject because it forces me to boil things down into their basic components. And once I put that much time and effort into writing something, it seemed like a shame to not share it. Not because I thought it was some extraordinary prose, but because I hoped that someone else might benefit from my efforts. And on occasion it has. And I got in the habit of accompanying my text with photos. Sometimes they illustrate my text, and sometimes they are just photos that I happened to be working on at the time.

Lately I just haven’t been thinking about photography all that much, at least not about the technical and artistic parts of photography. Now that I’ve switched camera systems and have that behind me, I’ve mostly just been having fun traveling and taking pictures. I have a few things on my mind from time to time, but nothing that is so compelling or complex that I have a need to write about it.

Sunset over Pantego Creek on the Belhaven North Carolina Waterfront

Sometimes I just don’t have anything to say! I’ve made a few thinly veiled political comments and other off-topic posts, but they are largely ignored. And that’s fine by me, by the way. I don’t really want to talk politics or anything else. But I do have lots of photos, although I had concluded that I had to write something to go with them, as though there was some rule against posting just photos. At some point it occurred to me that the only rule preventing me from posting only photos was my own, and that is a rule that I can change any time I want!

Sunset over Pantego Creek on the Belhaven North Carolina Waterfront

About the same time as I came upon that realization, I started to get frustrated with the application I was using to send my blog posts to Facebook. Like everyone these days (or so it seems) the free version of the app gave me basic functionality, and unless I was willing to spend money it delayed my posts as much as 3 days, depending on how often I posted. To heck with that I said, there has to be a better way! And thanks to WordPress plug-ins, there is. I downloaded one, figured out how to use it (the reason for all those “Testing” posts for those who use an RSS feed (sorry!) and it works. I also took the time to figure out how to schedule posts for a future date. That is super easy, but at one time the feature didn’t seem to work properly so I abandoned it. But I just tried it again and it works great. So for a few days I processed photos, posted them one at a time and schedule them to post at a future date, one per day.

So there you go. Just a little change in habit, which I think is a good thing. Now I just need to get around to updating my website. That’s a project that is way overdue. I keep waiting for a rainy weekend to get it done, but that doesn’t seem to happen very often around here. And in the meantime we’ve got places to go!

Flight of Tundra Swans over Belhaven North Carolina

Oh, and don’t  get used to this posting every day stuff.  That’s too much like work! 😉

Here We Go Again

Morning fog at the Cradle of Forestry overlook MP 411 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It’s that time again, the time when we turn the calendar to a new year.  While in many ways it is an artificial time period – my friend Paul refers to January 1 and December 31 as “markers” – it’s as good a way as any to mark the passage of time, and if we wish, to reflect back and look ahead.

Notary – Lake Lure, North Carolina

A lot of people seem to be expending an awful lot of energy worrying about 2017, but that’s mostly wasted on things that can’t be changed or controlled.  Kathy & I take a more positive view and look at every new year as a new opportunity for adventure.  We get a new allotment of vacation days (yay!) and replenish our vacation budget (yay!) and start looking for interesting ways to spend them both.

Closed for Winter – Lake Lure, North Carolina
Closed for Winter – Lake Lure, North Carolina

We started off the new year with a trip to the NC mountains.  The threat of possible snow and ice eliminated our plans for a quiet midnight at one of our favorite spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we still made the best of a damp and dreary weekend.

Morning fog at the Cradle of Forestry overlook MP 411 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I hope everyone’s 2017 is off to a good start and look forward to sharing a new adventure this coming year!

Morning fog at the Cradle of Forestry overlook MP 411 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

More Fun in Black & White

Bus Station in Winston Salem, North Carolina

Finishing up my photos from Winston Salem a few weeks ago. I’m pretty happy with these, overall, considering I’m usually a color guy. 😉

Tobacco Soho Building in Winston Salem, North Carolina
Abandoned
Random photos in Winston Salem, North Carolina
Random photos in Winston Salem, North Carolina
Random photos in Winston Salem, North Carolina
Random photos in Winston Salem, North Carolina
Selfie, Winston Salem, North Carolina

A Christmas Parade

Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina

About a month ago I received an email from Marriott telling me that my points were going to expire because I hadn’t stayed at a Marriott branded hotel in almost two years.  What – how could that be?  As it turns out it was right.  Our last stay at a Marriott was early December 2014, which is when we took our last cruise.  For some reason the only place we seem to favor Marriott hotels is in Florida.  Most other places we go either don’t have them, or we have choices that we like better.

Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina

I didn’t have too many points to lose, but I never like giving up points.  And it gave us a perfect excuse to travel – what a deal!  We looked for something fairly close to home that wouldn’t cost too much, and ended up deciding to head to Winston Salem, NC.  We had been there before, but it was quite a long time ago, so it was as good as a new destination for us.  So we went.

Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina

We had no idea ahead of time, but as we walked around town on Saturday afternoon we noticed that the police were blocking off Fourth Street, which ran near our hotel.  We asked a few questions and found out that they were getting ready for their Christmas parade that evening.  Cool!  So we did the sensible thing and found a place to watch right outside a craft cocktail bar, so we would be able to head inside as soon as the parade was over.  While not “cold” by a lot of people’s standards this time of year, the temperature was in the upper 30’s, and the bourbon was calling!

Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina

Since the parade didn’t start until 5:00 it dark pretty fast.  I knew I was going to have a problem with shutter speeds, so I decided to go with the flow and capture the motion by making intentionally blurry photos.  It took a lot of attempts to get a few that captured the mood, but I think I got enough to make a reasonable representation.

Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina
Christmas parade, Winston Salem North Carolina

Nevis Sunset Wallpaper

Sunset on the beach - Nevis, West Indies
Sunset on the beach – Nevis, West Indies

Kathy & I just returned from a week in Nevis, a Caribbean island that along with St. Kitts is part of the West Indies.  This was our second visit there, after thoroughly enjoying a visit there last year.  It is a small, quiet and friendly island, with great people, a number of nice restaurants and plenty of scenic views.

This is photo is one of a number of blog-worthy photos that I will share as I get them processed.  In the meantime I wanted to get something posted to break my drought!

Jim Beam Distillery

Building at the entrance to Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
Building at the entrance to Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky

I’m finally getting back to looking at some of my photos from our visit to Kentucky in …. oops, September!?  How did that happen?  Our first stop was at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.

Rickhouse on the grounds of Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
Rickhouse on the grounds of Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
Stencils used to label barrels of Bourbon at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
Stencils used to label barrels of Bourbon at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
The "Great American Stillhouse" Visitor Center at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
The “Great American Stillhouse” Visitor Center at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky

Every distillery seems to have their own “claim to fame” in terms of being first, longest, oldest, etc.  But it’s hard to argue with a company that can say “Jim Beam is the World’s No. 1 Bourbon.”  And you would be hard pressed to find a distillery in Kentucky that doesn’t trace it’s history back the Beam family line in some way.  In fact many and perhaps most of the Master Distillers at Kentucky distilleries today either have the last name of Beam or are somehow descended from the family.

History of Jim Beam at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
History of Jim Beam at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky

For many people, Jim Beam is synonymous with Bourbon.  In fact, that’s what we drank almost exclusively until we started exploring other brands.  Like anything, there are lots of choices, but ultimately it comes down to preference and choice.

One of many tanks used to make the "mash" at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
One of many tanks used to make the “mash” at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
This was a part of an elaborate piping system used to cool the mash and move it to the still, at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
This was a part of an elaborate piping system used to cool the mash and move it to the still, at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
Barrels of the good stuff getting happy at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
Barrels of the good stuff getting happy at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky

When we last visited about 10 years ago, Bourbon had not become mainstream like it is today, and the visitor areas consisted on a small tasting room and gift shop.  Today, the company has built a huge gift shop, tasting room and museum and is very user friendly.  The tours are let by very knowledgeable guides, and very little is “off limits.” Photos are encouraged and welcome, which is a refreshing change from some of the places we visit.

Hand dipping the wax seal on a "souvenir" bottle of Knob Creek at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
Hand dipping the wax seal on a “souvenir” bottle of Knob Creek at Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky

I didn’t end up taking many “artsy” photos, but between my phone and my camera I did end up with quite a collection.  These are just a few of my “blog-worthy” photos.

For anyone interested in Bourbon and just a nice, friendly old fashioned place to visit, you can’t get much better than Jim Beam!

Demonstration of tasting the uncut Bourbon straight from the barrel. Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky
Demonstration of tasting the uncut Bourbon straight from the barrel. Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, Kentucky

Shelby, North Carolina

Ni Fen Bistro in downtown Shelby, North Carolina

Shelby, NC is a town about an hour or so west of Charlotte along I-85.  While I knew a little bit about the town and it’s history, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that in all the time we’ve lived here I mostly regarded Shelby as someplace to get through on the way to or from the mountains.

Cleveland County Court House, Shelby, North Carolina

Friends of ours recently moved to Shelby, and we spent a recent afternoon and evening walking around downtown, having dinner and listening to some live music.  The downtown area is a far cry from the Shelby I previously knew, and as the county seat for Cleveland County is quite a bustling place.

One of many record album sculptures in tribute to songwriter Don Gibson in Shelby, North Carolina
One of many record album sculptures in tribute to songwriter Don Gibson in Shelby, North Carolina

Shelby is the birthplace of a number of famous people, including country songwriter Don Gibson, legendary banjo player Earl Scruggs, and country music singer Patty Loveless.  Throughout town are a number of statues in the form of record albums that commemorate a number of Gibson’s more famous creations.

Shelby Cafe in downtown Shelby, North Carolina
Shelby Cafe in downtown Shelby, North Carolina

No small town would be complete without a number of interesting restaurants.  We only tried one, but plan to return often to try some more.

Shadows, Shelby, North Carolina
Shadows, Shelby, North Carolina