Tag Archives: photography

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky

The most-looked-forward to distillery on our visit to Kentucky was Buffalo Trace. Not just because they make some darned good bourbon, but because based on the research I had done it looked like a very historic and photogenic location.

Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Stacking the barrels for storage. Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Stacking the barrels for storage. Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky

One of the things we found interesting about the distilleries is how open they are with their operations.  I suppose there are few “secrets” in the industry, so the willingness to be open and welcoming is just part of the tradition.  We booked three separate hour long tours at Buffalo Trace that took us behind the scenes from the point at which the corn was unloaded, through the barrel selection and preparation, filling, bottling and packing.  When we showed up for the first tour, the guides wanted to be sure we were aware that we only got to taste once – at the end of the third tour! 😉 It made for a long morning, but since we didn’t taste between each one it was not hard to do because it was so interesting!

Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon is bottled on a small bottling line, then hand sealed, adding the distinctive running horse stopper and a wax seal. Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is bottled on a small bottling line, then hand sealed, adding the distinctive running horse stopper and a wax seal. Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon is bottled on a small bottling line, then hand sealed, adding the distinctive running horse stopper and a wax seal. These paper collars keep the wax off the bottle then are discarded. Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is bottled on a small bottling line, then hand sealed, adding the distinctive running horse stopper and a wax seal. These paper collars keep the wax off the bottle then are discarded. Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon is bottled on a small bottling line, then hand sealed, adding the distinctive running horse stopper and a wax seal. Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is bottled on a small bottling line, then hand sealed, adding the distinctive running horse stopper and a wax seal. Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky

I mentioned in an earlier post that every distillery has it’s own “claim to fame,” and Buffalo Trace has theirs.  According to Wikipedia, the company claims the distillery to be the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States.  Burks’ distillery, now used for production of Maker’s Mark, claims to be the oldest operating bourbon distillery.  The difference is that Buffalo Trace’s predecessor was able to process bourbon throughout Prohibition, making whiskey for “medicinal purposes”.  It’s all part of the friendly competition, and just a little bit of marketing. 😉

Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky

I feel like I got some very interesting photographs here, partly because we spent a lot more time here, but also because it was a very engaging facility and because it was in fact so photogenic.  For me it was the highlight of the trip, along with the carload of “souvenirs” that we brought home!

Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort Kentucky

A Quick Stop in Abingdon, Virginia

Train Station in Abingdon Virginia
Train Station in Abingdon Virginia

We made a quick stop in Abingdon, VA on the way from Bristol to Bardstown, KY.  I’m pretty sure I have been in Abingdon at one time or another, but we wanted to check the place out for a potential long weekend visit.

Train Station in Abingdon Virginia
Train Station in Abingdon Virginia
Train Station in Abingdon Virginia
Train Station in Abingdon Virginia
Train Station in Abingdon Virginia
Train Station in Abingdon Virginia

Of course because there is a train station there – actually two, a freight depot and passenger depot – it gave me a good excuse to stop for a few photos.

Shadows on a stairway in Abingdon Virginia
Shadows on a stairway in Abingdon Virginia

According to my metadata we were stopped for less than an hour, so our stop is hardly representative of what there is to see and do there.  Abingdon has a large arts community and is known as being the home of the Barter Theatre and the Virginia Creeper Trail, and the Appalachian Trail passes close to Abingdon.

Babycakes Unique Eats bakery in Abingdon Virginia
Babycakes Unique Eats bakery in Abingdon Virginia
Babycakes Unique Eats bakery in Abingdon Virginia
Babycakes Unique Eats bakery in Abingdon Virginia

Abingdon is about 3 hours by car, at least the way most people would go, but about 4-5 hours for those who like to take the scenic route.  Definitely close enough for a weekend or even an overnight visit.  We’ve got it on the list for a return!

Abingdon Virginia
Abingdon Virginia
Abingdon Virginia
Abingdon Virginia

Passing Through Bristol

Bristol Sign recognizing the City of Bristol in both Tennessee and Virginia. The sign spans State Street, so the sign has a half in each state.
Bristol Sign recognizing the City of Bristol in both Tennessee and Virginia. The sign spans State Street, so the sign has a half in each state.

On our recent adventure to Kentucky, Kathy & I decided to break up the drive by spending our first night in Bristol – but is Bristol in Tennessee or Virginia?  As it turns out, it is a town in both Tennessee and Virginia!

Bristol Sign recognizing the City of Bristol in both Tennessee and Virginia. The sign spans State Street, so the sign has a half in each state.
Bristol Sign recognizing the City of Bristol in both Tennessee and Virginia. The sign spans State Street, so the sign has a half in each state.
Paramount Theater on the Tennessee side of State Street in Bristol Tennessee
Paramount Theater on the Tennessee side of State Street in Bristol Tennessee

Many folks – including me for a long time – had always thought of Bristol as being in Tennessee.  But the state line runs right down the middle of State Street, so the businesses on the north side are in Virginia while those on the south side are in Tennessee.  And both sides of town have their own city government.  Interesting!

Train Station, Bristol Virginia
Train Station, Bristol Virginia
Train Station, Bristol Virginia
Train Station, Bristol Virginia

What attracted us to Bristol to cause us to decide to stop there?  Well for one thing they have a very nice train station, and there is some interesting history in Bristol, particularly related to the early roots of country music.  We made a quick overnight stop and managed to hit some of the highlights, and now we’re talking about a return visit, when we can spend some more time seeing more of what is there.  It was a nice town to visit and we hope to get back there soon.

Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol Virginia
Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol Virginia
Sun and shadows on a building along the Virginia side of State Street in Bristol Virginia
Sun and shadows on a building along the Virginia side of State Street in Bristol Virginia
Sun reflecting off windows onto the blank side of the building next door. On the Virginia side of Main Street in Bristol Virginia
Sun reflecting off windows onto the blank side of the building next door. On the Virginia side of Main Street in Bristol Virginia

A Little Carried Away?

Random photos in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Random photos in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina

Perhaps as self-compensation for not shooting as much as I’d like to do, it seems that I have been loading up on Fuji lenses.  Every time I think I’m done I decide to buy “just one more.”  And I’m perhaps just a little embarrassed to say that I am now up to 8.  Yikes!  I just recently I sprung for the 35mm 1.4 lens.  Going a little bit counter to conventional thought (who, me?), I considered the newer and slightly less costly f2 version in favor of the somewhat dated but still quite worthy older model.  I put it through some initial paces on a quick walk around town this past weekend.  So far I must say I’m impressed and happy with the purchase.

Charlotte Transit Center in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte Transit Center in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Ongoing construction in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Ongoing construction in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Random photos in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Random photos in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Random photos in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Random photos in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Random photos in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Random photos in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Random photos in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Random photos in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Sunset from our back yard
Sunset from our back yard

Nothing IS Something

Roy Taylor Forest overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Out of Focus

Kathy & I spent a nice quiet weekend in the Waynesville, NC area last week. It was sort of a birthday celebration but was primarily an excuse to escape the Charlotte heat and get away to the quiet and cool of the mountains. We ate at a few of our favorite restaurants and explored a bit of the area, but mostly we “chilled.”

Remains of a former CCC camp along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Remains of a former CCC camp along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

We had a nice hike in the Smokies along a quiet mountain stream, had a picnic lunch and spent some time at a few overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but nothing especially noteworthy.

Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

At one point while sitting at a picnic table having lunch, one of us remarked at the number of people who come roaring into the parking area, race to the bathroom and barely have time for the car to cool down before they fire it up and race on to the next destination. Once in a while someone would “picnic,” which basically involved carrying their fast food container and half emptied “Big Gulp” over to a table, gobbling down some unrecognizable carbohydrate, then do the same hop back into the car and roar off thing.

Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Turks Cap Lillies along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Rabb Knob overlook
Turks Cap Lillies along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Rabb Knob overlook

We see the same thing happen at an overlook on the Parkway. We’ll be sitting in the car enjoying the quiet and the view, and car after car will drive in, stop without even putting the car in Park, stick an arm or a camera/phone out the window then drive off. Drive-by sightseeing!

Purple bee balm along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Rabb Knob overlook
Purple bee balm along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Rabb Knob overlook
Yellow Coneflowers at Roy Taylor Forest overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Yellow Coneflowers at Roy Taylor Forest overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of us mentioned that – if they ever even took the time to notice anyone was there – these people would think we were crazy for just sitting around doing “nothing.” But what they fail to realize that “nothing” is actually “something,” but that too many people don’t bother to think about the benefits of just sitting and enjoying the view!

Road Trippin’

Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina

Kathy & I like to get out of town on weekends, especially taking advantage of some long holiday weekends to stretch our meager PTO (Paid Time Off) allotment.  We did just that over July 4th, visiting (most of) our friends in Belhaven and Washington, NC.  The towns were dressed up in their patriotic best, and we even managed to take in a parade.  I’m saving the parade photos for another post and possibly even my SoFoBoMo project, but here are a few random photos from the weekend.

Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina

With temperatures in the mid to upper 90s here in Charlotte we’ll be taking off again this weekend.  The mountains are calling, as they say…. 🙂

Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Along Water Street in Belhaven North Carolina
Along Water Street in Belhaven North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Bath, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Bath, North Carolina

Wallpaper Two-Fer!

Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I was getting tired of my desktop wallpaper and decided it was time for something new.  But then I had two photos I really liked and couldn’t decide.  So guess what?  Two for the price of one! 🙂

Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!

Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Island Time

Ela's Blue Water Grill, Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Ela’s Blue Water Grill, Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Kathy & I recently spent a week at the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Since we got back I’ve had so much going on that I haven’t had a chance to process and post any photos.  I didn’t take many photos on the beach proper, but did take my camera with me to dinner and other outings.  Here are a few picks from my first pass through the folder.

Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

DIY Photo Walk

Window and shadows in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina
Window and shadows in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina

My photo buddy Paul Lester and I got together earlier this month for an impromptu photo walk.  We don’t do this often enough, but when we do it’s a real blast.  There’s nothing like wandering around with a camera to exercise the creative muscles a bit.

Glass sculpture at a park in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Glass sculpture at a park in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Mirrored mosaic in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina
Mirrored mosaic in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina

While there are meetup groups and photowalks staged and sponsored by “celebrity” photographers, those are often large group activities.  Paul & I are alike in that too many people makes it more of a cat herding competition than a photography activity.  I’d say that 4-5 people would be the max for me.

Cemetery at Fourth Ward Park, Charlotte, North Carolina
Cemetery at Fourth Ward Park, Charlotte, North Carolina
Shadow photos in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina
Shadow photos in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina

Paul lives on the south end of the county and I am at the north end. We met for breakfast down his way then drove to the light rail station for a ride into town.  We ended up disembarking in South End, which is a neighborhood 1-2 miles south of “Uptown” then walked the rest of the way.  After a few hours of wandering we boarded the train for the ride back to our respective cars.

Sculpture made of old tires in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Sculpture made of old tires in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Aboard the CATS Blue Line light rail in Charlotte, North Carolinia
Aboard the CATS Blue Line light rail in Charlotte, North Carolinia

Paul has already posted an article about our walk on his own blog, and it’s always interesting to see what he saw and compare it to what I saw.  I’m purposely leaving out photos that are from the same places as Paul’s, although I certainly have a few that look at lot like his!  Instead I’m showing some photos that are things that he may have seen but that he hasn’t posted (yet!).

Colorful painting in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina
Colorful painting in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina