Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill

Early evening at Shaker Village
Pentax K10D, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SMC Pentax-DA AL

Margaret and I get away four times a year for a long weekend, usually in March, June, September, and December. Margaret started a new job recently and its demands will sadly keep us from our usual December visit to Chicago. To compensate we made two trips this summer, one to her hometown of St. Charles, Illinois, a few weeks ago, and one to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Kentucky over Labor Day weekend.

I’ll share more from Shaker Hill in posts to come, but in short the Shaker religious sect arrived here in 1805 and built quite a village of stone, brick, and wood frame buildings. They were innovative, building a system of running water throughout the village; the yellow buildings on the right were part of that system. They also lived communally; the stone building was one of three major houses the people lived in.

Today it’s a tourist destination with lodging on site. We stayed in a room in what had once been the East Family Wash House. The houses were named for their relative geographic location in the village, the people who lived in each house were called a family, and each family had a building in which they did their laundry. Innovatively, their laundry facility was horse powered, reducing the human manual labor of washing all those clothes and linens!

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single frame: Early evening at Shaker Village



A visit to Old Forester Distillery

Old Forester Distillery Tour

Margaret and I have been to enough bourbon distilleries now to know the drill: first the vats of sour mash, then the still(s), then the rickhouses where the bourbon ages in barrels, then the tasting. Up to now, it’s always all been in a pastoral setting among Kentucky’s gently rolling hills. But the Old Forester Distillery is different: it’s in downtown Louisville.

You’ll find a few other distilleries up and down Main Street and on adjacent blocks, making downtown Louisville a burgeoning whiskey center. It was one before Prohibition, but that misstep in American history decimated Kentucky’s whiskey industry and sent many distillers into bankruptcy.

For a long time Old Forester was distilled and bottled at a facility just outside Louisville proper. But there’s gold in them thar whikey-tourism hills and Old Forester led the way in returning to Louisville’s famous Whiskey Row. Stepping onto this street feels very much like returning to 1870.

Old Forester Distillery Tour

Little of the original building remains behind its facade. This is a modern facility through and through. Every bit of it is tourist-friendly.

Old Forester Distillery Tour

Here we are peering into one of the vats of fermenting sour mash. It looks like a giant corn muffin.

Old Forester Distillery Tour

Here’s one of the vats, empty, ready for a new batch.

Old Forester Distillery Tour

Old Forester’s parent company, Brown-Forman, is the last independently-owned distiller in the nation. They own a whole bunch of liquor brands, including Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve. Brown-Forman is further unique in that they own their own cooperage — they make their own barrels. The main cooperage is elsewhere in Kentucky, but for us tourists a cooper makes a few barrels at the Old Forester site.

Old Forester Distillery Tour

To be considered a bourbon, a whiskey must be made of at least 51% corn and must be aged in new barrels made of oak and charred inside. Here’s a barrel getting its char.

Old Forester Distillery Tour

After the whiskey has been distilled, it’s clear, essentially moonshine. They pour it into a barrel, seal it with a bung, and let it age in a warehouse. To be a bourbon, it must age for at least two years. Here a barrel is being emptied, on its way to being bottled.

Old Forester Distillery Tour

Here’s the Old Forester bottling machine, doing its stuff.

Old Forester Distillery Tour

Every bourbon distillery tour ends with tasting some of the product. Old Forester uses the same sour mash mixture to make a number of bourbons, including their original 86-proof bourbon (left). They age their distillate in different ways and for different lengths of time to get their other bourbons, including Old Forester 1897 (center) and Old Forester 1920 (right).

Old Forester Distillery Tour

The folks at Old Forester kept the tour fun and quick, and at $18 per adult it’s not terribly expensive. If ever you’re on Whiskey Row, do step inside.

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Recommended reading

πŸ’» Have you ever felt stuck? Seth Godin explains why it’s reasonable that we feel that way sometimes. His suggestion for how to get unstuck is unreasonable, however. Read Being stuck is reasonable

West Park Christian Church
Olympus XA2, Ultrafine Xtreme 100, 2019.

πŸ’» We treat each other better now than at any time in history. Our better nature is better than it used to be. So says N. S. Palmer, who reminds us that it is still our daily choice to treat each other well that matters. Read What’s Your Choice?

πŸ“· Must read: Josh Solomon‘s review of the Nikon EM. It’s part personal essay, part SLR history, part experience report with this camera. So well done. Read Trying to Care About Film Photography with a Nikon EM

πŸ“· Kurt Munger sure finds the strange cameras to review. This time, it’s a camera you can take diving. Read Minolta Weathermatic 35DL Review

Film Photography

Film photography blogs you should follow (New for 2019)

A great joy of film photography is the community of people who enjoy everything about it: the gear, the films, getting out and shooting, and looking at the resulting photographs. Lots of us share our adventures on our blogs.

Side mirror selfie
A portrait of the blogger

I’m going to list all of the photo blogs I follow. If you don’t see your blog here, I hope you won’t feel put out. Maybe I just don’t know about it. Let me know which blogs I’m missing in the comments!

This year I’m just going to list the blogs alphabetically. When you see ✨ next to a blog, it’s new to this year’s list. When you see ❀ next to a blog, it’s one I look forward to most. When you see πŸ“· next to a blog, its author or owner is a member of a little kaffeeklatsch I belong to where we talk about photography and photo blogging — and share each others’ posts around the Internet.

Also, this year I’m limiting the list to blogs that have posted recently and post regularly.

  • 35 millimetre β€” Film photographs by Charlotte Davis in the UK.
  • ✨ 35mm Chronicle — The fellow who writes this blog never shares his name, but he does some lovely work in black and white.
  • ✨ 35mm Film Shootist — Black and whites from Martin Smith’s Leica.
  • πŸ“· 35mmc — Hamish Gill and his crew write about cameras and films and photographic skills
  • πŸ“· Alex Luyckx β€” A dedicated film photographer shares his work. His film reviews are the most useful on the Internet.
  • ✨ Alex Yates Photography — Pinholes, Polaroids, and 35mm.
  • All My Cameras β€” Christoph in Germany and his growing collection. In German and in English.
  • Analog Cafe β€” A group blog of photo essays, reviews, and stories.
  • ✨ Analogue Wonderland — The blog of Analogue Wonderland, a film store in the UK.
  • ✨ Andrew Bartram — Film landscapes of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands in eastern England.
  • ✨ Aragon’s Eye — Chris shares photographs and film-camera reviews.
  • Attempts at 35mm β€” Pekka waxes philosophical about cameras and street photography.
  • Barnaby Nutt β€” Barnaby documents his life with his film camera.
  • Bernard Prunesquallor β€” Essays on many topics, illustrated with film photographs.
  • ✨ πŸ“· Bill Smith’s Photography — Bill shoots 35mm and medium format, and shares in a visual diary format.
  • Broken Camera . Club β€” Mostly reviews of mostly obscure gear.
  • ❀ πŸ“· Camera Go Camera β€” Peggy reviews lots and lots of gear, some of it off-the-wall stuff she bought while living in Japan.
  • Camera Legend β€” Sam collects legendary cameras and writes about using them.
  • Canny Cameras β€” Gear reviews and photographs by Alan D. This site explained why the Lomography 110 film I use sometimes leaves light spots on some images. A tip of the hat for that.
  • πŸ“· Casual Photophile β€” This site written by James and his crew sets the Internet standard for vintage gear reviews. Excellent writing, excellent images, great cameras. I read every post, from beginning to end.
  • coronet66 β€” Photos from lots of great film gear from this UK blogger.
  • Curating Cuteness β€” Katie shoots film with a small stable of cameras.
  • πŸ“· EMULSIVE β€” A place for film photographers of all backgrounds to share their knowledge, experience, and thoughts about everything related to film photography.
  • Field Photographer β€” A group blog about gear and adventure with that gear.
  • Filling the Time β€” Karen explores photography and film cameras.
  • Film Advance β€” Gary shares images from his eclectic collection of film cameras.
  • Film Based Traveler — Nicole works in a biomedical research lab by day and shoots film in her spare time.
  • ✨ Film is Back! — Wayne in New Zealand shares his film and film-camera adventures.
  • Film Photography Blog β€” A straightforwardly named blog from the Film Shooters Collective.
  • Film Photography.Blog β€” Film photographs from northeast England.
  • Film Photography Project β€” You gotta include the blog of the FPP gang.
  • ❀ Fogdog Blog β€” John takes his Nikons and his Pentaxes (and sometimes his Leicas) along the northern California coast.
  • For the easily distracted… β€” Rhianne in the UK shoots film, and lots of it.
  • I Still Shoot Film β€” A group blog about all things film.
  • I dream of sumac and milkweed β€” Personal essays and film photographs.
  • Ivan Pilov Photography β€” Film photographs, mostly from Israel.
  • πŸ“· Japan Camera Hunter β€” Bellamy lives in Tokyo and finds lovely old cameras for you. And writes about film photography.
  • John’s Cameras β€” If it can make an image, John Margetts will give it a try and share his experience here.
  • πŸ“· Johnny Martyr β€” Photographing portraits and live music on film.
  • πŸ“· Kosmo Foto β€” Stephen dispels the myths about film: that it’s too hard and too expensive, and breaks film-photography news.
  • Mere Film Photography β€” Shooting film, printing digitally, thinking and writing about the craft.
  • πŸ“· mike eckman dot com β€” Long form histories and reviews, from common cameras to wacky stuff you’ve never heard of.
  • Mostly Monochrome — A photo-a-day blog with a surprising number of color photos given its title.
  • myvintagecamerasblog β€” Experiments with cameras and film.
  • ✨ Natalie Smart Film Photography — A film photographer in Brighton, UK, who shoots 35mm, 120, and instant.
  • North East Liberties β€” Michael shares scenes from the region of Northern Ireland his blog is named after. His specialty is printing.
  • Olli Thomson Photography β€” A career ex-pat who lives all over the world, shooting his film gear and sharing his work.
  • ✨ Photo A Day — Daily film photos shared more or less weekly.
  • Photo-Analogue – Nicholas shares photos from his 20 film cameras and discusses tech and technique.
  • Photo Jottings β€” A lot of film camera tests and reviews.
  • ❀ Photography and Vintage Cameras – Mike does great work with his old cameras, especially in black and white. He can make an old folder or box camera really sing.
  • ✨ πŸ“· Photo Thinking — Theo Panagopolous writes a friendly and informative blog on photography, photo processes and the wonderful and varied cameras used to create pictures.
  • Physical Grain β€” Personal essays, illustrated with film photographs by the authors.
  • Random Camera Blog – Mark shoots frequently with his old cameras and shares the results here.
  • reCap β€” Gear and photographs. A German blog in English.
  • ✨ Richard Haw’s Classic Nikon Repair and Review — What it says on the tin. Extremely informative.
  • Seeing Wide β€” Photo walks and street photography, on film.
  • ❀ short stories — Gerald, amateur photographer, professional misfit.
  • shot on film β€” New images from old cameras.
  • Slow Photography β€” Jordi shares his experiences with gear and technique.
  • ✨ Steel City Snapper — Medium format and 35mm photography from Sheffield, UK.
  • the6millionpman β€” Lots of medium format.
  • TAZM Pictures β€” Tom films everything, and often on actual film.
  • The Resurrected Camera β€” Joe proves that film photography doesn’t have to be expensive.
  • ✨ The Unrecovering Photography Addict — Sam loves everything about photography, from the gear to the process to the result.
  • The Vintage Lens β€” Photos with cameras at least 50 years old.
  • Utah Film Photography β€” Shaun Nelson with vintage gear photographs and reviews.
  • View from the Carrot Room β€” SilverFox moved from the UK to the US and records his life on film.
  • Why Use Film Cameras? β€” Frank in Luxembourg shoots film, proving every day that it’s not as expensive as you think.
  • Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic Photos of gear from his extensive collection, mostly Yashicas.

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Camera Reviews

It’s an odd duck, this German Kodak 35mm SLR from the mid 1960s. And it wasn’t fully functioning when I received it. But this Kodak Retina Reflex IV gave me some lovely images. See my updated review here.

Kodak Retina Reflex IV

Updated review: Kodak Retina Reflex IV

Film Photography, Road Trips

Along the National Road in western Indiana, 2009

Another camera review I refreshed recently was of my Minolta X-700. I shot just two rolls with it before it succumbed to the common but dreaded Stuck Winder Problem. A certain capacitor fails, and the X-700 becomes a brick.

Minolta X-700

That second roll (it was Fujicolor 200) was shot primarily on a road trip along Indiana’s National Road from Indianapolis to the Illinois state line. My goodness but do I miss taking to the old roads. I’ve made not a single road trip this year. Life just has presented higher priorities. I hope for next year.

It felt great, however, to look through these photos from my trip ten years ago and remember a great day alone on this old highway. You might know it as US 40. First, here’s an abandoned bridge just west of Plainfield. It carried US 40 from probably about 1925 until the road was rebuilt as a four-lane divided highway in about 1940. Two new bridges were built just to the south — I stood on one of them to make this photograph — and this one was left behind to molder.

Abandoned US 40 bridge

Here’s another view. You can park on a clearing just east of this bridge and walk out onto it.

Abandoned US 40 bridge

Just before the four-lane highway reaches Putnamville, a short older alignment branches off. This 1923 bridge is on it, and you can still drive across it.

Old US 40

The bridge feels narrow, and the railing feels heavy.

Old US 40

Near Reelsville you’ll find an old alignment of the road that never got paved.

Old National Road

For a long time I thought this was the National Road’s original alignment. But I learned that the National Road was moved to this alignment in 1875 when a bridge on the original alignment, to the south, washed out and was not replaced. Read about the history of these alignments here.

Old National Road

Near here I stopped to photograph some roadside flowers.

Roadside flowers

When I made it to Terre Haute, I walked along the road for several blocks downtown. It’s known as Wabash Avenue here. This is the entrance to Hulman and Company, which for many years made Clabber Girl Baking Powder.

Hulman & Co.

This building may once have housed the Terre Haute Trust Company, but for as long as I can remember — since I moved to Terre Haute in 1985 — it has housed the Merchant’s National Bank and, after a merger, the Old National Bank.

Former Tribune-Star building

I drove from there all the way to the end of the Indiana portion of the road. Then I turned around and went back to Terre Haute to catch dinner at the Saratoga, a longtime restaurant right on the road.

The Saratoga

It was a great day, and my Minolta X-700 helped me capture it — before it failed.

If you’d like to see more from this trip, via my digital camera, check it out on my old site, here.

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