Here in central Indiana, the trees changed colors slowly and dropped their leaves late. It made autumn seem to last a good long time. I know that autumn lasts the same amount of time every year regardless of the trees! But when the trees are bare, to me that’s when winter begins.

We had some good color this year, with strong reds and oranges abounding. I didn’t make a huge number of photos — some of them are on the roll of Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 sitting here on my desk needing to be sent off for processing — but here are some that show our color this year.

Autumn in Boone County
Canon PowerShot S95
Lit tree
Canon PowerShot S95
Looking up
Yashica-12, Fujifilm Velvia 50
Suburban Autumn
Apple iPhone 6s
Suburban Autumn
Apple iPhone 6s
Down the street
Olympus OM-2n, 50mm f/3.5 Olympus Zuiko MC Auto-Macro, Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400
Suburban autumn
Olympus OM-2n, 50mm f/3.5 Olympus Zuiko MC Auto-Macro, Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

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Photography

A long-lasting autumn

A look at some of central Indiana’s autumn color.

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Photo Flash Batteries

Photo Flash Batteries
Canon PowerShot S95
2020

When you buy old film gear, you often find old batteries inside. When you’re lucky, they haven’t cracked open and leaked goo into your gear.

It’s remarkable how many different brands of batteries I’ve encountered in old gear. I guess there were just a lot more battery makers in the old days. This one, Bright Star, got its start in Hoboken, NJ, in 1909. I was surprised to learn that the company still exists, but after a merger is called Koehler BrightStar. They exited the battery business a long time ago to focus on flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps.

Today it’s Energizer, Duracell, and Rayovac, née Ray-O-Vac. (It turns out Energizer just bought Rayovac.) I generally buy store-brand batteries. They might not be quite as good as the big brands but they’re good enough and a darn sight less expensive.

Many old cameras take batteries in what are now odd sizes, like 1/3N, 2CR5, A544, and EPX27. These aren’t available at the drug store, so you have to turn to Amazon for them. There you find the seamy underbelly of battery off brands, all likely made in China. But without them, many old cameras would be inert.

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Photography

single frame: Photo Flash Batteries

A couple old batteries I found in some film gear.

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Travel

An autumn trip to Kentucky

Canopy Tree Walk

Margaret and I squeezed in one more weekend getaway before the busy season begins where she works. We returned to Bardstown, Kentucky, a place we very much enjoyed when we visited it last year.

We both enjoy good bourbon and planned to visit the distilleries we missed last time. We got to visit just one: the Stitzel-Weller distillery in a Louisville suburb. It’s now mostly a tourist site revolving around the Bullitt, Blade and Bow, and I. W. Harper bourbons.

They distill and age small quantities of spirits on the premises, and we got to see those operations. Most of their product is distilled and aged elsewhere, however.

If you know anything about bourbon lore, this was the distillery of the famous Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle. It’s changed hands since then — even went dormant for a while starting in the 1970s, when whiskey’s popularity fell.

Stitzel-Weller Distillery
Stitzel-Weller Distillery
Stitzel-Weller Distillery
Stitzel-Weller Distillery

During these days of COVID-19, Stitzel-Weller limits tours to half the usual number of guests. A tasting always wraps a distillery tour. We knew there would be some risk there: would guests stay masked in the tasting room? Nope. Margaret and I were the only ones who stayed masked. It wasn’t hard to move the mask out of the way for our sips, and we wished others had followed our lead. It made us wary of the distillery tours we wanted to take the rest of the trip.

When we reached Bardstown and called the distilleries, we learned that their tours were booked all weekend. At least we wouldn’t have to be concerned about COVID risk at tastings! We did visit the Willett distillery, as they make my favorite bourbon of all time, Willett Pot Still Reserve. They’ve opened a restaurant on their property, so we enjoyed an early dinner there of creative and delicious dishes — I recommend it. We were able to dine on their deck in the open air. We also bought several bottles of our favorite bourbons in their shop.

We rented an Airbnb apartment in the heart of Bardstown’s downtown. It was a lovely place to stay with plenty of room for us to stretch. It also had a full kitchen in case inclement weather or insufficient outside seating at restaurants forced us inside to make our own meals.

Fortunately, many Bardstown restaurants offered outdoor seating. It was sometimes challenging to get a table at peak meal times, so we ate at odd times like 10:30 am and 4 pm when tables were available. Bardstown was far from crowded, but there are only so many restaurants in a small town.

We drove out to Bernheim Forest, which we visited on our last trip too. Margaret wanted to see one of the wooden giants there again, this one, named Little Nis.

Little Nis

Margaret also wanted to experience the Canopy Tree Walk, a large pier out into a forested valley. At 75 feet in the air, it gives you a treetop view.

Canopy Tree Walk
Canopy Tree Walk
Canopy Tree Walk
Canopy Tree Walk

The Jim Beam distillery is just down the road from Bernheim Forest. We’d have visited, but out of COVID caution they’ve closed their visitor experience until next spring. The Jim Beam barn is near the road, so we stopped to photograph it. It’s very well photographed; search for “Jim Beam barn” and you’ll see. Most of those photographs don’t show a giant rickhouse behind the barn — that rickhouse must have been built only recently. It makes the scene far less picturesque. I found one angle on the barn that minimizes the rickhouse and shows the rolling Kentucky hills.

The Jim Beam barn
The Jim Beam barn

It rained in Bardstown on our last day, so we left earlier than planned. We decided to drive home through lush Brown County in Indiana and stop in Nashville for lunch. What a mistake that was. It was a sunny day in that part of Indiana and the roads were packed with cars and motorcycles out to see the fall foliage. Nashville itself was wall to wall people. We parked and walked a little bit, but soon realized that the town was a COVID risk nightmare. We got back in our car and drove on to nearby Bloomington for a meal before heading home.

Canon PowerShot S95

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Whitestown fireworks 2020

ISO 10,000
Canon PowerShot S95
2020

Every July 3rd, Whitestown, Indiana, shoots fireworks from a large church a couple miles north of my house.

This year Margaret and I walked around the corner to see the show. I brought my Canon S95 along to see if I could get any decent photos of the show. I put the S95 in full automatic mode, lifted it over my head, and fired off a bunch of shots.

This is the best of them. The S95 chose ISO 10,000! If you pixel peep this image, it’s a mottled mess. It’s not too bad at this size.

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Photography

single frame: ISO 10,000

Fireworks from my trusty digital camera.

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Storm clouds

Derecho
Canon PowerShot S95
2020

Not long ago a derecho storm passed through. This is a storm characterized by heavy rain and straightline winds of 90 mph or more.

The storm cell stretched from south of Indianapolis all the way into Lake Michigan. The worst of the storm passed through northern Illinois and northern Indiana, causing widespread damage. In central Indiana we were in the least severe zone of the storm, which caused far less damage. We got plenty of rain, though.

We could see the storm cloud from way off. It was a giant shelf — sunshine outside it and darkness within.

The light was interesting as the shelf reached us. The sun outside the cloud still lit everything brightly, but the cloud itself darkened the sky. This gave the light a blue-gray hue, and boosted the sense of contrast.

I stepped out my front door to make this quick photograph before the rain started to fall in buckets.

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Photography

single frame: Derecho

A photo of the interesting light as a derecho storm rolled in.

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The purplest house ever

The purplest house ever
Canon PowerShot S95
2020

My wife and I have been walking neighborhoods all over central Indiana for the last few years looking for one that gives us the most of what we want in a home and its surroundings, with prices we are willing to pay.

We’ve recently visited the Irvington neighborhood on Indianapolis’s Eastside a couple times, and we think this just might be the next place we call home. We’re at least a year away from being ready to move, though.

When Irvington was planned in 1870, it was as a town — Indianapolis didn’t extend this far east yet. Indianapolis annexed Irvington in 1905. The National Road, known locally as Washington Street, bisects it; a small business district with shops and restaurants lines this main street. To the north and south lie a network of narrow streets, many of them curved, a few of them still paved in brick. Homes are older, built between 1870 and about 1960.

This extremely purple house is for sale. I checked it out on Zillow — it’s lovely inside. But zomg, the purple. Now, purple happens to be my favorite color. What I’ve learned, however, is that a little purple goes a long way. At my last house, I used purple as an accent color in my kitchen, but used a particular complimentary shade of green much more. Purple mostly showed up in my kitchen in utensils, small appliances, and bakeware. I still have a complete set of purple Pyrex.

My Canon S95 got the color exactly right in this shot. Purple has not historically been its strong suit. It usually renders it as a purplish blue.

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Photography, Preservation

single frame: The purplest house ever

A little purple goes a long way.

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