Travel

Sunset over the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge

The George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge

My wife and I spent a weekend in Louisville recently. We hadn’t gotten away since our January trip to Chicago, and we badly needed a change of scenery. So we rented an Airbnb in the heart of downtown and spent our time walking and making photographs. There wasn’t much else to do thanks to the pandemic.

The George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge

The US 31 bridge from Indiana to Kentucky over the Ohio River was built in 1929. It underwent a restoration a couple years ago that finished with its new yellow paint job. It had been painted a silvery gray before.

The George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge

Lots of bridges cross the Ohio at Louisville, including the two I-65 bridges and the old Big Four bridge, visible here. The Big Four bridge is open to pedestrians only. The George Rogers Clark bridge has pedestrian walkways as well — thank heavens, or making these photographs would have been a dangerous proposition.

The George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge

There are also a couple railroad bridges to the west, plus the I-64 bridge. Here’s a view of some of that.

Sunset off the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge

As the title promised, here’s the sun going down over the Ohio River from the bridge.

Sunset off the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge

While I stood there, a few motor-powered rafts tore around on the river. This one passed by us on its way under the bridge. If you look closely, one of the people on the boat gave me the peace sign.

Speeding by

Pentax K10D, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SMC Pentax-DA AL

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As the last of the Shakers left their central-Kentucky village — or died — in the early 1900s, their village fell into private hands and became known as Shakertown. Some buildings were given new uses, others were left to rot.

The same kind of determination and hard work the Shakers put into building their village went into restoring it. Some buildings were beyond saving, and some were already gone, but those that remain are a living look back into this religious sect and its way of life. Read a little bit about their history here.

Stone house
House
House
Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill
Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill
Houses
Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill
House
House

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Preservation

The simple architecture of Shaker Village

A photo tour of Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in central Kentucky, focusing on the many buildings that still stand there.

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Today, just some photographs of horses we met while at Shaker Village. I have little experience with horses. When I was a boy I sat on one once. We were on some farm for some reason and the farmer had a truly enormous horse. I was hoisted up onto its back, and was slightly frightened by the height. I suspect this has shaped my attitude towards these beasts ever since.

But the fellow in the first photograph below sauntered right up to me and with the greatest gentleness used his muzzle to unfold my left hand to see if anything was in it for him. There wasn’t, but he seemed not in the least disturbed. He hung out with Margaret and me for a few minutes and then went on to grazing the grass.

Draft horses
Draft horses
Draft horses
Drawn
Grazing horses
Grazing horses
Grazing horses

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Photography, Travel

Horse country

Just some photos of horses today.

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Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill

Cooper’s Shop
Pentax K10D, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SMC Pentax-DA AL
2019

As we packed to leave for Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill I considered which film camera I should take along. I still have 43 of them to choose from (full list here). It’s often hard to choose, and it was especially so this time for some reason.

I decided not to dither, and instead packed my digital Pentax K10D DSLR with its 18-55mm zoom.

The K10D was introduced in 2006, and the DSLR state of the art has advanced considerably since then. My wife’s six-year-newer Nikon D3200 can get some photos my K10D can’t, primarily in dim light. A couple of my dim-light shots would have been wonderful had they been less noisy and had I been able to choose a higher ISO for a faster shutter speed and less risk of shake.

But the vast majority of photos I make with the K10D are in good light, where the camera performs perfectly well. I love the warmth it captures.

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Photography

single frame: Cooper’s Shop

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Travel

The fences of central Kentucky at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Whenever Margaret and I visit central Kentucky, we’re struck by how much the land reminds us of Ireland. Especially when we drive the narrow back roads, the rolling hills and low stone border walls transport us right back to Eire.

Around the fence corner

Small wonder: those low stone walls were first built in the early 1800s by Irish immigrants. They are simply stacked Kentucky limestone; no mortar holds them together. Unfortunately, the Irish taught slaves how to build these dry stone walls, and it’s estimated that 90% of the walls that still stand were slave-built.

Fence and West Lot Wash House

The other common fence in Kentucky is the four-board wood fence. Most of the ones we saw around Shaker Village were white.

Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill

This is horse country, and those fences are often meant to keep the horses in. Notice that this fence is black.

Grazing horses

Kentucky farmers are learning that black is more cost effective: the paint is less expensive and needs to be reapplied less often. So expect to see more and more of these fences painted black over time.

Grazing horses

But for now, at Shaker Village the majority of wood fencing is still painted white. With the abundant dry stone walls, the grounds ooze that classic, charming central-Kentucky look.

Drawn

The fences keep in more than horses, of course.

Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill

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Travel

A visit to Woodford Reserve Distillery

Woodford Reserve Distillery

My camera’s battery died just a few photographs into our tour of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, between Frankfort and Versailles in central Kentucky. It’s a shame, because the place is so picturesque. I would have liked to photograph it extensively.

The distillery is also historic, one of the oldest in Kentucky. Known previously as the Labrot and Graham Distillery and before that the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery, whiskey has been made here since 1812. Woodford Reserve is a Johnny-come-lately on the scene, having been distilled only since 1996.

Thanks to my iPhone for making it possible to document this visit at all. Here are Woodford Reserve’s famous copper pot stills, and also my wife Margaret from behind.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

Those pot stills make up only part of Woodford Reserve bourbon. The rest of it comes from the column stills of the Brown-Forman distillery in suburban Louisville, an hour to the west.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

Its rickhouse, where the bourbon barrels are left to age, is unusual in that it’s made of stone. So many are made of wood.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

One odd thing I noticed is that barrels in the rickhouse, the ones I could see anyway, carried distillery number DSP-KY-52. But newer barrels, including ones recently filled, bore the number DSP-KY-15018. This must be something quite new, as an Internet search on DSP-KY-15018 turns up nothing. A search on DSP-KY-52 returns all sorts of references to the Woodford Reserve Distillery. I wish I’d asked the tour guide about it.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

As a fellow who is seriously into bourbon, I appreciate a bar with a wide selection that includes some esoteric whiskies. But Woodford Reserve is a very nice bourbon, and most every bar carries it. Anywhere I go, I’m perfectly happy with a pour of Woodford Reserve. Neat, of course.

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