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Kings County Distillery Bourbon – Light Painting

Kings County Bourbon

It’s funny what sticks in your head.

The Go-Gos started as an LA Punk band with a DIY ethos, and issued their first single on the legendary Stiff Records label. By the time they released their first album they turned to power pop, and Beauty and the Beat went triple platinum. I read an interview with the band when their second album Vacation was released in 1982, and one of them noted that for the first album, they were still pretty raw and they were happy with a take if everyone managed to hit all the right notes and not miss any beats. “Close enough for rock’n’roll” to be sure. By the time they released their second album, she explained, they were able to focus not just on hitting the proper note but getting the sound just as they wanted it. As it happened the second album, though successful, did not come close to matching the sales of their debut, and while the band is still touring and finding success, they never matched the sales of their first album.

Despite that, the point about starting out with “good enough” and building from there stuck with me, and I try to follow it in my photography. Above is my first solo attempt at light painting and also my first on a small subject indoors, My first attempt was here at the Delicate Arch at night, where I had the help of several friends and also had the opportunity to free-ride (with permission) on a workshop led by Dave Black.

I created this in my dining room, at night, using a Surefire LED flashlight. It turned out that the light beam from the Surefire, although fairly compact, was way, way too broad for my purposes. My adjustment was to hold my hand over the light (LED lights do not get very hot) and only let a small uneven beam leak through my fingers. As a result, my light varied from take to take, but I still managed to get a few decent results, and this is my favorite. I certainly haven’t mastered the technique, but I think this image manages to avoid any false notes. I can do better, but this is a good start.

I think the “good enough, but let’s get better” mantra also applies to the chocolate-flavored bourbon shown above (regular bourbon is behind it).   At least that’s the vibe I got from KCD master blender Nicole Austin during the tour I took Saturday. I got the sense that she thinks the chocolate flavored product is good enough, or she wouldn’t release it, but I also definitely got the impression that she thinks it can get better, and she’s intent on improving it. Admittedly I’m reading a bit into her presentation so I truly hope I’m being fair to her and the brand.

As you can see, the KCD label is fairly low key. It really fits in with their third variety “moonshine,” which I did not buy. As I mentioned yesterday it is a bit raw for my taste. The oak barrel aging softens the flavor a bit in ways that my palate needs.

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  • Lisa GordonJanuary 28, 2014 - 4:34 pm

    I love this, Mark!
    Light painting is something I have wanted to try, but then never seem to get to it.
    I did however, photograph a wonderful label on a bottle of scotch today. Want to “play” with it some, but liked the way it turned out. When it’s too cold to be outside, you just gotta do what you gotta do! 🙂ReplyCancel

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