George Washington’s Gristmill

George Washington Gristmill, Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia

George Washington Gristmill, Mount Vernon, Virginia

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George Washington’s Gristmill

Many thousands visit Mount Vernon every year but only a few take the time to go the 3 miles west on Mount Vernon Highway to the Gristmill and Distillery.  There is an extra charge, but at only $4 (there is a discount if you have visited the main estate the same day) it is well worth the trip.  It is only open between April 1 and October 31.  We visited on the last weekend of the season as the colors in the tress were getting to their peak.  Even on a beautiful autumn afternoon we had the place almost to ourselves.

The image above was taken late in the afternoon as the shadows were lengthening helping to bring out the colors in the leaves.  The sun was slightly behind the mill – you can see a small sun flare in the upper right of the image between the mill and the flag.

This is a five shot hand-held HDR processed in Photomatix Pro.  I have found that Photomatix Pro does a better job of lining up the smaller details in the branches and leaves from a hand-held set than Nik HDR Efex Pro.  I could not use a tripod as I was leaning out over the millrace to make this capture so there was nowhere to place the tripod legs.  The sluice gate I used to anchor the foreground is where the water from the millrace is diverted to flow into the distillery to cool the whiskey during the distilling process.

I processed two of the individual frames in Photomatix Pro with the same settings as the five shot set to then merge in Photoshop to remove the blur from the interpreter by the door and the flag waving in the breeze.  The combined image was then given a quick contrast tweak using the Tone Contrast Filter in Nik Color Efex Pro which really brought out the reflections in the millrace.


  1. You’ve seen something I haven’t, Mark, but if I’m ever in the area again, I’ll take your word for it. This is very inviting! My kind of place to see.

  2. Marc Collins

    Nice shot Mark. I like the leading line of the water. Nice vivd colours too.

  3. Victoria/Sweden

    Very nice picture!

  4. great lines and colors Mark, well done!

  5. Great shot, Mark. Particularly for a hand-held. Excellent processing too. Nicely done, man.

    I’ve punched this into my phone to visit when it opens in April. Looks like a fun place to visit and will make a nice day trip for me since I’m less than 2 hours to the north. 😉

  6. Wonderful Mark. You’ve done a terrific job with the processing on this and the framing is spot on.

  7. Wonderfully composed with a great leading line Mark. Been to Mt Vernon but never here. I am going to visit it next time I am in the area.

  8. What a beautiful location to photograph, Mark! Well done on the framing and processing.

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