Let’s return to my 2007 trip along Old State Road 37 and the Dixie Highway between Indianapolis and Bloomington.
Not a quarter mile south of the end of the Martinsville segment, the next segment of SR 37’s old alignment appeared.
This segment began quietly among a field of yellow-flowered weeds. The road seemed unusually narrow. I wondered if it widened when it met the original SR 37 roadway.
Beyond the curve, the road didn’t widen. The road lacked the two-foot “extensions” on either side I had seen since Johnson County.
Shortly I came upon this wonderful old bridge. This three-span pony truss bridge was built in 1925.
I love this bridge, and have returned to it several times since 2007. Here’s a photo I made of it in 2012.
The posted 3-ton limit was a big clue that this old bridge was not as strong as it once was.
Sadly, in 2015 this bridge failed an inspection and was closed. Here’s a photo from the last time I visited it, in 2017. I wrote about that visit here.
The I-69 plans use a lot of the old SR 37 alignments as frontage roads, but the plans don’t make clear what will happen here. I’m not optimistic about this bridge’s chances for survival.
Let’s return to 2007 now. It seems like this segment, which is about a mile long, just provides access to a couple neighborhoods to the east. The narrow pavement along this segment was smooth and even but unstriped. Soon I reached the end. Most segments of old alignments that end this way clearly complete a line with the current road or pick up on the other side of the road, at least in my experience, but that was not true with either end of this segment.
Next: A stretch of early-1920s concrete pavement in Morgan County.
Today I begin a “single frame” series on brick streets and highways. As bicycles and automobiles created a thirst for hard-surfaced “good roads” in the early 20th century, brick was one of the surfaces tried. The brick era ended by about 1930; asphalt and, to a far lesser extent, concrete won the contest. Except for some modern brick streets built largely for aesthetic reasons, when you find a brick road, it is 90+ years old.
My hometown of South Bend has a large number of brick streets in its core. The main roads were all paved in asphalt decades ago, often right over the original brick. You’ll still find brick only on the side streets.
My mom grew up on one of South Bend’s brick streets, in a large house just north of downtown. My brother had an apartment for a while on the one block of Main St. that’s still brick.
As a kid, I didn’t enjoy riding on the brick streets. They rumbled the car so! I don’t mind them at all today. What I’ve found as I’ve explored the midwest’s old roads is that South Bend’s brick streets are especially rumbly. Some of the brick roads I’ve driven on are as smooth as concrete or asphalt.
This is Cushing St., on South Bend’s northwest side. I made this photo from its intersection with Lincolnway West — the old Lincoln Highway, which in South Bend was routed along the old Michigan Road.
It’s time for my annual list of film photography blogs! 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.
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!
If you do see your blog here but think my description misses the mark, go to my About page and send me a message on the contact form. Tell me in up to 25 words what you’d like me to say about your blog. I may edit it but I’ll use it to update this list.
This list has grown a lot since last year — it has 103 entries now, up 26 from last year. Not that long ago, most of the blogs on this list were about vintage film gear. But now, a growing number are about making photographs, and it happens that they are on film. I like this shift toward writing about film photography and not just gear. I think this shows that film photography has become far more alive and well than any of us could have imagined just ten years ago!
You’ll see little emoji next to some blogs:
✨ is a blog that’s new to this year’s list.
❤ is one of the blogs I look forward to most.
📷 is a blog that’s part of a little kaffeeklatsch I belong to where we talk about photography and photo blogging.
Also, I’m listing only blogs that have posted recently and post regularly, and have an RSS feed so I can aggregate them into my reader.
✨ 127 Film Photography — A blog dedicated to 127 film and cameras, and the major proponent of 127 Day, held annually on July 12th.
📷 Casual Photophile — 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.
✨ Christopher May — Christopher shoots both film and digital, but film keeps calling him back.
✨ Colin Devroe — Colin writes mostly about technology but also slips in some film photographs along the way.
✨ Daniel Veazy — A serious blog by a serious man, mostly about film photography.
✨ Earth Sun Film — An exploration of gardening and photography, by Jerome Carter.
📷 EMULSIVE — A place for film photographers of all backgrounds to share their knowledge, experience, and thoughts about everything related to film photography.
📷 Mike Connealy acquired a Leica IIIc recently, along with a Hektor 135mm f/4.5 lens. He writes an experience report with this combination, challenges and all. It’s refreshing, as most of the Leica articles I see are fanboy gushing. ReadThe Long View
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It would have been much better to share these photos closer to the day I made them, which was the first of July. The nationwide protests were still happening then, in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the hands of Minneapolis police.
I had been avoiding Downtown. But my work laptop quit working and corporate IT needed me to bring it in for repair. That meant a visit to our Indianapolis office in the heart of the protest area. I knew I’d be seeing my city all boarded up, so I took a camera. But I shot film, and film takes time, especially since I shot color and have to send it out for processing.
This is the building in which I work. It’s on both the Michigan and National Roads, better known as Washington Street in Indianapolis. Walking up to the building, I felt like I’d stepped into an episode of The Twilight Zone. I was saddened, and I felt a little anger deep down, both over the destruction and the generational, pervasive poor treatment of Black Americans that led to it.
After IT fixed my laptop I walked up and down Washington for a few blocks. This is what I saw there.
After seeing photos of colorful murals on boarded-up windows in other cities, the many bare boards on Washington Street surpried me. Maybe it’s the same in other cities, but nobody shows the unpainted boards.
After a few blocks, I turned around and walked to Monument Circle, the heart of Downtown.
The southeast quadrant of the Circle was closed to traffic for the weekly summer farmer’s market. It is normally held a few blocks away on Market Street, between City Market and the City County Building, but street work there has moved the market to the Circle all summer. I felt encouraged to see it there. I’d seen a number of news photos of protesters on the Circle, including heartbreaking photos of a minivan driving right into some protesters. The farmer’s market felt to me like a reclaiming of the space for good, normal life.
I’m infuriated that as a nation we still don’t treat Black people with the full honor and respect due any human being. I hope these protests, along with those across the nation, cause us to finally face and change our shameful racist behavior.
Seeing my city like this was hard. But it’s even harder for my Black neighbors that they have had to live for so long with fear and anger.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: my family is incredibly fortunate that neither I nor my wife have lost our jobs because of COVID-19. The virus has spiked unemployment; more than one in ten Americans who want to work currently lack a job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Therefore, I know I’m considerably privileged to say that working from home is getting old. I now look forward to it being safe to return to the office.
I very much enjoy some benefits of being home all the time. Yesterday, for example, I put a pork shoulder roast into the oven early in the afternoon — well marinated and then roasted low and slow, baby, mmhmm! — and dinner was ready when everybody got home, with little fuss. When I work in the office, either my wife or I have to figure out dinner after we get home, no earlier than 6, when frankly the last thing we want to do is more work. And then we eat so late, and then the day is over. It’s nice to be off that treadmill
Also, I’m riding my bike a lot during my lunch hour or, when the day will be too hot, in the morning. Not today; it’s raining. I’m writing this post instead. But I’m riding 5 to 7 miles three or four days a week. Once in a while I’m able to arrange my day so I can take a longer lunch, or start work later in the morning, and ride 10 miles or more. I haven’t gotten so much exercise in at least 15 years. I love to ride my bike! I so enjoy feeling the wind on my face and exploring the streets and roads around my home. I’ve been out of shape for years and this is starting to change that. But when I return to the office, these wonderful rides will end.
I also have more time for my personal projects because I’m not commuting. I’m writing more, making more photographs, developing and scanning more film. I’ll have less time for this when I return to the office.
So why do I want to go back?
Because I miss the people I work with. I see my teams on Zoom all the time. But it’s not the same as seeing them in person, being able to go to lunch with them, or being able to laugh over something that came up randomly at our desks. Also, there are people on other teams that don’t report to me, people I enjoy, who I haven’t seen since our office shut down in March.
Because I miss the informal conversations I had with key players. I used them to build influence, move my own initiatives forward, and get the straight dope on what was going on. I’ve yet to find a good substitute.
Because I miss being Downtown. I really enjoy working in Downtown Indianapolis! The city energizes me. I love being able to walk everywhere I want to go. I miss all the options for lunch! And I miss being able to meet my brother at one of the dozens of great watering holes for an after-work drink.
Because our home doesn’t have space for me to have a private office. We didn’t buy our home with working from home in mind; there’s no spare bedroom for me to work in. So my desk is in our living room. I’m happy enough with the arrangement, but the rest of the family needs to be quiet from 8 to 5 weekdays because I can hear pretty much everything in the house from here. They don’t get to fully live in the house while I’m working. We were all willing to accept that when we thought this would be short-term temporary. But now my company has announced we’ll work from home at least through year’s end.
Because my home workspace isn’t as ergonomic as my office workspace. I bought my desk and chair long before the pandemic, with frequent but short-duration use in mind. I intended to write my blog and process photos here for an hour or two a day. I’ve worked from home from here many times before, usually a day or two at a time, and it’s been fine. But after about six weeks of this, my lower back started to crab at me thanks to my chair’s poor lumbar support. I stuck a tiny pillow back there, which has helped. Also, twice since working from home I’ve managed to strain my wrist. I did it most recently last week. I think I haven’t found the optimal chair height and position yet that lets me use my mouse without strain. I’m wearing a wrist brace as I type this; it’s limiting my wrist’s mobility so it can heal. In the office, my workstation is more ergonomic — and I don’t sit at it all day, because I have meetings in person.
Many of these challenges will be hard to solve until COVID-19 is no longer a threat. I’m not setting foot into a bar or restaurant for the foreseeable future, for example. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find creative ways to partially meet these needs. On nice days when my wife or the kids have a day off from their jobs, I can work from the deck with my laptop to open up the house. I can set up Zoom happy hours with some of the colleagues I miss, or even with my brother.
One of these challenges is fully solvable. I can buy a fully ergonomic desk and chair, if I really need to.
But all of these things are best solved when I’m back to work as normal. I look forward to it.