Photography

Favorite subjects: Holliday Park

When I first started shooting old film cameras again about ten years ago, my sons were still young enough that a trip to the park was great fun. And boy, was I ever broke. Trips to the park fit my entertainment budget.

My sons, ages 9 and 11

Minolta Hi-Matic 7, Fujicolor 200 (probably), 2008

I had learned the hard way in the years prior that a man absolutely, positively must have a good hobby or he will lose his mind. So my budget included a little money for old gear, film, and processing. It was a guess, really. I had lost touch with myself so badly in the years before my first marriage ended that I had no idea what I would like. But I remembered enjoying old cameras and photography as a kid and even as a young adult. And eBay showed me I could get back into the hobby inexpensively enough. So I went with it. It’s worked out, as you can see.

And so a lot of my early photographic excursions were to Holliday Park on Indianapolis’s Northside, because I could do double duty and let my kids blow off some steam on the playground. We’d also sometimes hike the wooded trails along the White River. They were good, simple times for us to be a family.

HollidayParkMap

Imagery and map data © 2017 Google.

I have a man named John Holliday to thank. Born in 1846, he lived all his life in Indianapolis. At just 23 years of age he founded The Indianapolis News, an independent newspaper that advocated for government that served the people well. His wealth from running his newspaper enabled him to become a prominent philanthropist; he advocated chiefly for the poor and their children.

While running the News he met Evaline Rieman, whom he married in 1875. They had seven children together.

John fell ill in 1892, ill enough that he sold his newspaper to focus on his recovery. During this time he bought an 80-acre farm north of the city and built a 23-room main house overlooking the adjoining White River. The family lived there five months each spring and summer, returning to a home on North Meridian Street in the city the rest of the year.

In 1916, on Indiana’s statehood centennial, the Hollidays donated their country estate to the city. Holliday stipulated that “the land is singularly suited to be a place for recreation and the study of nature and the grounds should be used as a public park and a playground.” It became a park first, and a playground much later.

Playground

Minolta Hi-Matic 7, Fujicolor 200 (probably), 2008

Slide, Holliday Park

Argus C3, Fujicolor 200 (probably), 2008

John Holliday suffered a stroke in 1921 while walking the grounds of his estate. He died in his country house there a few days later.

The city took over the grounds over the next few years, just in time for the Great Depression. One of President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs was the Works Progress Administration, which put the unemployed to work on construction and beautification projects across the nation. Holliday Park benefited, as the WPA built what became the Rock Garden and created the hiking paths in the wooded area along the river.

Wright Rock

Ansco Shur Shot, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros, 2012

Fence

Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom, 2012

Path

Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom, 2012

Color

Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom, 2012

Over the years other projects have transformed Holliday Park into a botanical garden and an arboretum. Various, and often contradicting, visions guided those projects, and in time those uses were deemphasized. But today many exotic trees and plants remain.

Nature Center

Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom, 2012

Trees

Minolta 110 Zoom SLR, Fujicolor Superia 200 (expired), 2012

But perhaps the best-known project at Holliday Park is The Ruins. In 1958, in New York City, the St. Paul building was demolished. But several architectural features were saved, particularly three statues of Indiana limestone known as “the Races of Mankind.” Indianapolis artist Elmer Taflinger conceived an art installation of giant scale featuring these statues and several other sculptures rescued from destruction around Indianapolis.

Ruins

Minolta Hi-Matic 7, Fujicolor 200 (probably), 2008

The Ruins

Minolta Hi-Matic 7, Fujicolor 200 (probably), 2008

Ruins

Minolta 110 Zoom SLR, Fujicolor Superia 200 (expired), 2012

Ruins

Minolta 110 Zoom SLR, Fujicolor Superia 200 (expired), 2012

At the price of labor

Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom, 2008

A place to sit

Minolta Hi-Matic 7, Fujicolor 200 (probably), 2008

Headless

Ansco Shur Shot, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros, 2012

That headless statue fascinates me and I’ve photographed it many times.

Headless 2

Kodak 35, Arista Premium 400, 2015

Statue

Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom, 2012

Headless

Minolta 110 Zoom SLR, Fujicolor Superia 200 (expired), 2012

The Ruins were originally open; you could walk through them. But they deteriorated to the point where safety became a concern, and the site was fenced off. A complete renovation was completed in 2016. Sadly, I’ve not been back to Holliday Park to see the Ruins renovated. But I did get a couple photographs of part of the work underway.

Wash Out

Polaroid Colorpack II, Fujifilm FP-100C, 2016

The Ruins

Yashica T2, Kodak Gold 400, 2016

Much effort has been expended over the years to make Holliday Park the jewel it is in Indianapolis’s park system. A group called Friends of Holliday Park formed in 1990 and saw to it that the park had a master plan. They were instrumental in the playground being built; it was completed in 1992. The city followed that in 1993 by spending $800,000 to restore the trail system. And a rock garden placed at some point in the distant past was discovered, badly overrun with brush. It, too, was restored.

Rock garden rock

Yashica T2, Kodak Gold 400, 2016

Into the ravine

Minolta Hi-Matic 7, Fujicolor 200 (probably), 2008

Indiana

Kodak Signet 40, Kodak Gold 200, 2011

Evaline

Kodak Signet 40, Kodak Gold 200, 2011

We the People

Minolta Hi-Matic 7, Fujicolor 200 (probably), 2008

Holliday Park is a short drive from my home. I’ve even reached it by bicycle; it makes for a nice ride on a cool evening. I’ll miss it when I move in a few weeks.

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Kitchen window

Kitchen window, redux
Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Kodak Gold 200
2017

Funny thing about praise: what you praise in others, you tend to get more of. And a few of you praised, and praised heavily, an image I made of my kitchen window several months ago (see it here). Since then, I’ve shot it over and over, hoping for more magic.

That first window shot was what I consider a throwaway, a photograph I make of some convenient subject to make sure the camera is mechanically functioning, or to see how it behaves in some challenging situation, or just to finish the last one or two exposures on the roll so I can send it off for processing.

But none of my subsequent window shots have been throwaways. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t like any of them: I was trying too hard. Such was the case with this photo. It turned out okayest of any of them, so here it is. Since the last window shot I painted the window and installed new blinds, all calculated to help my house sell.

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Photography

single frame: Kitchen window, redux

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Photography

My Pentax ME is back from being overhauled!

My Pentax ME had developed a light leak, so I sent it off to Eric Hendrickson for repair and CLA (clean, lube, adjustment). It came back looking and smelling like new. There really is a new-camera smell!

Naturally, I dropped film right into it. My son had given me some Kodak Gold 200 for Father’s Day, so that’s what I used. Here is said son photographed with said film.

Damion

My sons had come over for the weekend so I invited the rest of the family for a cookout. It was early July, and I was very close to having the house ready to list for sale. So we threw a little bash to say goodbye. Naturally, my dad had to tell his stories. Here he is in mid-story, with Margaret watching me take the photo.

Dad & Margaret

My garden’s flowers were at peak, so I photographed them. I think half the exposures I’ve made all spring and summer have been of my flowers.

Coneflowers

I didn’t know a Pentax ME could operate as smoothly as mine does now! I’ve owned three, you see. While all have worked well enough, it wasn’t until shooting this roll I understood how roughly they all operated. The controls are all supposed to feel silky smooth. Truly, this overhaul made my ME, a camera I’ve always enjoyed, twice as joyful to shoot.

I do need to double-check the meter, however. Eric’s service includes calibrating the meter, but to my surprise my daylight photos all looked a little overexposed. Thankfully, a half-stop down on Photoshop’s Exposure control is all they needed to look right. However, blazingly bright days have characterized this summer. Images I’ve taken with several other cameras have benefited from some fiddling with the Exposure control. My ME is probably fine. But if something isn’t quite right, the sooner I get it back to Eric the better.

Tiger lily

Oh, here’s one more flower shot. I’m just so pleased with my gardens this year. They’re the best they’ve ever been. I hope the person who is buying my home loves these flowers at least as much as I have, and cares well for them.

Daisies

Margaret and I walked Indianapolis’s Warfleigh neighborhood to see how we liked it, as we continue to consider where we might like to settle one day. The Meridian Street bridge over the White River borders this neighborhood. I love to shoot this bridge, even if this isn’t much of a photograph.

Under the Meridian St. Bridge

While making this walk, the metal cap that covers the winder unscrewed itself and disappeared. I noticed it while we walked, so we retraced our steps in hopes of finding it. No luck. So I emailed Eric to explain. A few days later a spare cap arrived in my mailbox. Very nice.

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Blogosphere

Recommended reading

Here now, this week’s best blog posts.

Heide has a pretty good idea: when world events get you down, retreat into past trip photos. Ah, there, that’s better. Read Running away to Arles

Are you a film photographer who travels? You could write for World on Film, Stephen Dowling‘s new site. I contributed a story about Route 66 for the site’s debut; read it here. If you want to contribute, check the guidelines. Read Write for World on Film

Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is a lawyer and a reporter here in Indiana who covered Vice President Pence while he was Governor. A selfie he took with Pence at a recent event generated considerable online vitriol, to which Hakim-Shabazz says: cut it out. You don’t have to like any politician or his policies, but stop with the demonization already. Read Politics & Politeness

Here are this week’s film camera reviews and experience reports.

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Photography

Light and color at the Indiana State Fair

It’s become personal tradition that I go to the Indiana State Fair at least once when it comes around, which this year is August 4-20.

New this year is the Skyride, which spans 1,400 feet across the fairgrounds’ front promenade. While it’s cool, the reconfiguring necessary to accommodate it cut out a lot of pedestrian space. It was crowded. I’d rather have the old configuration back.

Skyride along the fair's mains treet

But the Skyride didn’t take away any space from the food booths. All the usual vendors are back.

Funnel Cakes

My favorite two foods at the Indiana State Fair are the smoked turkey legs and the Indiana ice cream from the ice-cream barn. Oh my, the turkey legs are outstanding. Dairy doesn’t sit as well on my stomach as it used to, so I forewent the ice cream this visit. Frowny face.

Fresh Turkey Leg

I like photographing the midway the most. There’s so much to focus on, and it is challenging to capture the moving rides at just the right moment to make interesting photographs.

Swinging

I am pleased I got that fellow with his arms out like that, and the young woman looking like she was calling out to someone.

Swinging

We went to the fair after work and stayed until darkness fell. At dusk, the lights go on.

Midway entrance

Dusk is my favorite time at the fair. The hot sun has gone away and the lights are on, yet there’s enough natural light to see well.

Jessop's

The games seem even more colorful at dusk than they do in daylight.

Fabulous prizes

The midway is just at its most photogenic when it is lit.

Rides

I like to get people in the foreground of my fair-scene photographs, especially when they’re doing something interesting. I was super pleased that three Indiana State Police officers wandered into my shot as I was composing, and that my Canon S95’s shutter lag was not so bad that I couldn’t keep them in the frame.

Ferris wheel

Where night falls slowly in July, it falls quickly in August. All of a sudden, it was dark.

Sweets

We came out of the midway and walked the back half of the fairgrounds, where booths are set up with all sorts of things for sale, from hundred thousand dollar farm tractors to ten dollar pendants.

Wares

By this time we were tired. I bought my traditional giant bag of kettle corn, and a box of taffy for my youngest son, and we headed home.

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Ukuleles

Ukuleles orange, blue, green
Canon PowerShot S95
2017

The Indiana State Fair is underway and I’ve already been twice. I go every year; it’s a personal tradition.

We were wrapping up our first visit as we came upon this booth with lots of cheap stuff for sale. The fair is always a great place to find bold color in unexpected places!

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Photography

single frame: Ukuleles orange, blue, green

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