Photography

Crop your photos boldly, crop them proudly

(First published 4 January 2017.) Walking down this street in Galway City’s shopping district, this scene felt interesting. My Canon PowerShot S95 was on and in my hand, so I framed quickly and shot. Yet the shot turned out not to be interesting at all. My eyes saw the interesting part of this scene, but I lacked time to move in closer or zoom my lens to frame it exactly. I shot knowing I could crop.

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This is what I saw: a man walking apart from the crowd, strong and purposeful, on a tight, busy, colorful street. I really like how this photo turned out, despite needing to crop. I’m very happy I acted in that moment. I’m less happy that cropping reduced the image from 3648×2736 pixels (about 10 megapixels) to 1739×1391 pixels (about 2.4 megapixels). It looks good at 100% on my 23-inch, 1920×1080 computer monitor. But given that digital prints look best at no less than 300 pixels per inch, this image would start to go soft when printed at larger than about 6 inches on its horizontal edge. That’s not big enough to hang over my fireplace mantel. I may not ever want to hang this photo there, but I do like having the option.

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Many photographers feel strongly about cropping, for and against. The subject doesn’t rise to Canon-vs-Nikon holy-war status, but the subject generates a fair amount of heat in the photography forums.

Two well-known photographers are the argument’s poster children. Walker Evans, who is perhaps best known for his photos of Americans during the Great Depression, cropped liberally to get at an image’s heart. Pioneering street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, on the other hand, cropped but two of his photographs, and only with great reluctance. He felt that a photographer compromises his or her vision upon altering composition in the darkroom.

I lean more toward Evans. Yet I work hard to compose the photo as I want it to be before I click the shutter. I prefer it, actually. It sharpens my skills to always compose carefully, and it’s deeply satisfying to nail it in the camera. And post processing is not a reliable substitute for good composition. I’ve taken scads of lousy photos, and a judicious crop has rescued only a small number of them. When it happens, it’s just good luck.

Yet I can’t always get what I want in the camera’s viewfinder or screen. Sometimes a moment presents itself and I must shoot now, even though I’d rather be closer. Sometimes the camera’s default aspect ratio doesn’t lend itself to what I want to do with the subject. In those cases, I shoot intending to crop, the end framing and aspect ratio in mind when I click the shutter.

I knew that when I photographed the chapel at Kylemore Abbey that I wanted the chapel to fill the image. The camera’s default 4:3 aspect ratio made that difficult. And to fit the chuch in the frame I backed up until I was noticeably downhill of it, which created wicked keystoning.

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I fixed (maybe overfixed) the keystoning in Photoshop and then cropped the image square. This is more like what I saw in my mind when I shot the image.

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The S95 offers aspect ratios other than 4:3, and changing it isn’t all that hard. But when I’m composing, I usually forget which menu it’s on. So I skip it and crop in Photoshop. When I shoot film, of course, I’m stuck with the camera’s aspect ratio and must crop in Photoshop.

When I move in close to small objects, I frequently want to bring more attention to the object or deemphasize an uninteresting background.

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I frequently crop to 5:4, and once in a while to 1:1, to bring the object more front and center. At 5:4, the effect is usually subtle. It’s more pronounced at 1:1.

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When I shoot broad landscapes with my digital camera, the 4:3 aspect ratio usually leaves too much uninteresing stuff at the top and bottom. In this photo at Slieve League in Ireland, the flat ocean just lies there in the foreground. Bleh.

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Cropping to 3:2 emphasizes the cliff, which is the interesting part of this image. Additional Photoshoppery punched up the cliff’s colors and brought out detail in the sky.

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Once in a great while I crop even more deeply. While in New York City last year Margaret and I cruised the Hudson River. When we passed the Statue of Liberty on that relentlessly gray day, I zoomed in to the max. Yet the images were left with a lot of uninteresting sky and water top and bottom. This frame even caught the top of a buoy.

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I cropped to 3:2 first, but it wasn’t enough. So I cropped again, to a cinematic 16:9. As you can see, I also corrected white balance, neutralizing the photo’s blue caste and making Ms. Liberty pop. This crop narrows the photo right down to its interesting elements, such as they are. It’s not a great photograph, but it’s far better than how it started.

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16:9 is my last-resort aspect ratio. It looks strange, at least to me, at typical blog resolution (as above). I find 16:9 works better on screen at larger resolutions. Also, on those rare occasions I want to print and frame the image, I have to send 16:9 files to a pro lab for printing and get custom framing and matting. I don’t always want the hassle and expense. A handful of my photographs hang in my home, and I printed them all at Walmart. I bought their frames (already matted!) on my way to checkout. They look great. But they’re 8x10s, which Walmart handles easily.

Notice that I crop to standard ratios: 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 7:5, and 16:9. These are ratios in which we expect to see photos, and most of them correspond to standard print and frame sizes. I crop to other ratios when specific application requires it. The small road photos in this blog’s masthead, for example, fit a 7:3 ratio driven by the WordPress template I use.

I’ve become staunch about my approach of trying to get it right in the camera, cropping only when I must, to fit the vision in my mind when I clicked the shutter. But I’m a live-and-let-live guy; if you feel differently, we can still be friends!

Where do you fall in the cropping debate? Closer to Evans, or to Cartier-Bresson?

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Photography

A 28-200mm zoom lens for my Nikon Df

Even though my Nikon Df came with a lovely special-edition 50mm f/1.8 lens, I usually use my 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 AF-D Nikkor lens because it’s so darned versatile. Sometimes I want a deeper zoom, so I mount my 70-300mm f/4-5.6 AF-G Nikkor. But when I’m on a road trip or traveling, I prefer to bring just one lens. Could I find a zoom lens that does it all?

I found a few options, a few from Nikon and a few from Tamron and other manufacturers. The lens that appealed to me most was the 28-200mm f/3.5-54.6 AF-G Nikkor. It is relatively inexpensive used but offers a pretty good zoom range and promises good image quality.

I bought mine used from UsedPhotoPro. It’s sort of a funny story — I was searching eBay for one, and saw one at a price I was willing to pay. The listing showed a good-condition lens, but noted that there was a ding in the front element.

Then I noticed that the eBay seller was Roberts Camera, which is UsedPhotoPro’s alter ego. I happened to be in my Downtown office just a mile or so away from Roberts, so I walked over there and asked to see it. The mark on the front element is barely perceptible, so I bought it. Because I saved them eBay fees and shipping costs, they gave me a discount! Woot!

This lens is surprisingly compact. I own manual-focus 35-70mm zooms that are longer than this. It’s also light, but that’s because it’s made with a lot of plastic. Even the mount is plastic, a sure sign that Nikon built this lens for consumer use.

Any zoom lens is a bundle of compromises that lead to limitations. If you want the sharpest images with the least distortion and the fewest aberrations, bring a bag full of primes. The limitations in my 28-80 zoom are fairly minor and easy to live with. Would that be true with this 28-200?

One critical compromise with zoom lenses is distortion. Reviews say that this lens suffers from it horribly. Fortunately, my Df corrects it well enough in camera. I can use this lens on my Nikon N90s 35mm SLR, but it can’t correct for distortion at all and would leave me with a lot of post-processing to get usable images.

There’s only one way to find out if I can live with this lens’s limitations: take it on an outing. We had plans with friends to spend a weekend in southern Indiana, which was a perfect proving ground. We stayed in French Lick, a resort town. Here are a smattering of images I made with this lens. First, a few images where I zoomed to the max.

West Baden Springs Hotel

These images are fine at snapshot sizes. But when you look at max-zoom images at full resolution, you see softness and shake. This lens doesn’t have image stabilization, so you’ll get best results when you brace yourself or use a tripod.

St. Meinrad Archabbey

Also, the Df defaults to choosing apertures and shutter speeds that lead to shallower depth of field for good separation of subject from background. Frequently when I’m shooting a landscape or other scene where I want everything to be in focus, the Df focuses on something in the foreground, as in the image above. At full size, you can see that the background details are slightly out of focus. Either I need to find a setting that gives me narrower apertures in program mode, or shoot in aperture-priority mode so I can select the aperture.

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You can see this best in this image of my wife. She was a good distance away from me, so I zoomed to 200mm. The Df focused on her and set aperture and shutter speed so that everything behind her was out of focus, which was appropriate in this case. But even at snapshot size you can see that she’s not perfectly crisp in the image.

When nature won't, Pluto will!

Sharpness improves and shake reduces as you zoom out. In the image above, the lens was at 45mm. It’s still not perfectly sharp at full size, but it’s not that different from the results I get from my 28-80mm zoom, a lens I know well.

West Baden Springs Hotel

The wider the angle, the better the sharpness. I made the image above at minimum zoom, 28mm.

West Baden Springs Hotel

I made the image above at 85mm and it turned out okay. The first rocking chair, especially the rocker at the bottom, is a little out of focus. But otherwise there’s pretty good sharpness here.

St. Meinrad Archabbey

Finally, even at full zoom as above, this lens yields lovely bokeh.

I’ve focused on sharpness and shake here because I’m not fully satisfied with what I see. However, the lens is light and easy to handle and renders the light beautifully. It focuses fast enough for me, but some reviews pan it for focusing too slowly. If you’re shooting auto racing I can see how that would be a problem.

I need to keep using the Df with this lens to refine my technique with it, to remove my own foibles as much as possible from the results I get. As I said earlier, I also need to set the Df for greater depth of field in the documentary work I like to do. But my suspicion is that after I do all of that, I’m still going to get softness from this lens, especially at deep zoom levels. Given that the vast majority of ways I display my work yields sizes where this softness doesn’t matter, I may choose to live with it. But when I know I need deep crops or large display sizes, I’ll probably be better off with one of my primes.

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Photography

Tips for creating a book of photographs for sale on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing

I’ve now produced two books of photographs for sale on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing, my newest being Square Photographs, which is available on Amazon here. It turned out great, with good, vibrant colors and excellent contrast. I thought I’d share with you some lessons that I’ve learned.

I’ll also share some tips on how to create a book for Kindle Direct Publishing. In short, you create and upload print-ready PDFs of your book’s manuscript and cover. I’ll share how I did that for Square Photographs.

Lessons learned

Premium color ink, 60-pound paper, and a glossy cover

First and foremost, when your book is entirely or primarily about photographs, choose the best paper and ink option available. Right now, that’s “premium color ink and 60# (100 GSM) white paper.” All other options will lead to low-contrast images and muted tones. The premium color ink and 60-pound paper option gives good contrast and tones, both for black-and-white and color images. Even if all of your photographs are black-and-white, choose this paper and ink option. This Help page at Kindle Direct Publishing explains the options.

This ink and paper option increases the book’s printing cost, which is why I listed Square Photographs at $15.99. If I had used standard color ink and 55-pound paper, the lower printing cost would have let me sell it for $9.99 and earn about the same royalty.

I chose black ink and 55-pound white paper for my previous photo book, Vinyl Village, available here; and for my photo-illustrated book of stories and essays, A Place to Start, available here. Image quality in both books was so-so. It mattered more in Vinyl Village as it was mostly photographs. But if I had it to do over again I’d publish Vinyl Village using the best paper and ink options for better image quality. It wouldn’t have increased the price so much that it would have been a barrier for most people who purchased it.

Next, I don’t think it matters much whether you choose a glossy or matte cover finish. Amazon’s Help page says that a glossy cover “makes black covers darker and artwork more striking.” I published A Place to Start and Vinyl Village with matte covers, and Square Photographs with a glossy cover. Vinyl Village‘s cover might have benefited from darker blacks. But otherwise, I was satisfied with the tones and contrast both cover options gave me. I slightly prefer the matte cover’s more dignified look.

Finally, if your book is under about 100 pages, don’t bother trying to put anything on the spine. The spine is the outside edge of the book’s binding, what you see when the book is on a shelf. Most books show the title, author, and publisher on the spine. Square Photographs at 80 pages has a spine wide enough to contain that information. However, Amazon wants there to be plenty of space on both sides of the spine’s text so that a slight variation in how the cover is cut and attached doesn’t cause the spine text to partially roll onto the front or back cover.

The first cover I submitted to Amazon for Square Photographs showed the title, author, and publisher (my Midnight Star Press imprint) on the spine. Amazon rejected the cover for not having enough margin above and below that text. So I shrunk the text as much as I dared and resubmitted. Amazon rejected it again. To shrink it any more would have meant text so small you would have needed a loupe to read it. So I deleted the text and resubmitted the cover, which Amazon accepted.

Tips for creating a book for Kindle Direct Publishing

To create a book for Kindle Direct Publishing, you upload two print-ready PDFs: one of the book’s manuscript and one of the book’s cover.

You start by creating a KDP account here and then clicking the Create button on your Bookshelf page. This Help page explains. You have to make a lot of choices, including entering the title, choosing the paper and ink, setting the book’s form factor (length x width), letting KDP set the book’s ISBN or using one you purchased separately, and setting your book’s price.

Creating the manuscript

You can create your book’s manuscript (a.k.a., the book’s content) in any software that lets you save to PDF. You can lay out the bucks for a professional page-layout tool like Adobe InDesign if you want. I created Square Photographs and Vinyl Village in Microsoft Word, as I already pay for a Microsoft Office subscription and I have very strong Word skills. If you’re skint, even Google Docs exports to PDF, and Google Docs is free.

ZIP file of KDP manuscript templates in English

KDP provides Microsoft Word templates for all of their trim sizes. You can download them here. You’ll get a ZIP file containing the templates. Choose the trim size you want. Inside, the margins are all set for you, including extra margin in the gutter, which is the inner margin where the pages meet the binding. You need a slightly wider margin there to keep your content out of the hard-to-read space near the binding. You can alter all of those margins if you want, of course.

If you use a tool other than Word, you’ll have to set your page size and margins manually. Be sure to set mirrored margins, so that your odd pages have the extra gutter margin at the left, and your even pages have the extra gutter margin at the right.

Then it’s just a matter of flowing your text and photographs into your publishing tool. Because I use Word, I create the content and arrange it on each page at the same time. Here’s what a spread (publishing lingo for a left-right page combination) looks like in Word.

After you finish the manuscript, save or export the document to PDF. Here’s how to do it in Word:

  1. Choose Save As from the File menu. The Save As window appears.
  2. In the box from which you choose the file type, choose “PDF (*.pdf).”
  3. Click the “Standard (publishing online and printing)” radio button.
  4. Click the More Options button. A window appears. Click the Options button. An Options window appears.
  5. Click the “Optimize for image quality” checkbox, if it is not already checked.
  6. Click the “PDF/A compliant” checkbox, if it is not already checked.
    Note: KDP recommends against saving your document in the PDF/A standard, but also requires that fonts be embedded in the PDF. The only way to do that in Word is to save it as PDF/A. KDP has accepted every book I’ve submitted that way.
  7. Click OK, and then click Save.

Here’s the same spread as Adobe Acrobat PC, the PDF viewer program, renders it.

Here’s what the same spread looks like in the printed book.

By the way, all KDP books must have a number of pages that’s divisible by four. If your manuscript’s page count isn’t divisible by four, KDP inserts blank pages at the end to round it out. If blank pages at the end bother you, make sure your content fills a number of pages that’s divisible by four.

Creating the cover

To create your book’s cover, there’s the easy way and the hard way.

The easy way is to use KDP’s Cover Creator. It’s free, so it’s the way to go if you don’t already own image-editing software like Adobe Photoshop and you’re skint. It’s also the way to go if you don’t have skills to use image-editing software. Cover Creator offers limited design options, and I don’t think they’re awesome, but they’re better than nothing. Read more about it here.

The hard way is to use an image-editing tool such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Paint Shop Pro and a template KDP provides you. You should also be able to use a page-layout tool like Adobe InDesign, but I’ve never tried it to be sure. If you know how to insert images, create text areas, and move elements into place, you can create a cover.

To get a template, go here, make the selections that are true for you book, and download the ZIP file KDP creates. Inside you’ll find two template files, one PDF and one PNG. Use whichever one you want. Bring it into the software you’re using to create the cover. Here’s what the template I used for Square Photographs looks like.

This template is just a guide. You place your cover’s elements onto it, and when you’re done, delete the template layer. The back cover is on the left, the spine is in the middle, and the front cover is on the right. Notice the yellow area for the bar code – place nothing there that you don’t want covered up. KDP inserts a UPC bar code and your book’s assigned ISBN there.

The solid line is the cover’s boundary, but the red areas are the margin for error in printing. Your cover should go to the edges of the red zone. The dotted lines show you the area for the spine. Notice the red zone around the spine, and how tiny the space for text on the spine is. This is why I recommend not placing text on your spine for books with fewer than 100 pages, as I mentioned above in the lessons learned.

I used Adobe Photoshop to create my cover. I wanted to use one of the photos from the book as the main element on the front cover, so I inserted it and sized it to fit the front-cover area. Then I created the box that contains the title and my name. I filled the box with white, but then set the opacity to something like 50% so the photo behind it would bleed through.

For the spine and the back cover, I chose a color that complemented the front cover. I inserted the photo of the VW Bus, wrote the text below it, and put my vanity imprint’s information in the lower-left corner. I made sure the spot where Amazon would insert its bar code had nothing in it.

Here’s what the cover file looks like.

Here’s how the book turned out. Notice how the image above shows more tire tracks at the bottom than the printed cover does — that’s the effect of the red zone.

There you go! Let me know in the comments if I need to clarify anything, or add missing detail.

My new book, Square Photographs, is available now!

The Standard Edition is $15.99 at Amazon.com. Get yours here.

The Deluxe Edition, on premium paper and ink, is $24.99 at MagCloud.com. Get yours here.

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Photography

Under fake iPhone skies

I’m on my third iPhone: iPhone 5, iPhone 6s, and now iPhone 12 mini. It’s great to always have an easy-to-carry camera in my front pocket. With each successive model I’ve owned, Apple has improved the camera in remarkable ways that are plain to see in the images the camera makes.

That said, I’m not in love with the images I get from my iPhone 12 mini. They look extra saturated and extra sharpened, with contrast boosted too much for my taste. And the camera is clearly doing heavy processing of skies, or perhaps even inserting skies the software behind the camera is making up.

On my Ride Across Indiana last year, I photographed the Indiana Statehouse with my Canon PowerShot S95 and my iPhone 12 mini. Check out how each camera rendered the sky. The S95 is true to life, even though the clouds are a little blown out.

Indiana Statehouse

The iPhone 12 mini brought out a lot more blue in the sky than was actually there, and faded the clouds considerably.

Indiana Statehouse

I saw the same thing on my trip to San Diego recently. The day was mostly cloudy. A little blue sky peeked out from between clouds here and there. I made the same shot with two cameras one right after the other. The first was my Olympus OM-2n with the 40mm f/2 Zuiko lens on Kodak Ektar.

Paradise Point Resort

Look at what the iPhone 12 mini did with the sky!

San Diego resort

I never did this kind of comparison on my iPhone 6s, but I don’t believe it was as aggressive in processing the sky as my iPhone 12 was. The 6s probably enhanced skies a little, with the effect of making them look epic. Here’s a photo from somewhere in County Galway, Ireland, that I made with the 6s.

Irish landscape

I believe my iPhone 5 did little or no manipulation of skies. Here’s a photo of an old house in Hamilton County, Indiana, that I made with the 5.

Old house, Hamilton County

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Photography

The Nikon Df in downtown South Bend

I’m continuing to inventory Michigan Road Historic Byway signs all along the route, looking for missing ones so they can be replaced. A recent day off work saw me inventorying signs between Indianapolis and South Bend. I brought my Nikon Df along, with the cheap and cheerful 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 AF Nikkor lens attached. I shot the Df on a photowalk in downtown South Bend.

Here’s the Morris Performing Arts Center, originally known as the Palace Theater. The light was odd this late-winter afternoon — thinly overcast and moderately bright. I wasn’t wowed with how the Df handled this light. I punched all of these images up in Photoshop, including adding about a half stop of exposure to each.

The Palace Theater

The Palace opened in 1922, and so the Morris is celebrating the venue’s 100th anniversary this year. I shoot straight JPEG in the Df. It has a RAW mode, but I haven’t tried it yet.

The Palace Theater

Here’s a detail shot of the Palace’s terra cotta. We’re fortunate to still have the Palace. Another theater, the Granada, used to stand across the street but met the wrecking ball about 50 years ago. It was equally grand.

The Palace Theater

The Palace could easily have met the State’s fate, too. It’s down Michigan Street a couple of blocks. It’s vacant and has received minimal maintenance over the years. The state of its wonderful sign breaks my heart. I saw my first movie in the State, a reissue of Disney’s Bambi. I remember well when this sign used to light up at night, and it is a glorious sight.

State Theater

I stepped way back and made a photo of the whole building from the front. I had to tilt the camera up to fit it all in. Photoshop’s perspective correction tool set it right. The 28-80 lens was a kit lens on countless late-film-era Nikon SLRs, but it’s a solid performer and lets me pull large buildings like this into the frame.

State Theater

The State may be closed, but one business continues to operate out of one of its storefronts. I slung the Df over my shoulder for this walk. You notice this camera when you carry it — it’s larger than, and almost as heavy as, a Nikon F2.

Idle Hours Bookshop

I walked a little bit down Colfax Avenue to pass by The Griffon, a longtime bookstore for nerds and gamers. (I’m definitely a nerd, so I can say that.) I used to go in here sometimes when I lived in South Bend in the early 1980s. I’m thrilled to see it still operating, and I’m even more thrilled to see its facade in such great condition.

The Griffon

I walked a bit down Main Street, which isn’t actually South Bend’s main street (Michigan Street is). This is Fiddler’s Hearth, a longtime Irish pub.

Fiddler's Hearth

I needed to use perspective correction in Photoshop to set the St. Joseph County Courthouse square. I think it’s a little overcorrected. At least I could get the whole building in the frame at 28mm.

St. Joseph County Courthouse

I stepped down Jefferson Boulevard to recreate a photo I made in 1985. Let’s just say my photo skills weren’t that sharp then.

Former WSBT building

Here’s my original photo, from 1985, shot on film of course because we didn’t have digital yet.

One last photo. Michigan Road signs only recently went up in South Bend, along with Lincoln Highway signs. The Michigan Road and the Lincoln Highway share the route west from downtown South Bend for about 18 miles.

Michigan Road and Lincoln Highway

I am pleased to own my Nikon Df, but I don’t use it nearly as much as I thought I would. One reason is its large size. I hesitate before taking it along for the ride. This was my first ever road trip with the Df! It performed adequately as a road-trip companion. But frankly, my Canon PowerShot S95 is an easier companion because it fits in the palm of my hand.

Naturally, the Df’s full-frame sensor is going to beat the S95’s 1/1.7-inch sensor every day of the week. The Df also benefits from about seven years of digital imaging advances over the S95. The Df is hardly the latest and greatest, however — even though I bought mine new last year, the camera was introduced in 2013. Its 16.2-megapixel sensor attests to it being from that era of DSLR.

Even after a year, I’m still getting to know my Nikon Df. I’m not unhappy with it, but I’m not fully in love like I thought I would be. Because it was so touted, and so bloody expensive, perhaps my expectations of it have been too high. I am in love with my Canon S95, but I believe my expectations of it have always been in line with its reality.

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Photography, Road Trips

The Michigan Road as it crosses the Flatrock River and enters St. Omer, Indiana

After I originally published my long report about my 2008 survey of the Michigan Road in Indiana, I got separate emails from Fred and Estelle Hargitt about what they believed to be an old alignment of the road that passed through their property. Fred and Estelle live on the road in northwest Decatur County, just south of a little town called St. Omer and north of where the road crosses the Flatrock River.

The road’s route has definitely changed over time in this area. Here’s an excerpt from an 1882 atlas. I’ve highlighted the Michigan Road in green. Next to it is a screen shot of about the same area from Google Maps that I made in January of 2022.

From Decatur County 1882, Indiana,
Published by J. H. Beers & Co. in 1882, courtesy Historic Map Works (map here)
Map data ©2022 Google

It looks very clear to me that the Michigan Road was moved slightly west from just south of the Flatrock River to just before its entry into St. Omer.

Fred Hargitt wrote that he moved to this area in 1934 as a small boy, when the Michigan Road was State Road 29 here. He said that it was about this time that the original alignment of SR 29 was abandoned and a new alignment built. He said that traces of the old road still run through his property. I’ve studied the aerial images on Google Maps many times over the years and can’t see with certainty any elements of the old road.

On this excerpt from a current Google Maps aerial image, I’ve marked in green my best guess at where the original Michigan Road used to go here.

Imagery ©2022 IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies, USDA Farm Service Agency. Map data ©2022 Google.

I ought to contact the Hargitts to see if they still live on the land and could show me the traces of the original road.

I have been unable to find what kind of bridge was built over the Flatrock River here when the road was moved in the 1930s. Steel truss and concrete arch bridges were typical in that era. I feel certain that the bridge here today is a replacement of that bridge, and is probably a common steel stringer bridge.

As a bonus, here’s some shaky, handheld video I shot in 2008 of me driving the road northbound to cross the Flatrock River.

Unfortunately, when I reached St. Omer I didn’t properly document this small town. I did, however, photograph its schoolhouse, which is a residence today.

School at St. Omer

Next: The Michigan Road as it enters Shelby County.

I’ve documented Indiana’s historic Michigan Road extensively. To read all about it, click here.

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