Photography, Road Trips

Favorite photos from New Harmony

My main camera on our trip to New Harmony was, as often happens, my little Canon PowerShot S95. I did take a film camera, my Olympus XA2, loaded with Ultrafine Xtreme 100. But it simply turned out not to be a black-and-white weekend. I shot but nine frames. In contrast, I made 175 photos with the S95.

This is New Harmony’s Main Street. It’s perpendicular to the road that you have to use to enter New Harmony, which is Church Street and also State Road 66.

Around New Harmony

We got a spectacular sunset that night. In the shadowy foreground is the Lenz House, built in about 1820. Read a little bit about it here. That page mentions the Harmonists, a group that tried and failed to build a utopian society here.

Sunset over the Lenz House

Here’s one photo I made with my iPhone 6s. We were walking back to the house we’d rented after dinner one night when a fellow invited us to a jam session. We were surprised that it involved mostly cellos and violins! A guitarist later joined.

Jam session with cellos

I shared these two photos in my post about the Roofless Church.

The Roofless Church
The Roofless Church

A double log cabin — two cabins sharing a conjoining covered deck — provides this view. It’s on the same property as the Lenz house.

Lenz house property

Finally, a lovely yellow flower.

Yellow bloom

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I’ve been writing about New Harmony all week — but for those of you here just for the doors, it’s a historic town in the southwestern tip of Indiana. Its founders tried, and failed, to build a utopian society here. Today it’s both a typical small Indiana town and something of an artist’s colony. It makes for a lovely long weekend, as my wife and I found out recently. And now, herewith the doors of New Harmony.

Around New Harmony
Around New Harmony
Around New Harmony
Working Men's Institute
Around New Harmony
Episcopal church
Episcopal church
Opera House
The Roofless Church

Thursday doors: New Harmony, Indiana

Some of the doors from New Harmony, for the Thursday Doors feature.

Road Trips

Working on both the Michigan and National Roads

My new office is on Washington Street in Downtown Indianapolis — the only place where the Michigan Road and the National Road share an alignment.

My desk is on the 12th floor. Here’s the view from the nearest window, after a violent storm passed through. That’s the City-County Building at left, and the city’s new bus terminal at right. Between them, the National Road is headed east and the Michigan Road is headed south.

A portion of the roof is set up like a patio with outdoor furniture. Here’s the view towards Monument Circle at the heart of Indianapolis. The Monument itself rises above the Circle Tower building near lower left.

I’ve already taken a couple Downtown photo walks on my lunch hour. After I’ve fully settled into the new job I expect I’ll take many more.

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Some recent iPhone photography

If I were to mark on a calendar the cameras I used each day, my iPhone 6s would show up most often, no fewer than 4 days a week. Most of the photos I make are throwaways, something I wanted to document so I wouldn’t forget it, or something I wanted to show my wife.

But every now and then I use my iPhone to make a photograph I wanted to keep, one I would have rather made with a “real” camera had I only had one on me. They’re all still snapshots but I thought you might like to see some of them.

Swagged out

Here’s a selfie of me all swagged out at my previous job (you know, the one where I was fired with no explanation). We were having our second annual Field Day, which was a bunch of silly quasi-athletic outdoor games. After my unwelcome exit from the company I promptly waste-canned all of my company swag. Also: this might be the only photo ever of me wearing a hat. I’m not a hat person. I’m too vain about my hair.

First Baptist

This cornerstone anchors the First Baptist Church in Lebanon, IN. I photograph church cornerstones whenever I find them; here’s my Flickr album of them.


I spied this guy while taking a walk through the neighborhood. Isn’t he just gorgeous?

Currently caffeinating

These were the disposable coffee cups we used at church for a while. I drink so much coffee that this slogan describes my whole life.


On another walk through the neighborhood, this rainbow appeared.


I used the iPhone’s panorama mode to capture the whole rainbow later in the walk.

Ruth's Cafe

Ruth’s Cafe is a quirky breakfast-and-lunch place near where I work. It’s very popular — get there by 11:30 for lunch because it’s socked in by 11:45. This old TV, its works removed, is their check-in stand and they always have some breakfast-related quote scrawled onto its screen. I’ll bet this was a top-of-the-line set when it was new.


Here are some tulips from the little bed under our front window. I made these photos in the last few weeks as these buds began to open. The iPhone is brilliant at making flower photos.

Sunset over the Toyota dealer

There aren’t many advantages to living right next to I-65. One of the few is that there are no houses behind us to block the sublime sunsets we get. And then last year a Toyota dealership was built on the other side of the retention pond from us, and they erected their sign right in our line of sight. Sunset, brought to you by Toyota. Oh, what a feeling.

Gluten. Free. Waffles!!!!!!

It’s a tired cliche, I know, to photograph your lunch. But these gluten-free waffles are so tender and delicious that I had to memorialize them just once. If you’re ever in the area and follow a gluten-free diet you can get these at Cafe Patachou, which has locations all around Indianapolis.

Metallica from the back row

Finally, the crowd gathers to see Metallica play at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Maybe it was because we were in the very last row, but the sound was so muddy we sometimes couldn’t tell what song they were playing. I’ve seen Metallica five times now, but the last time was 22 years ago. I can’t believe the metal bands of my youth are still at it. Anyway, thrice Metallica were brilliant and twice they sucked. One of the times they sucked, I stood in a downpour that lasted the show. Good times, good times.

My metalhead son and I are on a quest to see the Big Four thrash metal bands — Slayer, Anthrax, Metallica, and Megadeth. We saw Anthrax last year on a tour it headlined (read my report about being in the mosh pit here), and again last year on a tour Slayer headlined. We have tickets to see Megadeth in August. Parenting level: expert.

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Personal, Photography

A visit to Maker’s Mark Distillery

Private Select

I first drank bourbon in college: Jim Beam, mixed in plenty of Coke. “Cheap and effective,” one of my roommates said as he poured me my first one. For both reasons, it became my drink of choice.

I tried Jim Beam straight once, just a few sips. Brr. What a rough ride that was on my palate and down my throat, burning all the way. “That’ll put hair on your chest,” as my grandfather used to say. I concluded that bourbon was best used for mixing.

Then one day a buddy brought a bottle of Maker’s Mark to share. He poured a healthy ounce into my cup and bade me sip. I didn’t want it straight, but I also didn’t want to be unkind, so I sipped. I was surprised, and then delighted: this stuff is good!

After I graduated I switched to beer. Imported beers were a big fad then, and I fell right in. So it went for the next 20 years. I wasn’t a big drinker, but when I wanted a drink I ordered a German altbier or an Irish stout.

In my 40s my digestion started playing tricks on me, and I discovered that a gluten-free diet eased my symptoms. Beer was out. But I remembered Maker’s Mark, and so when I wanted a drink that’s what I reached for. It was as good as I remembered.

At some point I heard about the Maker’s Mark Ambassador program. Just for signing up you get a lot of marketing emails. Far more interestingly, you also get annual Christmas gifts (last year it was socks imprinted with Maker’s Mark bottles) and your name (with 29 others) on a freshly sealed barrel that will, in time, become Maker’s Mark. When your barrel matures, you can visit the distillery and buy bottles from it.

My barrel matured last October, so Margaret and I made our way to Kentucky recently to tour the distillery and buy my bottles.

At the Maker's Mark Distillery
At the Maker's Mark Distillery
At the Maker's Mark Distillery

What a beautiful place the Maker’s Mark distillery is! Our tour guide told us that Margie Samuels, wife of original distiller Bill Samuels, saw that bourbon tourism might one day be a thing and made sure the distillery buildings and grounds would create a lovely and engaging experience for the people who would one day come.


The tour itself taught me all about how bourbon is made, something to which I’d given scant thought before. I took two more distillery tours this long weekend and learned that there isn’t much variation among distilleries, except in the type and proportion of grains they use in their recipes, which they call mash bills.

In the rickhouse

My favorite two stops on our tour was to the warehouse, also called a rickhouse or a rackhouse, where the bourbon is aged; and the tasting. They gave us sips of the moonshine that ages into all Maker’s Mark products, and of each of the bourbons they sell.

At the Maker's Mark Distillery
At the Maker's Mark Distillery

People from all walks of life joined us on our tour. Who knew that bourbon could bring together Americans from so many different backgrounds? Perhaps a healthy pour, toasted together, is what this country needs to find unity again.

Ambassador bottle

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I’d miss some great photographs were it not for the iPhone in my pocket

It’s not a new idea, not even on this blog, that having a smartphone in your pocket is pretty great when you come upon a photographable scene but have no other camera with you. Here are some such scenes from the last several months that my iPhone let me capture.

Margaret and I were on an impromptu date night Downtown. We had a little dinner but weren’t ready to go home yet, so we walked the Circle toward a swanky little basement martini bar we like.

Circle Tower

I had to run to Meijer for something one evening, and this was the sunset. We do get some spectacular sunsets here on the western edge of Zionsville.


Margaret and I were visiting Holliday Park, a favorite photo destination when I lived in Indianapolis. They’ve fully renovated The Ruins, a focal point of the park. That’s where you’ll find this turtle and his turtlettes.


One day I’ll go back and do The Ruins justice with a camera, but for now you get these two tiny glimpses, above and below.

Cost of labor

Hey, look! It’s a book about me!

A book about me

Margaret and I were in Broad Ripple on our anniversary weekend. This building with the chair painted on it has found itself in my viewfinder many times.

In Broad Ripple

We returned to Broad Ripple a few weeks later for an event, which was on the roof of a building on “the strip.” I got this bird’s-eye view of Broad Ripple Avenue.

The Strip in Broad Ripple

This is the mail station in our neighborhood. It was beautifully lit this evening.

The mail building

I came upon this winged fellow on an evening walk.


Let’s end this with Honest Abe.


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