Pre-isolation memories, post-isolation worries

The week before my company asked us all to work from home, and two weeks before Indiana’s governor issued the stay-at-home order, I took a week off. I needed a little time to rest after a surprisingly stressful December, January, and February in the office.

I took a few long photo walks, one in Carmel, one in Broad Ripple, and one in Zionsville. All three times I stopped in a pub. The very thought of doing that now seems so strange, yet so compelling.

I’m not much of a beer drinker anymore. I prefer whiskey. But beer just seems righter after a photo walk. I stopped in the Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Indiana’s oldest brew pub, for their Porter. I love a good Porter.

Pause in the photowalk

I also stopped at The Friendly Tavern in Zionsville for lunch and an Anchor Steam. In the early 90s during that era’s beer renaissance, my favorite pub in Terre Haute had Anchor Steam on tap. My goodness but was it good that way. Fast forward nearly 30 years and Anchor Steam is a little hard to find in Indiana. But The Friendly has it in bottles, and I like to order one with my meal, which this day was their fish and chips.

Pause in the photowalk

It looks like I failed to photograph the pint of Guinness I ordered with my lunch at Muldoon’s, an Irish pub in Carmel. Too bad, because my lunch was their Irish pizza, a kind of nachos loaded with crumbled sausage, veggies, and top quality cheese. It’s a massive calorie bomb but it is so good.

Indiana’s stay-at-home order ends tomorrow. Governor Holcomb is sending signals that he intends to allow some businesses to re-open, perhaps in a limited way. He’ll have a press conference tomorrow to announce the changes.

I have conflicting thoughts about it. On the one hand, the shutdown has been a kick in the economy’s teeth and Indiana needs to get back to work. On the other, just because businesses like pubs might reopen doesn’t mean that it will be to full capacity — or that guests won’t be carrying the virus. I’m feeling hinky. I’m unlikely to stop for a beer anytime soon.


Breathnach’s Bar
Canon PowerShot S95

I am a homebody. I like to be home. It’s my favorite place to be.

If you’ve followed my many road trips on this blog you might be surprised to read that. I do love to follow the old roads, see where they lead, photograph what’s on them. But then I want to go right home.

Lately I’ve wanted to be anywhere but home. I’m sick of my self, of my anxieties and my worries and my frustrations. I want to shed them. It’s why I’ve found myself pricing airline tickets to go back to Ireland. That was a place where I forgot myself for a while. It was wonderful.

Breathnach’s is a little pub in Oughterard, in County Galway. It’s where we took our first supper in Ireland, Sept. 3, 2016. I forget what we ate, except that it involved plenty of Guinness and a lovely conversation with the bar’s owner.

Margaret caught me dreaming. She gave me immediate permission to buy tickets if I found them under a certain price. She loves to travel and would rather be anywhere but home.

Photography, Travel

single frame: Breathnach’s Bar



Ike & Jonesey's

Ike & Jonesey’s
Nikon N90s, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 (at EI 200)

It’s funny how when I go Downtown to have fun, I tend to stay north of Washington Street, which is the north-south dividing line in Indianapolis. I don’t do it on purpose — that’s just how it works out. But now that Margaret has a job Downtown but south of Washington, I’ve walked those Downtown streets and have found that there’s fun to be had there too.

Ike & Jonesey’s has kept their party going for 25 years now. When I moved to Indy in 1994 I remember hearing ads for them on the radio. I guess they have (had?) a very popular dance floor. Finally I know where they are located. Not that I dance. Heavens no.

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Film Photography

single frame: Ike & Jonesey’s



The Wellington

The Wellington
Yashica Electro 35 GSN
Kodak Tri-X 400

I was there the night The Wellington closed for good. It was just a couple weeks ago. And it was packed, just packed.

This was assuredly the smallest bar in Indianapolis’s Broad Ripple neighborhood, and perhaps in all of Indianapolis. I never measured, of course, but I bet it was no larger than my home’s kitchen and family room, combined.

A group of co-workers from three companies ago have met there the first Wednesday of the month for something like ten years. I’ve always been invited, but I usually had my sons on those Wednesdays and couldn’t go. Now that the parenting-time years are over I was starting to make it most Welly Wednesdays. And now it’s closed.

The gang will find some other Broad Ripple bar. But it won’t be the same.

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Film Photography

single frame: The Wellington


Old Point Tavern

Old Point Tavern
Pentax ES II, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Takumar
Kodak Ektar 100

I worked Downtown in 1995-1996, within walking distance of Massachusetts Avenue, which had only barely begun its revitalization then. Today, this avenue is one of Indianapolis’s shining stars, a destination for food, drinks and fun. In 1995, there were lots of vacant storefronts.

But in those days many longtime businesses still dotted Mass Ave. I lunched at the Old Point Tavern many times back then. Turns out it’s the second oldest tavern in Indianapolis, in operation since 1887.

Most of those old businesses have given way to of hip, cool bars, restaurants, and clubs in what is now a high-rent district. A few holdouts remain, including the Old Point Tavern. Today it’s well known for its delicious beef-and-bean chili. I also like to stop in for a whiskey these days — not because their selection is extensive, but because it’s the least expensive pour on Mass Ave. It’s not only the rents that have gotten expensive here.

Unfortunately, the Old Point will soon close. The current owners have had enough after 25 years. They also own the building, and will continue to own it as they lease this space to a restaurant operator who will open something else in this spot.

Film Photography, Photography

single frame: Old Point Tavern


Film Photography

Photographs of things that aren’t there anymore

What have you photographed that has since changed dramatically, or isn’t even there anymore?

I’ve been walking or driving around with my camera for long enough now that I’m starting to build quite a collection of photos of scenes that look very different today.

The Elbow Room pub was nearly an Indianapolis institution, having been in operation since 1933 — right at the end of Prohibition. It abruptly closed for good a couple weeks ago.

Elbow Room

These neon signs came down immediately.

Elbow Room

This was one of my favorite downtown pubs. I first visited it when I still lived in Terre Haute and had business in Indy. When I worked downtown in the late 1990s I used to walk over here for lunch all the time. After my brother moved here, this was the first bar we visited together. In the past couple years, Margaret and I have stopped here several times, usually at the end of a downtown photo walk. She really liked a lemony martini they made. I have always loved their cheeseburgers.

The Elbow Room (rear)

The Elbow Room occupied the ground floor of a wedge-shaped building at the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. and Ft. Wayne St. on the north edge of downtown. I’ve sat at a table in that window many times, most recently just a few months ago.

The Elbow Room

An unexpected benefit of buying and testing film cameras over the years is that I walk and drive around with them and photograph stuff. I’m not necessarily trying to make art, but am rather just capturing anything I find interesting in the moment to see how the camera works and what quality of images it can make.

I made these shots with a Nikon F3HP and 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor on Fomapan 200, and a Minolta Maxxum 7000 and 50mm f/1.7 Maxxum AF on Fujicolor 200. They’re not great art; heck, that first color shot turned out pretty underexposed and muddy thanks to a fault in the camera.

But I have them. The Elbow Room’s existence is proved, though evidence is starting to be erased. Soon this will be some other business and anyone who moved here since might never even know about The Elbow Room.

In 2008, I took hundreds of photos as I surveyed the entire Michigan Road. In 2018, I hope to survey it again, end to end. I wonder what photographs I’ll take of things that have changed. Maybe I’ll do a series of then-and-now photos!

What photos lurk in your archive of scenes that are all different now?