Film Photography

Autumn strolls through my neighborhood on Fujifilm Velvia 50

Velvia is born for sunny days. Cloudy days, meh. Or so I found out when I strolled through my neighborhood one overcast afternoon with camera in hand. But this is the only photo I got that shows how the reds, yellows, and oranges frosted the green trees here as autumn began. So you get cloudy-day shots.

Neighborhood trees

A canopy of trees covers my little neighborood’s banal little houses. My neighbors and I all have our work cut out for us each autumn when the leaves fall. I spend half the day five or six weekends in a row driving around on my tractor sucking up leaves.

Neighbor's house under the yellow canopy

This is one of the better looking homes, just a few doors down from mine. Even though these houses aren’t anything special, I’m happy in mine and am glad to live here.

Neighbor's house

I did get one useful shot of the colorful leaves on a sunny-day stroll through my neighborhood.

Looking up

This really was a remarkable Indiana autumn: wildly colorful, mostly sunny, dry, and warm. I wish they were all this way.

Little flag among the fallen leaves

It’s called Mount Jackson Cemetery, but it’s on some of the flattest land in Indianapolis. Mount Jackson was the surrounding neighborhood’s original name, going back to the 1820s, but it’s been called Hawthorne for longer than anybody can remember. Poverty, drugs, petty crime — nobody lives in Hawthorne because they want to.

The cemetery persists, quiet, safe. Here lie Hawthorne’s earliest residents and the neighborhood’s original name. This plot gets little love, but someone came to remember a veteran buried here.

Film Photography

Captured: Flag at Mount Jackson

Film Photography

Green, yellow, and orange on Fujifilm Velvia 50

The trees changed color slowly this autumn, often first frosting their tips in red, yellow, and orange while the underlying leaves remained green. This created arresting views all over town.

Along the section of Kessler Boulevard that I filmed last autumn stands a big Presbyterian church with a grand maple beside its parking lot. I bollixed the focusing on my photo of the whole tree, but the close-up shots sure turned out, crisp and colorful.

Orange green red
In transition
Red orange
Film Photography

Autumn in Indianapolis on Fujifilm Velvia 50

Red tree parking lot

Time was, I couldn’t enjoy autumn. I always looked past it straight to winter, which I hate: the cold and snow, the staying indoors, the heavy clothes and coats. But then a few years ago an autumn of astonishing color yanked me from my gathering funk, and since then I’ve looked for autumn’s color, frequently with a camera in hand. My camera has helped me appreciate so many things, and autumn stands at the front of the line.

I’ve often felt that my cameras never captured the full autumn color experience. The closest any camera came was the autumn day I walked through Holliday Park with my old Kodak Z730 digital camera — that old digicam gets wonderful color.

But this year, I had a new arrow in my quiver: Fujifilm Velvia 50, a slide film known for heavily saturated color. I put some in my Nikon F2 and, over several days, photographed as much autumn color as I could. And boy howdy, did I get some strong color back. Unrealistic color. The kind of color we all wish autumn could deliver.

Fortunately, I’m not opposed to such fantasy. Through Thursday this week, I’ll share Velvia photos from my October camera walks. All of this color will counterbalance the black story I need to tell on Friday.

Red and orange

For most of 17 years I’ve lived around the corner from a large cemetery. The trees in its parking lot were probably deliberately chosen for the intense color they deliver come fall.

Red and path

This was the first time I entered the cemetery to photograph anything. I never think about exploring this cemetery because long ago it became something I fail to notice. That happens to things you drive by every day. I only notice these trees because they are near the street.


Finally appreciating autumn

Work has been consuming me lately and it’s left me with less time to write. It’s time for my annual meditation on autumn, but this year I’m getting this 2010 post out of the archives and running it again.

The coming of autumn has always made me grumpy. It means winter is around the corner, and I hate winter. But my ill temper was no match for last year’s drop-dead gorgeous autumn. It made me realize that all my life, as soon as the temperatures cooled and the leaves turned, winter began in my mind. Living in the future, I missed the joys of the present.

I trace my anti-winter bias to my kidhood. Autumn meant returning to school, relegating summer’s fun to memory. It’s funny how our youthful attitudes can linger long past their usefulness, but I still feel free in the summer and burdened in the winter. I’d rather wear shorts and T-shirts than layer sweaters and heavy coats. I’d rather mow the lawn than shovel the driveway (especially after shoveling my way out of the Blizzard of ’78). I’d rather open the windows than turn on the heat (and pay the bill).

But I’m finally able to enjoy autumn’s beauty, and it’s great.

Autumn at Turkey Run

My newfound appreciation of autumn can’t supplant my love of spring and summer. I will probably always feel a little sad the first day I have to wear a jacket and the first evening I drive home from work in the dark. But maybe I’ll accept these changes more easily now.

I am still going to hate winter, though!

One of the most satisfying photos I’ve taken is of an autumn sunrise. See it here.


A walk in the park

I took a couple days off last week to catch up on some things at home and to clear my head. I did the catching up first, and then the head clearing. One of my favorite places for the latter is Holliday Park.

Kodak EasyShare Z730

Of course I took a camera along. Despite my love of old film cameras, I’m actually an equal-opportunity photographer – I shot digital. I remembered how well my old Kodak EasyShare Z730 represented color in landscapes, so I dug it out and took it along. It was made in 2005, which is positively ancient for a digicam. But it’s still a good shooter, with a fine 33 mm (equivalent) f/2.8 Schneider-Kreuznach lens.

With my dog Gracie along on her leash, we parked near The Ruins and made our way through the park. I can seldom pass this statue by without stopping to photograph it.


I moved in close to photograph the lady’s leg. (I’m normally not that kind of guy, I swear.) Just dig the texture that lens captured. The black-and-white conversion is courtesy Photoshop Elements.


My everyday camera is a Canon PowerShot S95, a truly outstanding point-and-shoot. It outclasses this Kodak in so many ways. But the Kodak edges it in color rendition. It loves blues, rendering them deep and true. It is also the only digital camera I’ve ever owned that does justice to purple.

Purple flowers

A small trail system lurks at the back of Holliday Park. If you came just to let your kids play on the extensive playground, you might never know it was there. You might also never know just how close you are to the White River. The terrain becomes rugged as it descends toward the water; some areas are so steep that long wooden catwalks were built to provide even footing.


Aren’t fences just one of the most cliched things to photograph? Oh, I’m not above cliches.


It took me until middle age to appreciate autumn’s colors.

Red leaf

The Meridian Street bridge, built in 1933, is visible when you reach the river. It’s currently being renovated.


Compositionally, this isn’t much of a photo. But dang, doesn’t this Kodak just deliver on the color? I gather that color rendition like this was a signature of the entire Kodak digital line. It’s a shame Kodak has quit the camera business.

Tree and sky

Color is why I went to the park. I wanted to be out in it while it lasts. I work too much; I’m busy raising teenagers. Sometimes the changing seasons pass me by. I hate it when I let that happen. I’m so glad I got a couple days off. Mr. Wright, your words are so true.

Wright rock

The last time I visited Holliday Park, I did it with my Minolta 110 Zoom SLR in hand.

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