Eagle Creek ReservoirEagle Creek Reservoir
iPhone 6s
2018

Indianapolis’s Eagle Creek Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States, covering 3,900 acres of land and 1,400 acres of water.

That water was created in a 1968 flood-control project. I’ve written about it before: it permanently altered the route of the Dandy Trail, and led to the needless demolition of the town of Traders Point.

This water is a reservoir that provides drinking water to most of northwest Indianapolis. It’s also a popular place for swimming, boating, and fishing.

Margaret and I were out for a hike in Eagle Creek Park on National Trails Day. Our trail skirted the reservoir for a while, and gave us the chance for this photograph.

We’re both badly out of shape after a year of difficulty and challenge. Long walks will be one way we return our bodies to health. We bought an annual pass to Eagle Creek Park so we can enjoy its trails whenever we want. It’s a quick drive from our home.

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Photography

single frame: Eagle Creek Reservoir

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At Connemara National Park

At Connemara National Park
Canon PowerShot S95
2016

We visited this lovely park briefly. We looked forward to a long hike, but we both assumed it would be through a chilly woods, not up a mountain in direct sunshine on an unusually warm day. As we were dressed for the former, we soon overheated and even started feeling queasy. So we came up with a quick Plan B: visit a charming little town through which we’d passed on our way here. More on that town, Clifden, in a later post.

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Photography

Twelve exposures: Starkey Nature Park, Zionsville

Margaret had a great idea, which is to go out on a photo walk but limit ourselves to just twelve exposures. Not twelve resulting photos, but twelve presses of the shutter button. She thought it might make us think more carefully about what is a worthy subject and help us pause to carefully make an interesting composition — but also result in an instant photo series about the place we walked.

We made our first Twelve Exposures walk at Starkey Nature Park in Zionsville. This heavily wooded park has a small system of trails for hiking and running. Eagle Creek borders it, and an old railroad bridge lurks along Trail 1.

Kodak EasyShare Z730I decided to get out my old Kodak EasyShare Z730 for this maiden Twelve Exposures walk. It was a very good consumer point-and-shoot digital camera when it was new more than ten years ago, and I’ve always liked the cheerful color it returns.

And then we got to the park, and I saw that we’d passed peak autumn color. Most things in view were some shade of brown or gray. The Z730 doesn’t get on well with such dull colors. It tends to tinge them with green. I wished I’d chosen a different camera. But then I thought perhaps I could turn this into a positive, and seek out scenes that played to this camera’s strengths, or at least didn’t play to its weaknesses. We headed in.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

I’ve grown used to “working a scene” with my digital camera, just taking a bunch of throwaway photos of it to get a feel. But limiting myself to twelve exposures took that right out. I felt like a kid again, having just put a costly 12-exposure roll of Kodacolor II into my Brownie Starmite II. Every shot had to count.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

Film and processing were expensive, which kept me from experimenting freely. Chalk one up to the digital era: you can waste all the pixels you want. A photographer learning to make good photographs can readily take all the bad ones he or she needs to, because they don’t cost extra.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

I knew that my first two shots involved  too much dull brown and gray, but I shot them anyway. I guess I was afraid I wouldn’t find scenes this camera would like, and decided to just shoot anyway. I wasn’t looking hard enough. When I saw this bright yellow sign, I started to get my head wrapped around this assignment.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

One section of a trail was littered with bright green leaves. I wonder why they fell before turning color. But they made a decent subject, providing good color and contrast against a background of crushed, dead leaves.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

Before long we came upon the old bridge, a 1919 concrete arch affair that once carried the New York Central Railroad’s James Whitcomb Riley line between Chicago and Cincinnati. Today this bridge and much of the railbed in this county are part of the Zionsville Rail Trail.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

Eagle Creek was still enough this day to provide a good reflection. This is my favorite shot from the day. I love the shade of blue in the sky as it reflects in the water. I could have photographed this bridge all day, but I didn’t want this photo essay (of sorts) to be bridge-heavy.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

I did get one more bridge shot, of some of the graffiti painted onto it. Zionsville has some talented graffiti artists. Someone took considerable time to paint this scene from Adventure Time, a show on Cartoon Network. Someone else spent considerably less time adding his spray-painted condemnation of the show.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

I knew the Z730 wouldn’t capture the light on this tree as well as I wanted. It tends to wash out anything sunlight directly touches. I hoped in vain that it would behave differently just this once. I kind of wished I was shooting Tri-X, perhaps in one of my fine compact 35mm rangefinders. That combo would have crushed this scene.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

I saw all sorts of good black and white opportunities, actually. I shot them anyway. So much for seeking only scenes that showed the Z730’s strengths.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

Like so many older digital cameras, the Z730’s screen suffers from total washout in bright light. Fortunately, the Z730 has an optical viewfinder. And, shockingly, it has a diopter dial. I gather it adjusts only from -2 to 0, but that it does it at all is pretty remarkable.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

I shot this one with the sun directly behind me. It created strong contrast, but it works for this shot. The Z730 really does its best outdoors work when the sun is directly overhead.

Twelve exposures: Starkey Park

I made some quick corrections in Photoshop on all twelve of these — which cut haze in this photo and brought out definition. Unfortunately, it’s not all that interesting of a scene. It looked better in real life.

This was a useful exercise in being more thoughtful about choosing my subjects and in learning to work within my camera’s limitations. We’ll do more Twelve Exposures walks.

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At Connemara National Park

Path in Ireland’s Connemara National Park
Canon PowerShot S95
2016

Connemara National Park’s trail system goes right up a mountain. We dressed for a cool walk through the woods — clothes way too heavy for direct sunshine. So we didn’t stay long.

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Life

Conquering Trail 3

Warm weather has lingered longer into this autumn than it normally does, and my sons and I had been talking about ways we could enjoy it while it lasts. When one of my sons said, “We haven’t been to Turkey Run yet this year,” we knew we’d found the right outing. It’s a tradition that we make at least one annual trip to Turkey Run State Park to hike the trails, and our window for making this year’s trip was closing quickly. So the very next Saturday the boys were here, so we drove out and spent the afternoon. And this time, we conquered Trail 3.

Turkey Run

By state park standards, Trail 3 is very rugged. Much of it runs along a creek bed in a canyon. Where the canyon is wide, it’s a pleasant stroll. Where the canyon narrows, you either walk through the creek and soak your shoes or inch your way along a rock ledge. The elevation changes significantly in a few places, but the steps and ladders the state has installed mean you can leave your climbing gear at home. But all in all Trail 3 demands balance and agility.

Turkey Run

We had never completed Trail 3 before. We tried it on our first trip several years ago, but when we reached the ladders my acrophobic older son announced that he would not be climbing them. But this time he thought he might be up for the ladders, and he did fine.

Turkey Run

We’ve always visited Turkey Run in the spring or summer, but this trip showed us that autumn is the time to visit. The place was just gorgeous with all the trees in their fall colors.

Turkey Run

I got through Trail 3 without soaking my shoes, but I didn’t manage that last time. Read that story.

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Road Trips, Stories Told

Wet feet at Turkey Run

My boys and I made our more-or-less annual trek to Turkey Run State Park the other day. We couldn’t have had better weather – sunny and 80.

Even though I’ve made countless trips to Turkey Run State Park over the past 20 years, and have therefore received countless trail maps at the entrance, this was the first time I noticed the spot labeled “Old Highway Bridge” on the map. So of course we went looking for it. Trail 6 takes you right under it. I’ve never had this kind of view of a bridge before!

Turkey Run trip

Trail 6 is in and along the creek after which the park gets its name. I was in my own little world snapping shots of this bridge when shplorp! I learned that a Saucony Grid Jazz 2006 running shoe can soak up a considerable amount of water.

Trail 11 carries you over the bridge, which was built in 1914. That’s two years before this land became a state park. I am very curious to know what road this bridge carried, but the Internet is silent on the matter.

Update 3 Sept 2010: I have learned that this bridge carried an early alignment of State Road 47. Bridgehunter.com has some details.

Turkey Run trip

My sons indulged my bridgehunting for a short time but soon wanted to move along. We came to Sunset Point and took in the view of Sugar Creek.

Turkey Run trip

We also became acquainted, in a way, with one Carl Crune of Purdue’s Class of 1915.

Turkey Run trip

My sons wanted to follow Trail 10, so we crossed the suspension bridge and were on our way.

Turkey Run trip

Trail 10 is just a walk in the woods, but it empties out into the rocks and running water of Trail 3. Check out this view.

Turkey Run trip

The jutting formation on the left is called Wedge Rock.

Turkey Run trip

Both of my shoes were soaked by the time we got out of here!

Turkey Run trip

It was a pretty busy weekday at the park. Wet feet all around!

Turkey Run trip

ReadMore Turkey Run is in Parke County, the covered bridge capital of the world. Read about my favorite Parke County bridge.

Turkey Run is in Parke County, the covered bridge capital of the world. Read about my favorite Parke County bridge.
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