Margaret and I met Damion at McCormick’s Creek State Park for a little hiking.
Damion now lives minutes from this park, which is near the small town of Spencer, about a half hour northwest of Bloomington. It offers camping and swimming, but we’re hikers and so we care mostly about the trails.
None of us was prepared to cross this creek on our hike. We did our best to pick our way across the rocks, but all of us slipped off and hiked the rest of the way in sopping wet shoes.
Margaret and Damion explored this little cave. I wasn’t down with being on my hands and knees in shorts. Later on the trail we saw another opening to this cave, so on a return trip I’ll wear long pants and we’ll crawl through.
The most impressive sight on our hike was this waterfall. We passed by it at its level and later on a ridge, from which I made this photograph.
I didn’t intend to document this day in photographs, save perhaps the obligatory group selfie. But I’d forgotten how lovely this park is, so thank heavens for the iPhone in my pocket.
I hadn’t been here in 20 years. On my last visit, I pitched a tent for a weekend with Damion’s oldest brother, who was a teen then. That brother is now in his mid 30s and lives in Bloomington with his wife.
Damion is likely to soon move to Bloomington, as well, as he started his first career job recently and it’s located there. While I secretly wish he’d found a job closer to where I live, I’m openly glad he’ll be in the same town as his brother.
That’s the building in which I work, there across the pond. My desk is near one of those windows and has an unobstructed water view. I gather that there was some consternation among the longtimers that this prime location went to the new guy.
There’s a walking path all around the pond, accessed through the building’s back doors. With afternoon temperatures in the low 50s now, it’s often just warm enough for a walk. When my schedule allows it, I’ll make two loops of one mile each. The hard part is avoiding the geese, who think this is their turf and hiss at me as I walk by.
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.
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.
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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.