Photography

Favorite subjects: The grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art

I don’t know if I’m fully over it yet, the stiff fee the Indianapolis Museum of Art started charging in 2015 to visit any part of the museum and its grounds. I understand a fee to tour the museum — but the grounds? Really?

There is a fee-free way in, via the far west end of the campus, a small parking lot, and a long walk. But I haven’t done it. It’s a principle, darn it, and I’ve stood staunch. This walk should be as free and easy as it ever was!

But I’m almost over it. My idealism stretches only so far. If I weren’t about to move away, I’m sure that shortly I’d become willing to buy an annual membership and get back to photographing the lovely campus, on which I have not set foot in more than two and a half years.

Entering the IMA

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Kodak Ektar 100, 2014

The Indianapolis Museum of Art traces its roots to 1883, when the Art Association of Indianapolis held its first exhibit. The Art Association established its first permanent home in 1902 at 16th and Pennsylvania Streets, where Indianapolis’s Old Northside neighborhood ends and the Herron-Morton neighborhood begins. Herron-Morton gets its name in part for John Herron, who left most of his fortune to the Art Association on the condition that the funds establish a museum and art school in his name.

IMA entrance

Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom, 2010

By 1964, the Art Association’s museum was out of space. In 1966, the John Herron School of Art lost its accreditation. It was time for change. The Herron School was transferred to Indiana University, which reaccredited it and operates it today. And the Lilly family of the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company donated the family estate, Oldfields, on Michigan Road at 38th Street. The Art Association changed its name to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and in time its new facilities were built on the sprawling Oldfields grounds.

Sprawling — and stunning. The White River runs behind it; the Indiana Central Canal runs through it. (The Canal is a feature of many of my favorite subjects!) The classical buildings of the Oldfields estate contrast with the modern buildings the Museum built to house its collections. And it’s all tied together by a system of beautifully landscaped paths and trails.

Man with dog

Nikon F2AS, 135mm f/3.5 AI Nikkor, Fujicolor 200, 2014

Pathway

Kodak Pony 135 Model C, Fujicolor 200, 2013

House

Kodak Pony 135 Model C, Fujicolor 200, 2013

Everywhere you walk, there is something interesting to see.

Bridge at IMA

Olympus Stylus, Kodak Gold 200 (expired), 2013

Eden II

Pentax ME, Fujicolor 200, 80-200mm f/4 Sears zoom, 2013

Shutter

Nikon F2AS, 135mm f/3.5 AI Nikkor, Fujicolor 200

I don’t know why it took me so long to visit the IMA for photography. Except for a few photos I made when I surveyed the Michigan Road in 2008, my first visits for photography were in 2013. And my last were in 2014, for that year the IMA announced it would henceforth cost $18 to set foot on the grounds. I wrote a scathing blog post criticizing this decision then; read it here. But for those two years, I visited all the time and made dozens of lovely photographs. So many outstanding subjects lurk everywhere!

On the grounds of Oldfields

Minolta XG-1, MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2, Fujicolor 200, 2013

At the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Canon FT QL, 50mm f/1.8 Canon FL, Fujicolor 200, 2013

Steps

Pentax ME, SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4, Fujifilm Superia X-tra 800, 2013

On the bridge

Minolta XG-1, MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2, Fujicolor 200, 2013

Love

Nikon F2AS, 135mm f/3.5 AI Nikkor, Fujicolor 200, 2014

You can spend hours just photographing the flowers and other plant life.

Phlox, I think

Pentax ME, SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4, Fujifilm Superia X-tra 800, 2013

Polaflowers

Polaroid Colorpack II, Fujifilm FP-100C, 2014

Bloomed

Minolta XG-1, MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2, Fujicolor 200, 2013

Statues dot the grounds.

Cherub

Minolta XG-1, MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2, Fujicolor 200, 2013

Arms wide

Minolta XG-1, MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2, Fujicolor 200, 2013

The girls

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Kodak Ektar 100, 2014

At the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Canon FT QL, 50mm f/1.8 Canon FL, Fujicolor 200, 2013

Studying the map

Nikon F2AS, 135mm f/3.5 AI Nikkor, Fujicolor 200, 2014

For me, though, the campus’s showpiece is the Lilly house.

Oldfields

Kodak Pony 135 Model C, Fujicolor 200, 2013

Oldfields

Minolta XG-1, MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2, Fujicolor 200, 2013

Stately

Kodak Pony 135 Model C, Fujicolor 200, 2013

Dormer

Nikon F2AS, 135mm f/3.5 AI Nikkor, Fujicolor 200, 2014

Window

Nikon F2AS, 135mm f/3.5 AI Nikkor, Fujicolor 200, 2014

Arches

Nikon F2AS, 135mm f/3.5 AI Nikkor, Fujicolor 200, 2014

Evening light at Oldfields *EXPLORED*

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Kodak Ektar 100, 2014

Through the window

Pentax ME, SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4, Fujifilm Superia Xtra 800, 2014

A Lilly Christmas

Pentax ME, SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4, Fujifilm Superia Xtra 800, 2014

Tea service before the fireplace

Pentax ME, SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4, Fujifilm Superia Xtra 800, 2014

Lamp

Pentax ME, SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4, Fujifilm Superia Xtra 800, 2014

Oh my gosh, but do I miss wandering these grounds with a camera in my hands. It’s why I’m almost over the IMA’s ridiculous entry fee. $75 would buy an annual pass for me and my family.

The IMA recently announced that it is rebranding all of its offerings on its 152-acre campus — the museum, the grounds, the Lilly house, the acreage between the canal and the river, and all of the events that happen anywhere within these spaces — as Newfields. It deftly ties all of their offerings together, and reminds me that even a stroll on their grounds is good and valuable.

My wife enjoys what is now known as Newfields as well. Even though we’ll be farther away, up in Zionsville, it’s still an easy drive along I-65 to get here. A family membership might still be worth it.

Like this post? Share it on social media with the buttons below! And subscribe to get more in your inbox or reader six days a week.    Click here to subscribe!
Advertisements
Standard
Photography

Do you have any photographic haunts?

Where do you go for everyday shooting? Do you have some favorite places, places that seldom let you down?

The sprawling grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art used to be that place for me. It’s a few minutes’ drive from my home and offers a wonderful variety of subjects: nature, architecture, sculpture, landscape.

Pathway

Kodak Pony 135 Model C, Fujicolor 200, 2013

I haven’t been there in more than a year, though, since they started charging $18 per visit, even just to walk the grounds. I wrote this screed when they announced the charge, and I’m still ticked about it.

Bloomed

Minolta XG-1, 45mm f/2 MD Rokkor-X, Fujicolor 200, 2013

I think it’s the shock over having to pay so much for something that formerly was free. The IMA puts a ton of effort into its grounds. I understand that they have to cover their operating costs, and they are choosing this charge as one way of doing that.

Polaflowers

Polaroid Colorpack II, Fujifilm FP-100C, 2014

They also offer an annual pass for $55. I used to visit the IMA’s grounds a dozen or so times a year for photography, and on an annual pass that works out to $4.50 per visit. In my screed I said I thought I’d buy a pass, but I haven’t done it.

At the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Canon FT QL, 50mm f/1.8 Canon FL, Fujicolor 200, 2013

It’s because there are so many other places I can go with my camera that cost nothing. One of my favorites is Crown Hill Cemetery, on the opposite corner from the IMA. It’s enormous and lovely. I’ve featured photos from there on this blog for years.

Evening light at Oldfields *EXPLORED*

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Kodak Ektar 100, 2014

I also take a fair number of photos at Washington Park North Cemetery, as it’s within walking distance of my home. It’s not nearly as picturesque as Crown Hill, but it’s easy to reach.

The girls

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Kodak Ektar 100, 2014

I also like to walk the streets in Broad Ripple, a popular neighborhood with a lively “strip” of bars and clubs, quaint shops on the side streets, and lovely older homes for blocks around. I can get there by car in 10 minutes.

At the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Canon FT QL, 50mm f/1.8 Canon FL, Fujicolor 200, 2013

But still, I miss the IMA. I made so many wonderful photographs there. It was a great place to test a new-to-me old camera because of the variety of things available to photograph. None of my other haunts are as good.

Bridge at IMA

Olympus Stylus, Kodak Gold 200 (expired), 2013

I wish the IMA well and hope they thrive. But I also hope that someday they drop the charge to walk the grounds.

But please, do tell me in the comments about the places you visit again and again for photography.

Standard

Evening light at Oldfields

Oldfields was the mansion of Eli Lilly, who founded a pharmaceutical company that bears his name and still employs lots of people in central Indiana. Today, the house stands on the marvelous grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The IMA is near my home, so I’m over there all the time with camera in hand.

I was out walking the grounds one cool late-spring evening with my girlfriend, two of her children, and my sons. Margaret brought her Nikon D50 with the 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor lens I gave her for her birthday, and I brought my Nikon F2AS with my 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor lens. I was shooting my first ever roll of Kodak Ektar 100. We lingered for a while behind Oldfields, photographing our teenagers together among these arches. I liked the light here as the sun hung low in the west, and so I paused for this photo. The Ektar really brought this shot home. It was chosen for Flickr’s Explore feature and it got over 5,000 views in two days. That was fun!

Photography, Preservation

Captured: Evening light at Oldfields

Image
Film Photography

Different lenses, different light, different results

I have several photographic haunts – places I visit frequently when I put film into a new old camera. Especially when I find a camera to be challenging or not very enjoyable, I like to shoot familiar scenes because it’s easy.

This summer I added the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s gorgeous grounds to my haunt list. I took my Canon FT QL and my Minolta XG 1 there. The estate of Eli Lilly, who founded an important pharmaceuticals firm that is one of Indianapolis’s major employers, stands on the IMA grounds. This little footbridge is immediately south of the house. I shot it one bright but cloudy day with the Canon.

At the Indianapolis Museum of Art

On another day when the sun was out, I shot the same scene with the Minolta. I probably stood a little closer to the bridge, as it’s a slightly narrower shot with a slightly wider lens. The Minolta wore a 45mm f/2 lens, compared to the 50mm f/1.8 lens on the Canon. Even though the Canon shot is very soft at the right edge (which I think is a fault in the lens or camera), I like the Canon shot better for the misty mood it sets.

LIttle bridge

I found the Minolta to be easier and more enjoyable to use, though. I preferred its aperture-priority shooting to the Canon’s stop-down, match-needle system. The Minolta was also much easier to handle, largely because it is smaller and lighter than the Canon. But the Minolta tended to overexpose a little bit in bright sunlight. In this photo of the bridge from a different angle, despite some adjustments in photo-editing software the foliage in the lower left corner remains a little blown out.

On the grounds of Oldfields

readmore2

Standard