Film Photography

Shooting Konica Chrome Centuria 200

When Stephen Dowling of Kosmo Foto launched his new site World on Film last summer, he asked me to contribute an article for its debut. That sounded like fun, so I wrote about my Route 66 trip, which I shot on a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye; read it here. To say thanks, he sent me a few rolls of expired slide film. The first one into my Pentax Spotmatic F was 2003-vintage Konica Chrome Centuria 200.

You never know what you’re going to get with expired film. That goes triple for slide film, given its narrow exposure latitude. Conventional wisdom says expose one stop less for every decade a film has been expired. But I’m not conventionally wise: I shot at box speed.

Each frame was badly washed out. Fortunately, Photoshop was able to make usable images out of the entire roll.

At Crown Hill

I started shooting this roll before I moved from Indianapolis to Zionsville. I wanted one more walk through Crown Hill Cemetery, which was so convenient to my former home.

Please sit

I’ve shot this view from Strawberry Hill, the highest elevation in Indianapolis, many times. But never before has it looked like it came straight from a dystopian apocalypse movie.

At the top of Indianapolis

Reading up on this film, I learned that it had a reputation for grain. I got plenty of grain, all right! But these heavily Photoshopped images aren’t a fair representation of what this film could do when it was new.

Down the hill

The 55mm f/1.8 SMC Takumar lens I used was just right for the cemetery’s wide-open spaces and interesting details.

They served

As a whiskey fan, the very thought that a pump might freely deliver delicious Woodford Reserve bourbon charms me no end. (Check the stamping on the pump body.) My sour mash dreams were dashed when I learned that this pump is from the Woodford Manufacturing Company of Colorado Springs. This looks like their Model Y34, which has been manufactured continually since 1929.

Pump

I finished the roll on an evening walk through Zionsville Village. It’s become tradition that I photograph the Black Dog Books sign. Then Margaret and I stepped inside for the first time, where I found and purchased a book of Edward Weston photographs.

Black dog

This expired stock let every color fade away — except red.

Oak St.

This film was still in my Spotmatic when Margaret and I traveled to Versailles, Indiana, for a meeting of the Historic Michigan Road Association. We met in a stunning Art Deco church. Look for photos of that church on this expired film in an upcoming post!

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Photography

Favorite subjects: Crown Hill Cemetery

Is it weird to like photographing cemeteries? I’m drawn to them. When I’m on a road trip I stop to tour even the most ragtag patch of graves. But I prefer beautiful cemeteries, and Crown Hill is easily the most beautiful of any of the cemeteries I’ve photographed. It could be my favorite favorite subject of all.

A cemetery could be the best place for an introverted photographer to go when he needs some alone time. I seldom encounter other people in cemeteries, and when I do, they leave me alone. But my wife sometimes comes along. I know it’s love because being with her is nearly as good as pure alone time. We love to take photo walks together. She took this photo of me at Crown Hill on one of our walks.

A portrait of the photographer

Nikon N60, 28-80 mm f/3.3-5.6 AF Nikkor, Fujicolor 200, 2015. Margaret Grey photo.

The Civil War still raged when Crown Hill was founded in 1863. It was the city’s second major cemetery even though it was located, at the time, outside the city limits.

CrownHillMap.PNG

Imagery and map data © 2017 Google

Spanning 38th Street along the Michigan Road, Crown Hill started at 236 acres and expanded over the years to its current 555 acres. More than 200,000 people are interred here, from everyday citizens to titans of industry, celebrities of their time, one President, and three Vice Presidents.

The cemetery got its name from a notable hill on the property that came to be called the “crown” of Indianapolis. It’s the highest elevation in a notably flat city. Standing on the crown, you can see for miles.

Let’s start our photo tour at the crown and take in the view. I’ve shot it over and over. I love it.

Indianapolis from the heights

Olympus OM-1, 50mm f/1.8 F. Zuiko Auto-S, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200, 2015

Long view

Nikon N2000, 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E, Kodak Ektar 100, 2014

Many of the most prominent names in Indianapolis have tombs on this hill. But at the very top lies a poet who, in his day, had rock-star celebrity status.

Looking uphill at Riley's rest

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

It’s hard to imagine now how any poet could be so adored as Riley was. At around the turn of the 20th century he was the nation’s most-read poet. His public appearances could bring out thousands of people. Indiana schools were required to teach his poems in the 1910s! His 1916 death was front-page news across the country. His body was allowed to lie in state in the Indiana Statehouse, an honor previously bestowed only on Abraham Lincoln. So it was small wonder that he was buried at such a prominent and visible place.

Riley's rest

Kodak Pony 135 Model C, Fujicolor 200, 2013

Schoolchildren traditionally leave coins on his tomb. It is all donated to the Riley Hospital for Children.

James Whitcomb Riley

Olympus Stylus, Kodak Gold 200 (expired), 2013

This little child, sitting next to Riley’s tomb, will forever read Riley’s rhymes.

Riley reader

Canon PowerShot S95, 2011

Many of Crown Hill’s most interesting grave markers are on the hill.

Home Sweet Home

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

Head

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

Short steps

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E, Kodak Portra 160, 2015

Crown Hill is also a showplace of cemetery architecture. As a bridgefan, I love the bridge that carries 38th Street over a road that connects the north and south portions of the cemetery. When you drive along 38th Street you might never know the bridge is here. It was built in 1925.

Crown Hill bridge

Canon PowerShot S95, 2011

On one visit, we met mama deer and her fawns at the bridge.

Under the bridge at Crown Hill

Canon PowerShot S95, 2011

One of my favorite photos from Crown Hill is this one from under the bridge.

Tunnel *EXPLORED*

Nikon F3HP, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Kodak Plus-X, 2015

Crown Hill has two entrances. This gate, built 1885, awaits at the south entrance.

Gates

Olympus Stylus, Kodak Gold 200 (expired), 2013

The actual gates are ornate iron affairs.

Cemetery gate

Yashica-D, Kodak E100G, 2014

Just beyond the gate stands the Waiting Station, built the same year.

Crown Hill gate

Kodak Pony 135 Model C, Fujicolor 200, 2013

The 1875 Gothic Chapel is just down the road from the Gate and the Waiting Station. It held James Whitcomb Riley’s body for a year while his burial site was prepared.

Chapel

Kodak Pony 135 Model C, Fujicolor 200, 2013

57 private mausoleums dot the grounds, and they can be stunning.

Columns

Voigtländer Vito II, Kodak Plus-X (expired, cold stored), 2015

This mausoleum holds the body of Carl Fisher, who founded the Indianapolis 500 and the Lincoln and Dixie Highways.

Fisher

Sears KS-2, 135mm f/2.8 Auto Sears MC, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200, 2015

Many of the less prominent gravesites have interesting markers, too.

Grave marker

Canon PowerShot S95, 2011

Test

Certo Super Sport Dolly, Model A, Kodak Ektar 100, 2017

Even graves that have plainer markers seem more interesting because of the lovely setting.

Barney

Nikon N2000, 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E, Kodak Ektar 100, 2014

Autumn is stunning at Crown Hill. It’s my favorite time to go.

Autumn at Crown Hill

Nikon F2AS, 55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor, Kodak Ektar 100, 2015

Autumn at Crown Hill

Nikon F2AS, 55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor, Kodak Ektar 100, 2015

Autumn at Crown Hill

Nikon F2AS, 55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor, Kodak Ektar 100, 2015

My favorite subject within this favorite subject is the National Cemetery. Established in 1866 and administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, this 1.4-acre site inters primarily Union Army soldiers who fought in the Civil War.

Crown Hill National Cemetery

Yashica-D, Kodak E100G, 2014

795 soldiers are buried here.

At Crown Hill

Nikon F2, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros, 2016

The plain markers’ sober, dignified typography makes them compelling.

James Richard Bradford

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros, 2016

Charles H. Ackerman

Yashica-D, Kodak Ektar 100, 2017

I have regularly taken my sons to Crown Hill for the portraits I make of them. There are plenty of places to make portraits that are not obviously in a cemetery. But this spot before military graves was interesting enough to me that I photographed it anyway.

Damion

Nikon F2AS, 135mm f/3.5 AI Nikkor, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros, 2016

Let’s take one last trip up the big hill for a parting view of the city.

Overlooking the city

Voigtländer Vito II, Kodak Plus-X (expired, cold stored), 2015

I believe I will miss Crown Hill the most of my favorite photographic subjects. Maybe I can get Margaret to drive down with me sometimes. This is one worth hanging onto even if it does take me a lot longer to drive to it now.

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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.

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Road Trips

Historical structures on the Michigan Road in northwest Indianapolis

On my recent bike ride up the Michigan Road pedestrian trail in northwest Indianapolis, I passed a number of historical structures that I photographed when I surveyed the Michigan Road in 2008. Surprisingly, they have changed very little! Here are some then-and-now photos where the then and the now are pretty similar.

While the old Crooked Creek School building was demolished in the 1980s, the entrance arch remains allegedly on its original spot just north of Kessler Boulevard. Here it is in 2008.

School No. 7 / Crooked Creek Elementary School

And here it is in 2017. Sadly, the top of the structure is a little damaged. How does damage like that even happen?

Arch at Crooked Creek School

This 1840s farmhouse at 6358 Michigan Road was vacant and for sale in 2008.

1840s farmhouse, 64th and Michigan

It remained vacant for a long time before someone finally bought it and lived in it. I think it’s been sold one more time since then. I live around the corner from this house and drive by frequently. I’ve watched many exterior improvements be made — all faithful, thanks to protective covenants Indiana Landmarks placed on the house.

1840s farmhouse

A you-pick blueberry patch went in next door. It is kind of startling to find such a thing within the city limits! I’m pretty sure it’s run by the people in this old farmhouse.

Blueberry patch

The Aston Inn at 6620 Michigan Road was built in 1852 and, for a time, served as an inn for travelers. In those days, it was still a full day’s journey from here to downtown Indianapolis! Here are my 2008 photos.

Aston Inn

Aston Inn

Little has changed in 2017, except that the trees and shrubs in front of the house have grown to block the house. I’m sure the owners hope the greenery will turn down the volume on the traffic noise from always-busy Michigan Road. But it’s a shame not to be able to fully see this great old house.

Aston Inn

Aston Inn

In Augusta, the 1832 Boardman House, at 7716 Michigan Road (right), stands next to this block house that looks to be from the early 20th century. I photographed it in 2008 both before and after the owner de-ivied it.

Augusta

Augusta - Bordman House

Boardman House de-ivied

Boardman House

I met the owner of this house once and he said that it is an extremely sturdily built structure, with walls a foot thick (I think) on the bottom story and hand-hewn exposed beams overhead in the cellar. He has since sold the house. The new owner has cleaned the place up nicely. The block house has been de-ivied, as well.

House in Augusta

The Boardman House

The Boardman House

Across the street, at 7711 Michigan Road, stands this little structure that I feel certain is a log cabin beneath that siding, which looks from a distance to be aluminum. The shape of the house suggests it strongly. The center door is flanked by windows. There’s a large space above the door and windows before the roof begins, suggesting a typical loft above the ground floor. The sloping-roof addition is a classic way to expand a log cabin. I first photographed this house in 2010.

Log cabin?

In 2017, the siding is dirty and the gutter is hanging low — time for a little basic maintenance. But the house still stands. And I’m still dying to know whether I’m right. I hope the owner stumbles upon this post and leaves a comment.

Possible log cabin

Here’s hoping that I can come back with my camera in another nine years and find all of these structures still in good condition.

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History, Photography

Favorite subjects: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Indianapolis

My first photographic visit to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church wasn’t until 2014, and I regret that I didn’t start photographing this lovely building earlier. It’s just a wonderful subject. Taken at distance, classic shapes of sacred architecture layer before you while cut limestone textures add interest. Moving in close, plenty of compelling details lurk in the nooks and crannies.

Arches

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E, Ilford Delta 100, 2015

St. Paul’s was founded in 1866 in downtown Indianapolis, but by the late 1930s it was clear that the church’s future lay north of the city, in what was then considered the country. The church secured a plot beyond the Indiana Central Canal on a recently built extension of North Meridian Street, Indianapolis’s main north-south street and grand thoroughfare. People were starting to move out there into newly built, early suburban neighborhoods. St. Paul’s decided that’s where it needed to serve.

North Meridian

Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M, Kodak Gold 200, 2017

St. Paul’s new building was constructed just after World War II  where Meridian makes a distinctive and singular curve as it prepares to cross the White River a half mile to the north.

StPaulsMap

Imagery and map data © 2017 Google

For a subject to be a Favorite Subject, it needs to be close to home so I can reach it easily. St. Paul’s is a short drive down Kessler Boulevard from my home. I pass it right by on my way to Broad Ripple.

I was headed to Broad Ripple, actually, the first time I photographed St. Paul’s. It was evening and light would soon run out. As I waited at the light on Kessler at Meridian I spied the church out of the corner of my eye. It wasn’t the first time I’d noticed the church, of course. I’d even been inside it once, for a wedding. But that day I realized that if I just pulled in and photographed this church, I’d have more time behind my camera before light faded. And then the church offered so much to shoot that I came back again and again.

The church’s design provides lots of intersecting planes, which can create interest.

Planter

Canon T70, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8, Fujicolor 200, 2015

St. Paul's

Agfa Isolette III, 85mm f/4.5 Agfa Apotar, Kodak T-Max 400, 2015

Church building

Kodak Six-20, Kodak Verichrome Pan (expired), 2016

Light plays well across this church, creating beautiful shadows.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Nikon F2AS, 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AI Zoom Nikkor, Ilford Delta 400, 2014

Church door

Canon A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF, Fujicolor 200, 2016

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Nikon F2AS, 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AI Zoom Nikkor, Ilford Delta 400, 2014

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Nikon F2AS, 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AI Zoom Nikkor, Ilford Delta 400, 2014

I’ve yet to explore all of this lovely church’s details.

Ring things

Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E, Ilford Delta 100, 2015

Just a random turtle

iPhone 6s, 2016

Serious statue

Canon A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF, Fujicolor 200, 2016

Red berries

Canon A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF, Fujicolor 200, 2016

Angel lighting the way

Canon T70, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8, Fujicolor 200, 2015

As I was putting this post together I realized I had inadvertently created a series of photos that zoom in from this door to an iron bench that usually stands nearby.

Arched door

Canon T70, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8, Fujicolor 200, 2015

St. Paul's

Agfa Isolette III, 85mm f/4.5 Agfa Apotar, Kodak T-Max 400, 2015

Leaves on the iron bench *EXPLORED*

Canon A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF, Fujicolor 200, 2016

One thing I like about photographing churches is that even though I am trespassing, strictly speaking, nobody ever seems to care. I guess I look harmless enough as a middle-aged man with an old film camera in his hands. I stay away when a church building is obviously in use, but frequently I’ve been to St. Paul’s when a few people are about and they always leave me to my photography. If anyone from St. Paul’s ever reads this, please accept my thanks!

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Stories Told

Everybody wants to know where Jimmy has gone

My brief radio career ended just before Labor Day 23 years ago.

MeOnWZZQ

On the air at WZZQ, Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1994

I’ve written about my broadcasting days many times because it remains a proud, fond memory. As a boy, I wanted to be the voice coming out of the radio speaker. I got my chance in college, and parlayed that experience into two part-time gigs on commercial stations.

After I moved to Indianapolis I sent an audition tape to every station in town. None of them bit. Only one station bothered to send me a rejection letter, which kindly said that I might have been fine for Terre Haute but I wasn’t ready for the big time. I took the hint and moved on from radio forever.

But I still remember the fun I had. And I have lots of aircheck tapes, all of which I digitized a few years ago so I can enjoy those memories anytime.

For my last show, I asked the program director to schedule a certain song coming out of my last break, a song new that year from The Allman Brothers Band. Its first two lines were spot on:

Everybody wants to know where Jimmy has gone
He left town, I doubt if he’s coming back home

Here’s the audio I recorded of that last break. You’ll hear me talk after a song and start the first commercial. Then you’ll hear the end of the last commercial in that break – and then you’ll hear me sign off for good.

I walked out of the building and out of radio forever. I listened to the rest of the song in my car as I drove home.

Eagle-eyed readers will remember this post from the first time I published it, about this time of year in 2012.

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