As autumn descended on Indiana in October, Margaret and I took our cameras on a long hike through Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. This park is quite large, so much so that people sometimes mistakenly think it’s a state park. In fact, it’s an Indianapolis city park!
Eagle Creek Park is an easy drive from our home in Zionsville, and we visit two or three times a year to hike. Autumn is by far the most beautiful time to do that.
I made some photos there with my Nikon Df and the 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF Nikkor lens attached.
The Lockerbie Square neighborhood in Downtown Indianapolis was platted between 1847 and 1850, making it one of the city’s oldest surviving neighborhoods. Its streets are lined with older homes, some which date to near the neighborhood’s founding. You’ll also find the only surviving cobblestone street in Indianapolis there.
Margaret and I went there on a photo walk one Saturday afternoon not long ago. I had a film camera along and gave it plenty of exercise, but I photographed the doors of Lockerbie Square with my iPhone 12 mini.
Here’s that cobblestone street. It lasts just one block. On this street is the home James Whitcomb Riley lived in for the last two decades of his life. Riley was a beloved writer and poet, most famous for his verses in the Indiana vernacular of the day. Riley commanded enormous crowds wherever he would speak in the Hoosier State.
That first FA looked nearly new while this second FA shows signs of heavy use. But it still works fine. Not long ago I mounted my 35-70mm f/3.3-5.6 Zoom Nikkor lens and loaded a roll of expired Kroger 200 color film. That film was made by Ferrania, which exited the film business in 2008. So this film is at least that old. I’ve shot enough of this film now to know that it looks best when I overexpose it. I set the FA to EI 100.
Margaret and I have been going to farmers markets on Saturday mornings this summer. I brought the FA to one.
I like this 35-70mm zoom lens for lazy photography, as it lets me move in or out a little without me having to physically move. It also offers a macro mode. My 55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor is by far an optically superior lens useful for normal and macro photography, but it doesn’t let me be this lazy.
On this Saturday we visited the Broad Ripple Farmers Market in Indianapolis. I used to go to it sometimes when I still lived in Indianapolis. It was in a large empty lot behind Broad Ripple High School. Since then it’s grown to be a vastly larger affair. It outgrew its space and now operates out of the huge parking lot at Second Presbyterian Church, which isn’t in Broad Ripple.
Cloud cover diffused the light all morning. Shooting at EI 100 in that light, the large apertures I needed made it easy to limit the in-focus patch.
Margaret and I seldom spend more than ten dollars at a farmers market. We go to spend time together and take advantage of the many interesting photographic subjects the setting presents. If you follow me on Flickr, that’s why you’ve seen so many vegetable photographs this summer!
My goal for thinning my camera herd a few years ago was to keep a collection of gear small enough that every camera could get some use every year or two. That’s the photographic life I’m living now! It was good to enjoy my FA’s turn.
Stephen Dowling, the man behind Kosmo Foto, is a friend of this blog. When he launched his Kickstarter for an ISO 400 black-and-white film, of course I immediately invested. The new film was to be called Agent Shadow, and it was promised to be pushable to at least ISO 3200. I’ve come to enjoy pushing black-and-white films and so was eager to give this film a try.
Stephen makes no bones about it: the Kosmo Foto films are existing films repackaged. But what fun packaging he creates! The packaging for his previous film, Mono, invoked the Russian space program, and the Agent Shadow box has a film-noir aesthetic.
My investment netted me a brick of Agent Shadow upon its release. I gave away six rolls to film-shooting friends to try and kept four for myself. I shot my first roll at box speed in my Pentax ME SE with my 35mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A lens mounted.
I started the roll at the gorgeous Second Presbyterian Church on the Northside of Indianapolis. Then I brought the camera to work with me Downtown and shot the rest of the roll on mid-afternoon walks.
The sun was fully out every day I had Agent Shadow in my camera. Normally I turn to ISO 100 films on bright days. At ISO 400 I knew I’d get small apertures, leading to everything being in focus. This faster film also let me confidently shoot in shadowy situations such as under this enormous railroad underpass.
I developed this roll in HC-110, Dilution B. The development chart Kosmo Foto provides for Agent Shadow says to develop five to six minutes at 20° C. The upstairs bathroom where I develop my film is warm in the summer despite our central air, and my distilled water checked in at 23.6°. A proper time conversion for six minutes at that temperature led to a development time of 4:28. The conventional wisdom is to avoid development times of less than five minutes with HC-110. I shrugged my shoulders and developed this roll for five minutes. It worked out: the negatives looked great coming out of the tank.
The negatives scanned easily on my Plustek 8200i. They didn’t attract much dust while drying, either, which made for a lot less work in post-processing. I boosted contrast and reduced highlights on these negatives, and of course applied a little unsharp masking, but needed to do little else to make the images look good.
Agent Shadow offers good tonality across the gray spectrum with obvious but pleasing grain. This is all in good order for a good cubic-grained ISO 400 black-and-white film!
The light areas on these images were quite white straight off the scanner, I’m sure thanks to the blazing sun bearing down on my subjects. But as I fiddled with the images in Photoshop I found that those areas weren’t blown out. There was plenty of information in the scan that let me bring out the nuance.
I was also pleased to get good blacks from Agent Shadow. Dark areas didn’t respond wonderfully to my attempts in Photoshop to pull details out, however.
Shot at ISO 400, Agent Shadow looks to be a good, versatile black-and-white film. I look forward to pushing it on my next roll, however. I’ll try ISO 1600 next, and make candids of my family around the house.
Good Morning Mama’s Yashica-D Kodak Ektachrome E100G 2014
My favorite meal to take in a restaurant is breakfast. Bring me the eggs, the bacon, the sausage, the fried potatoes. Rye toast if you have it, and plenty of butter. Keep my coffee cup filled!
Good Morning Mama’s is in the South Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis, in a former service station. That’s what we called gas stations until sometime in the 1980s, because for a long time most gas stations could also fix your car when it broke down.
Now that I’ve published my new book, Square Photographs, I’m going to keep plugging it by showing you a lot of square photographs that didn’t make the book. Click the link in the box below to get your copy!
My new book, Square Photographs, is available now!
Along what was the Dandy Trail in what is now Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, you will find an abandoned bridge. It’s hard to reach on foot. Jayson Rigsby recently contacted me to say he made photographs of it on a recent kayaking trip along Eagle Creek.
The Dandy Trail was a 1920s pleasure-drive loop in what was then the country surrounding Indianapolis. I’ve written many times about the Dandy Trail and have driven about half of it; read all about it here. Since the Dandy Trail’s heyday, Indianapolis expanded greatly, and now most of the land around the old Dandy Trail has been heavily developed.
Eagle Creek cuts across northwest Indianapolis and intersects the Dandy Trail near where the town of Traders Point used to be. Read Traders Point’s story here. In short, frequent flooding of Eagle Creek in this area led to a flood-control project in 1967 that created Eagle Creek Reservoir, which led to the creation of an enormous city park surrounding it. It also led to the demolition of almost every building in Traders Point, as it was thought the flood-control work would permanently flood the town. That didn’t happen and Traders Point was destroyed in vain.
Here’s an aerial image of Eagle Creek Park. I’ve pointed out the bridge’s location, and have roughly drawn in the now lost portion of the Dandy Trail. The lost road’s north end empties out into what was Traders Point.
Zooming in for a closer look, you can clearly see the bridge. It’s at about the vertical center, and a little left of horizontal center.
It’s interesting to me that no trace remains of the Dandy Trail as it led to and away from this bridge. Here’s an aerial image from 1956 that shows the bridge and the road.
Jayson first made this image of the bridge from the air, from just west of the bridge.
Then he got into his kayak and rowed in for a closer look. This is the north end and west side of the bridge. This bridge appears to have a pony girder truss design. The Central States Bridge Company of Indianapolis specialized in those, so this bridge might be one of theirs.
Here’s a closer look at the north end of the bridge.
This is the west side of the bridge.
I have heard that at some times of the year this bridge is submerged. I’m happy Jayson kayaked out to this bridge and gave me permission to share his photos.