Garrett at the bridge

My son at the old railroad bridge
Minolta XG 1, 50mm f/1.7 Minolta MD
Agfa Vista 200 at EI 100
2018

A lot of abandoned railroad infrastructure remains across our nation. As railroads consolidated and shed lines through the 20th century, they left a lot behind.

Some of those lines have been converted to rail-trails. The best-known one in central Indiana is the Monon, named for its former rail line. But there are others.

A short rail-trail in Zionsville ends/begins at this bridge over Eagle Creek. A ramp leads down into Starkey Nature Park below, where there are great hiking trails. I like to go over there with my sons when they visit. Hence this photo.

This line was originally part of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway, also known as the Big Four Railroad. The New York Central took it over in 1906; they built this bridge. In 1968 New York Central merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad to form Penn Central, which went bankrupt in 1970. When Conrail was formed in 1976 it took over this line. I don’t know when it was abandoned.

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Film Photography

single frame: My son at the old railroad bridge

My son near an old railroad bridge in Zionsville, Indiana.

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Film Photography

Shooting Kosmo Foto Mono in 120

I often like the medium-format version of a film better than its 35mm counterpart. The larger negative opens up the film and shows you what it can really do. This goes for the new 120 Mono film from Kosmo Foto.

Flowers

When friend-of-the-blog Stephen Dowling, the man behind Kosmo Foto, announced this new film, I preordered immediately. My order arrived in due course, but it took me a couple months to find a day to spool a roll into my Yashica-D. I took both on a walk up and down the lovely Main Street in Zionsville.

One Nine Five

Dowling makes no bones about it: this is an existing film, repackaged for Kosmo Foto. This classic emulsion features strong contrast and managed grain, much like black-and-white films of old. Best of all, it’s reasonably priced. If you’re curious, get yours here.

Bus

It was a full-sun summer day as I strolled Zionsville’s charming brick Main Street. A lot of classic emulsions struggle to keep highlights in check on days like this; no so Mono.

Brick street

Moving in close, as close as my TLR would let me anyway, Mono shows good resolving power.

Chickens on the wall

I don’t mind doing a little work in Photoshop to make my photos more presentable, but it sure is nice when I can use them right off the scanner. Such was largely the case with these images. The only thing I did consistently was rotate them slightly so the verticals were vertical and the horizontals were horizontal; I do struggle to hold a TLR level.

Winery

It’s not a photowalk in Zionsville unless I photograph the great Black Dog Books sign.

Black Dog Books

Rich blacks, reasonable midtones, good contrast, barely detectable grain. What’s not to like about Kosmo Foto Mono in 120?

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All week I’m sharing single-subject photo series I’ve made.

I love used bookstores, especially small ones with carefully selected offerings. If you do, too, then please visit Zionsville and step into Black Dog Books. Be sure to greet the genuine black dog that snoozes on the floor.

Black Dog Books

Konica Autoreflex T3, 50mm f/1.7 Hexanon AR, Fujicolor 200

Black Dog Books

Ansco B2 Speedex, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros

Black Dog Books

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

Black Dog Books

Nikon N8008, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 AF Nikkor, Kodak Tri-X 400

Black Dog Books

Pentax Spotmatic F, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Takumar, Kodak Plus-X

Black dog

Pentax Spotmatic F, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Takumar, Konica Chrome Centuria 200 (x-12-2003)

Black Dog Books

Pentax K10D, 18-55mm f/3.5-5/6 SMC Pentax DA-AL

Black Dog Books

Olympus XA, Kosmo Foto Mono

Black Dog Books

Yashica Electro 35 GSN, Kodak Tri-X 400

Black Dog Books

Nikon N90s, 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6G AF Nikkor, Agfa CT Precisa (expired 1/2006), processed C41

Black Dog Books

Argus A-Four, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros

Around Zionsville

Pentax Spotmatic F, 35mm f/3.5 Super-Multi-Coated Takumar, Kodak Ektar 100

Around Zionsville

Pentax Spotmatic F, 35mm f/3.5 Super-Multi-Coated Takumar, Kodak Ektar 100

Black Dog Books

Canon Canonet QL17 G-III, Agfa Vista 200

Black Dog Books

Olympus Stylus, Kodak Tri-X 400

Black Dog Books

Nikon Nikomat FTn, 50mm f/2 Nikkor H-C, Fujicolor 200

Black Dog Books

Nikon Nikomat FTn, 50mm f/2 Nikkor H-C, Fujicolor 200

Black Dog Books

Olympus Trip 35, Kodak ColorPlus

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Photography

Black Dog Books

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Essay

Safety and diversity

When I lived in Indianapolis I felt safe. I lived in a part of town that had little or no crime. I was never the victim of a crime and I was never under threat. Indianapolis has bad neighborhoods; the church I attend is in one of them. I just stayed out of there at night and all was well.

I moved to Zionsville, an Indianapolis suburb, a couple years ago. I feel ultra safe here.

Around Zionsville

I think now that I merely didn’t feel unsafe when I lived in Indianapolis. I recently started working in Downtown Indianapolis, a place I used to visit frequently when I lived in the city. As I walk those streets now I realize I’m always lightly vigilant, always generally aware of my surroundings.

Because my guard is completely down in Zionsville, I can see now that I was always this watchful when I lived in Indianapolis.

Parked by the blue door

I think I feel safe enough to be this relaxed and trusting because in Zionsville, everyone looks and behaves like me, or like someone obviously in a higher station in life than me. In Indianapolis, I encountered people of many backgrounds, people who didn’t look like me.

I don’t like to think of myself as prejudiced, but perhaps I am in this way. If nothing else, living in Zionsville has certainly taught me that it’s easy to feel safe in a homogeneous community.

Down a Zionsville sidewalk

Yet I miss the diversity of Indianapolis. When I moved there in 1994, my first wife and I chose a home in an area of mixed race so we and our children would have friends of many colors and backgrounds. It worked!

Yet when we went out on the town — infrequently, as our children kept us busy — we never felt a part of a community. We were just two people out among strangers. I used to think that was largely on me, as I’m a keep-to-myself introvert. But now I’m not so sure.

Around Zionsville

When my current wife and I go out in Zionsville, there’s a feeling that we’re among our people. We have random conversations with strangers. My wife always starts them (see above, re: keep-to-myself introvert), but I always participate in them. Heartily.

In Zionsville when I see someone who is not white or is not wearing clothes that suggest at least an upper-middle-class background, I immediately assume they’re not from here. And then I’m startled by my own prejudice.

This is just an experience report. I can’t draw any hard conclusions. But I wonder: does choosing diversity lead to a reduced feeling of safety, and does choosing homogeneity lead to an increased feeling of safety? Am I objectively safer in Zionsville than in even my nearly-no-crime neighborhood in Indianapolis? I’m not sure.

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Film Photography

One Nine Five

Some subjects draw me in every time I pass by with a camera. This scene on Main Street in Zionsville has become one of those subjects. I am sure I have at least one more photo from here, but I can’t find it now. Enjoy these five.

One Nine Five

Nikon Nikomat FTn, 50mm f/2 Nikkor H-C, Fujicolor 200, 2019

One Nine Five *EXPLORED*

Yashica Electro 35 GSN, Kodak Tri-X 400, 2018

One Nine Five

Olympus Trip 35, Kodak Color Plus, 2019

Around Zionsville

Pentax Spotmatic F, 35mm f/3.5 Super-Multi-Coated Takumar, Kodak Ektar 100, 2018

Around Zionsville

Pentax Spotmatic F, 35mm f/3.5 Super-Multi-Coated Takumar, Kodak Ektar 100, 2018

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Vase

Vase
Nikon Nikkormat FTn, 50mm f/2 Nikkor H-C
Kodak Portra 400
2019

How fortunate I’ve been these last couple years to live so close to Zionsville’s charming downtown. It’s just a short drive to enjoy the boutiques and galleries and restaurants.

We make good use of Zionsville’s Main Street. On the morning I’m writing this my wife and I are waking up after an impromptu and deeply enjoyed night on the little town. Often when family comes to visit we stroll this brick street and pop into whatever shops are open. It’s always a lovely time. I bring a camera, naturally. That’s how I made this photograph. This potter’s work is always for sale in this particular gallery.

How improbable Zionsville’s Main Street is to me, lined with these perfect little shops that are seldom busy. At any random time I’m in town, several of them aren’t even open. I wonder how any of them turn a profit.

Together, my wife and I are in the top five percent of earners nationwide. (It takes surprisingly little to join that club.) Yet I am sure we are in the bottom quarter of earners in Zionsville. There’s serious money here.

I assume these shops are run by people whose families have plenty of money. Nobody’s counting on these boutiques to pay the mortgage and feed the children. As long as their shops break even, they’re fine.

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Film Photography

single frame: Vase

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