Thursday, March 26, 2015

A double dose of Shakespeare:
First up, Much Ado About Nothing

It's worked out for the past year that I've photographed dress rehearsals for two Indianapolis community theater groups presenting twice-yearly shows at almost the same times, and it's been a challenge to say the least.

It takes time to wade through thousands of images on just one shoot -- deciding which to keep (and which to discard), then making those images available to the theater companies eager to use photos to promote their performances. It has been hectic and demanding, but I've pulled it off.

It is that time of the year again. One of the theater groups, the all-volunteer Garfield Shakespeare Company, ended its spring production of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" last weekend. While I succeeded in funneling GSC a good number of images to promote the play for the run, I hadn't had the time to do a blog post on it.

The other troupe, First Folio Productions/Wayne Township Community Theater, presents its final three performances of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday at the beautiful theater in Ben Davis High School, 1200 N. Girls School Road, just a half-mile or so west of the 10th Street exit off I-465 exit on the Far Westside of Indianapolis.

Both are/were fun productions -- certainly worth seeing. It's too late to drop in on GSC's show, since it's over already. But it's not too late to see "Much Ado About Nothing," and if you haven't checked it out already, it'd be worth it.

The bard wrote this comedy in 1599, and First Folio places the story in post-World War II, so you'll see Army uniforms and hear big band music. While much of the acting is top-notch, actress Christina Howard steals the show in the second half, playing the British-accent leader of a somewhat bumbling military police unit that unleashes gags and funny antics that keep you on edge waiting for the next. Christina is the animated and gesturing gal in the photo leading off the post. You'll also see a handful of cast members with poor hiding skills; extensive dialogues are held by other characters who are aware of the "hiding" cast members and have fun with that advantage.

"Much Ado" has 7:30 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday and a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. You can buy tickets at the door up to an hour before show time.

Because I can still help the "Much Ado" show with some PR, I'll present pics from my shoot in this blog. I'll recap the "Merry Wives" show in a later post. Eventually galleries will be available for both shoots at my site at SmugMug, but they're not ready yet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

10 plus years of shoots in Garfield Park

From my first visit to Indianapolis' Garfield Park for a photo shoot 12 years ago or so, it'd always been in the back of mind that at some point, I might amass enough images to warrant creating a "best of" Garfield Park gallery. Over the years, some people familiar with my repertoire would joke about how I needed to hit the road and look for other subject material.

I can't say I know exactly how many images I've made at the park in that time span. I do know there are a lot. I've shot landscapes, seasonal pictures, events ranging from Vintage Base Ball to the local bicentennial observance of Mexican independence from Spain, florals (both inside the conservatory and outside in the Sunken Garden), high-dynamic range (HDR) photography, some portraiture, and full production shoots of almost a dozen of the biennial plays presented by the all-volunteer Garfield Shakespeare Company.

These images have have fit into various "type" categories in my sundry galleries at SmugMug, which means they are scattered among several galleries. It would have been difficult for someone to go any single gallery there and get a firm grasp on the breadth and spectrum of the park shoots described above. It wasn't until recently, when I received several inquiries about my Garfield Park images, that it occurred to me that I really ought to try and make a consolidated gallery for what I consider representative work in and around Garfield Park.

I've worked off and on the two months trying to do just that. I came up with roughly 320 images, which might strike some as a lot for a "best of" compilation in the new gallery. I tried to represent everything of significance that I shot, organizing them roughly by season -- winter, spring, summer and fall -- largely because a significant number of images were taken to record the community's oldest park in its various seasonal "looks." I ended the gallery with the theatrical images, and I don't think I have every play -- yet -- represented in that montage.

The pictures include the park's landmarks -- the pagoda, the arts center, the MacAllister Amphitheater, the library, the Burrello Family Center -- as well as other attractions, such as the aquatic center, the Gen. Henry Lawton statue and Civil War memorial, the World War I memorial grove, Fire Station 29, Tickle Belly bridge, and Bean Creek and Pleasant Run, which converge at the north end of the park. I also included a small number of shots from the 2009 Miracle Mile Parade, as well as a shot or two from neighborhoods adjacent to the park.

I don't suppose the result can be described as a definitive "best of" collection, but I prefer to look at it as representative, and not a "best of." If I ever need to quickly get my hands on images representing my photography in the park, that's what I'd look at first.

One of the challenges of writing about this post was to select the photos to include here ... and to pick out a single image to lead off the post. Those of you familiar with the constitution of this blog have come to appreciate how the lead-off photo is something I spend a lot of time trying to decide, because it not only best represents (there's that word again) the subject matter, but also must serve to carry the whole post.

The photo leading off the post isn't one I had considered using in that position until only recently -- when I reached the end of composing this text. The image was made on July 17, 2004, not more than a month after I purchased my first digital camera -- an original Canon Rebel (300D). But it's been one of my favorites taken in the Sunken Garden, and the chance of coming across two small children, both standing with hands on hips while admiring one of the fountains, was a fortuitous catch, I thought.

Many of the photos in the new gallery were taken since I launched this blog in December 2008, which means they undoubtedly have appeared here at least once already. So I decided that images I would use in this post, with one exception, would date from 2004-08, since none of those (with rare exceptions) have appeared in the blog. That way, blog content remains "new" (to the blog, anyway), even if it's a bit dated. I did give each of the older images a freshening up in newer software to hopefully improve on what I was able to do 10 years ago or so.

Above and next two below: These images were taken with my Canon 300D (original digital Rebel) on Jan. 8, 2005, the morning after a rare kind of snowfall in Indianapolis -- the type where the temperature is cold enough to turn precipitation to snow, but warm enough for the flakes to stick to whatever it falls on. It was a picturesque morning in the park, and I was so pleased I got out there to capture these images when I did. I applied a texturizing filter in post-processing on the second image below. So many of the photos taken in that shoot look like they were taken either in black-and-white or converted to monochrome, but the image above and below are the original color versions. The second below was converted to monochrome during the texturizing process.

Above and next three below: Photos taken at the conservatory's annual spring bulb show. I applied a selective color treatment to the one above, taken in 2008. The first below and the two cone flowers below it were from 2007.  

 Above: A frame from the 2004 orchid show at the conservatory.

Above and below: Shots from the summer displays in the Sunken Garden, the above in 2006, the one below in 2004.

Above: An attempt at dealing with backlight during a park walk-through in August 2006.

Above: A long-range view of the park's aquatic center in June 2006.

Above: A backlight composition taken from a 2008 summer display in the terrace overlooking the Sunken Garden. 

Above and below: From a free concert by the Wright Brothers at the MacAllister Amphitheater in August 2006.

Above and below: From a June 2008 performance of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis, conducted by Orcenith Smith.

Above and below: Carl Storie, a prominent Indianapolis rock music entertainer, was the featured entertainer at the June 2006 "America, We Remember" observance at the amphitheater. 

Above: The Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers in front of the stage for the June 2004 "America, We Remember" observance.

Above and next two below: Indianapolis jazz violinist Cathy Morris, accompanied by an ensemble, gave outdoor performances in the Sunken Garden as part of the "Music in the Garden" series. The image above was taken in June 2005; the two below in July 2006.

Above: The Garfield Park Arts Center fenced off some of the open meadow behind the building to display a special sand sculptures exhibit in summer 2008. I was there in early August, while most of the sculptures were still works in progress, and shot this through the fencing using a zoom lens.  

Above: Kids chase after candy thrown from an entry in the Miracle Mile Parade along Madison Avenue on Sept. 1, 2007. 

The statue of Maj. Gen. Henry Lawton, who served in the Civil, Indian and Spanish-American wars and was a member and first sergeant of the 30th Indiana Infantry during the Civil War. 

Above and two below: Night shots of the park's pedestrian roundabout (above), taken in summer 2004, and of the Sunken Garden (below), taken in early September 2008.

Above: A favorite autumn shot, the MacAllister Amphitheater framed in 2006 by a tree outside the amphitheater fencing.

Above and below: Versions of almost the same late-afternoon shot taken seven years apart. The one above was shot in 2004; the one below, a high-dynamic range (HDR) rendering, in 2011.