Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sahm Park ... and other things in Indy and Fishers I came across on a 5-mile walk

The fourth and final post from my recent visit to Indiana covers more new territory for me. For one, I'd never been to Sahm Park in northern Marion County ... until I strolled through it on May 10.

I had an annual warranty appointment for my car at Ziebart in Castleton, and Ziebart told me they needed several hours to finish its work. So rather than wait around for up to a half-hour for a Ziebart driver to return to the shop then take me back to Lee Ann's daughter's house in Fishers, I decided to walk the five miles there.

I didn't have my DSLR or camera bag with me, so on the walk back, I took all of the pictures in this post with my iPhone X.

Sahm is just northeast of Castleton Square Mall and is adjacent to and west of Sahm Golf Course. While walking through Sahm, I came across the swimming pool and tennis, basketball and sand volleyball courts. A guy like me carrying a phone camera fetched a lot of attention quickly when I approached the tennis courts, as evidenced by the photo leading off the post. I had just walked up to this point and lifted the camera ... and heads turned.

On the access road that separates the park from the golf course, a huge net lines a portion of the road as a backstop for golfers practicing on the driving range.

North of 91st Street, I came across several housing additions that were new to me. And farther north along Willow View Road, I came upon the backside of yet another golf facility -- Balmoral Golf Course.

As always, for view a larger, sharper version of an image, simply click on the image. That is particularly important for visitors accessing the blog from a mobile device. To view a full gallery of my shoot through Sahm Park and other areas north of it, simply follow the link in this sentence.

The Sahm Park pool (above) and the pool's massive water slide (below). The pool was not open, so all photos of the pool facilities were taken either above or through the chain-link fence.

The park's sand volleyball courts (above) and basketball courts (below). 

While in the park, I had a chance to witness how the city hauls away and replaces recycling drop-off bins, a process I'd never seen before, even though I used the bin in Garfield Park for many, many years. 

The Castleton Fire Department station, on the west end of the park.

A hexagon-shaped shelter in the park, something I can't say I'd ever seen before. 

The Sahm Golf Course greeting sign (above) and the large driving range net (below) that I mentioned in the text above.

At some point while handling my phone camera, perhaps as I pulled out the phone to compose this photo, I inadvertently pressed a button directing the camera to shoot in monochrome. I kinda like it. 

This access is for the Steeplechase addition on East 91st Street.

Above and below: Two scenes taken from the back side of Balmoral Golf Course.

 Above: One view of Fishers Fire Department Station 3 on Willow View Road.

Above: While walking along the east side of Allisonville Road just south of Easy Street, one comes across this pond and fountain inside a residential development.

Above and below are two commercial developments of interest that I passed along my walk. Above, the new Fishers location for MashCraft Brewing Co. I didn't stop in, but I know of it because my children took me to MashCraft's original site in Greenwood for my birthday a few years ago, and we all enjoyed ourselves. I heard that MashCraft also has opened a location in downtown Indianapolis. Lee Ann and I frequented The Roost (below) quite a few times in our years in Indiana. And ... last Christmas season when we were last in Indiana, Lee Ann's son-in-law Matt and I made a beverage run to the Payless Liquor store next door to the Roost. A marketing representative was offering samples of Ole Smokey Tennessee Salted Caramel Whiskey, and I tried it. It was splendidly smooth, so I bought a bottle. Matt liked it, too (and he said he also sampled Ole Smokey's Mango whiskey, but I don't remember it). I have not been able to find Ole Smokey in North Carolina yet, so when I was in Indiana this month, I bought a bottle (or possibly two or three) to make sure I had enough at least until I could make it back to Indiana ...

Monday, May 21, 2018

A return to a park off the beaten path

Eight years ago in July, I visited Southeastway Park in southeast Marion County, Ind., one of the few pockets of rural territory in all of metro Indianapolis. In July 2010, I was struck by the fields of yellow cone flowers over much of the meadows near the front of the park, and I included quite a few pictures of that scene in the post here that I did after my visit.

Until two weeks ago, I had visited the park only one other time. It was about two years ago -- a quick drive-through -- and I was disappointed to see no evidence of the cone flowers. I had to believe the cone flowers were planned because there were mowed paths of lawn, apparent paths giving visitors a way to stroll through the meadow and appreciate the flowers (see picture at right). One of my favorite shots of the cone flowers was the one below, where a couple of taller white wild flowers stood out in the fields of gold (a nod to Sting).

When I was back in Indiana in early May, thinking about where I could go to indulge some photography, I recalled my first visit to Southeastway ... and felt drawn to return. In was late morning, and there were a couple of school buses and a lot of children in the park when I arrived. I tried to steer clear of them and succeeded for the most part.

A couple things stood out from my visit, which was much shorter than the first (I didn't spend any time along Buck Creek this time around, for example). For one, there was the aforementioned lack of yellow cone flowers.

For another, the main building on the grounds had been painted a bright orange. When I was there in 2010, the building was a coral or salmon color. That's the building you see in the photo leading off the post. It's situated a short distance from the park's nature pond, which features an overlook and where ducks and geese tend to gather.

I featured the pond in several of my posts from 2010, but only from the side where the building is located. One of those photos -- a shot of a young boy with a fishing pole and a dog (right) -- has been among my favorites ever since. This time, I got the pond from both sides, and instead of a boy approaching the overlook in 2010, there was an older man gazing out at the pond from the overlook. That picture is the first one below.

And thirdly, in 2010, there was a nice flower garden alongside the main building. Of course, that was in July; this visit was two months earlier in the year. The area I remember being a nice flower garden was filled with weeds ... and nothing to behold.

As always, for view a larger, sharper version of an image, simply click on the image. That is particularly important for visitors accessing the blog from a mobile device. To view a full gallery of my 2018 shoot from Southeastway Park, simply follow the link in this sentence. If you're interested in revisiting the gallery from the 2010 shoot at Southeastway, follow the link in this sentence.

Photo geek stuff: I shot everything in this post with my Canon 6D and Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD lens equipped with a B+W circular polarizing filter. I bracketed each composition for three exposures to allow for processing each shot in Photomatix high-dynamic range (HDR) software, which I used for everything in this post. Photos from the 2010 visit to Southeastway were all single-frame images; I had not yet delved into HDR at that time.

One of the playground areas is pictured above. Look just right of center in the foreground and spot the blue seat low to the ground and the blue wheel just above it. In the spirit of pursuing a different perspective, I got the idea to lie flat on my back on the seat so that I could look up to get a shot at the wheel. It proved to be more challenging that I had anticipated -- especially balancing myself in a horizontal position on that small seat. I managed three compositions, one of which I provide below. The two others you can find in the gallery. Not sure they were worth the strain, but ... you can be the judge.

Above: A leading lines composition that struck me as I approached this sidewalk. 

The main building and pond when I first spotted them on May 9 (above), and when I placed myself directly opposite the building from the pond (below).

Above and next two below: Some of the wild life enjoying the pond. 

Above: A couple of bird feeders in the area where I remember a flower garden existed adjacent to the main building. You can see the weeds dominating the ground area.

The difference that two months can make when it comes to nature: Above, the park's main building on May 9 during my recent visit. Tree leaves were just beginning to return. Below, the building, not nearly as visible, taken from the same path but in July, when foliage had fully returned to the rows of trees.

Above: One of the few spring flowering trees I saw in the park, a composition enhanced by the presence of the two women at the picnic bench in the background.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Fishers downtown area remains
an ongoing construction site

I lived in Indianapolis for almost 40 years, and for almost half of that time, Fishers was an area in Hamilton County that was a small town with a small "downtown" area along East 116th Street on either side of railroad tracks -- now abandoned -- about a half-mile west of I-69.

Today, it's a booming city and in what seems to be a yearly tussle with neighboring Carmel for bragging rights to be the second-largest incorporated community in the state. To put it in perspective, the only IKEA home furnishings and furniture store in all of Indiana opened there a year ago. IKEA doesn't build stores just anywhere; some states don't have any, and the only one in all of North Carolina right now is in Charlotte (IKEA did recently announce plans to build a store in Cary, which is not too far from my current home in the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill).

I have several galleries in my Fishers folder at SmugMug.com, but I hadn't devoted any of my photo shoots to the original downtown area. Of course, much of the original downtown area has changed from years ago. There are some original buildings still around, but mostly -- especially in the last few years -- there are multi-story multi-use structures lining 116th Street and, a half-mile or so west of the railroad tracks, a couple of modest strip malls.

IKEA sits on the other side (east) of I-69, just across the street from Topgolf driving range (you can't miss the massive net almost on top of the interstate highway). IKEA's opening has boosted more development east, including The Yard, a 17-acre dining and shopping area that reportedly will include a cigar and whiskey bar and a culinary "accelerator" site -- a place aspiring chefs can hone their skills and serve their creations in more than two dozen eateries. Supposedly, residential apartments were recently added to the project.

That's all in the future. When I roamed downtown Fishers two weeks ago, it was a thick, overcast day -- rain would fall within a half-hour after my shoot. I stuck to the west side of I-69. Several multi-story projects -- The Depot, The Flats at Switch, The Edge, One North, Braden and Meyer Najem -- along and/or just north of 116th opened within the past year or so. But there is still more building going on behind those and north of 116th.

Most conspicuous of the new construction, perhaps, is at municipal center complex, which isn't that old to begin with. Construction crews are adding to and enhancing the amphitheater -- extending the roof and deepening the stage, among other things. They also are tearing up the lawn mall, which will be redesigned to include a sloped seating area for concert attendees. Other improvements include a new modest-sized structure at the south end of the mall adjacent to City Hall. The building will have restrooms (and, I think, be used for concessions).

This is prime season for the Saturday Fishers Farmers Market, which has used a lot of the lawn mall space in the past. The market is setting up in an area east of City Hall during the construction. I don't know the property grounds that well to visualize how that will work, but my impression is that there wasn't much territory there to begin with (except for maybe parking). The market has been open since the beginning of May, so I'm sure they've figured that all out by now.

Local motorists and pedestrians no doubt have seen the Fishers train depot as they've driven over the railroad tracks next to the Nickel Plate Restaurant. I would suspect that far fewer have seen the depot from the opposite side as shown in the photo leading off the post. Those cars in the image's far left background are driving along 116th Street. The building on the right is The Flats at Switch and parking garage, one of the new structures that opened only within the past year or two.

As always, for view a larger, sharper version of an image, simply click on the image. That is particularly important for visitors accessing the blog from a mobile device. To view a full gallery of my shoot from the Fishers downtown area, simply follow the link in this sentence.

Photo geek stuff: I shot everything in this post with my Canon 6D and Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD lens. I bracketed each composition for three exposures to allow for processing each shot in Photomatix high-dynamic range (HDR) software, which I used for everything in this post.

One of the completed developments north of 116th Street (above), and the architecturally striking corner point of another completed project, The Depot, right along 116th (below). 

Above and next three below: Various views of Fishers' main fire station, which is on the west side of the Municipal Drive oval. 

Above and next three below: Views of the Hamilton East Public Library at the northeast end of the Municipal Drive oval.

Above: Kelsaw's Music Study, 11671 Maple St., is in one of the older buildings in the downtown area. 

Thai Sushi House (above) and the landscaped access to the city complex (below) at Municipal Drive, both along 116th Street.

Dahlia's home decor, 11631 Maple St. (above), is another shop operating out of a smaller structure north of 116th Street. The east side of Handel's Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt (below), a Fishers institution, faces Maple Street, although its south-facing front looks out onto 116th Street.

A rest and modest gathering spot on the north side of 116th Street (above), and the back side of a brick building (below) that houses several small shops along 116th just east of the Nickel Plate Bar and Grill. 

Archer's Meat Market and Catering (above) and Riviera Maya Mexican Restaurant (below) are on the south side of 116th Street. 

The contemporary clothing boutique Vardagen (above), 8684 E. 116th St., is one of the shops occupying space on the lower level of the brick building pictured three shots above. The Nickel Plate Bar and Grill (below), just to the west, another Fishers institution, is situated along the railroad tracks. 

A nicely landscaped Liberty Plaza greets visitors to the government complex at Municipal Drive along 116th Street.

Across the street from the plaza, Taylor's Bakery anchors the west end of Fishers Town Center, one of two strip shopping malls on the south side of 116th Street.

Above: Also on the south side of 116th Street is Gallery 116, a home goods and novelties shop. 

The sign above explains the construction work being done on the amphitheater and municipal complex lawn mall.

Above and next three below are various views of the amphitheater and lawn mall in full throes of reconstruction. The photo above and the second and third below show all or a portion of the extended cover to the amphitheater stage, while the first photo below shows the dug up lawn area and, in the background, the new structure immediately north of City Hall that will house restrooms for people attending concerts and visiting the mall.

Above and next three below: These images show the various new construction activity near or at the intersection of Maple and North streets.

Untouched physically by all the construction are these water and green havens near the downtown area. The pond pictured above is directly west of Municipal Drive and the primary fire station, while the Pond Edge Enhancement (below) is just north of the above pond.