Monday, November 15, 2010

Coxhall Garden:
'An oasis in a sea of homes'

As promised some time ago, I'm coming back to a shoot on Oct. 19, 2010, in Carmel, Ind., a north suburb of Indianapolis that is doing some progressive things of late. (For a summary, see previous post at this link).

Images featured in today's post were taken during the portion of my visit that was at Coxhall Garden, a relatively new park in western Clay Township of Hamilton County named for the couple, Jesse and Beulah Cox, who donated the land to the county for transformation into a park, an "oasis in a sea of homes." It has turned out to be just that; this fast-growing and expansively developed area of Central Indiana needed a place where local folks could go to get away from the craziness.

The park has a striking, limestone classic architecture amphitheater featuring tiered seating, fountains, domes and columns that, in the late afternoon when I was there, cast some marvelous shadows to mix with the built-in lines, angles and other sorts of shapes that are part of the structure, starting with the lead image (top of post) which I took using a Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 wide-angle lens leaning over the top row of tiered seats to get this angle ... a composition that seemed appropriate to complement what I was seeing ... and in tune to the mood that seized me at that moment. 

Backed by a blue sky enriched by a polarizing lens, the composition opportunities were exciting. At one point -- when I was directly under the ornamental entrance passage to the amphitheater seating area and saw the linear, columns and shadow show, I was so jazzed that I just started shooting almost wildly, shot after shot ... click ... click ... click ... almost like what you might see in those stereotypical photo shoot scenes on television.

Here are some frames from that shoot.

Above and next two below: Looking west, from the path to the amphitheater, to the carillon bell tower at the west entrance.

Above: On the path leading to the amphitheater.

Above and below: Looking east, from the path leading to the amphitheater, to the carillon bell tower positioned at the park's east entrance. 

Above: A statue of Jesse and Beulah Cox, who had owned and lived on the park property at 2000 W. 116th St. for many years. The couple built their dream house there in 1974, a replica of the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, Va., before donating it to the county in 1999 to develop as a park upon their deaths. Beulah died shortly after the land was donated; Jesse continued to live in the mansion until his death in 2008.

Above: A memorial to Beulah Cox that appears outside the entrance to the amphitheater.

Above and below: The domed center stage of the amphitheater.

Above and next two images: The ornamental entrance to the amphitheater, where you have full perspective of the late-afternoon sun's effect on the lines and shadows. This facade was the subject of my images near the top of this post. 

Above and below: closeups of the fountains circling the amphitheater's domed center stage.

Above: A view of the amphitheater entrance from behind the stage.

Above: Quite a few of the bricks on the walkway around the domed center stage contained engravements with memorials. This was one of those tributes.  

Above: A look at the path extending from the amphitheater to the parking lot, with a detail shot of the circular overhead ornamentation immediately below. Two images below is a detail shot of the human figurine at the right of the image above -- a woman carrying a child. 

Above: A look toward the amphitheater through the circular sculpture in the middle of the path as seen several images above. 

 Above and next four images: The carillon bell tower at the park's east entrance.


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