Sunday, October 24, 2010

We had a full moon last week ...

It had been three years since I attempted to take pictures of the moon. Last time I did so -- in August 2007 -- I was using a Canon 30D and the longest-reaching telephoto I had in my gear was the Canon 75-300mm f/4-5.6 lens, not among Canon's best in quality.

With an upgraded body and lens, I took another crack at the full moon this past week and captured the shot above. Even with the upgraded lens, the final frame required a radical crop -- to 908 x 703 from the original 5148 x 3456.

After finessing the shadows and midtones in post-processing, I did like what I got, although sometime I'd really like to try and do some astrological photography with some gear made for that discipline.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autumn shoot in Garfield Park

Today's post presents images from my autumn shoot this week in Garfield Park. As often as I've ventured there to shoot, you'd think I'd run out of things to photograph. But I can't think of a time I've not come away with finding something of interest.

As Central Indiana residents well know, this has been an extraordinarily dry summer and early autumn. For once, the Bobby Russell song lyric " ... and it don't rain in Indianapolis in the summer time" from the the 1968 pop hit "Little Green Apples" (recorded by O.C. Smith) proved to be true.

Forecasters predicted that this dry spell could bode ill for the traditional enjoyment of the fall color show. Indeed, we saw early leaf falling and colors not nearly as brilliant as we've seen in past years. That, in turn, challenged my creative instincts, as you'll see from the images in this post.

You'll find a few traditional tree shots, as there were still a few worthy of capture. But this season's shoot focused largely on looking upward (attribute the rich blue sky color to the polarizing filter), zeroing in on closeups, exploiting interesting juxtapositions and the late-afternoon's dramatic light, and getting down low. In the case of the light contrasts, I present two versions of two frames -- one of the multicolor leaf display in one of my "look upward" shots, and -- in the final pair of images -- a "normal" vs. infrared treatment of a pathway vista noteworthy for the splash of setting-sun highlight on the left foreground tree while almost all other trees are in shade.

Enjoy. And, oh, in case you weren't already aware, you really need to click on each picture to fully appreciate the image. The thumbnails never do them justice.












Friday, October 22, 2010

A tree that defies ... geometry?

While out looking for interesting autumn pictures in Garfield Park in Indianapolis the other day, I was reminded of a shoot I'd wanted to do for some time: a coniferous tree growing at a dramatically unusual angle in the park near Bean Creek just outside the grounds of the Sunken Garden and conservatory. The angle has to be at least 45 degrees.

So, I grabbed my images, trying to get it from every possible vantage point and to include as many landmarks, such as "normal" trees, buildings like the conservatory (in the background in photo above) and even a park pedestrian pushing a child in a stroller so viewers had proper perspective of not only the radical angle but also the size of the tree. This was another occasion when I was glad to have my wide-angle lens (Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5) with me; without it, I'm not sure I could have captured the quite large tree in its entirety -- growing at this angle -- and do it justice. 

You probably noticed the rock with plaque in front of the tree, as did I. Well, um, I did some months ago when I stopped to check it out ... on a day I did not have my camera gear with me. I did not review the inscription the other day when I was there for the shoot, but I'm almost positive it does nothing to explain the unusual-angled tree. As I recall, it mentions some other fact about the park's history.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Palladium adds the crown jewel
to burgeoning Carmel landscape

I'm sure every metropolitan area in the country has its suburban communities where the affluent gravitate and, which then become butts of jokes and jabs of elitism by those who are much less well off. When I moved to Indianapolis some 30 years ago, I quickly found that community to be Carmel, located immediately north of Marion County which, under the Uni-Gov legislation adopted in 1970, is essentially the same as Indianapolis.

I had been to Carmel only a handful of times in those three decades, and none for more than destination-only trips. In the past few years, I've been reading with interest how Carmel was doing some progressive things, albeit some with great controversy. Among them have been the nurturing of an office building and medical facility corridor along North Meridian Street on the west fringe of Carmel's original city limits; annexation and development of large chunks of unincorporated Clay Township territory to the west of the aforementioned corridor; the transformation of its older, downtown merchants district into what it calls the Arts & Design District, a destination point for shoppers, art lovers and tourists alike; the building of dozens of roundabouts at key intersections (including -- and especially -- the extremely heavily traveled Keystone Avenue) to facilitate and better funnel a growing amount of traffic; and the development of several city parks, such as the distinctive Coxhall Gardens in the more sparsely populated area of western Clay Township that was part of one of the annexations. The Carmel Clay school system has kept pace, adding and improving facilities to match the community's growing attraction and population.

All of these would be impressive on their own to anyone, anywhere. Yet there is more: The Palladium, a regional performing arts center and the crown jewel of what Carmel is calling its fine arts-driven City Center, a mixed-use development that includes 300 apartments and penthouses, restaurants and an upscale 102-room hotel, and the Freedom Circle Plaza, which includes the Carmel Clay Veterans Memorial Statue and reflecting pond. The Palladium, which will seat 1,600 in its main hall, also will feature a 500-seat proscenium theater, a 200-seat studio theater and an outdoor amphitheater. 

Even before its scheduled January 2011 opening, the Palladium has fetched quite a few plaudits as a top concert venue in the country by experts who've reviewed the structure's construction and acoustic specs. To handle the job of center artistic director, the city retained Michael Feinstein, an American singer, pianist, multiplatinum-selling and five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer. Feinstein's Great American Songbook collection -- featuring compositions of music, lyrics and history created by great 20th-century artists such as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Rodgers and Hart and many others -- will be housed at the center. 

The center will be home to a number of performance art groups. Taking up immediate residence upon the January opening will be the Civic Theatre, which will be the center's principal resident theater company, and the Carmel Symphony Orchestra. In the future, they will be joined by Carmel's Actors Theatre of Indiana; Carmel Repertory Theatre; Central Indiana Dance Ensemble, Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and the Indiana Wind Symphony. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra plans to make periodic visits there. 

The building's design -- that's all Indiana limestone on the exterior, by the way -- was inspired by a villa designed by Andrea Palladio. Built in the 1500's near Vicenza, Italy, the villa, known as "La Rotunda,” remains an architectural icon nearly 500 years later. While not specifically named for the famed architect, The Palladium, nevertheless, represents an important homage to his work.

All of this is to preface the fact that I finally made a photo shoot jaunt to Carmel to capture some of what is happening there. Today, I present images of the Palladium (sadly, none of the interior) taken during my shoot. I got as close to the structure as I was allowed; it's still part of a construction zone. The shots include some architectural detail and a shot of the Palladium (top) that I don't think I've seen anywhere yet. The image features, on the right, the 9-foot bronze Veterans Memorial statue (by Indiana sculptor Bill Wolfe) that serves as the centerpiece of Freedom Circle Plaza, which is west of the Palladium. The statue depicts a kneeling male soldier and a standing female soldier raising the flag after battle. In my photo, the angle shows the left hand of the male soldier hovering over the Palladium in a sort of gesture of protection and comfort. Ahh ... the benefits of a wide-angle lens! If you wonder why the blue in the sky color looks a bit different in some similar-angle shots, it's because I used a polarizing filter for some of the images. Images with the crisp blue sky (like the one at the top) were taken using that filter.

My Carmel shoot encompassed about six hours on a recent morning and afternoon and included visits to the City Center, the Arts & Design District and Coxhall Gardens. I'll be offering more glimpses of Freedom Circle Plaza and the statue, the Arts & Design District and Coxhall Gardens in Photo Potpourri in the days and weeks ahead when time allows. At some point, too, I'll organize the images into a gallery at my online site and provide a link to that when the gallery is ready. In the meantime, enjoy ... 









Monday, October 11, 2010

A trip to the pumpkin patch

A family trip to Waterman's Farm Market on the Eastside of Indianapolis, better known to our clan as Waterman's Pumpkin Patch, paved the way for some fall/harvest images on Saturday.

The images include a shot of the Circle City Bluegrass Band of Indianapolis, which entertained folks seeking refuge from the heat under a tent-covered table-and-chairs area. Other images show a Tyrannosaurus Rex creature that chews up a huge pumpkin several times a day to the delight of the people in attendance; some artsy shots of remnants of the autumn crop harvest; and a shot through the backside opening of one of those life-sized animated things where you stick your head through the opening to make your head/face look like it belongs on the body of a caricature drawn on the front side.

The featured image, the sepia silhouette at the top, is a backside view of an amusement attraction for kids in which the youths are strapped into a suspended safety harness to enable them to jump up and down off a trampoline-like device for some thrills -- and probably a bird's-eye view of the grounds. The shot I captured was hurried; I had a window of about four seconds to grab it because it presented itself at the terminus of a hayride I was on. Unfortunately, I was at the back of the hayride wagon, and I could get off only one shot before everyone in the wagon in front of me (and in my range of the amusement) stood up from their seated position to disembark. Still, I think it turned out pretty well.