That's probably why I return so often to Garfield Park in Indianapolis. It's convenient, and I don't have to spend a lot of time getting back there if I know I missed something. But ... I also like to return there for the challenge of finding or capturing something new.
Yesterday's post on the Bean Creek water reflections and the lines/patterns of the bridge is an example. I've been in that park to shoot dozens of times in the past eight or nine years, and until Feb. 15, I'd never devoted a shoot to either of those objectives. Oddly, it was a spur-of-the-moment objective, as well. The thought didn't cross my mind until I came upon the bridge on my return trip from buying popcorn salt at the grocery (I know ... who goes to a grocery store just to get popcorn salt? Well, since I've now mentioned that item three times in recent posts, maybe the infamous popcorn salt shaker would make a good photo subject for a later date).
Central Indiana was doused with another 3 inches of snow during the Thursday-to-Friday overnight period last week, so I decided to make another visit to the park. This time, the idea would be to further explore one of my latest interests -- high-dynamic range (HDR) treatment. HDR is the melding of two or more images taken of the same scene, each captured at different exposures for the purpose of extracting optimum detail for the final, single frame. The images are melded during post-processing using special HDR software (I use Photomatix).
Many of the shots I grabbed Friday reminded me of scenes I took on Jan. 8, 2005, when I got to the park late in the morning after one of those "picture postcard" snowfalls -- you know, the kind where the snow sticks to whatever it lands on. It made for some beautiful imagery that day, one I have not seen but maybe once or twice since. Many of those shots you can find in the gallery at this link. The image that leads off this post is a variation of one of those shots from 2005, a vantage point slightly right of the original.
Friday's outing kept me mostly in the southern and western areas of the park, which happen to be where the majority of the park's attractions are located -- the amphitheater, the main playground, the pagoda, the arts center, the Burrello Family Center and aquatic center (of course, the latter would be of little use to me this day).
I used my Canon 7D body for all shots Friday; it was mounted on a tripod (when shooting for HDR, tripods are necessary to ensure motion-free stability for the multiple frames). To the camera body, I attached a cable shutter-release device to guard against possible camera shake from the mere touching of the shutter on the body itself. I switched between two lenses -- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, which is my walk-around lens, and a wide-angle Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5, a lens made exclusively for small-sensor DSLRs like my 7D. I also packed my PowerShot G12 in case I encountered a situation where I came upon a scene for which I wanted or needed a single frame. I never needed it.
As for camera settings ... I set my 7D to aperture value (AV), or aperture priority, mode (f/9), ISO 100 and used the cloudy mode white balance setting. When shooting HDR, it's important to have a stable aperture and white balance (you don't want your focus point or color changing among the multiple shots of the same scene) and an ISO setting for low noise (in HDR processing, detail from multiple images will be extracted for the one, final image, and that detail may include noise, so you want the software to find as little noise as possible). The shutter speed would be my exposure variable setting.
While I did revisit some scenes from that Jan. 8, 2005, shoot, I made a point to go to a "new" place Friday, a vantage point I'd never explored in my countless previous visits -- the railroad tracks and trestles near Pleasant Run and Pleasant Run Parkway and parts south of there. At the parkway trestle, I captured some shots of traffic stopped at the intersection of Pleasant Run and Pagoda Drive. Just south of there, I turned west to appreciate some vistas of Emmerich Manual High School that I'd never enjoyed before. Turning east from virtually the same point, I had an overlook onto the park's Burrello Family Center, a vista also new to me. The latter was slightly cluttered by branches from brush between the tracks and Pagoda Drive. Unfortunately, there is no unobstructed view of the center from that locale. I include a few of those frames here as well.
To view a more complete gallery of images from this shoot, follow this link.
Above and next three below: I'd not captured any of these vantage points of the park's landmark pagoda previously. The above is a wide-angle shot, using the Sigma 10-20mm; the ones below were taken with the Tamron 28-75mm.
single frame and posted (in a black-and-white conversion) in December after a heavy snowfall. As it turns out, the single- and HDR color frames don't vary a whole lot.
Above and below: Two "revisits" from my Jan. 8, 2005, shoot in the park, both taken from the Pagoda Drive bridge. Above, looking east, is the confluence of Pleasant Run (left) and Bean Creek; below, looking west, Pleasant Run flows under the railroad trestle to which I climbed moments later to grab the shots immediately below this.
trestle, looking east. The shot above also includes Pagoda Drive; below, a closeup of a section of the stream immediately below the bridge.
Above and below: I moved a little north along the tracks to yet another trestle, one overlooking the intersection of Pleasant Run Parkway (the road holding the cars) and Pagoda Drive, which turns into East Street just north (left) of this.
Above: I started to wend my way south again, stopping momentarily to turn back and capture this frame of the tracks as they lead to Downtown Indianapolis. If you can make out the railroad crossing warning device about halfway down, that's Raymond Street.
semipro North American Football League game between the now-defunct Indiana Warriors and Chicago Wolverines at this field.
Above: The bright red structure in the foreground is simply a storage shed.
Above: I took this capture to include the smoke billowing in the upper left corner.
Above: This is the aforementioned overlook onto the park's Burrello Family Center.
Above: I paused to get a closeup of the railroad ties.
Above: I was impressed to find some conifers in the extreme southwest corner of the park.
Above: One of the picnic shelters sprinkled throughout the park.
"the tree," the subject of a recent silhouette exercise I stumbled upon, quite unexpectedly, during the return trip of a walk to the grocery (the so-called popcorn salt trip). The structure in bottom right of this image is the shelter depicted in more detail two pictures below.
Above: I wanted to get a shot or two in HDR of the neighborhood near the park. This angle looks southeast along Southern Avenue.