Friday, December 30, 2011

An anniversary almost missed ...
and a return to Zionsville, Ind.

I neglected to acknowledge a milestone of sorts earlier this month -- Photo Potpourri's third anniversary. Three years ago Dec. 11 this blog launched, and is still chugging along.

In recognition of that, today's post reflects a return to the Village of Zionsville, a northwest suburb of Indianapolis that fights hard to maintain its small-town profile and charm despite pressure from developers seeking to extend the very real suburban growth boom that has been occurring close by to the east in Hamilton County communities Carmel, Westfield, Fishers and Noblesville.

I visited Zionsville a year ago, also just before Christmas, when there was snow on the ground. This time, no snow; the weather was overcast for the remaining hour and half of daylight, and then damp from a light rain when darkness set in.

For all daylight photos, I used my Canon 7D; for all but the church shots, I turned to my Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. For the church shots, I went to a Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 wide-angle lens. I also used a tripod and bracketed exposures so I could later process them through high-dynamic range (HDR) software. For the nighttime shots, I used my Canon PowerShot G12 (nicely equipped with image stabilization, allowing for sharp, hand-held use with shutter speeds as slow as 1/8). With the G12, I captured images in RAW format to allow optimum color and exposure adjustments as needed in post-processing before converting to JPG.

It would be hard to single out any one shot as my favorite from the shoot, but because the Christmas tree in the middle of Main Street is an annual tradition in the village, and because brick-covered Main Street is such a strong identifier of Zionsville, I decided to use the photo above to lead off the post. Other vantage points of the tree will be among the photos provided below.

To see all of my shots from two years' (so far) worth of shots of Christmas in Zionsville, visit this link.

Above and below: Two more views of the Christmas tree in the middle of Main Street, Zionsville, taken from catty-corners of the same intersection. The one above, with the violet-awning Jewel Box Jewelers storefront in the background, was taken from in front of Carter's Toy Museum & Ice Cream Parlor (pictured below). And the one of the parlor was taken from in front of the jewelry store.

Above: A detail shot of Carter's facade. 

Above and next two below: We take a momentary side trip to the west side of the village for these shots attempting to capture the architecture of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, where I decided to stop as I drove into town.

Above: Greek's Pizzeria, one of several dining options along Main Street. 

Above: A daytime view of the block known as the Gallery, with Butler's Pantry in the foreground.

Above and below: Views of scenes very close to each other. The one above, highlighting the rustic woods and the indoor lighting through one window. Turning slightly to the left, you see the scene below, with the above building on the far right ... and also get a look up the sidewalk along the east side of Main Street, where the landscape is rich in woods and greens.

Above: A nod to a photography brethern (who I really don't know) in the village.

Above: Two views of Main Street from different points. Above is from the north end, looking south, capturing the jog in the street's route (to the left) right at the intersection where the Christmas tree is located, across from the violet-awning jewelry store. The look below is from the south end, looking north, taken from just south of the Friendly Tavern. 

Above: A front view of the aforementioned Friendly Tavern.

Above: Of my daytime shots, the above of Lilly's Boutique and Gallery seems to have the most concentration of holiday decoration in it.

Above: A clock along Main Street, with the cupola of a nearby building in the background.

Above: Street lighting and the benefit of a late-afternoon sprinkle add punch to this nighttime shot of brick-covered Main Street.

Above: One of my favorite shots of the nighttime shoot -- a storefront display nicely framed by both the woodwork and holiday lighting.

Above: Carter's Toy Museum & Ice Cream Parlor at night, with a fellow photography club member next to the tree, trying to grab a shot in 3D, using a handmade three-dimension camera.

Above: Not a whole lot to add to the obvious; this is from a storefront display.

Above: A composition about signage and lamp posts. 

Above: A nighttime detail shot of the cupola of a building along Main Street.

Above and below: Two more shots aiming to capture the bright colors in storefront window displays. 

Above: This tree is separate from the one in the middle of Main; I got down low to include it in a storefront shot. 

Above and the remainder below: The rustic, wood-dominant decor inside Plum's Upper Room, a cozy, upper-level restaurant and lounge. The very last shot of the stock of wine bottles is a mistake -- something I decided include simply because of how every once in a while, a mistake can turn out to be an interesting picture, blur notwithstanding. I liked the way the inadvertent movement before the shutter completely exposed the image added the dragging light streaks.


  1. Just now noticed your posting! Seems strange the green of the grass vs the snow from last year...almost the same day and time. I tend to like the picture you favor most too! I took several shots of this and kept getting a reflection I didn't care for. You got a great shot with this! And...this last picture! I like that too!!! I'm wondering if that's a double exposure? This kind of reminds me of what a person might see if they were there until the very wee hours and just couldn't seem to find the door!

  2. Congrats on this being your 3rd anniversary with this blog!!! I think you do a super job and I always look forward to reading what you have to say, along with your camera settings, types of lens, and all... It's very helpful for us who are out here still trying to figure things out... I wish you had spoken up re this when we were all there in Zionsville...we could have celebrated!!! Please keep this site I'm positive I'm not the only person who looks forward to your postings...

  3. Thanks for these nice notes. The last picture was not a double exposure; it was a simple drag of the camera -- or movement -- while the shutter was still open, thus creating the ghost and blur effect you see. When you set your shutter speed slow enough (1/8 or slower), and there are some some bright lights in the composition like there are with those white lights at the top, you can usually get some neat effect like this. Just move the camera slowly in any direction as soon as you press on the shutter.