Sunday, May 13, 2012

Getting a 'new' look at Indy skyline

After a quick (just under two hours) shoot Thursday afternoon at the Indianapolis Zoo, I took a first-ever stroll down a beautifully landscaped pedestrian bridge over White River, just behind the zoo, on what used to be the extension of West Washington Street, the Indianapolis portion of U.S. 40, also known as the National Road.

If you're not familiar with Indianapolis, the zoo opened in its current location in 1988, moving from its original East 30th Street site, about 7.5 miles northeast in Washington Park, where it was established in 1964. The "new" zoo was the first attraction to open in White River State Park, one of the city's six designated cultural districts. Later to emerge in the park, developed around the scenic downtown section of the Indianapolis Canal, were White River Gardens, Eiteljorg Museum of Indians and Western Art, the Indiana State Museum (which moved there from its initial location at Alabama and Market streets) and IMAX theater, the NCAA national headquarters and Hall of Champions, the National Federation of State High School Associations, Victory Field (home of the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians baseball team) and the congressional Medal of Honor Memorial, established across the canal from the State Museum.

This pedestrian bridge is wide; now part of the White River Wapahani Trail, in its years as the continuation of Washington Street, it used to be one of the highest-traffic thoroughfares in Indianapolis. The city chose to close this section off as part of the park development and reroute Washington Street south to form the park's southern boundary before reconnecting with the original Washington Street at White River Parkway, West Drive.

It accommodate two generously wide brick-paved paths separated by an equally generous lawn and sculpture-populated median. The view of the heart-of-downtown skyline by eastbound walkers took on a riveting bonus in the past year with the completion and opening of the "blue," sparkling and reflective J.W. Marriott hotel skyscraper. I put "blue" in quotes because this blue is chamelon-like, especially when using a circular polarizing filter, which I did for all of these shots. The "blue" can look a true blue, fully turquoise or a bit of both, depending on your vantage point and how the sun is striking it. Both sides of the bridge are adorned with artsy banners spaced apart equally for the length of the span.

For many of the shots I took on this portion of my shoot, I bracketed my exposures for possible treatment in high-dynamic range (HDR) software. The lead-off photo is an HDR rendering, as as its vertical orientation (second below) and many others you see below. I'm sure the Marriott's blue color can be affected by HDR software treatment to an extent, but I want to quickly note that I saw several instances in which a single, normal-exposure image showed the building's color both blue and turquoise at the same time.














Above: If only a boat could have been in the vicinity, I'd have had a rare shot of four modes of transportation -- train, bike and vehicle are on the bridge -- in one photograph.
  





 


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