Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflective respite in the pagoda

On this New Year's Eve, I decided to post three versions of my favorite shot from the Dec. 29 shoot in Garfield Park, the morning after that rare sticks-to-branches snowfall.

Leading off the post is the color original of the park's landmark pagoda, where a man was seated near the spiral staircase, his dog resting on the concrete floor just below the stairs. The man appeared to gazing out at the few flakes still tumbling to the ground from the morning snow.

Below are two versions of a cropping, the original color and a monochrome conversion.

I'll be back with more after the New Year. Have a good, happy ... and safe one, everyone!

Here's to 2013!

Last look at Dec. 21 shoot in Garfield Park

I know I promised a finale post from my Dec. 21 shoot, but a funny thing happened between the most recent post and today: another snowfall in Central Indiana. And this one was one of those rarities -- the kind where the snow sticks to buildings and tree trunks and branches.

Soooo ... I was out again in Garfield Park on Dec. 29, grabbing even more shots than I had taken just eight days earlier.

I found myself returning to some of the same shots I had taken on the 21st, revisiting shots I'd taken on previous winter scene excursions ... and also making a point to find new compositions. Like I said, I got a bucketload of shots.

But I promised to post a final look at my shots from the Dec. 21, so ... I'll keep my word, toasting the old year with a scaled-back volume of images since I'll be doing posts of the Dec. 29 shoot sometime after the New Year. Leading off the post is a shot of the park's largest shelter, slightly frosted by the previous day's snowfall. The shelter, which is just east of the Garfield Park Arts Center, stands on the site that was home to the park's first municipal pool. The current aquatics center, which opened in tandem with the Burrello Family Center in 1998, is now about 200 yards north of the arts center off Pagoda Drive.

To view a full gallery of shots from the Dec. 21 shoot in Garfield Park, visit my site at SmugMug.

Above: A trio of small boulders lining the path between the Garfield Park Arts Center and the MacAllister Center for the Performing Arts.

Above: The Garfield Park Arts Center, one of several angles I captured on Dec. 21. I went after several others, some new, some reprised, in the Dec. 29 shoot.

Above and below: The MacAllister Center for the Performing Arts (above) and a closeup of the amphitheater's interesting wooden loading access door.

Above: As I joked when I posted a copy of this picture on my Facebook wall, this photo looks close to like I remember Garfield Shakespeare Company performers and spectators felt on several cold September nights of the fall presentation of A Midsummer Night's Dream in this venue.

Above and below: Playground equipment and shelters at the park's north end, along Conservatory Drive.

Above and next two below: Streams are a key element to Garfield Park. These three are shots of Bean Creek, taken at various points along its course in the park. The first below was taken from the bridge just east of the arts center parking lot off Conservatory Drive.

Above: A monochrome conversion of a view of the conservatory and Sunken Garden, framed by the conifers growing along the garden's west perimeter. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bridges add to Garfield Park's charm

The basic architecture used on bridges for vehicular traffic in Garfield Park is quite similar. I don't profess to be an engineering or even materials expert, but the construction of the original spans -- which constitute all but one -- appears to involve a concrete base and concrete or limestone block in the rails.

With the exception of the arched, Ticklebelly Hill span over Pleasant Run at the north end of  Conservatory Drive (featured here two posts ago) and another over Bean Creek farther south on Conservatory Drive that has been closed to vehicular traffic for as long as I can remember, the bridges are relatively flat. This image leading off the post is one of two pedestrian-only bridges over Bean Creek in the park. Both are either right off Conservatory Drive or not not far from it; the one pictured above and the first several below is the northernmost one.

The latter bridge mentioned above -- the now pedestrian-only crossing off Conservatory Drive -- seems to have been a favorite of photographers and en plain-air (open-air) painters over the years. Perhaps that's because it's off the main road, and therefore, there's little likelihood of disruption while painting or setting up photo compositions. Many of the paintings I've seen of the bridge are from the angle seen in the lead photo of today's post and in the fashion illustrated at this blog post.

There are a half-dozen or so bridges in the park, two crossing over Pleasant Run and the remainder over Bean Creek. The newest is the pedestrian bridge over Bean Creek just west of the Sunken Garden. It was installed and opened in 2009, returning to park-goers a shortcut they had been denied for quite a few years after the old, decrepit original was removed but not initially replaced. The one bridge not pictured in this post (or in a previous post from the Dec. 21 shoot) is the vehicular-traffic span over Pleasant Run at the west of the park on Pagoda Drive.

To view a full gallery of shots from the Dec. 21 shoot in Garfield Park, visit my site at SmugMug.

Next Up: A final post on the Dec. 21 shoot.

Above and next four below: Different views of the older, northernmost pedestrian bridge over Bean Creek. 

Above: A concrete sphere is used as an adornment on the same pedestrian bridge pictured above. 

Above and below: This bridge over Bean Creek takes traffic to the parking lot of the Garfield Park Arts Center. In the photo below, the 90-degree patterns -- those in the stone rail and the ones on the sidewalk created by snowfall -- caught my eye on the road surface portion of the bridge. 

Above and next two below: Different views of the newest bridge in the park, the pedestrian span over Bean Creek just outside the Sunken Garden (background in photo above). 

Above: The southernmost vehicular-traffic bridge in the park lacks the concrete or limestone block rails. It spans Bean Creek before leading traffic to the parking area alongside the tennis courts and the south entrance to the Sunken Garden.

Above: Standing on the bridge pictured in the previous photo, one sees this bridge over Bean Creek on Southern Avenue, which serves as the park's southern boundary.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A tribute to Garfield Park's tilting timber

A couple days ago, I uploaded one of the pictures you see in this post to my wall on Facebook. In the accompanying note, I half-joked that Garfield Park in Indianapolis would be wise to promote its handful of weirdly shaped trees to draw more visitors, not that the park is lacking patrons.

I'm sure any heavily treed area has its share of odd tree formations. But Garfield Park's niche might be that people, if they had access (online or somewhere in the park) to a brief printed guide and/or map, could find, view, enjoy and photograph a select number of odd-shaped treess, and do so within a relatively contained area and within a short amount of time.

The tree featured prominently in this post was a new "find" for me when I was out shooting Dec. 21. By its size, it's obviously been around a while, so somehow I've either missed it or didn't go near it on the visits I've made there in the past few years.

I add it to my growing list of odd-shaped or otherwise distinguished trees (the others appear at the bottom of this post). For those of you interested in finding and seeing this one, it's on Conservatory Drive, south of Fire Station 29, along the west rim of the curved hill that sledders use after snowfalls.

To view a full gallery of shots from the Dec. 21 shoot in Garfield Park, visit my site at SmugMug.

Next up: Other bridges in Garfield Park.

Above and next several below: The "new" tree (new to me, anyway), beginning above with a perspective shot as it appears to someone southbound on Conservatory Drive. The monochrone version immediately below also entailed erasing/cloning out some branches of the tree adjacent to it and to the left from this view. You see that tree in the other, normal-stature tree in the frame below the monochrome shot. 

Above: The "new" tree, on the west rim of the curved sledding hill, is in the far background -- almost straight ahead -- of this shot, taken from the peak of the Ticklebelly Hill bridge over Pleasant Run on Conservatory Drive. 


This photo dates to Jan. 8, 2005, and was taken following one of my most favorite snowfalls in recent memory -- the type where the snow sticks to branches and buildings. This tree is near the bend, or nook, of the "L" shaped Garfield Drive, greeting westbound pedestrians and motorists on the Drive's south leg as the road turns north.  

Above and below: Two additional views of the conifer pictured previously. These two, which look north and slightly east toward the residential area east of the park, were taken Dec. 24, 2004, not long before the other.

Above: The former "V" shaped tree at the north end of the park with the so-called Ticklebelly Hill in the background. This was taken in February 2006; the tree has since fallen or been felled, although a good share of the downed trunk and branches remains at the site. 

Above and below: Two views of unusual ornamentation on a tree in the picnic grove at the south end of the park, not far from Pagoda Drive southwest of the MacAllister Center for the Performing Arts. The one above was taken in February 2011 on the first shoot in which I experimented with high-dynamic range (HDR) imaging; the one below about a year earlier.

Above: This tree might be the most unusual of all in the park. It is situated along the pedestrian path outside the west end of the Sunken Garden and just north of the pedestrian bridge over Bean Creek. This photo was taken in October 2010, and I devoted a post to it at the time. Click here to see other pictures of the tree from different angles. 

Above and next two below: These trees fall into the category I'd call "distinguished trees" in the park. The first (above), a monochrome conversion of a silhouette composition, is the one I dubbed "The Tree" in a post in February 2011. It is situated in a grove at the park's south end, not far from Southern Avenue. The one immediately below, another HDR rendering, is a stately maple that greets visitors to the aquatic center and motorists, cyclists and pedestrians along the Pagoda Drive hill. Unfortunately, this tree has been slowly dying over the past few years. I'm glad I caught photos of its colorful orange and yellow leaves while it was still relatively full and healthy in 2005; it has not been the same since. I include the final tree, a victim of storm damage, because of its interesting post-damage shape and white trunk. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Arched bridge will tickle your innards

On this Christmas Eve, I devote the second post from my Dec. 21 shoot in Garfield Park to the shots I took of what locals refer to as "Ticklebelly Hill," one of two park bridges over Pleasant Run, which flows into the park at its north end, curling west before converging with Bean Creek near the other span just east of Manual High School on the park's northwest side.

As best as I can recall, I've never spent much time photographing this bridge, which is part of Conservatory Drive and while very modest in length, was built in an arch, not flat, as illustrated in the photo leading off the post. According to lore passed on through the years by people who live in the area, the Ticklebelly name evolved from the unusual sensation motorists feel in the gut when their vehicles cross the arch's high point when traveling at a certain speed or faster. (I've also heard talk that the Ticklebelly moniker actually was used to dub a park hill used by sledders in winter, and it's possible that version is more accurate ... given that "hill," not "bridge," is part of the name. Coincidentally, an individual southbound on Conservatory Drive -- whether motorist, cyclist or pedestrian -- has a direct view of the so-dubbed sledding hill as they reach the bridge's peak, but I digress).

I wouldn't say this lore is extremely well-known; there are some locals who've not heard about it when I've asked. But obviously some do know of it, because it was from locals that I learned of it, and that was quite a few years ago, not long after moving into the neighborhood. The bridge appears just south of the north terminus of Conservatory Drive, which "Ts" into East Pleasant Run Parkway, North Drive, across from Indianapolis Fire Station 29.

I bracketed all of my shots in the Dec. 21 shoot for treatment in high-dynamic range (HDR) software in post-processing. HDR is the process of creating one high-detail image by melding two or more frames of the same composition shot at different exposure levels. For the Dec. 21 shoot, I used three shots for each HDR image, and employed a full stop for my exposure intervals (0-normal, +1, -1). I set the ISO to 100 and the aperture to f/8, thereby rendering the shutter speed as the variable to create three images of different exposure levels for each shot.

I used the camera's "cloudy" white balance setting; it was, indeed, a heavily cloudy day. As intended, that setting introduced a warm tonal range to the pictures. I preserved or slightly lessened the tone in most shots. Gear used: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens attached to a Canon 7D mounted on a Slik Pro 400 DX tripod for all shots.

To view a full gallery of shots from the Dec. 21 shoot in Garfield Park, visit my site at SmugMug.

Next Up: Garfield Park tree grows at a 45-degree angle.

Above and below: Closeup views of the arch span of the bridge on Conservatory Drive. Both views are northeast, looking toward Raymond Street.

Above and below: Closeup views of the bridge's underbelly.

From the peak of Ticklebelly Hill bridge, views of Pleasant Run, looking southwest toward Manual High School (school is not in view) above and northeast toward Raymond Street below. 

Above and below: Two more views of the stream, this time from the creek banks. 

Views from the peak of the Ticklebelly Hill bridge on Conservatory Drive, looking south (above) into the park and north (below) toward's the drive terminus across from Indianapolis Fire Station 29. On the south view (above), notice the 45-degree growth angle of the tree on the hill right at the bend of the road. That tree will be the subject of pictures in a future post. Ticklebelly Hill sledding hill is part of that hill, although a larger section is out of the picture to the left. In recent years, the planting of trees on the portion of the hill that is in this picture has deterred sledding on that section, thereby preventing fast-moving sledders from inadvertently sledding onto the road -- and into the path of vehicular traffic.  

Above: A closeup of Fire Station 29.

Above: A last look at the Conservatory Drive bridge, integrating at left a portion of a fallen tree into the composition. That tree, incidentally, when it was standing, had a striking "V" shaped trunk at its base (see photo below, which I took in February 2006).