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. 


  1. Great photos and great story to go along with them. Next time I visit the park I'll be sure to notice the trees. I think you're right, the park would be wise to publicize the trees and their uniqueness. There needs to be something that draws the public there in the winter months as well as the summer months.

  2. An update to this post: Two or three years after this post went live, IndyParks removed the radically angled tree depicted in the image that is fourth from the bottom. So if you never got to the park to capture your own photos of that tree, it's too late to do so now.