Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A return to Rick's Boatyard Cafe

This latest post, another in a series that features images taken exclusively with my iPhone, comes with a bit of a confession ... a sort of "story behind the story." It's something that, for a few months, I've chosen not to talk about here, partly because many would consider it trivial, partly because it's bothered me a lot, and partly because it's embarrassing, at least as a photographer who has some years of experience.

First, a little background on the images in the post. Three years ago, for a milestone birthday, my four children surprised me by hiring a limousine to drive all of us to Rick's Boatyard Cafe, a restaurant developed along Eagle Creek Reservoir in Indianapolis and opened in the 1990s. While I knew we'd be going to Rick's, which is known for its atmosphere, pricey menu and fresh seafood, I did not know about the limo.

Unfortunately for my kids, the limo arrived at my house to pick us all up before the kids could get there to witness my reaction. Somewhere -- perhaps in an album on my Facebook page -- I have a photo of me taken alongside the limo in front of my house. But it was not with the images I saved to my archives that I took (also with an iPhone) that day on the drive up there in the limo and at Rick's.

The photos you see in the top portion of this post were taken Monday, when I made my first visit to Rick's since that birthday trip three years ago. I lead with a composition in which I tried to integrate the restaurant, the fountain, the reservoir, a sailboat and the reservoir dam (which motorists can see along I-74).

The skies Monday were much more overcast, and there even was an occasional sprtizer or two, but nothing serious. I did learn, again, that the iPhone does not do well when zoomed in all the way. Every shot I took that way was out of focus.

Photos shown in the bottom half were taken in 2012, but with my Canon Powershot G12. I usually don't delve much into family and personal matters with my posts here, but I was reminded, after reading through the text in the bio accompanying my blog, that I set out long ago expecting that I might do family/personal stuff from time to time, so ... there you go.

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Now for the story behind the story ...

Back in March, while shooting the dress rehearsal for First Folio Productions' spring presentation of "Much Ado About Nothing," I did something that I think would terrify any photographer who did the same thing -- I dropped my primary camera, a Canon 6D equipped with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens and a battery grip, onto a hard, tile surface. The camera landed flat on the bottom -- of the battery grip.

When I picked it up to inspect the gear, the lens looked fine, and it operated fine. But when I went to turn on the camera, I got nothing. No power. Nada. Fortunately for the shoot, I brought along my backup camera, a Canon 7D, and I completed the shoot with that. Got all my pictures. Guess I did something right.

The next day, I tested the 6D again, and there was power ... at first. I hit the bottom of the grip -- at the point where the gear had met the tile floor the previous day -- a few times until I saw the top LCD screen show signs of life. I brought the camera up to the shooting position, composed and got a few frames off, but then it went dark again.

Even at this point, it occurred to me that I should remove the battery grip and test it using a battery in the built-in battery with the manufacturer-issued flap, but ... I couldn't find the flap. I had removed so I could install the grip mechanism. I had this vague recollection that a year and a half or so ago, when I had installed the grip, I stored the flap in a compartment within the grip. But after a quick check of the grip, I didn't see the flap. I put the camera away.

Alas, I got to be so busy with other things (home projects were a big portion of that), and I was so bummed by what might lie ahead with my primary camera, more than two months passed before I had an occasion important enough to want to use it again. On Friday, I wanted quality images for my granddaughter's graduation from pre-kindergarten, so I grabbed the 6D and turned it on. It showed life, I surmised from the quick check, according to the top LCD screen, so I presumed the 6D was good to go.

I took the 6D -- no backup -- with me to the event, and wouldn't you know it ... power immediately flaked out as soon as I started using it. Repeated strikes against the bottom of the grip were the only things that could revive it (and then only momentarily). I got a good number of shots, but I missed a key one because I couldn't revive the power soon enough -- Addison being handed her graduation pail (the equivalent of a diploma in this preschool).

After that frustration, I was resolved to taking the camera to a repair shop or sending the 6D to Canon to have it repaired ... when Lee Ann urged me to find the original battery cover flap to see if the camera worked without the grip. If it did, she reminded me, it would mean I'd face a far-less expensive repair bill -- i.e., simply replacing the battery grip.

Initial attempts to find the flap were futile, so I went online to price a replacement grip. I came up the specs for the same grip model (Zeikos) currently on the camera, and something in the grip's specs jumped out at me: The grip has a compartment to store the small flap that covers the camera's built-in battery chamber. A light bulb went on, I remember that my hunt for that compartment was hasty back in March, so I grabbed the grip again, and looked carefully within this time. Sure enough. I had stored the flap there a year and a half ago ... and simply missed it in March (it's black, just like the grip, so it was nicely camouflaged).

I removed the grip from the 6D and placed a single battery inside the built-in battery chamber and closed the restored flap. Hallelujah! It worked. And no flaking out. So  I let out a huge sigh -- only the grip was flawed. I ordered a new grip -- they come in handy during long shoots and for shoots with heavy lenses, so I won't abandon it. And I hope to be taking more pictures in the near future, now that I have that huge issue behind me ... and my 6D back in operation.

Above and below: Two views of the reservoir from the restaurant's lanscaped area.

Above: A look out to the reservoir from our table.

Above: A view from the outdoor cocktail lounge, where Lee Ann and I adjourned to after dinner to enjoy a bottle of Moscato (below). Bottles of wine are half-price at Rick's on Mondays.

Above, a full view of the restaurant from the far end of the fountain pond. Below, another look at the reservoir from near the gazebo (two pictures below). 


Son-in-law David is already giddy about the limousine ride treat, and we'd just started the ride. Below, from left, children Joey, Ben, Kelly and Elizabeth, who is with her husband, David, enjoying the wine stocked in ice buckets for the limo commute there and back.

The limo's beverage glass selection (above) and, below, our wine selection for the ride to Rick's. 

Above: On the visit in 2012, these live lobster were in a glass enclosure near the diners' check-in point. We saw no such exhibit on Monday when Lee Ann and I were there.

Above and below: Views of the slip and reservoir from our seat for dinner in 2012, when I had an Atlantic salmon dish on brown rice. The salmon, topped with an orange vinaigrette drizzle, was divine and was on the menu for Monday's visit. I planned to revisit it, but the server told us that the heavy weekend holiday traffic emptied the restaurant of its stock of Atlantic salmon, so I had the Cajun red grouper instead. It was enjoyable.

Above: The kids and I posing for an after-dinner photo. Taking the picture was our very helpful server, who had talked me into trying the Atlantic salmon. I've had only one salmon dish that could top the one I had at Rick's. It was salmon topped with raspberry drizzle and served on brown rice at Hal's Fabulous Vegas in Greenwood in summer 2013 during the Savor the Southside promotion. The chef who introduced that dish to Hal's no longer works there, which I sadly learned after a return visit a year later, so it is no longer on the menu there. 

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I have a sad bit of news to include with this post.

Just last week, I did a post about several eateries and drinking establishments I'd visited and photographed in recent months. This morning, I learned that the Garfield Eatery and Coffee, which led the list of places I presented in that post, had officially closed, apparently effective immediately.

I had been to The Garf just last Saturday -- first for brunch, and then again to pick up a couple quarts of its yummy potato salad to take to a cookout.

Owners David Sanchez and Dan Sassano had mentioned they were still struggling with some operational issues when Lee Ann and I chatted with them that day, and they mentioned they were heading to Chicago to enjoy a long holiday weekend with their son, Santi. But they gave no hint that might be the last time we be able to enjoy The Garf ... or to see them in their eatery.

We wish them the best.

As always, click on an image to bring up a larger, sharper version, especially if you're accessing this by mobile device.

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