Saturday, October 17, 2015

Game Day, Part II:
Trine helped inspire photography project

Ever since I committed to doing the "Game Day" project, which has taken me to a dozen campuses of Indiana small colleges and unversities since 2009, I'd mentally put Trine University toward the bottom portion of my list of campuses to tour. I did so mostly because it would require the longest commute time for me, coming from Indianapolis.

Trine is in Angola, Ind., the seat of Steuben County in the northeast corner of Indiana, about eight miles south of Pokagon State Park. I'm in Indianapolis, about 2.5 to 3 hours away. Last week, about a month after an unsuccessful attempt to schedule a visit to another campus, I decided to tackle Trine University next.

For 120 years of its existence, the university had "Tri-State" in its name because of its proximity to the Michigan and Ohio borders. It began as Tri-State Normal School, evolved to Tri-State College in 1906 and, in 1975, to Tri-State University.

The final name change came about in 2009 when the university's board of directors decided it wanted Trine to appeal to students beyond the three-state area. The board chose the name Trine for alumnus Ralph Trine, the largest-ever single donor to the school and, with his wife, Sheri, owner of Angola-based Vestil Manufacturing Corp.

I learned about the most recent name change a few months after it went into effect. I was well into my revived interest in photography, and in May 2009, I'd purchased my first Canon "L" line of glass -- the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. I was itching to try my hand at sports photography, and noticed that nearby Franklin College was hosting a game against a school named Trine on Sept. 26. I did a little checking, and that's when I learned that Trine was the school I formerly knew as Tri-State. I called the Franklin sports information director, Kevin Elixman, who fixed me up with a photographer's credential.

It was a dramatic game to shoot and watch. Franklin came from 13 points behind late in the third quarter to win 30-29, Trine's first regular-season loss in two years. Junior quarterback Eric Watt had not only a strong game that day for Trine, but also a terrific career at the school. The following season, when 11-1 Trine annihilated most of its opponents (its only loss coming 45-31 to eventual D3 champion Wisconsin-Whitewater in the playoffs), Watt would win the postseason Gagliardi Trophy, Division III's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, and the school would retire his jersey number (13).

Two years later, in 2011, with that wonderful experience shooting the Franklin-Trine game in mind, I officially decided to do the small-college tour. I'm happy I made it to Trine when I did. I chose this game on Trine's schedule because the opponent, Olivet (Mich.) College, was a school I had not seen before, and because it was Trine's homecoming. I had some colorful pictures when I visited Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology two years ago for its homecoming (a narrow victory over Defiance College), so I wanted to experience that "welcome back" atmosphere again.

Trine's is a compact campus on 450 acres, right next to Zollner Golf Course on the western edge of Angola. Almost all of the campus is south of Angola's main thoroughfare -- Maumee Street (Ind. 20) -- and features a lot of new buildings, some beautiful landscaping and one structure on the north side of Maumee, the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts, where the Oak Ridge Boys would play that night as featured homecoming entertainment.

For a full gallery of images of my Trine University campus shots, visit my site at SmugMug.

Photo Geek info: For most of the campus landscape shots, I used my Canon 6D and Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens mounted on a tripod and bracketed three shots per image for exposure so I could process the images in Photomatix high-dynamic range (HDR) software in post-processing. For most shots, I set the camera to average white balance, aperture priority mode (f/9), and ISO-160, using the shutter as my exposure changing variable. I hand-held the camera for the shots taken indoors at the student center.  

Next up: The Trine marching band and High Voltage Dancers, both of which performed at Saturday's football game.

Above and next dozen below: The Rick L. and Vicki L. James University Center was the hub of activity for this homecoming weekend. Outdoors, it included games and attractions for children, cycle fun, face-painting and a petting zoo. Indoors, there were art, gatherings for alumni and merchandise available for purchase at the campus bookstore.











Above and below: I arrived a bit late to catch any of the live action in the school's Tour de Trine tricycle race, but I did manage to snap these shots of the aftermath. 


Above and next two below: Student organizations adorned sections of the sidewalk and fencing outside Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium, where the homecoming football game was played. 



Above and next seven below: Campus buildings and landscaping ... and a squirrel that found its way into a below-ground drainage basin outside a classroom window in one of the academic plazas.







Above: T. Furth Center for Performing Arts.  

Above and below: Studies of lines and patterns outside the Depot Mexican Grill along the railroad tracks at the north end of campus.


Above: The Athletic and Recreation Center.

Above and below: Shots of some of the outdoor athletic fields, including the Zollner Golf Course in the background of the photo above.  



Above and below: A brief look at some early, game-day tailgating activity near the Zollner Athletic Stadium. I arrived early, so many of my campus shots were taken before tailgating really blossomed. 

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