I stood quietly leaning against a pillar and watched the shadow. It moved ever so slowly. How long? How much longer must I wait for it to finish scraping across the “I” of the XLVI? I must have been standing there for an hour. It felt like an hour. I looked at the time. Only five minutes. Groan.
I stared at the shadow. It stayed motionless. I blinked. It inched. Patience, I told myself. You came down to Super Bowl Village so you could get a photo of the giant XLVI. Don’t blow it because you lack patience.
I had seen photos of the giant XLVI and of the Indy cars that would only be on the circle through today and I knew I had to experience the Super Bowl hype. So here I am, with hundreds of others, taking photos, with hundreds of others.
But I came at the wrong time. I didn’t want a photo of Super Bowl XL! But that’s what I would get if I didn’t exert patience. Yes, I exert patience, because it’s hard!
While waiting for the perfect moment, I wandered around Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument hoping to get an interesting shot from behind. Not as many people crowded the area. I suppose because most people want photos and memories of XLVI and not IVLX. I had hoped for something interesting, but the energy was not as great behind the giant numerals.
I wound my way back to the front. The sun had moved enough so that the numerals became XLV. But XLV is sooooo last year!
While I waited, I went to the end of the Indy cars, hoping to get a decent shot. Nope. Besides for the hundreds of people crowding around the cars, I still had issues with light and shadow. I gave up on getting a decent Indy car photo, especially after hearing one photographer call out another one for getting in his way. Crowds can be that way sometimes. So I pushed through the hordes and went back to the XLVI.
I parked myself against a pillar in the place I had staked out on my walk-about and willed the shadow to disappear so that I could get that one photo I had come downtown to get. Patience paid off. The sun shone straight down Meridian Street and onto the XLVI.
In a few minutes, the shadows would start creeping up again as the sun crossed behind the buildings on the other side of the street. I knew I had a keeper with the above photo. It showed the numerals and I liked the angle, but I wanted more. I wanted something unique. I know the circle well enough to know there are unconventional perspectives. My favorite is finding reflections in windows. So, while everyone aimed their cameras towards the XLVI, I aimed mine at windows. I took a number of photos in this way, but this one is my absolute favorite.
I know no one will call me up and say, “Hey, we want to use that photo on the cover on Indianapolis Monthly!” But that’s ok because I love it. I waited patiently for the light to be just right and I got the shot.
(Now I will shamelessly direct you to my Flickr Super Bowl 2012 photostream so you can see other photos I took. A number of them are reflection shots. I will be adding more to it because I fully intend to go back, hopefully on Monday. I also wrote about my experience at TURF: IDADA Art Pavilion, which is an art pavilion created especially for the Super Bowl.)
Winter snow crept in overnight and laid down a downy, white blanket. It left no path, no clear-cut way for me to remove it’s covering from my car so I could go to work. The one-lane road was equally covered. Trapped, I turned back inside, heated up some hot chocolate, and settled down with a good book. Tomorrow, I said.
The trail I walked meandered through razed ground. Eventually grass, shrubs, flowers, and sproutling trees would fill in the overturned earth and over time the new park would fill in. But for now, on this cold January day in 2006, just the trail existed; the trail and the far off trees. The ground around me rose and fell with the sculpted contours of the future park. I walked by the future pond that would be a place for birds and fish, parents and children. I saw future picnic areas and the beginnings of a rock bridge. I wandered around a bend, looked around me and imagined how this park will blossom. Off in the distance I saw, what? A statue perhaps? A tree? What was it doing? It looked like a drum major rallying his band. The trees responded by moving into formation. I listened for music and heard faint echoes of Soussa in my head. I smiled. This will be a wonderful park indeed.
Some guy sat beside me on the bus, muttering incoherently under his breath. I pressed my face against the bus window, wishing to be somewhere else. The cold, evening sun slipped behind clouds as it set. The beauty of the deepening sky with the trees in silhouette drew my attention. I pulled the camera out of my backpack. Sometimes the bus bounced over uneven road and the images blurred; other times it was smooth. Trees flashed by and houses topped the horizon. I worked hard to capture silhouettes with my small point-and-shoot. The sun set terribly fast and, soon, the trees gave way to housetops.
The bus slowed, then stopped, then started again. Silence. I put my camera away, then noticed the silence. The muttering man was gone. I pressed my face against the bus window.
When I went to TURF: IDADA Art Pavilion the other day, one of my favorite installations was “Step On This Side Of The Curtain” by Holly Streekstra. The mood was haunting and flickered between light and dark. I captured a few photos using ambient light but knew that they were most likely blurred so I decided to use the on-camera flash. (Ugh! But what’s a girl to do under such low-light conditions?) I especially loved the globe chandelier because it was so reminiscent of a past era. I waited for the globe lights to be full-on and with my on-camera flash I captured this Victorian parlor.
It looked good on the LCD monitor so I thought I had a pretty decent photograph of that room that I could use for the review I would later write.
When I got home and downloaded all the images, I began my work flow. My photography work flow is to download the images onto my computer and into files sorted by date taken. Then I use Adobe Bridge where I quickly scan and delete obvious rejects; blurred and out-of-focus, too dark, redundant, bland, etc. This makes the remaining photos easier to work through.
Sometimes I am automatic in deleting images because I know that blurred images and too-dark images are not usually keepers. Because of that, I almost…almost…deleted this photo.
But I couldn’t. It wouldn’t let me. My heart quickened when I saw it. I remembered the dizziness I felt when I entered that room. I remembered the whispering voices, the surreal furnishing, the otherworldly mirrors. I remembered looking into a mirror and seeing the reflection of the globe chandelier but not my own reflection. I remembered all that because of this image.
If I were to choose a favorite photograph from all the installation photos I took that day, this is it, hands down! I wish I could say that I intended this photograph, that I had the presence of mind to play with the slow shutter speed in order create an otherworldly feel. But that’s not what happened. This photo is an accident.
Or, maybe it wasn’t an accident. Maybe, just maybe, a ghost made this photograph.
I like that.
The city of Indianapolis is hosting the Super Bowl this year. They took a bold initiative and included the arts as part of the celebration, something no other Super Bowl has done. Right now in downtown Indianapolis in the Old Indianapolis City Hall on Alabama Street, Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association (IDADA) presents TURF: IDADA Art Pavilion.
I took my friend, Kathryn, with me. She loves art and art installations so I knew she would appreciate this. She hadn’t heard of it and was a little skeptical. All that changed when we saw the first installation.
I don’t read artist’s statements anymore. Instead, I walk into an exhibit or look at a painting and I bring my own background and my own feelings and understandings to the artwork and if it touches me or says something to me then I am content. I say this because I will be expressing my thoughts and feelings and opinions on the following installations. They may or may not reflect the intention of the artist.
Artist: C. Thomas Lewis Better or Worse?
Eyes, strange and disturbing, peered out over top of me. Mostly unblinking, very human, very inhuman. They saw but didn’t see. Emotionless. All the same but each different.
My feelings in the space intrigued me, however, Kathryn was intrigued with the mechanics. How did he project the eyes perfectly onto the cutouts? Is that a shadow on the wall behind them or is it painted? It’s painted! No, it’s a shadow! Look. Across the way she finds the audio and presses her ears against the wall to hear someone whisper, “Better or Worse?” On the disks in the corner opposite the eyes, the E of the eye chart was projected in various levels of focus. “Better or Worse?”
I looked up at the disks at the moment “Orange” was projected onto one of them. Then it changed to “Purple”. In that instance I understood. This installation was about perception. I saw the color purple but read the word “orange.” What did that do to me? Did it throw me off kilter? Yes, it did. I had just read a chapter in a book about this very thing. Reading the word purple and seeing it bathed in purple engages the automatic nervous system and we think nothing about it. But reading the word purple bathed in orange is jarring and makes us stop and take notice. Is it purple or is it orange? It is this juxtaposition of two different systems that allows us to question our perception. Better or worse?
Artist: Anila Quayyum Agha My Forked Tongue
Language hangs all around me. Strings of letters that, if strung carefully, create words and words create sounds and sounds create language. I was in a surreal world of streaming 1′s and 0′s only, instead of 1′s they were letters, and instead of 0′s they were scripts of other cultures. I felt all of civilization wash over me. I recognized shadow shapes on the wall, portending the future of new words and new languages or revealing the ancient past of languages lost.
This was my favorite exhibit. It told me so much with so little.
Artist: Jeff Martin Switch v2.0
Delightful! Fun! Intriguing! Easily understood and fun to play with. Two walls bearing light-sensitive night lights light up as you walk/run/jump/skip by. Extend your arm, and your arm-shadow lights up. I had too much fun playing with this installation and creating light shadows of myself to think of it as being something deep and philosophical. But that’s ok. I’m sure I could come up with something, but, nah! Let this one be just a lot of fun.
Artist: Lesley Baker Bull In A China Shop
At first, I wasn’t interested. By this time I had seen many installations with technology applied to them that were new and impressive. So to see a wooden bull looking at what appeared to be white flowers on the ground really didn’t grab my attention. My first thought was of Ferdinand the Bull and his flowers.
But Kathryn and I circled around and were surprised to see he was anatomically gifted. Then Kathryn read the title of the installation, “Bull in a China Shop,” and all of a sudden my experience with this installation changed. I backed up and looked at this huge bull in this room. And instead of thinking this enormous beast was out of its element, large and clumsy and destroying precious china, I thought, “Man, this bull is rather ballsy to be in a china shop in the first place.” I have a new appreciation for the idiom, “You’re like a bull in a china shop.” The next time I hear that, I’ll say, “Why, thanks!”
Artist: Mike Lyons A Rapid Validation
I admit, when I first saw this I wanted to run screaming. But that’s because I hate chaos. I hate clutter. It makes me nervous. I need things in some semblance of order or organization. Ten years ago you would have never heard me say that, but lately I’m almost compulsive about it.
Kathryn didn’t like it either but for different reasons. She didn’t like the three TVs with animated blobs on them, especially the last one that looked like a Hershey’s Kiss getting covered with pustules and boils, like a disease. She hated it. However, for me those three TVs kept me sane. When Kathryn said she’d get rid of them, my imagination removed them and the whole chaotic mess inside started to ooze out towards me. I saw it coming, building upon itself because we all know that chaos is the true nature of things and that organization takes thought and control. That…mess…inched towards me like the beginning of an avalanche until I pulled myself together and mentally shoved the three TVs back in place. They may show diseased globs but that dis-ease is what keeps chaos in check. Oddly enough, I may not have liked this installation but it has made me think the most and that is why I think it works.
Artist: Holly Streekstra Step on This Side of the Curtain
Entering through a black curtain into a dark room with a flickering overhead globe chandelier. Between the fritzing on and off of the globes a surreal parlor emerges. Whispers scurry across the walls and I realize I’m in the middle of a seance or some such otherworldly experience.
The globe chandelier lights up and I see into the room weirdly. I see a telescope and a chalkboard on a table. Are they for seeing into the realms of the dead? for automatic writing? And is that a mirror over the fireplace? I look into it but see only the chandelier reflected back. I do not exist. The room goes dark again and the globes flicker. Such a tranquil room; such macabre wonder.
There were other installations worth noting. One that held special significance for me was of a refrigerator that had fallen through the open floor above and had crashed through the main floor. I walked into that installation and exclaimed, “That’s my tub! Only it’s a fridge!” (I once lived in a house where the upstairs bathroom floor had crumbled and exposed the tub to the living room below…I was sure the tub would fall through any day.) Over all, there are 22 installations—enough to satisfy almost everyone.
I am glad that Indianapolis takes great pride in their artist community. I am glad they are including the arts as part of the Super Bowl experience. Way to go, Indy!
TURF: IDADA Art Pavilion is opened Tues-Sun from 10:00am – 7:00 pm. It’s free and it’s worth the time and parking to see it.
(I am not in any way connected to IDADA. I just loved the exhibit and had to write about it.)
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day and all over the US we celebrated it in various ways. One way many people celebrate is by donating their services to help disadvantaged people. I used to work at a university where we had some great technology and in 2010 one of our former students proposed a weekend of service. He found three deserving non-profits who either needed their websites overhauled or who didn’t have a website and needed to have a Web presence. Then he put together three teams consisting of Web developers, Web designers, and videographers. They had 48 hours to create their websites. It was intense. It was grueling. It was fun. I followed them and shot photos throughout the weekend.
(The above photo is one I took the day after the event. It includes the photo below and for this reason I’m posting both today.)
It isn’t easy developing a website in 48 hours. When time was up, the teams were thrilled but wiped-out. However, the experience was such that when the call went out the following year, nearly all of them came back to participate.
I confess. I have a dark, humorous side to me. I could have selected a lovely image of just the candle and its reflection because I actually do have one—a single colorful votive candle lit from inside, its light reflecting off the surface. The room was dark, intentionally so, in order to bring out the beauty of the candle. I could have used that image. But I didn’t.
I love storytelling and photography can tell wonderful stories. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I believe it, as long as the photo elicits an emotion from the viewer.
I am all about finding meaning in everything, also. My apartment is filled with meaning. The plants are meaningful because they’ve survived my fickleness and I love them for it. All of my furniture except my bed came to me through my dearest friends. Artwork is a product of either my own making or a gift. There is very little that doesn’t hold meaning for me.
I have three sons. And as kids, their humor/interests tended towards the grotesque so remembering a song from my own youth, taught to me by my own brothers, I started singing it for my sons’ birthdays and they loved it. It has since become traditional for us to sing it at birthdays instead of the typical “Happy Birthday To You” song. My song, and I say “my” only because I haven’t heard anyone else sing it but me, is sung to the tune of “Song of The Volga Boatmen” (or “Yo, Heave Ho!”) modified just a little to accommodate the extra words. (The link takes you to a wonderful YouTube version…just the first 26 seconds is plenty—you’ll recognize it.)
When I took this photo, I couldn’t help but think it paired perfectly with “my” birthday song so I made a birthday card from it and have since sent it to many dear, and equally appreciative, friends.
When I went to select today’s photo, I had the choice of a pretty votive or this macabre image of me being grossly illuminated. Because it tells a better story and has a history of meaning for me, I opted for this one. The single votive pales in comparison. So there you have it.
I haven’t been posting photos to 365 Days Journey Through the Past for the last couple of days because I’m rather discouraged. Don’t get me wrong, I’m on track. I’ve been adding them to my Flickr account and at the end of the month they will be included in the monthly wrap-up, but right now I can’t help but wonder, what’s the point? I can tell that in the past during January I wasn’t really inspired and under other circumstances the photos would remain filed away on my computer because they really aren’t that good.
Part of my problem right now is that I don’t know what direction I want to go with photography; nature? people? animals? urban? other???? I love cemeteries and have tons of cemetery photos. I also love urban decay and have done some fun things with that. But I’m not inspired by either one right now. I want to include a human element to my photos, also—I had a lot of fun photographing my friend’s children!—but I’m still rather reticent to ask strangers if I can photograph them. I think I need an infusion of newness. I love Indianapolis, but I’ve been here too long without a change of scenery! I need a vacation!
Anyway, it snowed FINALLY and the snow is still on the ground so I thought I’d go to Holliday Park and see what I could find. At first it was the same stuff as always. I live a few blocks from Holliday Park so I go there a lot. Then I went into the Nature Center and sat watching the birds and squirrels through the one-way window. I lifted the camera to my eye and before I knew it, I got lost taking photos. Enjoy!
I used my 55-250mm zoom lens. I set the white balance for cloudy, which worked well outside. When I went inside the Nature Center and shot through the windows, I assumed I should keep it at cloudy. But, nope, when I color corrected in camera RAW, I learned I should have set the white balance to fluorescent. I’ll have to read up on why the indoor lighting superseded the outdoor lighting when my subjects were outside. Hmmmmm…..
UPDATE: I pondered this over the course of the day and came to the conclusion that the actual light hitting the camera sensor was from inside the building, not the outside light, and therefore need to take into consideration the indoor light situation. That is my conclusion at this point, but I’m still going to look into it.
I had the most wonderful opportunity to practice some photography skills. I would test my ability to shoot moving objects in low-light conditions without a tripod with the end results being photos for print! How could I pass it up? I had been reading some photography books and wanted to try out some of the new things I learned so I packed my camera bag and headed to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to meet my friend so I could babysit her kids while she went to a meeting downtown.
Yep. Babysit. Those children were my moving objects. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis was the low-light condition and I had no room in the stroller for a tripod (nor could I have effectively used it and kept my eye on the kids without stumbling all over the place and losing the kids). And I promised my friend photos she could print.
I wanted to carry as little gear as possible so I made it a goal to shoot with only my Canon EOS 30D and a 50mm 1.8f prime lens. That meant using the on-camera flash, which I’m not partial to; I prefer an external flash when flash is needed. I preset the ISO to 800 and the white balance to fluorescent since that produced the better image. I set the aperture to f/4 as a starting point. I didn’t want the flash to be the overwhelming light source when I used it, so I set the flash output to -1.7, more like a fill-flash. I was used to using spot metering but decided to go with evaluative. And I went with continuous shoot mode, planning to get at least three shots off for every image. I had read that this helps with camera shake. Usually the first photo will show some signs of camera shake because of depressing the shutter release. The middle one will most likely be the better image and the last one is recovering from the series. I discovered that there were little differences between the first and middle images, probably because I was hand-holding in low light, but that the last one was always horrible. Maybe because I was mentally done after the first two so I pulled away by the third shot.
I haven’t photographed children since my own children were young so I was thrilled to have human subjects who would challenge me. I started out without the flash just to see if I could hand-hold it and get decent images. What I learned is that the light in the building cast odd shadows across the children’s faces so up popped my flash. I was actually pleased with the fill-flash setting since it opened up their faces but didn’t overpower them. There were very few times I had to make any adjustments other than for shutter speed and sometimes for aperture. This freed me up to focus on the antics of the kids and try to outguess their moves so I could capture them having fun.
The 50mm 1.8f lens limited my shots also. I discovered I tended towards centered portraits, which makes sense for this lens. I had to wrestle myself to get any photos with the focal point off center. Next time I use this lens exclusively I will take on the challenge of the rule of thirds!
I took 192 photos in all. Subtract the repeats (because of continuous shooting mode) and you have 86. From those 86, here are 14 of my favorites of the children. Enjoy!
(Dangit! The slideshow uses ALL photos for this post, which means redundancy and I can’t correct for it. So there are 17 photos total in the slideshow.)
Early one morning I drove down Washington Street in downtown Indianapolis on my way to work. It was at a time when the morning light filtered its way through the forest of buildings and selectively lit one building over another. Until that morning, I had never paid attention to this building. It was on a side-street but the way the light illuminated the area, I couldn’t help but glance at this beautiful Mondrian-inspired building. I didn’t stop to photograph it in the moment because I was on a tight schedule to get to work. But I referenced the building for a later photo shoot.
It was at this time, also, that I was searching for ideas for a print ad design. One of the parameters was that it be black and white. The publication was for a campus event. My past experience with this publication taught me that it was run by students who didn’t know really what they were doing and the other advertisers (read: campus schools and departments) didn’t understand how color converts to black and white and therefore sent in color ads that were printed in black and white…not very flattering. Although it wasn’t a high quality publication, it would reach a lot of people. I wanted my ad to POP off the page. The best way to do this would be to use high contrast, and what better high contrast than black and white with no shades of gray? So keeping that in mind, I remembered the windows and realized that I could also be inspired by Piet Mondrian. They used my ad on the inside back cover, which is a cherry position.
Inspiration comes from different sources. I keep learning to open my eyes and observe and wonder.
I looked at the forest, barren and repetitive, and raised the camera to my eye. Stark brown trunks rose to the sky, contrasting beautifully against the clouds. I captured a number of shots, each one unfolding a surreal blue landscape, not the repetitive brown landscape I saw. Where did the blue come from? Why did my camera present me with weirdly-colored trees in a landscape that I saw as bleak brown?
This frustrated and perturbed me. The Canon EOS 30D was new to me. My previous cameras were point-and-shoots (Canon PowerShots of various kinds) so this was my introduction to the DSLR world. What was happening?
I don’t know how long after this photo shoot it took me to figure it out, but I remember thinking about a photography class I had taken at the Indianapolis Art Center a couple of years prior. I had just received a Canon PowerShot S2 IS with manual controls for Christmas. I wanted to learn as much as I could on how to use the controls so I signed up for a beginning photography class. I was the only one with a point-and-shoot but I soaked it all in. I learned about white balance and Kelvin color space and many other things. My point-and-shoot had white balance presets so I played around a little with the various settings and got a fairly decent understanding of white balance. Eventually, though, I left it on auto white balance (AWB) and then promptly forgot about it. AWB served me well. But I never really got that whole Kelvin thing.
With a more advanced camera, though, there I was, looking at a blue forest and wondering what I was doing wrong. Later, I remembered the whole white balance lesson. I looked at my camera and noticed it was set to “K”. Haha! So I changed that setting to AWB and that made everything return to normal. Much later, when I was reading about my camera, I noticed my color space setting was set to 2800. That accounted for the blueness when the white balance was set to “K”. So, mystery solved!
Now, five years later, I look at this unnatural world I captured using a cold setting. No longer frustrated, I am intrigued by the mystery. What would it be like to wander through a blue forest in a blue world during the blue hour of twilight?
Round is soothing. There isn’t anything sharp and hurtful with round. Circles are forever with no beginning and no ending. Our earth is a life-giving globe.
I have a fascination for round objects. I especially love ornaments or glass balls. I have a wrought-iron bowl filled with blown-glass ornaments and I love to place glass ornaments in crystal candlesticks that have a fluted top. An out-of-town friend of mine came to visit recently and said, “I see a theme here…” which says a lot since I typically don’t collect things. But I collect round.
You can’t go wrong with round.
Winter. Snow. White. Cold. Words that symbolize this time of year. A park bench covered in winter snow; red ribbons reminiscent of the season. It seduces the imagination and speaks of what winter should be. I should leave it at that.
But I won’t. Six years later…today…I look out my window at the warm sun. Morning temperature is 40° and will continue to rise. This winter season has been unseasonably warm and even though my body (and my electric bill!) loves it, I miss the beauty of winter. I miss the beauty of snow. I am concerned about how this will affect the upcoming spring and summer. How will the land respond? How will the crops fare? Will our insect population explode? What does this mean? I hope that in the next couple of weeks our winter will shape up and be what it is supposed to be.
But until then, I have this photo to remind me of what winter once looked like.
I have a certain lust for spontaneously going on short trips. One day, a couple years ago, I left to get milk and eggs and ended up in St. Louis, MO where I attended a Catholic Mass at Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (I’m not Catholic. It was beautiful). That was the first trip. Since then, I have found myself doing over-nighters in Paris, Tennessee (where a college friend was visiting one weekend) and Lexington, Kentucky, where I discovered the Bourbon Trail and enjoyed my first tour of a distillery—Woodford Reserve. Just this past summer I wound up at Maker’s Mark. All these destinations were not planned. I got in my car and took off.
My son, Josh, asked me just recently if he could go with me next time so for his birthday, I asked him, “What direction do you want to go?”
“Towards Nashville or Knoxville?” I needed to know if we were to take I65 or I74.
We left the day it snowed in Indianapolis, where visibility at times was just a few feet in front of us. But we were headed south so I figured we would eventually leave the snow behind and we did. All the way down we wondered what we would do in Nashville. Neither one of us have any country music leanings. I mentioned Johnny Cash and Josh confused him with Willie Nelson. I could only think of “A Boy Named Sue” and then later “I Walked the Line.” I said, “At least if anyone asks, we can say we’ve been to Opryland.” I don’t know why that’s important. No one has asked me that yet.
Josh works 3rd shift so by the time we got to Nashville and checked into Fiddler’s Inn, a motel on Music Valley Drive and just minutes from Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center (Opryland), he had been up almost 24 hours. Instead of going out, he zonked out and I was tired from the drive so I stayed in reading brochures and whatnot, wondering what we would do the next day. The best I could come up with was to go to Opryland and wander through their nine acres of botanical gardens. Yeah. Sure. A 23 year old young man would just love to do that for his birthday.
The next day, with a “whatever” shrug from Josh, we drove around the area with Opryland itself being the final destination. We never made it. I suggested we tackle Willie Nelson and Friends first since we were driving by. If we liked it well enough to return, we would. Across the upper facade of the store are numerous country singers and, frankly, I had no idea who any were except two:
Then, once inside, all the country, redneck, hillbilly-type stuff just did me in. Did my son in, also. I took this photo of an oversized poster of Willie Nelson that hung gloriously on one of the walls and after a few minutes, my son and I left.
We drove around Opryland all the while discussing how wrong it was that we were in country music territory since we didn’t like country music. We looked at each other, shook our heads, waved goodbye to Opryland, and drove away.
We fled the country trappings of Nashville to the hide in the caves of Kentucky.
If you want to experience Mammoth Caves themselves, then definitely go in the winter when your tour size is only 21 people rather than 125. If you want to experience the beautiful scenery with the caves being secondary, then go in summer/fall. I’m glad we went in the winter since our first priority were the caves. We got there an hour early for the tour we wanted (the historical tour) so we went wandering down some of the trails. This is Josh looking out over a scenic view.
I tried to get photos of the view itself but with the trees so forlorn and brown/gray there was no contrast to represent depth. Don’t get me wrong, I took photos and I have tried to punch up the contrast and colors in Photoshop, but there really wasn’t anything to work with so I gave up. Josh and I kept saying, “This place would be gorgeous in the summer or the fall” so we wandered around envisioning all the colorful leaves on the trees and relishing the warmth of our thoughts.
One of the trails goes to a cemetery. It’s a small cemetery and I wandered around it while Josh stayed at the other end reading the stories of those buried there.
Josh and I both consider ourselves winter hardy, but I was wearing a sweater and scarf and he was wearing a fleece jacket, totally unprepared for the below freezing temperatures. We headed back to the tour center where we warmed up just in time for the tour.
With it still close to the holidays, the Christmas tree they set up in the rotunda part of the cave was still there. I knew the light situation deeper in the cave would not be good for photography, so I captured this photo. I was using a 50mm 1.8 prime and on-camera flash.
Josh and I loved Mammoth Caves. It was perfect for his birthday. He was able to get away from Indiana and from work, visit a couple of different States, get a bizarre sense of country music, and wander through caves where he felt perfectly at home. And I loved it for almost the same reasons (though I’m not perfectly at home in a cave). I think a little mother/son bonding was nice, also.
My hats experiencing a New Year’s moment, albeit a little late!
That is all.
You can go back to your regularly scheduled normal January 4th activities.
(phew, thought they’d never leave)
Ah, yes. The bungalow in Irvington (suburb of Indianapolis). Bedroom. Bare bedroom light fixture right over my head. Why does this make me smile? (And it does!) All the light fixtures in the house allowed two light bulbs. However, all the light fixtures in the house only lit one of them. There was no point in putting in a second light bulb.
I lived in a state of perplexity while in the bungalow. How much do I dress it up and add to its value and thereby profiting the slumlord? And how much do I just let slide? I didn’t purchase ceiling lamp shades, as you can see. But I did buy a crystal lamp pull just for me. And when I left this wonderful/terrifying house, I took the lamp pulls with me.
Why do I have such fond memories of a home so apparently horrifying?
December was a wild month for me. I’m still amazed at how I have evolved through the years with photography. And I’m equally amazed that the first part of the month was so scarce in photos that I had to mix it up a bit with some “homemade” holiday cards. Now on to the new year!!!
I spent cold days in January looking out windows. For three years I lived in a two-story bungalow in the trashy part of Irvington (a subdivision of Indianapolis). And although the neighborhood offered up frightening experiences, the view from the windows always comforted me. I watched steam from my neighbor’s chimney rise into the cold, evening air, teasing the moon with puffy, tender touches. This view is from the bathroom window, the room where the tub could at any moment fall through the floor down into the living area. The winter view compelled me. In spite of the horrors of that neighborhood, I discovered snatches of beauty. Wherever one goes, beauty exists.