Tag Archives: Indiana

November Sunset – two views


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Taken with iPhone5, using app Camera+. Edited with TouchRetouch, SnapSeed, Distressed FX.

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Taken with iPhone5, using BracketMode. Edited with ProHDR, TouchRetouch, SnapSeed, Distressed FX, ImageBlender, Repix.

I’m Solar-Powered …. and need a bit of Spring


9.25 was the number yesterday.   9.25 inches of snow, a 100-year-record in my area of the country for this late in March.   It was a year ago that I went to a friend’s home to photograph her garden because she thought she would miss it before she returned from her winter home in the South.  I went hiking one day in mid-March without sunscreen and paid the price.   All the Spring wildflowers had faded by the first of April.

But this year?  9.25 inches of heavy wet snow.  It started Sunday, dumping a few inches on the ground but not sticking to the roads.  By noon it had stopped and everything on the trees and lawns had melted.   I thought we had dodged a bullet.   Around dinner time it started up again with a fury, covering the ground within minutes.   Because Daylight Savings Time is earlier now than in past years, this may have been the first time I experienced a heavy snowstorm in the daylight — at 8 pm!

Monday morning everything was covered.  It was cold and the winds had picked up.  At times it was difficult to tell if it was snowing again — and often it was — or whether it was merely snow being shaken off the trees.  Every once and awhile I would see a robin.   This weather isn’t for the birds!   I bet that bird wondered why he had booked his return flight north so early.

I wandered outside later in the day, accompanied by my camera and my iPhone.  Since the iPhone is new, I thought I’d take a few setups with both.  Having a phone that was so old my family liked to tease me that it was “so last century” (hyperbole runs rampant in my household, but they were almost correct), I have been amazed at the quality of the photos this little wonder that fits in my pocket can take.

But you know what?  I’m bored with pictures of the trees in the woods covered with snow.   I’m fatigued by ice crystals slowly melting off the picnic table.  I’m no longer fascinated by the frost patterns on the windows and sidewalks.   I’ve seen enough of footprints left by woodland critters on the driveway.  I’m fed-up with the constant grey haze that permeates the midwestern winter.   I’m solar-powered and I need the sun!

And yet, in the midst of the white fluffy snow, there are hints that this Second Winter, Winter 2.0, or The Winter That Never Ends — call it what you want — will in fact melt away and soon there will be flowers and trees in bloom.

The flowers will bloom tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.  Can it please only be a day away?

The flowers will bloom tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. Can it please only be a day away?

I didn’t like any of the photos that I shot, but this one, with just a hint of yellow and green against the rocks reminds me to keep looking forward a few weeks to more enjoyable weather.  The photos weren’t as clear as I liked, nor were they exposed correctly (dark afternoon shadows and bright-grey light — ugh!).  So this seemed a perfect candidate for adding some artistic, painterly effects and some overlays.   I liked adding a texture (Kim Klassen’s Grunged Up 2) to the snow.   I’m over it looking pretty in its pristine condition. Don’t beguile me with your whiteness, ye blanket of snow!  When it doesn’t melt around here, it gets very grungy looking and so I thought this image deserved the same.    Pow!  Take that snow!   

Linking up for Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday.  This week’s theme:  Flowers.   New green growth with a few buds hinting at blossoms is about as close as you can get to flowers in the wild here and I wasn’t about to head out to the store in the snow!  🙂

Snow Day


I wasn’t about to go outside in the ice today, so I put some flowers on the balcony and stood inside (near the heat vent which was working overtime) and snapped away.

Burst of Color on a Snowy Day

Burst of Color on a Snowy Day

One more tree and fog post


Here is yet another shot that I took the day before Thanksgiving.  It was a foggy morning, and while I had lots to do to get ready for my extended family’s holiday, it was more fun to walk in the woods and get muddy taking photographs of the fog rolling along the creek, and then burning off as the sun rose.

Sunlight Clearing the Fog

Sunlight Clearing the Fog

I’ve taken lots of photographs in the past year along this same stretch of the greenway path.   Here is a photograph I took last January at the same spot.   You can’t tell from these photographs, but several large branches have fallen off the tree in the foreground during the past year.   Although the light is different, I’m guessing that these were taken at about the same time of the day, with the sun burning off more of the fog in the January shot.

Today started bathed in golden light cutting through the fog

The day started bathed in golden light cutting through the fog

Buzzards’ Roost: Fog and Trees


Fall Creek In The Fog

Awoke this morning to a thick blanket of fog.  Perfect photography weather in my book!   I dressed quickly, grabbed my camera and tripod and rushed out to wander the banks of Fall Creek.

This may be my favorite photo from the bunch.  On the other side of the bank is a place once known as Buzzards’ Roost.   This afternoon, while trying to discover the correct name for this place,  I stumbled upon a copy of the charming bequest — it included lines of poetry extolling the countryside.  This tract of land was deeded to the city of Indianapolis as a public park in 1909 with the stipulation that it be known as Woolen Gardens of Birds and Botany and that “the wildwood of it is to be maintained as near as can be in its present wild state. [And] The wild life upon it, except when doing harm, is not to be interfered with or destroyed; it is to be a home and refuge for the wild creatures which are found there or which may come to it”.

There were other stipulations, such as the log cabins were to be preserved as a testament to the lives of the pioneers, that there should be a visitors center that was a replica of the original statehouse in Corydon, and that the area should be used as a place of nature study for school children.    The acreage has been mostly inaccessible since the interstate was built in the 1970’s and the cabins were destroyed many years ago, but the property is maintained as a nature preserve, with occasional limited access to the public.  I’ve only seen it from the opposite bank of Fall Creek.  Sometimes I’ve spotted several deer standing under the tall arching trees, grazing leisurely.  I think they know that they are safe there.  From the creek bank, it sure looks like a pretty space.

William Watson Woollen, who made this gift to the city, wrote a book titled “The Birds of Buzzards’ Roost:  One for each week and other essays”.    It is available online in Google Books.   I’d be reading it this evening if I didn’t have a turkey to prepare and some pies to bake.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to participate in one of the limited hikes through Woollen Gardens sponsored by the Audubon Society.    Until then, I’ll just have to be content to photograph it from the opposite bank.

Mushroom 2


Mushrooms, Brown Country, Indiana

Since there is more than one, I guess I can call this a series.  See Mushroom 1 here.

Walk Through the Once & Future Pond


I went for a 3-mile walk today — my first walk of anything other than negligible distances since injuring my Achilles tendon 3 months ago.   It felt good to be out on the greenway where I’ve walked regularly since early last Fall.  It was like seeing an old friend.  But, because we are more than 6 inches below average in rain right now, it was also odd seeing how things have changed.   The creek is still flowing; the water levels are controlled by the water company.  Although the reservoir is down several feet — enough to leave some boats literally high and dry — the creek hasn’t dried up yet.   However, the swampy area adjacent to the creek, the place I called the duck pond where there has been water since I noticed it last October, was completely dried.  Gone are the turtles, ducks, geese and fish.  The bottom is dry and cracked.  The water plants are nowhere to be seen.  In their place are wildflowers, sturdy specimens that apparently don’t need much water.

I wrote about this place last winter when I foolishly crawled out on a fallen tree to get the right framing of a shot  (See To Boldly Crawl for Springtime photos) .   I wondered then how deep the water was.   I walked up to the tree today, suffering a few minor scrapes from thorny brush on my way to the dry pond bottom and uprooted tree.   The bottom of the trunk is at my waist.  Had I fallen into that muck last March, it looks like I would have been about hip-deep!

Dry Duck Pond

Silver Maple, still trying to survive

Looking East

Looking West, another fallen tree

At the downed tree

Tree, detail

 

While certain things from the life of the pond have been lost, others survive — even thrive.  There is lots more Queen Anne’s Lace than I’ve seen before. The Black-eyed Susans seem abundant too.  Since they don’t bloom until their second summer, I expect that I’ll find more closer to the shore next year, when the water comes back.   The cornflowers, with their pretty blue blooms and scraggly stems, are around but the blooms aren’t plentiful.

Black-eyed Susans

Leaf, tinged in Pink

And, as always on a public walkway, there are things lost and found that aren’t part of nature.  I would not have noticed the key as I was walking, but I was curious about the tulip tree leaf on top of the milemarker. I couldn’t believe that it had just landed there. As I approached, I could see that it had been placed there intentionally. Not sure that it will help the owner find the lost key, but it could happen.

Lost Key on Mile Marker

I didn’t take my camera with me when I walked this morning, so these were taken with my not-quite-a-rotary-dial phone.

We need rain!


Last year, I was visiting my cousin in NYC during the month of August. Late, one sweltering night, I spent a long time in Penn Station waiting for the train.

I waiting so long and it was so hot, I said when I returned to her apartment, that there were a couple of enterprising rats who came out onto the platform, under an umbrella, and set up a stand to sell bottle water.

Those rats, had they decided to defect to the pastoral midwest, would be regretting their choices right about now, finding today’s 105 not much better than the NYC subways. (That’s 41C for the rest of the world.)

We have had a week of temps around 100. The NWS website shows a picture of a thermometer reading 108 on Jun 28th, but the caption says that the “official” temperature was only 104. There was only 0.09″ of rain in June; the monthly June average is > 4″. The only month in Indianapolis that has been drier was in March, 1910! Even the Weather Service’s website is starting to have headlines comparing the conditions to the Dust Bowl era of the ’30s. We need rain.

The houseplants, for the first time, are resenting their summer digs on the shady front porch:

Some of the leaves are starting to brown:

But at least the potted plants get water or they’d look like this:

Even the ground cover, which I’ve tried — unsuccessfully — to kill several times over the last dozen years looks like it is giving up the ghost:

The local weatherman said that you should give each tree a 5-gallon bucket of water once a week. I’d have a lot of work to do — and an unthinkable water bill — if I did that!

I want it to rain. A good, long, soaking rain that lasts for a few days.

At least, I’ve heard some say, it’s a dry heat. Whatever that means!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Movement


This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Movement.  I’ve passed the Benton and White County (IN) wind farms several times traveling to Chicago.  They are certainly different from the traditional farms of Northern Indiana.  There is an eeriness to the giant turbines,  whether you are following a huge trailer trucking the pieces to their destination, passing them in daylight on Interstate 65, or seeing them as they appear on the horizon from a country road as daylight breaks.   At night or in fog, they look  almost alien, the red lights on the tips of the blades slowly arcing across the sky.   During the day, their slow, deliberate motions remind me of a mesmerizing ballet.

I’ve never had the opportunity to stop to photograph these.  This shot was taken from a car window.   I tried to capture the eeriness and the movement by adding the blur and the sepia tone, but it wasn’t as successful an outcome as I had hoped.  Maybe some day soon I’ll venture back up north to photograph these, from some backwoods lane before a farmer shoos me off his land.

Slowly tumbling towards the horizon in a careful choreograph

This is my submission for the Weekly Photo Challenge.   Take a few minutes to see what others have submitted by following the links in the comments here.

Travel Theme: Parks


Ailsa’s weekly travel theme this week focuses on parks. I love parks! Whether I’m home or traveling, I can’t resist making time to visit a park.

I walk regularly on a linear park (a greenway trail) near my home.  Indianapolis has a great network of interconnecting park trails throughout the city and surrounding neighborhoods.  I could get on  my favorite trail a few blocks from my home and walk to my favorite restaurant downtown — about 11 miles away. I would only have to walk on a street for about 100 feet to cross a bridge and then walk through an intersection. The rest of the distance is on a paved pedestrian path that also allows roller blades, bicycles, and–in some sections–horses.

I love the kind of park where all you have to do is to sit, observing and absorbing nature. Nature and forest preserves are great for this.  Sometimes you need to hike, but most have accessible paths for those for whom hiking is too challenging.   It is always lovely to be walking quietly with your thoughts and then suddenly come upon a deer, see a hawk fly overhead, or greet an old turtle meandering down the path.

I like the kind of park that makes the green space surrounding a museum, reminding you that nature is a form of art as well.  The sculpture garden at MoMA, Millennium Park adjacent to the Art Institute of Chicago, or the wonderful new 100 Acre Art Park at the Indianapolis Museum of Art are three such parks that I always include in my trips to these museums.

I can feel like I’ve left an appendage at home if I don’t have a camera with me when I’m in a park, although I always try to put it away for a period of time so that I don’t overlook the park trying to get a great photograph.  Unless you’re a first time visitor to this blog, you will know that I love taking pictures of flowers.  To capture the fleeting beauty of nature in a photograph is a challenge that is never perfected and never looses its allure.  But, sometimes I like to take pictures of other things in a park than just the flora and fauna.   Park benches, too, always seem to be in almost every park photo set.   Below are some shots that I’ve accumulated over the last few years, including one taken the first time I ventured out with a brand-new DSLR. (see the *) Brrrr — that was a cold and wet day!

Abandoned Bench, Aullwood Audubon Center, Dayton, OH

Early spring blooms and benches. Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan.

Park bench in autumn, Waycross Camp and Conference Center, southern Indiana

Park Bench with Trellis. White River State Park and Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis

Park Bench in Winter. Waycross Conference Center, Indiana

Park Bench, a great resting place. Six Mile Slough Nature Preserve, Fort Myers, Florida

Snow covered park bench. Indianapolis Museum of Art*

Park Bench in Autumn, with colorful leaves. (My front porch — for when I can’t get to a park).

Park Bench and Spring Bouquet. Indianapolis.