The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Adventures

Being Tourist

I decided I would mix things up a bit this year and go on vacation. For real. I spent three nights in hotels, took as many days off work, and visited destinations in two states. My first stop was the city of Columbus, Indiana. Columbus is important for having notable architecture despite the fact that it is not a huge city. Stop number one on my sight-seeing itinerary was the park, where I only intended to park. My father, who was traveling with me, spotted a large observation tower and wanted to climb it. We kept finding things we wanted to get a closer look at, so we spent a lot more time in the park than planned. There was a metal tunnel with vines growing over it and benches inside, trees, bridges, flowers, and more.

BridgeIsland

Bridge

LoveLock

Love Lock in Tunnel

BarkAndVine

Tree and Vine

Most of my photographs from around town are more tourist shots, but here are some details from a couple of the buildings.

OldBuilding

BandWDetail

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Waterfall Hunt

Last fall, someone in the photo club told my father about a “waterfall” not too far from where we live. Technically, it isn’t a waterfall. It’s a man-made spillway, but it looks like a waterfall. The spillway was not easy to find. At one point, we gave up looking and decided to go to a park in the area instead. However, when we stopped at the park office, we found a sign featuring a large photo of the waterfall and the words “are you looking for this?” It then provided directions. Thus we continued in our hunt, but it still wasn’t easy. Roads were under construction or had similar names, I couldn’t get the maps app on my phone to work because the cell service was spotty, and we had to be careful to stay off private property in the area. The spillway was located right off the road. You had to be looking in the right direction at the right time to see it though. After a considerable bit of driving around in circles, we finally found it.

Spillway

While Dad was photographing it with his view camera, I found a Japanese beetle on a wildflower to photograph.

BeetleOnFlower

It was a long day, but we found what we were looking for. Sometimes, persistence does pay off.


Old Schoolhouse

As you may have guessed, I haven’t been in much of a photographic mood this year. Nevertheless, my father convinced me to bring my camera on a family trip a couple of months ago. I didn’t think I’d have time for any real photography on the trip, but Dad was bringing his  4″x5″ view camera, which is a very serious camera. This meant photography would be a priority on the trip. The subject? Well, that was undetermined.

Near supper time on day one of our trip, we were driving through the countryside when I spotted an old, abandon schoolhouse out the window. I only caught a glance, but it was enough to flag the building as anything but your typical plain Jane schoolhouse. I noted the road we were on for future reference, then informed my father of the discovery. The next day, we retraced our steps and found it, but the solar angle was bad. Early on the morning of day three, we finally got out to photograph it.

The weather was cloudy at first. Not bad for the subject. It gave it a bit of an eerie mood, standing isolated in the country.

BackLSBackCUFoundation

Later, the sun started to come out. By then, I liked the angle on the front better. Since the schoolhouse was right on top of the road, it was a little more tricky. I don’t have a view camera, so I had to tweak perspective in Photoshop.

FrontLSFrontCU

Even a short vacation can lift you from a rut, even if just for a few days. Be prepared and keep your eyes open. Thanks Dad.


Super Moon

I had a busy weekend. It was bad for my original blogging plans, but good in many other ways. Because of my weekend, here are a couple of pictures of the super moon through tree branches and amidst the towers of the old mental hospital (now restored into offices, shops, and senior living) in Traverse City Michigan.

supermoon1supermoon2

 

Next Time: Ornamental Gourds

It’s Fall. I bought gourds because they are pretty. If I don’t photograph them before they rot, it’s a waste.


Stubbornness and the Tail End of Fall

I had these lovely plans for how I would spend October weekends this year: weekly walks in the woods with my camera, apple orchards and doughnuts, and maybe even a road trip to a distant park. But my front stairs happened. They are wooden with a deck-like landing area, and they needed to be repainted and repaired. Despite my parents very kindly giving lots of time and effort to the project, the three of us spent most of October on my stairs.

Last weekend would have been beautiful for photography: good lighting, nice temperatures, and just about the peak for fall color. But alas, you guessed it, stairs. This weekend was definitely past prime for fall color and quite dreary most of the time. However, I was free. The stairs were done, the parks were beckoning, and the temperatures were not bad at all. So I stubbornly decided to grab the month of October by the tail and try to cram all the things I’d wanted to do all month into one weekend. I needed to experience Fall before it was over: to see, hear, and smell it all around me.

Friday night, I visited a small, hard to find park in my city. It was almost dark, so not much luck there. Saturday morning, despite the dullness of the day, I took a two-hour walk in one of my favorite parks. Photographic prospects were better:

latefalloakbranchesoakleafflowerhangingleafredtreeandyellowleaves

After a few more weekend activities, I headed out to the local apple orchard for my annual sugar encrusted doughnut and hot spiced cider. The sun finally peaked out a bit.

pumpkinfield

My takeaway from all of this is that should plan on spending some time in November raking leaves in my parent’s large lawn, and I should start the deck refinishing project in April next year. Procrastination has consequences. You can cram a lot into one weekend, but it’s not quite the same as planning things and scheduling them appropriately.


Clydesdale Outting

Every year, the photo club goes to a Clydesdale event. This year, my father and I decided to come along. I’ve not been shooting much due to other responsibilities, so it was good to get out.

Clydesdale hitched to wagon.

Clydesdales pulling wagon

Clydesdale Hooves

Clydesdale waiting


Butterfly House

I’ve had an exceptionally busy week, so unfortunately, this post is late. It is also archive that I’ve been saving for a time like this. When I was in Michigan visiting family and the Sleeping Bear Dunes, I also visited the butterfly house in Traverse City. It was not quite ready to open at that point. My uncle works for the local MSU extension office in the area. As a result, he  and my aunt got to know the young couple who own and run the butterfly house.

Unfortunately, we arrived on a sad day for them. Many of their butterflies had died due to pesticides. I did not realize this, but most plants purchased at greenhouses and box stores have pesticides on them or in the soil. These pesticides kill butterflies as well as undesirable insects. Of course, the owners of the butterfly house knew this. They had asked the company they purchased the plants from specific questions about pesticides. However, the answers they got did not match with the plants they got. Fortunately, not all of the butterflies were out of their cocoons yet, and all of the fruit feeding butterflies were fine.

FruitFeederButterflies

They look rather drab on the outside, but inside, these butterflies have brilliant blue wings.

BlueWings

I did not touch the butterflies. They are delicate, and you have to know how to handle them so as not to hurt them. Others in our group did know how and had permission.

ButterflyOnFinger

The butterflies can and do land on people. They have signs on the way out of the enclosure asking guests to check for hitchhikers. Since my dad is a quite and steady type, the butterflies liked him.

HitchHikerButterfly

Despite the sad death of some of the butterflies that day, I enjoyed visiting the butterfly house and photographing the butterflies. Perhaps I will be able to go back someday or visit another butterfly house. In the meantime, I should do some pesticide research.

OrangeOnRocks OrangeOnPlants ButterflyOnRocks

Next Time: End of Archive?

I’ve a three-day weekend coming up, so hopefully I’ll be able to shoot something.