A trip to Clifty Falls and more

My wife Ellie and I had talked about it for some time and we finally got the chance to spend a few days at Clifty Falls, a state park in southern Indiana. 

We went down Sunday and came back Tuesday.  We’ve been married nearly 48 years and since it is easy, over that span, to take each other for granted, I thought I would have flowers waiting for her in our room.  Last week I called the Clifty Inn where we would be staying and yes, they would take care of putting the flowers in the room if I would order them from a florist.  I asked for numbers for some florists in the area and they provided them.  The first one I called said they don’t deliver on Sunday so I called the second number.  A guy answered the phone and I asked if they could deliver a dozen roses to the Clifty Inn on Sunday.  He said no, he couldn’t deliver roses but he could deliver 12 cans of motor oil.   I replied that I hadn’t thought of that as a gift.  It turns out the number I dialed did belong to the florist at one time but that it now went to a car repair shop.  The fellow who answered the phone had received other calls like mine and he was waiting for me.  We had a good laugh about that.  None of the florists delivered on Sunday so I set it up for some durable flowers to be delivered on Saturday and they would still be fresh on Sunday.  All was in order and Ellie loves the flowers.  I told her that flowers are nice but they wouldn’t last like motor oil would.  After all, what says romance better than a couple of oil changes?  She just smiled and said ‘Yes, dear.’

It was rainy when we arrived and overcast when we left but we had a good time.  There was one short period of sunshine on Monday evening and three photographers popped out of their rooms at the inn to get some shots.  There is a generating station near the inn with three smoke stacks.  I liked the soft light on the left stack and in the sky.

It rained most of the time but that didn’t matter, we had a good time.  We saw some wild turkeys in the park Monday morning so we stopped to get in a shot.  They saw me and headed in the other direction but I clicked anyway.  Ellie looked at the shot and said ‘Hey, great turkey butts, Barry!’  They aren’t all mooning me, one is offering a side view.

I partially redeemed myself a few minutes later.  A little soft, but better although there again are two butts and a side view.

We spent some time in the city of Madison, which is right next to the park.   Our camera club had gone on a field trip to Madison last fall and I wrote about it then.  Ellie is a quilter and when she visits a quilt shop, it is a good idea for me to have some way of amusing myself, which in Madison is easy to do if you enjoy photography. 

The overcast sky saturates the colors.  Here’s an unidentified shrub poking through a crack in a fence.

In our initial tour around the park Sunday afternoon we heard a wood thrush.  If there is a more beautiful bird call in North America, I don’t know what it is.  We didn’t hear another until we were leaving the park Tuesday morning.  Great book ends for a very happy time at Clifty Falls.

But the trip wasn’t quite over.  We went home by a different route and along the way found Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge.  There wasn’t much to see but this shot was worth the side trip.

We were away a little under 48 hours but we will remember this trip for a long time.


Field trip to Madison, Indiana

The Photo Venture Camera Club, the club I belong to in Indianapolis, goes on field trips nine or ten times a year.  Yesterday ten of us went to Madison, IN, a picturesque town on the Ohio River, about two hours from Indianapolis.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather on this crisp fall day.madison_6545_3_4_tonemapped

The weather had been rainy all week but Saturday morning was clear with some fleecy clouds.

I haven’t been much for photographing buildings but this trip was to an area known for its architecture.  I’ m not sure that a number of images I got of buildings and details of buildings were what the Chamber of Commerce had in mind but I would go back for more shots like this:madison_6682

I have images of beautiful homes from this trip but none of them come close to competing with this window and clapboard wall that have seen better days.


That black space at the top of the garage was perhaps once a window.  Its gothic shape, coupled with the cross-like appearance of the structure on top (an old antenna?) lend it the appearance of a church.


There are a lot of alleys in Madison too.

And then there was the Tea Room:madison_6810_12_photolift

What is it about these old buildings, details and alleys that makes them so interesting?  One answer won’t hold for all of them but a couple of ideas pop to the surface for me as I look at them.  One is they all have texture, they have a definite tactile sense to them.  They seem to want to be touched.   Their histories seem to be told in their roughness in ways that an image doesn’t quite convey.

This leads into another part of the attraction of these subjects.  They all have stories that we can only guess at.  I have a friend who spends a lot of time photographing an abandoned farm, the location of which she protects about as well as some people protect the location of a good fishing hole.  She is thinking of doing a photo book about it in which she shows the images and tells her own version of what life on that farm might have been like.

I don’t know the stories here but I do know that I plan to look more closely for old abandoned buildings.  They speak to us in ways new buildings, living buildings if you will, don’t.