Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for March, 2007

Bike rides, hiking, (lost) photos

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

I’ve ridden my bike a lot this week — so far, a little over 45 miles. I rode to work yesterday and today, and did rides after work on Monday and Tuesday. I felt like a badass riding to and from work yesterday, and then riding another 20+ miles after that. I rode out to the Monroe County Water Purification Plant again, which is a route that I enjoy a lot. The plant itself may not be scenic, but it’s still kind of cool to see. I snapped some photos with my point & shoot film camera, which I’ve been using this week. I would have ridden down the big hill to the park by the lake, but I was worried I’d run out of sunlight, and instead turned around and went home.

I encountered an asshole in a van. I was approaching an intersection with a stop sign, and the guy in the van clearly wanted to pass me, but there wasn’t much space before the stop sign. I got into the middle of the lane to prepare to make a left turn, and stuck out my left hand to signal. My hand almost grazed the window of the van, which was now passing me in the other (wrong) lane! Then, the guy cut me off, because there wasn’t room for him to move over before reaching a car stopped at the stop sign. I resisted the temptation to flip him off, instead waving a fist at him and cursing him under my breath.

Some geese flew over me, they were flying low and at a bit of a slower pace than I was going. They honked at me as I rode by (I’m sure they were really honking at each other, but it seemed like a greeting, so that’s what I’m going to assume). I saw some other very large birds, as I have on most of my recent rides, some circling in the sky. Sometimes, they seem to take an interest in me when I stop; I hope they don’t have anything sinister in mind. It’s too bad I can’t bring Marty on some of these rides; I’m sure that he’d get to see some cool stuff, and I could learn a lot. At the very least, Marty’s bird photos have piqued my interest in at least being more aware of the kinds of birds around me.

This morning’s commute wasn’t that great; I was running a bit late, and it was a little too warm to wear a jacket, but too cool not to — so I was sweating more than usual by the time I got to work. One thing I had forgotten about IU students is how they’ll walk into the street without looking in either direction. They just keep staring straight ahead, completely oblivious or not caring that there are cars, bikes, and other pedestrians that could run into them. What makes matters worse is that most of them have iPods or other mp3 players, so there’s no way to get their attention.

All of this made my commute this morning very interesting. I had to dodge pedestrians, and sometimes try to anticipate how fast they were moving and speed up or slow down to make sure I could go far enough in front of or behind them. It felt almost like playing a game of Frogger.

After I got home today, I suggested to Sarah that we take Rob (the dog) for a hike in the woods in my old neighborhood — so we did. This was the first time we had taken Rob for a real hike, and he was very well-behaved. Actually, he was too well-behaved. After a while, we let him off the leash, and he just walked behind us most of the time. This dog needs to learn how to do certain dog things, like running. He’s great at other dog things, such as napping, but running is one area where he needs work. He did run a few times, but not as much as I had hoped he would. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great dog, and we had a great time. But I think we need to get him more exercise.

When we got to the pond, we noticed some dead salamanders in the shallow water toward the edge of the pond. There may have been more in the deeper water as well, I’m not sure about that — but we saw at least 10-20 dead salamanders. I was pretty puzzled by this, and found a couple of articles about a virus that sometimes kills salamanders. Neither of them mentions Indiana, or even the midwest, though, so I’m not sure what to think about that.

I brought my point & shoot film camera and took a few photos of Rob in the woods. I put the camera in my pocket for a while, and later, when I tried to take it out, I accidentally opened the film door, exposing/ruining all the film! I am pretty pissed, and I need to find a way to prevent that from happening in the future. I lost all the photos I took on my rides this week, and the ones I had just taken in the woods.

Frayed pants

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

I did a spur-of-the-moment road ride last night, the Mount Gilead Road route that I often do. It had rained a bit during the day, and the roads were still wet, which was actually a good thing — I need more practice riding on wet roads. Traction was surprisingly good.

It was an uneventful ride, except that I hurried somewhat, since I knew it would be getting dark, and averaged 16 miles per hour on this 13.5-mile ride. That’s pretty good, especially since I didn’t ride all weekend; I was feeling a little sluggish due to a lack of riding. Also, on my way back, I saw Dave driving the other way (toward his house). Later, I saw that Dave had called me and left a message calling me a “stud” for riding in the rain, even though it wasn’t raining at the time.

My commute this morning was a little different than usual. First of all, I forgot the velcro zip tie that I normally use to keep my right pants leg from getting shredded on the chain rings, so — you guessed it — my right pants leg got shredded on the chain rings. It’s a good thing I don’t ride in my work clothes.

Also, the students are back from spring break, although I really didn’t have any problems. There was a little more traffic, but it wasn’t bad. It probably helps that I went through campus around 8:25, when students are probably either still asleep or already in their 8:00 classes.

When I got to work, I left my bike outside and walked through the publications department to the storage room to get my bike, and one of the ladies there said that it’s inspiring seeing me walk by every day and knowing I’d ridden my bike there. She said it was a good reminder to get out and exercise, and that she’s started running every day.

I think that’s pretty damn cool, that in my modest, under-three-mile bicycle commute, I inadvertently helped encourage someone to exercise more. Maybe someone will see her running and figure it’s a good idea to go for a hike, or take their kids to a park instead of sitting them down with their Xbox.

Abandoned Industrial Complex

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Well, this weekend was a mixed bag; Saturday was great, but I was sick all day on Sunday, making it a colossal waste of a beautiful day. I didn’t ride my bike at all over the weekend, and I’m kicking myself, because it’s looking like a rainy week. I drove to work today. In hindsight, I could have ridden my bike, since it wasn’t raining. I care a lot less if I get wet on my way home from work, so long as I’m dry when I get here.

Anyway, I told Sarah that Saturday was a testament to the true greatness of our relationship, because we spent the afternoon in Bedford, Indiana, a smallish nearby town mostly filled with rednecks and the self-proclaimed “Limestone Capital of the World” — and we had an absolutely awesome time. Driving through Bedford is pretty surreal, because it’s row after row of tiny, nearly-identical (and possibly manufactured) homes.

The main thing we did was photograph an abandoned building, or set of buildings, which I’m calling an “Industrial Complex” since I don’t know what it really was. We thought for a while that it might be IMCO Recycling, but as far as I can tell, that’s still open and about a block away from where we were.

Industrial zone
An overview of the area. The building on the right is the main one we photographed.

I’m getting better at, and more interested in, taking photos with my lens in the wide angle position (zoomed out). I also used my circular polarizer quite a bit. I got lazy about putting it back on after using my infrared filter later on, and I wish I hadn’t because the polarizer really makes for some deep colors and great contrast.

The corner of the building. I’m loving that polarizing filter!

Like the night sky
Looking inside, the ceiling has lots of holes that resemble stars.

I also did some infrared photography. Really, this whole outing was a bit different, as I used my tripod for a lot of it. I don’t usually do that, preferring the flexibility of shooting with the camera in my hand. However, sometimes it’s good to force yourself to spend more time setting up the shots. I took fewer photos than I normally would in a situation like this (only 110), but a larger number of them were usable. The tripod also allowed me to use settings that yielded optimal images, instead of using a large aperture all the time to allow me to hand-hold the camera.

Infrared tracks and industrial complex
The railroad tracks and the side of the building, in infrared.

Industrial curtain
Another infrared view of the building.

I saw that I could easily get inside the building, so I did so. Sarah stayed outside, and I can’t blame her. It was pretty creepy in there — the wind was making some glass panes and metal sheets move, making it sound like there was somebody else there. I sort of wish I had stayed inside longer and explored more, but I was getting a little nervous about it.

The entrance — I stepped on the fence near the big pipe to get in.

First glimpse
A first glimpse of the inside

Industrial complex
Looking into one of the many rooms in the building.

Some yellow “windows.”

There was another awesome building across a courtyard behind where I was. I wanted to check it out, but didn’t want to leave Sarah by herself for too long, and at this point, I could hear voices. I now believe they were coming from the IMCO Recycling plant, which seems to be right behind this.

Building/conveyor belt behind this building

I made a pinhole “lens” for my camera on Friday night by drilling a hole in a spare body cap, taping some aluminum foil over the hole, and poking a tiny hole in the foil with a sewing needle. It doesn’t take great images, but then again, that’s not really the point of it. Here are a couple.

Industrial complex (pinhole)
Pinhole view of industrial complex

Water tower
Water tower

After all that, we drove around the area a bit, hoping to find somewhere else to shoot. We didn’t, but we did make a stop at the Dollar General store in Mitchell, Indiana (which I like to call the runt of the Bedford litter). We also drove toward Loogootee, but didn’t go all the way there.

I also have some cross-processed photos from this outing and last weekend. I haven’t had a chance to scan those yet; I’ll post them when I do. That also contains some interesting portraits of Sarah and Rob (our dog).

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