Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for April, 2007

A stormy commute; Water Works + Moore’s Creek

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

I’ve been remiss in my blogging lately — hopefully, I can start keeping up a little better. I’ve been uber busy. I have a bunch of photography stuff I want to write about, too, but that’ll have to wait until I can gather some more of my photos together in some usable form.

My commutes on Monday and yesterday morning were pretty uneventful. However, yesterday afternoon, some major thunderstorms hit. For a while, we had high winds, thunder, lightning, and hail. Several people offered to give me a ride home in their car, but I was hoping that wouldn’t be necessary. Things had calmed down a bit by the time I needed to go home, but it was still raining pretty hard. I decided to go for it anyway. I’m not afraid of a little water! A few people looked at me like I was insane on my way out.

Some people put on raincoats and pants and helmet covers, etc. I might use those things at some point, but yesterday, I realized that I was going to get wet anyway, so I might as well try to make that less miserable, rather than try to stay dry. I converted my zip-off pants into shorts, figuring that they’d just get waterlogged anyway. I think this was the right thing to do.

I had to stop by a camera shop to pick up some photos they’d processed. It’s not far away, but by the time I got there, I was completely drenched. The shop owners couldn’t help but laugh as I walked in, soaking wet, in a helmet and biking gloves. They made some comment about how dedicated I was to my photography, but of course I just wanted to stop there on my way home. They told me to stay dry as I left (too late!), but I assured them my photos would stay dry. However, I wasn’t 100% sure of that, as this was the first true test of whether my Banjo Brothers waterproof pannier would live up to the “waterproof” part (it did). In fact, the things in the pannier were the only things that were dry.

As I rode on 7th Street, I saw a girl on a bike going the other way. She was riding on the sidewalk and carrying an umbrella in one hand, leaving only one hand to steer and brake. She was going pretty slow, and she rode through several-inch-deep water where the sidewalk met the road in an intersection. She got soaked, despite her fairly impressive (but unsafe) umbrella-handling skills. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw that, although I was pretty impressed someone else was trying to ride in that storm. I went a bit slower than usual, avoided metal surfaces (which become extremely slick when wet) and did pretty well riding. I was glad I upgraded my brake pads to Kool Stop salmon-colored ones, as they worked pretty well. I wished I had had some lights so I would’ve been more visible to cars.

I only saw one flash of lightning on my way home, and it scared me a bit. It wasn’t that close, but that was pretty much the only part of riding home in this storm that made me feel uncomfortable.

One upside to this storm was that it had mostly cleared up by the time the sun set, and Sarah and I saw a double rainbow, followed by one of the most incredible sunsets we had ever seen. We didn’t have cameras handy, unfortunately, but Sarah suggested I keep one of the cheap waterproof Goodwill cameras in the car in the future. I think I’ll do that. I told her that it might not be a good idea, because if it gets hot, it’ll mess with the film, and then I realized that it’s a brilliant idea for that very reason. I wonder if we’ll get any interesting effects that way.

This morning, it was cold and windy (in the 30s, wind chills in the 20s). I thought about driving to work, but ended up riding instead. I dressed appropriately, and it wasn’t a problem. I wished it hadn’t been windy, but it wasn’t too bad. I got more “you’re a madman!” looks once I arrived at the office this morning.

Monday evening, I did another modified version of the Water Works ride, this time including part of Moore’s Creek Road on the way back. I enjoyed adding that section a lot — I would have started riding that sooner, except that section of road has been flooded for a while. It was dry Monday night, though, except for one very small place where the road was a bit wet. There wasn’t even a puddle, it was just a little wet. I imagine it’s probably flooded again now, or almost flooded.

Adding that section to the ride only adds a couple of miles to the trip, but that includes a huge descent, a ride by a recreation area at a part of Lake Monroe, and a pretty killer climb. It’s a lot of fun, and also makes it more of a workout.

The best photographer in Indiana

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

I’m putting both photography and biking topics in this post, but each under its own header. We’ll see if/how well this works.

Photography

We had a great weekend. On Saturday, Sarah and I drove around to take some photos, and ended up in the vacinity of Bloomfield, IN. We found some cool barns, some abandoned buildings, and a cool industrial area with some railroad tracks. I don’t have my photos from this outing yet, as I shot on film and didn’t get back in time to pick them up yesterday.

One of my infrared photos won the March assignment in the Flickr group Assignment: Indiana. This is a group that has a monthly topic, and members vote on a photo to win for that month’s assignment. I really wasn’t expecting to win. There are a lot of photographers there, and I thought infrared might be a little too weird for this. But I won! Sarah says this means I’m the best photographer in Indiana.

Infrared tracks and industrial complex
My photo that won the March, 2007 Assignment: Indiana topic, Industry

On Sunday, we drove around for some more photography, and ended up in such towns as Norman, Freetown, Kurtz, and Brownstown. The Google map for Kurtz (which almost seems from the map like a suburb of Freetown, which is tiny as well) absolutely cracks me up. There’s even a “No Name Street!”

We found some more abandoned buildings, and as we photographed some of them, a guy came out of a diner next door and yelled “That’s the best thing you can find to take photos of?” or something to that effect. We just ignored him, but it was a bit annoying. It also got me thinking about how to a lot of people, buildings like this are worthless. But they make me think about their history, in many cases wondering what the building was used for, or who lived there, or what things might have occurred there.

76
A great sign; I think this was one of those “76” places

Kurtz Market
Kurtz Market

Dormer
Dormer

Bicycle inner tube?
A bicycle inner tube wrapped around a board on the porch of an abandoned house

Brownstown Landscape
I even attempted a couple of landscape shots

Grunge shadows
Shadows cast on a grungy wall

I also took some photos with the old Kodak Retina I have, I didn’t know what was on the roll when I started. There were a couple of photos from the Zoom Floom on the roll, and basically nothing else. I have no idea how that happened. However, the Zoom Floom photos look pretty ghostly, I love them.

Retina Zoom Floom
Zoom Floom

Zoom Floom with light leak
Washed out Zoom Floom

Biking/commuting

Saturday evening, I did a quick 20-mile road ride, a modified version of my Mount Gilead Road route that took me down to Lake Lemon, one of several local lakes. It was a good ride — windy, but good. I hit 36 miles per hour on the Mount Gilead Road downhill, and also climbed up the other side without stopping again. That climb is a little weird, because slightly past the point where I feel like I need a break, it gets less steep — if I keep going just a little longer, I can continue climbing fairly easily.

In the valley between the descent and the climb, I saw three turkey vultures feeding on a deer carcass. They were off the road in a field, but not that far back. That’s the closest I’ve been to turkey vultures so far, and they sure are creepy. I made a noise fumbling for my camera, and they swooped up into three low nearby trees and loomed there. It was a pretty ominous scene. They were too far away to get any photographs at this point, so I just started riding again. It wasn’t because I was creeped out … no, definitely not that.

I was in a pretty bad mood this morning, I was running a little bit late, and it was just one of those mornings where for everything you try to do, you make two mistakes. I kept forgetting things, I realized there was no good way to get my lunch in my pannier, etc.

I even checked weather.com, and it said it was 48 degrees here, so I wore a jacket. I have no idea why I still check weather.com, as it’s been very inaccurate here lately. Accuweather.com has been much better. As soon as I got outside, I realized it was definitely warmer than that, but I didn’t really have time to put the jacket away.

Even my ride to work couldn’t cheer me up this morning. Just when I was starting to get in a little bit of a better mood, a guy on a single-speed bike with a messenger bag and no helmet passed me, and as I silently mocked him for not wearing a helmet, I realized I’d forgotten my own helmet. I always wear a helmet. Being passed by single-speed guy was a little blow to my ego, but it’s not a race or a contest to see who can ride like the biggest jerk (him) and piss off every car on the road (him).

I didn’t end up being very late, but I was sweating more than usual. But still, it was only 9:05 when I got to my desk after changing and everything. I checked weather.com again, and then it said 58 degrees. I really don’t think the temperature went up 10 degrees in half an hour. I’m fed up with weather.com.

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