Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for the 'Driving' Category

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).

Automotive isolation

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

I drove to work today because of rain in the forecast. It had clearly rained some before I got up, but it wasn’t raining at that time. Still, I didn’t want to take a chance and get dumped on on my way to work, and then show up soaked. Ultimately, I’d like to be able to bike to work even in the rain, but I’m not equipped to do that yet.

On my way to work, I reflected a bit on biking versus driving. It felt strange driving to work after two days of riding the bike; I think that one reason is that biking makes me feel an increased sense of self-reliance. If for some reason I couldn’t drive, I could still get to work (or anywhere, for that matter) on my bike. There’s also something really rewarding about getting around using your own power. However, I felt a bit lame bailing on riding because it was supposed to rain. It wasn’t even raining — in fact, it was beautiful outside. It would’ve been a perfect morning to ride.

The thing I kept thinking about, though, is how much more isolated you feel when you’re in a car. You’re largely shielded from outside noises, smells, etc, from bumps in the road, and from other motorists. Your vision is greatly obstructed. You can still notice things like hills, but they don’t have the same impact.

On a bike, though, all of these things are much more intense. You can see everything in all directions, just by looking around. There isn’t really anything separating you from the pavement, or from the things around you. When you’re going fast, you feel like you’re going fast, the pavement blurs beneath you, and you focus on where you’re going, and you’re in tune with what’s going on around you.

The automotive isolation is taken further when people (including myself) play loud music in their cars. Maybe some people like feeling isolated from their surroundings — sometimes I do, I noticed, as I turned up the volume on my stereo to drown out the sound of a truck — but how much do we miss by doing this? On a bike, you have to deal with the truck sounds, but you can also hear and see a lot more — birds, trees, the sky, etc. You feel the pavement below you, including any cracks, bumps, potholes, and other irregularities, but you also feel, and hear, the texture of the pavement itself. And in the morning, there’s that smell … yes, that smell, which I can’t describe, but is unmistakeable.

I also realized this morning what I liked about a car I used to have, a crappy 1994 Ford Escort. It was a piece of junk, but there was always something I liked about it that I couldn’t put my finger on. Now I think it’s that while cars are designed to isolate you as much as possible, from noise, bumps, wind, rain, etc., the Escort did all of those things very poorly. In that way, it was closer to riding a bike than driving a car.

That’s not to say that I want that Escort back. Not at all. But I’m looking forward to riding my bike more and more, to stay in tune with my surroundings, get around under my own power, get in shape, and more importantly, have fun!


Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Sarah and I had a pretty damn good weekend. It wasn’t perfect, as I felt like crap for a good portion of the weekend, but we made the most of it. That’s one thing I’ve been trying work on — doing the things I want to do despite not feeling well or it being dark outside, or having cold weather, rain, snow, etc. Those things can all be a hindrance, but a lot of things are still possible despite those poor conditions.

On Saturday morning, Dave and I went riding on the frozen trails at Brown County — read about our ride here.

Yesterday, it finally snowed. This was the first significant snow of the winter; we didn’t get a ton of snow, but at least a couple of inches. I felt pretty crappy in the morning, but after sleeping late, taking some Excedrin and eating some lunch, I felt better.

I like snow. It can certainly be a pain from a practical standpoint, but I think it’s really beautiful, and it can be a lot of fun to play in it. That last part isn’t something I’ve done much since becoming an adult, but I think it would still be fun. We debated what to do and decided to go for a drive and try to do some photography.

I was a little nervous about the conditions of the country roads, but the ones we drove on were all in good shape. It helped that it was just barely cold enough for the snow to stick — I think for the most part, the roads were just warm enough that the snow had trouble sticking to them. That, combined with the sand/salt on the roads, was enough to keep them clear.

We went to Lake Lemon, which looked really beautiful. In addition to the snow, there was also some fog, so everything was shrouded in white. Neither Sarah nor I have much experience taking photos in the snow, but we both did pretty well, and it was good practice. Exposure can get pretty tricky, and I still need to learn more. I’ll post a few photos below, but you can see all of my photos here, or see Sarah’s photos here.

Curved trees reflected in Lake Lemon.

Minimal snow painting.

On our way back to town, things were just beautiful. More fog was developing, and, as Sarah put it, “it was so pretty that we stopped the car in the middle of the road on a two-line road, put on the hazard lights and stomped through a field to take these photos.”
Road fading into the fog
Country road. This is Indiana State Road 45 — some of my bike rides go this way.

Sarah in the snow
One of my better portraits of Sarah. Her eyes look particularly good in this shot.

Trees shrouded by fog and snow, barely visible against an overcast sky, in a Rothkoesque composition.

After that, we drove to Lake Monroe. Sometimes, when we’re out driving around, I just feel compelled to keep driving until it gets dark. This was one of those times. We wanted to take in as much of this as we could. It was a bit dark by the time we got to Lake Monroe, so this shot (and some others on my flickr page) I did using my tripod.

Winding road
Causeway over Lake Monroe.

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