Tag Archives: Indianapolis

Indianapolis Fireworks

wpid7181-AU0E4673.jpgWe took a trip to Indiana which was primarily based around the visit to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center as I shall be posting about here at some point.  While the center is near Terre Haute, we decided to stay in Indianapolis.  We have been to Indy before and had a great time as well as staying at a nice hotel.  That trip got a write up here if you are interested.  This time it was the 4th of July and the city was due to have a firework display so we thought that might be a good add on to the trip.

wpid7177-AU0E4569.jpgOriginally, we had looked up the park where we could view the fireworks.  There were supposed to be a number of things going on in the park and it was not a long walk from the hotel so we had figured on taking some chairs and heading there.  However, the weather forecast was looking a little like a storm might roll in.  This made us wonder whether a change in plans might be in order.

wpid7175-AU0E4567.jpgOur decision was made easier when we checked in and found we had a 32nd floor room overlooking the downtown.  Now we could watch the fireworks from the comfort of our hotel room and, if it rained, we would be fine.  As it happened, it didn’t rain.  However, our choice proved to have an additional benefit.  Not only did we see the main display, there were many displays happening all around the city.  From our vantage point, we could see them all.  We sat by the window and watched fireworks close by and far off but going off all evening.  It was great.  I did shoot the fireworks but my approach is always to fire a cable release while just watching the display.  Consequently, I primarily get to enjoy the display but also, hopefully, get some shots at the same time. wpid7179-AU0E4594.jpg

Some Minor League Fun

A recent work trip took me to Indianapolis for a few days.  A client was down there at a facility and I was meeting with them on a number of topics over a few days.  Since we were all staying away from home, we had free time at the end of the day when we could go out and see what the local area had to offer.  The first night I was there, the rest of the guys had already worked out what they wanted to do so I was happy to tag along.

Indianapolis has a minor league baseball team, the Indians.  They are based at a nice ballpark close the the heart of downtown.  For those that have been following this blog for a while, you will recall that Nancy and I had a weekend in Indianapolis last year when the baby elephant was first appearing in public at the zoo.  The hotel we stayed in was very close to the ballpark and from one end of the building you got a great view of it from above.

This time I was going to get to see the inside of the park and enjoy an evening of baseball.  It should be noted that I am not much of a baseball fan.  I know some imports like me that are huge fans of the game but I have never really got into it.   I used to think that it was something you had to grow up with but that is obviously not the case given the friends I have that have got into it.  For me, it is another sport I am happy to watch but one that doesn’t get me passionate.  As with many sports, though, seeing it in person is so much more fun than watching it on TV.

A trip to the ballpark is a social experience for me.  You get to hang out in a (usually) good-natured crowd, watch some sport, eat some food that you wouldn’t normally bother with and drink some beer.  On a warm evening, there really isn’t much to complain about with that.  If you don’t know either of the teams, you tend to root for the home guys and, in this case, that worked out pretty well since they won convincingly.

I took my camera along because I knew that we were heading to the game before I left home.  It was an evening game and the stand was blocking the sun from the west so light was always going to be an issue.  As the game wore on, the ISO settings went higher and higher.  Looking at the shots at full zoom, they really show the impact of the noise.  However, since these are small versions of the shots, they shouldn’t look too bad.  They were never intended for publication so it is far better to have clarity of the shot than to have a lot of blurry shots with low noise!

I was shooting with the 100-400 which is not a great low light lens at the best of times but it did reasonably well.  I also took along the fisheye zoom since a sports stadium is an interesting shape for that type of lens.  The park allowed you to walk all around the perimeter so I did take a stroll at one point to see what everything looked like from other parts of the ground.  It was nice to see the different perspectives.

I did try shooting from directly behind the batter’s position as the pitcher faced me.  The netting is a problem here, of course.  A faster lens may have better allowed me to take the net out of focus but it was already pretty dark by then so I was fighting on a few fronts.  It didn’t really matter of course.  I was doing this for fun and if the shots are not quite Sports Illustrated standard, I am not going to lose too much sleep.

A fun night out and a win for “our” team.  In the end, that was enough and getting to take a few pictures along the way only made it better. Thanks for the idea guys.

Indianapolis

Aside from the visit to the zoo in Indy, we also too the opportunity to look around some of the city center.  We were staying close to the canal and the capitol in the downtown area so were able to take a wander around without having to drive anywhere.

The canal seems to be a popular area with a bunch of development having gone on around it.  I imagine it has been developed in stages since some of the areas seemed very new while others had obviously been around a bit longer.

There were some nice fountains, cafes, residential developments and bridges along the canal.  It was nicely laid out and seemed to be popular with people riding bikes and running along the banks.  Obviously not just tourists like us taking a look.

There are a couple of monuments along the canal.  One is for medal of honor recipients and another is for the battleship USS Indianapolis which was lost with a heavy loss of life towards the end of the Second World War.  Both where simply done but very interesting.

We also wandered over to the Capitol and the surrounding area.  One part of it is something that I have seen many times whenever the Colts have a home game and the TV crews show surrounding city shots between plays.  Interesting to finally see something for real that has been on TV so many times before.

Had a really nice time in Indy and found everyone to be unbelievably friendly and helpful.  I wouldn’t be surprised to head back at some point.

More Zoo Stuff

Previously I showed the pictures of Kalina, the baby elephant.  Indy Zoo has plenty of other things to see.  It is not a large zoo but it is nicely laid out and has a good selection of things to see.  I find visits to zoos to be an interesting time.  The places are filled with parents dragging very young children around.  I wonder whether parents feel an immediate need to take their kids to the zoo.  They kids certainly don’t seem to care.  They are dragged around and told what to look at but they don’t seem in the least bit interested.  It seems that around 10 years old is the point when the kids seem genuinely interested in the animals.

Anyway, plenty of things to see at the zoo so here are some shots of the various animals on exhibit.  Some of the indoor ones were tricky given the limited lighting but they are included anyway.

Aww, so cute!

When looking for a possible short getaway trip, all you need is something to trigger the choice of destination.  How about the birth of a baby elephant (as opposed to a full grown elephant being born!).  Indianapolis Zoo has recently put on display its latest addition to the elephants, a baby called Kalina.  She is still very young and causing quite a level of interest.

So, couple of days in Indy for us then?  Absolutely.  I hadn’t been to Indianapolis itself before.  I had driven through a couple of times and visited friends in one of the northern suburbs but downtown Indy was a new one for me.  Turns out it is really quite a nice spot.  More on the city in another post though.

This is about a baby elephant and so I will cut to the chase.  Kalina is very cute.  She makes a couple of appearances each day and there are plenty of people wanting to see her.  Whether this is noticed by the animals, I don’t know but I did see a neighboring cheetah eying the events closely.  Of course, he could just have been taking a look at a tasty young animal waiting to be felled!

Just like lots of young, Kalina is full of energy and exploration.  She runs around a lot, a little away from mum sometimes but never too far.  A regular run back to nurse can be expected.  She really is quite tiny for an elephant but still a lot larger than most of us.  It was interesting to see her hanging out with the keepers sitting nearby.  Mum didn’t seem bothered either.

Anyway, enough of the chat, here’s the last of the pictures.

Indy Air Show

The beginning of the air show season has already arrived but my plans for the year are rather sparse.  Some things I had originally planned to go to have been overtaken by competing events so there are relatively few shows that are presently a firm fixture in my calendar.  That is fine.  If the other things weren’t things I wanted to do, they wouldn’t have taken precedence.  Besides, when I am looking at a show, I am looking for something a little different since there are a bunch of acts, all good in their own right, that I can see any number of times through the year.

The show in Indianapolis caught me off guard therefore.  I hadn’t really been thinking about heading down to it.  I had read that the lighting is a bit harsh and had originally thought I had something else on.  However, I ended up being free and they had some aircraft that piqued my interest.  Besides, it is only three hours to drive down.  The forecast was looking mixed but I decided to give it a go.

The drive down was not inspiring!  Crappy conditions in Chicago as I left got worse as I drove down through Indiana.  At some points, the fog was quite bad with the wind turbines looming out of the murk as I headed down I-65.  However, as I reached Indy, the skies parted.  We were pretty lucky for weather for the rest of the day to be honest.  There were bursts of sun but mainly clouds.  However, I watched a few heavy looking downpours approach and they all passed east of us – at least until I was back in the car!

The show had a nice mix of performers.  I had never seen the PV-2 or C-1A fly before and that was nice.  They organized some warbird combined flights which were pretty good and photogenic – well, if the light had been better they would have been.  Overall, a good mix of things to keep me interested.  The light was tricky all day and there are a lot of shots that will never be seen in public because they are just blah!

All in all, though, a good day out and it was nice to get back into practice of shooting things moving rather fast.  Also nice to bump into some familiar faces during the show.  Good to see you guys!