Madison, Indiana and Carmel, Indiana – 1/7/2011

So before I begin to blather on about the photos from Saturday the 7th, a bit of housekeeping. I was asked in a previous post by a blogger, “How do you keep all your photos organized?” Part of me thought, “Oh cool! Someone is asking my advice! I’d love to help!” but that was quickly followed by another part of me that thought, “OH SHIT! I’M GOING TO HAVE TO ADMIT THAT I’M TERRIBLE AT KEEPING ALL THIS ORGANIZED!!!” I gave the questioner a prolonged answer but for the benefit(?) of anyone reading, I’ll simply say two things.

#1: Picasa Sucks. Get a real service like Flickr and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN ONLINE BACKUP OF EVERYTHING. Harddrives fail. All of them. Thumb drives. Everything. There is no safe backup that any normal person can afford. Flickr, Picasa, all of them have terabytes of storage with vast redundancy. They know how to protect data 1000x better than we do. Imagine how you’d feel if your computer and all your equipment were thrown into a pond tomorrow and lost forever. Then fork out $20 a year for a real service. Lecture ends.

#2: Start Organizing NOW! I’m 8,000 photos and 40 Gigs into this junk and that’s just three years worth. If I could go back to 2008 I’d smack myself in the head and say, “organize this crap so you can find it later.” Right now I *WANT* to organize it but it’s just too much. Too busy taking new pictures to go back in time. So do it now so you don’t want to smack yourself later. Oh, and in this vein, it’s not just about the photos. There’s always a story as well. One thing I feel I’ve done fairly well recently is to write down the story to go with the pictures. What were you doing? What were you thinking? Future You will thank you for taking the time.

OK, on to the photos. As usual, bypass (some of) of the blather by just looking at the album on Picasa (bleck) if you really want. As always, use my photos for anything you want but don’t profit by it financially and let me know what you use them for so I can be happy about it.

So this weekend found Laura and me down in Madison, Indiana. On the banks of the Ohio this is one of those classic little towns with a lot of history. Our real target wasn’t the town but really Clifty Falls Start Park.

View from Clift Falls Inn

View from Clift Falls Inn

One problem with the Inn is that there’s this huge industrial… something… between the Inn and the river. Other than that, it’s a wonderful state park Inn.

Huge Something

Huge Something

As is usual in Southern Indiana, lots of geology.

Big Geology

Big Geology

And lots of Botany.

Large Botany

Large Botany

Finally arriving at Hoffman Falls (one of four marked waterfalls in the park), we found any really clear view blocked by a HUGE block of limestone that had fallen into the location within the past year. It’s interesting to think that even now geology is still very active in the area. No matter what humanity does, nature plods on. Anyway, Hoffman falls, as nearly as I could get it.

Hoffman Falls

Hoffman Falls

So it was about this time in the trip that I started to consider that it’s really hard to take good photos in a strange place. I look at these and I can’t help but think… “boooo-ooo-ring.” Trees. Moss. Water. Dull, dull, dull. I thought to myself… “how do real photographers deal with this problem?” The answer I came back with was to take the standard cliche photos that everyone takes. So we have waterfalls… we have a 7-pound tripod I’ve been lugging through the forest… you know what happened next…

Waterfall Cliche!

Waterfall Cliche!

Alright, admittedly, I do like this one a bit because of the contrast. The stern ice and the flowing and fluid (no pun intended) water.

Cliche with Ice!

Cliche with Ice!

And this… well…

Like a commercial I saw once

Like a commercial I saw once

Laura and I are from the flat parts of Indiana. We’re used to long marathon death-marches across the glacially-tilled planes of Northern Indiana but the hilly terrain of Clifty Falls was enough to make us both want to just sit on the side of the river and watch the traffic for a while.

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

It didn’t take terribly long, however, for me to get my sense of adventure back. On the Ohio they have these very handy ramps that lead down to the river’s edge. So I didn’t even have to get my feet muddy for this one.



Finally, the sun set on a rather tiring day.

Sunset on the Industrial Something

Sunset on the Industrial Something

Yeah, not sure why this entertained me for 10 minutes trying to get it just right.



Madison is very pleasant to look at from the the overlook at the Inn at sunset.

Madison at Dusk

Madison at Dusk

We had intended to stay the night somewhere but given our mutual level of … well, non-energy, we decided to head home late. I had been pondering for a while heading back to Columbus to take “the first photo” at night. Last night was the night.

The First Photo at Night

The First Photo at Night

First Photo at Night II

First Photo at Night II

First Photo at Night, Exit Stage Right

First Photo at Night, Exit Stage Right

I’d color myself vaguely amused by the results from the day, but without the photos from Columbus… yeah, I would have felt a bit disappointed. It was a day that was “OK, but not awesome”.



Filed under Columbus, Indiana, Landscape photography, nature Photography, night photography, Oddities

29 responses to “Madison, Indiana and Carmel, Indiana – 1/7/2011

  1. Nice photos, thanks for posting.

    On a related note I’m interested in why you prefer Flickr to Picassa. I don’t use either on a regular basis – I have a subscription to an online backup service to quell my fears of losing stuff. However, I was thinking of expanding my online photo presence and I want to pick the service that would best meet my needs. (I tend to choose Flickr, but I don’t know why.)

  2. Sarah

    Great pics! Love the moonframe one.

  3. clickerbug

    Hey there! Thanks for ‘liking’ my blog!

    One comment about how do pro photographers do it. I don’t think it’s subject. It’s composition, yes, but there’s one other crucial element. I think it’s lighting. They know how to get the lighting close to right in the camera, and then post process it to perfection.

    I’m on the board of a Fine Art Photography group in Milwaukee, and so for the past two years I’ve been analyzing the best art photographs. The one thing they all have in common is the lighting is perfect. Contrast is perfect, in particular. Whites are creamy and blacks are rich. Color is usually pure, or if not, the results are intentional. No photo ever has that “grey” cast of imperfect exposure. And if a pro can’t get the light right, he won’t take or show those pictures.

    If you allow me to critique, I think you’ve got two images that are artistic. (If you are offended by this, I’m sorry, and you may stop reading now and delete my comment.

    “Large Botany” is lit very well, and may or may not need slight cropping on the left. If you wanted to punch up the contrast and make the whites pure (but leave some detail in the blacks), it could be worth the experiment.

    I also love “First Photo At Night.” The composition is perfect and the colors are muted to the same palette as the night sky. The contrast in color between the shade and the lit parts of the pillars is excellent. It’s very abstract and moody and I would totally hang it on my wall.

    That is all. 🙂 Wait, one more thing … I’ve always found waterfalls boring, unless the photographer captures the soft, creamy nature of the water.

    • Oh my! You said: “If you allow me to critique”
      Oh for the love of all that is good and wonderful in the world, please DO! I’ve got a blog post around here somewhere that basically amounts to, “If I post garbage, tell me so”. So YES. Please DO. As the kids say: “OMG, YES!”

      Um, let’s see. Yes, most of these photos are garbage to my eye. As they’d say in a Monty Python skit, “Holiday Snaps”. As I indicated somewhat, it’s REALLY hard to get good photos in unfamiliar circumstances. At least for me at the moment.

      “Large Botany” I do like but I have to disrespect it because I know how it was taken. Laura and I were making our way down the hill and I made an off-handed comment about the trees around us. I casually lifted the camera and did a no-look shot or two of the tree you see in the photo. Literally, didn’t even bother to frame the shot. Didn’t review it. Nothing. Pure instinct. Didn’t crop it when I got it home. Just converted to black and white. Two snaps of the shutter and there you have it. It struck me as incredibly cliche at the time but it’s OK in my head. Will admit that I don’t see your point about cropping on the left. Do tell?

      “First Photo at Night” I like too, but not as well as I could because it was much better in my head. It too was largely instinct. I took ten photos and saved six.

      Oh yeah, and waterfalls… also garbage. Thanks for expressing your opinion honestly and openly. Huzzah! A Miracle! 🙂

  4. Like the dreamy waterfall and the night buildings. Hope you get some rest now!

  5. Hi Rob,

    I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award, so please visit me for more info:

  6. Awww… making me homesick. Which is a compliment to your photography. The streams, the woods, waterfalls, limestone… that’s how I grew up back there.

    And you reminded me… I’ve been meaning to upgrade my flickr….

  7. Thanks for checking out High Five Travel! This was a great read with GREAT advice since, with a guy with NO backup and TONS of photos from all over the world, I have been planning the hard backup….but NOW will for sure look at the online option. Great pics…look forward to seeing more of your posts! Keep following High Five Travel to learn how to travel at wholesale! My contact info is all over the place on my blog 🙂

  8. I feel kind of out of my league commenting among you professional photogs! I just know I like the pics and enjoy seeing something besides mountains and sand. I recently returned from Afghanistan which to my eye was fairly devoid of ANY eye relief so this is just my thank you for having this blog and sharing. #salute


  9. I like the one titled “Large Botany” and the framed moon. The latter was worth the 10 minutes it took you to get it. “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” would look cool if you cropped it to remove some of the sky and the bottom, so it was a wide, short photo. It think it would be more interesting that way.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking one of my poems. I will definitely come check out your photography again. I don’t think it’s boring. They are photos of ordinary things, but sometimes ordinary can be the most interesting. Peace, Linda

  10. great work! I especially enjoy the moon frame and the first photo of the night series. Shooting upwards has always intrigued me.

  11. incaunipocrit

    Reblogged this on Basil Wheel.

  12. Good job, Raven. Large botany, Riverfront and Sunset are my favourites here. Hoffman falls is lovely too.

  13. I really love your captions! The fact that you seem not to take yourself toooo seriously is very refreshing to me; so many “photographers” I know can be so pretentious and cosmic about their work . It’s nice to have art lightened up a bit.
    Thanks for stopping by my tiny corner of the web!

  14. I like those last photos. The strange shapes and your perspective are wonderful. 🙂

  15. Michelle Railey

    Hi there! I recently “followed” your blog and I just wanted to send a shout-out to tell you how much I enjoy the photography and your wit. Love the captions and love this blog. Sometimes it’s just nice to know your work is appreciated– and all of yours definitely is. Well done!

  16. I was the blogger who asked the question, and I have to say, I had high hopes that you would solve all my photo management problems. 🙂 As it is, I’m using Flickr already, so I’m doing better than if I was using Picasa, I guess. But, you didn’t provide me with help soon enough… I currently have 9,000 photos on iPhoto and Flickr, waiting for me to organize. I still am naive enough to believe that I will get to that. I’m doing this whole 365 days to simplicity challenge on my blog and I’m thinking that I should have added some purging/organizing of photos in as part of that! Maybe next year. If I do, I’ll be sure to challenge you on it! 🙂

    • ha! Yes, well now the shoe’s on the other foot. Yo usolve all MY photo management problems. 🙂 ANd you’re 1,000 ahead of me, so I’ll wait patiently for your miraculous answer. 🙂

  17. I love your site and visit it a lot so thought I’d better make a comment. I have learned a lot about flowers and I really enjoy the photos of rivers. What I like about your work is the angles you achieve in photographing. Are those all planned shots?

    Off the subject a little but since you had those nice shots of Indy, have you ever been to the Steer-In restaurant there in Indy?

    • Thanks! Depends on what you mean by “planned”…. I tend to photograph mostly by instinct. Hopefully things turn out well.

      And no, I’ve not been to the steer-in. sounds like a steakhouse?

  18. Your picture of Madison at night reminds me of a (long-term) goal that I have of creating a coffee table picture book of the most fascinating capitol/court buildings in Indianapolis.

  19. “Large Botany” is great! It’s amazing how much better, even a little otherworldly, it looks in black and white than color. I also really liked the photo of the moon! It’s fun to compose moon shots (pun intended) with tree branches in winter like that, isn’t it? 🙂

  20. The only downside to using online storage is remembering your login name and password. Chances are if you forget that, you’ll also forget your email address. Store those golden keys to your photographic kingdom in at least two separate places, independent of computers. (Sh*t really does happen!)

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