An Eye for the Odd

It’s dog show weekend which means I’m sitting in a hotel in some far off distant land trying to entertain myself. This is Linda and the boys thing so I’m generally around to Sherpa the 25 suitcases each of the dogs has to travel with. The good thing is I can be pacified with a computer and access to the Internet.   So, when not watching YouTube videos of cats displaying their DNA entwined stupidity I can pop out a few blog posts. Correction, I also have to spend the total of 8 minutes watching the dogs run (4 runs for each dog averaging 60 seconds a piece). For the curious, that means I will have spent 60 times that amount in travel this weekend just getting to and from the event location.

Fortunately, I already had some images processed in the digital darkroom before I came so I do not have to deal with that portion of the post while on the road. This is a good thing in this case since these shots needed a lot of work having spent a better part of this shoot in harsh light. If that made you think of the Indy Zoo shoot you are tracking well – this batch also came from that same outing, but taken at the Botanical Gardens right next door to the Zoo. I am not a huge flower guy, but in all honesty I had a great time there. Not so much due to the flowers, but thanks to an awesome collection of these:

I have always had an affinity for odd statues and other creative art.  This is definitely why I’m a huge fan of Allerton Park (link here).  After this trip you can add the Indy Botanical Gardens to my fan list.  This place was loaded with these small odd statues in very creative settings.  The shot above (and below) was taken at a small pool of water.  Of all the shots, these two are the ones that pleased me the most.  The fact they came out as well as they did was due to some hard work in the field.

I distinctly remember spending a looooong time at this tiny pool trying to figure out the most pleasing composition.  The harsh light was causing some nasty bounce off the water and washing out the features in the statue.  Eventually I found a good angle (by lowering the position of the shot) which allowed me to get the detail in the statue itself as well as the reflection – the reflection was the primary target.  This angle also allowed for the water to turn to glass – if you are curious, those were handheld without any filters.

Hit the jump to see even more shots of the statues at the gardens!

Contrast those shots with the other angle I was trying to capture:

Same statue, but this time from 90 degrees to the left.  Notice how the surrounding vegetation changed the look of the water – also gained more texture in the water, possibly due to some wind stirring up.  I actually worked really hard to pull that shot off – guessing Linda thought I’d finally lost it with all the moving around that was involved.  Wish I had the detail in the first two shots, but the flower composition worked out nicely.  Problem is the fact it is hard to appreciate until you see those first two shots and know the flower was nowhere close to it.

I tried to carry this manipulated composition to the next statue I found in another pool on the grounds.

The intent was to use the greenery as a headpiece for the lounging frog.  I also kept in the large lilly pad at the top while cropping in the digital darkroom.  Figured it gave some balance to the composition with the round base at the bottom. From the total package perspective,  this one didn’t’ turn out exactly as intended but the time spent there was not wasted.  Why you ask .. well, because I was given some unexpected assistance in one of the shots in that batch (yeah, I spent a considerable amount of time at this setting as well).  Here is the “Linda Shot”: (hint.. be sure and look for the interesting detail)

Did you see it?  Yes, this is the same frog as the previous taken at the different angle but this one is a whole lot more interesting in my opinion.  Check out the frog’s feet.  I do not remember noticing this while taking the shot initially, but a visitor showed up to add some spice.  the angle, the reflection all worked together nicely.  When situations like this turn up I always refer to them as “Linda Shots” (use the L and think of her “Bee Shot”).  If I am in the house I’ll know exactly when she reads that (hehehe)

This wasn’t the only frog hanging out at the gardens that day.

The expression on this one made me chuckle.  Kudos to the artist that was able to translate such a human image onto another species.  I started working the spiderwebs out of the shot but decided to delete that work and leave it the way it was – thought it added a nice element of time to the composition – as if so absorbed in happy thoughts that time had slipped by to the point spiders had leveraged the opportunity.  As with the Crowned Crane shot (link here) I will be printing this one out and hanging it in my work cube – whenever the stress builds I can just look over at the happy frog for some relief.  Although there were some different angles taken:

The first frog shot seems to be the best of the two, but as always would love to hear your opinions.

As mentioned, there were quirky statues throughout the gardens.  Some were fairly easy to see (as in the ones taken above), but others were simply stumbled upon by accident.  Take for example the ducks below.

At first I didn’t even notice them hanging out on the ledge and was instead shooting some flowers further out in the landscape.  In this case the “stumbled upon” was literal.  When moving to get a different angle, one of these ducks reached out and tapped me on the leg!

I have no idea who thought up/found/arranged all these status in the park, but my hat is off.   If you ever get the chance to visit the Indianapolis Botanical Garden be sure and keep a keen eye out for these cute accent points – just be sure to allow yourself enough time to appreciate them from different angles/perspectives!  Based on the number of shots brought back it is obvious I was having a ton of fun… so much I’m going to make this topic a two-parter (but beware that second post is going to put a toe in the gutter)

4 thoughts on “An Eye for the Odd”

  1. Cute pictures! Whoever created them has a really good sense of humor. Your photo of the bird with the flower is one example where my bent for stereo photography wouldn’t work at all, since the flower would no longer be on the tip of the beak. I also like the first frog photograph a little better than the second one.

    The difference between your “Linda Shot” and Linda’s Bee shot, I think, is that Linda timed her photograph spectacularly just so she would capture the bee rather than noticing it in the photograph later. The rapid-fire photographic instincts exhibited in that picture are amazing, really. Unfortunately, whenever I think of Linda’s yellow bee I think of Linda Ellerbee, and that’s not good.

    Felix, and also Isaac to a lesser extent, are rather miffed at your reference to feline “DNA entwined stupidity”. If I were you I would be a bit deferential to them when you see them–they do like belly rubs.

    Two back-to-back posts, too little time… On to reading the next one!



  2. I assume you really meant Linda Jane Smith whose show was recognized by the jurors of the duPont Columbia Awards as possibly the best written and most intelligent news program ever… I must say, this reference is as obscure as some of the references I made in the statue posts… and the first frog picture .. the one with the grass crown? how intriguing.

    WAIT A MINUTE .. I was distracted by Ellerbee.. and didn’t read the entire paragraph – TIMING… ummmm NO – Linda uses Continuous Fire High Mode which my camera doesn’t even have – single shot only .. in fact it has a recycle period of 3 minutes between each shot so it’s all about my timing skilz!

    who taught those cats to read? .. besides, not very concerned .. I have a Kerberos (hehehe)


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