Indiana / a 7D

I decided to take a vacation to visit a friend in Indiana since getting out of Virginia every once in a while is healthy. This was my first real expedition with my SUV, a nearly 700 mile trip across the USA. It’s an older Ford Explorer that runs beautifully. A drive through the Virginia mountains is always something I look forward to, but West Virginia proved to be a facinating mountain pass as well - a twisty section of interstate dodging the sharp mountains that surround it. West Virginia became Ohio and Ohio became Indiana uneventally. The roads were so straight you could just turn cruse control on, let go of the wheel, and your vehicle drives nearly autonomously. Noon became evening and I finally arrived in Cedar Lake, Indiana, a small town and a lake.

Of course, the very first thing I asked about the lake was “is it manmade?” Virginia has a number of lakes that residents frequent, but knowing they were the result of damming a river usually leads me to reject them for being tacky. It turns out lakes in Indiana aren’t fake! The entire state is also covered in train tracks. They’re just everywhere. It’s unclear if any of them go anywhere or what purpose they serve but I love that mystery! The roads here are all near perfect 90° angles from each other. A cartographers dream, a perfectionists oasis!

Sunday was spent cycling down a trail and wandering around a place called The Square, a small castle-like shopping center. Monday and Tuesday were both work days for my friend and I so we crammed in our projects. On Wednesday we hopped on a train to Chicago which was a really awesome experience. We hit up the Chicago Institude of Art, ate some good Chicago pizza, and took a trip to the Chicago Apple Store and REI. If the Sears tower wasn’t so stupid-expensive, we would have got that in too. It was great to be on trains again after 10 months!

Thursday was another workday for my friend so we started off by exploring around his town some more, running across a nice park and eventually coming back to his office so he could finish his video project. On Friday, we went to go get my friend a new iPhone and we headed off to the Indiana Sand Dunes, which made for a really pretty and unique hike by beautiful Lake Michigan. We then decided to head in to Michigan for a few hours since neither of us have even been there and grabbed lunch at St. Josephs, which was a lovely little town.

The drive back to Virginia was long! I took the Kentucky route so I could stop and look around Louisville really quick, which had some neat parks and a very nice pedistrian bridge across the Ohio river. Kentucky was pretty and West Virginia was wild (as in the roads were wild and mostly bridges). My GPS brought me back on a crazy new mountain pass for me and now I’m back in Lynchburg.

I recently purchased a DSLR (Canon 7D) and have been trying to get more experience with storytelling and photography, which is part of my work for Illuminate Nations (more on that soon!). The pictures above were all taken with that camera and I’m trying to move away from just using iPhone photos on here like I have for the past year. The 7D has been great and given the right lens is insanely versitile. It gets heavy after walking around with it attached to my neck but it’s nice to get back and have some sharp, clear pictures to work with. And RAW files! And Bokeh! It’s been a while since I had a nice camera (I had an Olympus E-PL1 before) and I am hoping to share more pictures as I learn Lightroom and how to use VSCO film as a tool and not just a toy.