Northeast Indiana has been my home for 29.1 of my 29.8 years. Over the years some parts of the area have resonated with me more than others as I have explored the area and documented it with photos.

Here are some of my personal favorite places for serious amateur photography. Let me emphasize these are personal favorites – feel free to find your own zone.

These photos were taken from 2008 to 2017 and ultimately shared to my Instagram account. Feel free to follow along with me. Since I don’t have a personal life, most of my Instagram photos are discovery content like these photos.

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Dock Street, Downtown Fort Wayne

Is this a real street north of Columbia Street in downtown Fort Wayne? It has a sign but isn’t on Google Maps. Nonetheless, I don’t know how many great snaps I’ve taken in this space – wait, I do know – three. The answer is three.

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Chain O’Lakes State Park, Noble County

One of my earliest photo playgrounds is the Chain O’Lakes State Park. This is the dock on Long Lake located near where my late great-grandfather owned a string of rental cabins from the 1930s to the 1950s prior to the formation of the park.

Legend has it my great-grandfather acquired the property by getting the prior owner majorly intoxicated. Family roots run deep as that’s how I’ve advanced at life, too.

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Hyde Brothers, Booksellers, Fort Wayne

I don’t own a cat, but whenever I want to pet a cat or two, I go to Hyde Brothers, Booksellers. There are stacks upon stacks of books that fill this Wells Street favorite from top to bottom.

There are so many little details randomly dispersed throughout this space – like a stuffed jack-o’-lantern or a photo of the 1992-93 Indiana Pacers. Where else can you get your daily fill of Rik Smits?

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Eagle Marsh Preserve, Fort Wayne

I didn’t really discover Eagle Marsh until I got into biking long distances on the trail system. To me, it is one of the most unique natural environments in the region. A lot of hard work by the Little River Wetlands Project has gone into restoring this wetland and it sure has made it a gem for our area. If you are a watershed buff, snap a selfie on the berm between the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds.

I am very jealous of other photographers who snap excellent photos of bald eagles, morning mist and other natural attributes. I was so jealous I actually forced myself to get up before 7 am to do my best imitation (above) of those “real photographers.”

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Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island Wiener Stand, Fort Wayne

Three coneys with sauce, onions and cayenne pepper is my most common order at Coney Island. Grab a seat at the counter and feel like you’re a part of Fort Wayne history. The 103-year-old institution is my go-to place for coney dogs, although I do feel a little guilty when I cheat on them with Mister Coney.

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Van Zile Road Bridge, Cedar Creek Township, Allen County

The Hurshtown (or Van Zile Road) Bridge is one of a handful of Whipple truss bridges in Allen County. I grew up near four of them located in Cedar Creek Township in northern Allen County. This is the only one of those four that survived past the mid-1990s.

Other remaining Whipple truss bridges in the county include the Bostick Road and Hamilton Road bridges in southern Allen County and the Wells Street Bridge in downtown Fort Wayne.

I’m not gonna lie, this is my favorite style of bridge. More photos exist of me standing next to Whipple truss bridges than me standing next to romantic interests.

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Metea Park North, Cedar Creek Township, Allen County

This portion of the Metea Park is inaccessible from the main portion. Visitors can reach the north preserve from an entrance off of Hursh Road just about a mile from where I grew up (kinda).

If you go all the way back where the trail gets smaller and smaller until it is basically an animal trail, you’re halfway there. What’s the story behind this artifact? I usually look at this and try mentally fill in the gaps. Usually I imagine a family from generations ago gathered around this fireplace warming up navy beans.

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IPFW Main Campus, Fort Wayne

How many years have I spent on the campus of IPFW? I’ve been an undergrad student, a student employee, a grad student, a grad student dropout, a part-time employee, a full-time employee, an alumnus and many other things since I first came to this campus in 2006.

I’m not sure what to call the entire physical campus property after July 2018 with three different colleges and universities inhabiting the same area (Purdue Fort Wayne, Indiana Fort Wayne, and Ivy Tech). If it were my decision I would call it College Park. Then you can totally build a “College Park Mall” next door complete with a Radio Shack and a Blimpie.

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Maiden Lane, Fort Wayne

My go-to parking space downtown – I love the color palette of this space. The color of the bricks with the bright green paneling of this building give it one of the most unique looks in the city. I have no idea what is actually in this building – it could be a creepy meat locker with antique farm tools hanging from the ceiling, but it sure does look pleasant and chipper from the outside.

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The former International Harvester Plant Tower, Fort Wayne

Next to the General Electric sign, there really isn’t any more significant symbol of Fort Wayne’s industrial heritage. When manufacturing operations wrapped in 1982, it was a significant blow to our local economy.

But Fort Wayne didn’t turn into another Flint or Allentown. Why? Was it better planning? Was it the arrival of General Motors in 1986? Is there something in Power Hamburgers’ onions that give Fort Wayne residents superpowers to ward off the songwriting of Billy Joel? There really is no way of knowing.

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Allen County Courthouse, Fort Wayne

Yes, there are a ton of photos of the Allen County Courthouse. No, one more isn’t going to hurt you.

Honorable Mentions

There are ton of other spots that just missed out on this list. I may have to do a part two at some point.