Pittsburgh is a notorious location for disappointing weather during astronomical events. There have been so many lunar eclipses, super moons, and meteor showers unwatchable due to some last minute weather. This one was no different. What did happen is that Pittsburgh redeemed itself with an incredible sunrise as a consolation prize for getting out of bed so early. Here’s how it went down:
Got to bed later than I wanted to: Boo
Got out of bed at my first alarm: Yay!
Made it to the city in plenty of time to get a spot to shoot the Blue Blood Moon: Yay!
Bonus – with coffee: Double Yay!
20 minutes before the start of the eclipse, clouds roll in: Boo, Pittsburgh. Big Boo.
Stand out in the cold chatting with Dan Thompson: Always a pleasure
Concede that the eclipse is a bust: Boo
Decide to get Better-Maid Donuts: BIG YAY.
Come outside to see the gorgeous sky: NO TIME FOR YAY MUST GET TO OVERLOOK NOW!!!
Arrive in time to capture a gorgeous sunrise: Aw, yeah.
Bang my shin hopping back over the fence: D’oh! (Also, Boo)
Chat in the lot with Tim, a local photog, about film days and our shared love of the craft: Awesome.
My wife and I participated in the Women’s March on Sunday, January 21 in Pittsburgh. It was an unseasonably warm day in mid January and the perfect day for a march. The turnout was impressive. We could hear the crowd from blocks away as we approached. I was excited to march and support the cause as well as capture some images. We started at the City-County building on Grant St and marched down Grant, turned left onto Fifth Ave, and then left again into Market Square. I sort of feel that the images speak for themselves and don’t require any caption, so without further delay, here are some of my favorites from the day.
What a week it has been! Aside from the incredible weather that we’ve had in Pittsburgh and all of the unique capture opportunities that’s presented, I was asked mid-week if I would be interested in appearing on a well respected Pittsburgh morning show, Pittsburgh Today Live, on Friday morning. I was surprised, to say the least! Even with the short notice, I couldn’t pass up this wonderful opportunity. I accepted, passed along my info, and prepared to be “on the television”.
I was asked to provide some of my favorite images of Pittsburgh, a few wedding shots that used the city as a background, and if I had any, images of me photographing in “extreme situations”. Apparently, the info that I “go to extremes” to get some of my shots was passed along to the producer. (Thanks, Nate!) I pulled together some of my recent favorites, got a few shots from my fellow Photogs Derek Dibrell, Dan Thompson, and Kevin Crivelli that supported the above claim.
Friday morning came and as I drove into the KDKA studio I admit to being a bit nervous. I exited the Ft. Pitt Tunnel to see thick fog right on the river. My immediate thought was if I could grab a few shots before I had to go on. The struggle to fight that urge was absolutely real. I made the right decision and headed into the studio. I met the producer, Jill, and went over what the host, Heather Abraham, and I would chat about. I also got to meet two other guests appearing with me, Linda and Rich of North Hills Genealogists. Talking with them calmed my nerves tremendously. (Thanks to both of you for that!) When the tech came to walk me onto the set, I took a deep breath and reminded myself to “just talk about what you know.. what you love about photography”.
The set was amazing. It was several setups (couches, an an anchor desk, and two stools in front of a video wall), surrounded by cameras on remotely operated armatures that moved with instructions from the booth. I was directed to sit on one of the stools wile the previous segment wrapped up. I watched a camera disengage from shooting the couch area and move over to aim at me. Thought of the Terminator franchise popped into my head. Once the previous segment ended, Heather came over and introduced herself and we chatted for a minute or so while they were in commercial. We received the countdown to return from commercial and then I was on live television.
It was a wonderful experience and I’m immensely grateful for all of the support that friends and family have shown, humbled by the whole opportunity, and driven to continue on this path that I’ve chosen! Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments and congratulations!
I’ve adopted the tradition of sharing my 50 favorite images at year’s end. This year has been one where I’ve shot a lot fewer images, but the ones that I’ve captured are, in my opinion, better than years past. They are in chronological order starting in January and wrapping up in the first weekend of December. It was difficult to choose only 50! Let me know if you’ve got any favorites in the ones that I’ve selected!
Boyce-Mayview Park contains a wide variety of woodland scenes. There is a small waterfall, wetlands, open fields, and beautiful groves of trees. This particular spot is along a walking trail named Sylvan Ridge. While passing through, I noticed this dead and stripped pine tree. It made a nice contrast against the surrounding living pines. Something I learned during my college education in photography was to vary my perspective. It is a very good thing to remember as a photographer. Our abilities to capture the world around us through our lenses aren’t limited to what is at eye level. Wonderful compositions exist all around us if we take the time to look.
A wonderful human was born on March 20, 1928. Fred McFeely Rogers would change the face of youth education and entertainment with his soft spoken tone and messages of love and inclusion. He made quite an impression on me as a child and I would look forward to spending time in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. His teachings were not limited just to the youth. As an adult I came across a recording of him addressing a senate subcommittee in 1969 to defend federal funding proposed for the Public Broadcasting Corporation. His tone and words were no different in communicating to these powerful men than his teachings to the youth that watch his show. All of the feelings flooded back when I watched his unwavering compassion in this different situation. On this, which would have been his 88th birthday, I chose to photograph a sculpture built in his memory. The location of the structure couldn’t be better. The statue of Fred looks out over the city of Pittsburgh, ever smiling as he did in life. I find comfort in knowing that a part of him still watches over us.
The metamorphosis of life from winter to spring is fascinating. One warm day you start to see buds on trees, then leaves, and before you know it BAM! Spring. This is a sort of behind the scenes action shot. Standing on a ladder in my driveway, I moved in nice and close to a leaf bud surrounded by a raindrop. I’ve never seen a leaf at this stage of growth before. It is strange and beautiful, though. Macro photography will never cease to amaze me.
I wanted to do something special to celebrate Pittsburgh’s 200th birthday. I couldn’t think of anything more special than capturing the entirety of the city from above. It has always been a bucket list item to photograph from an airplane. When an opportunity became available, I was thrilled to make it happen on Pittsburgh’s birthday. The only hitch was the weather. It was plenty warm, no rain, lovely clouds, but strong winds. When I spoke with my pilot friend, he asked, “You want to give this a try?”. I jumped in the car and headed to the airport. “It will be bumpy” was what he said. I climbed into the 1941 two seater cub and prepared for takeoff. The flight into the city was as advertised. I had a huge grin on my face the entire time. The city grew in size as we approached. It really is a shining jewel of the Appalachians. We made a few loops around the city at about 800′ and I shot away. It was quite a thrill to see the city that I love from this angle. Happy Birthday, Pittsburgh. You look great for 200!
St. Patrick’s Day needed to have proper representation. I had no desire to drive any snakes out of Southwestern PA, so my hunt for clover was on. I wanted to create a shot backlighting the green fella as a central element in my frame. I found a very small patch of clover in a field and selected one to be my model. Our first stop was a tree limb with the last light of the rapidly setting sun behind. The wind made it difficult to get a good shot and by the time I conceded that fact, the sun was below the hill. I was determined to make it work, so I crossed the road, jumped a creek, and climbed a bank that was still in the path of the sunlight. I managed to get a few shots that were ok and then the clouds opened one final time for the winning shot. It must have been a little Irish luck on my side.
Killing time while waiting for the sun to set led me to visit the waterfall at Raccoon State Park’s Frankfort Mineral Springs. It had rained enough the previous few days to make the falls flow fairly well. I was excited to see the amount of water falling over the rocks. I’ve struggled to get an angle that I’ve been thrilled with, so I varied my perspective. I got right down in the water and framed up this shot. The light was low, but enough in the proper spots to allow a long exposure. I used a handheld flashlight to “paint” the walls of the grotto to add some texture. The sunset that I was waiting for was beautiful, but this I was so pleased with this capture that I had to choose it for today’s picture.