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 pride myself on finding new angles to capture the city of Pittsburgh. I spend way too many hours on Google Earth and my Photographer’s Ephemris looking for spots that I haven’t been to, places that I might be able to get to, and where the light might be when I get there. Pittsburgh has so many wonderful little neighborhoods snuggling right up against the city separated by a few interestingly designed roads. This view from Troy Hill compresses a neighborhood, some of those roads, and the city into one frame. I chose an extremely long exposure to blur the clouds as well as the road’s travelers. I’m most pleased with the layered quality of this image. When you shoot with a telephoto lens, you can compress foreground elements into background and make them appear closer to one another. The houses in the foreground are 1/4 mile away, the PPG building is about 1 1/2 miles away, and the church visible on Mt. Washington sits at a distance of 2 miles. The “base layer” of the clouds has Mt. Washington in front, then the PPG, Fifth Ave. Place and other downtown buildings on top, and then the sister bridges over the Allegheny. Next are the houses on River Ave. In front of those are the roadways. 576 and all of its on and off ramps with a glimpse of E. Ohio St closest. Finally there are the houses at the base of Troy Hill. All of this neatly packaged into one frame.
I can’t believe that I neglected to blog about the collaboration that I’ve entered into with a fellow Pittsburgh Photographer. Well, I can believe it, seeing as it happened and I’m still recovering from the sleepless nights of preparation and indisputable wizardry of making it a reality. I have (share) a storefront in downtown Pittsburgh where people can come view and purchase my work! I can say that it has been a long term goal of mine to be in this situation and now that it has been a reality for over a month, I’m weary, but thrilled with all of the kind words that people have for my work.
We have a great assortment of images as photo prints, both framed and in ready-to-frame mats, metal prints that are vibrant and ready to hang (using a why-isn’t-this-patented cantilever mounting system), and canvas gallery wraps that are a classic, elegant, and timeless way of displaying your favorite image.
Speaking of images, I am displaying a sizable percentage of my captured of the beautiful city of Pittsburgh, a select number of landscapes, and a wide variety of my Urban Exploration work. I’ve been surprised by the number of people that browse through and like the abandoned buildings.
So, come on down to downtown and visit the store! We are Steel Studios and are located inside of Fifth Avenue Place (that’s Jenkin’s Arcade for you “mature” folks.). Hours are 10am-6pm Monday-Friday and 10am-3pm on Saturday. If you’re looking to run into me, I’m there from Mon-Thurs. You can also view our in-store inventory on our Square page.
I am always looking for new angles to photograph the city of Pittsburgh. If you look at my catalog, you’d think that there weren’t any angles left to cover, but I’m constantly finding new and exciting places to view the skyline. One that has evaded me for a long, long time is a rooftop. Many, many property owners want nothing to do with people being on their rooftops. I can understand. It is a HUGE liability to let someone wander around, even supervised, some 400’+ above the busy street below. I get it. Not unlike trying to get a job without experience, there are few ways to prove your abilities to handle the situation. Well, someone finally let me experience my first Pittsburgh rooftop, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to show you what I captured.
The roof of Fifth Avenue Place (also known as the Highmark Building) is situated closer to the Point than many other buildings, so you can get a good view of downtown.
Seeing things from this height puts a lot into perspective (no pun intended). The rooftop is 450′ above the street below and there aren’t any tall buildings within a few blocks. It gives a GREAT view of the rest of the city.
The block of time I was given started at 7am and ran until noon, but I only used up 2 hours. The sun at that time of day, especially in the summer, gets harsh fairly quickly and the images loose their “pop” when lit directly above.
My friend Dave, a fellow photographer, and a member of security bounced back and forth from one viewing angle to another, attempting to catch as much of the “good light” as possible.
The view straight down the building was amazing and terrifying at the same time.
Seeing the courtyard of PPG Place and Market Square from above was very interesting. Bravo to the designers for creating such beautiful spaces that can be appreciated from such different angles.
The one drawback to shooting from the roof of a building is that you can’t easily showcase it. Fifth Avenue Place is such a beautiful and unique building. I attempted to capture it as best I could with my ultrawide lens.
As the sun rose higher, the atmospheric conditions began to set in and add a haze to anything in the distance. Also, the heavy rains from days prior muddied the usually clear(er) Allegheny river.
All in all, I am very happy with what I was able to capture. I am extremely grateful to the people that permitted me the humbling opportunity to see the city I love from a new perspective. This 51 image panorama is one of my favorite shots of Pittsburgh.
I love capturing images of Pittsburgh. That should be apparent from seeing my work catalog. Sometimes it takes a different technique to fit everything into one frame. To overcome this, I have adopted a technique that allows me to shoot multiple overlapping frames and stitch them together into one image. It is a technical and time consuming task, but is personally rewarding when it comes together well.
June 4th was a perfect day to capture the city in this manner. I first went to Grandview Park and caught the soft warm sunlight on the city from the hill at the top of the park. There were many power lines to remove, which made this one frustrating. This panorama is comprised of 11 images.
The next spot I visited was Mt. Washington next to the Monongahela Incline. The light was more direct and not filtered through the clouds as much. I planned to get all of downtown in the final shot, but saw how good the South Side looked in the light, so I ended up including it. This one is 21 individual frames.
I am happy to announce that I’m joining the fundraising effort for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Make Room for Kids 2015 is collecting donations to fund entertainment areas that will help make dialysis treatment more bearable. I am joining another Pittsburgh photographer in donating 100% of my profits from the sale of prints to this cause.
If you are interested in purchasing a print from me AND contributing to the fundraising effort, visit my website at http://www.divinemayhem.com and browse through the Fine Art galleries. The fundraising effort (to raise $10,000) is nearly at 50% at the time of this posting. Let’s see what we can do to help them meet their goal!
I happened upon an odd scene while photographing the other day. Hundreds of seagulls decided to visit our fair city. I was walking around the Clemente bridge on Saturday the 15th, noticing all of the other photographers that were out and about. It was a beautiful afternoon. The temperatures were still pretty low, but the sun was shining, bathing the downtown side of the Allegheny in a wonderful light. I was walking past the steps near the center field entrance when a very excited gentleman asked, “You see all them birds!!!”. My response was, “Yeah.. there’s a lot of them”.
I chuckled to myself and kept on walking through the outer PNC Park area, looking at the light slowly creeping up the buildings on the other side of the river. It wasn’t until I got most of the way to the opposite gate that I saw a group of people huddled together with what looked like spotting scopes. I peered over the wall and saw the largest collection of seagulls that I’ve ever witnessed.
They were -literally- chilling on some large sheets of ice that were floating back upstream in the wind. I made my way down the steps and attempted to figure out the angle that all of the spotters were looking, as to not get in their way. I switched lenses to my 70-200 and started snapping shots.
I had seen a few seagulls on ice sheets a few weeks back, but the sheer number of birds was a bit overwhelming. I got right to the edge of the sidewalk without scaring them away. The light and the reflection from the bridge was amazing. Most of the river was in a cool shadow of blue with the exception of the vibrant yellow reflections from the Clemente Bridge.
Another photographer wandered past and moved in for a shot. I took the opportunity to switch lenses and capture her in the shot.
As she moved closer, an entire group of birds abandoned their ice floe and took to the skies. It was like a scene from a Hitchcockian masterpiece.
I’m not sure where they came from or how long they will stay, but, as a gracious host, I did suggest that they try a Primanti Brothers sandwich while in town.
Even though it is dark by 5:15pm, I found myself in a wonderfully timed situation to grab some pictures of our fair city. I was headed back from picking up framing supplies in Sharpsburg when I saw the sun and clouds above Downtown Pittsburgh. I immediately scanned the map in my brain for the best place to shoot. I just so happened to be close to the 40th street bridge. I cut across, found a spot to park, grabbed the gear and headed out across the bridge before the light changed too much. The contrast of the bright sun peeking through the clouds against the river and the city was too much. I remembered that my camera had an “HDR Mode” built in, but it required me to shoot JPEGs, not RAW. I tried once with the normal settings, but it was too intense. I sighed and searched the menu for HDR Mode. A few clicks later, I was fairly satisfied with what I had gotten. The result (after very little tweaking) was this:
An Explosion Of Clouds Mirrored In The Allegheny
Feeling the need to “cleanse my palette”, I threw on the 70-200 and zoomed in for a tighter shot of the railroad bridge and the reflection. This is the result: