From time to time I like to take a walk, with my camera, through a part of Pittsburgh, Pa called the Strip District. Now, to say this area is dynamic would be an understatement. This place changes by the second, and you never know what your going to find. The photo opportunities never cease to amaze me. I make this walk several times a year and always find something new and interesting to photograph.
If you have the opportunity to visit the “Strip”, or if your city has something similar, I highly recommend taking that walk with your camera in hand and look for the unexpected.
From time to time we revisit a familiar place and yet somehow it seem different than the way you remembered. Recently I had a few hours to spare, which by the way never occurs, and I took a ride Ohiopyle State Park. I have visited and photographed the water fall know as Cucumber Falls many times before and quite often I just go for a walk and don’t take any photos at all.
As photographers we are often faced with this dilemma of seeing the same subject over and over agin. Often this causes me to not want to take a photo of this particular subject. The question arises, “How do you make the Familiar Different?”, well my answer to the question is a very simple one. Simply choose a lens that you wouldn’t typically use and only photograph your subject with that single lens. I will offer a suggestion here though, I would pick a lens that really doesn’t fit the subject. In my case, at the ever so familiar Cucumber Falls, I chose to use a fisheye lens.
I guess that I’m trying to make myself see a familiar subject in a slightly different way.
Well it’s been a while since I had a photo assignment. So I think it’s time I start that back up again. Sometimes making yourself an assignment can get the creativity flowing and get you out and about to do a little photography.
So that being said today the assignment will be:
“Fun in the Sun”
Check back later to see what I was able to some up with.
As a photographer I often leave the house with a preconceived notion as to what I’m going to photograph. For me this is one of the hardest things to work around. Reason being, very often I don’t look at the many other photographic opportunities that are just around the corner. I know this is a problem, so lately I have been trying hard to work around this issue. So, yesterday I had the opportunity to take a ride through the mountains around my area. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just went for the ride and stopped and took a few photographs along the way. I found the day to be very rewarding and was able to get a few neat shots. I would appreciate any comments about the photos.
Recently the photography group that I belong to took a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. I’ve ben there several times in the past, but each time I manage to find a different view, expression, or animal to photograph. So if you have time this summer plan a trip to the zoo and have a nice day out. Let me know what you think of the photos.
For those of you that know the Pittsburgh area you would already know that we love our sports teams, Primanti Brothers, and Fireworks. We seem to have fireworks for every occasion and the end of a Pirates baseball game is no exception. On Saturday night the Pirates played the Phillies, winning in the 10th inning 2-1, and afterwards the display of fireworks took place. I was atop Mt. Washington for the display and here are just a couple of the shots that I got from my vantage point. Hope you enjoy.
Some of you may have noticed that I have a fascination with abandon buildings and houses. Now I am adding industrial sites to the mix as well. The shots in this post were taken at the Nemacolin mine in Nemacolin, Pa. Nemacolin mine was in operation from 1917 through 1985-6 when it was closed for good. In 1919 Nemacolin mine was considered to be the largest coal mine in the country. The town, built by the coal company, had a theater, tennis courts, amusement hall, and a swimming pool. They also had their own hospital and elementary school, both of which have gone by the way side. It was said that the town was considered to be the model mining town in the country and the mine was considered to be the model mine for the entire world to look towards. To give you an idea of how advanced the town was, in 1917 the town had its own sewage treatment plant.
On a personal note, two of my family members worked in this mine. My grandfather worked in this mine his entire coal mining career. I was not aware of this until after visiting the mine and taking the photographs. I was talking with my mother and had mentioned that I was at that mine taking photos. She got really excited and told me the story of how she would go with my grandfather on Saturday mornings to pick up his pay check. They lived across the river, in Messmore, and would drive to the Nemacolin ferry and cross over to the mine to pick up his check. She also told me of the stories that my grandfather would tell about walking out of the shaft when there would be a problem in the mine. Apparently if there was a problem or the electricity would go out the miners would have to walk a set of steps from the bottom of the mine up the entrance shaft. The other member of my family that worked there was my father. He worked there a short period of time until transferring to the Buckeye mine in Carmichaels Pa. She also told me that the miners were able to travel underground between the two mines, which are approximately 2-3 miles apart.
For the photographers reading this the are all HDR photos processed using HDR Efex Pro.
I hope that everyone enjoys the photos and the short history lesson about this mine. Feel free to leave comments and ask questions.
Recently on my way home I was watching an approaching storm. The more I watched the storm the more I became interested in photographing the lightning. I thought for a bit and then remembered a great place where I could get on the top of a hill and get a good view of the storm. In all the years I have been taking photos this is the first real attempt at lightning and I was pretty surprised at the results. I know after this experience I will be watching for more opportunities to photograph lightning in the future. I hope you enjoy these three photos.
As some of you may have seen I have been working on a series of photographs which I have been referring to as “Desolation”. The series is based on abandoned buildings and houses throughout the region. I started this series last year with the intentions of just getting a few interesting shots from an old house that I had come across. I can certainly say that I instantly was fascinated with the idea of the these forgotten places. Since then I have been photographing and visiting as many places that time allows and the series has been growing. Starting tomorrow night I will have an exhibit of some of this series at the Allegory Gallery in Ligonier, Pa. The opening will be Friday, February 10, 2012 from 5pm to 8pm. The show will run through March 8, 2012. If you are in the area please stop by and take a look at the show and let me know what you think.
The photographs that will be on display consist of Black & White and Color HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. I decided to take this series in a “digital altered” direction to add some dramatic effect to the photographs. Also, to better show some of the amazing textures and detail that can be found in these capsules of time. It is always interesting to look inside these places and wonder why did the owners leave, where did they go, and why did they leave so many of their belongings behind? I have seen everything from pianos to a business check book that contained a un-deposited check. Some of the places look as though the people just gathered up some of their belongings and walked out the door. And then I come along all these years later and take the photos of the emptiness and desolation of these places. And even though the places are abandoned and without people, to me, they have somehow managed to take on a personality or life of their own. And this series captures some of the “life” that I have come to call “Desolation”.
I hope that you have a chance to stop by Allegory Gallery and take a look at the show.
I have been working on this project for a while now and some of it will soon be on display during February at the Allegory Gallery, in Ligonier, Pa. www.allegorygallery.com
This project began with an old abandon house that I photographed, which sparked an interest in finding more abandon places. I have decided to use the HDR technique for this project which has resulted in some very interesting results. As I work on this project it often comes to mind why did the people leave? Where did they go? And why did they leave so much of their belongings behind? Questions, I fear, that may never be completely answered.
I hope that you find the photography of this project as enjoyable as it was for me to produce the photos. I will update with the particulars of the show as soon as they become available.