"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Archive for March, 2010

Front Lawn Outhouse

Mark says, “it looks like a picture some person took when they pulled over to the side of the road.”  Yep! That’s it.  Old Washington Ohio again. Sometimes you just aren’t sure why you  photograph something but you don’t want to regret that you didn’t later, so you shoot, look at the pictures later.  You respond to something you see.  Shoot it. And wonder.  What was someone thinking?  How did this come to be here? I know there is a backstory.  Aren’t outhouses usually in the back of the house?  Clearly whomever placed it here wanted people to see it.  And so you are…..

A creative writing prompt image.

Anyone with a guess what the story is on this one?


Incongruent Architecture Styles and a Skirmish

Incongruent architecture styles side by side. Old schoolhouse or church next to a new double-wide. Old Washington Ohio along Route 70. The Historical Marker at the side of the road said it was the site of a skirmish with General John H Morgan’s Confederate Raiders. How many signs have the word “skirmish” in them? I read there are three confederates buried in the cemetery. Population (last census) of Old Washington 265. Why the fire hydrant right next to the historical marker? Scroll down for second image.

Old Schoolhouse next to a DoubleWide Trailer Old Washington Ohio

Why right next to the scenic structure?


Super 1 Swissvale in Night Light

Shooting at night, finding the light, trying to get it just right.

Door closing behind man who had just entered.

Drove back to Pittsburgh this evening for Monday AM obligation.  Details after the fact.   Steve and I went to the Elbow Room around 8.  He asked me if I wanted him to drive me to reshoot the Steel Mill at night before the trees are at full leaf.  And on the way back home we got the red light at Woodstock and Braddock Avenue . Caught the Super 1  Convenient Store all lit up. No wet pavement tonight to reflect the lights.


303.6 lbs at Birth

Beco (long e) was one today.  A first birthday party was held at the Columbus Zoo.  We got there late in the afternoon.  Saw the carved ice sculpture but not the creation of it.   A piece of the trunk had broken off. He’s an Asian elephant.

His name and a number 1 still visible! When we got there no one paid much attention to the ice sculpture. The line into the Elephant House was loooong!


Umbrella Woman in Oakland

Thursday night. Just finished shooting a poet for her chapbook photo at Frick Fine Arts.  Started to rain. Stabilize camera on a sycamore tree. Experiment with wet pavement/light reflections. Cable remote so no camera shake. Cathedral of Learning behind. Enter stage left- Woman in a raspberry sherbet coat, a huge black umbrella strolls into line of vision.

The Umbrella of Oakland, Pittsburgh

As if casting sent her, she entered the scene on cue.


Racing Pigeons

Pittsburgh’s halls and lodges and posts.   Just last week I was at the American Legion in Sheraden. This architecture is listed as Old Style. Arlington Avenue.  I’ve never seen a pigeon race. Says the average race is 300 miles at the website  American Racing Pigeon Union calling pigeons “the thoroughbreds of the sky”.   City pigeons don’t seem particularly hygienic but I am sure the Racing Pigeons are tidy and groomed.  Thinking about who belongs to this club, who races pigeons these days? Found an Australian site with pigeonpoetry- poems attached to 8 racing pigeons, a 60K, and bets on winner as a fundraiser, each bird with a flashy name-Old Man Time, Baron,Sydney PEN Shadow…  who knew?

Racing Pigeons Hall on Arlington Avenue Pittsburgh

I've never seen anyone enter or exit this club when I drive by after school. Looks like they have a sponsor. I've wanted to photograph this sign for awhile. A quick shot from the driver's side.


Scratch-Off Across the Street from School

The curb used to be yellow, the losing ticket catches your eye. You lean over the curb,focus, see equal thirds in the composition. Shoot. Texture, line, shape, color, space, form. Art elements are everywhere in the world.

Losing lottery ticket discarded curbside. Peeling yellow paint on concrete.

It looks like someone placed it there for me to find, the curb paint scratched off, too.


Home Depot Sky Just After Dawn

Stop on the way to school Pick up contractor bags to  Spring clean the art room. They’re 3 ml thick.  Return to the car and remember in 6th grade 1963 our teacher, Mrs. Winona Stewart, had us read Salutation to the Dawn from Sanskrit.. “Look to this day for it is iife..”rain on the parking lot, Farmer's Market in the back,I wonder if it was part of the curriculum. Colors match the Home Depot and look fake.  Rain left wet parking lot to catch the reflection.


Vintage Milkbox on Dorothy’s Front Stoop

Used as a mailbox now, these silver milk boxes were on everyone’s porch steps. Growing up our dairy was Alderney Farms in New Jersey.  Thick glass, with paperboard circle caps. You could get a dozen eggs, some cottage cheese. Leave the empties for the milkman to exchange for fresh cold bottles of milk. We still had delivery in the mid sixties.  The delivery truck door had a sound when it’d slide. You can buy an old milkbox on ebay.

vintage milkbox  from Harmony Dairy Co., used as a mailbox now.

Lavender from Dorothy's garden rests on her vintage milkbox. I think I need to get her a new flag!


Incline by Night Light

This is the Monongahela Incline by Station Square, just across Smithfield Bridge. Travels at 6 mph so hard to get it focused with the shutter open to allow enough light.

Pittsburgh Public Transportation has two inclines up to Mt Washington

Sunday night on the way home from Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Event.


Incline by Daylight

Started Saturday at Sheraden’s Pancake Breakfast where Marianne is Kiwanis President.  It would have been the daffodils in the milkwhite vase and the syrup bottle still-life, a plate of pancakes.  Then drove north to Westview to document the  33rd Annual Eggmaking in West View.  Multiple batches of fondant poured onto marble slabs, turned with what looks like giant putty or plaster knives, each egg dipped in a giant bowl of chocolate, left to dry on wax paper. A 25 pound bag of Domino sugar in the trash.  Or today is grandson Jack’s third birthday and I washed all of his Dad’s and Uncle’s LEGO I finally found on the third floor. All color and suds photo in the farmhouse sink.  This photo caught as the  Duquesne Incline headed to the bottom station,freight train running under, shot from the gravel lot on Carson Street.

The usual view can be seen on the link listed.


Night Light in Harmony, PA

Poetry Reading Bottlebrush Gallery Friday night.  The gallery has a special function on the Third Fridays. Thirty miles north of Pittsburgh, on the Washington Trail is Harmony PA. Timons Esaias and Ziggy Edwards members of Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange were two of the readers after the music.   Platters of  fancy cheese, salami & pickles, cranberry bread, Yuengling and Yellow Tail.  A full list of artists and craftspeople on the site- blown glass plates and Raku bowls, hanks of handspun /handdyed wool, jewelry , felted items, gorgeous shawls. art dolls. Furniture made from a walnut slab.  Hand dipped beeswax candles.  Maintain single lane. The Harmony Museum in the white brick after the gallery.

Available Light  small town  rural town. Harmony PA.  Washington went through this town

Bottlebrush Gallery & Shop The Harmony Museum just beyond on right, National Historic Landmark


Trees Before Leaves

J drove me to this little park in Aspinwall, overlooking the Highland Park Bridge.  No dogs allowed so she waited in the car.  Shooting into the sun, the timing was off, so blocked the sun with a trunk.  Plan to  shoot the bridge from this vantage point a different day.

Before the trees sprout leaves, sunlight through the branches

Sunlight shines through the tree branches, impending Spring.


Front Porch Still-Life at Dusk

Old seltzer bottles, a birdcage, the texture of the wicker, some stained glass at dusk.  J’s front porch with the sun sinking behind.  Condensation inside the old glass, the metal tops. Artists usually arrange inanimate objects to create a still-life to paint or draw. This was already there, waiting. But then it is an artist’s house.

Still Life, a grouping of inanimate objects arranged in a pleasing composition

Setting sun through old turquoise and plain glass seltzer bottles


Eager Dog Trumps Rushing Creek

Went to the Dog Park in Fox Chapel with my friend and her two dogs. After school staff meeting so it was getting late. The Spring forward a good thing now.  We went to see the swollen creek cutting a new path through the woods. Lots of downed trees. I think about what photo to post and have an idea. But it’s like a chef going to market with a plan and getting there, finding different ingredients available, changing the entire menu. The sound of the water was peaceful and the light through the trees lovely but watching Tigger so eager to cross the road to get to the Dog Park reminded me of a small child racing to the last swing on the playground, walking upright on two legs, so human.

Min Pin Dog Running on Hind Legs like a circus dog

So excited to get to the dog park, he starts walking across road on his hind legs at a fast pace.


North Shore Riverwalk and Fort Duquesne Bridge

You can see the light poles partially submerged in the foreground, a random duck, the edge of grass meets the Allegheny River.  Shot Sunday evening. They say the worst is over now, the 10th St. Bypass reopened as the riverwater receded in the night.  A family of bicyclers were checking the flooding  at different points and said in front of Alcoa upriver the water was higher.  At this particular spot it was quiet, no rushing sounds. Get the specs on all the Bridges and Tunnels of Allegheny to learn the difference between a steel tied arch bridge and a steel bowstring arch bridge.

Just after dusk the Allegheny River flooding at West End Bridge


10th Street Bypass to Reopen by Morning Rush Hour

The Allegheny River to the right, flowing under the bridges. And leaking onto the road.  This section of road has been in several movies filmed in Pittsburgh. Sunday night so not much traffic. Hopped out at the end of 7th Street Bridge. Caught the roadsigns’ reflection.

Allegheny River Flooding onto 10th St Bypass Pittsburgh

Not deep but flooded with Allegheny River water. Roberto Clemente Bridge on the right.


3 Swollen Rivers & Pittsburgh Skyline

Late Friday(3-12-10) afternoon view from the West End. Gun metal, pewter, slotted spoon, ash, mouse fur, battleship, silverware, smoke, charcoal, aluminum, elephant skin, tankard, chrome bumper, suit flannel, grandma,opossum hide,chain-link,coal car,low clouds,skyline,Pittsburgh –all shades gray.

Pittsburgh Skyline and Rivers Beginning to Swell

Snow melts and the rivers begin to rise


One Good Thing in Winter

Citrus!   Dr. B. sends Steve a box of Indian River Grapefruit for Christmas, all pink inside. R prefers Tangelos. The kids love Clementines. Lemons might be my favorite.  Last week our principal had snacks for the teachers. We had to stay at school – make up time.  Bummed to stay an extra 3 hours at the end of the day but greeted by this box. The blinds for the library windows are on-order so the sun came out and fell right on the fruit.  I peeled the skin and bent it so the oil was on my fingers.    I ordered  the book Oranges by John McPhee after reading his quote (3-8-10) , his comparing California and Florida oranges.  Abstracts for May 7 & 14 1966 Articles in the New Yorker.

A box of oranges to stave off winter blues

A box of oranges to stave off winter blues.


Baby Doll Flies Like a Flag on the Moon

Where a house used to be, unshoveled steps to an empty lot.  An iron pipe for a rail. What’s left of it.  On the way to school I look up and see this bizarre sight.  Pulled over, flashers on, catch of the day, one block from school Thursday morning.  Had to look up the definition of stock-still

a rubber baby doll stuck on an iron rail on an abandoned lot a block from school

Just like the flag planted on the moon, immobile.


Behind Giant Eagle on Shakespeare Street

I wrote and illustrated a little book for the students called You Need to Read.  It illustrates reasons you’d need to read–sorting baggage tags for the different destinations at the airport, a firefighter finding a street name on the city map, a chef reading a recipe, a patient reading the medicine label, high voltage and thin ice. Love the exclamation point.

The importance of reading signs, what to dump where?

I am sure there was a reason someone wrote this on the dumpster but who read it?


Tugboat Pushing Barges Up the Monongahela

Shot from the passenger seat while sitting in traffic on the Rankin Bridge, Sunday just before dusk.  I was surprised how fast the tug and barges moved. To catch it all including the top of the railroad bridge seemed a slim chance. The beauty of being stopped, bumper to bumper, Steve said jokingly, well you could just get out! Right.

Pittsburgh Coal in Barges on the River

Just a hint of bridge barriers at the top and bottom edges, the power lines seem connected like a marionette.


Mill on the Monongahela at Night

If you had to guess what year this photo was taken, you could pick many previous decades.  Saturday night (3-6-2010) the active smokestacks and lights shone through the bare trees.  I was winding down Vistaview Street, West Mifflin. I’ve heard lots of stories about the men in friends’ families who all worked in the mills. I plan to go back with a tripod some night.

Pittsburgh Steel Mill at Night

How Pittsburgh's Football Team Got Their Name


Proof of Extra Terrestrial Life in Pittsburgh*

Being in the passenger seat Sunday afternoon allowed me the opportunity to capture this shot on Beechwood Boulevard.      *Title courtesy of Steve, used with permission

City scenes unexpected on Sunday afternoon, waiting for the mother ship

Unexpected city scene, dusk Sunday afternoon, waiting for the mother ship?


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