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

Archive for August, 2011

What’s Under the Rankin Bridge

Back in “real time”.  Not that I didn’t enjoy the chance to dig in the archives- but Monday night I was driving by the Rankin Bridge from Swissvale and saw the setting sun on the side of the bridge. Shone like a yellow bridge (it’s actually blue) with the late golden light on it but just an ordinary shot, straight on. It did not “speak” to me.  Drove another 50 feet.  Stopped at the red light ahead. Saw this view. It seemed to go on forever, the repeat of the braces.   Rolled down the window and was able to capture the underbelly of the “Steel cantilever spandrel-braced deck arch “.  You can’t tell from this angle that the Monongahela River is seventy five feet below.  Or that the bridge is  2,427 feet long!  I got that good info from here.  

There are a lot of bridges in Pittsburgh.  Don’t see underneath them too often, though. You might remember this view from the Rankin Bridge of a barge being pushed by a tug.

If you suffer from gephyrophobia it would be difficult to live in Pittsburgh.

And a new Keep or Pitch post  is up today after unannounced  hiatus = Back to School adjustment recovery period-

What About a Billy Burger?

This sign makes me want one!                                                            (From the archives. )

Driving to Spokane airport in the early morning(July 2006) from Okanogan, WA after visiting our brother David.  This is in Wilbur, WA.    Unfortunately Billy Burgers was closed when we drove by. I stopped and took just one shot of their sign.

I know I said I’d be back to “real time” blogposts starting today but the back-to-school has taken more energy and effort than I realized.  Soon.  Have to find a rhythm and stride.  Keep or Pitch on unintentional hiatus as well, just couldn’t think about throwing anything out right now.

I read here that Billy Burgers has an extensive collection of salt and pepper shakers. Somee cool photos to shoot.  And there are several crop circles in the area!  I called Billy Burgers up on the phone just now and the phone rang a bit and I was worried they weren’t there-then a nice young man answered   so   I  can report they are definitely open for business.  Also, the lights that are out on the other poster’s photo have been replaced and are working great.  Thanks for the good information.  Here’s the address if you go.  The Urbanspoon review is all positive, too. There’s a map of all Washington State Burger Joints! WOW.

Billy Burger Drive-in

  506-647-5651            804 Se Main, Wilbur, WA 99185

PNC Park at Dusk

from the archives- Pittsburghers will notice fewer lighted signs on the downtown buildings in this shot- taken 7 years ago this time of year. Tuesday’s post will be back in “real time” . Baseball equals summer to me!

Paint Splats in an Art Room Sink

Six years ago when I came to the school I am now, there were dried out paints in containers that had been moved to our school.  I soaked them to reuse the containers.  And when the water went down the drain, this is what was left.  I taped newspaper over the sink and made a little sign.  DO NOT USE SINK.   I didn’t tell them why,  The next day I brought in my camera, removed  the newspaper and photographed the paint splats in the sink.  It was really interesting to me.  So this is another from the archives. Abstract expressionism.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Thanks for all the nice comments and emails and congrats on the 700th post.

So what to post for seven hundred and one?  WordPress helped me out at the end of the week with releasing the weekly photo challenge today- UP!   Thought of this photo I took in September 2004 in Hardy,Virginia.  Uncle Matty tossing niece Anna up in the air.  Wheeeeeee.   She started second grade on Wednesday.  Matty in in New York City visiting his Aunt Mary (my sister) as they prepare for the arrival of Irene.  He heads back to Zagreb, Croatia, soon. You saw him on the Megabus. One thing leads to another.  And Winston the rescue horse was in Hardy VA next door to Erika’s(guest blogger) parents. Anyway, I have always liked this photo and the feeling I get looking at it.  The trusty Canon EOS Rebel for this shot! Newer readers might want to check out  my 10-10-10 blog post of Anna hula-hooping.  See time fly by.

700th Post

Spring 2008 this photograph VILLAGE CIGARS, sold at the PERSAD  Celebrate Life, Celebrate Art auction held at the Carnegie Museum of Art.   The first to be auctioned, the bid was fairly low but it still felt good to donate it and the winner was really pleased to get it. It felt exciting to be recognized as Best New Artist that year.   You might have seen this image on my website.  It marks the spot where we turn right to get to my sister’s place down the block.  It’s been there forever.  Held together with some duct tape, a little worse for wear,it looks even more ragged these days  but my sister helped me get a good angle for this shot suggesting I go across Seventh Avenue.  Shot with a Canon 20D, before I upgraded!  This is not the original file but a pdf, hence the words at the bottom and the gray frame.  Pulling from the archives but not the external hard drives tonight.  Friday completes the first full week with students.

Greenwich Village Landmark

Bicycle Shadow on Eliza Furnace Bike Trail

From the archives.  This photo won the Downtown Living Exposed Exhibition a few falls ago, 2008.  Pre blog. Golden Triangle Bike Rental now has two locations I see from their webpage and a beautiful gallery of Bike Pittsburgh photographs.  Tom the owner got on the bicycle as I was leaving and as I looked out the parking garage opening,  there was the shadow and cool angle and serendipitious shot.

Class of 2015 Arrives on Campus!

It’s happening all over the city. Across the state, throughout the country.    I hear CMU freshman arrived on Monday and Tuesday it was the University of Pittsburgh  (no one except out-of-towners call it University of Pittsburgh ) PITT is it!  It’s the annual start of school.  Freshmen arrive on campus and families assist, haul the stuff, then embrace and say,”  good-bye!” You see them in the linens aisle at Target, waiting for a bus, walking down city sidewalks in a large group.

I pulled over to the curb and put the flashers on along with a line of cars with car-top carriers and U-Haul trucks and trailers.  Got out and documented the occasion.  Met a few nice and enthusiastic people on my way home from school.  Mr. Vincent told of a little brother hugging his older sister and didn’t want to let go.  You get teared up witnessing the partings.  The unbelievable traffic and students arriving  will be on television news, the wild moving-in scene.  More than 7500 freshman I was told.  That’s a lot of people!  T-shirt sales were brisk on the corner. A beautiful day filled with mixed emotions. I dedicate this post to my dear friend G and her daughter S who’s a brand new freshman in another state!!! Laura told me today that she started college TEN years ago.  I remember taking her like it was yesterday.  And S.G. who used to babysit Mark and Matthew is taking two of her own kids back to school, dragging a futon and laundry baskets and who knows what.  I love the carting off of the broken down boxes photo. And Michael starts his first day of KINDERGARTEN Wednesday morning, Anna the second grade.  I am sure many of these parents were thinking about those milestones as they brought their children to college!

Alex and her mom, Dalia, from Philadelphia area (Newtown Square) graciously allowed me to document the moving process.

The whole family helps move in

Pitt Panther Statue

Mr. Mike Vincent, Pitt Class of 1977 (Criminal Justice) is now the guard of the Cathedral of Learning.

Carting off all the broken down cardboard boxes

Firefighter on the 62 Street Bridge- People at Work Series

It was mid July. The sun was dropping and I was on my way home. I stopped to photograph the huge American flag in the middle of Etna.

Etna #149

The light, the breeze, the undulating shadows. I pulled over to the side of the road and took quite a few shots. And then as I started back home, I was the first person on the scene of an accident on the 62 Street Bridge. I could hear sirens and a tow truck arrived, a Paramedic truck and the Etna Firetruck all made their way by me to the scene as I sat. I photographed the back of the firetruck through my windshield as I sat and sat. I missed being in the wreck cause I was photographing that flag blowing in the breeze. Watching the light. This Etna firefighter helped the line of traffic turn around on the bridge and find another route home. Before I did the K-turn, I asked him if I could photograph him and I think he said yes! Ahhh the men who save us. Thank you. He’s said, “It’s going to be awhile before anyone gets out of here.”

and one of the flag shots from the middle of Etna that saved me from being in the accident!.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Flowers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Flowers.   This is unretouched, shot with a 70-200L series lens.  Nice bokeh in this image. The bee just happened to be in front of a light petal. Photographed as we left the Columbus Zoo a couple of weeks ago.

I feel the bee adds interest to the frame.

Now YOU are Six, Michael!

Now We Are Six

When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six,
I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be six now                                                                                                                                                                                 for ever and ever.

                                                       – A.A. Milne  1927

Happy Birthday Michael! I remember being home with Anna in Florida, waiting to hear of your arrival

Windsor the Rescue Horse – Guest Blogger is my D-i-L in Hardy VA

 You are the guest blogger today, Erika!  Surprise.  I received your photo(s) of the horse while I was at dinner with Laura and James (who are in town for a wedding this weekend) and we all agreed it was really good picture of the horse.  I said it looks like Mr. Ed’s cousin, a talking horse.  Laura said it might be, Ted. So  I texted to ask his name and you said Windsor.  Once a race horse, now a rescue horse.  The grandchildren fed him apples and carrots.  He’s happy in his new home and well cared for and well fed now.  He and Murphy seem to be communicating in the third photo. Thanks for sending the pic updates of vacation.  Looks like a great time and  I miss being there as I start the new school year. 

Duchess on the Monongahela River Sequence

Gateway Clipper Cookie Cruise

The 19th Annual Bob O’Connor Cookie Cruise- this year’s charity chosen to benefit is the Cribs for Kids (SIDS). Matthew and I were invited to sail Wednesday night and were the fortunate guests of some dear friends and neighbors. A perfect summer evening. We shook hands with a slew of politicians including the mayor as we boarded the The Majestic. The city was in a beautiful light and as dusk came the scene was heightened in drama, especially as we sailed past the Pirates game in full swing at PNC park. Hot dogs and watermelon and pasta and fried chicken with coleslaw was the menu.There were fireworks over Heinz Field and what caught my eye were the guests lined up to get the cookies once it was announced- the sheets were about to be removed and the platefuls they took to eat- piled high.

Make Way for the Wild Turkeylings

#1 Rule for Photographers.   ALWAYS carry a decent camera.  Even if not your best one, a GOOD one.

#2 Rule for Photographers  Refer to Rule #1.           ALWAYS  You might miss that shot.

But there I was off to the first day of school, wondering how I would get two art rooms ready for Monday’s students and Matthew was coming with me to lift and haul and help set up.  JB came later and knew what to do to prepare.

And what did we see on the the way to school? A Wild Turkey family (gaggle, flock, covey???)  And did I have a decent camera with me?  No.  I broke the rules.

Had to photograph the mother turkey and her 5 chicks(?)/children with the trusty iPhone.  I kicked myself all the way to school afterwards.  You just can’t predict what will be in your path..  Moving right along up the sidewalk. Turn the corner down the alley.

A fun sighting.  Wish I had the old 70-200 mm lens, too. They are some strange looking creatures.


Matthew and the Megabus

Picked Matthew up from downtown Pittsburgh tonight. He came from Columbus on the Mega Bus. I had not seen one before. Big and bright and clean. Dropped him in Regent Square for an impromptu School Reunion at D’s Six Pax and Dogz. He’s in town for 48 hours. Headed back to Zagreb at the end of his visit. World traveler. But the Mega Bus was a great deal. $18.50 one way from Columbus. You can reserve early and get real deals on tickets. Learning he was coming here just last night, I cleaned today and didn’t worry so much about the first day of school Tuesday morning.I think he’s planning to come to school and help get the two art rooms ready for the first day with kids on Monday. Matthew is the one who says to his friends when I was photographing them at his college graduation-“This is what my mom does. It’s annoying now- but later, you’re glad!” I tell that to so many people I photograph. IT is true

Feast of Saint Rocco, Fireworks and a Full Moon

Information about this celebration at St. Raphael’s in Morningside arrived in my inbox from the community list-serve.  Said there would be fireworks.  When I got there a band from Cleveland was playing Italian songs and couples were dancing. A large statue of Saint Rocco was illuminated and people would go up and kiss their hand and touch him. He is the protector of contagious disease and pestilence.  There was a statue of a dog with a loaf of bread in his mouth right by his side and you can read his story here.   At first I took a few timid photos with my phone as I felt conspicuous.  But when the fireworks started I pulled out my regular camera and propped it against the chain link fence and caught the scene.  The full moon looks less dramatic in the image than it felt in person. Used a 24-70 L series lens and the remote cable to reduce camera shake.  The fireworks were fun and everyone thought they were over and then more would shoot up and an audible oooooh and aaaaah came from the crowd.  A nice summer evening, it is 64 degrees right now! 

Seven Links Challenge – Accepted!

Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide Bloggers, Greg and Katherine invited me to take part in the the Seven Links Challenge. I love the invitation and go and check out their stunning photographs of beautiful food and drink. Thanks for the challenge.

1. Most Beautiful Post    My daughter Laura is to be married in November to James, and his mother Sharon Weaver painted a portrait of Laura and gave it to me as a Christmas gift.  Unexpected Gift Late Christmas Eve post is my choice for this one.

A beautiful daughter, a beautiful painting

2. Most Popular Post (s) There are two posts that are hit on every week.  Here is one of them. Memories Sparked by Disco Ball Reflections? Why someone searches for a photo of a disco ball I’m not sure. But they do.  My friend V suggested I add the tag “mirror ball” when Dancing with the Stars was on.  This shot was taken from a happy wedding a couple of Septembers ago. (They have a baby girl now! )

and here is the other most popular post.  These two posts trade positions of two and three but are hit upon EVERY week. This shot was taken from E’s mother’s apartment window when I was in New York City visiting my sister Mary.

New York City Rooftops 4-4-09

3. Most Controversial Post is also the one hit on the most- almost 20,000 times! My Bookshelf And the amazing part is that on one day last May it went crazy and was hit on 18, 274 times on 5/31/10.  My friend S was visiting and we watched the stats every hour.  I had linked it to reddit.com and made the title No E-Reader Can Have This Image and people responded with caustic comments like you wouldn’t believe.  I recently created a postcard with the photo of the bookshelf and a poem I wrote in response to all the people who went off about the post.  Who would have thought a bookshelf could cause such a stir?  If you would like to receive one of the snail mail postcards that commemorates this bright spot in my blogging experience leave me a note in a comment and we’ll email the info privately. Many of my friends and subscribers have received one already and probably wondered why.  I have added the poem to the post. There are not that many comments on wordpress considering all the hits but it is the number one spot always.

4. The Most Helpful Post I have to go with the Copycat recipe for the Burnt Almond Torte, a local favorite cake bought at Prantl’s  Bakery in Shadyside. Although I’ve never baked one there are a ton of people searching for the recipe and they find the link on this blog post.

5. Surprisingly Successful Post  The Beaver Banquet.

Birch Trees as Meals for Beavers

6. Post That Didn’t Get the Attention it Deserved 

Only 13 people viewed this post in the blog’s early days.  One comment.  It’s one of my favorites.  You’ve seen Michael and Murphy in other posts.  Murphy Waits for Michael in Time Out.

Murphy Waits for Michael in Time Out

and to be fair to Michael who is going to be six next week I am adding one of my all time favorites of him

7. Most Proud of Post What Steve Put on the Mantel in Front of Still Life.  I will always remember seeing this. And that the wonderful artist Deborah McLaren enjoyed it and granted me permission to post it on the blog….it just makes me happy to look at it and think about Steve setting it up.  So unexpected!  I love that it made people laugh out loud.

I am to pass the challenge on to other bloggers that I follow

Smile, Kiddo

Watching NOLA Nature

Fox Chapel Images LLC

What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?

Craig Photography by John     This is the photographer whose class I took at Silver Eye- PURPOSEFUL BLOGGING. It was after that evening I realized I did not haves a clear purpose for blogging.  But I began and found one!

He got me started and here I am more than two years later, still blogging a daily photo.  Thanks John.  Check out his Indian Weddings shots!

Did you have a  post  you remember that I didn’t include? 

What Flavor is Summer?

The berries from the Farmer’s Market- blueberries for pancakes and muffins and the huge black ones like jewels and the strawberries  and raspberries… some for preserves. Juicy peach.  Cherries from Chelan. Or the brief sour ones.   Melons.   Zucchini and eggplant and basil right off the plants in your DIL’s garden. The sweet corn from the farm stand.  Just back from Columbus OH and missing the family so Steve and I drove to the retro theatre the Oaks in Oakmont- my favorite movie theatre in the area with spacious leg room and a big screen.   We saw the documentary Buck (stunning photography of the west)  and afterward we got ice cream cones (this is a single!) at Brr-Kees Homemade Ice Cream Stand, smooth and creamy and delicious.  My summer flavor is coffee ice cream.  Shot with the phone.  Extended the feeling of summer vacation and I didn’t think about the start of the new school year in 3 days time.

What flavor is summer?

coffee ice cream cone equals summer

A generous single scoop of coffee ice cream!

Somehow the Face Felt Familiar……

Columbus Zoo “My Barn” resident

Penny the Golden Doodle keeps cool in the brick fireplace at home.

Jumping Off the W at the Columbus Zoo

I was just about to shoot Jack standing on the top of the letter and WHOOSH........

Melted Blinds and Retro Signage on High Street

James, my SIL2B, spotted the melted blinds as I was shooting the signage.

DAIRY Lit on One Side- QUEEN Lit on the Other

And on the other side…….

Why do you think one word is lit up on each side?

Technology in the Early Morning- Old School in the Afternoon

It’s fun to be a houseguest where you are one of the family and people don’t notice you and your camera. (Actually taken with my phone)

On Saturday in the  early morning I was sitting in the rocking chair and saw James reading the news on his tablet instead of the newspaper that had been delivered and Aunt Mary checking her email.

I was still in my nightgown and sipping coffee.  The scene just struck me.    Later in the day Mary told me that James had gotten the new push mower out of the shed and was going to be mowing the front lawn.  I ran and got my camera and documented the “old school” lawn mowing method preferred by my son-in-law to be.  It was his idea to use both photos to compare and contrast the new technology and the old fashioned lawnmower all in the same day!


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