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

Archive for September, 2012

Porch Light, Moon Light

Murphy sat on the back porch before bed. When I went to let him in, I saw a popcorn looking sky from  the moon and the glow of the porch motion light- on and off, on and off- as he turned his head.  The deck wood looked red.

No time to get a remote cable and eliminate camera shake.

A deep breath as I propped the camera against the edge of the sliding glass door.  Depressed the shutter button while I held my  breath.  No worries that WordPress forgot to issue their weekly photo challenge.

Sock Monkey Welcoming Committee

When I got to Ohio this evening, the kids were in their pjs and had already eaten supper.  As I entered the door there was a wagon load of sock monkeys and a  handmade Welcome Froo Froo Ruthie sign.  It was funny and exciting to arrive and be greeted so enthusiastically.  They had run down to the car and helped haul the suitcase and school bag and I carried the one with the camera.  Even Murphy was at attention in the driveway as I pulled up.  He watched the monkey shot but did not get in it.  A quick photo op and no belaboring trying to get everyone’s attention.  The monkeys did well again, never moving or flinching!  You don’t want to spoil the moment by insisting on multiple poses for a stellar shot.  The grandkids all looked wonderful to me.  Jack doesn’t like to sit still anyway,

South Side Storefront Sign- Get Thee to Munhall

It was the color that attracted me.  Not that the colors are particularly attractive but definitely made me turn my head to get a better look and see why so purple? Complementary colors collide.

I have put Too Groovy Pop Culture Toys  on my list of places to visit.  I see they have a FB page.

City Pumpkins and Bicycles


Lots of people head to the farm stand or the farmer’s market or even the Giant Eagle to get a pumpkin.

A bit rainy today but what a colorful surprise to see pumpkins on display on Carson Street in the South Side. School had a day off for the observance of Yom Kippur so I made good use of a midweek vacation day.   I was on my way to see my printer, Tom, so couldn’t stop but swung around and parked briefly, got out and crossed the street.  The bus with the bicycle was a bonus in one of the shots.  I liked the double yellow lines and the bumper converging and the repeat of the bicycle on the bus AND in front of the Hardware Store.  Next time I am going in the hardware store but I had a lot of errands to run so didn’t make time today.  Next time!


Almost Same Scene Shot from Inside and Outside the Building

After school I drove to a training in another high school and as I left the building I saw the scene through the windows.  An autumn afternoon.  Shot with the iPhone.  When I got outside I could see a vista with the houses perched on a distant hill.  But when I looked at both views, I felt the one through taken through the glass windows was the more interesting image.  And what was that I said about ALWAYS carry your camera?

Hmmmm. I just don’t seem to be able to follow my own good advice. Maybe I can return when the leaves fall from the trees.

Retro Storefront- Men’s Shop

New views on the way to school.

Brownsville Road, Mt. Oliver (which is a “borough surrounded entirely by the city of Pittsburgh.”)

Early Morning Fill-Up

Gas dependent and running on E is no way to start the day en route to school.  So I pulled into the Shell station on Baum Boulevard and watched the tank fill up at 3.95 a gallon- feeling  a bit glum about the state of things…yup, I should have gotten the much needed gas the afternoon before the early  morning rush.

but then I looked up and saw  the UTZ snack truck  making a delivery to the little convenient  store inside and there was a light on inside the truck. The morning sky, the snack truck, the invitation to play the lottery and skip work altogether?  The scene cheered me.

Shot it with the old iPhone 4, although I am seriously thinking I need that version 5, if for nothing else the improved camera!!



In Ladder Tower #3- Just Married in Somerset, Pennsylvania


The first day of fall was a beautiful wedding day for Prudence and Jordan in Somerset PA.

Sunshine then intermittent showers but then some wonderful sunlight breaking through the clouds, too.  Overcast skies make for no squinting during outdoor picture taking!

The sun and light matched the gorgeous bouquets of sunflowers.

Jordan is a Volunteer Firefighter and a Somerset Police Officer and his colleagues provided escort service for the couple to the reception, honking the horn as they made the short trip to the Somerset Country Club from West Church Street.  It was a wild ride.  Prudence was a lovely bride.

They were a great couple to photograph as was the rest of the bridal party and they graciously  permitted me to post a few wedding photos from Saturday afternoon on the blog today.

I got to sit up front in Ladder Tower #3 and filmed a short video to share with grandsons Michael and Jack when I visit.  I had crawled into a firetruck once at an open house in Ohio but never got the thrill of riding in a giant Ladder Tower truck. It was exciting, fun and memorable.  All the best to Prudence and Jordan!











Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

The weekly photo challenge: Solitary hosted by Cheri Lucas at WordPress.

A single picture seemed about right.

(Oops. there are figures in the drawings.)

Night Game

and the row of houses on the road above the stadium intrigued me. It was homecoming. This is the other side in the stands- Perry HS.

The view from the home side is so different. No city skyline and the church with the gold dome. A totally different view.

A lovely night weather-wise and 12 points on the scoreboard but not enough to win.

Today I wore blue and gold for school spirit and I won the faculty raffle for being dressed in school colors.

I won a navy fleece on Thursday -with the school insignia.  I took it to the game tonight but no chill so lugged it around instead of getting to wear it. Morning is going to come early tomorrow. Night now.


On the way home on Carson Street


Once a FotoMat, Now a Place to Eat?

Murrysville PA. Hot Dog Hut. When I was working on my little project of places to eat, I saw this spot which was closed. I am not sure why I abandoned that project.

You get ideas. Some stick. Others don’t.
It wasn’t that long ago people had rolls of film developed.
People couldn’t wait to open the envelope and see.
Now the pictures sit in the computer, not too many of them printed out.
Hoping the hard drive doesn’t crash.

Shot this a year ago in Murraysville PA

Duct Tape Still Life

You can do a lot with Duct Tape-  and now it comes in an array of colors and prints.  And if you are interested in the history and how it was used in WW2 to seal ammo boxes you can click here.  This assortment is not your grandfather’s Duct Tape!

My friend’s daughter Wylie makes Duct Tape wallets and hair bows and all kinds of interesting accessories with this stuff. I saw her rolls of tape all set up, ready to be turned into various creative forms and although it was dark, a bit of light reflected on the pyramid and caught my eye.  She is really good at making brightly colored wallets and has a few customers who order her wares.  Another time I will show her at work. With the start of the new school year we did not get the opportunity for a photo shoot of her at work making duct tape crafts yet.

A lot of the patterned and multi-color tape  is branded Duck Tape but whatever it’s named, most households have a roll of it somewhere in a junk drawer or tool box or garage, waiting to be put into action.

Granddaughter Anna and I made a few Duct Tape wallets and it was sticky business to start but we mastered handling the tape and were pleased with the results.  There are tons of DIY videos out there and lots of written instructions on the web to help.  Getting used to handling it is tricky and not letting it stick to itself and get messed up is key!

Wikipedia says-

“Duct tape is commonly used in situations that require a strong, flexible, and very sticky tape. Some have a long-lasting adhesive and resistance to weathering.”


Aunt LInda Teaches Anna How to Dip Strawberries in Chocolate

And Maura is taking good notes!

Shot last May in Columbus, the night before Anna’s Communion Party.

About to Pop and Professional Wrestling on Grant Avenue

You might remember the post where I wrote how I knew I should ALWAYS carry my camera with me. ALWAYS

Friday night Steve asked if I wanted to grab a bite to eat.   It was a long day at school.  Sure.

We drove down to Park Brugges and the line was out the door.  Plan B.  We drove to BRGR and at least a 1/2 hour wait.  Spoon, no reservation? A table might open up at nine.  Okay.

Plan C.  Let’s drive to Millvale and eat at Grant Avenue Bar.

We got to the front of the place and it was Millvale Days!  Who knew? There was a wrestling ring and ropes and a referee and oh my goodness a Ferris Wheel and games and booths and bands and people. People all over the place. Snack stands and cotton candy trailers and NO camera. Well the phone.

We walked around and of course, I’d left my camera in my school bag. At home.  Oh no.

These were shot with an iPhone with about 13% battery left.

How the Weather Changed at the HS Football Game in a Blink

Friday afternoon, Cupples Field on the South Side, right after school.

I went to my first High School football game in years!

The flag flew at half staff.   (There is a site that lists notifications to fly the flag at half staff.)

One minute it was blue sky and fluffy white clouds, the sun catching the gold dome of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Church on West Carson Street.

A wind came up and the rain began to spit.  The temperature dropped.  The sky got dark.

I’d taken cameras for students to take photos outside of the classroom.  It was time to head home!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

Everyday life.

Selected a dozen shots for this Weekly Photo Challenge. The photographer who created this challenge,  Jon Sanwell, suggests walking around and shooting people in a variety of settings throughout the day. One of my decisions was to mix it up, peopled and unpeopled shots but the trace of humanity in the unpeopled shots.

What I documented-

Walk the dogs, cook breakfast, make coffee, catch the school bus, sit in traffic,  run out of milk and go to the market, home repairs (thanks to Andy’s father’s screws and nails collection in her basement ceiling)feed the dog, put out the trash, buy a lottery ticket, gather with the family,dine with friends.  Everyday life can be so fine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fellow bloggers respond to the challenge here

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Express with Photos
  2. ¡A por un café matinal! « La Mandraka
  3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Flickr Comments
  4. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « e-Shibin
  5. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « MaanKind
  6. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Ruined for Life: Phoenix Edition
  7. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life – Joy and Woe
  8. Weekly Photo Challenge – Everyday Life | Alastair’s Blog
  9. Trying to Keep Balanced « Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  10. Everyday life: Rainy day (weekly photo challenge) | Cardinal Guzman
  11. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Jinan Daily Photo
  12. WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « A year in the Life
  13. weekly photo challenge : everyday life | bodhisattvaintraining
  14. The Weekly Challenge: Everyday Life – Elderly Advice « What’s (in) the picture?
  15. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | A Little British Pea …
  16. weekly photo challenge: everyday life « Curls n Skirls
  17. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Humbled Pie
  18. Friendly faces in unknown places « Detours by Deepali
  19. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Fenland Photos
  20. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Beijing Daily Photo 2
  21. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « The Other Courtney
  22. Weekly Photo Challenge : Everyday Life « Les Petits Pas de Juls
  23. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Cee’s Life Photography
  24. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | acieartikulasi
  25. Weekly Photo Challenge – Everyday Life « The Urge To Wander
  26. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Wind Against Current
  27. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « wingrish
  28. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life… a day in the life | A barbaric YAWP across the Web
  30. Next Stop … | Beyond the Brush
  31. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life On the job « patriciaddrury
  32. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Jag gör världen vackrare
  33. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « The White Pumpkin Light
  34. Photo Challenge: Everyday Life (Loving Aachen XVI) « A Happy and Beautiful World
  35. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | 50 Year Project
  36. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « AbstractUnknownBoy
  37. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Rois
  38. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life II « A Happy and Beautiful World
  39. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Creativity Aroused
  40. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Lucid Gypsy
  41. Sports to Plants; My Weekly Photo Challenge Everyday Life « danajoward
  42. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Etol Thoughts
  43. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « North Highlands Art
  44. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Children’s Books & More
  45. Weekly Photo Challenge – Every Day Life Along the Mekong River, Vietnam | Ron Mayhew Photography
  46. Weekly Photo Challenge – Everyday Life | Just Snaps
  47. Weekly photo challenge: Everyday life « Connie’s World
  48. Oh my stew! (aka Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life) | One Not Alone.
  49. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | a hectic life
  50. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Jacob Marchio
  51. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Stephen Kelly Creative
  52. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Faye Hicks’s Blog
  53. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « playground of marichu lambino
  54. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | The Moon Head
  55. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life- Its a Dog’s life! | perceptionsofareluctanthomemaker
  57. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « DesignHouse9
  58. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « miljoanne
  59. Weekly Photo Challenge – Everyday Life « Tacts Blog
  60. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday life « Max510’s Blog
  61. Everyday Life « bukaningrat ™
  62. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life [and a Jackie update] | Chronicles of Illusions
  63. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Carra Design
  64. Poster, A Markdown And Dropbox-Friendly Blogging App For iPad | Open Knowledge
  65. Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Everyday Life « Heart’s Home
  66. Everyday….Life | Four Deer Oak
  67. Every day life in Minneapolis « the thirdeyeworld
  68. Everyday never the same « elspethc
  69. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Efrata Denny Saputra Yunus
  70. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « tacciblog
  71. Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life (Picture + Story) | Mezzaphonically Speaking

New Route, New Sign

Here’s the message board I saw on my way home from my new job at high school as I waited to get onto Saw Mill Run.   A quick snap with the iPhone-



Thought it was a good one to think about as I drove.   In photo class, we’ve been talking  about the Art Element of LINE and there sure a lot of lines in the pic, too.  Not that these lines help the composition of the shot or add interest or draw the eye to a subject- just lots of power lines and wires on the bridge.

Skycoaster Ride at Kennywood

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Don’t know the people who paid an extra $15 to be pulled up high on a  cable and released.  It sure looks high!

Summer coming to a close.



I Swear This ’57 Chevy Has a Face

(At least I think it’s a 1957 from the images I could find on google.  

If you think I’m wrong, let me know)

You can see why they made the Pixar movie CARS.  Two eyes and a nose and a mouth are perfect and lend themselves to being humanized, animated and given the ability to talk.

Just in case you need a little something to keep you busy on weekends.

It’s only a mile from my house and I keep seeing her look at me when I drive by.  Cars are female, right? Like boats?   (Except in the movie CARS there are a lot of guy cars)     But do you still  hear comments like, “She’s a real beaut!” or ” I got her up about seventy on the straightaway.”   when referring to a car.  How did boats and cars get designated female  and is that something old fashioned that is totally out of style?  Here’s some debate I was able to find on the subject at English Forums.


One World Trade Center- It’s Even Taller Now

I shot this of One World Trade Center AKA Freedom Tower, as I left Manhattan at Easter time.

Why I didn’t take an updated shot last month when I was visiting my sister I can’t say.  You can watch the change in the skyline from her apartment window. The progress.



The view from Mary’s apartment window.



Lone Protestor on a Rainy Saturday Afternoon

Definition from Free Dictionary

pro·test v.



1. To object to, especially in a formal statement.
2. To promise or affirm with earnest solemnity\
3. Law To declare (a bill) dishonored or refused.
4. Archaic To proclaim or make known


1. To express strong objection.
2. To make an earnest avowal or affirmation.


1. A formal declaration of disapproval or objection issued by a concerned person, group, or organization.

2. An individual or collective gesture or display of disapproval.

As I sat at the light at the corner of Penn Avenue and Highland,  I heard a couple of horns blowing and I thought, huh?   I’d run to the bank and the store.

And then the light turned from red to green, I had to keep moving so there was no chance for a closer shot.

Then I noticed the lone protestor in the rain.  His placard said-  Honk Stop U.S. War ( and something else at the bottom but couldn’t decipher in the rush)

He was putting up an umbrella.  No time to get out my good camera.  The phone was charging in the console and I lifted it and took one frame.  Had to drive.

There was something stark and incredibly poignant about this solitary figure standing in the rain with his sign.  I wondered if he had a family member in the service, somewhere in harms way. Wants them home. I was still thinking about him today.

Just this week I’d talked to the classes about the purposes of photography.  Today my purpose is to document. Document what I witnessed.  A man whose convictions and beliefs are so strong that discomfort and getting rained upon did not deter his effort.

People think one person can’t be effective in doing anything to create change.

Maybe so, but it doesn’t stop this man from trying, standing up for what he believes “with earnest solemnity”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

When I received an email with the challenge of the week, I read the suggestions about landscape and horizon and  went to find them.

I have a ton of landscape images but suddenly I saw all these photographs in my library with people in them.

Walking somewhere.  And me, following the walkers.  A city far in the distance.   Near and Far.  Here are my interpretations of Near and Far, starring my family, the cities, the Hot Metal Bridge decorated with colorful bras for Breast Cancer Awareness and an unknown marathoner with her pony tail flying.

Photographed in Columbus and Pittsburgh.




















There are at least 100 other bloggers interpretations in the list of ping backs on the Daily Post


I Forgot to Mail Your Card, Mary

It was a nice one, too.  I bought it at the fancy card store in Shadyside a while back to be sure I had it in plenty of time.

You remember the store behind our old house on Howe Street?   That one.

Buying cards and not mailing them in a timely fashion seems to be something I do often. Once I swore I would never send a late card again.

I brought the birthday card to New York City when we visited last month.  I thought about writing it and giving it to you then. It was still in my bag tonight.

Nah, I thought, I’ll save it-  mail it to arrive closer to the special day.  A much better plan. Now you’re on your way to visit our brother in Okanogan.  Your mail’s on hold.  And I didn’t get it in the mailbox yet.

Here’s what I do.  I’ll think of someone, know their birthday is coming,  buy a card, misplace it, or drive the card around for a time, til it’s ripe?  I am not sure why I do this.  I read a whole bunch of sisters cards, too, looking for the right sentiment.  Some of them all sappy but this one was succinct and to the point.  It’s even printed on recycled paper and Made in the U.S. A.  Here’s a photo of the beautiful card I meant to send in time.

 “I’m grateful we’re sisters.”

Happy Birthday Mary.  You are an excellent sister, aunt, and friend.  Thanks for always being there and listening and for putting up with  me during my bratty years.  (I think they are done)  Love you with all my heart and am grateful for all the love you give to all of us. Have a happy birthday celebration with David.xxoo

You might remember the post my sister’s kitchen- 20 for dinner? no problem!.  How she always finds cool and quirky things for me to photograph when I visit her in NYC where she’s lived about 48 years.  The kids and I’d drive from Pittsburgh and camp out with her in the apartment.  When we’d wake up, there’d be fresh warm Zito’s bread and homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Preserves and fresh butter.

Your first trip to visit us in Germany.  Laura is four months old, Mark 7 and Matthew just turned 3.

You with Laura after the wedding last November.  Thanks for all you did to make it happen so beautifully.

Here is a colorized baby photo of you with Mom. New Haven, CT

I turned it into an art project years ago and added the border. Sorry.

Potato Patch Satisfies Urge for Salt and Fat

Photographed at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin PA when the family was here this summer.

A nice couple let me photograph their fries. (with cheese)

The condiments still-life was from a different concession- The colors are what caught my eye.

And my son pointed out the pile of Idaho potatoes, catching the late day light.

The family was waiting to ride the Turtle.











the close-up crop of above photo   Here is the salt and fat.







Spin around and upside down.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,790 other followers