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

Archive for December, 2012

A Pick-Up Truck Bed Filled with Legs on a Snowy Highway

Guest blogger again today.  The blog has been a family effort as of late.  I’ve been out here for ten days and going back home New Year’s Day.

Today”s guest blogger is none other than my nine year old granddaughter Anna who shot this scene with her mom’s cell phone from a moving car.

She saw this pick-up truck on the way to swim practice.  What I love is that she saw it, got her mom’s camera on the phone going and captured the shot and THEN she texted it to me saying “I just blogged for you”.  People write to me and tell me they see something and think, ahh Ruth would photograph this.  People have called or emailed suggestions of things to consider photographing for the blog. If I had seen this truck filled with a pile of fake legs in the back

And then there are these moments of serendipity.

I asked her where she thought the truck was going

Her reply   “Probably a dummy store.”    

Anna has shown me photos before to be on the blog but I said We’ll know when it is right!   Today it is perfect.

 

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Black Dog, White Kitchen Cupboard, Remote Cable and Presto-

Meet Charlotte- 1/2 Husky, 1/2 Shepherd.  The runt of the litter  four years ago at James’ sister Kim’s farm Red Rooster Acres. She was visiting her cousin Penny.

It was Sunday night visiting Laura and James before the Tony Monaco Show at the Rumba Cafe. I tried to photograph her in the living room, sans flash of course, and it was too dark.  So I asked if I could photograph her in the kitchen.  I had read that photographing a dog with black fur can be a challenge.

Using the white of the kitchen was the key and my new cable release.  And the cooperation and attention of Charlotte. I swear she smiled.  Thanks Shawn (James’ cousin) for allowing me to post her portrait today. When you look at her you can see she is not looking at me, but Shawn!

(My mother’s mother’s name,too)

Charlotte


Mark Tests My New Remote Cable Release in the Snow

Here I am in snowy Ohio and I didn’t pack boots to come out here for Christmas vacation. Must have been lulled by all that Spring like weather we were having in December.

Mark is the guest blogger cause when he got home at ten Saturday night he  showed me a photo he had taken with his phone of the Christmas lights in the snow.  I asked him to go back out for me and take one for the blog.

So he took out my camera(Canon 5D with a 50mm lens)  and the new remote cable release that just got delivered via UPS and it was set at  ISO 400     f.1.4.    1/60 shutter.  I thought the result was excellent . First time using a cable remote and now he knows how to reduce camera shake.  Tripod in the back of the freezing car and no way we’re setting up unless the snow stops falling.

Thanks Mark. Maybe tomorrow night I will borrow Erika’s boots and trudge around in the snow.

Christmas Lights in Snow

 

 

 

Christmas Lights in Snow 1 (1)


Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

The suggestion of the WordPress Photo Challenge is to select 12 pictures to sum up the year.  As I looked through the folders from this year’s collection and started to pull a few here and there, I remembered what an Art Professor’s comment when he went through my portfolio.  “Hmmmm.  Peopled or unpeopled?”  I was really mixing it up.  You know how I love to find the unexpected- reflection, expression or scene.

Photograph what I am eating or where I am at the moment. When I look at this collection I am grateful for a patient and loving family who allows me to capture them in pictures.  Like Matthew said at his college graduation, ” This is what my mom does. It’s annoying now, but later you’re glad.”

But my 2012 Pictures are Peopled! I read how some bloggers went to see which images received the most hits and then they would pick from those but some of my biggest hits aren’t from 2012.  So this posting is to honor my grown up children’s Pop, who passed last month.  As Matthew said to him, “look at all your descendants” when he showed him the photo of them gathered on the stairs.

You’ve seen some of these before if you follow the blog.  Thanks for looking and clicking the “like” button or writing a comment this year.

Looking forward to 2013.   Happy New Year!

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Mark and Erika celebrated their ten year anniversary last August.

 

 

 

steve and the dachshundsIMG_2904IMG_2932 IMG_8983 IMG_9179IMG_9622WEdding Couple Arch

family (3)matthew with family


December’s Electric Bill?

December's Electric BillColumbus Ohio.  About two miles from Mark and Erika’s house.  Erika drove the kids to see the lights.  I propped the camera on the window and was able to catch it but a tripod and cable release would have been useful.  Must be a lot of work to take down all the lights and decorations.  holiday


Christmas Mice to Admire and Eat

Guest Blog from Euthemia where my sister is spending the Christmas holidays.

Her friend Joanne brought these to Christmas dinner . Euthemia emailed me the photo of them and then I wrote back to ask if it would be okay to post.  Directions below.  Thanks Euthemia and Joanne. photo-5

 

 

Here are the instructions for making the chocolate cherry mice from Joanne Maier of Glenmont, New York.  
They were a great hit at the holiday table.  

 
24 Maraschino cherries with stems
Waxed paper
1/2 cup chocolate chips
24 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
48 almond slices (match pairs by size)
Icing – 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon of water
Black food coloring
Red food coloring
Drain cherries, pat dry. Cherries, unwrapped kisses and paired ears need to be lined up ahead of time on a cookie sheet covered in waxed paper.  Microwave chocolate chips 15 seconds at a time until melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.    Hold the cherry by stem, dip and swirl til covered in chocolate, put on the side so tail sticks out and on the front, push on a Kiss to make the head.  Where the Kiss meets the cherry, put in the two ears, and keep doing it until you finish.  Make icing, take a small amount and add black food coloring, another small amount for red food coloring, and the rest will stay white.  Put icing into 3 different baggies and cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag.  Make the eyes white with a black dot in the middle, and use the pink for a nose.

Lala Loved the Ukelele!

Laura really, really wanted a ukelele.  She thought her husband was getting one for her.   He gave her birthstone earrings instead!

She and James came to Mark and Erika’s today  after having been at James’ family Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We had a festive time opening presents and watching the kids play with their new toys.  Preparing a nice dinner, too.

So this was one of the fun moments of Christmas for me.  She wasn’t expecting her mom to get her a ukelele.  But I did!

Thanks Pittsburgh Guitars on Carson Street, SouthSide!

The man who sold it to me suggested I put her face on the box on top of the model’s and I added James’ face from a photo I cut up of the two of them.

He told me he was selling at least a ukelele or two every day.  This one came with a gig bag and a tuner.

It was just a good time as I sat on the floor, grabbed the camera and caught her excitement.  Laura learned a couple of chords and Matthew accompanied her on the guitar.  Seeing her so excited felt wonderful.

(and yes that is Cardinal Donald Wuerl, born in Pittsburgh,  in the right hand corner of the television and the photograph)

Laura got her Ukelele


Murphy Waits for Santa

Kids asleep. Presents wrapped. The adults listening to Vince Guaraldi. The homemade cookies left for Santa on a special plate but I have to tell you this is the first I’ve seen a bowl of raw cauliflower and another of water for the reindeer. We always did carrots.
I was looking for a paper clip to try to weave in a loose end of yarn on a knitting project/gift and Marlene produced a package with two yarn needles! Talk about timing. We went to the four o’clock and then Mark and Matthew picked up Persian takeout- another first for Christmas Eve.
Definitely a foggy Christmas Eve. Laura and James coming in the morning. All is quiet, all is calm. Wishing all blog readers a peaceful day, whatever you’re doing on the 25th.

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Angel Lava Lamp

No kidding.

Plugged in and sitting on top of the piano at Mark and Erika’s house.

And I found myself watching it for a long time, the sparkles rising and falling, catching the light.  Now photographing it was a challenge.

Too much light and the sparkles disappeared.

I was fascinated by the glittery colors inside floating and glimmering. This is the best I could capture it.  I thought it was a lot of fun.

 

angel lava lamp


Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

Seven surprises!

The weekly photo challenge: surprise.

I’m thinking about Stef’s Three Daily Delights blog and how she faithfully lists three delights from her day.  Thanks Stef for the inspiration.

Here are 7 surprises captured by the handy iPhone, save #2,shot with Canon 5D.

1. Jack found the fresh snow when he opened the front door Saturday morning.  That’s my unpacked suitcase by the front door.  Surprise!

jack finds the snow

2. My wonderful DIL Erika sent a hot cup of coffee out with Anna as I was watching the kids play in the snow in the backyard.   (this is the only shot with the regular camera) Yes, that’s a Roadside America souvenir travel cup. Surprise!

coffee in the snow

3. Penny the Golden Doodle actually watches TV(Christmas Vacation) at Laura and James’ house.  Matthew and I arrived Friday night and ate delicious bowls of chili and cornbread, after a 6 hour drive in the snow and traffic (usually a 3 1/2 hour trip).  

Surprise!

Penny watches TV

4. My SIL James’ parents sent the wonderful gift of perfect, juicy pears.  I sliced one and it disappeared in seconds. Thanks Chuck and Sharon.

Surprise.

the gift of pears

5. Thursday afternoon I was stuck in traffic in the rain and saw this pink building and two pink vehicles for Bread and Pastries. This is the true color, not enhanced!    Surprise.  

Bread and Pastries Truck

6. Anna(9) baked a cake all by herself then took a sandwich bag, turned it inside out and filled it with buttercream and then snipped the tip of the corner off and proceeded to decorate the chocolate cake.  

anna makes a cake

7.   Kerry, the student teacher(Art Department) did some serious baking and made special message cookies for the last day of school before Winter Break.  Surprise!

carrick Cookie


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Urban Madonna, Ninth Street, South Philly

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Laundry on Line in Croatia

July 2008 From the Archives

July 2008 From the Archives


Angels

2009- from the archivesThese angels are on a shelf in one of the built in china closets in the dining room.

2009- from the archives
These angels are on a shelf in one of the built in china closets in the dining room.


Croatian Church Sign

 

 

 

 

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Plitvice Lakes- Waterfalls in National Park Croatia

Peaceful reflection in the National Park in Croatia-Plitvice Lakes

Summer

Summer 2008    from the archives

 


Metropolitan Museum Angel Tree

From my sister Mary via her cell Sunday afternoon

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

This week’s challenge is delicate.  I held up this tiny crystal swan to catch the light from the dining room chandelier.

The swan’s neck is delicate.  Crystal Swan


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Candles


I Finally Met Domo

Hanging from a college student’s book bag.  I asked if I could photograph the little creature with his mouth wide open. She told me it was Domo!

Domo?

So I looked up Domo and learned about him and realize I am really behind the times in not having met him before. He’s been around awhile.

And I just met him now.  And a quote from Wikipedia     “Domo’s favorite food is nikujaga, a Japanese meat and potato stew, and he has a strong dislike for apples because of an unexplained mystery in his DNA”  You can check him out in stop animation features on Youtube, too.  

And the urban dictionary says  “Domo-kun is a small brown open-mouthed monster (hatched from an egg) who lives with a wise old rabbit underground and really, really likes TV. Domo-kun is the mascot of NHK’s BS2″

There are book bags and plush toys and I have never noticed him until a couple of weeks ago and that open mouth caught my eye.

domo


City Rooftop Horsey

I’m sure there’s a great story behind the placement of this molded plastic creature, dangling from a wire frame atop a building!

You might remember, depending on how long you have been following the blog, that my friend Sally said that things come in threes.

And the day before that there was the horse of a different color. The post the day before that one was The Old Gray Mare (or stallion).

There was the steed left by a cowboy in an Arlington neighborhood alley, just like the one Chicago John rode as a kid.

And here is the latest one I caught yesterday as I sat in traffic in East Liberty and happened to see it up on the roof.

“Found” rocking horses or rocking horse heads in the city are a theme without my even realizing.  Maybe someone is going around the city and placing them for me to find!

horsey rooftop full sie

horsey rooftop

Here are the aforementioned horse sightings in the city cause let’s face it- who has time to return to old blogposts?

old-gray-mare

rocking-horse-of-a-different-color

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horses-head


There are at Least 14 Ways to Spell It!

And here is an article explaining the most popular and the second most popular way to spell- Hanukkah or Chanukah? The Festival of Light. 

Tuesday- the fourth night.

I was invited for potato latkes and the lighting of the Hanukkah candles at my friend’s house.  We taught together these past 6 years until I moved to the high school this year.  The first photo is her beautiful Menorah on the mantle. Her kids are grown up and out of town, too.  She and her husband and I sat by there fire and then she lit the fourth candle. It gets dark so early now as we approach the shortest day of the year.  The warmth of the fire and the glow from the colorful candles was lovely.

After we ate the latkes(served with sour cream and or applesauce)  Ann lit the fourth candle.

We left for an adventure, traipsing around Squirrel Hill, Murray Avenue and Forbes.  Up and down trying to decide where we should eat!  At least it wasn’t raining.   We had a nice evening, catching up on our families and school and mutual friends.  When we walked by the Giant Eagle supermarket and a young man asked if we were Jewish and she said, yes and he asked if she had candles.  Then we saw the table set up in front of the market with another young man cooking latkes on a griddle.  They had applesauce available and their organization had a big sign on the Menorah.  They told me they were “spreading light in the world.”  I asked if it would be okay to blog them and they gathered to gather for a group shot.  Pulled out the cell phone camera.  Yep, my camera was back by Ann’s house in the back trunk of the car.

Thanks Ann for including me in the candle lighting and for taking me on a good healthy walk around the neighborhood to find the best dinner.

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Home of the 5 lb. Hamburger!

Yes, that’s 80 ounces of meat.  But not a photograph to prove it exists.  Just this sign on the overhang. A site describes this place as a Sports Bar, a local hangout, a joint!

Maybe the five pound hamburger weighs a bit less after grilling?  The way the punctuation goes I’m not sure if there is a five pound hot dog or a five pound pirogue, too

I was at a red light on Friday at the intersection in some traffic.  Good timing.  When you have a 50mm fixed lens on your camera and you’re in the driver’s seat, stopped, there’s no maneuver room, no way to get more of the establishment in the frame. This is the shot. There was no place to park or get out.  I was on my way to see the family. Friday afternoon traffic, bumper to bumper.

But it was the sign that caught my eye.  Nobles on Nobles Lane down the street from school.  It wasn’t open when I was stopped in front.  I know it would’ve been cool to actually go in and order one, document the gargantuan meat.

Home of the 5 lb Hamburger2


Front Porch Ambient Light Portrait- Godmother/Goddaughter

Taking photos of people on the front porch is the nicest light.  Not too much, not too little. Like Baby Bear- it’s just right!

No squinting from the midday sun either (but there really wasn’t any full sun this weekend, due to some thick cloud cover and rain, rain, rain)

Was out visiting in Columbus and getting ready to go home.  Matty and Maura and I were in a separate car from the rest of the family due to schedules and timing.  We swung by Laura and James’ house to see their freshly decorated tree that a few hours earlier had been tied on the roof of their car.  I took a Christmas photo of them in their living room so had the camera out as we headed back to the car.  “Quick” Laura said. “Godmother, goddaughter shot!” Pressed once and it shot two in quick succession.

And that is how the Front Porch Ambient Light Portrait got taken on Sunday afternoon before I headed back to Pittsburgh to start a new school week.

Godmother and Goddaughter Front Porch Potrait


A Vapor Trail, the Moon and Thursday’s Sunrise in the High School Windows

Tuesday’s dawn was beautiful.  Two days later, the view on the way into school included the  moon and the vapor trail of a jet. A gift to start the day!  The shot on this day has a bit more of the scene too- the parking lot, the sidewalk, the corner of the school.view at school


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