A favorite place to capture the look of yesteryear but it is tonight. Right now. 2014 from West Mifflin across the Monongahela River.
After being with the family up on VistaView I drove down Outlook Drive. The leaves aren’t full yet and I found a good clearing between two homes.
Propped the camera up onto the passenger window ledge and tried to get a steady shot with a long shutter.
That mill is working all day and night every day and I just drive by for a glimpse a couple of times every year.
I have posted the mill at night a few times but I never get tired of seeing it. Here is it in the snow
And another April shot from a few years ago
I have posted photographs of the mill at night before, and in the winter the leaves are off the trees so I can get a nice shot from West Mifflin hill, near VistaView Street. I think there are four Christmas light decorations on it this time.
This photo is looking across the Monongahela River to Braddock.
Many family members of blog followers have worked in the mills of Pittsburgh. This is the last mill.
Click to see the earlier view from the blog in April 2010. I liked reading that post because my friend Dorothy H. wrote a comment on the blog post about a poem she wrote in response to another mill photo I took. The mill is endlessly fascinating to me, the smoke always different shapes. The cloud cover affecting the light at night. The snow. The darkness.
I remember a class in photography suggested to return to the same subject, a different season, a different time of day, but the same location. Close to it.
Guess I am doing that assignment again and again.
and this view is farther up the hill, with the naked trees on the right.
After school on Wednesday, I drove to Braddock. Directly across from the Edgar Thomson USS Mill is an old Catholic school building that’s been transformed into a spacious art gallery. UnSmoke Artspace.
I was fortunate to spend an hour or so watching Aaron set up some of his work and followed him around, shooting and talking and only once did he ask me to hold a plank while he drilled into the brick wall so I wasn’t too useful. He was gracious and explained his exploration of materials and how he had transported the art in a truck and what his performance would be during the exhibit.
One thing that struck me is how Aaron inquired about my teaching at school AND about what my blog is about. So although I was there for the purpose of photographing him and his art, he expressed interest in what I do and it was an easy exchange. Aaron has empathy and understanding for the teaching as his mom and I are colleagues. He told me how almost every school he attended in the city is now closed.
You might remember(or click the blue words) the night view of the same mill from April 2010.
You see images of these stacks often. This one from the parking lot by the movie theatre. All that is left of the US Steel Homestead Works- a dozen smokeless stacks.
Some things draw you in. I returned to West Mifflin to see if I could get the mill in sharper focus. The atmosphere affects the smoke coming out of the smokestacks. I got out of the car this time. Once the trees are in full leaf it will be harder to get the entire scene.
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.