Saturday afternoon, after the poetry reading at the Pump House, I walked outside.
I saw the tug pushing the loaded barges up the Mon towards the Rankin Bridge.
Because the leaves are still on the trees, I had to find an open space to catch the scene before it got away. Carrie Furnace is in the background. Shot with the iPhone5.
When you take a photograph, you realize the limitations of the medium. One tries to capture the scene for the viewer to share later.
The photographer chooses what to focus on and catch- and it’s exasperating at times.
The frozen frame can’t recreate the moment, the atmosphere and surroundings entirely.
The sound of boat horns, traffic rushing by below, a blimp circling overhead, the thousands of fans roar or collective sigh….
The tug and barge in the river are set for fireworks night by the Zambelli
Option two- iPhone panorama
Read the New York Times article and see a video - Pittsburgh’s Stirring Leap from the Abyss
Standing on the Roberto Clemente Bridge from Sixth Street. Saturday night.
Shot through a chain-link fence.
I was in the passenger seat and I had my camera out. The 70-200 lens.
We were headed to the wedding reception from McKeesport to Greentree. (Lots of double ee)
Crossing the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge. A truss bridge.
And there was a tugboat pushing filled barges on the Monongahela. (Monongahela means “Falling Banks”)
Pushed the shutter and shot shot shot as fast as I could, no chance to change settings. Lucked out with the cables on the edge and the gull in flight. The chain link fence gives the photo a soft haze and fuzz to the sharpness.
I’d asked my friend to drive a little more slowly but everything whizzes by when you are moving and it was unrealistic to go slow on the bridge. Couldn’t have done it if I were driving as there was no place to pull over. It was a squeeze.
and might as well show you the failed shots, the ones with the bridge cables, the blocking the view, the actual fence.
Photography can be exasperating. You would like to get it right.
There was no time for a turnaround, rerun, do-over.
It was the one shot that worked. Lucky day. Oh yes, at least three below that didn’t.
After school I drove down the slopes to the flats and headed to Homestead to buy a special cable for an external hard drive so I could retrieve a summer photo for Erika.
I turned onto Waterfront Road towards Best Buy and saw the late afternoon light reflected and warm the rusting metal across the Mon. Pulled over and stood on top of a guard rail to capture the sinking light on the Carrie Furnace, remnants of Homestead Steel Works and then I heard the tug and saw it pushing the barges up the river. It was a mighty scene on the river and the limitations of photography or my ability to capture it thoroughly, the seeing and feeling it, became clear once again.
The Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation sponsors tours but the last one was October 15th so will have to wait until 2012.
If you want to get a real feel for the Blast Furnaces and the incredible history, interviews with employees and historical photographs I recommend watching at least video # 1 at this website. I especially liked the man reading the last names of the workers he found in some type of log at the site. He spoke of reading obituaries of workers who gave 30-40 years of hard work for the Homestead Steel Works What a compilation of footage of Carrie Furnace. Closed in 1986.
Someone asked me a couple of weeks ago if I could photograph and barge and a tug. And I’ve been trying. When I can….Problem is, that the times I have captured it, the light is wrong, it’s raining, I couldn’t get access to the riverfront. Today I was at a friend’s house on Neville Island and I’d asked her about the tugs and barges going by her house. ALL THE TIME she said. And they did go by, Empty, filled, just a tugboat not pulling or pushing any barges. Problem is it started to rain. And it would not stop. Trying to capture a specific scene has taught me a lot about how I photograph things.
Most of the time I see something and just photograph it. Or I think about something, have an idea and go and find it. The light might be great, the garbage has a treasure in it, the kids are ignoring me, I drive by something I just can’t believe it is right there in front of me. Now- try to capture something specific. I am not as good at that assignment I’ve just learned. It would be as a true assignment like a National Geographic photographer. Stake it out. Camp out. Know the ins and outs. Shoot thousands of frames. Monkey around with your results. Do it again. Different time of day. Return to the scene. Try a different angle, different lens and or camera. Shoot. Shoot some more.
It isn’t that I am not that serious about shooting a specific photograph, I just couldn’t make it come together for this one. Exasperating and frustrating.
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.