Happy fifth of July! After getting home late from the Regatta, I didn’t have the energy to post photos of the fireworks. My fourth of July holiday was certainly happy with a cook out, shopping and the Regatta, but having a one-day holiday on Wednesday is rough. After a day of work and watching the Buccos sweep the Astros tonight (Zoltan!), this photo is pretty much all I can muster.
Pittsburgh is a fantastic place to watch fireworks because the three rivers converge at the point. I remember pre-recession fireworks being shot from three barges on the river. However, the fireworks were still great this year. I saw some fireworks that I don’t think I’ve seen before – ones that shot red and green streaks that scattered like marbles dropped on a hardwood floor. Though this photo is a little blurry, it’s worth sharing because this is what I imagine an alien attack would look like… A little too much like Independence Day, am I right?
I hope you had a happy fourth of July.
This weekend, I had my first portrait shoot! My good friend and fellow Pitt grad Elaine Short needed some pictures for her professional website. Elaine is a no-nonsense editor who needed some pictures that show a little of what she’s about but not in the awkward holding-a-No.2-pencil-while-leaning-against-this-tree kind of way.
Because I take everything seriously, I did a little research on author portraits and outdoor portrait photography. Some of tips I learned include:
- Avoid direct sunlight (one website even suggested using a white truck to reflect light)
- Wide-angle lenses generally aren’t appropriate for professional pictures.
- Shoot wider because you can always crop later
- Have the model hold something to avoid clenching fists and tensing arms
Most portraits of writers that I’ve seen have the writer looking deeply into the camera. Sometimes their arms are crossed or their hands cradle their faces. Often they’re in black and white. I wanted to convey Elaine’s exuberance and youth with vibrant summery colors and laughter. That honest laugh, however, can be tough when staring into a the eye of a camera. At the same time, I tried to avoid this sort of cheesy portrait smile:
So, I told jokes. I urged her to “keep it loose.” A couple times, I suggested that she take a tip from Miss Tyra Banks and smile with her eyes:
I asked for her to show me her sexy face and Blue Steel, knowing a burst of laughter would follow. I think it worked. These photos are in chronological order. Maybe you can tell by the sun or by Elaine’s body language. We started with strong 3 p.m. lighting after a late lunch in Oakland, and around 7 p.m., we met up again for another session by the parking lot near the Shadyside Wine and Spirits on Center Avenue.
Elaine said this pose has been done before, and she’s right. But she does it so well, and it’s nice to have options.
Thanks for the opportunity, Elaine! This was so much fun!
All the best and lots of love,
It was a very cool weekend to be Pittsburgh. If you were willing to brave the freezing (C’mon wasn’t it just 80 degrees?) weather, you had plenty of events to check out. On Friday, there was the gallery crawl dahntahn presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. From 4 p.m. Saturday to 2 p.m. Sunday, the 15th annual Art All Night raged on in Lawrenceville. It’s a good thing Art All Night actually went all night because it was competing with the fire festival in Homestead dubbed Pyrotopia.
Here’s a slew of photos from my most eventful Saturday night.
One of the things I love about Art All Night is that anyone could submit art, so you could have a drawing by a four-year-old kid next to a $900 painting. “No fees. No jury. No censorship.”
Pyrotopia is a new festival that featured musical acts, a torch set off by an electroencephalography (EEG) headband, a fiery game of Simon and other neat performances. The event took place at the Pump House, against the backdrop of the Rankin Bridge and the Carrie Furnace. There are some pictures I included because I thought they’d be cool for a fire version of the cloud game, where you see the objects in the abstract. Enjoy!
This was a fun, unique event that I would love to see again. My one greatest criticism was that the Tesla coil that was advertised was not running by 10 p.m., about when we left. There seemed to have been technical difficulties, which is rather unnerving. Does anyone know if they started the Tesla coil by the end of the night?
I hope you were able to check out some of these events this weekend and/or you’ll venture out next time.
See yinz later,
Happy Halloween! This weekend was pretty eventful. On Friday, my good friend Kate celebrated her birthday at Arsenal Lanes in Lawrenceville, where Fridays are all-you-can-bowl and karaoke nights.
The title of this blog is in reference to the karaoke part. Kate’s husband, Paul, and friend sang Guns N’ Roses‘ “Welcome to the Jungle” together, and at about 3:42 in the video, the part where Axl Rose taunts, “You know where you are? You’re in the jungle, baby! You’re going to die,” Paul replaced “jungle, baby” with “bowling alley.” Quite clever. However, we suspect that the DJ turned his mic down after that…
Aside from that diss, it was a great night. Arsenal Lanes is a cool, retro-looking bowling alley with a spread out floor plan. There are two rooms with lanes and a separate room with a bar, where a nurse lady and Homer Simpson snuggled up on the couch.
Here are a couple pix from the night. A lot of my photos were grainy because the bowling alley was dark, and obviously my targets were moving.
I would definitely like to go bowling again soon. It’s one of those activities that people don’t seek out often but are really happy when they do.
I am a bit of a procrastinator. Right now, I’m sitting with this month’s book club selection, “Room” by Emma Donoghue, at my side, and I have more than half to finish. With this book, so to put it in a cliche, the book or cup or whatever is half empty.
Anyway, as I said in my last blog post about Scarlett Knob Campground, my homework for my photography class is to take pictures of landscapes. The unpredictable weather we’ve been having has made it difficult to shoot. Last week, I put off my homework until Wednesday night, and it was raining lightly or misting annoyingly all night. I ran out into the courtyard of my apartment building with my tripod and an umbrella. The pictures turned out surprisingly well. Here’s one:
The camping trip helped me to get most of the landscape shots I needed. However, Scarlett Knob did was surprisingly flat, and I didn’t capture the textures I wanted. So once again, I had to go out to shoot photos the night before it’s due. The forecast showed scattered showers all day, and thick clouds hovered over the city all day. The sky looked bright, colorful, and cloudy. It seemed pre-apocalyptic, as I suppose is expected. But lucky me, it didn’t one drop, and I got some nice photos to edit tomorrow in class at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.
Several of these pictures have a lot of noise… It happens more when I shoot in RAW. I wish that I knew these would come out like this, so I could have tweaked the settings (even though Hipstamatic and Instagram have made the film grain cool again). I’ll reduce the noise on the school computers using Adobe Lightroom.
There was a nice woman taking a time lapse video of Phipps Conservatory at sunset when I took this shot. We talked for so long that I missed out on the farmer’s market that was just 50 feet away! On that note, next week’s farmer’s market will be the last, at least a Phipps. It’s 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Also, the sizes of these photos are a little off from usual because I tried using Picasa’s photo exporter. The vertical pictures are too big for a blog it seems.
Well, thanks for stopping by! I’ll talk to my professor about the noise in my photos and get back to you.
P.S. I know these weren’t all landscapes. In addition to procrastinating, getting off task is another one of my flaws. 😛
Driving out to Scarlett Knob Campground on Saturday, my good friend Elaine kept saying, “I love rural Pennsylvania!” We romanticized the small towns that extend past the suburbs, where the Subway restaurants are in former homes, sharing real estate with candle shops. I wanted to jump out of the car and explore every antique shop and see what treasures hid in Small Town, Pennsylvania. But it’s not just the areas of commerce that I love. It’s more than just the country stores adjacent to the diners, like in “Family Restaurant” (will explain soon).
I love the oranges and reds that carpet Penn’s woods in the fall. I love the fresh air of the country and dozens of black cows that love it too. It was about time for this city girl to visit the country – to bow at the alter of glorious Mother Nature. The weather was perfect for enjoying a crackling campfire and for hiking in the woods.
So, we drove to Scarlett Knob, a private campground near Ohiopyle State Park. I’ll admit that the planners chose this site because it permits responsible alcohol consumption on the premises. (We transported all of the cans and bottles back to the city for recycling – extra responsible.) We were only the third other group at the site, so we felt secluded enough. I don’t know what Scarlett Knob would be like during the peak camping season – and peak paintball season, for that matter…
On a semi-related note, my homework for my digital photography class at Pittsburgh Filmmakers was to take landscape photos. What luck! I had plenty of opportunities to take photos. All of these photos were shot in raw. Some of them have been edited slightly for contrast and to bring out the color in the sky, which was bright and mostly cloudless. 🙂
This summer, my family went to Hershey Park. There, I got the inspiration to make s’mores with Reese’s! Mmmm! That’s another bonus of fall camping: cheap Halloween candy! 😀
For the last picture, I leave you with an image of our beloved “Family Restaurant.” We thought it was funny that the “Family Restaurant” sign was larger than the Mill Run Grille sign. I also love the cartoon, Clip-art-style duck on the side.
Thanks for the memories, Scarlett Knob! We had a great time, and I hope to go camping again soon.
Hey yinz guys,
It’s been a while since I last blogged. That’s mostly because I went camping this weekend (post to follow). On Friday, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, boyfriend and I went to the Andy Warhol Museum. We got in for free because of the Regional Asset District’s RADical Days, which just ended.
There we saw that Andrew Warhola lived on Dawson Street in Oakland, where I lived for two years as an undergrad. The house is not a museum, so it’s easy to miss. For some reason, I thought that Andy Warhol lived on Parkview Avenue, but now I remember that’s the street where Pitt alumnus Dan Marino grew up. Here’s a picture of the exhibit detailing Andy’s childhood.
My nephew liked exploring the Andy Warhol Museum. He got a free coloring book too.
We had a great time seeing old favorites, like the silver clouds, hallway with of Mao Zedong portraits, Brillo boxes, Jackie O photos and so on. The new exhibits were great too. The museum brought out an old Apple painting in honor of Steve Jobs. The Heroes and Villains exhibit by Alex Ross on the seventh floor was also impressive. I appreciated its comprehensiveness, even including childhood drawings of Charlie Brown as different superheroes. The last favorite worth mentioning is the video of The Milk Truck, the Carnegie Mellon University project, that rescues nursing mothers while shaming those who do not welcome public breastfeeding. I hope to see the truck with a giant boob on top driving around town. Unfortunately, if I see it, that means that The Milk Truck is needed, and that’s a shame.
Anyway, you won’t see any photos of any of these neat things here because the museum does not permit photos on any floors except for the first. I still found some interesting things to chronicle.
Thanks for checking out this post! I’ll post something about my weekend camping trip tomorrow.