Man, this week has been flying by! I’ve been so busy that I forgot I wanted to follow up my last post with some color photos of the flowers. As I mentioned last time, I wasn’t super thrilled with what I shot but, considering this will probably wrap up any flower photos for this year, I figured one last blast won’t hurt.
Short on words but here goes…..
I got hit with yet another cold this past week. I think that makes at least three weekends this past year that I was sick and the symptoms from last weekends cold are still sticking around this weekend. I have my energy back for the most part but there still is that lingering “just not right” feeling. It didn’t help that I had a public speaking engagement last week for my employer and I’m not too good at those in the first place. I did manage to get through it without coughing and clearing my throat but I was a bit dry by the time I was done.
Besides obligations for work I didn’t spend much time doing anything else that required much effort until yesterday when my wife (who got sick after me, of course) and I managed to get out of the house a little a take a few photos at the local conservatory lily pond. It’s a good time of year for the water plants and I like to visit every year when I can to photograph the flowers and try to outdo myself from the previous year. Plus it didn’t take much physical effort which was just what I needed. Enough activity to help me recover but not enough to wear me down again.
It was a wonderfully cloudy day on the way over and I was hoping the soft light would stick around. Unfortunately the sun came blazing out by the time I had arrived, along with it’s harsh directional light. My early shots were a disaster from too much harsh, contrasty light so I waited patiently for a cloud to cover the sun and grabbed whatever shots I could when the light eased up. All in all I managed to get a few good photos on this excursion but nothing that really excites me. That happens on occasion and I’m sure I wasn’t on top of my mental game either. This black and white lily image was one of my favorites and I kept it simple with a square crop. The color image is equally, if not more, impressive and I’ll show it next post with a few other shots.
When I’m shooting large amounts of photos, which I try to do when I am out purposely taking photos, I tend to process a few of the ones I like after the shoot then share them here and on Flickr, or even Facebook on occasion, and the next thing I know I am moving on to the next batch. Sometimes good photos get lost in the shuffle. A sign of these fast-moving times I guess – “here’s a pic of my baby. NO! forget that, here’s another newer pic of my baby, from today!!“. All about sharing. :-)
Sharing is what I imagine the bee coming up in the background has in mind in this photo I shot way back in June. It was one of those shots I forgot about. The fact that June is “way back” and it’s nearing autumn again is a little sad since it only really began to feel like summer the past few weeks. Maybe a little too hot and muggy, but I kind of like it and it will be a bit of a downer when the first cold rainy autumn morning greets me at the door as I am heading out with my jacket on.
By the way, this photo is a bonus larger file size than I normally post, so go ahead and click on the image for the best larger view!
The last time I visited Mount Wood Overlook in Wheeling, WV was in 2011 in the middle of my 365 photo project. I was working in the area at the time and during a rainy day break from work I remembered the overlook from visiting in my teenage years back in the early 80’s and wondered what it looked like. I didn’t have too much of a memory of the site from my youthful visits but it all came back when I parked in the “lot”, which is really like a paved entrance off the public road. How we even found this spot when we were young is beyond me. It’s not in any convenient location, not off a main road or near anything or anywhere we would normally travel to and it’s over 30 miles from where we lived. I guess someone heard about it from someone else and thought it was a worthwhile spot to check out. Huh, imagine that, in the pre-social media days we were able to find out-of-the-way places just by talking to one another. ;-)
When I was there in 2011 I knew I wanted to visit the place again when I had a wider angle lens to better capture the structure. As soon as I purchased my Vivitar 13mm I knew I wanted to re-visit the overlook and see if my wide-angle visions were correct. I wanted to go on a cloudy day with muted light to avoid shadows since I was thinking black and white to focus on the structure and when my wife and I started the 30 mile trip down the highway we had just that, nice dark clouds. Unfortunately the clouds got darker and darker on the way eventually turning into a heavy thunderstorm. Besides making for a not fun highway drive I feared the storm would clear up just as we got there and the sun would come blazing out. Sure enough, that’s what happened.
So the light wasn’t quite what I had in mind but at least is was warm afternoon light. But the structure was still intact as I remembered but with some new, colorful graffiti. The graffiti was even more elaborate than my last visit and prompted me to think in color and to us the graffiti as part of my compositions. That also meant I didn’t focus as much on the structure as I originally had planned. I did think a few of the shots still worked better in black and white so I mixed them in.
The light didn’t turn out like I hoped but it wasn’t a total wash. I got a few good photos of the overlook and the old cemetery across the street was worth an exploration also. I took a few shots there on this outing but I’ll have to visit the cemetery on a gloomier day.
Taking a little break from the wide-angle black and white shots this time around. Not by choice, mind you, I did want to get out and shoot some but the sky wasn’t working with me of late. I like bold clouds for nice dramatic backgrounds but they just weren’t around when I went out to shoot. I was only blessed with clear blue skies, LOL. Bummer ;-)
Being that I was still on staycation, I thought it would be a good time to explore something new. When I stay home for vacation it’s usually chore time at the house but I do like to get away with my wife and try something different, like a restaurant we haven’t been to or, in this case, a museum we haven’t visited, just to make it feel like we are on vacation, even if for a day. The Bicycle Heaven museum in Pittsburgh is a place I didn’t even know existed until recently and I took the opportunity of a warm day off to pay a visit.
Besides “WOW”, another word I would use to describe this place is “impressive””. Located in a warehouse district, the museum has two floors of display space and workshops intertwined throughout. It seems to be a work in progress kind of place but the collection of bicycles and related parts and memorabilia is astounding. Every vintage bike imaginable (or unimaginable) is here! I don’t remember how much time we spent there but I know I could have spent a few more hours and still not see everything. I walked past displays over and over and always found something new. These photos are just a sampling of what I shot and I still didn’t shoot all that I saw there. A repeat visit is a definite must!
Even though I don’t ride a bike anymore (mostly because the roads and drivers around here are awful) I do like them and am a fan of vintage ones. I always try to take photos of old bikes when I see them on the street but I found out getting good photos of bicycles is quite a difficult task. The sheer nature of their spindly designs makes a good capture elusive. Instead I try to focus on details and hope for the best.
Ah. a week off from work with nothing planned! :-) Well, nothing fun planned, :-( I do have some house things to do but no trips, no events on the horizon. Considering this is turning out to be an actual summer weather feeling week for a change I kind of regret not planning anything now. Oh well, I have another week in autumn and maybe I can make it up then.
What I will do though is try to make the best of my usual surroundings and try to do some local photo explorations. I think shooting in familiar places takes an extra effort because you have to look at things subjectively as if it was for the first time. I often say I like to shoot what other people don’t notice and here is a good time to shoot what I normally don’t notice. Or shoot things that I had in the back of my mind to try someday when I have the time. No excuse now, I have the time!
These are few shots around Point State Park in Pittsburgh. It was a beautiful Sunday evening for my wife and I to go for a stroll and since we haven’t been around the Point in a while, I thought it would be a good place to give the wide angle lens another workout. Yes, I am still in the wide-angle mode and I almost force myself to use it exclusively lately just to milk out if it what I can. The different viewpoint is refreshing – but not as refreshing as a beach vacation. :-(
A break from the wide angle scenes.
I spotted this parking garage in the making while scouting out the location of where my employers new office is going to be. It was a Sunday so there wasn’t much construction activity and I liked the bare concrete of the garage. I would liked to have gotten closer and explored the lines a bit more but I was maxed out on my lens reach and fences prevented me from digging deeper.
Here are a few more shots from my “day after” shots of the county fair. I was going to post some full color shots but decided to stick with black and white since that seems to be where my head is at these days. I had some nice straight B&W images ready when my wife thought the train station shot would look good as a textured image. I’m always game to her ideas so I went with a textured vintage look and , I have to say, I liked the results. So much I went ahead and did a few more in the same vein.
With the exception of the “fire ring” photo almost all of the others where shot with the wide-angle lens I have been playing around with. I soon realized how much I really have to pay attention to the whole frame when shooting wide. Compositions take a lot more effort than what I am used to when using my normal middle range focal lengths. The whole “single subject bokeh” shots are out the window, of course, and I kind of like that idea. A little break away from what’s currently in vogue. Not only that but I kind of quit worrying keeping the camera level at times, as exampled in the baby dragon photo. A slight tilt of the camera helped emphasize the dragon and make it “larger than life”. At least that’s what I’m seeing, larger than life dragons! :-)
It’s that time of year when I like to visit the county fair grounds the day after the fair ends. I try to get there every year to see if I can outdo myself (I never do) and if there is anything different from the previous year (doesn’t seem to be). I can easily walk around and photograph the various vintage looking rides at my own leisure and try new angles and viewpoints. The tear down process is always a little slow to get under way and the rides are usually still set up when I get there. This year I even came across a fellow photographer with the same idea. Yeah, I know, it’s scary when I come across someone thinking like me. ;-)
I was always drawn to the colors in years past but last year I tried a few shots in black and white and liked the results so much I pretty much do all of them in black and white. Adds to the vintage appeal, I guess. Plus I was again blessed with dark cloudy skies which always enhance the drama of the images. While driving there I was afraid the clouds would clear up and the sun would come out by the time I arrived but fortunately that didn’t happen.
Sticking with the wide-angle lens I talked about last post I tried my hand at some different viewpoints to bring out the best of the lens. It certainly didn’t disappoint in sharpness and I tried to avoid any straight lines so I wouldn’t have to worry about or correct any distortion. Whatever distortion that was there only enhanced the images, in my opinion.
Here is a small sampling and I’ll try to throw a few more up in a few days after I get through processing.
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