Archive | April 2014

Kickstart Week 1 – Pittsburgh Pirates Season Opener

Hi everyone and welcome to the first installment of my new blog endeavor: Kickstart.  Kickstart is going to be a weekly blog post, generally on Mondays, that will recap my photo session from the previous Monday.  My plan is to have a theme for each session and post.  I’m hoping that by setting out each Monday morning with a theme or idea in mind I will stretch my creative limits and think about photography in a different way.  Often times I find myself in ruts or shooting the same scenes again and again, just under different conditions, and I’m hoping this project of sorts will alleviate some of that creative block while allowing me to start the work week off on a positive note.

For this first installment, I decided to go with a Pittsburgh Pirates theme.  Ever since I thought up this idea I wanted it to be done on Mondays.  As look would have it, the Pirates season opener was a Monday and coincided beautifully with the timeline in which I wanted to begin the project.  I awoke before sunrise and headed in to the city where I spent a good 6 hours walking around and taking in the wonderful baseball sites and weather.  There were tons of people walking to the stadium over the Clemente Bridge heading to the game dressed in their Buccos gear.  I people watched.  I photographed the sites.  I sat by the river and just watched the stadium.  I wanted so badly to go to the game, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune.  I was, however, able to snag a few shots that I normally wouldn’t take, though looking back I wish I would have focused a bit more on the crowd outside the stadium and long the bridge.  Anyhow, here are 10 of my favorite images from the shoot.  I hope you enjoy them and LET’S GO BUCS!

stay tuned for next weeks Kickstart post – the theme will be Washington, DC!

Opening Day Pirates Scoreboard MLB Opening Day Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Park Sunrise Roberto Clemente Statue Pittsburgh Pirates Raise the Jolly Roger Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day Pittsburgh First World Series Sign Pittsburgh Pirates Roberto Clemente  Great One Statue Pittsburgh Pirates Home Opener Clemente Bridge Pittsburgh Clemente Bridge Sax Man Pittsburgh Pirates Willie Stargell Statue Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Park Reflection

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The Evolution of Light

Photography, at its most basic level, is the art of light.  The very essence of a photograph is almost always determined by the type, quality, and direction of light illuminating the subject.  Sure, composition is critical and subject matter is obviously important.  But a stunning landscape can be rendered much less spectacular with the absence of quality, interesting light.  Conversely, the most mundane of subjects can make stunning photographs under the right conditions and light.  There are two things that I’ve learned about light on my short photographic journey:  it is ever-changing and don’t give up on it.  The latter is a tougher pill for me to swallow sometimes so the focus of this post will hone in on the dynamic nature of light.

This past December I decided to take a jaunt up to the West End Bridge for a sunrise session.  Sunrises can be hit or miss, especially from the West End, because if there is no cloud coverage the light can be kind of uniform and bland with just a slight band of color near the horizon.  Luckily for me, this December sunrise was an absolute stunner.

I arrived on the bridge a shade before 7 AM and I could tell the conditions were shaping up to be great.  The clouds were perfect, the reflections in the river were crisp and pristine, and the light…well the light was some of the best and certainly most dynamic light I’ve witnessed in Pittsburgh.  The seven proceeding photos were taken over 53 minutes and exhibit just how much the light can change and shape the mood, feel, and look of a scene.

Blue Hour Burgh Pittsburgh Skyline Reflection Blog

7:07 AM – It is the heart of the “blue hour” which is just after twilight. The sky is a bold blue with a little bit of warm light as the sun is still below the horizon.

Tree Pittsburgh Reflection Sunrise Morning Blog

7:17 AM – There is still a tint of blue in the sky, but a tighter image shows a bit more yellow and orange at the horizon while the blues are becoming a brilliant purple.

7:22 AM - The sun is inching closer to the horizon.  The underbelly of the clouds has now been illuminated in a beautiful combination of pinks, purples, and a little orange.

7:22 AM – The sun is inching closer to the horizon. The underbelly of the clouds has now been illuminated in a beautiful combination of pinks, purples, and a little orange.

7:26 AM - Just four minutes later the pinks close to the horizon are gone, but a subtle hint of pink remains in the wispy clouds.  What was pink is now a darker purple/blue and the horizon line has remained a pretty consistent orange.

7:26 AM – Just four minutes later the pinks close to the horizon are gone, but a subtle hint of pink remains in the wispy clouds. What was pink is now a darker purple/blue and the horizon line has remained a pretty consistent orange.

7:33 AM - The clouds are really starting to take shape.  The deep purples are now gone and the light on clouds is starting to warm up.  The sun is very close to the horizon now.

7:33 AM – The clouds are really starting to take shape. The deep purples are now gone and the light on the clouds is starting to warm up. The sun is very close to the horizon now.

7:46 AM - Thirteen minutes later and the sun has crested the horizon, just over the Fort Pitt Bridge.  The light is now very warm and you will notice the skyline shows less detail in the buildings  due shooting directly towards the light.

7:46 AM – Thirteen minutes later and the sun has crested the horizon, just over the Fort Pitt Bridge. The light is now very warm and you will notice the skyline shows less detail in the buildings due shooting directly towards the light.

8:00 AM - The final image.  The sun is well past the horizon now and everything is a very warm hue.  All the blues, pinks, reds, and purples are gone and we are left with a very contrasty scene of a silhouetted skyline against a golden sky.

8:00 AM – The final image. The sun is well past the horizon now and everything is a very warm hue. All the blues, pinks, reds, and purples are gone and we are left with a very contrasty scene of a silhouetted skyline against a golden sky.

As you can see, the skyline was the only constant.  The light changed at least 7 times, 5 of which were significant changes, within my hour of shooting.  The light was not only shaped by the position of the sun relative to the horizon, but also by the arrangement of the clouds.  Had there been no clouds, I would not have seen the pink, purple, and red light being reflected by the rising sun.  So next time you see a beautiful sunrise (or sunset), make sure you see it all the way through.  Who knows how much it will change over the course of just one hour!?