KICKSTART 8 – In A Fog

Last Monday seems like a blur.  It was a whirlwind of activity and a morning of shooting unlike most mornings for me.  Typically I don’t like to jump around from location to location (in the same morning or evening) trying to find that perfect spot for a photo.  I like to set up shop, move around within that spot, and take advantage of the conditions before me.  Sometimes, though, I need to change things up a bit and that’s what this Kickstart series is for me – breaking norms, exploring new ideas and concepts, and getting outside of my comfort zone a bit.  Monday provided me with just that opportunity.

Fog and Rocks - Pittsburgh Skyline Photograph

Upon waking up, I checked the conditions outside my office window at home.  Fog.  Awesome!  I grabbed my gear and headed out the door.  Within a mile from home the fog was gone and I thought the morning would be foiled before it even started.  Luckily, by the time the city was in my sights, I couldn’t see it!  A nice blanket of fog was covering the skyline.  I had a feeling Mount Washington would not provide much in terms of photos as the fog was higher up and pretty dense.  I began my morning there anyway and I was right.  Upon my arrival, the twilight fog was impervious.  Nothing was visible more than a hundred feet or so in front of me.

Dense twilight fog blankets the city, blocking any view of the skyline.

Dense twilight fog blankets the city, blocking any view of the skyline.

I mentioned I don’t like to jump around too, too much during sessions.  Well after this sight, I knew that would have to change.  If I stayed in this spot, I’d have a camera full of the same scene and who wants to see that?  Not me and I bet you  don’t either.  So I jumped in my car and headed down to the Duquesne Incline.  Nothing to see there as I suspected – in fact I never even took a photo from the overlook.  Back to the car for the next location.  I flew down PJ McCardle and down into Station Square.  I stopped by my favorite spot along the train tracks, but again the fog was too dense and I couldn’t catch any skyline.  The Smithfield Street Bridge was my backup plan to the tracks and luckily, it didn’t disappoint.  The fog was thick but not impenetrable so I was able to hop up on the Median and snag a few frames.  The buses flying by combined with a long exposure allowed me to catch some nifty light trails to complement/contrast with the moodiness somewhat invisible skyline.

Buses flying past and long shutter speeds create an interesting dynamic to an already moody view from the Smithfield Street Bridge.

Buses flying past and long shutter speeds create an interesting dynamic to an already moody view from the Smithfield Street Bridge.

Next on the plate was…wait for it…Mount Washington.  Yes, I went back.  I’ve had a shot in mind for years and I was hoping to get it.  The conditions weren’t right and you still couldn’t see anything so I was thwarted again.  Oh well.  I’ll catch some day and share it all with you.  Since the mountain was a bust, I headed low again to my favorite spot…the North Shore.  This is where I hit my stride and found some success.  I started between the Clemente and Warhol Bridges shooting above and along the dock at water level.  Conditions were pretty nice and I was able to snag a few good photos.

The reflections were nice, the fog was perfect, and the foreground bollards and chained mirrored the shape of the bridges nicely.

The reflections were nice, the fog was perfect, and the foreground bollards and chained mirrored the shape of the bridges nicely.

Even along the North Shore, though, I jumped around more than usual.  I hit a couple spots that I like to frequent up along the Sister Bridges that I enjoy.  The rocky shore along the Allegheny provides an awesome foreground and makes it feel more like a landscape photo than a cityscape.

 

The rocks along the shore provide a nice natural element to the urban scene.

The rocks along the shore provide a nice natural element to the urban scene.

A four image panoramic captures both the Warhol and Rachel Carson bridges.

A four image panoramic captures both the Warhol and Rachel Carson bridges.

For my last spot, I jumped down across from Heinz Field to incorporate the fountain.  The river was very calm as I snapped the first photo featuring the fountain.  As luck would have it, after that the wind picked up and the still reflections were nothing but a memory caught in one photograph.  I kept working the scene, though, and incorporated some of the flowers along the river walk.  I got some strange looks since I was basically standing in the tall patch of weeds, but I didn’t care.  All in all, it was a fantastic morning of shooting.  I’d been waiting for 3 years for fog like this and it didn’t disappoint.

The calm waters provided the perfect setting for a foggy reflection of the fountain and Fort Pitt Bridge.  Anybody else see an outline of a fish?!

The calm waters provided the perfect setting for a foggy reflection of the fountain and Fort Pitt Bridge. Anybody else see an outline of a fish?!

Summer blooms along the North Shore provide a nice contrast to the fog blanketing the city.

Summer blooms along the North Shore provide a nice contrast to the fog blanketing the city.

 

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