Well, it was sunny, but instead of leaving it in its natural colors, I desaturated it to approximate a black and white shot because I liked the close-set details of all the buildings and light poles and bollards and bricks. I then added a yellow filter because it seemed to help define things better.
Someone left a number of quart-size canning jars outside their door for most of the winter. They don’t have the lids, only rings, so rain and snow fell inside, melted, froze and did all the things water does. I’m surprised only one jar is shattered, but it looks like four friends who are a little worse for the wear.
Possibly a good way to begin the year, but virtually impossible for most of us.
But train tracks always fascinate me in their absolute perfection of line in this part of the country. This line variously clings to the side of a hill before running along the edge of a hill and crossing a number of tunnels and trestles. The topography is everywhere here—hills come in every shape and size, creeks and streams run down every hill and along the bottoms of hills, little back roads wind back and forth with creeks and yet the railroad lines predictably go in a straight line off to the horizon, aside from ones that make lovely gentle curves like another local line I photographed last week.
This line actually does go gently around a curve where it disappears in the distance.
Seen along the trail, perhaps washed up eons ago in the ocean that created our layers of limestone and fossils here in Western Pennsylvania.
Really just an old weathered tree trunk. But they certainly looked like ancient fishes at first.
These gargoyles guard the entrance of the Outlet Barn garden and gift shop. They are friendly with people and animals but can detect any evil spirit seen or unseen. I have merchandise there and I’m sure no evil spirits will enter the building while my goods are there.
PhotoShop desaturate and diffuse glow applied, lots of film grain.
Long shadows of bicycles on my front porch in the late afternoon sun.
The tops of corn plants, the light through the leaves, and a teeny tiny spider tries to catch a final meal with a slight web between to plants.
Taken on black and white film with Pentax K-1000 in my garden years ago.
I have some lovely butternut squash, but these are not those. I shot these black and whites with film about a decade ago using butternuts from my garden.
I love their shapes, so voluptuous and sensual, and reminding me so much of the moon in her phases.
And those twirling tendrils, both the tendrils and the shadows they cast, delicate but definite.
I still scan my black and whites in full color, and they appear here in RGB, not grayscale, to maintain the integrity of all the gray values. At one point I had thought the resolution and detail of these scans was fine, but now I’m considering a negative scanner to capture all those black and whites.
In the last days before the leaves begin to blaze with fall color, remember them in other ways, a gentle patterned arch high overhead, catching the breezes, whispering among each other.
It looks so mysterious, but it’s just my round galvanized tub with carrots growing in it and a few leaves around it, shadows, shapes, angles and lines, the wanted and unwanted, expected and unexpected, a new view on a common thing.
Buildings settle into where they are and straight courses of brick waver, roofs sag just a bit, chimneys shift comfortably, paint peels; the people who live there settle into patterns of use, windows open, blinds down; ever the opportunist, nature sends out roots, drops seeds, and grows wherever the conditions are right, adding her patterns of growth.
Patterns and angles, the bricks going one way, the ivy another, the shingles yet another, and shadows on all of it, a city house no doubt has stories to tell.
Down and down and down we go, where we stop–the river maybe? Sometimes it seems that way in some of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods. This was taken from Shiloh Street on Mt. Washington, one of the highest points around, and I sometimes wonder how (and why) people managed to build on some of these hillsides, and the buildings are still standing.
I also think of people from years gone by who walked up and down these hills, and horses and mules who hauled people and goods up and down the streets.
Mewsette has been spending time with me in the mornings in the basement, and is a perfect subject, just being herself, and holding positions for whole seconds at a time.
After all the photos I’ve taken by this basement door, do I need to say I love the light that comes in at this angle, the shadows and patterns? Add a cat, and nothing could be better.
This was my daily photo on The Creative Cat but I thought I’d like to share it here too. For more feline photos, visit The Creative Cat.
Morning glories are twining on the cast-iron fence around my neighbor’s back yard. Even though colors are bright on a sunny summer day they often overwhelm the textures: the veins in the leaves, the rust on the fence, grooves in the downspout and even the muted long shadows of the other section of the cast-iron fence and the fence itself in the background.
Before the age of massive poured concrete structures and Jersey barriers, people paved with natural stones and manufactured bricks. A skilled mason would use the best attributes of the materials, fitting the materials together in clever ways to create patterns.
I enjoy architecture of all sorts, and I also like the more modern styles incorporating large flat areas of molded masonry, glass or metal, the mark of a modern city. But these old patterns feel so much more welcoming when walking down a city street, so much more organic, their patterns catching light differently during the day and the season much like the leaves on trees or a field of grasses, and even the city’s layer of grime chipping off the limestone feels like a natural part of the experience.
And this wall and sidewalk have served this neighborhood for well over 100 years though worn and wavy with use, while their concrete counterparts have had to be replaced more than once in that time.
Someone’s back yard here in town. It’s actually on the side, and it used to be another building that was taken down; that’s what the steps were connected to. It’s right under a highway ramp, and you can see the guardrail at the top of the picture. At least there’s a basketball hoop.
Watching birds land and leave and land and leave in a popular bird spot can be mesmerizing. I thought I’d capture the starling in monochrome.
Just another in my series of sun-and-heat-drenched photos of my town done in a sort of vintage look.
I always associate Independence Day with small towns and parks and such. Carnegie’s Main Street looks much as it did when I was growing up, and that much like it did when my parents were growing up.
Below is a “penny post card” of Main Street from an unknown year and a slightly different angle, but you’ll recognize the image. See other photos of Main Street, Carnegie.
I’ve been enjoying photographing some sites and buildings around town, in the present day though they look quite old, and presenting them in black and white or in a sepia or otherwise aged appearance. Snow works well for this, as well as the excess of midday summer sun.
This house is on the other side of a tiny little creek, but it’s only accessed from an alley and across a footbridge made of railroad ties with no railing, and I’d always wanted to photograph it from the angle at which you can’t see any other buildings so it looks as if it’s out in the middle of nowhere. Someone still lives there, and someone has lived there constantly for decades; the house is very well-kept. This access would seem an imposition today, but people didn’t used to be so particular about such things, a home was a home.
Why, on a lovely green and gold summer morning, I’d imagine this old barn in black and white, especially when I loved the way all the green around it reflected on the peeling white paint and broken windows. But the details were so clear and varied—tiny details, large areas of darkness or light, regular patterns and lighter patterns, it was just very interesting to look at. And it’s not really a barn, at least not any more. It was long ago when the house was built, large enough to accommodate a horse stall and a carriage or two with a loft above for hay. Now it’s just an old garage with a planting shed tacked onto the front. It’s what’s in the background of the acrylic painting I featured today, “My Neighbor’s Laundry”.
But the old barn provides hours of interest for me in all weather, and lots of photos and sketches.
One tiny sparrow decorates the picket fence, washed by angled morning sunlight.
Patterns, both natural and man made, work so well in black and white photography because you can avoid the distraction of color and just enjoy the shape and form, the play of light on an object and the abstract shapes created by the light and shadow. Running my eyes on the pattern of light and shadow on the picket fence for me is almost like walking along and dragging a stick on the pickets, hearing both the taps and the silences as they make their aural pattern, the companion to the visual pattern.
The waving habit of the fence adds interest to the pattern, creating a visual rhythm all its own.
The shadow on the ground, while not as strong, is also intriguing, broken up by grass and gravel.
And, of course, the common little house sparrow sits atop like a punctuation mark.
A pile of wrought iron railings looks delicately turned in the late bright afternoon sun, with hard shadows and bright highlights turning the filigree to lace.
Just a typical street running down a hill to cross the railroad tracks, then back up and over the other side, and many other narrow streets running parallel up and down and over the hills, and more narrow streets crossing those with their grids of power lines above, and houses and businesses crowding close to sidewalks and to each other, one hundred years and more after they were built in a European style by and for immigrants to carry on their lives in a new country.
This is Glendale, PA, next door to Carnegie.
A bright sunny, windy day, it’s a very abstract view. I let the camera lens tell as it wanted.