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A Day In the Woods: 2011

Looking Forward
Looking Forward

Looking Forward

One of my favorite photos from a visit by my great niece and nephews a few years ago, “Looking Forward” was included in my exhibit, “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons Along the Panhandle Trail 2015“.

I enjoyed this day so much, and this photo has become one of my favorites of all time for so many reasons: the literal and metaphorical meanings behind my great-niece standing in shallow water, looking upstream, the ripples rolling out from her, she is growing up; the colors and spatters of sun on the water, and how much she reminded me of myself at that age, going barefoot and carrying my shoes, which I still do as I was standing barefoot in the water behind her with my camera, and the practicality of a bathing suit she can grow into, tied in a knot in the back because it was a little too big for her right then. I have a large print of this in my home to enjoy and wonder how I caught such a moment.

I spent a Sunday afternoon in the woods along the Panhandle Trail with my great-niece and and great-nephew, 9 and 11, just to run around, explore, be outdoors and make up our own activities with whatever was there—paths up and down hills, wildflowers, trees, a stream (Robinson Run), a trail made from an ex-train track (rail-to-trail), and an absolutely perfect day.

And we did. We did everything. I was so happy to have someone to play with, a few sun-warmed black raspberries and muck on our feet. Above is one of my favorite photos for the light, the color, the composition and the memories; that might have been me forty-odd years ago wading in a stream barefoot, carrying my shoes. It’s my great-niece Cassidy, just as fearless as I was then, and we were joined by her brother Kyler. We enjoyed exploring the woods, but we liked being in the water best. They live in Savannah, GA now, 88 degrees “is kind of like what it’s like in the spring,” but their streams happen to have alligators so they can’t go swimming like you can here.

And the rope swing…there is nothing like swinging on a rope swing, even if you don’t go too high it’s just that feeling of freedom, letting go, waving your feet around—the things that usually carry you around are off the ground!

Yes, their great-aunt was right there in the woods and the water and the rope swing with them, who do you think showed the way and was the first in the water and the first on the swing? But I had the camera so there were no photos of me.

The white signature you see will not appear on any prints purchased. I sign each print by hand.

SHIPPING

Shipping within the US is included in all the prices listed. All shipping is via Priority Mail. Prints are shipped flat in a rigid envelope. Canvases are shipped in a box to fit with padding. Since this original is small it is also shipped in a box with extra padding.

FRAMED PRINTS

The photo is matted with Arctic White acid-free mat and a solid wood white frame. Frames may vary in style and finish, but are always about 1″ wide. Framed prints are signed on the photo and on the mat.

Other custom framing options are also available for a special quote. Please ask if you’d like another option.

PHOTO PRINTS

Prints are made on acid-free gloss photo paper using archival digital inks. I usually leave an inch or two of white around the print for easier frame fitting. All prints are countersigned by me.

Larger sizes are available than what I have listed, so please ask if you want a special size.

CANVAS PRINTS

I usually have at least one of the smaller sizes of canvases on hand, but order larger ones as they are ordered here because customers often want a custom size. Smaller canvases are a 3/4″ in depth, Canvases 12 x 16 and larger are 1-1/2” in depth. I set them up so the image runs from edge to edge, then the sides are black or white or sometimes I slip in a color that coordinates with the painting. This canvas is wraps around the sides.

Shipping cost is included.  You can find the photo in my Etsy shop.

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Inspire-Me-Monday-Button-1502

0/If you’d like to be informed about new artwork plus sales and specials before everyone else, please sign up for my Art & Merchandise e-newsletter. In September I’m planning an autumn-themed artwork sale as well as a review of an exhibit from 2008 entitled “My Home Town”, with a few originals as well as many prints still available, and a special set of notecards. “Art & Merchandise” is a separate list from my Creative Cat e-newsletter if you’re already signed up for that one.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Sunset, Old St. Luke’s

old church in winter sunset
old church in winter sunset

Sunset, Old St. Luke’s

Say what you will about winter and snow and cold, the combination makes for dramatic sunsets.

This is the Revolutionary-era churchyard of Old St. Luke’s Church in Scott Township, PA, the first Christian church established west of the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania. It was originally a native American lookout place on a bluff above the Catfish Path, which we call Chartiers Creek. I’ve canoed past this place on the creek, and visited this site when the church was closed when I was a child, though now it is restored.

I used a wide-angle lens on my camera that is not made for it, but fits well enough that I can take a good photo with it. I’m glad to have a new piece of equipment.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Downtown Pittsburgh on a lovely October day.
Downtown Pittsburgh on a lovely October day.

Downtown Pittsburgh on a lovely October day.

Saturday was lovely and whenever I drive through Mt. Washington I try to stop and photograph Pittsburgh, in any season or time of day.

Here’s a panorama I put together from a series of photos.

Panorama of Pittsburgh

Panorama of Pittsburgh

See other photos of Pittsburgh.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 


Diner Greeting Committee

sunflowers
sunflowers

Diner Greeting Committee

Especially welcome on a rainy day.

The photo was so dull and underexposed I did major manipulations to color and contrast, and then applied a “poster edges” filter in Photoshop. I photographed it thinking it would make a good watercolor someday but wasn’t sure I could pull it off with all the colors so dull, now I think it will be okay.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


The Caretaker’s Buddha

plastic buddha
plastic buddha

The Caretaker’s Buddha

Buddha waves from the window of the cemetery caretaker’s cottage.

After the pet memorial ceremony on Sunday the host and I took a walk through the cemetery and grounds where we’d set it up. Along the edges we found some of the oldest graves and the caretaker’s cottage, which now only holds equipment and no one lives there, though a window held some of the treasures they’d no doubt found among the headstones through the years. I was heartened by this jovial Buddha, possibly ivory, holding onto one of the muntins and waving to me from the window. Below is the whole window with a tribal face and a painted plastic couple with a dog and a Christmas tree they’d apparently just cut, a nun with a lamb and a few other odds and ends.

CaretakersCollection

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.


Gold

ukrainian orthodox churcn
ukrainian orthodox churcn

Gold Domes

Those gilded domes hold so many shades of gold, and the trees just starting to turn.

This is Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church  on Mansfield Boulevard in Carnegie, PA. My mother’s family attended this church and played roles in the building and administration of the church, social hall and club. It’s registered with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

Wordless-Wednesday-Button-150

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.


Kayaking at the Point

Kayak on the River
Kayak on the River

Kayak on the River

On waters flecked with gold a kayaker rounds the Point in Pittsburgh where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers come together to form the Ohio.

I took this photo and the one below during the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June 2014. Today looked much the same as I drove through downtown Pittsburgh and looked at the rivers. Because the kayaker is in silhouette it was a little difficult to tell what he’s doing so I wanted to capture a shot with a clear shape of the paddle somewhere in the image, but the silhouette itself and the angle of the kayaker made that nearly impossible. I walked along the wharf keeping the kayaker in the line of the sun’s reflection, taking photos all the way, hoping I wouldn’t run into someone in the crowds at the festival and also hoping I wouldn’t just walk off the edge of the wharf.

I was rewarded with the photo above, also capturing the clear and focused sparkles in the front and softened sparkles behind the subject, and absolutely nothing else but him in the water. Below, I also wanted to get that fantastic sun that turned out so cool in so many of these photos, as well as a bridge and the hills beyond, so “Pittsburgh”.

Kayaking at the Point

Kayaking at the Point

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.

 


The Sun and Water

man and child walking by water
man and child walking by water

The Glow of Light and Water

I was enchanted by that big yellow ball in the sky and what it did to the scene of people and pavement and water; this is another in the series of photos from the Three Rivers Arts Festival. The photos above and below were taken through the spray that blew off the fountain over the water, and the sun is refracted through all those flying droplets, some of them landing on my camera lens. The blending of color from white hot to pale yellow to orange to red in the sun is pulled apart into a pattern that I didn’t notice at first until I started playing around with the RAW photos. I ended up not modifying them at all, I liked them just as shot, including a few others that are kind of abstract, shot through the fountain spire and fans.

The photo above shows a man and a little girl walking hand in hand, and I took a few shots as they walked past the yellow path on the water made by the glowing sun. The little girl stopped to point at something and the man paused.

The photo below is blurred, and that was unintentional—it was the first one I took as the two walked toward the path of light and my camera was finding its focus on the droplets of water flying around me, but I like the softened effect, and also the fact they are just stepping into the path.

man and child walking in sunlight by water

Entering The Sun’s Path

In the photos below, I intentionally shot with the sun shining into the fountain, trying to capture the little gold droplets as the water fell from the spire along with just tiny hints of the landscape beyond.

fountain spray

Fountain Spray

Catching a few droplets falling, and one person through the opening.

Below, a little more abstract as the sun touches one thing after another.

fountain spray

Fountain Abstract

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


The Fountain at The Point

the fountain at the point at pittsburgh
the fountain at the point at pittsburgh

Two young girls run through the wading pool around the fountain.

I went to a concert at our annual Three Rivers Arts Festival weekend before last, and I captured so many images I was absolutely overwhelmed—as well as busy with a big project in house so I barely had a chance to review and edit photos. I realize it’s been a week since I posted anything at all! But a little distance from all those photos and getting the big project done gave me a little more perspective and choosing and editing images was actually easier.

The Point at Pittsburgh is the headwaters of the Ohio River, and the reason Pittsburgh exists where it does. The Allegheny River flows from the northeast and the Monongahela River flows from the south east and they come to a confluence in this valley and flow on to West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois until it reaches the Mississippi River in Cairo, Illinois. It’s an interesting feeling to stand above this point and see the rivers come together and flow off through this landscape that was once so scarred by industry and pollution, but which is now clean and green, the hills still tree-covered, the waters, well, I’ve had a swim in each of the rivers.

the fountain at the point at pittsburgh

People gather at the point during the festival.

The most surprising thing is the point itself. Because river travel was so important for industry, this very point was once the site of factories and warehouses, trainyards, docks and even coal tipples that loaded barges and boats to carry raw and finished materials from the hinterlands of Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia into Pittsburgh, and picking up more to travel down the Ohio. If you’ve ever seen the land left behind after a steel mill or a chemical factory or a glass plant has moved on, it’s about as dead as the earth can be. But with the beginning of Pittsburgh’s Renaissance in the 1950s, this point of land was taken for a state park, rehabilitated and made a lovely place to visit and see the city and the rivers from a unique point of view—Pittsburgh is very hilly, and there aren’t many places that are this flat.

The fountain celebrates this spot with three short fans each facing a river, and the spire in the center fed by the “fourth river”, an underground river that flows out of Coal Hill or Mt. Washington directly underneath the Point.

the fountain at the point at pittsburgh

The plate marking the Point.

The seal above is on the pavement near the edge of the wharf and has the names of each of the rivers on the side facing that river and also reads, “Point of Confluence, Point of Conflict, Point of Renewal”. A pentagonal shape marks the spot where Fort Duquesne once stood. I’ll be writing more about that with other photos coming in the next few days.

Below is a photo of the point from up on Mt. Washington from 2011 when the Point and the park were under construction so that you can get an idea where this fountain stands and see the confluence of two rivers that makes a third.

photo of pittsburgh pennsylvania

Pittsburgh

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


On D-Day

National Cemetery of the Alleghenies
National Cemetery of the Alleghenies

National Cemetery of the Alleghenies

I passed the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, sited on a lovely former farm where I used to paint, on my way to a friend’s house and a local trail, late in the afternoon when shadows were long. Nothing grips your heart like the orderly rows of white headstones in a military cemetery. I kept this photo for today, the remembrance of both the death and the victory of the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, otherwise known as D-Day.

This cemetery is an official Veterans Administration cemetery available to the hundreds of thousands of veterans in the area. You can read more about it here: http://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/ncalleghenies.asp

I regularly wander cemeteries to appreciate the memorials people have made for their loved ones, but in this place I keep a respectful distance.

National Cemetery of the Alleghenies

The entrance sign.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Gateway Clipper Fleet

gateway clipper
gateway clipper

Gateway Clipper

Pittsburgh’s Gateway Clipper Fleet reflecting on the calm Monongahela River in early morning.

Too bad the guardrail got in the way at the bottom!

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Sunset, Old St. Luke’s

old church in winter sunset
old church in winter sunset

Sunset, Old St. Luke’s

Say what you will about winter and snow, but the combination makes for dramatic sunsets.

This is the Revolutionary-era churchyard of Old St. Luke’s Church in Scott Township, PA, the first Christian church established west of the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania. It was originally a native American lookout place on a bluff above the Catfish Path, which we call Chartiers Creek. I’ve canoed past this place on the creek, and visited this site when the church was closed when I was a child, though now it is restored.

I used a wide-angle lens on my camera that is not made for it, but fits well enough that I can take a good photo with it. I’m glad to have a new piece of equipment.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Relic No. 48: Cotton

photo of cotton boll on exhibit
photo of cotton boll on exhibit

Relic No. 48: Cotton

This is one of the relics in the Capt. Thos. Espy Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.

Among other things, I’ve been photographing the artifacts for documentation and to use the images for the newsletter, for signage, to accompany press releases and many other purposes to let the public know the room exists and holds treasures.

And while I do this for the Library & Music Hall at other times, this week it’s in recognition of the first shot fired in what would become the American Civil War, 150 years ago yesterday, April 12, 1861.

Why is some dirty old cotton a cherished relic in this historic room? Luckily, the Post members published a Catalogue of Relics in 1911, naming and describing each of the exhibits held in the room. Not all of them are relics from the war itself; many of them are simply things the members found interesting or particularly moving, as with this cotton boll:

48—COTTON

Was picked from the cotton bushes in 1881 by W. H. H. Lea, late Lieutenant of Co. I, 112th Reg., Pa. Vols., while on a visit to the Virginia battlefield, from the narrow strip of ground between the Union and rebel lines and directly in front of the rebel fort at Petersburg, Va., blown up July 30, 1864. Over this ground the charging columns passed. Almost every foot of this ground was covered with Union dead or stained by as brave blood as ever flowed from the veins of American soldiers. Has been in possession of W. H. H. Lea for 25 years. Secured from him January, 1906, for Memorial Hall.

He was so moved by his visit to this battlefield, and his memories from the war, that he picked this handful of cotton from the battlefield, brought it home and held onto it for 25 years until he felt he had a safe place to keep it, tacking it to velvet-covered cardboard. Such are the things that carry memories.

“Memorial Hall” was their name for the Espy Post as they saw the room to be the holding place for “the paraphernalia, books, records and papers belonging to said Post and all relics of the late Civil War now in possession of said Post, or hereafter acquired; …”.

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You’ll see this photo and many others I’ve taken of the Capt. Thos. Espy Post in an article The Civil War Picket outlining the room’s content, origins and functions and meaning the society of the day. Read “Intact GAR relics-meeting room in Pa.: A singular spot to share their war experiences” by Phil Gast: http://civil-war-picket.blogspot.com/2014/01/intact-gar-relics-meeting-room-in-pa.html

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


A Day In the Woods: 2011

girl in stream water
girl in stream water

Looking Forward

Rather than post a photo of frost or snow or something else to do with this frigid weather, I thought I’d share one of my all-time favorite photos from my visits to the woods along the Panhandle Trail, from summer 2011 when a great-niece and great-nephew came to visit from out of town and we went exploring, and swimming in the swimming hole. Feel warm? I do!

I spent Sunday afternoon in the woods along the Panhandle Trail with my great-niece and and great-nephew, 9 and 11, just to run around, explore, be outdoors and make up our own activities with whatever was there—paths up and down hills, wildflowers, trees, a stream (Robinson Run), a trail made from an ex-train track (rail-to-trail), and an absolutely perfect day.

And we did. We did everything. I was so happy to have someone to play with, a few sun-warmed black raspberries and muck on our feet. Above is one of my favorite photos for the light, the color, the composition and the memories; that might have been me forty-odd years ago wading in a stream barefoot, carrying my shoes. It’s my great-niece Cassidy, just as fearless as I was then, and we were joined by her brother Kyler. We enjoyed exploring the woods, but we liked being in the water best. They live in Savannah, GA now, 88 degrees “is kind of like what it’s like in the spring,” but their streams happen to have alligators so they can’t go swimming like you can here.

And the rope swing…there is nothing like swinging on a rope swing, even if you don’t go too high it’s just that feeling of freedom, letting go, waving your feet around—the things that usually carry you around are off the ground!

Yes, their great-aunt was right there in the woods and the water and the rope swing with them, who do you think showed the way and was the first in the water and the first on the swing? But I had the camera so there were no photos of me.

I was also scouting places to paint and this year I’m determined to get out there. One little casualty was that I slipped sideways and my little Lumix digital went underwater in my pocket. It was out of order until I could take it apart and things could dry out a little and I got some action from it; I put it in my gas oven with the warm pilot light overnight and today it works but I need to replace the battery pack. I looked at the waterproof cameras for a reason, but they just didn’t take good photos. The other casualty from the same little slip-up, and more serious, was my 70-300 zoom lens for my Pentax K10D. I think it may come back too, but I am awfully fond of that lens. My camera bag is breaking down and took on water where it never used to.

Click here to see last year’s post for a brief slideshow of some of our events.

I enjoyed this day so much, and this photo has become one of my favorites of all time for so many reasons: the literal and metaphorical meanings behind my great-niece standing in shallow water, looking upstream, the ripples rolling out from her, she is growing up; the colors and spatters of sun on the water, and how much she reminded me of myself at that age, going barefoot and carrying my shoes, which I still do as I was standing barefoot in the water behind her with my camera, and the practicality of a bathing suit she can grow into, tied in a knot in the back because it was a little too big for her right then. I have a large print of this in my home to enjoy and wonder how I caught such a moment.


Opening Night

theater set
stage set

Theater

The stage lighting just before the start of the play on opening night.

I saw a play last night at Off the Wall Theater on Main Street in Carnegie: Well, by Lisa Kron, interesting for twisting reality between what really happened and what we don’t want to remember because it doesn’t fit our carefully constructed reality.

Off the Wall Theater is an intimate stage space, seats on three sides rising up from the performance floor. Plays are often one-act and first run, and the atmosphere is like being part of the action. This year is “The Year of the Woman” playrights. So far, The Zero Hour, and Well, so good!

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Gargoyles Await Your Entrance

gargoyles
gargoyles

Gargoyles Guarding

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.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Tashlich, 2010

photo of tashlich ceremony
photo of tashlich ceremony

Congregation Ahavath Achim in Carnegie, PA, Tashlich

Members of Congregation Ahavath Achim in Carnegie, PA toss bread off the bridge at Tashlich at the Chestnut Street Bridge over Chartiers Creek, as they have for apparently many years on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. I was honored to observe and photograph the event, albeit from afar to make sure I could get the entire shot.

If you look closely you can see little blurred specks of white against the greenery in the background.

For as much as I know about my home town, Carnegie, and as much as I know about my home creek, Chartiers Creek, I never knew they performed this ceremony here in Carnegie, on this bridge over the creek.  I know the president of the Shul, Rick D’Loss, and when he sent out the notice about events during the High Holidays at the Shul I noticed this and asked about it. Even though it was the first night of our festival I wanted to photograph it if I would be permitted. Rick welcomed me to do so.

Rick is also a photographer, and while I usually try to get a few photos of our community festival I’m usually pretty busy, so as soon as his holiday events are under control he’ll be photographing our festival, this Saturday afternoon and evening.

You can find many resources to read about Tashlich on the internet, but maybe I’ll see if I can get Rick to write something eventually about the ceremony at our local congregation. You can read about the Carnegie Shul on the site that Rick maintains.


Ladies’ Dresses

ladies dresses
ladies dresses

Ladies’ Dresses

Lots and lots of ladies’ dresses hanging in, of all places, the Strip District in Pittsburgh. Do we strip and try them on? No, it’s just the original strip of wholesale warehouses for all sorts of produce and dry goods. And ladies’ dresses.

I applied the “poster edges” filter to achieve the vibrance and contrast from the original scene; I had to take the photo through my car window.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Recycling Is Beautiful

recycled materials
recycled materials

Recycling is Beautiful

From a distance it looks like an abstract expressionist painting, perhaps a collage of images cut from printed materials.

Look a little more closely at the actual objects.

Yes, bottle caps, plastic water bottles, plastic containers, green glass, amber glass, cans, lids, pull-tabs, little bits and pieces of the refuse of our lives.

I stopped at the recycling drop-off on a sunny Earth Day morning in 2007, and the pile of mixed recyclable metal, glass and plastic that had been crushed was in an outdoor processing area, as big as my house, glittering and colorful as a pile of gemstones in the morning sunlight.


“The Jewel on the Hill” and “Spring Dusk on Main Street”

building on hill at dusk
building on hill at dusk

The Jewel on the Hill, Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall

Walking home through Carnegie on this date in 2005, carrying just my little 2MP digital camera that didn’t even have a zoom and a small lightweight tripod, I managed to photograph two of my favorite photos of all the photos I’ve taken, above, “The Jewel on the Hill”  and below “Carnegie at Dusk”. Though I’ve got plenty of photos to share, and even newer ones from Carnegie, today I’ll celebrate these two, two of the photos that convinced me to take another, closer look at my photography.

So we call this treasure in our town so named for its builder, the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall. This is actually an older photo but with a story, plus I recently installed an exhibit of photos of this facility at this facility, which is also one of my favorite places to go and which is also one of my regular customers for freelance design work. Quite a lot of connections.

Anyway, this photo is one we’ve used repeatedly as the signature image for the facility, and was a real stroke of luck and timing. I was walking home on a clear, warm spring dusk in late April, 2005, April 24 to be exact, and arrived at the bottom of Library Hill at just this moment. The sky was fading from brilliant turquoise to cobalt, the still-bare trees were etched against it in silhouette, and the grand building itself stood partially lit by the sunset but with all interior and exterior lights on, solid and stately, serving its public in its 104th year. By the time I had snapped a half dozen or so shots the light had changed completely and the moment was gone. That was part of the timing, the other part that they had only temporarily installed the foundation lighting but never used it again, and this was part of what gave the building that lovely definition against the dark hilltop. A few minutes earlier or later, the previous or following week, and this photo would never have existed. And it was taken with my first little point-and-shoot 2MP digital camera—I don’t know how it came out as clearly as it did!

Read about the exhibits and find links to slideshows of the images at “Of Harps and Fig Leaves” and “Carnegie Photographed”.

A little background on the names…in 1894 the leaders of two small communities on either side of Chartiers Creek, Mansfield and Chartiers, decided to merge in order to provide better services as one community instead of two individual administrations. Andrew Carnegie, who had owned a mill in Carnegie, had by then sold off his mills and begun spending off his worldly wealth by building libraries. These town leaders had a proposal, that he build a library and a high school for the new community and they’d name it after him. He did build the library but said they were on their own with the high school; nonetheless our town is named “Carnegie” in his honor.

He also set up the Library itself a little differently from the others he’d had built. Where others are named “(name of town) Carnegie Library” or “Carnegie Library of (name of town)” and were built with his expense but maintained by the community, this Library bears his full name and given an endowment for its maintenance. Also, more than just the Library space, a Music Hall was incorporated into the design along with a gymnasium in the full basement.

You can read all about this unique facility on its website at www.carnegiecarnegie.org. I’ll also mention that the website design is mine, and you’ll see many more of my images in the photo album.

photo of main street at night

Spring Dusk on Main Street


Book Stacks

book stacks
book stacks

Book Stacks

There’s just something about browsing books this way that I find so much more enjoyable than browsing titles on a computer, even if I’m looking for recorded volumes…each book on each shelf seems to hold a treasure, and walking sideways down the aisles is so much more fun than scrolling. At Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.


Gargoyles Await Your Entrance, 2011

gargoyles
gargoyles

Gargoyles Guarding

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.


When I Am Gone, 2011

stone marker
stone marker

A stone tablet with words in an old cemetery.

I will go blocks out of my way to avoid a traffic light, or miles out of my way to avoid potential heavy traffic, but the truth of it is take shortcuts because I see really neat things on back streets and less-traveled roads.

I took a shortcut over Library Hill in Carnegie, passing by Ross Colonial Cemetery, named so for the Ross family of settlers around the time of the Revolutionary War and it contains graves and headstones that date from that time as well as more recent ones. I pass this tiny cemetery all the time, and have read or taken rubbings of all the weathered markers.

But in addition to this being a family cemetery, this very spot at the top of a cliff over an oxbow in Chartiers Creek where it winds through Carnegie was a lookout for millennia, for all the people who lived in the area or passed through. My mother told me her brothers and others found arrowheads and even older artifacts in the soil. I can feel history under my feet as I stand, and voices in the wind brushing past me to other eras.

detail of stone

Detail of Stone

So it was that I passed it on a starkly sunny November day and saw this stone leaning against a tree trunk. I knew I’d never seen it before—I would certainly have noticed a stone tablet with writing on it leaning against a tree. Errand be damned, I went around the block, parked and went to investigate.

I could see another portion of a stone nearby which looked fairly smooth but with a trace of writing which matched the angled dark area on the stone leaning against the tree. Under that portion of stone on the ground I also saw a rectangular patch of rather bare earth with grass pulled up around the edges. This stone, thin and fragile, had broken and laid in two pieces in that spot for perhaps years, until the trough grass and native ground cover grew completely over it. The portion of the stone against the tree had been preserved by the section which had lain on top of it; that section had been worn nearly smooth, and no amount of rubbing with tissue and pencil, charcoal or anything brought the text forward.

Even on the preserved stone the text was nearly impossible to read. I picked out a few lines, did a rubbing to get a few more, but decided to forgo the ancient magic of pencil rubbings for the modern magic of PhotoShop, making sure I had several good images in which I could adjust contrast and color.

At home, using both the rubbings and photo, I searched for one fragment after another until I found a portion of the book on Google books, but the text had been digitized without proofreading and page numbers and line markers were mixed in with text, which frequently had odd letters as if the optical character reader didn’t recognize the letter in that place. However, from that, I found the name of the book in which the piece appeared:

Revival and Camp Meeting Minstrel.
containing the best hymns and spiritual songs, original and selected.

I searched for that title and found a listing for it in the New York Public Library, and saw that it also had a page on OpenLibrary.org

And there it was: published in Philadelphia: Perkinpine & Higgins, 56 N. Fourth Street. “C. 1867” was handwritten under the publisher’s address. On the copyright page a stamp showed it had been entered into the collection at the New York Public Library in 1939 and that it had indeed been entered into the Library of  Congress in 1867.

The purpose of the book was to collect hymns “such as are not found in the Church Hymn Book—the compilers being careful to give those which are more desirable for social and prayer-meetings.”

And, finally, the lyrics to the song which I hoped might tell me something about the person whose resting place had been guarded by this stone.
[Song number 399, beginning on page 387]

MY Christian friends, weep not for me,
  When I am gone ;
And when my lowly grave you see.
  Oh, do not mourn ;
But praise the Lord, I’m freed from pain
  And life’s rough storm ;
And pray that we may meet again
  When I am gone.

2 Plant ye some wild-flowers on my tomb,
  When I am gone ;
That they may there in silence bloom,
  O’er your loved one ;
Entwine a chaplet round my head,
  And often come
And view where sleep the early dead,
  When I am gone.

3 And oft, my friends, in after years,
  When I am gone,
When memory opes the fount of tears,
  Sing ye this song ;
And know that though I mouldering lie,
  ‘Twill not be long
Till we shall meet in yonder sky,
  When I am gone.

In all of this I found no name, no date, no age or cause of death or other indication of who this might have been. I pictured a young person, a single man—a woman would have been buried with either her parents or her husband—possibly a Civil War veteran, this being only two years after the cessation of hostilities.

Perhaps some day I’ll pursue the records of this little cemetery and find out more about this person and others buried here. For now I prefer visiting them as if I’m walking through their neighborhood, a glance, a nod, a polite comment or simply a smile, then the assurance of their privacy.


Pray For Us Sinners, 2011

statue of the blessed virgin mary
statue of the blessed virgin mary

Pray for us sinners…

The garage wall is cracked and unpainted, the wooden window is peeling, the flowers have faded and the grass grows long, but the Blessed Virgin is fresh and new. I know this older woman who tends her garden and yard in her walker, and she would tell you that keeping the statue clean and new-looking was more important than anything else.

Remembering my days in Catholic school, I remembered the Blessed Virgin as a much friendlier holy person, kind of like the universal Mom. Is that why so many have her statue lovingly placed in their gardens?