Monday, April 23, 2012


My older sister Shane is graduating this spring from RMU!  I took a photo for her announcements.  Congrats on being probably done with school forever! 

Abandoned Turnpike

For our last trip of the year, we went to the Abandoned Turnpike.  Apparently, Pennsylvania built a nice chunk of road – a couple miles, 3 tunnels, and then decided they wanted to go a different way.  The result: a post-apocalyptic stretch of road abandoned and overgrown. (And covered with profane graffiti…)  The Turnpike was pretty cool, kinda creepy though.  On the roads, it was a little lackluster in photo opportunities – Similar to the turnpike.  There’s nothing really around.  There are a lot of cool things in and around the tunnels though, of course the issue there is that tunnels are dark….really, really dark.  So anyway, I got some nice shots of butterflies as there were a million honeysuckle bushes everywhere.  I learned pretty quickly though, that butterflies are extremely skittish and do not want you closer than 10 feet!  I found a lot of tent worm nests too.  They’re kinda creepy little guys, I don’t like how their nests look like spider webs.  There was definitely a lot of “urban” nature out here.  Nature has started to reclaim its land in the past 50 years and there are plenty of plants growing out of the roads. It’s doesn’t seem like those roads will last for much longer.  The tunnels don’t have as much nature, but they’d be pretty interesting to see in another 50 years!

I have no idea what Laura was doing in this photo but her silhouette looks crazy.  Her heads on the left and an arm is raised to the right. Weird!

Hello, ISO 12800, your look horrible noisy.  On the other hand, YAY Sparklers! Not sure what the orbs are floating above each though.  Ghosts in the tunnel....Or a probably a lens malfunction. 

Mt. Davis Make-up Post

Due to a frustrating combination of anxiety and acid reflux – I missed another trip.  This time I missed the one to Mt. Davis – Pennsylvania’s highest point.  I’m somewhat disappointed in missing another trip – although I’ve lived in PA my whole life, I haven’t traveled it much!  This is my post to make-up for the missed trip.  These images were taken as a second set of “urban nature” photos, though they don’t really seem like it.  They were all taken in Point State Park.  The images don’t really have much “urban” to them, except for their close proximity to downtown Pittsburgh.  The day was grey and rainy (as usual, If I need to take pictures, the sun usually flees!), but I think they came out alright.  We’ve been so fortunate with weather that spring seems to have sprung a tad early. There was a lot of green, and trees and plants with blossoms and buds on them.  There was even a lot of bee’s buzzing around!  These were shot the 3rd of April, so I was surprised that there were so many bugs out – it seems too early! Hopefully they don’t freeze in the supposed snowstorm they keep predicting! I wasn’t really aiming for anything important when I shot these, as I was just tagging along with friends who needed these for other assignments.  I was just shooting what seemed to look good.  Hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Behind the Scenes at the Pittsburgh Zoo!

This week, our class got a behind the scenes look at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  I was a little wary of this, as I had gone on one my Freshman year for another class.  We did some different things this time, and saw some different animals.  When we first got there, they brought us to one of their education rooms.  Unfortunately, I ended up in the back row and had a hard time getting shots since there were so many of us…and we all love cute animals.  First they brought out a Macaw parrot.  Macaws are beautiful birds and it’s crazy that they can learn basic speech and live so long. The next creature brought out was a baby alligator. He was tiny, I think 2 feet long.  The zoo keeps them until they are 4 feet, then sends them back to wherever they came from.  He was really chill for being an alligator, but you could still see that he looked kind of mean! The last animal they brought out was a Kinkajou. It was so cute!  I wish I would have gotten a picture of it.  The walked it around and let us feel its tail.  It grabbed my finger with its tail and I was surprised! I’m used to cat and dog tails that don’t have that capability. From there we headed outside.  We passed a lot of habitats, but since it was so cold, most of the animals were inside.  We stopped at the lion exhibit.  They had just let 2 younger female lions outside for the day.  They came out, running and playing.  As you can see, it's funny how they have their own personalities and look like angry sisters after their play-fight.  After that, we went into the actual lion building.  Inside there were 2 male lions, who we had to avoid because they would try to mark their territory, and an older female, who I believe the keeper said was 22!  She was still pretty intimidating, as you can see from the image.  She was being fed raw horse meat and was apparently afraid we were going to take it from her!

 From the Lion exhibit, we headed over to see the African Painted Dogs.  They also had some interesting personalities.  The one dog seemed like he just wanted to sit alone - even when the rest of his pack was playing.  They look like regular dogs for the most part, but they make some funny squeaking sounds!

 After the dogs, we went to what was probably my favorite part of our behind the scenes visit - the aquarium!  We were able to hold sea turtles!  They take injured or orphaned sea turtles and raise them until they are 2 I think.  As long as they are not horribly injured, they will be re-released into the wild.  This is Clemente.  He's only 1!  The 4th picture is a 2 year old sea turtle who will be released soon!

 After the turtles, I spent some time exploring the aquariums.  I did want to go to the University of Miami and dual major in Marine Biology and Photography... Wish I could still do that!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Planet Earth Response

In class the other day, we watched some behind the scenes footage of the making of Planet Earth. Planet Earth is a documentary series by the Discovery Channel, and it never fails to amaze me.  The images that are produced within the films are stunning.  I like that they show how beautiful our earth really is.  I think that this is something that many people forget, and while being nothing compared to how those things look in real life, the high-quality, HD images are awesome. They show wonderful creatures and plants that we may never see otherwise.   I think it is interesting that the people who create the footage work so hard to capture the images. They truly believe in what they are doing and make sure that the footage is shot to the best of their ability. They battle through bad weather and dangerous locations without blinking an eye.  They also wait for long periods of time to get the shots of the animals that they want.  They are so dedicated to creating these films that they go to extremes to get the right shots.  They also have people working who invent techniques and equipment that can be used to film hard-to-get shots without doing too much damage to the environment.  The footage obviously has underlying implications that we have to preserve our earth, but they do this in such a different way.  Instead of showing images of parts of our planet that have been destroyed, they show images of things that we should be protecting. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


For the shooting on our own assignment, Evan and I decided to go somewhere that was nearby to the city while still being nature.  We were headed to Schenley Park but ended up at the Phipps Gardens.  The amount of flowers that were blooming there so early was impressive.  It was only the end of March and we had gotten a frost the night before, but luckily everything survived the night.  It may not have been the best time of day to go as the sun was way too bright.  It washed out a lot of my shots, but some came out alright. Of all the things we saw, I was most impressed by this bird we found who was nesting in a tree at eye level.  She was so determined not to leave her nest she let us get a little up-close and personal.  I really like shooting wildlife and I’m glad that I’ve been able to in with the bird and the frog I shot previously.  I’m still struggling with my theme though.  I like to focus on the smaller things, and views and angles that we don’t normally look at.  Hopefully I’ll be able to work this all out as soon as possible.