Monday, July 27, 2009

Pittsburgh and architecture

Pittsburgh has lots of old buildings in the heart of the city. I love these old brownstones, the arches and stonework.

Unfortunately half the time I was hanging out the car window trying to take photos. Or in some cases, shooting out the back window. The next time I'm there I promised myself I'll have time to actually walk the streets.

Bridges are great through a camera. Angles and reflections, arches of steel over cold water.

With all the freeways and overpasses in Pittsburgh it's great that you can actually park and walk under them in some of the parks.

Somehow or other I don't think traffic would appreciate me stopping mid-span for photos. Most people don't take kindly to photographers looking for a good shot.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pittsburgh museum

The entrance to the Pittsburgh Museum is kinda hard to miss. Everyone loves dinosaurs.

This is an interesting perspective. From one of the upper floors, looking down, the angles of the tile and carpet are beautiful. I love beautiful buildings. A museum should be a beautiful building.

There are wonderful wildlife exhibits. Models of endangered animals from around the world.

But it's the dinosaur exhibits that steal the show.

Life size fossils are set up in what would have been their environment. I'm not a dinosaur, ... yet. Somehow or another I don't think I'll end up worthy of a museum exhibit.

If you go, plan to spend the day. You'll need it.

Then there is the art deco T-Rex guarding the gift shop. How neat is this?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Brief trip to King Salmon

I'd forgotten I have these. Summer of 07 I spent a week in King Salmon, AK doing some filming for work. It was July which meant 2 things; bugs and bears. The bears are fishing and the bugs are attacking any portion of the human body not covered. I can't claim the following photos but I wanted to share. The film crew I was with had lots of better equipment than I had, plus I wasn't willing to be eaten alive by noseeums and white soxs to get a picture of a grizzly. So the film crew from Washington D.C. got ate instead of me.
The river runs right beside the lodge we stayed at. From the hot tub you could watch the bears.
Of course if you were brave enough to be in the hot tub (because of the bugs) you deserved to see the bears.

Someone put a bear skull on a stick as a good luck omen. Yeah, right.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pittsburgh, playing tourist

Pittsburgh has lots of buildings with historic towers in the corners to keep part of early American history.

And historic churches. It is always amazing to me to find out that the beginning of a new community, in a new world, always start with sinking money and effort into a church, when life is such a struggle. The history of man is written in the buildings raised to an imaginary deity.

The statutes represent saints, priests and hope. The skill to carve marble in such detail is another thing brought to the New World hundreds of years ago.

Ever look at reflections? One of the most enjoyable things about playing a tourist with a camera is sometimes you get unique perceptions on mundane things. Like the American flag reflected in a glass tower across the street from a church.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pittsburgh, 2008

In the Fall of 2008 I got to spend a week in Pittsburgh with my girlfriend Shelagh. The above photo isn't mine. This is from the Pittsburgh website. The city is wonderful at night. Absolutely beautiful.

Without a tripod I was stuck, but with a full moon and a wall to lean against it wasn't as tough as I thought it would be. Pittsburgh has a wonderful skyline.

In my opinion one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The Heinze chapel. The history is awesome, along with the stonework and the interior windows and wood carvings. I love beautiful buildings no matter where I find them.

I wish I could tell you the history. There are great websites with pictures of the stained glass windows and the wood carvings.

I was so lucky to have a tour of the church. Shelagh and I lucked out when we peeked inside the open door. There was a young lady inside, going to school at the college with a vast knowledge of the church and its history. She offered to give us a tour and for the next hour or so we got a personal tour of the church, a lecture on the history and access that is rarely given. Most of the time there is a huge backlog of weddings and events that tours are only in minutes, not hours.

The wood is teak, the carvings are incredibly detailed. The altar is Egyptian marble.

The stained glass windows each tell a story and are signed by the artist. The stories reflect Galileo, Abraham Lincoln, Leonardo DaVinci, the list goes on. It would be very easy to spend the day, going from window to window with a history book in hand, understanding what is before incredible eyes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island is Alaska's version of the Emerald Island. It's a well deserved nickname for the island a couple hundred miles south of Anchorage in the Gulf of Alaska. My trip there landed me at a doctor's home who rented out a downstairs bedroom and bath. The location is a little off the beaten track and not a location the average person would find.

The yellow SUV is my vehicle when I'm working at remote airports. Aircraft radio, flashing lights, and lots of power to get in and around in muddy places.

Paths are scattered through the forest around the bed and breakfast, giving you beautiful places to enjoy the wilderness. Two things you have to watch for are bears and moose. The Kodiak Brown Bear is a big bear and is very common. You carry noise makers and pepper spray as you walk.

Because our summers are short with very long days, everything that is going to grow does so quickly. Mosses on trees and trails are thick and green. Mosses make great pads for tents pitched in the woods. Of course they are also full of all sorts of bugs, ants, spiders, etc. No snakes or worms though. Don't have them here.

If you're very quiet as you walk a hawk just might sit still long enough for you to snap a photo.

The Buskin River spills into the Gulf of Alaska. All types of salmon, trout and other fish call this river home and fishermen love it. Subject to large tidal inflows the river is fast and cold. It is also home to bear fishing for their dinner. So if you're fishing you might end up sharing your fishing hole with a four footed fisherman.

The Buskin River also borders the Kodiak Airport Runway. Trying to protect the river and its habitat and still keep the airport safe for aircraft is a full time job that presents lots of headaches in the summer.
Low tide and tide pools. At low tide razor sharp shale and tide pools are exposed. Walking through the pools requires a lot of balance and planning to keep from slipping on the seaweed and ending up soaking wet and cold.

Lakes are numerous, with their own float planes, docks, and good fishing. A large sand bar and rock wall separates this lake from the ocean.