Monday, April 23, 2012

The Abandoned Turnpike

The Abandoned Turnpike was our last nature photography trip as a class. I think going to the Abandoned Turnpike was a perfect way to end the semester. Our first assignment was to explore Point State Park to look to see how man made nature has taken over actual nature. With the final assignment being at the Abandoned Turnpike, we were able to see how nature has taken its self back from the man made nature in the past.
All together, we walked approximately six miles that day. My favorite part was walking to tunnel. I really got a sense of the idea of what people had in mind for this turnpike. I tried to envision what the road would look like if it was completed. Would the road still have left all of the surrounding mountains around the road? Approaching the tunnel, we have a great view of the mountains with the tunnel in the middle. Would that still exist if the turnpike was finished? All of these questions and more are some examples that will most likely be asked for my final project.
Through out the tunnel and mostly the end, there was graffiti all over the walls. When I think of abandoned buildings, that is how a pictured them. Graffiti and garbage everywhere. For me, I don’t find graffiti that appealing. Keep in mind, I don’t know that much about graffiti art and don’t really understand it, but for some reason, I found the graffiti at the end of the tunnel absolutely beautiful with its colors and use of art and how it was displayed on the walls. Minus all of the profanity and some vulgar photos, that I realized that it is someones idea of art and we must take it for what it is.
This being our last trip, I can honestly that this was one of my favorite classes. I have read about most of these places, but never thought I would go to some of them. I personally love to hike and explore different areas around me. So having this opportunity to go to these places and get out of the city of Pittsburgh made me realize how lucky I am to have this opportunity to explore what Pennsylvania has to offer. I would push everyone at Point Park University to take this Nature Photography Course. You never know what you can learn about yourself in nature!

Would these types of plants still be here if the road was completed?

The so called "turnpike"with a tunnel at the end

Would we still have this view of nature coming through this man made structure if completed?

The remains of other peoples idea of art.

Would you consider this art work?

Manufactured Landscapes Review

I do not own this photo. it is courtesy of

When I first heard of the “Manufactured Landscapes” movie, I had a very different vision in mind. I didn’t really understand the word, manufactured and thought that it would be about how nature grows and why it grows. I was very wrong.
When I read more into the movie and when it aired in class it really took my breath away that you would even consider this nature. Slag dumps and factories are not your first impression on nature. I did enjoy it because it made you take a new perspective on what nature really could be and how it can develop into something completely different from what you imagined it would be.
The passion that was used when making this was wonderful. Yes, the director took the angle that this can be a beautiful thing if you let it, but he also took the angle of how people despised it and refused to move even though the slag dumps were basically taking over their homes. I love how he talked to them to see how they felt about it. Most of the older generations living in the area felt that they wanted the old world back to the way that it was before. Which is with out all of this manufacturing landscaping going on. I connect this with todays society because the older generations are constantly wishing for their old world back. A world without technology and media. They essentially want the simple life back.
While watching the Bangladesh manufacturing part of the film, there was only one place that I thought of that reminded me of that place, which was the Carrie Furnace that we visited last year for digital photography. Everywhere they went, i thought of that place. It was nice to connect art, with another form of art that you have never seen before. Carrie Furnace was shut down, so it was nice to see what it could of possibly resembled when it was still functioning.
I loved the exhibit of the photos through out the film, it connected the artwork with what was actually going on in that area. It drew people in an gave a new perspective on what manufactured landscapes are used for and how to view nature differently.

Planet Earth Review

I do not own this photo. This is courtesy of

Planet Earth is a film that I have wanted to see for a vary long time. When I found out we were watching it, I knew then and there that I made a good choice in taking this class. I heard a lot about it, knew the purpose not never really fully understood the depth these photographers took to gain these beautiful images.
It was filmed in High Definition to make the viewer feel like they were there. If it was filmed in standard, probably would of just turned the channel to something else. What I loved about it so much was their use of closeups and slow motions to get the heart pounding. An example would be when They were filming at night and the lions were attacking a heard of elephants. Even when the narrators were explaining the situation and breaking up the tension, my heart literally sank and felt so bad for these animals. I feel like thats the purpose of the film, not to have people feel bad for these animals that are being hunted, but make the viewer realize what actually goes on in the world, from first hand experience. 
Another animal encounter that really caught my attention, was the polar bears. Living in the only shelter in the area, the bears would naturally be curious to see what is in there. My favorite image of the whole film is the polar bear that pressed his nose up against the glass of the building. What amazes me is how the photographer just stood there knowing that the bear could break the glass at any moment and die. It also gave a great perspective that you wouldn’t normal see of a bear. In a way, the closeup of his face made him seem more cuddly than ferocious.
For the photographers, they spent around five years of their lives filming these beautiful creature. They showed great determination and patients thought the whole filming process. It showed especially when they were in the hot air balloon and ran into the big tree in Africa twice. Thats a true journalist and motivator. It honestly was in a way a great metaphor for life. You might have things happen that get you down, but in the end, you will be happy that you did it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pittsburgh Zoo

I grew up in Pittsburgh, and have been to the Pittsburgh Zoo many times. So naturally, going on this trip felt just like home. When we first arrived, we went into the back room to see some animals up close and personal. This was very cool because in the first grade, I went on a field trip to the zoo and I am pretty sure we were in the same room that we went to in the first grade. The animals that the handlers brought out were a parrot, alligator and a kinkachu. Afterwards we went to the lion area and got a chance to see what the lions do when they are not on exhibit. This was my favorite part of the day because I never thought I would able to be so close to lions before. Naturally, the lighting was bad and some of the photos the photos did not come out the way I wanted them to. Later we visited the aquarium and was able to get great shots of baby sea turtles. And I was able to hold one as well. Later we saw the new baby gorilla in the monkey house. This also brought back memories because when I was two years old, I remember going to the zoo and playing with the baby gorillas at the time. Now, the gorilla that had the new baby was probably the gorilla I played with as a child. This was defiantly a trip that connected a lot of my memories of the zoo together. 

A baby alligator

A lizard that wanted some serious attention

two out of the 5 lions that the zoo currently has

Louis the Giraffe 

Carson the sea turtle

Another shot of a sea turtle swimming

Mount Davis

Mount Davis was the one trip that I was really looking forward to attending. Mainly because I have been to most of the other places we have gone to and because I am a sucker for a good view. When we first got there, I climbed to the top of the overlook and took it all in. Even though it was a little cloudy, the view was fantastic. I took a few shots and just admired the beauty that I had the chance to see. Climbing down I adventured to the highest, natural point on the mountain. It was great. I don’t know many people that have been to Mount Davis and not many people can say they have been to the highest point in the state. I like accomplishing things to say that I have done them and I am happy to say that I have accomplished this task. Surrounding me, there were many different trees and plants. I noticed that rhododendrons have been almost everywhere we have gone. I question why they are so common in nature.
As we continued walking, we finally hit the highlight of my day, which were the rocks. Im not really happy with the way a lot of the rock photos came out, but the adventures that I had were pretty memorable. I haven't gone rock climbing and hiking in a long time and it is something that I enjoy greatly. Just to be in that environment and exploring that area was just a great way to spend the day. I would of liked to see some wild life, like rattle snakes, or mice, but there is always next time! After exploring the area, some of the class and myself took a group photo and enjoyed lunch basking in the sun with lunch and good conversation. I think in a way, this trip brought the group closer together as a whole. 
The amazing view from the overlook

the rhododendrons that seem to be everywhere we go 

the highest natural point on Mount Davis

the sign!

the beginning of my rock climbing adventure

Monday, April 9, 2012

Schenley Park

For my second assignment that I did on my own, I decided to go to Shenley Park in Oakland. I decided to take one of our day offs of class to take photos in the park. I had it all planned out. The weather was great and I was feeling good. Unfortunately mother nature decides to full me. I got off the shuttle and as soon as I walked out, it started to rain. I was very upset but decided to wait it out. As I was walking to the park from the Point Park Playhouse, the rain started to clear up. I figured I should still give these photos another go.
I entered the park and realized that my photos still have potential to look good, but in a different way that I had in mind. The lighting was darker, which added a cool mood to the photos and most of the flowers had water droplets that haven’t slipped off the leaves yet.
A lot of the flowers were starting to wilt, well before I got there. Add the darker light and the water on the plants, an idea came to mind. I decided to show the flowers in the process of the fighting for life. The lighting showed a more haunting aspect of the photos, mix the water droplets giving them their last chance of hope for life and the already withering away of life in progress with the flowers makes a great way to show a fight for life and what you need to survive. 

Healthy flowers possibly needing water

Having what they need to survive

Dead flowers in the mix of fighters for life