When I make plans to shoot artistic photos of skies, landscapes and architecture, I get out my professional-grade DSLR. However, there are times when a beautiful shot presents itself and you just don’t have the big gun handy. So, you can either miss the shot or make do with what you have. And what many of us have these days are mobile phones with workable cameras.
Here are a few pictures I thought I’d share that feature some amazing skies, a very cool rainbow and some stylish lights inside one of Pittsburgh’s largest entertainment venues. I hope you like them.
The Giant Rubber Ducky drew the attention and affection of tens, or perhaps even hundreds, of thousands of fans during the art piece’s 24-day stay in the city of Pittsburgh.
Here are some photos I took one beautiful evening during his stay.
I hope you enjoy them.
What’s up duck?
The 40 foot tall colossal rubber duck currently floating in the rivers of Pittsburgh has taken the city and even the country by storm. After all, it’s the first time this art price has been in the United States. So, I got to thinking. Maybe it would be fun if someone could get the duck’s perspective on the whole experience. That being the case, I decided to use my own personal journalistic background along with my artsy side to create the first ever fictional interview with the world’s largest duck.
Photo by Heather McClain
Me: Hello Ducky, thanks for agreeing to do this interview.
Ducky: My pleasure.
Me: What do you think about our city of Pittsburgh?
Ducky: I love it here, this place is quacktastic.
Me: How about the reaction you’ve gotten from the locals?
Ducky: It quacks me up to see how much buzz there is about me.
Me: Did you know anything about Pittsburgh before making your way here?
Duck: I did some research and learned a lot from WQED and Rick Sebak duck-umentaries.
Me: Have you seen the local news coverage?
Ducky: A little but I mostly tune in for the feather forecast.
Me: Have you taken in any of the local culture?
Ducky: Sure, there’s a lot of fun stuff to do here. And the food is great! Of course, I’m still partial to simple old cheese and quackers.
Me: Thanks for your time and have a wonderful rest of your visit here in the steel city.
Ducky: Quack to ya later.
When it comes to working with the graphic arts…
there are generally a few specific tools of the trade. Some that come to mind include Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design and those sort of programs and utilities. However, whether it be an issue of cost or just that we do not have access to a given program on the device we are working with, sometimes we have to use other applications to get the job done.
This was the case when a friend of mine asked if I could come up with an appealing and informative bifold for a major event she is involved with in the Pittsburgh area.
Using an MS Word template, a modified photo and some additional information she had provided, I came up with one that she has raved about many, many times. Here’s a snapshot of the front and back cover:
The lesson here is that while we would all love to have every tool possible available to us as providers of creative graphic services, if we really try, we can do a lot without them if necessary.
A few months back, the city of Pittsburgh reopened one of the region’s most recognizable landmarks, the fountain at Point State Park. Up unless recently, I hadn’t had the chance to see the newly reopened spectacle that had been closed for a number of years due to technical and financial issues.
In honor of the return of this beautiful structure, I’ve included a few cell phone shots I took.
It’s the heart of summer
at least in the United States. And in the good old USA, while it may no longer be the top spectator sport, baseball still holds the nickname of the “national pastime.” And if you stop to think about it, why wouldn’t it be? Sunny playing fields, hot dogs, the crack of the bat hitting a ball, ballpark souvenirs…the list goes on.
One of the most artistic elements of the game is actually not something you might see on the field but rather the field (or more accurately the structure that holds it) in an of itself. Over the course of the more than 100 years the games has been played on a professional level, cities across the country have seen the rise and fall of numerous ballparks and many of them have been true gems of the craft of architecture.
In the early years of professional baseball, the venues often features open and simple steel structures. The next generation of ballparks included the often “multi-purpose” site which tended to be much bigger but less conducive to baseball than some other sports. Around the same time, enclosed domes with little character began to pop up in cities with notoriously bad weather. In the last two decades or so, the trend has seemed to come full circle going back to the smaller, open structures of old.
Here are a few of my favorites that are currently in use today:
As a Pittsburgh artist, and a life-long Pirate fan, my bias has to lead me to love the beautiful PNC Park.
Progressive Field in Cleveland was one of the first to revive the traditional ball field look.
Camden Yards in Baltimore is not new by any means but a stunning site to see.
The sheer history of Fenway Park makes it another wonder on the baseball universe.
One more oldie but goodie, Wrigley Field in Chicago, has a very specific feel and charm.
As many of the readers of this blog probably already know, I am a huge fan of country-pop artist Taylor Swift. And with that being the case, it should be no surprise that I took in her concert at the amazing Heinz Field in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.
While watching the show I decided to create a few clips to share at least a bit of the experience with others as well as to relive the memories myself for years to come.
I hope you enjoy these.
A local actor recently hired me
to create an online portfolio and some promotional materials for him. Here’s the post card I came up with:
The front features our home city of Pittsburgh in a washed out photo as the background. It also emphasizes his build and history as a boxer.
The back uses a plain white, non-distracting background for sort of a minimalist effect. It also shows a few different look variations with the small images as well. I’m sure he won’t mind the contact info being out there, after all, that’s the whole point of promotion isn’t it?
I made sure to use a fairly interesting font but also tried to keep it simple enough to be easily readable.
Here’s the online portfolio I built on his behalf:
Have you ever had one of those experiences
in which you hear about a movie coming out and think to yourself – “wow, that looks pretty good” but somehow life gets in the way and the film slips from your mind. I think we’ve all been there. But sometimes, we’re lucky enough to come across that movie again months or even years down the road. This was the case for me with the film “Won’t Back Down.”
First off, considering it is based on a true story and set in my hometown of Pittsburgh, I knew there would be lots of Pittsburgh scenes and that’s always something I enjoy in a movie. The subject matter seemed interesting the film features a talent-filled cast including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Holly Hunter, Ving Rhames, and Rosie Perez just to name a few.
The plot focuses on a failing public school within the city’s district and one desperate parent’s fight to do something about it. That parent encounters resistance from the principal, teachers, some other parents, the school board and the powerful teacher’s union along the way. But she never gives up and her determination wins over and inspires others in the process.
If you like movies with both entertainment value and a message, you really should check this one out.
Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal and others in Won’t Back Down Courtesy of EV.com
As most of the Creative Dreamers readers probably know, I’m a proud Pittsburgher. And as such, there are a few locations in my neck of the woods that I really like to use for creative inspiration. One such spot is known simply as “Seldom Seen.” OK, technically, the official name is the “Seldom Seen Greenway.”
There’s a reason for the name – very few people are aware that the scenic, tranquil spot even exists. And even for those of us who do, it’s really hard to imagine that this woodsy and isolated space is literally inside the city boundaries.
A while back, I created a walking tour of sort and posted it in several parts on Youtube. Feel free to check it out for yourself. Even if you can’t get there in person, maybe the very visuals will help to inspire you as well as they do me.