The Ghost Tulip

“Ghost Tulip” is my own affectionate name for this unique tulip that reminds me of the Ghost Orchid, the elusive tropical orchid that blooms in Florida in mid-summer. Seasonal Florida residents can’t catch a glimpse of the ghost orchid, since they have months ago fled to northern climes.

The Ghost Tulip stands out brilliantly from its green leaves and earthy roots. Find it at the Spring Flower Show, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh.

My good friend Sharon was patient with me as I composed, focused and captured 64 photographs at the Phipps Conservatory Spring Flower Show. I shared with her my thoughts on photographing flowers.

“I’m mainly concerned with finding good compositions here. The background must be simple yet show some depth. If I choose a single flower to dominate the composition, it’s helpful to have a second flower play best supporting actor, to echo the main actor, but play a secondary role, as in this composition,” I added.

Later, “I mentioned that a star pattern is always a good thing, as is an S curve or a diagonal.”

“Why?” she asked. “Ha, ha, good question,” was my reply.

Gateshead Millennium Bridge — Wow!

Pittsburgh PA, you have met your match. Newcastle, England, like you, is a city of bridges and a former coal and steel center making a successful transformation into a technology center with an entrepreneurial spirit.

This innovative pivoting pedestrian bridge is a great symbol of the new Newcastle. Admire the Gateshead Millennium Bridge connecting pedestrians on the wharfs of sister cities Newcastle and Gateshead. These are two university towns with an abundance of pubs, many of them taking full advantage of the riverside waterfront.

#bridge, #Newcastle, #gateshead, #millenium, #pivot, #pedestrian, #transformation, #entrepreneurial, #university, #pubs, #travel
Gateshead Millennium Bridge on a summer day connects the wharfs in sister cities Newcastle and Gateshead, England.

The pedestrian bridge closes to foot traffic and pivots, lowering the high arch and raising the lower arch when a large vessel needs to pass through. Have you ever seen a bridge like this?

Iceland’s Fire and Ice

I’m busy today making prints for a July 6 exhibition: the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Gallery  Crawl. It’s a fun evening, and you can find some cool photography by ASMP* photographers at 803 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA.

I have decided to feature some of the amazing landscapes and birds I saw in Iceland last summer. Whoever said that Iceland is the land of “Fire and Ice” is right! Volcanoes have created some rugged landforms and interesting vistas. On Heimeay Island, one can just imagine how frightened the residents felt when a massive eruption woke them in the middle of the night in January 1973. (All residents fled via fishing boats in the harbor, and the eruption continued for two years.)

Then you can experience “Ice” even in mid-July,  as you bundle up in a parka, hat and gloves and strap spikes to your boots for a hike on an icy, albeit melting, glacier. This glacier was atop an extinct volcano on the Snaefellsness Peninsula.

#iceland, #glacier, #melting, #volcanic, #fireandice, #landscapephotography, #travelphotography, #sony, #ice
You might be gone for good if you fall into this crevice on this Iceland glacier.

Please come to the Pittsburgh Gallery Crawl on Friday evening July 6. It’s free.

*American Society of Media Photographers: ASMP.org.

Peony Season

How can peony season be nearly over? I came home to Pittsburgh after a week out of town, and the weather had nearly ruined all my pink and white peonies. Dozens of blossoms were falling apart and lying on the wet ground. I’m afraid it was a bad week for a gardener to leave town.

Just a few late bloomers have withstood the heavy rainstorms and stood tall for today’s photography.

#peony, #white, #may, #spring, #rain, #season, #sony, #depthoffield
On a cloudy day in between rain showers, this white peony shows off its delicate petals.

#peony, #peonies, #whiteandpink, #may, #spring, #rain, #raindrops, #mygarden, #season, #earlyspring
The white and pink peonies from the same bush share the spotlight.

Tulips at the Frick

The Frick Collection in Pittsburgh is exhibiting Paul and Bunny’s Mellon’s art collection, which normally hangs in the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond. Most of the paintings are from the Impressionist period, including works of Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, Sisley, Pissaro, Redon and Morissot, but there are also some equestrian paintings and some post Impressionists like Matisse and Picasso. It’s a fantastic exhibit!

At the same site, you can visit the historic Frick home called “Clayton,” see the late Whitney Snyder’s collection of antique cars and have lunch at the Cafe. Just outside the Cafe, I also enjoyed these tulips in the garden — living, breathing works of art.

#tulip, #spring, #may, #pittsburgh, #frick
The best way to photograph a flower is to keep it simple. Shallow depth of field isolates the subject in the frame. Yes, I was down on the ground, kneeling in the mulch.

#tulips, #redwhiteandblue, #pittsburgh, #frick, #flowers
I liked the contrast between the red and white petals and the bed of tiny blue flowers behind them.

#tulip, #redandwhite, #spring, #may, #pittsburgh, #frick, #macro, #flower
Even though this tulip was past its peak, the texture, colors and detail were inviting.

Right Place, Right Time

Three weeks ago, I promised myself that whenever I spotted a great location for a photograph, I would stop the car, even turn the car around if necessary, and get the shot. Today I put my new rule into practice while driving in Sewickley Heights just minutes before sunset.

#sewickley, #rainbow, #scaiferoad, #october, #rain, #fall, #shower, #pennsylvania
My own shadow bisects the golden field in Sewickley Heights below this spectacular double rainbow today.

I got wet in the rain, but that’s okay. You can’t plan these opportunities. You just have to be ready.

#rainbow, #doublerainbow, #sewickley, #nature, #october, #fall, #rain, #stopthecar
The end of the rainbow is here.

Destination, Ohiopyle

Pittsburghers don’t have to travel far to find great places to kayak, bike and hike. The fall foliage, waterfalls and white water of the Youghiogheny River are just 90 minutes from Pittsburgh and can be easily accessed from several directions: approach from I-76 or I-70 and old Route 40.

#kayak, #foliage, #youghiogheny, #laurelhighlands, #ohiopyle, #recreation, #october, #pittsburgh, #pennsylvania
Just downstream from Cucumber Falls, kayakers navigate the white water of the Youghiogheny.

The town of Ohiopyle is a mecca for bike, raft and kayak rentals as well as parking, bike trails and restaurants. This October it is just warm enough, just cool enough and plenty scenic!