Head in the clouds

During the last 10 years of my career the amount of air travel was a big motivator for retirement. In the past 2 years I’ve only made 2 trips by plane. However, I do miss the occasional inspiring view from above. I see a few photogs doing nice work with drones but I have zero motivation to buy one.

01 copy
Shadows are always a part of the story in a photograph. Sometimes the shade of the subject is all that is needed in the frame. I like the context this image can add to a story as either a beginning an end or even a transition.

02 copy
Moments of solace when looking out the window were one of the few benefits of becoming A Million Miler. Not only is this a nice moment in time it is a nice moment in space. The winglet silhouette & the edge light on the wing define the perspective. The position of the Cheshire moon in relationship to all of the other components especially the town below provides depth. The glow of the sunset on the horizon of the entire atmosphere is almost impossible to see from the ground.

A perk of all the travel was upgrades. The title of this is Coming Home in 4F! My brothers & sisters flying every week will understand. Some travelers may prefer the more visually dramatic approach into PIT that brings them over downtown. I preferred coming in from the West where the view allowed you to see the more a more rural environment. Seeing the waning of winter as spring is on the cusp, is always a wonderful sight.

I never had any desire to pilot a plane. However, I thought it would be neat to drive one around on the tarmac.

On the 54th Floor in DTW the fireworks from a barge on the river below me provided a very unique vantage point. Sparkling explosions displayed almost at eye level was something I never expected to see. Being able to add foreground building on the side of the frame & having Windsor Canada, as background provided a wonderful balance.

Being able to work with talented professionals was a big thrill of my career. Flying with Cherokee Helicopters for a Kenny Chesney Concert was fantastic!!! His craft was designed for stability & he had the eye of a photographer. The best shots were when I pointed the camera & he flew the helicopter. The client was happy with the shots we got.  However, the best shot didn’t fit the format of the show. On a test flight in the early afternoon Cherokee came down the Monongahela, over the Ft. Pitt Bridge & dropped down to approach Heinz field. The rivers around Point Park were filled with boats.

Inspired by the work of David Burnett & Leni Riefenstahl I saw an opportunity at a track & field event to float a person in the air. It also happened to be a personal best pole vault for the athlete. I consider this an example of preparing to be lucky. OBTW I respect the art of her work but can’t condone her collaboration with The Third Reich. Your reputation is elevated or, in Leni’s case, destroyed by those you associate with.

Miami sure has changed since I first saw it on the Jackie Gleason Show. Unfortunately this aerial image now creates a sense of significant concern when I look at it. With the seas rising & the potential of more powerful storms the risk & the downside to everything in this image is a nightmare. We must listen to the power of nature.09 copy
8 years after Katrina the Louisiana lowlands coast appears recovered from what the storm had done. On final to MSY from about 8K feet I couldn’t help but reflect on the big picture of how powerful nature can be. Seeing the world from the window of a silver tube provided me with a view that reinforced my perspective on the importance of doing my best to respect the environment. We have impacted the climate & we must take responsibility to do better. OBTW later on in that trip human error caused the lights to go out in the Super Bowl. We can’t control everything!

This is one of my favorite pictures where the sky is a subject. The simplicity of a fragile bubble floating with the contrails of a plane miles above dissecting it is a perfect example of chance. The dual reflections are of the sun by the peak of the Washington Monument. Photo credit Jessica Kuntz. Her view of the world is one I respect.

Urban Photography

I enjoy street photography but the bigger picture of URBAN photography is outside my comfort zone. However, since my career involved a significant amount of travel to NFL cities I attempted to keep an open mind/eye. When I wandered I occasionally found a few results I was pleased with. The “Cliché” shots in many places, Pittsburgh included, aren’t what I look for. Occasionally I try my perspective at a “Scenic Icon” or I just can’t pass the opportunity. In my travels I complained all I saw traveling were airports, hotels & the loading docks where I worked. I can’t complain about my career. However, if I had it to do over I would take more time to wander.

CVG 082I’ll get the Cliché shots out of the way first. River towns, no matter the size, have a unique perspective of balance with the natural world that landlocked cities can’t offer. The historic Roebling Bridge & the barge offer a foreground helping to define the city of Cincinnati.
ORDAlthough this particular image isn’t a signature shot of ORD, if you go to DT Chicago you should go to Cloud Gate aka The Bean. This selfie/fun-house-mirror shot took me about 15 snaps. At first I tried time the reflections of people in the frame. I soon realized shadows of were also a dynamic component.
DET 52nd Floor 083Normally I wouldn’t consider fireworks a worthy subject. However, when you are on the 52nd story and the display is just outside your window at eye level or below you reach for the camera. The Detroit River provides a backdrop for the fireworks & a foreground for Windsor. Sometimes…life is like that.

DFW 080Over the last 20 years of my CBS/NFL career I worked a lot of games in DFW & spent many a Thanksgiving  with the best crews anybody could ever dream of working with. This view was returning from Cowboy Stadium & one I had seen dozens of times. One particular ride to the hotel, when the sun was bright with a big blue Texas sky I realized this could be a nice shot. However, after a couple of attempts, I found the overcast sky was a better backdrop for the ribbons of concrete & steel.

ATL 081The 1st Ferris Wheel was in 1893 at the Colombian Exposition built by a man/business from PIT. Now they are urban “Trendy” aka cliché. I look at this geometric machine in relation to its environment. After a 360 walk-around of this wheel in ATL I came up with a diverse assortment of relationships.

I didn’t see the “Wheel of Light” at the 15 PIT Regatta but imagine it could have been a nice temporary addition to our World Class Vista. Surprisingly, a quick Google did not produce any images of Mr. Ferris namesake invention in Pittsburgh. I did however stumble upon a photograph of a prototype of the wheel in Pittsburgh taken in 1885. It was on display at the Photographic History Museum on the North Side just a few doors away from Bernie’s. It is well worth your time to visit if you have any interest in how photography has evolved.
Birmingham UK 076The next 3 images are from across the pond in the UK…Birmingham, Liverpool & London. Although I was surprised when I found canals in Birmingham I shouldn’t have been. The British were leaders in the Industrial Revolution & of course their seafaring skills in which Britannia ruled the waves. It makes sense water transportation would be a part of any major urban area.

Liverpool UK 077I expected docks of Liverpool to be a worthy subject because of its historic nature combined with a recent transformation. I didn’t expect my favorite shot to be of a newer building with a corner like a prow of a ship. I’m sure the “photo bomb” by the seagull influenced my attraction to this image. Anyone watching from lifeboats would have seen the name of this port as the stern of the Titanic sank below the surface of the cold Atlantic. Although not built there, White Star Line, was headquartered in Liverpool & the woeful ship was registered there.
Canary Warf London 079The evolution of Canary Wharf on the Thames from one of the world’s busiest ports in the early 1800’s to an international finance center in the 21st century speaks volumes as to the roles of commerce, capital & location. The blue-collar longshoremen with their hooks scampering around the docks have been replaced with pin stripped business people with laptops.
STL 085This shot I stumbled upon searching for a store in South STL to buy work gloves. No matter where you travel in this wonderful country you can find a barbershop. I’m not sure if the price is accurate, but I do believe if I walked in with a full head of my wild hair the barber would re-negotiate before starting to clip my coiffure.

If anybody has made it this far, please tell me if 9 images are too many on a single blog.