An Evening In Pittsburgh

I have forever enjoyed travelling to new city with my camera and indulging in adventurous night photography (secret to my adrenaline rush). Pittsburgh is a beautiful city located just three and a half hour drive from where I live, and I shamefully admit that I had not made it to this city in the past 10 years. It was only last year when the opportunity came up to attend a cybersecurity training program in the city of Steelers. I was very excited for soon I would be doing everything that I love doing. As an IT professional, I was thrilled about the training program but silently I was ecstatic about traveling to a new city and doing night photography. I like to be prepared when I travel to a new place and get my itinerary ready beforehand. Along with some homework I did, I also got a little help from the Uber drivers to pick possible locations for the night shoot, which worked out perfectly for my photography adventure.

Pittsburgh is known as the city of the steelworkers where the United States Steel Corporation's 64-story tall headquarter is located. The famous football team Steelers also got their name from this steel town and the history of it’s steel workers. Sadly, the steel corporation does not own the building anymore but they are still one of the largest tenants in the building. The city lost most of the steel workers due to the change in global economy market.

I chose to drive to the city instead of flying. I entered the city through a tunnel and as I came out on the other end, I was amazed by this view of Pittsburgh’s skyscrapers and bridges. I could not believe that it took me so many years to visit this beautiful city surrounded by the hills. As soon as I checked into the hotel, I went out for an evening stroll around the downtown. Surprisingly, the downtown was pretty quiet and not much was going on (I thought it was a MONDAY to blame!). Then I tried going to a few shops and restaurants and they were all closed or getting ready to close. After walking around for a while, I found one restaurant which happen to open late on Monday nights. It was quite an experience for me on the very first day. Nothing goes down before midnight in DC downtown and here I was in Pittsburgh at 9 pm trying to look for an open restaurant. When I came back and asked the hotel staff about the minimal activity in the city, he said that's how it's always been around the downtown. All the restaurants and small businesses depend on the corporate employees and closes early right after the office hour.

On my second day in the city, I toured the city and scouted the place for taking pictures. I wanted to take a picture of beautiful downtown from the hills, and with the help of local Uber driver, I found the viewing tower on Grandview Ave. in Mount Washington, from where I captured the shot below.

Pittsburgh Downtown from Grandview Ave (click the image to view full size)

With more than 400 bridges, Pittsburgh is also known as the city of bridges. But among those bridges, three very similar self-anchored suspension bridges are famous among locals. Collectively, they are known as "The Three Sisters" which are spanning the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh at 6th, 7th and 9th streets. To honor some of the well known Pittsburgh residents, the bridges have been given a formal names. The bridge at the 6th street is known as Roberto Clemente Bridge, the one at the 7th street is known as Andy Warhol Bridge and the third one which is located at 9th street is known as Rachel Carson Bridge.

The Three Sisters Bridge (click the image to view full size)

The first bridge you see in this picture is the Roberto Clemente Bridge followed by the Andy Warhol and the Rachel Carson Bridge.

Both of the shots were long exposure shots and bracketed in five different exposure settings; -2EV, -1 EV, 0, +1EV, and +2EV. After the pictures were imported into Lightroom, all five shots were merged to create a single HDR image. By doing so, I was able to get more dynamic range of colors, and extracted more details in the highlights and the shadows.