Friday, September 29, 2017

Pitt for Life: Pitt Football

If you read our blog about Integrity in Photography, you would have seen some photographs from the Syracuse at Pittsburgh football game in November of 2016.  This all came about because of an opportunity that I had earlier in the football season that I’m going to talk about here.

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Pitt v. Marshall scoreboard animation, October 2016
When I was a senior in college, I was president of the University of Pittsburgh Photography Club.  Whilst there, my vice-president asked me to sponsor her friend as a homecoming queen candidate.  After signing all of the paperwork, I helped her marketing campaign by taking her photographs for flyers.

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Ari- Homecoming queen finalist, September 2016.
Since I had done all of this, I told her that I would also attempt to be able to finish the job during the homecoming celebration at the upcoming Pitt vs. Georgia Tech football game.  In order to do this, I worked with Pitt Athletics to get the field credential, and they generously allowed me to go a game earlier to learn proper policies and procedures and see what the shooting conditions would be like.

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Heinz Field post game, October 2016
October 1st, 2016- Pitt vs. Marshall- an evening at Heinz Field.
The day of my first game on Heinz Field was here.  I was super excited to be able to get close to the action and to be able to expand my portfolio and skill set with the football images.

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From the south end zone of Heinz Field, October 2016
The day started off with the Panther Prowl on Art Rooney Avenue.  The band was playing loudly, the cheerleaders were cheering, and the Pitt team marched into the stadium.

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The Pitt team enters the stadium, October 2016
I then went on to watch part of the band pregame concert, but I’ll talk about that in a later blog post dedicated to Pitt Band.  I then continued onto the field to watch warm ups and wait for pregame to being.

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Pitt team warming up before the game, October 2016
Throughout the entire game, I continued to serve as a Panther Pitt member, clapping and celebrating with the rest of the students in the stands.  I purposely stayed on the Pitt side of the stadium right in front of the Panther Pitt and the Pitt Band.

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One of my first shots on the field- from the area of the Panther Pitt, October 2016
There was a lot of action that came right where I was, so I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking from here:

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Pitt lined up, ready to snap the ball, October 2016.

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Running the ball for a touch down, October 2016

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Pitt Dance Team performs during a media timeout, October 2016

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Celebration after a touchdown, October 2016

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Running through the defense for a touchdown, October 2016

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Pitt Cheer entertains the crowd during pregame activities, October 2016.
And, I guess we can’t leave out photos of Marshall offense, too.

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Running the ball, October 2016

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Another run, but he was quickly tackled, October 2016
As always when talking about this game, I’d like to give a shout out to the four girls that had field passes for the game who allowed me to celebrate with them throughout the game and sing Sweet Caroline with them so I wasn’t the weirdo doing it alone!
And, of course, Pitt won!

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James Conner celebrating with his teammates after the Panther’s victory, October 2016.
~AMH

All images shot on a Canon Rebel t5 with either an Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II or a Canon 75-300mm f/4-5.6 lens.
All images copyright 2016 Allen Howard/HDIC Productions

Friday, September 22, 2017

Scenic Pittsburgh: Mount Washington

If you travel directly south of Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh, you’ll come across a mountain.  Now, this isn’t a very high mountain, but it’s a great vantage point for lookouts from the city.  This mountain is called Mount Washington, and it is home to some of the most iconic views of the City of Pittsburgh.

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The City of Pittsburgh from Mount Washington, Duquesne Incline Station, October 2015.
Accessing Mount Washington is easy by car, but if you want a unique perspective of the city, might I recommend one of the two Inclines that provide service from Station Square in the South Side to the top of Mount Washington?

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The Duquesne Incline station on top of Mount Washington, October 2015.
There is the Monongahela and the Duquesne inclines.  The inclines run constantly throughout the day and provide a unique perspective of looking out over the city.

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A View of the City of Pittsburgh from the Monongahela Incline Car, September 2017.
Once on Mount Washington, there’s plenty to see, probably the reason why the main road is named Grandview Avenue.  You can walk the whole way along the roadway to multiple lookout decks.  If you take the Duequesne incline to Mount Washington, you also have a lookout as part of the incline station at the top of the hill.

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A night view of Pittsburgh from Mount Washington, July 2017.
Another really cool thing about the Duquesne Incline is that they have multiple lookouts within the station as well so you can see the incline cars and the gear system that makes them work.

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From inside the Duquesne Incline station, the two cars meet on the path to the opposite station, October 2015.

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The gears that make the inclines work, October 2015.
Personally, I enjoy going up to Mount Washington because it reminds me just how small we are.  That all of our worries are minuscule compared to the vast space there is (And this is only seeing Downtown Pittsburgh).  It lets me take a step back and remember what it is I am doing.

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Wide angle of the City from Mount Washington, you can see the Cathedral of Learning and Oakland at the very right of the image, September 2017.
Mount Washington isn’t only good for views of the city, either. There’s also a bunch of churches on Grandview Avenue, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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St. Mary of the Mount Church along Grandview Avenue on Mount Washington, July 2017.
There’s shops and monuments, too.

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DiFiore’s Ice Cream shop on Mount Washington, September 2017.

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Point of View with US Steel Tower, Gulf Tower, K&L Gates, and Fifth Avenue Place prominent in the background, November 2015.
Mount Washington may be a small section of the City of Pittsburgh, but it’s a MUST if you’re visiting Pittsburgh or just want a stroll with a nice view on a summer day or evening.

All images from 2015 taken with a Canon Rebel T5.
All Images from 2017 taken with a Canon Rebel T7i.
Images taken with a variety of lenses.
All images copyright Allen Howard/HDIC Productions

Friday, September 15, 2017

HDIC Rules: Integrity before Photography

One of my former bosses, who used to be a photographer, once told me that I should never do sports photography.  I found this a really weird piece of advice, so I asked him why that was so.  He explained to me that being a sports photographer corrupts you if you aren’t careful (explaining that the bosses usually only want “juicy” photos of players– that’ll be explained in a bit).  A few months later, I was honored to receive permission from Pitt Athletics to photograph an upcoming Pitt Panthers Game and remembered my boss’s advice.  I’ll be posting about the actual events in a couple weeks, but one of the things that I pride myself in my photography is integrity.  That’s what I’d like to explore in this post.

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Through the visitor tunnel on game day.  Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
One thing you quickly notice on the field is how the “professional” photographers all have this little clique.  They all seem to know each other, probably from covering these events for a long time, and they all seem to be annoyed by the “amateurs” on the field.  I’ve seen them yell at some of the less-experienced photographers for the University (whether they are students part of the Pitt News or Student Affairs, etc).  They don’t care about anything else going on except for what the football team is doing.  Their focus is 100% on the field, not even the benches.

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Heinz Field from the South End Zone facing the student section dubbed “The Panther Pitt”.
Now, let me tell you: there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on elsewhere.  There are people being honored for different things.  There are interactions going on on the benches that show a better view of the football teams. 

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Two Pitt Team members exchanging a special handshake during the game.
There’s the cheerleaders, dance team, and band if you’re into that sort of thing (Which is another post I’ll have later this year).  Yes, there is a football game, and that’s important, but that’s not the only thing that matters.

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Pitt Dance Team performs during a break in the football game.
Another thing you notice on the field is how the “pros” have a lack of morals.  When a player gets hurt and is down on the field, you can often see these photographers taking pictures of the downed player, or the player being taken off the field, whether under their own power or not.  Why?  Do you want to have a photograph of what could potentially be a player’s last time playing if he was injured too badly?  I don’t.  This is the closest thing I have to an image of a player being down on the field, and luckily he was only out for three plays before coming back in:

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James Conner scores a touchdown but injured his ankle during play.  He would walk off under his own power and return to the game a few plays later.
There are plenty of things to take photos of while a player is being attended to, and of course, you don’t have to take photos every second of the game.  But hey, maybe that’s why I’m still an
amateur photographer.
Now this, of course, is bigger than just a football game.  If I’m out shooting an event in public and someone asks me to avoid them in photos, I’m going to.  Even though in Pennsylvania it would be legal for me to take their photo, I’m not going to do so.  I will always respect the wishes of those I’m photographing, whether directly or indirectly.  If that means I won’t ever become a “professional” photographer, then so be it- I’d rather keep my integrity and morals intact.
~AMH

All images from the Pitt vs. Syracuse Game, November 26, 2016 at Heinz Field.
Images shot on a Canon Rebel T5 with a Tamron 18-200 f/3.5-6.4 VC Lens with a variety of settings.
All images copyright © 2016 Allen Howard/HDIC Productions

Friday, September 8, 2017

Pitt For Life: Light them Up!

The very first time that I photographed the victory lights, I didn’t even know that I was doing it.  In fact, it wouldn’t be until about six months ago that I realized that I had photographed them.  It was just some random day back in 2013 that we must have been picking my brother up from campus.  It was right after my Dad got his new Nikon Coolpix L820, and I was using that to test it out.  I was still in high school at the time, knowing that in a few short months, I would be calling this campus home.


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The glow of the victory lights seen from Bouquet Street, May 2013.
So what are the victory lights?  It’s an extension of the regular yellow lights at the top of the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh Campus.  They get turned on after a Pitt Football victory or other important athletic event victory (I’m not sure why they were on in May).  The thing that stands out about the victory lights is that they can be seen for miles (below).


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The victory lights seen from the West End Overlook, October 2015.
When this photo was taken, I thought it was the first time that I ever photographed them.  I particularly like how you can see Heinz Field, even if just barely, in the image too (Heinz Field is home to the Pitt Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers).  Some day, I’d like to be at the West End Overlook for a night game in which the Panthers win in order to get an active Heinz Field with the Victory lights just turned on.
The day that I took this photo, I hadn’t planned on stopping there.  I was up north of the City when I found out that Pitt had won.  I planned on just stopping in Oakland, but when there was a bad accident on the parkway, I took a detour.  Since, I didn’t plan on going, this was shot hand-held, not on a tripod.  Same with the following image.


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The victory lights from the Mary Schenley Fountain, October 2015
Flash forward to the next football season, and this time I was actually going to games.  The first game of the season, I wasn’t able to stick around for the lights, but for the next game (Pitt 42- Penn State 39, Heinz Field) I was able to get a shot from the same spot, this time on a tripod.


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The victory lights from the Mary Schenley Fountain after the Keystone Classic, September 10, 2016.
Even though they are the same lights, sometimes they look better than others- and this was definitely one of those times.  The Keystone Classic was one of my all-time favorite Pitt memories (read about it here or watch about it here).
Following these games, I spent the next couple games on Heinz Field as a photographer.  I got some okay shots of the victory lights, but most of the time, my batteries were dead from shooting the game.  I did get a really nice shot that I liked after the Pitt vs. Syracuse Senior Day game.


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The victory lights from Schenley Plaza, November 2016
The one thing that I can’t go without saying is that the victory lights aren’t always yellow.  For a victory, they are, but a few days after the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, the University replaced the victory lights to show support to our friends in France.


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The victory lights replaced by the colors of the French flag as seen from Soldiers and Sailors Hall, October 2015
This change in the victory lights was only temporary, but they left them on for about a week in support.  During the time, the University also held a vigil hosted by Chancellor Gallagher (just days after he attended one hosted by Pitt Students during which I almost ran directly into him, just a tad embarrassing when I looked up and it was the Chancellor).
The other thing about the victory lights, they helped to create the nickname of the “drunken man’s compass” around the University.  Since they can be seen from most of Oakland, all you have to do is find them to navigate around Oakland (I’ve often said that is how you graduate to being an upperclassman– not having to use the Cathedral to navigate).
Any time Pitt Wins, I love to get out and shoot the Victory Lights from as many different angles as I can.  I particularly like going to upper, upper campus to get shots of all of Oakland.  However, with the Pitt Victory this past weekend, I didn’t get a chance to go up to upper campus.  Here are some shots that I did get (and two of them are from our neighbor, Carnegie Mellon University).


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Roc and the Cathedral with Victory Lights On.  Outside the William Pitt Union, September 2017


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Victory lights from Carnegie Mellon University, next to
Wean Hall, September 2017


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The victory lights taken from below Hamerschlag Hall on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus, September 2017
So next time you’re in Oakland and you see the top of the Cathedral is illuminated in bright yellow lights, take a moment to stop and look at them.  They really are an awe-inspiring sight.  And you know, hopefully we’ll see them this weekend after Pitt takes on Penn State in the Keystone Classic 2017.
~AMH

The fist image was shot with a Nikon Coolpix L820.
Images 2-6 were shot with a Canon Rebel T5 with a variety of Lenses
Images 7-9 were shot with a Canon Rebel T7i with a Tamron 18-200 F3.5-6.4 VC lens.

All images copyright Allen Howard/HDIC Productions

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

My Photography, my life

The thing about my photography is that it started out just as a hobby, and that’s really what it is still.  I rarely get paid for any of the photography or videography I do.  And that’s okay.  My photography,
for the most part, is mine.  If I want to do a contracted shoot, I do (and you can always get in touch with us to see about doing one!  I’ve rarely turned one down).
One of the things I like most about my photography is how varied it is.  I’ll go from shooting concerts, to dance shows, to football games, to graduations, to nature all within a few days or weeks of each other.  The following images were all taken in the month of April this year:

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AuDio L3G4CY at Bigelow Bash 2017

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Controlled Chaos at their 2017 ISSA Showcase

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Pitt Blue and Gold Spring Game

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Miranda’s graduation shoot at Pitt

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A flower at Phipps Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh

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A woodpecker sits on a tree at South Park Nature Preserve.
With all this variety, it’s hard to get bored taking pictures.  I don’t understand how people take photos of the same thing every day for years and continue to think they’re new photos (I am guilty of this with the Cathedral of Learning, but that’ll be a post for later).
If  there’s some kind of photo you guys would like to see more of, let us know!  Our archives of photos is over 40,000 photographs, and we’re always excited to share what we have!

~AMH

All images © 2017 Allen Howard/HDIC Productions.
All of these images were shot on a Canon Rebel T5 with a variety of lenses.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Welcome!

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my blog.  This blog is dedicated to HDIC Productions and all of the work we do.  Think of this as a photojournalism blog.  I’ll be posting on a regular basis and will make sure there is a combination of text and photos.  While we’re here, we’ll also invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Eyeem, and subscribe to us on YouTube:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hdicpro
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allenhoward.hdic/
Eyeem: https://www.eyeem.com/u/allenhoward
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG3AnLKeBNEoFg_UxvaGWEg



Our first weekly post will be available Friday morning, and it’s going to be focused on the Victory Lights at the University of Pittsburgh.  We’ll be posting another post on Wednesday this week, just detailing HDIC Productions in general.

Please feel free to uses the “Ask Me Anything” page.  You can always get in touch with us at hdicpro@gmail.com if you have any questions, or would like to see about scheduling a shoot.
We hope you enjoy the blog, thanks for joining us on this journey!

~AMH