Friday, October 27, 2017

HDIC Rules: Always Shoot in Color

Back when I started this blog series, I talked about one of my rules for HDIC Productions, Integrity before photography.  Today, I’m going to talk about another one of my rules: Always shoot in color.


Roc, the PItt Panther with a Pitt Make a Difference Day Shirt on, October 2017
Now some people may disagree with me on this and say things along the lines of, “black and white has uses” or, “what about the old days of black and white film?”  I don’t disagree!  In fact, I love black and white images.  They give a mood to the image, a feeling, a nostalgic look.  But hear me out on this, and it will all make sense.


George Westinghouse Memorial Fountain in Schenley Park, October 2017
You’re getting ready to take a picture of a beautiful cityscape, and you switch your camera into black and white mode.  You take the picture and you go on your merry way back to post it to social media.  But then, as you go to post, you remember how vivid the colors looked that night and you go to Photoshop, and wait!  You shot in black and white!  You don’t have the colors.


The same image from Mount Washington- the first in color, the second processed through Photoshop, October 2017.
Now, imagine the reverse of the situation.  You shot in color that night and you want to get the black and white look.  That’s as simple as two clicks in Photoshop!


The Cathedral of Learning with Victory Lights on from the Stephen Foster Monument, September 2017.
So that’s why I say to always shoot in color: it’s easy to change to black and white, but impossible to change from black and white to color without manually drawing the colors in.  And if you know you want a picture in black and white, take it in color and then either A) change it in camera (if applicable to the camera model so that it’s a new image), or B) make note of the image number and do it right away in Photoshop.


The same image as the first one, just faded to Black and White, October 2017

All images copyright 2017 Allen Howard/HDIC Productions.
Images shot on a Canon Rebel T5 or T7i with a variety of lenses.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Pittsburgh Venues: James Street Gastropub

In the North Side neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh lies a restaurant and bar known as the James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy.  This venue is a two stage music hall and a full time restaurant.  Best known for some of the unique artists that has performed there, Jamestreet offers some unique aspects to the City of Pittsburgh culture.

Tony adjusts the drumset at the Speakeasky portion of the venue.
Unfortunately,  it was reported yesterday that Jame Street Gastropub would be closing on November 11th due to a persistent noise complaint that has forced the venue to close.  I only had the privileged of doing a photo shoot there once for The Lone Pines during a music festival that had gone all over the North Shore back in July.  The Lone Pines is a group of three college students, two from the University of Pittsburgh and one from West Virginia University who perform original folk songs as well as a few cover songs.  You can see some of their work that HDIC Productions has done on YouTube here.

The Lone Pines on the stage at James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy.
Throughout the entire time I was at Jame Street, all of the staff was very friendly, no one gave me any weird looks for being the guy with the camera (it’s happened at other places), and were all very careful to try to not get in the way (Which of course happens and I don’t get mad at if it does, but there are plenty of photographers who would get angry).

Josh sings a song at the Speakeasy.
While I couldn’t get any pictures of it due to another event going on, Jamestreet Gastropub also offers a larger ballroom on it’s upper floor in which performances occur.  I’ve seen it before and it’s a beautiful ballroom.  The Speakeasy portion of the venue has a nice cozy feel to it.

Performances can get emotional, and the cozy environment of James Street helps people to feel more comfortable.
It’s a shame to see the venue closing in a few weeks.  You can read more about the closure here.
But, there’s still a few weeks left to be able to get to the North Side and check it out!  And, hopefully, we’ll see something come from the City as it looks like they may be working on it!


All images shot on a Canon Rebel T5 with a Canon 50mm F1.8 Lens.
All images copyright © 2017 Allen Howard

Friday, October 13, 2017

Pitt for Life: Pitt Homecoming

When October comes around, there are always some things in people’s minds: autumn weather, pumpkin picking, Halloween.  For Pitt students and alumni, it’s also Homecoming time!

The Panther Fountain at the Cathedral of Learning during Homecoming, October 2015.
Current students and alumni alike enjoy festivities throughout the week such as homecoming king and queen campaigning, tours of campus, and concerts by the Heinz Chapel Choir.  This is just a small fraction of the total excitement around campus.

There are also two other very big events that happen.  The first is every Friday night of Homecoming, the Pitt Program Council with Zambelli International, Hughies Audio Visual, and Lightwave International put on a laser light and Fireworks show between the William Pitt Union and the Cathedral of Learning. This show is one of a kind and offer the Pitt community a chance to catch some really cool lights in the center of campus.  This is a video from the 2015 show.

The Cathedral of Learning has homecoming fireworks launched off of it, October 2015.
The other fun event is the Homecoming Football Game.  I’ve written about Pitt football before, so I won’t add to much to that except for the fun fact that a lot of the alumni come back.  Pitt Band and Pitt Cheer often bring alumni back onto the field for events and to perform.

Homecoming Candidates during the March to Victory at Heinz Field, October 2016

Pitt Golden Girls (part of Pitt Band) Alumni and Current members perform during halftime during the Homecoming Game, October 2016.
The one last, really cool thing about homecoming is the fact that even though we’re in the middle of the City, our local shops and restaurants are very supportive of our school.  Take a walk down Forbes Avenue and you’ll see so many of the windows painted blue and gold.  It’s a fantastic sight to see.

The sky walk between Litchfield Towers and Posvar Hall, October 2017

The Original Hotdog shop painted blue and gold, October 2017

So, happy homecoming to all of my fellow Pitt Alumni and let’s have a fantastic, but safe, homecoming weekend.


All images shot on either a Canon Rebel T5 or T7i with a variety of Lenses. 
Copyright 2015-2017 HDIC Productions/Allen Howard

Friday, October 6, 2017

HDIC Events: MPL Star Party

The entrance to Beechwood Park
Five minutes away from the Monroeville Public Library sits Beechwood Park where on Friday, September 29th, members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh in conjunction with the Monroeville Public Library set up telescopes and pointed them to the skies for a night of observations of the Milky Way.


Telescopes set up for the Star Party.
The evening started off with guests looking at one of two very close objects (relatively speaking, of course), the moon and Saturn.  These objects allow for people to realize what kind of power the telescopes have in order to magnify objects.


Saturn as seen through a telescope
After looking at objects within our own solar system, the astronomers moved the telescopes to a few different objects including the ring nebula and a double (red and blue) star.

Throughout the event, while waiting in line for the telescope or while waiting for the telescopes to be lined up, guests spent time trying to locate constellations, mostly in the northern sky.


Cassiopeia the Queen, a constellation in the northern sky. A plane flies through the top left of the shot.
This is the fourth annual Star Party that the Monroeville Public Library has hosted.  In years past, we’ve seen other objects in the sky, including a flyby of the International Space Station.


The International Space Station flies overhead.
Overall, it was a beautiful night underneath some of the most spectacular sights that nature has to offer.  If you’re around the location where a star party is occurring, take a moment to join in and see what you can see!

All images copyright Allen Howard/HDIC Productions. 
Images shot on a variety of cameras including a Canon Rebel t5, Canon Rebel t7i, and an Insignia Point and Shoot.