Friday, November 24, 2017

HDIC Events: Light Up Night

Every year, the City of Pittsburgh welcomes the holiday season with “Light Up Night.”  The city turns on its Christmas tree, other businesses and groups turn on their holiday lights.  There are concerts, fireworks, and merry festivities all throughout Downtown Pittsburgh.

 Downtown Pittsburgh.
After several years of reasons for not going (usually revolving around bad weather), this year, the weather forecast was looking a little chilly but manageable, and no rain or snow in the forecast.  So I geared up and went.  My night started with the lighting of the tree in Market Square, sponsored by BNY Mellon.  This tree is surrounded by a holiday village of shops all with different craft or food vendors.

The BNY Mellon Christmas Tree in Market Square
We then saw the lighting of the Horne’s Tree (or what used to be Horne’s Tree at the old department store– it’s now a Highmark building).  This also included some rooftop fireworks.

The Horne’s Christmas Tree and Rooftop Fireworks.
Then, I walked down to Point State Park to view the tree down there and get some pictures of it with other notable landmarks, such as Heinz Field.

The Christmas Tree at the Point with the City as a backdrop.
The headlining concert this year was Andy Grammer!  He played for about an hour and then the main fireworks commenced!

Andy Grammer Performs at Light Up Night

Light Up Night Fireworks
Outside of these events, there were also ice sculpting, other concerts, radio stations, and other events and people around.  It was an enjoyable night, and I was able to capture some really cool photographs!  Here’s to nice weather for next year, too!

All images copyright 2017 Allen Howard/HDIC Productions

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pitt For Life: Pitt Band

Special blog post for today!  We’ll also have a regularly scheduled blog post on Friday that revolves around Light Up Night!  I was originally going to post this on Friday, but the last game of the season kicks off at noon on Friday, so I figured I’d do it a bit earlier.

Pitt Band arrives on General Robinson Street for the Panther Prowl.
As a student, I was never in the Pitt Band (University of Pittsburgh Varsity Marching Band).  I was never in the band in high school, either, however, I had so many friends in both Gateway (high school) and Pitt Band that I kind of knew all the drama, secrets, and events that were going on.  When senior year at Pitt came around, and I had some time as a photographer at Heinz Field.  As I’ve written before, I never considered myself a normal photographer by any means.  I always stayed on the field when the band was performing, while all the other photographers would go in and start processing photos.  Because of this, my friends in the band wanted me to be around for their last game on Heinz Field.  They talked to their band director and I was granted credentials through Pitt Band– for that reason, I consider myself an honorary Pitt Band member (Note: I actually have no affiliation with the Pitt Band).

Band members participate in the Alma Mater for the final time.
One of the most exciting things about the band is that their performance generally changes every week.  Pregame usually goes the same way, Hail to Pitt, Panther Song, Victory Song, the fight song of the visiting school, the Alma Mater, and the National Anthem.  There is a pretty normal progression (not in the above order) in what happens.  But it’s still fun anyway!

Color Guard and other band members with the Flag during the National Anthem.
Before pregame, however, the Pitt Band has already done at least three performances- The Panther Prowl, the Pregame Concert, and the March to Victory.  These all take place outside of Heinz Field to entertain fans as they arrive.  And then the half time show is different for every game at Heinz Field.

One of the Golden Girls during the pregame concert.
The half time concert during senior day was a nice concert that paid tribute not only to the seniors, but also to the band announcer who retired at the end of the game.  After that, the seniors were recognized and marched off the field playing the victory song.

A Color Guard member marching off the field for the last time.
It was an emotional day, allowing the seniors to say goodbye to the organization that they had been a part of for so long and allowing their fellow band members to say their congratulations.
Having been close to many of the band members, I was just as emotional as they were.  Some of these people I’ve know for seven to ten years- and when they’ve gotten very proud of the work they’ve done with Band, it’s hard not to be proud of them and with them.

Senior band members preparing to leave the field.
So, that’s my Pitt Band story.  I dedicate this post to all of the Pitt Band members, past and present, who have had the opportunity to represent Pitt in this wonderful way.  #HailToPittBand
I’ll leave you with the video of the final singing/playing of the Alma Mater from senior day.


All images are copyright 2016 Allen Howard/HDIC Productions.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Scenic Pittsburgh: Brady’s Run Park

About an hour north of Pittsburgh in the next county over, Beaver County, is a park called Brady’s Run Park.  This park plays home to several trails, a lake, several streams, and other standard park amenities such as playgrounds and pavilions.  I went up there a few weeks ago for some photos with as much of an Autumn feeling as possible.

One of the trials at the park, October 2017
The best place that I found to take pictures at the park was the lake.  There were multiple different areas you could go around the lake, and there was one area with a very nice set of trees behind it that allowed for some nice reflection shots.

The lake and reflection, October 2017
A few things you may notice from this photo are: There are ducks in the lake, and there’s a cool windmill.

A closeup of a duck, October 2017

A closeup of the windmill, October 2017
Throughout the trails that go all around the park, they crisscross of streams and go back into the woods.  Some of these have some pretty cool overlooks or bridges over the streams, too.

An overlook of the stream, October 2017
One really cool feature around the park is this waterfall that looks like a dam.  There are many trees and an open field around this location.  Also, there is a nice sturdy block of concrete in the stream that allows for you to be able to step out into the stream for some straight on shots of this waterfall.

The waterfall at Brady’s Run Park, October 2017
So next time you’re in Beaver around the Beaver Falls area, take a detour to visit Brady’s Run Park for a nice walk through nature.  You won’t be disappointed.

Images shot on a either a Canon Rebel t5 or T7i with a variety of lenses and filters.
All images copyright 2017 Allen Howard/HDIC Productions.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Pitt For Life: Walk the Moon Came to Campus

In celebration of Walk the Moon’s new album- What if Nothing- I decided today would be a great time to write about the time that they came to Pitt, and I got to photograph/video them!  Before I begin, I’d like to say that I am not affiliated with Walk the Moon in any way and that I was not an official photographer for this event.


Every year, the University of Pittsburgh’s Pitt Program Council puts on two big concert events: Fall Fest (usually in October), and Bigelow Bash (usually in April).  Student members of the Program Council suggest bands to bring to campus and then they select one.  In the Fall of 2015, Pitt Program Council welcomed Walk the Moon to campus.


This was the autumn after “Shut Up and Dance” made it’s hit debut.  They performed for over an hour and played many songs from both of their albums at the time, “Talking is Hard” and “Walk the Moon”.


Throughout the performance, the band members engaged the crowd with questions and chats.  The crowd also got “initiated” into the Walk the Moon fan base with a “ceremony” before the song “I Can Lift a Car”.  They were also asked to sing along loudly to “Shut up and Dance”.


One of the things that impressed me the most about Walk the Moon was the messages that they spread throughout the concert.  The entire time, they weren’t trying to promote themselves like some artists at these events do, they were promoting messages of tolerance, and love, and peace.  And to me, that sets them apart from a lot of the other acts that have performed on the Bigelow stage.


The men of Walk the Moon are very talented individuals who I’m proud to have had on our campus for a concert.  I hope to be able to watch them perform again soon (they’re coming to Pittsburgh in January, so maybe then!)


Until then, I’d like to add the videos that I have posted from this event:
Shut up and Dance:

Anna Sun:


See you next week!


All images and videos are copyright 2015 Allen Howard/HDIC Productions.
All images shot on a Nikon Coolpix L830
EDIT: Corrected “summer after” to “Autumn after” – 11/20/2017 AMH