A tree seldom gets a good chance to spread out and be itself this way, but this splendid oak has been allowed to dominate the old St. Clair Cemetery, a burying-ground in Mount Lebanon where many of the early settlers of the South Hills are buried.
Since most of the world is going for silly deviltry, old Pa Pitt decided to be a bit contrarian and put together a collection of angels. All these and many more angels can be found at Father Pitt’s Pittsburgh Cemeteries site.
Father Pitt has always had mixed feelings about HDR (“high-dynamic-range”) images. They are made from multiple exposures—this one, for example, is put together from three photographs—in an attempt to capture the detail in both the highlights and the shadows. On the one hand, they always strike him as artificial-looking; on the other, HDR imaging was the only effective way to capture both the stonework and the lowering clouds in this picture. If you look closely, you will notice an artifact of the process: it was a windy day, so the stones are sharp but the trees are blurred.
This is the Penn Avenue gatehouse of Allegheny Cemetery, seen from inside the cemetery. Old Pa Pitt returned two days later to try another HDR image, and this time—with some tweaking of software settings—he managed a more natural-looking result:
If he were at all concerned with his reputation as an artist, he would have led with this picture. But he thought you might enjoy seeing a first attempt and the refinement that followed, in that order.
If you are looking for some atmospheric fun for Halloween, Father Pitt’s Pittsburgh Cemeteries is full of interesting pictures and information.
An experiment in HDR photography: this photo of the Robert Pitcairn mausoleum in the Homewood Cemetery is made from three separate exposures. It’s okay. It’s probably not much better than the result that could be got by manipulating one of the three pictures in the series.
Fall is old Pa Pitt’s favorite time to take pictures in cemeteries, and right now his Pittsburgh Cemeteries site is full of fall color.