The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Odds and Ends

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few odds and ends photos which didn’t make it into the other posts this week are on offer today. The one above was captured at Fineview Overlook Park on the north side of Pittsburgh. This sort of image isn’t terribly exciting, but in terms of story telling you need ones like this. It’s an ‘establishing shot,’ used to create a sense of overall space. Whenever I’m at a point of elevation like the Fineview Overlook, I’ll crack out a dozen or so of these. The camera is up on the tripod and I’ll rotate the head 5 or 10 degrees in between shots. You never know when you’re going to need a photo with Allegheny General Hospital in the foreground and Downtown Pittsburgh in the background, after all.

Occasionally I’ll string a bunch of these sort of shots together into a panorama image, which I always struggle with as far as presentation. Oddly shaped, panorama images don’t always get along with ‘screens’ presentation terribly well.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In yesterday’s post, I was bitching about the pedestrian experience up on the surface streets above I-579 or ‘Crosstown Boulevard.’ This shot, and the one below, are part of a series which I’ve gotten on that road itself while stuck in some traffic jam which finds the Mobile Oppression Platform (the Toyota) at a complete stop and I stick the camera up through the moon roof. I don’t know why they call it a moon rather than sun roof, but that’s what they call it. If you look at the third shot in yesterday’s post, the one with highway traffic shooting out from under an overpass, this is the opposite point of view as it’s the same overpass.

For an infrastructure geek like me, Pittsburgh is the promised land. What’s truly amazing to me are that Panhandlers are regularly spotted here with ‘help me’ signage, walking along on the roadway’s very narrow shoulder. Traffic law here says 40 mph is the speed limit, but as I’ve mentioned a few times – the Pittsburghers drive FAST. 40 mph is treated as a starting point locally, and I’ve had people shoot past me at 80 in this stretch.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Massing shapes, that’s how I refer to structures like that ramp above. 579 interchanges with a far larger, faster, and busier route called I-576 nearby this spot. Getting the flow of traffic over hill and dale is no small feat in the sort of terrain offered by Pittsburgh with its river valleys and steep hills and bluffs. Ramps like that one are observed flying about in all directions.

There is signage posted at certain onramps forbidding entry to the road by non motorized vehicles. This confused me originally, because I couldn’t picture anyone on a bike or on foot wanting to be on the shoulder of a roadway with a 65 mph speed limit. I asked a guy at a bar one night about this, to which he simply replied “The Amish.”

Western Pennsylvania is fascinating. Come back next week for more, and please remember to like, subscribe, and share.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 28, 2023 at 11:00 am

Posted in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh

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5 Responses

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  1. “The Amish”: one of the regional pariahs. Glad you’ve found a bar to relax at and use for research.


    May 1, 2023 at 9:37 pm

  2. 1st picture- I find those yellow bridges to be cheerful looking. So much better than the usual rust red, brown, dark green. So much better.

    Jaye Haviland

    May 2, 2023 at 12:50 pm

    • I’m told that the yellow is a PPG manufactured color called “Aztec Yellow,” and that the black and gold thema for Pittsburgh is based on the heraldry of the house of Pitt back in the UK (Pitt the elder, Pitt the younger were in power Pre revolution and they were trying to gain patronage from them). The heraldry stuck, which is why the Steelers and Penguins and Pirates as well as the local Gov use it.

      Mitch Waxman

      May 2, 2023 at 12:53 pm

      • And here I am thinking they were just trying to make sunshiney looking bridges..
        ( and wow, that’s some really obscure fact to know so early on in your residency!)

        Jaye Haviland

        May 2, 2023 at 1:38 pm

      • Pittsburgh is where Polio was cured, and also where Lewis and Clark left from. This was the original frontier, so there’s a straight line to Spock and Kirk from Point State Park. Also, they sell something called “chopped ham” in a lot of the shops, which is exactly what it sounds like.

        Mitch Waxman

        May 2, 2023 at 1:41 pm

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