Day 1 with Tiffany (in the cold and the wind is a bit of a stretch for both photographer and model.)

1/125 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 165mm

1/125 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 165mm

Happy New Year everybody! I am usually writing a blog post about reminiscing about the year past and which photos were my favorites. But I would like to say I started the first day of 2016 off a little different from what I have in the past. It was cold here in the Northeastern part of the USA and it was windy too. But I had a wonderful time shooting outdoors with a model that I have worked with in the past and it was the perfect day for this project. Tiffany needed fresh shots and I wanted to do something that would tie her into the city in which she lives. Bethlehem Pennsylvania is a beautiful city with some strong culture and history. So local people will recognize the elements in the images as being shot in Bethlehem and others will still see good images none the less.

I really have to hand it to Tiffany (aka LayDeeFly) for braving the cold and even worse the wind and coming out on a day when most people are recuperating from the festivities from the night before. The Steel Stacks as they are known to the locals of Bethlehem are actually a national icon. The Stacks are the remnants of the once world-famous Bethlehem Steel Corporation that turned out tons upon tons of steel that built iconic structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge and so much more. The city is also rich in Moravian history as well. I could go on and on but this post is not a history lesson, but rather a lesson on growing and stretching. Stretching does no one any good unless it hurts a little bit and as the hurt fades away the endorphins kick in and you ride that high till it fades away.

So getting out and shooting on New Year’s day in the cold and the wind is a bit of a stretch for both photographer and model. I think more-so for the model because she was in a body suit. But with use of a blanket and a fury hat and several retreats to the car for a little heater break we did it. Shooting around the Stacks and in some instances just standing in the middle of the street was so easy because of the lack of people, there were very few. We did draw a fair amount of attention when people seen a girl wrapped in a blanket wearing a buffalo hat with horns and knee high socks walking down the street. But that’s the fun of it all; hearing the horns honking from the passing traffic was actually heartwarming.

So as the sun was starting its final decent we made our way to the bridge that overlooks the Steel Stacks and captured some final images, then it was coffee time.

Gonna be  great year!

A Day At the Iconic Steel Stacks (If it said “Bethlehem Steel” it was made by “real” American workers.)

Five Bracket HDR f/16 ISO 50 75mm

Five Bracket HDR f/16 ISO 50 75mm

 

I spent several hours out at the “Steel Stacks” in Bethlehem Pennsylvania yesterday. It was actually quite an interesting day. When I left my home in New Jersey to make the 50 minute drive I had blue sky with lots of big white fluffy clouds. And having used my sun calculation app I knew I could get some really nice late day shots with dramatic skies. I arrived early so I could walk around and check things out. I was disappointed to see that as I arrived the sky tuned to just a clear blue with no clouds at all. Blue is good, but blue with those high white clouds would have been so much better.

In my travels trekking around the plaza I met up with a video crew shooting a cooking show for world-renowned Austrian chef Erwin Cooks. With him was Philadelphia musician Alex Meixner. Erwin is in the Lehigh Valley filming a cooking show and Alex was providing music for the show. Really nice guys as were the crew members I had talked with earlier in the day. We exchanged social media links and websites before we parted.

I also met a wonderful lady from Australia who had lived in Bethlehem when she was six years old. Now at 56 years old she comes back to visit Bethlehem and was really happy to see the Stacks still standing. Her father was an engineer who worked in Bethlehem. She was very awe-struck to see one of her father’s friends in a historical photo posted at the Steel Stacks. We had a great conversation and she too got to meet and talk with the chef and musician.

So as the sun was fading and the even light was quickly approaching I left our friendly get together and set out to capture what I came for. Sadly enough I did not capture what I wanted and that was to get the stacks with a dramatic sky. Sure I could Photoshop it in but I wanted something organic. The good news is… I get to go back another day.

For those who do not know the Steel Stacks of Bethlehem are an iconic reminder of how great the USA once was when it came to manufacturing raw materials and the power of engineering. These stacks and this foundry produced raw iron & steel that literally built the USA and the world. These stacks saved us from the perils of WWI & WWII… These stacks represent what the USA used to be “hard working people that produced something great” not pansy pencil pushers or keystroke smackers that we have become. If it said “Bethlehem Steel” it was made by “real” American workers.