Pine Creek Gorge

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

Twenty miles of rough winding road warned the sign as the Jeep left the blacktop surface at Cedar Run for points north along the west rim of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. The Pine Creek Gorge cuts through the Allegheny Plateau beginning near Ansonia at the northern end to just a few miles north of Jersey Shore at the southern end.

Mile after mile of the Tiadaghton and Tioga forests unfold as the journey continues to the Bradley Wales Picnic Area. Here, there is access to the West Rim Trial. Hiking north, this section contains three remarkable vistas of the nearly 1000 foot deep and nearly one mile wide canyon. The third vista offers a nearly 180 degree view of the gorge, several miles to both the north and south can be seen. Vultures, hawks and eagles have been spotted here. This time only a pair of vultures were riding the thermals rising up from the valley floor. This out and back hike of about seven miles also winds along saddle contours of two mountain streams. The trail intersects with the larger stream at a small falls. The falls coupled with sunlight streaming through fresh glowing green leaves provides ambiance at a logical stopping point. Out of the woods and back in the car a bear is spotted grazing along the road side staying put only long enough for a portrait before darting out of sight into the dark forests lining the roads.

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

Check out this photo set to see more images from this hike

Volant Mills

Volant Mill

The Our State Parks exhibition will be making a stop in the artisan community of Volant, Pa. in October 2011. The Blue Heron Art Gallery will be hosting the opening Saturday, October 1, 2011. The next weekend is the community’s Autumn Festival celebrating the harvest season in this rural community.

Now in the meantime, you can catch the show at the Mercer Library June 15- July 26 with a gallery talk July 13, 2010 from 6:30-8:30 pm. More on this exhibit in a bit…

Wildflower Workshop

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Workshop at Wildflower Reserve

Earlier this spring I conducted a photography workshop with Pete Woods, a naturalist with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Pete was a wealth of knowledge, he simply knew the names of nearly every plant and insect budding within the Wildflower Reserve at Raccoon Creek State Park. His expertise provided the workshop participants with context for their photos of the early spring flowers.

To participate in a future photography workshop with a Conservancy naturalist you’ll need to be a member. You can join here. I hope to see you in the woods soon.

Wildflowers are blooming

Wildflower Preserve

This weekend wildflowers will be blooming at Raccoon Creek State Park’s Wildflower Reserve. Peter Woods, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy County Inventory Ecologist will be on-hand to assist in wildflower identification and I will be leading a photography workshop through the reserve with Peter.

My goal is to meet interesting people, share information and encourage discussion to expand creativity and knowledge about nature photography in the great parks and forests of Pennsylvania.

I will be sharing images, composition and technical ideas to help further creative photographic self-discovery beyond the workshop. We will also explore, discuss and photograph the flora and natural features of the Reserve situated along the ridge of Shafer Rock and below along the banks of the Raccoon Creek. Discussions beyond the day can continue at the workshop’s Flickr group. There you can also see images from a recent walk through the Reserve.

To take part in this workshop, you’ll need to be a member of the WPC. You can find out more information at the WPC website.

The Reserve is located in Beaver County on the Lincoln Highway, US Route 30.

 

Snowpacolypse 2010

This past week was spent snowed in. Nearly 24 inches of snow fell on Pittsburgh during a two-day snow event dubbed ‘Snowpacolypse’. Half the week was spent at home alone with the kids, while my wife was stuck in Nashville at a social media confrence. During the week I made it into the village only once to run a few errands and take a few pictures. The snow made my everyday scenery take on an alpine appearance. The isolation of the storm required me to make good pictures close to home and sometimes from within the home, like the Gigapan featured above. The challenge was to create differently than the routine to help quell the mounting cabin fever. You can see more images from ‘Snowpacolypse 2010’ here.

Max and Andy

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”~The Shining.

Read This Book

Frankfort Mineral Spings Tilt Shift

In addition to adding social media coordination to our repertoire, StartPoint Media is now publishing books.

Just in time for the holiday season, we are pleased to announce our first offering, Our State Parks: Western Pennsylvania which showcases the photography, text and design skills of me, Christopher Rolinson!

The 7 by 7 inch photographic coffee table book highlights western Pennsylvania’s state parks, forests and federal lands through vibrant photography and rich text.

Our State Parks Now Available

The book is a culmination of over four years of work spanning the western third of Pennsylvania from Lake Erie to Greene County to Blue Knob and beyond.

In it you will find stunning photography,information and stories about natural and wild areas within western Pennsylvania. This book should change your impressions of Pennsylvania and inspire you to get outside and take a few pictures.

The book is now available for purchase at www.startpointmedia.com

What is in a name?

Wolf Creek Narrows
I am often asked why we chose StartPoint Media as a name for our photography company. The answer lies in the fact that StartPoint Media wasn’t created to be just a photography company.

In 2000 when the company was founded we had three prongs to our business: editorial photography, graphics design and P/R events. I provided the photography and Cara handled public relations. We took a a team approach towards graphics design. The editorial photography took off and was a rousing success. This kept us busy and quickly refined our focus. Since the business was becoming established we chose to keep the name. By doing this we weren’t limiting ourselves when opportunities arose to expand.

In 2000 the internet was nothing like it is now, no Twitter, no Facebook and no Flickr. The power to market was still primarily very traditional and very print. As the decade moved on Internet marketing took off. We embraced the power of social media networks to get our name out there. We can now be identified on many of the popular social networking sites. Educating ourselves about our own social media networks provided us with an additional skill set and another opportunity to provide services, social media coordination.

For more information please visit StartPointMedia.com

Wolf Creek Narrows

Wolf Creek Narrows

Wolf Creek Narrows is a 115 acre preserve located near Slippery Rock, Pa. managed by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Wolf Creek, which runs through the property, is lined by old growth forest containing sycamores and hemlock. Wild mushrooms are plentiful on the small flood plain lining the creek.

Flume

Hells Hollow Flume

© 2009 StartPoint Media, Inc www.startpointmedia.com

This flume along Hell Run was originally a cave encapsulating the creek. Limestone dissolution caused the roof to collapse. Over time the rocks that made up the roof are washed downstream leaving exposed this 10 foot deep flume.

More at the DCNR

9 Stop HDR.
Nikon D200
Processed with Adobe Merge to HDR
TIFF Processed with Photomatix

PFDO 2009

PFDO 2009

These images are from the amateur division of the 2009 Pittsburgh Flying Disk Society’s Flying Disk Open held annually at Knob Hill Park in Cranberry, Twp and Moraine State Park in Portersville. The two-day open is qualifying event for both the United States Disc Golf Championship and The Vibram Open. The event draws amateurs and professionals from around the nation.

While shooting this event I chose a shady spot underneath a few pines at the edge of the course. I grabbed a seat and used a mono pod and a Nikon 300mm telephoto lens to stay out of the field of play while retaining a shallow, isolating depth of field. Every few minutes new players each bringing their own unique facial expressions and techniques would step to the tee and drive the disk down range.

PFDO 2009

Abandoned Turnpike

Over an embankment at the intersection of Tannery Road and the Lincoln Highway in Breezewood, Pa. is a nearly nine mile stretch of abandon highway that served as the a part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike from 1940 though 1968.

Abandoned Turnpike

The stretch contains two tunnels, Sideling Hill and Ray’s Hill, the 14th and 47th longest tunnels in the United States according to Lotsberg, The World’s Longest Tunnel List. It is also the only known abandoned superhighway in America as touted by the Pike 2 Bike organization that oversees the trail.

Abandoned Turnpike

The roadway remains intact in places, but is crumbling badly in others. No identifying markings remain that would indicate that the roadway was once the Turnpike. The remote nature of the roadway provides a surreal experience, allowing a bike rider to experience a futuristic view of what the world may look like after superhighways are no longer useful. Photographically speaking there are two or three vistas that provide nice glimpses incorporating the abandon roadway and tunnels into the surrounding landscape.

Abandoned Turnpike

Evidence remains that the highway had a use as a proving ground after it was closed in 1968. Rumble strips, paint and reflectors appear in random intervals near the Tannery Road trail head. Otherwise, plants, trees and the forest are slowly over taking the roadway, adding to the deterioration. The tunnel control rooms are open but otherwise are a royal mess filled with mud, water and litter.

Abandoned Turnpike

The ride is very easy and can be done with children. My son was fascinated by the tunnels. There are no extreme grades or hills. The most challenging portion of the ride is ensuring that you have enough light to see through the darkened tunnels. At Ray’s Hill the opposite ends of the tunnel can be seen from either portal. At Sideling Hill you must enter the tunnel blind. The tunnel arcs from one end to the other and crowns in the middle meaning the opposite ends of the tunnel cannot be seen from the portals. You must ride a significant portion into the tunnel to see the opposing portal. A light is an absolute necessity.

Epilogue:
A word of caution, vandals have left their mark near the western portal of the Ray’s Hill Tunnel. Normally, the content of graffiti does not bother me. I do find it childish to deface public structures, however, what I found is truly disappointing and cowardly. There is serious racist and anti-Semitic graffiti marring the walls and roadway near the western portal of the tunnel. On this particular day I had my three-year old son with me. I am thankful that he can’t read yet. I really didn’t want to have the conversation with him about what all of those words and symbols mean.