Up Close & Personal at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

Despite living in Oakland for four years, I had never attended the PVGP. I had been told that droves of the car-obsessed flocked annually to the greens of the Schenley Park Golf Course to view some of the most legendary automobiles. For whatever reason, I always thought the event would be another overhyped, American-only car show with middle aged men stuffed into canvas lawn chairs beside their pride and joy (insert generic muscle cars here).

But no. Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix isn’t a weekly doo-wop nostalgia trip in a Sam’s Club parking lot. It isn’t even close to that.

When I entered the grounds in my humble Volkswagen, I immediately realized how foolish I was to pre-judge this show. My jaw hit the ground so hard, I thought Bill Peduto would call to remind me that fracking is illegal within city limits. The visual juxtaposition of million-dollar classics and common people-movers was staggering. Look away at the wrong time and you might miss some of the finest sculpted metal in automotive history. Wow.

With many an egg on my face, I’ll step aside and let my imagery show you what I’m on about.







Ferrari 1

Camping in the Pennsylvania Appalachians

The Laurel Highlands is one of my favorite places in the keystone state. It’s home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater,” multiple state parks, and one of the most colorful autumns in the northeast. So when Emily suggested we go camping for the weekend, I jumped at the chance. After a long day of bicycling, we crashed pretty hard. With good weather and a vibrant golden hour, it was impossible to resist shooting some candids. I love this lens (Nikkor AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8) . All the photo specifics are available on my flickr.

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Emily even tried her hand at portraits. The D5000 is a really great camera to teach on. Here’s me. Please excuse the expression.DSC_0033

Mission: Photograph Emily

On tonight’s edition of Will This Photograph Annoy My Girlfriend?: Emily gets ready for bed while Sean plays with his camera. Can he grab a photograph without her hating it? Will he be able to…ack, she heard the shutter.

(She doesn’t hate it. But she definitely doesn’t love it.)


But here’s one she does love:


Photographing Emily is one of the harder challenges in imagery. She’s one of those subjects that forces you into tremendous amounts of planning. It’s like taking a picture of earth from the lunar module, or shooting a wild Bengal Tiger while wearing a suit made of filet mignon. It takes thought beforehand.

I’ll keep working. She’ll be tamed yet.

Mission: Photograph a black dog.

If you’ve ever tried to shoot a black dog, you know the pain:

*Cue whiny voice*

“There’s too much contrast.”

“Maybe my white balance is off. My ISO is off too. I need a new lens.”

“Oh! Got a good one! Oh, no. He’s blurry.”

“Time to upgrade to an EOS-1D. Then it will come out for sure.”


All of these happened. But I realized that putting Toby in black and white helped to bring out the detail in his fur. It also helped to have his favorite frisbee to keep him occupied.

Mission accomplished.


Toby 2

New LinkedIn Bio

After viewing the profiles of my favorite writers in the industry, I learned that many of them carry more than the typical name + objective. I never thought about utilizing the space to tell a brief story. I’m quite fond of it:

“I tinker.

As a kid, I tore apart my bicycles to analyze each part in a deliberate, focused effort to make them faster. After school, I raided my dad’s toolbox before retreating to the garage where unsuspecting, perfectly normal bikes were stripped down to only their necessary components. I sawed down my seatpost, removed the kickstands, and peeled off every sticker.

“Brakes?” I thought. “Too heavy—they’re gone.”

It was an addiction that drove my parents insane. Despite being grounded frequently, I always found a silver lining. Not being allowed outdoors gave me more time to hone my “engineering” skills.

I never lost that attention to detail, and even as a journalist, I’m constantly looking for new ways to provide passionate, enlightened content. But solid prose is nothing without promotion. Through grassroots marketing and strategic SEO, my pieces have brought new audiences to the BBC, Her Campus Magazine, and New York Magazine’s Bedford & Bowery.

My pursuit for a better final product has brought me success in journalism. But if my desire for perfection has taught me anything, it’s this: I’ll never stop tinkering.”

Sean McFarland’s LinkedIn