Pittsburgh Photography

All Pittsburgh photos are Copyright TakeBackRoads and Scott Berney, 2013 – current

I’ve been living in and photographing the Pittsburgh area for over ten years now.  As you can imagine, I’ve collected a large number of pictures of downtown from various angles and at various times of year – and the collection continues to grow!  The longer that I’ve lived in this area, the larger my collection of Pittsburgh skyline shots continues to grow.  I update this post frequently with new photos, so please make sure to check back often!

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Downtown Pittsburgh on a Fall Evening

Pittsburgh is a photographer’s dream.

Though the weather here can be challenging at times, it also provides us with vibrant sunrises and breathtaking sunsets.  Downtown is naturally photogenic, and the hilly terrain and lengthy waterfront areas provide a countless number of different viewpoints from which to take photos.

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Coal Barges at Blue Hour

I’ve travelled all over America and Europe, and in my opinion, there are only two cities that have a skyline that competes with the beauty of Pittsburgh’s:  San Francisco and Prague.  The city’s three rivers provide natural separations and vista points, and the hilly terrain provides excellent opportunities to view the city from skyscraper heights.

If there are any shots in this group that you would like to order prints of, please contact me:  scott@takebackroads.com

Names are listed below each shot, for easier reference when contacting me.

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Northside Ramps at Night

Some of my all-time favorite Pittsburgh Photos

Northside Ramps at Night is perhaps one of my favorite photos that I’ve ever taken of Pittsburgh.  The picture is taken from the Vet’s Bridge, which was no easy trick, let me assure you of that.  I can process it in black and white if you like, or leave it in color.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!  This photo was shot using my Nikon D5300 on a tripod, with the 18-55mm kit lens that came with the camera!

Convention Center from the 16th Street Bridge
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Pittsburgh Railyard at Golden Hour

Unique Perspectives of the Pittsburgh Skyline

Pittsburgh Railyard at Golden Hour is another favorite of mine – in large part because I don’t think I’ve ever seen another picture of the city from this perspective, not even from the professional photographers in the area.  This is also a photo that was very challenging to capture, and the acrobatics I performed to get it are not for the faint of heart!  This was shot using my Nikon D5300 and a retro Nikkor 43-86mm manual lens.

downtown pittsburgh blue hour lights at night
Downtown at Blue Hour

I love this shot too… I can’t help it.  Blue hour provides such vibrant, rich depth of color to the sky, and creates a naturally striking contrast with the skyline.  This was shot using my Nikon D5300, and a borrowed Nikon 70-200mm f2 lens from my good friend Christine at Fleeting Glimpse Photography.  Amazingly, I had to shoot this handheld, with my arms propped on my knees while sitting on a low wall – my tripod broke!  I can only imagine if I had been able to use my tripod for this picture…

A lone finch looks out over the distant Pittsburgh skyline on a foggy winter morning.
Bird’s Eye View

OK, now I’m just loading up all of my favorite shots of Pittsburgh at the top.  It’s almost unfair to the shots down below, especially since several of the Moonrise shots are ALSO some of my favorites.  It’s getting to the point where I need to do a top-20 countdown!

Anyway, just recently I finally figured out a way to get excellent long-distance telephoto shots of the downtown Pittsburgh skyline from my neighborhood.  Using my Nikon D5300 camera and Nikon 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 zoom lens, I was capturing images about an hour or two after sunrise one morning when a lone finch flew into the frame, landing on the shrub as you see here.  It only sat there for a second or two before flying away…. long enough for me to grab this shot.  It’s rapidly ascending my list of favorites, especially because it’s such a unique perspective of the city!

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Piazza Lavoro on the North Shore

Piazza Lavoro took me a very, very long time to get lined up in a way that I was happy with …. and I’m still not thrilled about how the shot looks.  I’m going to need to get back down there some time and try it again, perhaps with light painting or some other trick…

A large cathedral glows light green in the foreground, with the downtown Pittsburgh skyline off in the distance behind it.
Take Me to Church

Take Me to Church is the first of what I hope with be a series of night time shots from the unique perspective of downtown Pittsburgh that I recently discovered.  I love how the ambient light makes the cathedral in the foreground really pop out of the image, belying the actual distance from downtown of nearly three miles as the crow flies!  Shot with my Nikon D5300 camera and Nikon 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 lens, this is one of the first shots I captured using the new Ravelli tripod I received for Christmas!

pittsburgh rainbow bridge lights downtown
Warhol Bridge at Night

This is one picture that sadly will now never be able to be recreated.  The Energy Flow rainbow light display on the Rachel Carson Bridge was removed in April of 2018.  If you missed out – it’s too late!  But I do have several photos like this one available!

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Iconic Coal Barge
The Gateway Center Buildings create a cube-like foreground, framing the iconic spires of the PPG Building in downtown Pittsburgh while a single airplane creates a long contrail overhead
Burgh Blues
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Gateway Clipper Docks at Heinz Field // Steeler Game on a Sunny Fall Afternoon (you pick which title you like more!)
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The Lonely Boat
sunrise at hot metal bridge pittsburgh
Hot Metal Sunrise

Hot Metal Sunrise is one of a series of shots that I took on the Hot Metal Bridge after having learned how to create the starburst from sunlight that you see peeking through the trusses of the bridge.  If this photo is not exactly what you’re looking for, please email me and I can provide you with other options and examples!

Smithfield St Bridge Pittsburgh color
Smithfield Arches – Color
Smithfield St bridge arches pittsburgh black and white
Smithfield Arches – Black & White
Smithfield St Bridge Downtown Pittsburgh black and white
Smithfield Frames Downtown – also available in color

Smithfield Frames Downtown is another photo that took me a while to get lined up satisfactorily.  I hope you enjoy it!

bouquet on smithfield street bridge downtown pittsburgh
Downtown bouquet (found this boutonniere in this exact spot that afternoon as I was walking around taking pictures. I’m STILL curious about the back story…)
Pittsburgh River Walk North Shore Trail
The Clemente Bridge and Downtown Pittsburgh
clemente bridge pittsburgh brake light trail
Clemente Light Trails 1
brake light trail on the clemente bridge downtown pittsburgh
Clemente Light Trails 2

That one took some guts to capture!

pittsburgh light painting light trails long exposure downtown pitt pgh 412 steel city fort duquesne bridge
Pittsburgh Light Painting

Pittsburgh Light Painting is my very first picture to ever go viral – you can understand why.  To capture this image required approximately 50 “outtakes” and a very patient teenage assistant – my daughter!  We used my Nikon D5300 camera, Tokina 11-20mm f2.8 wide angle lens, and a basic Amazon tripod to capture this long exposure.

galactic core milky way moraine state park meteor perseid boat ramp boat storage masts night photography astrophotography long exposure
Meteor and Milky Way over Moraine State Park

Meteor & Milky Way is another example of a photo that required many, many “outtakes” before getting the capture I was hoping for:  One of the Perseid Meteors streaking across or near the galactic core of the Milky Way.  Moon is also visible in this shot, as the large bright spot to the left of the leftmost boat mast.  I spent at least two hours at Moraine State Park capturing photos of the Milky Way, the Pleiades, and the night sky… but it was a beautiful warm summer evening, so I didn’t mind!

A Nearly Full Moon Rises over Pittsburgh

moonrise ppg building fort pitt bridge pittsburgh
Moonrise over PPG

This series of photos of the moon rising over downtown Pittsburgh’s skyline is the culmination of a long-held dream of mine.  I’ve always wanted to capture the moon low in the sky, immediately adjacent to the buildings downtown.  My dream finally came true when I had the perfect opportunity arise in March of 2018.  These are available in a wide variety of edits – including black and white edits that make it appear like these were captured at night!  Please email me if you would like prints!

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Spire Moon
full moon ppg building fort pitt bridge pittsburgh
Full Tilt
full moon pittsburgh ppg building fort pitt bridge exit sign north shore
Exit Now
full moon rise pittsburgh ppg building
Alignment Issues
moon fort pitt bridge downtown pittsburgh
Eye See You (This one looks like the eyeball of an angry Transformer to me…)
full moon fort pitt bridge pittsburgh
Truss Moon
Full moon fort pitt bridge ppg building pittsburgh
70C and me
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City in Blue

Either one of these shots is available for purchase!  Please click on the images to enlarge them to get a better perspective on the photo.  Thanks!

A sunny blue afternoon … in winter?!  Yes, it definitely happens on occasion here in Pittsburgh!

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Gateway Clipper at Sunset
Gateway Clipper city of Pittsburgh sunset
The UPMC (former US Steel) Building towers over the icy Allegheny River on a sunny winter afternoon in Pittsburgh
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Coal Barge at Dusk
The sun rises on a hazy winter day, burning off the blanket of fog over the downtown skyline
Looks like Dusk but Feels like Dawn
pittsburgh downtown tower viewer binocular scope
City from a hill

I hope you enjoyed these as much as I enjoy capturing them!

Copyright TakeBackRoads and Scott Berney, 2013 – current




    • Chef Mike, I have no idea how I approved your comment but never replied to it! I’m so sorry! Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed my photos!

  1. […] Point State Park – it feels rather cliché to include Point Park on this list, but it truly is one of my favorite parks in the city.  In addition to the obvious characteristics you would expect from a park sandwiched into the triangle created by the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers and the downtown skyline, the park also plays host to the Fort Pitt Museum (a part of the aforementioned Heinz History Center), the granite outline of the old Fort Duquesne, and a broad array of festivals, events, and concerts.  Oh, and the iconic Point Park Fountain. […]

  2. […] Point State Park – it feels rather cliché to include Point Park on this list, but it truly is one of my favorite parks in the city.  In addition to the obvious characteristics you would expect from a park sandwiched into the triangle created by the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers and the downtown skyline, the park also plays host to the Fort Pitt Museum (a part of the aforementioned Heinz History Center), the granite outline of the old Fort Duquesne, and a broad array of festivals, events, and concerts.  Oh, and the iconic Point Park Fountain. […]

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