First Night

Fireworks shoot off above the city skyline during First Night celebrations, Downtown on Friday evening.

Pittsburgh Skyline

I had some time to kill while I waited for the fireworks tonight, so I played around shooting several different photos of the city skyline. The first is a panorama of three combined photos and the second is a double exposure.

Trombone Shorty

Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews performs to a sold out show at the Rex Theater in Pittsburgh on Wednesday evening, December 29th. The 24-year-old sensation, not only known for his playing of the trombone, but also for his singing and songwriting, took to the stage with an energy that filled the packed venue. Performing a variety of songs including songs from his 2010 Grammy nominated debut CD, Backatown, Trombone Shorty did not disappoint and even after an over two hour set still left the crowd wanting more.

Backatown features the band's trademark “Supafunkrock" sound, an explosive, homegrown blend of funk, rock, R&B and hip-hop that has been exciting audiences worldwide.

Trombone Shorty is part of two other 2011 Grammy-nominated projects: his version of “Ooh Pooh Pah Doo" is on Treme, Music From the HBO Original Series, Season One, a nominee for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media; and he plays with Dr. John on “Down in New Orleans" (from Disney's The Princess and the Frog), nominated for Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.

Do yourself a favor and if you don't know who Trombone Shorty is...find his music and buy it!

Chess Runner-up

Carnegie Mellon University doctoral student Lufei Ruan, 23, nearly won the women's world chess championship held in Hatay, Turkey in December. Ruan was defeated by Chinese chess prodigy Hou Yifan who made history during the tournament by becoming the youngest ever World Chess Champion in history (men's or women's) by winning at the age of 16.

Pension Crisis

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl talks with Pittsburgh City Council as they try to resolve Pittsburgh's pension crisis on Wednesday morning at the City County Building, Downtown.

Taking Shape

The Winter Classic rink takes shape at Heinz Field on Tuesday afternoon.

Painting the Ice

NHL Facilities Operations Manager, Dan Craig, (hidden behind everyone) and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl help Janelle Norkevicus, 8, of Brentwood (right), Ian Banks, 11, of Penn Hills, and A'Shon Burgess, 12, of Washington (left) paint lines on the ice rink at Heinz Field for the Winter Classic on Tuesday afternoon, December 28, 2010.

NHL Facilities Operations Manager, Dan Craig, helps Janelle Norkevicus, 8, of Brentwood paint lines on the ice

Ice Photo

Ben Metzger, 3, (left) and his brother Josh, 9, (right) pose for a photo with ice carved penguins along the North Shore on Tuesday afternoon, December 28, 2010

Pittsburgh Penguins

Ice sculptures of penguins sit along the Ohio River near Heinz Field as the Winter Classic approaches.

Winter Classic

The transition of Heinz Field into an outdoor hockey arena for the upcoming Winter Classic is nearly complete as the ice rink is set up in the middle of the field on Monday, December 27, 2010.

NHL Facilities Operations Manager, Dan Craig, left, and Executive VP of Events, Don Renzulli, right, answer questions about the weather forecast for the Winter Classic at Heinz Field on New Years Day, during a press conference at Heinz Field on Monday afternoon.

2010 Photos of the Year

Soldiers hold an American flag behind a soldier during a reenlistment service in Kirkuk, Iraq.

A white-tailed deer tries to evade two Pittsburgh Water & Sewage Authority workers as they attempt to rescue the distressed deer from the waters of Highland Reservoir No. 1 in the Highland Park neighborhood on Monday afternoon, May 10, 2010. It is unknown how the deer fell into the reservoir, but eventually was captured and released into the nearby woods.

Rachel Walker, 21, of the South Side digs her car out in Oakmont on Saturday morning, February 6, 2010. Yesterday's record winter storm left her stranded at her mother's Oakmont home.

A single tear streams down a young Haitian girl's cheek as she is treated at a small medic station in a refugee camp in Port-au-Prince on Friday.

A young girl runs through newly placed flags on veteran's graves at Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville on Wednesday evening, May 26, 2010.

Abdelrazik Abdellatif dips his finger in indelible ink after voting in Tikrit, Iraq on Sunday, March 7, 2010 in the country's parliamentary elections. Unlike in the 2005 parliamentary elections Sunnis in the Salahaddin Province came out to vote.

A US Army color guard fold a flag from Sgt. Nathan Kennedy's casket during funeral services at Claysville Cemetery on Sunday, May 9, 2010. Sgt. Kennedy, 24, of Claysville a US Army Ranger, served as a sniper assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colorado. He served in Iraq from 2006 to 2007 and began his tour in Afghanistan in June of 2009. Sgt. Kennedy was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 27, 2010.

A woman stands among the headstones of Arlington National Cemetery's Section 60, an area where war dead from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are laid to rest.

The funeral procession for longtime Kennywood employee Nancy Jackson is reflected in a mirror on the carousel as the procession passes through the West Mifflin amusement park on Wednesday afternoon en-route to St. Joseph Cemetery in West Mifflin. Jackson, 76, was retired from the park where she worked as a money counter and bookkeeper.

Flossie Carter was born on June 2, 1900 and celebrated her 110th birthday with friends and family at UPMC Heritage Place in Squirrell Hill on Wednesday afternoon, June 2, 2010.

A soldier stands watch as a young Iraqi boy plays soccer in the Ninewa Province of Iraq in February.

Michael Taravella of McKees Rocks, left, and Cody Dubs, right, of Butler march down the Boulevard of the Allies in the Pittsburgh Pride 2010 Parade on Sunday afternoon, June 13, 2010.

Refugees line up along a hill in Petionville, Haiti where the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division was giving each person in line 2 bottles of water. Numbering in the tens of thousands, each person received two bottles of water.

Flight Deck Chief Michael Walsh, 33, of Coraopolis works on the deck on the USS Carl Vinson on Wednesday evening just off of the coast of Haiti as the ship helps with the relief operations from the powerful 7.0 earthquake that destroyed much of the country just over a week ago.

Layla Blodgett, 3, stands with her father, Corporal Timothy Blodgett, 24, of Portersville as Maj. General Randy Marchi addresses soldiers with the Pennsylvania National Guard's 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry on Wednesday morning, January 6, 2010 at the Hunt Armory in Shadyside before the group of 114 soldiers left for training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., and their deployment to Afghanistan.

A car burns along the East bound side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the Irwin Interchange on Thursday afternoon, July 15, 2010.

Many Haitians have took to the streets to scavenge the most basic of needs in Port-au-Prince.

U.S. soldiers stand around a handful of detainees during a night mission in search of a high-value target in Iraq.

Doves are released during funeral services for Marine Sgt. Joseph Caskey's at the United Baptist Church of Harlansburg's cemetery on Tuesday afternoon, July 6, 2010 in New Castle, PA. Caskey, 24, of West View was killed on June 26, 2010 when an improvised explosive device struck the vehicle he was riding in while supporting combat operations in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

A soldier scans an Iraqi man's retina in Rabiyah, Iraq.

A soldier with the U.S. Army's 3rd Squadron, 73rd Calvary Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division, attached to the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division stands in a muddy field in Zumar, Iraq as soldier begin building a combined security checkpoint.

An Iraqi woman cries at the door of a police station as she waits for information on her missing son. Her husband was killed under Saddam's regime and her other son was kidnapped nearly 10 years ago.

Lt. Colonel Scott Hooper, Squadron Commander of the Alpha Troop, 3rd Squadron, 73rd Calvary Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division, attached to the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, stops at an area in Zumar, Iraq where soldiers are building a combined security checkpoint.

Police attempt to enter the Swap Meet after a shoot out and botched armed robbery on the North Side along Brighton Road on Wednesday afternoon, September 15, 2010.

Sailors direct helicopters off the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, one of the Navy aircraft carriers, on Thursday morning, January 21, 2010 to head inland to assist with the military's response to Haiti's destructive earthquake.

Gunnery Sgt. Schmalstieg

The casket of Gunnery Sgt. Justin Schmalstieg is carried out of Sacred Heart Church in Shadyside after funeral services on Wednesday morning, December 22, 2010. Gunnery Sgt. Schmalstieg was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd poses for a photo with members of the Steel City Ghostbusters before signing bottles of his Crystal Head Vodka at the Shadyside Wine & Spirits store on December 15, 2010.

On a personal note: Dan was perhaps the rudest most self-centered person who has ever passed in front of my lens in my entire 11-year career as a photojournalist. While shooting him, along with a handful of other photographers and TV cameramen, he stopped signing autographs to instruct me to stop shooting him because he felt I had enough photographs of him. He then proceeded to explain that the flash was distracting him. However, I wasn't using a flash, so I assume it may have been the flashes from the other photographers or perhaps the countless fans who walked up to take a picture of him. After explaining to him that I wasn't using a flash he then scolded me and told me my shutter was distracting him. Then he continued his rant by telling me that if I didn't listen to him and stop shooting him that he would see to it I was removed from the store. Going even further he then told me that he would personally escort me outside. Standing in front of him confused and shocked that this was actually happening, I was speechless. He then continued by telling me that a, "Real professional photographer would have his picture in 6 frames or less." Completely unsure what to say or do, I stood in front of him and the packed store, baffled by his rude comments and tone. He proceeded to go back to signing autographs and continued muttering "6 frames" several times under his breath. I packed up and left. When I got home I checked my files to see if perhaps I was heavy on the shutter. In the entire 10 minutes of him signing autographs, I shot 9 frames!

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About Me

My photo
Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Justin Merriman, an award-winning photojournalist has spent more than a decade traveling the world to cover politics, wars, natural disasters and civil unrest. His work has appeared in leading national and international publications and he has received numerous top journalism awards. After covering the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – including the crash of United Flight 93 in Shanksville – Merriman committed to chronicling the U.S. military and its War on Terror. He has followed this story across the US and into the war zones of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. He also has covered life in Fidel Castro’s Cuba in 2002, India’s efforts to eradicate polio, the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Cuba in 2012, the 2013 conclave and election of Pope Francis in Rome, the second anniversary of Egypt's revolution and subsequent unrest, and most recently, Russia's invasion of Crimea and the international crisis that unfolded in Ukraine. Merriman lives in Oakmont with his fiancĂ©, Stephanie Strasburg.

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