Tuesday, March 13, 2018
So tomorrow Stan and I drive to Alamogordo, New Mexico from El Paso, to meet up with our friend Rush. He has camping equipment and we will set up a campsite in a state park for several days. After a day or two, three more friends will join us for the photography and hiking in the area. There will be no internet service so you won't hear from me for some time. Not to worry, I will be fine, just off the grid and disconnected from the internet. OH NO... NO INTERNET... HELP... How will I survive? Just fine, thank you very much. As soon as I get reconnected, I will post an update.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:32 PM
We lucked out today in terms of the snowstorm. We only got an inch in Sea Cliff which is great, because Stan and I were headed for LaGuardia for a flight to El Paso, Texas for a week of photographing the landscape and the night skies. We were worried that flights would be cancelled and we had planned this trip for several months. Because of the ice and snow, all the planes were "deiced" before taxiing out for takeoff. This shows two workers in little yellow cabs on long arms that can move all around the outside of the airplane to remove the ice.
First they apply a soapy hot water solution to melt any ice that might be on the outside of the aircraft, and then they apply another solution, which is thicker and dyed green. It is very sticky and stays on top of the wing and tail surfaces to protect them from more ice, according to the captain that I talked to. When the aircraft begins its takeoff, at about 80 knots the green material just slides off the wing from the air rushing over the wing, and the plane takes off with a clean wing, which is important. I have never before been in an aircraft which was being deiced, so it was cool to watch.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:25 PM
Monday, March 12, 2018
This is my first Leica camera, an M2. When I was in college studying photography, we didn't have much money and it was a struggle to pay for film and photographic paper. My mom used to take care of an older woman down the street so she could send me money to buy photo supplies. A number of students in my freshman class were sent to RIT by their parents who owned photo studios. A number of them had 2 or 3 Leica cameras and lenses. The Leica is a magnificent camera, very solid, but quiet when the shutter releases. It is a joy to pick up and hold, and click the shutter because it feels so solid. I would wander into a classmate's room, and ask if I could pick up one of their Leicas and just hold it. When I graduated and got my first job, for the Rochester Times-Union, I took my first two paychecks and went down to Rowe Camera near the RIT dorm and bought this used Leica for $150, in 1964. I have had it ever since. I used in Rochester to shoot some types of photos for the paper, and I used it at Newsday. It still works perfectly, but is a bit worse for wear on the outside. I did buy a second Leica 30 years later, a used Leica M6, and that one is still in mint condition.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:35 PM
Sunday, March 11, 2018
The kitties have their favorite places for hanging out. The couch, in various places is one of them. What surprised me about this is that Grace, the black and white one, was lying on Kathy's legs, and then Bebe was lying on a comforter, but her legs were lying on Grace. This is a bit unusual, which is what made it fun.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:25 PM
Saturday, March 10, 2018
This is the light bulb in a Mini Mag Flashlight. This flashlight is only about six inches long, so you can see how small the bulb must be. The bulb is only about 1/8" in diameter, and yet there is a very tiny spring-like filament inside. The AA batteries in this flashlight leaked, and there was some white crusty stuff inside the flashlight. Even after cleaning the crusty stuff, and with new batteries the flashlight wouldn't light up. So I started examining the flashlight with a magnifier to see, for instance, if the filament of the bulb was blown. That's when it occurred to me to photograph the filament so you could see how small it is. Below is a photograph of the whole flashlight.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:41 PM
Friday, March 9, 2018
This is Harvey Weber, who was the Director of Photography at Newsday, and he is the man who hired me from the Rochester Times Union in November of 1966. He was a wonderful boss and a real mentor to a whole new generation of photographers who were hired about that time. He called me "the kid." He was the boss, and yet he worked Sundays, which is when all the new photographers worked. After a day of shooting for the next day's paper, we would all go out to dinner at the Old Country Diner, and we would talk photography, which is where we all learned. He asked me to do a portrait of him in 1980, I think it was. I shot a roll of Kodachrome, and he asked me to just give him all the transparencies. I was always sorry that I never kept one. Then the other day I found this scan of one of them, and was thrilled to find it. Harvey was given awards for his work in the education of young photographers. He was lost to us in 1991. I have always grateful for the years working with him and for all I learned from him.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:49 PM
Thursday, March 8, 2018
We started the commercial video shoot of our fake observing session (because the sky was completely overcast) at about 3:30 in the afternoon. We all set up our telescopes on instructions from the director.
Here the director, who is also the director of photography does a low angle shoot of people and their telescopes.
What is interesting about how video is done these days, is that they are using DSLR cameras which are now capable of video, as well as stills, instead of using the much larger video cameras.
After the sun had set, the shoot continued into the night, after a number of lights had been set up. We were there until 8:30 PM. The energy of the crew was amazing, and the director of photography had so much energy, and was constantly looking for new angles. It was fascinating to watch how the shoot went.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM