Monday, March 30, 2015
This is Jim, ninety-three years old. I met him on a tour of a greeting card company in Boulder. I think the first thing I saw was his well-aged straw cowboy hat! It's a beauty, isn't it? After the tour, I saw him outside sitting on a bench, and stopped to talk to him. I asked if I could take a portrait of him, because I really admired his hat. So here is the killer - before I asked to take his picture, I wandered around outside the factory, looking for great light. I could not, for the life of me, find great portrait lighting. The lighting was very soft in the shade because there was a lot of sunlight bouncing off of the concrete. I tried several locations, but couldn't get the directional light that would have made this portrait more dramatic. So the portrait is not as dramatic as I would have hoped, but we had a nice long conversation about life. Oh, about the bear. There is an astounding collection of bronze sculptures on a western theme outside the factory and I chose to include the bear in my photo.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:01 PM
Sunday, March 29, 2015
OK, so enough drama with the elevator. Back to my portrait project for the week. This really interesting concrete wall is part of the architecture at the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, The architecture is pretty amazing, as is the artwork. This young woman works at the front desk and we were having a conversation after touring the museum, and I realized that the wall would make the perfect background for a portrait of her. I was pleased that she agreed to be photographed. In addition to working in the museum, she works with children as an art therapist. I think this will be the best portrait of the week.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:36 PM
Saturday, March 28, 2015
The four of us had just arrived back at the hotel from dinner late tonight, and we all piled into one of the 7 elevators. At the last minute another couple made it in to the elevator. The doors closed, and the elevator started up then stopped with a lurch! We pushed the obvious buttons, and pushed some different floor buttons, and nothing happened. Then we pushed the red alarm button and got a recording that said that the elevator repair company was being notified. It was starting to get warm in the small elevator, but everyone was calm. Fortunately, a few minutes later the hotel manager came on the phone in the elevator, and said that they had notified the Fire Department and that a truck was on the way! Hooray for the Fire Department - those guys get the job done! About 5 minutes or so later we heard them outside the door, and heard them working on getting the door open. When they opened the outer door, we could see them gathered outside, through the crack in the inside door. That was comforting. They needed to make sure the power was completely off, so there was no chance of the elevator moving, then they used a tool to release the inner door and slowly managed to open it. We were about two feet above the floor, and the firemen helped everyone down. I can't tell you how comforting it was to know that the firemen were in charge! Lets hear it for the men and women of Engine 26, of the Denver Fire Department!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 11:44 PM
Friday, March 27, 2015
In the middle of Boulder, Colorado, there is a pedestrian mall, on Pearl Street. Great place to hang out with restaurants and shops. There are all kinds of performers here, and I stopped to watch this Didgeridoo player. His name is Adam and he does a wonderful job of playing his homemade instruments. Additionally, while he is playing, he has a stick and some wooden frog sculptures velcro'd to the didg. Traditionally when the Aboriginals in Australia play their instruments, there would be another musician hitting sticks together. Adam does it all himself. I love the sounds of the Didgeridoo - I own one, but have not yet learned to play it. He inspires me, though. He has a wonderful calming presence which I felt when I talked to him - he is a very special person.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:52 PM
Thursday, March 26, 2015
I forget that some of the best memories of a trip are not just the sights you see, but the people you meet. That was certainly true for today. We are here in Colorado with Fred, a colleague of Kathy's, and his wife, and he and Kathy are attending a professional conference. Today we took a day before the conference to drive up to Boulder, Colorado. So Fred, who is also a photographer, and I did some wandering on our own. Fred spotted this amazing "beat" bookstore and record store in a basement. So we went in, and spent quite a while talking about books and music with Thomas, the proprietor. So then I asked if I could photograph him, and he said "Sure." I do like the intensity of the interaction visible in this portrait. And this is a great looking store, isn't it?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:43 PM
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Wow, this is some tall control tower! I don't know if I have ever seen a taller one. The reason is that it is at Denver International Airport, and the airport is HUGE. This is the largest airport in area in the United Stated, encompassing 53 square miles! The runways are a long way away from where the terminals are located. so the controllers need to be up high to see way off into the distance. The tower is 327 feet tall. When built it was the tallest tower in the United States, but now this is superceeded by three other towers. We're in Denver for a conference, and I will be galavanting around town photographing. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:30 PM
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I saw some photographs taken in an office, for advertisements recently, and the photographs focused on a single coffee cup which was sharp, but the rest of the background was really out of focus. I have seen a number of photographs that looked like this recently, and I decided to experiment and re-learn how this was done. It is simple. I used a 50mm lens on the Canon full-frame camera, and set the aperture to f/1.8, which is wide open. How interesting the world looks, with out of focus backgrounds. So I may do some more experimenting to see what else I can shoot with this technique.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:40 PM