Monday, November 30, 2015
I drove down Laurel Avenue at about three o'clock this afternoon, as the sun was getting lower in the sky. As I drove by this house I saw a flash of bright red. It probably took me 5 seconds before I decided to stop, and then I backed up the street to see what I could make of this scene. I was stunned at how brilliant the leaves were, backlit by the sun. I tried several different compositions and this one was the best. Most of the leaves on our Japanese Maple are gone, but this tree is in full bloom!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:30 PM
Sunday, November 29, 2015
These are two photographs of the famous white deer who inhabit the former Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, New York, in the Finger Lakes. "Army Depot?" you ask. "What did they store in the depot?" You're going to love this: They stored explosives. Artillery shells, Bombs, and particularly, Atomic Bombs! That seems almost unimaginable that they stored Atomic Bombs in the beautiful upstate landscape of the Finger Lakes. Anyhow, this is a huge facility and it has a 24 mile long fence around it since the facility was built in1941. The white deer - a genetic quirk that developed naturally on the 7,000-acre, fenced-in expanse - have thrived, even as the depot itself has transitioned from one of the most important Cold War storehouses of bombs and ammunition to a decommissioned relic. Now the deer face an uncertain future after living and breeding largely undisturbed since the middle of last century. With protection from the Army and its fence, the Seneca white deer have grown to an estimated 200. Local officials want to put the old Seneca Army Depot up for bids next month, and so there is concern that the sale could also mean the end of the line for the unusual white deer. If buyers take down the fence, the white deer aren't expected to last long. And that would be a tragedy. People have come from all around the country to see these beautiful creatures. There is hope that a group interested in conservation can purchase the land, and allow for some tourism, both for the deer, and for the bunkers where munitions were stored.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:22 PM
Saturday, November 28, 2015
This is Bebe, and she has just taken the ride of her life. The furthest she has ever been from our house is about 5 miles to the vet in Glen Cove. But because she is on some medication that is difficult to get her to eat, we decided to bring her with us on our trip to Rochester. So she rode 700 miles to upstate and back. On the trip up, she stayed in the cat carrier mostly. She did come outside the carrier for a few minutes. On the way home, however, she was much more comfortable and climbed all around the inside of the car at times. The thing that makes my head spin, is, what could she possibly be thinking, looking out the window at farmland at 60 mile an hour! She has never experienced anything in her life like this before.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:03 PM
Friday, November 27, 2015
About two years ago, while in Los Angeles, we went to a theater with big, soft easy chairs, that had raised footrests, and tilting backs. I mean, you could fall asleep in the theater! Oh, there were also waiters and waitresses who circulated around and took orders for food and drinks. It was fun once, if a bit expensive. Cut to today, and the four of us went to the movies in Pittsford. I was stunned to see these plush seats, with raised footrests, and tilt back chairs! Fortunately the movie we saw was stunning, and there was no chance of falling asleep! The movie was "Spotlight" and it is the story of the investigative reporting team at the Boston Globe, and how they uncovered the coverups of the abuse of children by some priests in the Boston Diocese. Stunning movie, be sure to see it!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:16 PM
Thursday, November 26, 2015
When I came out of the Eastman House Museum yesterday it was quite dark but the light was interesting. So I set the ISO of the camera (the "film speed") to 3200, which makes the camera so much more sensitive. Normally it is set at 100 or 400. In any case it allowed me to shoot this photograph of the pergola behind the museum in the near dark. This is a lovely architectural piece, and I have photographed it a number of times before. So after I shot it, and got home, I started messing with converting it to black & white, and then I started changing the color balance to make it sepia,similar to all the other Alvin Langdon Coburn images I had spent time with in the galleries. Oh, by the way, I didn't photograph today - all I did was eat!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:44 PM
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
I have been going to what had been known as the George Eastman House Museum of Photography since 1960, when I first came to RIT. The name of the facility has been changed to the George Eastman Museum. I went there today to see a stunning Alvin Langdon Coburn retrospective. He lived from 1882 to 1966. The photographs knocked my socks off. I thought I knew about his work but I didn't have a clue as to the breadth of his photographs. He did dramatic cityscapes, many of them of New York City from above, and landscapes of the grand Canyon, and Yosemite. And then if that was not enough, he did dramatic portraits of so many famous people. Many of his prints were platinum prints, and the they were overcoated with a second layer of a bichromate emulsion. This resulted in deep, dark images that are a rich reddish brown color. So, since I am easily influenced, I decided to photograph Eastman House from a different angle and try to duplicate the look of Coburn's prints. This gives you a sense of what his pictures look like.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
I went out to R.I.T. today to have lunch with two friends and to see a couple of exhibits. I am a graduate of the old downtown campus, not this new one. When I was hired by the Rochester Times Union, one of my first assignments was to come out to where this was going to be built, and get photographs of the surveyors at work! The campus and buildings are very modern looking, and it is made from billions of bricks! They actually call it "Brick City." But I always find something to shoot when I am there, having to do with the architecture and the landscape.. I love the way the people look walking through this tunnel, and how they are in silhouette, until they step out of the tunnel on the far end. It is a lot of fun to play with the composition in a photograph like this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:58 PM