Thursday, May 31, 2007
As I have recently said, I love industrial "stuff" and abandoned stuff is even better. I was photographing in Genesee Valley Park in Rochester. I walked over a foot bridge and saw this railroad bridge in the distance, across the river. This particular bridge, now abandoned, carried a railroad line over the Erie Canal. I found my way over to the bridge, and fortunately, the chain link fences at both ends of the bridge had been ripped open, allowing me to cross the bridge and photograph it. I think this old "erector set" style of bridge construction is just beautiful.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I was having a problem with the autofocus on my Nikon D2x, so got another camera and wanted to check that the new one was working properly. It was late in the day and I looked around for something to shoot - found this geranium right by the front steps. There wasn't much light, so used a slow shutter speed and opened the lens all the way. The photograph was still under-exposed, which is what makes this flower photograph so different in its appearance from any other flower photo I have ever done.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:51 PM
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Another photograph taken at the edge of Lake Ontario, about 20 minutes after the photo of the sunset and the driftwood log. It was really dark as I walked along, but the white chairs stood out against the water of the lake, and stopped me in my tracks. The camera was hand-held, and I made exposures at a relatively slow shutter speed, long after the sun had set, to get this shot.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:01 PM
Monday, May 28, 2007
I have always been fascinated by the industrial landscape. Something about the huge size of everything. I love industrial facilities that are in use, but buildings and structures that are abandoned really get my pulse going. This is the Bebee station of Rochester Gas & Electric, located alongside the former Platt Street Bridge, which is now a pedestrian walkway over the Genesee River, giving a wonderful view of this generating plant. I think this may be a subtle landscape, but I photographed it several times over two days, and I think there is something here.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:04 PM
Sunday, May 27, 2007
72 North Union. A famous address, in Rochester, New York. A famous address in the world of photography. This was the home of Minor White in the years he lived in Rochester and taught at RIT. I was a student of Minor's in the school years 61-62 and 63-64. In addition, I did my senior thesis on Minor White and photographed him as an RIT teacher, publisher of Aperture magazine, writer, and at photographic workshops he taught in Boston and at St. Lawrence University. I photographed Minor at his home for my entire senior year and was very familiar with 72 North Union. Minor left here for MIT and Boston in 1965. While in Rochester last week, I went on a pilgrimage to visit the old RIT campus (half of which has been dynamited) and then to see if 72 North Union still exists. It does - it is the peaked roof of the building to the right, behind the facade of the Word of the Cross church that has been added to the front, joining two buildings. So I started photographing, and found this wonderful foreground object - the manhole cover, with the curving strips of road tar around it! The perfect foreground for a photograph in the manner of Minor White!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:44 PM
Saturday, May 26, 2007
I was driving along Lake Ontario after sunset, and noticed that the higher clouds were still illuminated by the orange light of the sun below the horizon. I thought it might be worth a look, so I stopped, grabbed the camera, and scrambled down a small embankment to the beach. Imagine my surprise to find this bleached driftwood log waiting just for me.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:22 PM
Friday, May 25, 2007
After I drove into Genesee valley Park the other day and parked the car, this gorgeous white oak is the first thing I saw, and I was immediately drawn to it. This is the first view of the tree, and my first composition. After taking this photo, I took a wider shot of the whole tree, and looked at it from other directions, just to see, but this is THE photo, it seems to me. I shot it in color, but think it is a stronger image in black and white.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:36 PM
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I was on my way to the airport the other day to go flying, and caught a glimpse of some abandoned buildings as I drove by. I had some time to spare, so turned around to investigate. At first glance, these looked like buildings built a long time ago as mental hospitals, something I am familiar with, having done a photo essay some years ago on the abandoned mental hospitals on Long Island. Spent about an hour there photographing about 5 of the buildings. At this building, one of the smaller ones, someone had ripped off an outside screen and opened the windows. I just walked up and started photographing. I spent perhaps 10 minutes framing the image several different ways. This is my favorite. I did a search later and found that this facility consisted of nine buildings and was constructed between 1911 and 1931 as a home to the Monroe County Tuberculosis Sanitarium.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:01 PM
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
So for my field trip today, I decided to drove two hours south of Rochester, to Elmira. Harris Hill in Elmira is considered the birthplace of soaring in the United States, dating from the 1930's. The National Soaring Museum is located there with it's wonderful collection of both historic and modern sailplanes. Outside the museum is the runway for launching sailplanes by aircraft tow. I was lucky today, because on Wednesday afternoons, it is pilot training time, and by 4:30 the hangars were emptied of most sailplanes and they were all over the grass, waiting for the towplanes to bring them up to altitude where they could ride the thermals. This photo is of one of the sailplanes waiting to be towed by hand down to the end of the runway for launch, with cumulus clouds in the distance.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:34 PM
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I decided to get a little flight instruction while up here. I haven't flown in six months, and need to get my biennial flight review when I get home. Decided to get the rust out while upstate. Went to Rochester Air Center at Monroe County Airport and met Ian, who is a US Army Helicopter Pilot (CH-47's!) and moonlights as a flight instructor in his spare time. We had a great flight, I wasn't that rusty, and I did some aerial photographs and some sightseeing as well. Upstate NY is beautiful to fly over, especially late in the day, with farmland and small towns stretching off into the distance as far as the eye can see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:08 PM
Monday, May 21, 2007
I stopped to photograph the moon and Venus at night, on the corner of a country road and Route 20 in Geneva, New York. It was only after I photographed the moon, that I noticed this building where I was standing, illuminated by a streetlight, with the backwards American flag painted on it. Then I looked to the left to see the sign with the name of the business here... "Ramblin' Jacks Barber Shop, & Ace Computer"
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:43 PM
Sunday, May 20, 2007
This is Riley! We met him when we got to Rochester and found that Vincent & Joanne's son Chris was here for the weekend with Angela, and Riley is her dog. Is he cute or what! So cute he makes my heart hurt. And he has a wonderful disposition. Such a great dog!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:27 PM
Saturday, May 19, 2007
It's raining on Long Island, but I am in upstate New York, fortunately. Saturday night, the moon was in conjunction with Venus - they were within 2 degrees of each other, a relatively rare occurrence. I first saw the crescent moon just after sunset, and since I was driving west, up through the finger lakes, I had the two in view through the front of my windshield for a couple of hours. What a gorgeous sight, to see these two together! I stopped in Interlaken, NY and made this photo before the sky became completely black, giving me the ability to show the silhouette of the tree in the foreground to add a bit more interest. An hour after I took this, I stopped to shoot them again in the black sky, and Venus looked like the blazing headlight of an oncoming train, it was so bright!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:58 PM
Friday, May 18, 2007
In my 40 years at Newsday, and on Long Island, I had never been to Dowling College in Oakdale. One of its campuses is located at the former W. K. Vanderbilt estate "Idle Hour," which was built in 1901. What a sight to see! It was raining today, and that always enriches the saturation of the colors. This is a view of the courtyard, and it felt really good to see that it has been kept in such wonderful condition.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:49 PM
Oh man, I forgot! Last night I remember thinking that I needed to upload my day's post, and then I got distracted and went to bed. What a shock when I woke this morning and remembered that I forgot. Duh! I was at Main Beach in Easthampton, and saw this group of kids playing vollyball. I had only been shooting for 5 minutes before the game was over and they left. But I did get this moment when someone scored. I love the silhouettes of the players against the surf, with their arms raised.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:41 PM
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I photographed a most amazing man the other day! He is 91 years young, was an industrial designer working in Lucite and stainless steel and made the first tableware using those materials after the war. He became a very successful businessman, and "retired" about 20 years ago. To keep active, he started doing sculptures in lucite as a hobby. This photo is a detail of one of his first pieces, and it is just beautiful to look at. I have chosen a detail as perhaps a bit more exciting than a photo of the whole piece. His more recent work involves both clear and colored resins and the pieces are unimaginably beautiful. But the lesson I carry away from this assignment is how vital and alive he is, in being actively engaged in life and his art. He is now my role model for when I am a few years older!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I had to get up at 6:30 AM to drive to East Hampton, which is WAY too early for me. My reward was the lovely early morning light, both on the dining room table, and on the front porch. I photographed both, and chose to post this photo of the rocker and the small table.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:22 PM
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Busy day today, so this post is an older photo. I was driving westbound on the Main Road in the vicinity of Jamesport or Mattituck, when suddenly I passed a large tree that was blocking the view of this house and tree. I had never noticed this scene before and I must have passed it literally hundreds of times! Maybe it was the light on this particular day - I don't know, but it stopped me in my tracks, and I spent some time photographing it, and now here it is for you to see.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Sitting at the dining room table for dinner, I glanced up to see this metal reindeer in one of the front windows. I just liked the shape, and the green background. So, OK, it's not the greatest photo I ever took, but I will add it to other photos in a documentary I started on the house 4 or 5 year ago - a continuing project.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:56 PM
Friday, May 11, 2007
Busy day today shooting and editing, so I didn't find anything to shoot for my blog. This is a photo I did about a month ago, when I was out at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. It is the Charles Wang building. Very modern looking, and it looks really otherworldly at dusk - I love the feeling of light in this photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:11 PM
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Today I photographed this olympic gold medal skater, who is in a new musical at a local playhouse. The interesting thing is that the entire conventional stage will be covered in ice for the play. I was really impressed with the intensity with which she concentrated on watching what was going on with other skaters, and while listening to the director, as she is doing here.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:46 PM
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Today I did a small bridal shoot, some photos in the studio and some outdoors. I love to photograph the hair and makeup process sometimes, to see if I can find some "moments" - It sharpens my shooting and timing skills - I do it just for the challenge. I think I found a "moment" today - a photograph with "something extra" in it. What do you think?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
I think it was the quick flash of the green and blue as I drove by this scene the first time, that caused me to stop and turn the car around, so that I could come back and shoot this photo. Something lovely in the color combination. I was on the way to work, and then had to have an argument with myself, about whether or not I had the time to stop and take the photograph. Stopping won!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:41 PM
Monday, May 7, 2007
For one thing, this is a VERY strange image, is it not? What it is, is a "Slime Party!" What that means is, it is a birthday party put on by a commercial company run by two moms, to entertain young children. The kids arrive, and have pizza, and then they play a giant game of Twister, and while they are doing that, they are sprayed with shaving cream, and then the plastic sheeting on the floor is covered with "slime" and the they have relay races and other entertainments! The kids are not allowed to stand up, to avoid any chance of injury. The crazy thing is, the kids LOVED this! Must be the age...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:42 PM
Sunday, May 6, 2007
On the way to church today, I drove by this tree and was blown away by the stunning color. There was not time to stop, so I thought I would just hold in my memory the beauty of the moment. On the way home, about an hour and a half later, I drove by it again, and decided to stop and photograph it. I think that since the sun had moved 20 degrees along its path in the sky, the scene was different. I think the color is not as brilliant. Was it the sun, or is it my memory? I could always drive down that road again at 11 AM and see if the tree is the same. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:54 PM
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Hooray! Liz is back from two months in California! Of course, we were out there for a week, to see both Liz and Amy, but now she is back home, after a 6 week work/study program at Esalen Institute, and then some weeks of hanging out with Amy and Gus, and with her friend Dan who lives in LA. Here she is with her iBook using wireless in the back room, coffee close at hand on the plant stand. Don't you just love the pigtails!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:57 PM
Friday, May 4, 2007
It was only last Monday when I posted the Sycamores at sunset. Today as I drove by on the way home from work I was amazed at how green they were, since the shoots have really become covered with light green leaves. What caused me to pull over to shoot this, however, were two groups of kids walking. I am accustomed to seeing a lone walker, or jogger framed by the trees, and couples walking together are quite common. It is rare to see a group of six - in this case in two groups. So I pulled over, and waited, and tried to get the shot when both groups were well placed. But these trees are beautiful, aren't they?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM
Thursday, May 3, 2007
One more story to round out the prom dress package. It's about the stresses of finding a prom dress. So I was sent out at the last minute to find a young woman shopping for a dress. She was in the store with her mom, and her younger brother. I was following them around the racks of dresses shooting as I went, concentrating on the mom and the daugher. Suddenly I noticed something in the lower right corner of my viewfinder and instinctively clicked the shutter. It was the younger brother who appeared out of nowhere! He certainly made MY day with this photo!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
With a great deal of emphasis being placed on the online presence of the newspaper, things are done differently these days. This is the second part of the story about a high school girl choosing her prom dress. She shopped for 5 different dresses, I photographed her shopping, and then last Friday photographed her with her hair and makeup done, wearing each of the 5 dresses. The photographs will run in the paper, and the readers will vote for their favorite dress, which she will then wear to the prom. But the Web requires audio and video, in addition to the still photographs, so the studio was a full house. Shown here are the writer and her assistant, the photographer shooting video, and the fashion editor is gathering audio. Not shown are the hairdresser and the makeup person. It took me an hour to set up the lighting, with the help of an assistant, and the student brought her High School teacher and her aunt. It was a pretty exciting time with all of this going on. Welcome to the new media!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:42 PM
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
I remember years ago hearing that there was a French term for a time near the last light of day, called (in english) "The Blue Period." I have experienced that all my life - if you are indoors with the lights on, you look out a window, and it is blue outside. Today when I photographed this sky before a thunderstorm arrived, the sky appeared gray to my eyes, and yet was a beautiful blue in this camera image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:55 PM