Friday, August 31, 2007
Remember that house I told you about yesterday, that I went to shoot, and then only showed you the tree on the lawn? Well, I mean, it WAS a pretty nice tree. Anyhow, then I went inside this house, which was built in 1801, and was shown this magnificent staircase which climbs three floors. I immediately did what any good guest would do under the circumstances, and lay down on the floor on my back in the front parlor, (to the amusement of the real estate agent and the owner) and shot this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:51 PM
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I had an assignment today to photograph a house for sale, that as one of its attributes, included what the owner said was: "The oldest black oak tree in New York State." I tried doing some checking to no avail. I did read about one dying tree which has since fallen apart, and it was listed as going back to 1450. Wow, that IS old! In any case, this is a beautiful tree, so I am presenting it to you just because it is wonderful to look at and study. The tree comes to you with no other warranties, either actual or implied.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:13 PM
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
On the way to my astronomy meeting tonight I was stunned to round a corner and see the moon rising over the trees at the edge of a farmer's field. It was so orange, I swear it was nearly the color of a pumpkin! What a gorgeous sight! I was late to my meeting so did not stop to photograph it, but after the meeting I came home and got out my telescope and watched the nearly full moon for almost an hour. I wanted to share the view with you all, so I took my little point-and-shoot out of its case on my belt, held it up to the eyepiece, and did this shot. Well, actually I did about 25 shots and this is the best of the lot. I never tire of looking at the moon, because the sunlight illuminating it changes from night to night, as the sun rises or sets as seen from the surface of the moon. I move my telescope across the moon with a higher power eyepiece and it's as if I am flying above the surface in a spacecraft. I look for familiar craters and "seas" and sometimes find something that is new to me. Tonight it was the crater Petavius, which has a fracture in its floor that appears as a straight line from the base of the mountains which surround it, and it runs all the way to the central peaks. I needed to find a map, and one of my books of the moon's features in order to identify what I was seeing. I see those features with much more power than the view here. The crater I speak of is just a small circle in the upper left of the moon, in this photograph. Perhaps one of these days I will get out the big telescope, and attach my Nikon D2x to it, and try for a close up view to show you. This really is a lovely sight, isn't it?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:30 PM
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
This is the view out one of the windows in the cafe at Mass MOCA, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass. This building was part of the former Sprague capacitor factory which was beautifully transformed into an art museum. I thought the flowers were a lovely touch in the original old brick windows, and in this case, with a view of part of the old factory seen in the distance from this particular window.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:47 PM
Monday, August 27, 2007
The assignment was to photograph some girl scouts taste-testing various brands of peanut butter. I saw this image in the camera just as I snapped it - I had not meant to shoot this specific image, but there is something about all that is going on that is interesting because the scene seems somewhat surreal. And as proof that there is no truth to the old saying "The camera never lies," this young girl was an enthusiastic taster of peanut butter as the tasting got under way.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
You remember Lorina, don't you? She was the subject of an early post titled "Lorina doesn't want her picture taken." So here she is again, but she is not really hiding. Pat had a going away party tonight for Kevin, who has moved to Florida with his family. Lorina was one of the guests and is experimenting with shooting and editing video, so she spent some time during the evening photographing everyone. This camera is so amazing - it is the size of a point-and-shoot and yet it does movies. I like this photo a lot, because of the focus light glowing, and we only see one eye and her smile. The mysterious Lorina, once again...
Friday, August 24, 2007
Came home from work kind of late, and looked out on the patio to see these flowers illuminated by the late afternoon sun. It just had a nice feeling for me, so here it is. Then I went for my 10 mile bikeride. I love my late day bike rides, and I particularly love them when it is Friday, and the start of the weekend. On Fridays, my rides are always sublime. Which has nothing to do with floweres!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:34 PM
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I have driven by this sign literally hundreds of times, and never really "saw" it before. Today I was heading east on the Main Road on the North Fork of Long Island, and perhaps, because it was overcast and the sign was illuminated, it jumped out at me. I didn't have the time to stop, of course, so I stopped on the way back 5 hours later, expecting the photo not to "work" because it is illuminated by sunlight. But it does, especially with the clouds. The thing about this sign is all the questions I have after seeing it... What is a "modern" snack bar? And that then creates the next question: "How old is this and when was this sign made?" It is a beautiful sign, of the kind rarely made anymore, and that's what makes it so special. I just love the design from another era as well. Maybe some day I will stop and talk to them, and have all my questions answered. If I do, you will all be the next to know.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I have been looking through my images from the last few weeks, just to make sure I didn't skip any good ones. I know that this is just another sunset, but the clouds added a lot to the shot. I was driving back to the Bread & Breakfast that I was staying at in Vermont for the Stellafane Convention, and saw this. The sky was changing by the second as I stopped the car and jumped out. I made four pictures, and the first one was the best. The colors were far more saturated than they are in this image.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
It has been raining gently all day here on Long Island. On the way home from work I drove by the Roslyn Duck Pond park, and there were so many different shades of green, between the grass and the trees it stopped me in my tracks! I got out of the car, grabbed a raincoat and hat, and spent 45 minutes looking for photographs. This is one of my favorites. You may see another one in a few days - there seemed to be so many views worth shooting. Of course, color by itself probably won't make a photograph - I needed to find some elements that would make an interesting design - in this case, the varying sizes, angles, and shapes of the tree trunks.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:35 PM
Monday, August 20, 2007
I have been collecting photographs of garden gates for the last couple of years, hoping to put together a nice photo essay for the garden section. The one thing that I have been unable to find and really wanted, was a funky old gate to finish off the series. I have looked all over Long Island to no avail. Then I saw this gate in Dick and Trauti's garden in Massachusetts. I believe that Dick built this gate about 30 years ago, and it has weathered beautifully, don't you think?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
OK, so now I am an architecture critic... This is really not East Germany, but rather some new condos under construction in Providence, Rhode Island, called Waterplace. I don't like their design, and many people who live there do not either. I went online to see if I could find the architect's name, but I have been unsuccessful. Maybe they were designed by committee. The thing is, that there are many new buildings that have been built around the riverfront as part of the revitalization of the city. They have tastefully included brick as one of the construction materials, so the new structures have a connection to some of the restored old buildings. So what makes these buildings fit in? Not much at all, in my opinion. OK, end of rant.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:58 PM
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
This is my sister Betsey, photographing the main temple at Tulum. I happened to be standing behind her, and saw this, and my heart stopped. Something about the angle of her arm, and the pony tail, and the diagonal of her pocketbook strap just grabbed me. I quickly put my camera to my eye, but she had finished her shot. So, a confession... I said: "Hey, can you put the camera up to your eye again, please?" She did, I took two exposures, and this one is the best - it matches what I first saw.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:55 PM
After the wedding we had one day in Mexico to go exploring, and I have always wanted to see Tulum. I went to Mexico in 1991 with a group to see the Solar Eclipse, but only stayed a week. The other half of the group I was with went on to see archaeological sites, including Tulum which is in a spectacular location on 40 foot high cliffs at the edge of the Carribean Sea. My three sisters and I took a cab down to Tulum from Playa del Carmen where the wedding was. I was so pleased that they wanted to see the ruins as much as I did! Tulúm is the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city serving as a major port for Cobá. While an inscription dated A.D. 564 has been found at the site, most of the structures now visible were built in the Post-Classic Era, between about 1200 and 1450. It is difficult to show the whole site and it's location, from photographing on the ground. I took lots of photographs, including this one, of one of the minor temples, but the photograph does not begin to give a sense of what it is like to be there. Oh for an airplane!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:43 PM
This is the Providence, Rhode Island skyline during a performance of Waterfires, on the Woonasquatucket River, which runs through the city. This spectacular sight was started about 1993 as part of the revitalization of the city's downtown waterfront area. I was with my friend Dick tonight, on the 5th floor of a building under construction, which gave this spectacular view. Piles of wood are placed on "braziers" floating in the river, then as darkness falls, boats painted black, with volunteers dressed in black, move down the river and ignite the wood fires. All this in the presence of mysterious music playing all along the river. Thousands of people line the riverbanks to view this event, which happens about every three weeks during the summer season. It is a sight to behold!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:25 PM
My friend Dick is a photographer who now shoots landscapes, after 27 years at the Providence Journal. So his gift was to take me to some of the cool places where he has made some of his memorable photographs. Gooswing Beach, down in Little Compton, Rhode Island is one such place. We drove there last night after dinner, and I made this photograph of the water at sky at dusk, just before dark.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 11:55 AM
So we are in Rehoboth, Mass, visiting our friends Dick and Trauti. Dick and I started as photographers at the Rochester Times Union back in 1966-67 and we have kept in touch ever since. Trauti loves gardening, and after they had a backhoe dig out this hole, they both worked to create this pond. Dick moved the rocks and Trauti selected the plants and arranged the garden. It is lovely to look at while seated on the deck having breakfast. And the variety of plants makes it a wonderful subject to explore with a camera.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 11:21 AM
Do you remember my post "White Room" a while back? I was at my sister Joan's home and while using the bathroom, did a nice photograph of the bathroom window and curtains all in high key - just a brilliant blast of white everywhere. Joan is a faithful reader of my blog, and she was so surprised to find a photo of her bathroom posted. That made me smile. So on the way to Providence, RI to visit friends, we stopped at her house again, and I used the downstairs batheroom and saw this shot! I think that half the reason I took this is so she will be surprised once again! But I do like the light and the design of this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 11:15 AM
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I had an assignment today to do a photographic illustration for a story about Separation Anxiety with children. I arrived at this house (where they were expecting me) and the first thing I did was to look for interesting light. The light seemed the most dramatic by the front door, and since separation anxiety is liable to take place at the front door, when a parent leaves the house, thought that this was a perfect place for the photograph. The three-year old was a wonderful model, and able to follow directions, and this really nice photo is the result. I was thrilled with the shot!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:20 PM
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
This is another piece from the same artist. It is perhaps my favorite, although there were so many that held me transfixed. It is about a passing cloud changing the light. The piece is created from many sheets of colored filters, held together with clothespins, and suspended from the ceiling with perhaps a hundred pieces of monofilament. It is a joy to walk around and watch the play of light on it and through it. This man is just brilliant!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:11 PM
OK, this is tricky business here. I took some photographs at the art museum I wrote about the other day. I am imagining that there are "bots" out there that search the internet looking for material that shouldn't be posted. Is it just my paranoia, or is it real? In any case, in all my posts, I never include the full name of any subjects, for privacy concerns. So the other day at that museum, I came face to face with simply brilliant work. Pieces that stopped me in my tracks because of their inventiveness. I was absolutely stunned! So I would rather not use the artist's full name. Do you know the class of small birds called "Finch?" That is his last name. And his first name is my last name. Got that? So for this piece, he measured the exact color of the sunlight in the sky late in the day at a particular location, and then scientifically reproduced that color indoors with this combination of colored windows. It is an amazing room to spend time in!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:52 PM
In the old days, before ExxonMobilGettyShellMidasJiffylube, if you had a gasoline station and auto repair shop, you named it after yourself, not after the corporation who supplied you with the gasoline. Now, for the most part, the stations display the corporate name, not the owner's name. So that's why I am always attracted to business that have the proprietor's name on it, just like the old days. I saw this one while sitting at a light, and made a few quick snaps before the light changed and I had to rush on to my next assignment.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:27 PM
Monday, August 13, 2007
I was in southern Vermont for this year's Stellafane Convention, which is an amateur telescope maker's convention that has been going on since the 1930's. In the last five years or so, I allow an extra day to wander around Vermont taking photographs and just seeing the sights. This year, on Friday it was pouring rain, so I was looking on the map for a place to go, and saw Mass MOCA, the Massachusetts Museum Of Contemporary Art, in North Adams, about an hour's drive south from where I was. I have been here once before and it is an amazing place, created in the old Sprague Capacitor factory. Stunning architecture, and the exhibits are all first rate. More on that in another post, but this is a view from outside with one if its signature signs in the foreground, and in the background, the exhibit made from four trees growing upside down (two of which are dead.) As I had my finger on the shutter release, a group of pigeons took flight, and I snapped.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:37 PM
I was in Manhattan a week or so ago for a night assignment at a theatre, and while walking downtown in Times Square, this blaze of color caught my eye. Not sure exactly why - I considered not stopping, but for some reason the image was compelling enough to make me stop and do three exposures. Something about it seeming to be so New York. This is my favorite.
I was doing photographs for a story about couples who decorate their home together. When I went to leave, I saw these three sets of children's coveralls hanging on pegs by the front door, and I was really taken by them. My favorite photo of the house, and it won't run in the paper. That's fine with me, because it runs here instead!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:29 PM
Sunday, August 12, 2007
This is my friend Ginger, looking at a photo exhibit at the International Center of Photography. I still haven't finished posting photos from Mexico - I have some more nice photos from after the wedding, but I am WAY behind in my posts again... I had to get ready for the annual Stellafane Convention in Vermont this past weekend. So I fell way behind in my posts. I was kind of waiting to finish the Mexico stuff, but I have been shooting and not posting, so it is time to get back on track. One of the reasons that Ginger is posted here today is that she is one of my biggest fans, and she has also been asking me to get back to posting on schedule! So I am surprising her by making her the post for today! Ginger and I worked together at Newsday for years and I have written of traveling to visit her in Texas last fall. We got together when she and Ron were visiting Manhattan a week or so ago, and visited ICP to see the exhibits there, and I snapped this image, which is so "Ginger."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:33 PM
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Two houses away from the small beach we went swimming at every day, was a house that was in ruins,with concrete beams crushed and fallen, missing floors and a roof collapse. This is all the result of hurricane Wilma. From Wikipedia: "Hurricane Wilma was the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. It devastated parts of the Yucatán Peninsula and southern Florida during October in the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. Wilma set numerous records for both strength and seasonal activity. Rainfall amounts in excess of 23 inches were reported in several areas. During the storm, waves five to eight meters high (enough to reach the third floor of many hotels) slammed against the coast line." So that would explain the devastation to this house that I photographed. I was able to photograph this by climbing up some damaged foundation walls, then walking along the top of a narrow wall, which put me on the collapsed floor of the house. The juxtaposition of the calm and beautiful sea with the destruction in the forground was why I was attracted to this scene. I made many photographs of the ruins while up on them.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Monday, August 6, 2007
This is the stairway in the villa we rented in Playa del Carmen, which goes upstairs from the living room. I photographed it during the day, but it became far more interesting at night. A bit more ominous perhaps. I photograph by responding to what I see, and then think about it later. When I looked at this photo at home, it reminded me of the paintings and photographs of the artist and photographer Charles Sheeler, whose work I really admire.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM
I have never been to the Caribbean. Ever. But the Yucatan Penninsula runs down to the Caribbean Sea. I have always wondered how the photographers got those amazing colors in the fashion photographs, advertisements, and travel photos. How do they DO that? Well, they "do" that by just being there! I could not believe the colors of the water and the sky! And when you swim in the sea, it seems to be more salty. You float higher in the water. But if all the seas are connected, eventually, how can the Caribbean be more salty than other bodies of water. Oh, the puzzles of life...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:25 PM
I apologize for letting my blog slide. I have been doing video training, and editing Amy & Gus' wedding videos, and trying to edit all the still photos and playing catch up at work as well. So to my loyal fans (all 5 of you...) I apologize. I will be posting more than one photo a day for a while to give you all the photos you have paid for... :-) This is my Neice Maureen's daughter Keera, with some of her brothers, looking in through the iron gateway to the church where Amy & Gus were married, before the church opened.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:57 PM