Saturday, May 31, 2008
There were thunderstorms moving through here today late in the afternoon. On a drive down to Glen Cove, I thought I would put the camera in the back seat, and drive by the water, just to see what I would see. I headed down the steep hill overlooking the harbor, and was stopped in my tracks by this scene! The lighter parts of the water are the result of there not being a breeze in those areas - the dark areas are that way because they have small waves on their surface. It was the dramatic curves of light and dark that grabbed me. I jumped out of the car in a hurry, because it was starting to rain. I tried severel different compositions, and chose this one which was the tightest view of the scene.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:57 PM
Friday, May 30, 2008
I have done a LOT of garden photography over the past 20 years or so, but I can never remember the names of the flowers! Duh! I particularly like these flowers, which have been growning the side yard now for the last 5 years or so. Can't remember the name of them, though. I think they look nice in this composition, with the arrangement of darks and lights balanced within the frame.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
At the end of my bike ride each day, now that the weather is nice, I sit in a park bench by the water. The other day, there were clouds in the sky, so the reflections of the clouds and the sky in the water had wonderful silvery tones, both light and dark. So I had to quickly ride back up the hill to home, grab a camera, and come back to the water and watch the reflections while I shot. This is one of the images of the waves and light, frozen in time. I have made this extra large, so when you click on it, it will be large enough for you to see all kinds of detail in the image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
This a photograph of the gorgeous fern bank between the front yard and the street. Every year it amazes me how beautiful they are when they emerge in the spring - I forget over the winter how wonderful they look when they come up. There is something mystical and primeval about them, when the light is right. I was thinking of photographing them this morning in the early light of day, but I forgot. So I rediscovered them near the end of the day, with spotty sunlight coming through the trees and leaving patches of sun in the street as well.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:22 PM
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Yesterday I spoke of following the woman in the wheelchair along the parade route. When the parade gathered at the ball field in town for the memorial ceremonies, the woman got out of the wheelchair and stood with the aid of these crutches for 30 minutes or more. So I spent a fair amount of time trying to decide what view and what composition would make the strongest photo. This is my choice. So my question for all of you is, which photo do you think is the more powerful?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:59 PM
Monday, May 26, 2008
Wow, do I feel good about THIS photograph! It is an interesting composition, with a lot going on in it, and it has people in it, for a change! I went to the Sea Cliff Memorial Day parade, hoping I could find a photo for the blog. I first noticed the woman in the wheelchair at the first stop on the parade route, where the parade visits the monument to a soldier lost in the Spanish-American War. I did a photograph there, and then decided to follow her along the route and try and find some other photographs. As I walked ahead of the parade, I saw this woman on her porch, with an American flag hanging, and her hand over her heart watching the parade pass, and I waited for just this moment to show all that, and the woman in the wheelchair. I did some other photographs later on, but this one seems the strongest, because of all that is going on in the photo. You will want to know about the woman in the wheelchair, of course, and the truth is, I didn't track her down to ask any details. I do know that she is wearing Navy dress whites. Other than that, the rest is a mystery. She did, however, get out of her chair, and stand at attention with the help of arm crutches, during the ceremonies at the end of the parade. Sometimes I am not a good reporter. You may want to click on this to see it in a larger size.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:40 PM
Sunday, May 25, 2008
This is for Amy! She always loves to see photographs of home, so here is a shot I did today with sunlight streaming into a corner of her room. I was walking by the doorway and saw how bright and sunny it was, late in the afternoon, so that's why I made the photograph. I just love the sense of sunlight here!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
There is a wonderful Robert Frost poem called "The Tuft of Flowers." (You can find the whole poem here: http://www.bartleby.com/117/24.html). Today when I was mowing the front yard, I saw these three white flowers and the Frost poem immedialtely came to mind. I couldn't bear to run the mower over them! So I carefully mowed around them, and let them be. If you read the poem, you will understand.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:02 PM
Friday, May 23, 2008
"Four eyes." That cracked me up the first time I heard it, from a USAF drill sergeant at Lackland Air Force Base, referring to a fellow recruit wearing glasses. I had never heard that before. That term just came to me while trying to come up with a title for this post. The photo is straightforward - I was brushing my teeth in the morning, and as I bent over the sink I saw the window reflected in this beautiful hand-carved mirror where I had set my glasses down. Click.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:51 PM
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I was looking for photos on a nearby beach and stumbled across this construction. It appears to be an elaborate fort, but it is quite complex and made with a whole bunch of different materials. The construction is quite sophisticated. Enough so that I think it may not have been made by children. The builders had obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the design and the materials they used which they found on the beach. I spent about 15 minutes looking at it, and trying to photograph it in a way that would show all of its complexity. This is the photograph that I choose. Please click on it to see it in a larger size, and I hope you will see more of the details that way.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:34 PM
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
For one day, it was finally warm, and not raining. So I had a chance to start doing some painting around here. I started with the front storm door. For me there is something very rewarding about a fresh new coat of paint, on anything. Before I painted the door and the screen, I took the solid brass mail slot off the door, and used a wire wheel and Brasso on it, and brought it back to life, from the dull brown that it was in its oxidized state. Doesn't it look wonderful all shined up and laquered? Good for the soul, this work of making things look brand new!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:12 PM
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I have photographed this scene literally hundreds of times over the years. Today it was pouring rain and as I drove by, I realized that I had never photographed it under these conditions. What grabbed me was that there was so much water on the surface of the road that the shadows of the trees were reflected in the wet pavement. That's why I stopped the car and got out. I shot my first impressions, but then started looking for something else. This photo is that "something else." It is a way of looking at line of trees and the road and the water and the bench with a different sense of composition. I think that this photo is more about the composition, and the division of space, than anything else, although it does have a nice mood to it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:52 PM
Monday, May 19, 2008
"Business Card?" But that's a photo of cumulus clouds. What? Well, I have a story for you... I decided I needed business cards so went to VistaPrint on the web, and went looking for one of their designs. I loved a card with clouds on it, but I couldn't customize it enough, so decided to make my own design, with my own photograph of clouds on it. Do you think I could find a photograph of clouds in all the photographs I have on file? Of course not! Duh! I did find something, but it wasn't *just* right. And this time of year, what is the chance I would find the cumulus clouds I needed? Well, wouldn't you know, a cold front came through last night, and this morning began with a brilliant blue sky, and puffy white clouds! What luck! So before breakfast, I headed down to the beach to get the best view of the clouds down to the horizon. What is interesting is that I never just photograph clouds - they are always a background to something in the foreground. So, what an amazing thing to look at just the clouds all by themselves. It was so cool to just explore different areas of the sky, in both wide views and close-up. These things are stunningly beautiful.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:38 PM
Sunday, May 18, 2008
I went to a different beach today, on a day when showers were around again. By the time I got to the beach the rain had stopped, and I was a bit disappointed - I was hoping that the atmospherics of the rain would add to the photographs. That was not to be, so I went looking for other things. These Beach Roses, once I spotted them, jumped out at me with their brilliant magenta color, set against the contrast of the interesting light green leaves. You can see that the blossoms were really beaten down by the rain. But there a few raindrops on the blossoms, which add interest to the photograph. It looks even better if you click on it and get the larger image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:43 PM
Saturday, May 17, 2008
So as I discussed yesterday, this is another way of looking at the seascape in the rain. I wanted to do something beyond ways that I would normally look at the land, er... the sea. I spotted the water drops on the black pipe and thought there might be something worth looking at. So I got close to it and experimented with the composition. I really like the result - it has an ominous feeling to it. Mostly I like that I was able to see beyond the way I normally see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:55 PM
Friday, May 16, 2008
Because it was rainy and foggy, I headed down to the water to see what I could find. I spent half an hour shooting different things, and this is one of the last I did. I loved the sense of moodiness combined with the graphic qualities of the boardwalk, the railing, and the reflection. I like this a lot, but wondered if I could do something really different, so I kept looking, and found a different view of the scene. I will post that photograph tomorrow. I think you will find it interesting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:21 PM
Thursday, May 15, 2008
This is my friend and former colleague Paul, who left the paper I worked for about four years ago, and is now the Undergratuate Director of a new School of Journalism here on Long Island. Paul and I worked together on stories for more than 30 years. I stopped by to visit him in his new job today, and was taken by these wonderful posters, showing the classic cartoon images of an old time newspaperman and woman. And he seems happy, doesn't he? It was wonderful to see the school, which will be one of the best in the country before long.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:16 PM
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I went down to the water today to see what I could find. It was low tide, so I looked around the rocks and found this interesting composition, with rocks and seaweed and barnacles. I think it is more about abstract design, and I think it lacks the emotional quality which I think makes some photos "something else."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:08 PM
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I went to a nearby town where the high school is thinking of building an observatory for students to use for astronomy programs. We looked around to see where the building might be located. I took some long exposure photographs of the sky to see how badly the light pollution from nearby communities would affect the ability to see faint stars. As you can see in this photo, the "sky glow" from lights in the distance is so bright that no stars are visible near the horizon. The bright object in the upper right is the moon. But that is not the cause of the light pollution. It is a shame that light pollution from man made sources so prevalent that so few people have seen the Milky Way.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:13 PM
Monday, May 12, 2008
In early spring there is a lovely scent around here from two different Lilac trees. This, one, the lighter of the two, is not as aromatic as the darker purple one. I photographed this one because the color is more subtle. This is also the tree that I was photographing when I nearly stepped on the dandelion! You remember the dandelion photo, right? But this is a nice photo as well, so I am posting this also. I think the photo is more interesting because this particular view has the green in the background. In some images, I excluded the background and the photographs are not as interesting.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
At the end of masses at church on Mother's Day all the mothers present are invited up to the front of the church, and parishioners raise their hands during a prayer for the moms. And each mom receives a small flower in a pot as well. During the prayer I was looking around and saw this mom and her baby, who were close to me. I was taken by her expression during prayer, while holding her baby, and with some of the other parishioners with their hands raised. It felt like the right photograph for the day.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:29 PM
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I love photographing on days of rain and mist. Without the harsh shadows of the sun, you can see details in everything, and the colors are almost super saturated. I had been out nearly all day on Friday, running errands and on the way home, late in the afternoon, I drove past Cedarmere, the home of William Cullen Bryant, in Roslyn. Bryant was an American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post. His most famous poem was Thanatopsis, which you will recognize, at least in name. I have always loved this particular building on the property for a number of reasons. It was, I believe, the Grist Mill, which was water powered, appears abandoned - which it is not - it is awaiting restoration, but most of all, because it is always seen reflected in the pond between it and the roadway I drive along. I actually overcame inertia to take this photo. I had passed it and wrestled with whether or not to turn around and go back to it, which I ultimately did. I spent about forty minutes, lost in the joys of composition, looking for the best photograph of the scene, which is always fun when you loose track of time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:23 PM
Friday, May 9, 2008
Now that I am retired, I can join the monthly "Dinosaur Breakfast" which was started by my colleague and fellow photographer Dick Kraus about 4 or 5 years ago when he retired. He wanted a way for retired colleagues to stay in touch at a monthly gathering. He came up with the term "Dinosaurs" to describe those of us photographers who have been working in this business for a long time. I am not exactly sure of the implication of the term "dinosaur", other than our ages. I think it may have something to do with our work ethic or something. I will have to ask Dick. Anyhow, there were thirteen of us around the table in the diner - photographers from Newsday, and the News and the Post and the NY Times, and some people from the art department and a writer, and our former department secretary. I was thinking of the length of time each of us has worked for newspapers, and decided to add up the total number of years we have collectively spent in the newspaper business. The total? Four hundred and ninety three years! For thirteen people! I kid you not. 493 years! Wow! (From left to right: Phil Dionisio, Lee Levine, and Dick Kraus.)
Thursday, May 8, 2008
So there I was, crouching in the gutter in the street. I had my toy camera with me, and was trying to photograph the thousands of beautiful pink cherry blossoms which were drifting down from the tree branches. Suddenly a car pulled up at the corner, and I heard: "Ken! Is that you?" "Whaaaat?" I am thinking! I am nowhere near where I live in an unfamiliar neighborhood, and someone here knows me? I looked up to see Srischua, the college student who with her classmate interviewed me two weeks ago! She had come to this neighborhood to pick up some film she had left at a nearby camera shop. I had come to the same shop to buy a new case for my toy camera. I hadn't been to this shop in six months! And someone I have met exactly once, comes by at exactly the same moment! So I had her take a photo of me photographing the blossoms on the lawn, thinking I would put it on the blog. But then she was showing me about the macro setting on my toy camera, and I took my Nikon and realized that my shots of just the blossoms alone were not enough - the photo needed SOMETHING else - it needed a person in it. So here she is, and the photograph is far more interesting because of her.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:47 PM
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I went to Sears this afternoon to get a new router to build my telescope with. When I got out of my car in the parking lot, this is what I saw. I was struck by how uninviting this building is. I think that at one time there was an entrance at this end of the building, but now it is boarded up, in a fancy kind of way. I went around to the front where the real entrance is, and that is not inviting either. What puzzles me is why I never noticed this before. It would be interesting to find out when this building was built. I have been coming here ever since moving to Long Island in November of 1966. My friend Jimmie Moose Wildey has always said that my world began and ended at Sears! :-) That was because I was always here buying tools and things I needed to work on the house.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:03 PM
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Sometimes I scare myself. I was photographing one of the Lilac bushes in the yard, and was using a close up lens to concentrate on the blooms. I spent a fair amount of time trying differing compositions and was pretty happy with the results. And then I happened to look down! There was a dandelion at my feet, growing out of a crack in the driveway! I was surprised to see that it was in its seed stage. I wondered what it is called when the dandelion goes "white" so I looked it up in Wikipedia, perhaps my favorite online resource. Here is what it said: "The flower head matures into a spherical "clock" (also known as "wishies") containing many single-seeded fruits (achenes). Each achene is attached to a pappus of fine hairs, which enable wind-aided dispersal over long distances." I LOVE knowing stuff like this! Anyhow, I started exploring the "clock" with my closeup lens. I included the whole Dandelion in the frame. Here is where the accident happened... I used the magnify function on the LCD to see if the image was in focus, and was stunned to see how much more interesting the photograph was if I was REALLY close. So then I moved in and made this image. The accidental image, indeed!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:33 PM
Monday, May 5, 2008
I was sitting having lunch at ICP last week (I know, I am cheating - this blog is called "A Picture EACH Day." Well, you are getting a picture each day, that was taken on this day... *most* of the time.) Anyhow, sorry I got distracted there... So I looked over at these chairs, and the captured my attention for some reason. Mirror image sort of? I don't know, but I started fooling with the composition to see what I could make from it. This is the result. It's the little thingies at both the right and left edges of the frame that make this interesting, in my opinion.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
So I am driving down a back road and come to a red light. I looked out to the left and saw a sea of tulips in the sunlight! Wow! Grabbed the Nikon and jumped out of the car and started shooting. I was so excited, that I didn't even check the exposure carefully on the first shot! It was over-esposed. Then I settled down and shot about 30 photographs with varying compositions, When it was time to choose one of the images, I was taken by the first exposure. It looked like an impressionistic painting in some ways, with the pastel colors. So here it is - my mistake!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:31 PM
Saturday, May 3, 2008
I am always looking, of course. Even when I am standing around waiting for a train, I am looking. Which is where I was the other day, in the LIRR Jamaica Station, waiting for the Oyster Bay train. I didn't see anything right away, but then there was something about the "jagged" dark line of the roof overhead. So I grabbed my toy camera and fiddled with the composition, and this seemed to be the right way to frame it. To me it doesn't look like any identifiable type of architecture, which is why I like it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:01 PM
Friday, May 2, 2008
I love this time of early spring. One day there are almost no colors, and the next, there are delicate shades of color everywhere. It won't be long before all the subtle shades of green will all change to the darker greens of summer. But today, the colors are light and bright, and the pink of this dogwood across the street is the compliment of the other green trees behind it. It helps that the day was misty and overcase. The harsh light of direct sun would distract from our being able to see the colors clearly.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:15 PM
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I took this photograph about 30 feet away from the fountain that I photographed and posted two days ago. I seemed to see photographs everywhere in Bryant Park in the rain. I was admiring this scene - thinking that it had a European feel, when this pigeon strolled into the frame. And then stayed there long enough for me to take two frames. I think without the bird, the photograph wouldn't be worth taking. Thank you pigeon! By the way, if you haven't noticed, I changed the post about the white bicycle, below. It turns out that the bike is a sobering memorial. Please scroll down and read the additional information.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:02 PM