Monday, June 30, 2008
When I see any kind of ruin, my whole body begins to tingle! I find that exploring ruins is a very exciting for me. Old things have a richness to them that is obviously missing from brand new things. I stumbled across this huge flywheel in a park in Piermont, NY, just south of Nyack. The story about this machinery is this: It was part of the machinery installed in 1902, as part of a steam-driven generator, for the Piermont Paper Company. In the 1980's the factory was closed forever. When they attempted to remove the machinery, it wouldn't move! They used a wrecking ball with little success, so it was decided to leave it as a permanent part of the park, a monument to the town's industrial past. I am so happy that there is a record of some of the history of this town for all to see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:56 PM
Sunday, June 29, 2008
So we went to this park on the west side of the Hudson River, in Nyack, where there is a hiking trail along the river. We were about to start out walking along it when we noticed lightning to the south, and the hills were obscured with rain. Uh-Oh! So we stayed right by the car, and watched the thunderstorm move up the Hudson River toward us. This is Liz pointing at the storm, just before it hit, and we dived into the car to escape the rain. It was so cool to watch the storm for about 15 minutes as it moved up the river toward us.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:28 PM
We met Larry! And Ann! I kid you not! We were walking down the street after our dinner, and he and Ann were sitting at THIS table, right out on the street! "Are you kidding me?" I thought. I cannot believe this! Liz said: "Is it OK to introduce my mom and dad?" and he said "Sure" and Ann got up to shake our hands, and he was really nice and funny, and we got to talk about 5 or 6 minutes, and it was really nice. Wow! After three years. At this table. Oh, You probably wonder who Larry is. Larry is Liz' employer. Sorry, I forgot to mention that one small detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:18 PM
So I am on the way to Nyack, and crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge, I see this arrow in the distance, about a quarter of the way across the bridge. I can figure out a lot of things, but this has me stumped. A right turn arrow on the middle of the bridge? Huh? I saw it in the distance, and got my point-and-shoot out of it's pouch, and only had time to snap one photo as the arrow flashed by as we drove across the bridge. I like this photograph a lot because it is incongruous.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
I apologize for forgetting to do my Friday night post! Completely forgot! Duh! And now I have a couple of photographs I took today, but I can't show them to you! I am in Nyack, NY, visiting my daughter, who is here for a couple of days working. I'm sorry, I can't resist this fact: she came here on a Citation Jet from the Bahamas! Yeah, I know... I don't believe it either, but it is true... Anyhow, I brought my laptop with me and two cameras, and shot a bunch of photographs, and then realized that I forgot to bring the card reader for the camera cards! I tried connecting the cameras via a USB cable, but for some reason that didn't work either. So this is an old photo that I wanted to show you. I found it the other day when going through a collection of old images. It is from a photographic workshop I took with Mark Klett some years back. I did several workshops with him. We would go to the deserts of Arizona, and camp out, and photograph for a week. We got go to places you would not normally go, because we needed four-wheel-drive vehicles, and you would not want to go alone in case you had a breakdown or got stuck. Anyhow, there were about 14 people in the group. This is Russell, and I forget his last name. He is a Dentist from Georgia. Anyhow, I was photographing the landscape, and turned around and saw him doing a close-up photo of this cactus. I immediately grabbed this shot, because it looked as if he was being devoured by this cactus! Isn't it wonderful?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I have been painting the front porch these last few days, and so I have been face to face with this wonderful bell with the faces on it. It is a Paoli Soleri windbell, one of two that I bought when visiting Cosanti in Paradise Valley, Arizona a couple of years ago. Cosanti is the amazing studio of architect Paolo Soleri who designed the world famous Arcosanti, Soleri’s futurist urban environment which has been under construction for about 28 years, north of Scottsdale, Arizona. You can buy either ceramic or cast bronze Cosanti bells. I couldn't decide which I liked best, so I bought one of each. It is wonderful to hear them when the wind blows.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:38 PM
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I learned from Minor White two ways of thinking about how to approach a subject: "The thing for what it is," and "the thing for what else it can be." A very helpful way of thinking. I photographed this Allium against the sky a few weeks back, and it was pretty dramatic in silhouette. It made for a fairly striking image. The only thing is, when all was said and done, you had no idea what it really *looked* like. It was just black and it was just an outline of the object. It was the object for what else it can be. So I photographed it again, this time, photographing it for what it is. I like that you can see the colors of it. I think there is more information in this version of the photograph.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
(Photograph by Herb Savran)
About a month ago I wrote about being interviewed by two college students for a project. I was impressed with them both, and decided it would make a nice blog post, so I did a portrait of the two of them. While I was doing that, their professor photographed me! I went to visit him today, and he gave me prints of several photographs he took of me. I was taken by this one, because I rarely see what I look like when I am working. So this was really interesting to me, and you should like it too, because now you all know exactly what I look like... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:05 PM
Monday, June 23, 2008
This is one of the classic victorian homes in Sea Cliff, and it was completely redone in the last 5 years, and it is now a beauty! To add to that, they have planted gardens around it, and there are baskets of flowers hanging on the porch that surrounds the home. It is a stunner my cat stopped automatically while driving by it! (That last statement looked so funny that I am leaving it in! It was my CAR that stopped by itself while driving by.)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:03 PM
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I went to an amazing tribute this afternoon, for a pioneering investigative reporter and editor I once worked with years ago. Robert W. Greene was a legend in the world of journalism, and he won the Pulitzer prize twice. He was also an inspiring teacher, who was loved by his students. This is the dean of the journalism school where he taught, speaking about Bob's acomplishments to his colleagues and friends. I found the tribute inspirational - it made me feel as if there was hope for journalism, which is difficult to come by these days.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:32 PM
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Breakfast, on a cool Saturday morning, is a cup of coffee from fresh ground beans - Guatamala Antigua - brewed in a filter cone, and a toasted rye bagel with butter. What could be better than this, sitting on the front steps in the warm rays of the sun, drinking coffee and eating a bagel!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Friday, June 20, 2008
There is a little theater off the main floor of the Rose Center Planetarium where they show a continuous movie about black holes. This young child was fascinated by the movie, and kept coming back in to watch it again. His mom was just out of the frame of the photo - he was not left all alone here. I love that he appears alone in the shot, and if he hadn't been wearing an orange shirt, this photo would not have worked. I loved having one small figure in a large empty room. Kind of like the universe itself - not very much matter in a huge empty space.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I went to the city today to see the "Cosmic Collisions" show at the Hayden Planetarium (Whoops! It's now the "Rose Center!) No sooner had I come up out of Penn station than I saw this crowd gathered. The short version of the story is that there was a "photo op" to publicize "The World's Strongest Man Super Series" now at the Garden. There were women with short-shorts perched on the shoulders of strongmen, and then this... I found out on the website that this is Jarek Dymek who shows how to lift a 900-pound tire. What blew me away was that there were about 20 photographers shooting both still and video, which you can see in the background! Man, who USES these photos! I just can't imagine...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:20 PM
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I was driving home by the back road, and for 20 minutes I could see a thunderstorm in the distance, in the direction I was driving. I went through a bit of rain, but not much. I was about 2 miles from home when I came around a corner and saw this cornfield. It must have *just* stopped raining, and there must have been a lot of rain, because there were little rivers of water between each row. That's what caught my eye. I stopped, backed up, parked, jumped out of the car, and grabbed the camera from the trunk. I quickly went to the edge of the field and looked for a decent composition. The only problem was, by the time I found the best vantage point and a good compositon, I suddenly realized that the water was nearly completely absorbed by the ground! Bummer! I shot this anyway, but it was better when the valleys were completely filled with water. There are still some nice things going on with the lovely curves of the land, though.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I have never photographed a garden from below. Never. Ever. I have, however, seen other people doing that, and I recently saw a nice photo that resulted from shooting from below. I have always looked at gardens from above, and I am not sure why, but I think it's because I want the foreground - middleground- background effect, and also because I want to look *into* the blossoms. So, because I am SO dead set against shooting from below, I decided to do it today when I saw these flowers and this house. I think it works in this sutuation. Of course the photograph ends up being more about the flowers in relation to the house, than about just the flowers alone.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Monday, June 16, 2008
Once again, late this afternoon, the sky to the northwest turned dark gray, and it looked as if the world was coming to an end. When a thunderstorm is coming, I immediately drive down to the water to watch it approach across the water. Today was no disappointment as the gust front came through, and then the leading edge of the storm. I stood there photographing down the road, while the wind buffeted me. It was really dark, and I had to use a slow shutter speed even with a high ISO set in the camera. The wind was making it difficult to get an image that wasn't blurred. But I certainly wasn't disappointed by driving to the beach.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:17 PM
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I took the garbage out late at night one day last week, and when I looked up the street, I saw this scene. I liked the spookieness of it. If you are curious about the strange blue lights in the upper right hand corner of the photo, they are the interior lights of the bedroom of a house two houses up the street!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:28 PM
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Long Island is horse country, in some of the more wealthy areas, and this is a lovely back road route I travel often. I forget what caught my eye first. I think that maybe it was the near and far silhouettes of the black fences against the light colored grass. But in that same instant, I also saw the two flowering trees. Whoa! "This is worth looking at," I thought. So I did a U-turn and came back to see what I could do with the scene. I was hoping for that "something else" but I couldn't find it. So you only get this...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:18 PM
Friday, June 13, 2008
So you know I always carry my Canon point-and-shoot on my belt, right? So I am driving along Shore Road, and there are these nice clouds and the pink sky along the horizon. I quickly reach for the camera and hold it up to the windshield and start clicking as I drive along. I mean, I am still watching the road. Anyhow I shoot about 5 frames and then I turn up my street. I really like the effect of the motion blur. Something that I would never do normally. I am trying harder to do some things differently, but ONLY if they add to the strength of the photograph, not just different for the sake of being different. I think this does have a lovely feeling to it, though.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I love all kinds of architecture, and I am still wowed by skyscrapers. I did this shot last week when I was near the climber on the NY Times building. As a photographer who has done architecture all my life, starting with a 4x5 view camera with swings and tilts to control perspective, it is difficult for me to go around and shoot tilted photographs, which became the rage some years ago. "Eurotrash" is what they called it at the time. I have seen the tilted horizon used effectively, though. And I think that works here. I rotated the camera around the axis of the lens and tried several different compositions of these buildings This view is rotated 90 degrees from the vertical, and I love that it is disorienting, compared to the "correct" view.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:56 PM
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I have always been fascinated by the beauty of decay. When I first saw these faded flowers a day earlier, I put them on the back steps to photograph. They looked much better then. I was disappointed to see them today, and realized that I forgot to photograph them sooner. So, OK, here is a challenge... can I find something interesting in these seriously faded blossoms? I was hoping for something more graphic, but I will give you this as a more straightforward image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
My plan was to go down to the water tonight with a really long telephoto lens, and an extender, hoping to get the setting sun over the harbor, looking like a big red ball. Alas, it was not to be... There was a cloud deck in the west, and the sun disappeared about an hour before sunset. So I came home empty handed. When I pulled into the driveway, I spotted the Allium I photographed the other day, only all the little blossoms or flowers were gone. So I picked one of the "balls" on the top of the stalk and started looking at it, to see if it was interesting. It looked really interesting seen against the sky. I messed with it for a bit. looking in different directions, until I saw the first quarter moon. I like having that very subtle addition to the photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:42 PM
Monday, June 9, 2008
So this is a more traditional landscape version of the same scene I photographed yesterday. Slightly different time, and less of the complex clouds in the sky. You can see why I had trouble picking between this photograph and yesterday's view. I think that one thing that adds a lot to this photograph is the small group of people in the lower left. One more element, a bit more complexity, and a better picture than would be without the group.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
There were thunderstorms around this afternoon, so I decided to go down to the water to see if there was anything to photograph as a result of the storms. Nothing as dramatic as last week's two photographs, but there WERE some things. I took a whole bunch of photos, from two different locations, and some near and some far. I am having a difficult time choosing which photo I should use. I was looking at a lovely pink sky wide-angle shot, until I saw this photo. Because it is such a narrow view, it feels different than all the other shots, and so I am picking it for that reason. Maybe I will post some of the other photos as well, later in ther week. There are some really nice ones to show you.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:34 PM
Saturday, June 7, 2008
On the way back to Penn station the other day, I was walking along looking for pictures on the street. I passed this couple sitting in a window outside a restaurant. I was taken by the woman's face and orange glow around the couple. By the time I spotted them, it was too late to take a candid photo without being seen. I continued past them, and thought about what I had seen, and decided to go back. I passed them going in the opposite direction, and the photo didn't work from that direction. So I turned around again, and started back past them. I realized that there was no way I would get what I want candidly, so I just walked up to them, and asked if I could take their portrait, and they said "sure." I took about 5 shots, and this is my favorite. It was kind of fun to actually stop and talk to people, instead of shooting candidly. If you click on it, you will see a version with more color saturation.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Friday, June 6, 2008
When I arrived in Penn Station yesterday, I was looking up at the very modern looking ceiling, and then I spotted the American flags and thought that there might be a picture there. I got out my camera and was standing there making a few exposures as commuters passed by me, when suddenly I noticed in the left side of the photo a woman wearing red and white stripes! Yikes! Click! Got it! Whew! She makes the photo SO much more interesting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:23 PM
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I took the train into the city today to go to ICP to see the latest photographic exhibits, one of which, "Heavy Light" is a survey of new Japanese photography. While walking up 7th avenue I saw all these people gathered at 41st street looking up and pointing. I looked up but didn't see anything. But the people looking up were really interesting looking, so I spent half an hour photographing them! I gradually walked west along 41st street, and then spotted a climber high up on the New York Times building! He is a professional climber from Paris, France, and his specialty is climbing structures like the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Eiffel Tower and Montparnasse Tower in Paris. He reached the top with no problem, and was arrested. In a bizarre twist, the climb was repeated about 4 hours later by another young man from Brooklyn. Go figure!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:07 PM
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I went out to get the newspaper this morning, and discovered that it was foggy out. So I grabbed the camera and went exploring under the Japanese maple tree. First I looked at a few random ferns, but had trouble making a complete photo. So then I started looking at the branches, and there was something about this view that struck me.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:25 PM
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
We drove up to Connecticut to see my mom and my sisters, and when I parked the car in the driveway, the first thing I saw out the window was this trellis with roses in my sister Joan's garden. "Wow, there's blog shot!" I thought. I liked the roses, of course, but I also liked the patterns from the trellis against the pattern of the cedar shingles on the garage. Joan works really hard on her garden, and there were photographs everywhere. I will probably post another one in a while, and, of course, probably ask you which one you like best... :-) As usual, please click on this to see a more color-saturated version in a larger size.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:12 PM
Monday, June 2, 2008
You will have to forgive me for this one. I was going through folders of recent photographs before burning DVD's for archive purposes and came across this other version of the thunderstorm passing photograph that I posted the other day. I was tossed about which photo to post the other day, and this was the second choice. Now I am not so sure. I think that this is far more dramatic. Same scene, this time with a wide-angle lens instead of with a telephoto. Wow, look at that sky!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:47 PM
Sunday, June 1, 2008
There was a special meeting at church today where parishioners could meet each other and share ideas for the future of the parish. I was there to photograph the event and one of the things I was looking for were intereactions between members of the community. I saw these two women chatting, so I stood at a distance and watched them talking until this moment when they both laughed. Click! Best photo of the day!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:08 PM