Thursday, July 31, 2008
Stallafane is the name of the astronomical convention I am attending this weekend in Vermont. I was setting up my telescope to do some observing as it was getting dark, and it was dark all around me. Suddenly in the distance, I saw this strange circle of light on the wall of the observatory. I couldn't believe my eyes... this amateur astronomer was using his laptop while sitting against the observatory's wall, and the light from the computer was lighting both him, and the wall, in a very strange looking way. I had to grab a tripod, because a long exposure was reauired, but he was still sitting there after I went to my car and came back with the tripod. I love how bizarre the light in this photo is!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:23 PM
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I am cleaning up telescopes and packing for my trip to Vermont, and so didn't have time to shoot today, so this is an older photograph, but a favorite of mine. I love that the chairs are levitating! Well not really. If you click on the small photo, a larger one will show that the furniture is suspended by small lines through pulleys on the ceiling. And WHY would someone do this? Simple. The furniture is in a boathouse right by the harbor, and the tide often floods the building, with up to a foot of water, which after a while would damage the furniture, so bingo! Ropes on the furniture. Brilliant, don't you think? I love this photo because without that explanation, all of this would be such a mystery.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
My bike ride today started later than normal, and when I got back, I put my jersey and bike shorts in Amy's room as I always do, and then looked toward the window. The late afternoon sunlight was coming through the window and shining on the wall. I started photographing and watched the light change over about a 15 minute period. I thought the brighter sunlight was the most dramatic, at first, but then the more subtle light in this photo, taken later on, was what moves me more. Aren't you glad that it is not yet another garden photo?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:05 PM
Monday, July 28, 2008
Well, you can certainly tell that I haven't been out photographing... :-( This is a bench in another garden at Planting Fields. I just loved all the shades of green, and the different textures. Don't give up hope on me - on Thursday I head to Vermont for the Telescope Maker's Convention, and you will finally get to see some new scenery.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:34 PM
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Here is another photograph from Planting Fields. There was so much to see and photograph there, that I kept on shooting, and I keep posting here. The thing that grabbed me here was the color of paint on the mullions on the windows in this circa 1906 building. This was first a tennis house, and later tea house. I have photographed this cottage over the years, and this is the first time I remember seeing the bright blue. I tried to photograph it in a way that made the colors more obvious, but I wasn't successful. You will have to click to get a larger image, and to see better color.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Bittersweet Destiny - a wonderfully poetic title, isn't it? It happens to be the name of this particular flower. It is a Hemerocallis - a "Daylilly." Found it at Planting Fields the other day. I need to remind myself when shooting in gardens to get not only the wide photographs, showing a lot of the garden, and the relationships of different plants to each other, to show what the designer has created, but I also need to remember to look for close-ups as well. Sometimes they can be more graphic, as this one is.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:05 PM
Friday, July 25, 2008
I was thinking of yesterday's "Strange Garden" post when I thought of this title, thinking that it was a completely different garden, which it is. However... both gardens had Black-Eyed Susans in them! Didn't notice that at first. This is a real garden, however. It is Planting Fields Arboretum, a New York State Historical Park, and a wonderful place to walk around and photograph, which I did yesterday, looking for some new photographic subjects. I have some other photos from the session, but this is a nice image to start with. The blossom in the center is a Purple Coneflower, which is a favorite of mine.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:14 PM
Thursday, July 24, 2008
This is a VERY strange garden, at first glance. In reality, it is just a group of Black-Eyed Susans that were planted at the drive up ordering box at the local McDonalds! I know, I know, what was I doing eating at a McDonalds? I just had a small hamburger... When I came around the corner and saw this, it grabbed my attention right away. After I picked up my burger, I parked the car and went back to wait until there were no cars in line, and shot this. It just seems so incongruous, with those signs and these flowers together.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:14 PM
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
There was a great sunset the other day, that showed up at the last minute, as the setting sun dropped below the cloud deck. I didn't think I had much time to get a photo, so I was shooting like a maniac. I was taken by the perspective here, with the gentle curve of this railing along the shoreline, going to the vanishing point. It is subtle, but worth looking at. I tried a longer focus lens, hoping that compressing scene would accent the perspective, but it didn't. This wide-angle view was more effective.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:14 PM
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Welcome to a strange world. I was a bit desperate today for a photograph, so I took a look at the tomato garden after I watered it. I took the "normal" sort of photographs, and then went looking for different kinds of photographs. I took this from a low angle, and it looks like a view into a strange world - partly because the tomatoes are small, and their flower petals are pointed up. And THEN... While I am focusing on the branch, into the frame walks an ant! Oh man, quick! Click! One fame. Whew! Done. You will want to click on the image to see it in the larger size.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:12 PM
Monday, July 21, 2008
One viewer wrote yesterday that they would like to see more than one photo of some events, like yesterday's post. So, since I didn't shoot today... (gulp!) I decided to post another photo from "Twelfth Night as Explained by the Marx Brothers." This photo is probably a bit more dramatic than yesterday's post, because today you are looking at a close-up of two faces. The interesting thing about the way I photographed this play is that I was there as a member of the audience, rather than as a photographer. Had I been there on assignment, I would have used longer lenses, and moved around from place to place to find the best photo. And, truth be told, I would have worked a *lot* harder to get a great photograph
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:21 PM
Sunday, July 20, 2008
We went to a yearly performance of the village theater group in a place called "spooky park" last night. The show was "Twelfth Night as explained by the Marx Brothers." Believe it or not it was hilarious! And the production was pretty amazing, given it was in a outdoor park. Some of the performers clearly have acting in their soul, and it showed! So this is more of a snapshot, but I like how it is incongruous to have Groucho and an actor in Shakespeare garb in the same photo.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:30 PM
Saturday, July 19, 2008
OK, I am being a smart-aleck here. I know nothing about plant taxonomy! I looked this flower up on Google! It's common name is "Yarrow" and I only found that out five minutes ago. What happened today was that I was watering my one tomato plant, and decided to water this flower as well, and noticed that the stem was bent almost completely over giving this view of the underside of this blossom. I was stunned by the magnificence of this support structure, and went to grab my camera.
This photograph is the result.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:40 PM
Friday, July 18, 2008
So this was my project for the day. I bought an air compressor and a nail gun to do the roof last year so this year I bought a spray gun to go with the compressor. These are all the pieces of wicker furniture from the front porch, which were getting very dirty looking, and I decided to paint them today. After each was dry enough to move, I put the pieces in the driveway, in the sun to dry. Then I noticed that their random placement made an interesting compositon. "So there is my blog shot," I thought.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:41 PM
Thursday, July 17, 2008
One of the things I TRY and do, is to see things in a different way. To try for new ways of composing, and arranging objects within the frame, and a different sense of timing in the hopes it will expand my horizons of what a picture can be. Anyhow, I don't usually end up doing this on the blog. So I tried to force myself to do it last night, at my astronomy meeting. I did get a different photograph in the process, BUT... I am not particularly pleased with the final photograph. It IS different, but it doesn't feel like something I am comfortable with. Anyhow, here it is, and tomorrow I will be back to my own self.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:06 PM
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I decided that I needed to do something different today. I needed a photograph at a different scale from what I have been doing lately. "A close-up" I thought! So I went out by the side of the house where there is lavender growing. I put the close-up lens on the camera, and moved in on the blossoms. Imagine my surprise to find bees coming and going a mile-a-minute.! So it seemed more interesting to try and photograph the bees at work. It was fascinating to watch them. They were all "busy as bees" believe it or not! They were hard to shoot, because when they land on the blossoms, they work really fast, and then are gone. At least I got one.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:20 PM
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I dunno... This feels a bit like cheating. But the light was SO fantastic yesterday afternoon at sunset that I shot for an hour. There were just too many great looking photographs. So this was shot yesterday, not today. Bad Ken... :-) But the sky was so amazing with the orange light reflecting off the mid-level clouds. I just couldn't resist.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:02 PM
Monday, July 14, 2008
So today I was desperate for some blog photos. I have been busy with a couple of projects that have required a lot of time lately and I haven't been out shooting a lot. So today I HAD to find a new photo. After I finished my bike ride late this afternoon, while I was sitting on a bench by the water a whole string of geese paddled by. And of course, since I was cycling, I had no camera with me! Later on, toward the time of sunset I went back to the water. It was overcast, so I had few expectations. About 5 minutes after arriving, suddenly the sun descended below the cloud deck, and it was golden light everywhere! I couldn't shoot fast enough! So here is one of the photographs - lucky for me, another small group of geese paddled through the scene again! You will be seeing more photographs from today later on.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:37 PM
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
We had a thunderstorm very late in the day last week. I know I have posted a lot of thunderstorm photos in the last month, but this sky was beautiful beyond imagining! The trees are poplars across the street. I just love all the variations of the color gray in these clouds. Sometimes nature is spectacularly beautiful, isn't she?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:41 PM
My apologies to my faithful readers for forgetting to post this last night! Got home late from a Macintosh User's Group Meeting... You know how wild those kinds of meetings can get... :-) Anyhow, shot this photograph of the Wang building at Stonybrook University. I have seen this building many times, and it always looks interesting. The clouds on this day, for some reason, added something to the scene that made me that this might be on another planet! Well, not really, but I love the "other-worldly" quality of it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:19 AM
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I pulled into a gas station tonight, and spotted this! I am not a motorhead but this car is stunning! I quickly grabbed my toy camera and snapped three photographs. Then the driver returned and I asked him about the car. It took him seven years to restore it. He said that when he got it, it was in boxes! It came from the midwest, where they don't put salt on the roads, so it had no corrosion. I asked about the engine, which is not original. Here's where I forget the exact numbers, but the displacement was up around 400 cubic inches, and I think the horsepower was up around 400 as well. I guessed that his gas mileage around town might be 12 MPG and he said he would be lucky to get that! He was taking it home to put in the garage for a few weeks before taking it out again. Wow, what a cool looking car!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:40 PM
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
This is my Mom, and she is 92 today! I remember as a kid that I would tell her something that I did, like falling out of a tree, or crashing my bike fooling around, and she would say with a sigh: "Why mothers get gray!" and then laugh. Well, she is certainly gray now, and it may be all my fault! :-) She and my dad raised my three sisters and I with a lot of love and a lot of sacrifice. She sewed clothes for my sisters, and when I was in college, she worked to earn money to help pay for film and paper for my photography classes. I have always appreciated the sacrifices she made. She is such a creative person, and has sewed and painted and done crafts all her life. Truth be told, I am probably 75% my Mom and 25% my Dad. So Happy Birthday Mom, and thank you for all that you have done for all of us. Love, Ken
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:48 PM
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
"The Elements of Journalism"? What does that have to do with a photograph of a cat? Well, I'll tell you... :-) I was sitting on the front porch having lunch and reading that book, which is really a fascinating book. I can't put it down! Anyhow, I looked up, and here was this kitty looking at me through the screen. The trick then, of course, is to quietly get up, go into the house, grab the camera, and hope that the kitty doesn't leave! She didn't and I got this shot, which I really love.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:47 PM
Monday, July 7, 2008
The other morning I came out to see the maple tree, wet with rain, and the sunlight was shining on the branches through the leaves, in patches. Then I happened to notice what looked like steam coming off one of the branches! It was the sun heating the wood and the moisture was evaporating. Since the scene was backlit, it showed up the faint moisture. I also like the vaguely foreboding feel of the scene.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
It wouldn't be the fourth without fireworks, would it. So we went to see this year's fireworks from the back deck of friends whose house overlooks the harbor. This is the first time I ever looked DOWN on fireworks! Well, actually, the second. I was flying myself back to Long Island one night years ago, and as I approached Long Island from over the water, I suddenly noticed explosions below, and they were fireworks! That was a thrill. And this time, the view through the trees of the reflections of the fireworks in the water makes the photograph more interesting, in my opinion.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:09 PM
Friday, July 4, 2008
It's the Fourth of July! And this is my birthday cake! And, having been born in Connecticut, that makes me a Yankee Doodle Dandy! And the cake was delicious! I didn't really plan this shot - I just brought the cake out on to the porch to photograph it close-up. After setting it on the table, I stood back and thought "Holy smokes! Look how cool it looks with the flag in the background!" So that's how I shot it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:58 PM
Thursday, July 3, 2008
I went to get a haircut where I always go, but this time it was in late afternoon, instead of early in the morning. It is at a private house in a relatively recent development (well, 20 years ago or so) and the homes are built on what was once part of the Welwyn Estate in Glen Cove. This clock tower was attached to a beautiful brick building that consisted of stables and a casino and sports complex. Everything but this tower is gone now, and the tower is used as a pool house for one of the modern homes. It is both wonderful and strange to turn down the street and see this wonderful tower in the back yard of a nondescript modern house.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:54 PM
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
I have crossed this bridge a billion times, it seems. Well, not really, of course. Hey, this is interesting, especially in trying to understand the difference between a million and a billion. A million seconds is 12 days. A billion seconds is 32 Years! Wow! So many times it seems as if a million is a lot like a billion. But it is definitely not! Anyhow, I have crossed this bridge, the Tappan Zee Bridge a lot of times. While I was right near it all weekend, I spent time trying to see what it looks like from underneath. I tried both sides of the river, and this shot is from Tarrytown, on the East side. I tried a bunch of different spots, but without the old poles in the mud, the photographs of the bridge itself were kind of boring. I was also thankful for the beautiful overcast sky - it is so much more interesting than a clear blue sky would be.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I drove down a street toward the river in Sleepy Hollow, and this view stopped me in my tracks! This is just a very small view of a HUGE area completely covered in concrete, which extends out as far as the eye can see. I later found out that it was the General Motors Tarrytown assembly plant. About 3000 people once worked here, and in 1990 they closed the plant, in spite of the state of New York offering tax incentives to try and keep it open. The huge factory was completely demolished, leaving all these acres of concrete. I believe the facility covers more than 90 acres! It is difficult to conceive of what was once here. But the sight of all this concrete is impossible to comprehend. Please click on this to see a larger-than-normal image so you can see more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:19 PM