Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I found this walking up sixth avenue yesterday. Stopped me in my tracks, it did. I love all kinds of bicycles and this one was an attention getter! Especially because EVERYTHING was painted white - frame, seat, and the tires! Upon closer inspection it was obvious that it must have been some kind of advertising thing, because there are no brakes on it, no shifters, and no chain! Somehow that was a disappointment. I love bikes that you can actually ride. But this oddity did brighten my day. ADDENDUM: Please read the two comments that were added to the blog today, from my daughter Amy and her friend Jen. This is called a "Ghost Bike" and here is the information, from the ghostbike.org website:
Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel.
The first ghost bikes were created in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003, and they have since appeared in at least 30 cities throughout the world. For those who create and install the memorials, the death of a fellow bicyclist hits home. We all travel the same unsafe streets and face the same risks; it could just as easily be any one of us. Each time we say we hope to never have to do it again -- but we remain committed to making these memorials as long as they are needed.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:25 PM
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I went to the city today to see a couple of exhibits at the International Center of Photography. I decided to walk up from Penn Station, and as I went by Bryant Park, which is behind the New York Public Library, I spotted this fountain. I crossed the street and tried a bunch of different ways to shoot it, but when this couple wandered into the photo, I realized I had the best shot. Funny thing is, I didn't remember that there was even a fountain here! I have covered Fashion Week, and usually there is a tent covering this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:31 PM
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
The Hudson River is one of America's great rivers. I have always wanted to do a photo essay on it, from its source at Lake Tear of the Clouds, to New York Harbor. It is still on my list of things to do. The Hudson Highlands, in the distance in this photograph, is such a beautiful part of the river to photograph because of the mountains. Of course this photograph is not about that beauty, it is about the Tappan Zee Bridge, GPS units and EZ Pass. This is about being on the road in modern times.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:14 PM
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Today I spent the day at the Northeast Astronomy Forum in Rockland County. It is a big astronomy convention with telescope and equipment displays, and lectures on astronomy with well known speakers including an astronaut and professional astronomers. This is Dr. Neta Bahcall, of Princeton University. Her topic was "The Dark Side of the Universe," which has to do with what the universe is made of. Something called "dark matter" may make up, believe it or not, 96 percent of the Universe. Earth, and the Sun and all the planets, all the stars we see, and galaxies, and gaseous nebulae only amount to 4 percent of the material in the cosmos! Astronomers pretty much know now the fate of the universe. It started expanding at the time of the "Big Bang" and is now expected to expand indefinitely, as it gets larger, and more sparse, and darker and colder, until the last stars blink out. Not to worry, that will take billions of years. We'll be lucky the way we are going, if Earth lasts three more generations.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:55 PM
Friday, April 25, 2008
I have photographed this Aloe plant before, but it was more from a distance. But I saw it again today, and decided to look at it more closely. In the morning it was in very soft light and I thought I had a nice photo. Then in the afternoon when I went back to it, the late day sunlight was coming in through one of the back windows and illuminating it in a more spectacular fashion. So I used that light to try and make it look more mysterious.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM
Thursday, April 24, 2008
This is Srisucha and Zankhana who are students at a local college, and they interviewed and photographed me today for a course they are taking called "New Technologies in Media Production." They are really smart and asked a lot of really good questions about how changes in technology affect the work that I (used to) do. It was really a pleasure to take part in this project. They will be making a Powerpoint presentation to the other members of the class when the project is finished. Of course, if someone points a camera at me, I will shoot back! That's their professor in the distance, photographing all three of us, adding yet another level of who's photographing who!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I walked through the living room and happened to turn and look behind me and I saw this. For some reason, the cat appeared to look more like a statue, than a real live cat. So the big problem was whether or not I could go get my camera, and then get back to where I saw the cat, and then click a few photographs, all without the cat moving on to some other place. Lucky me, she didn't move at all while I did all that, so here she is!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:22 PM
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I spent some time with the late afternoon sun leaving long shadows on the garage door from this old-fashioned latch. When I was a kid, on my grandparents' farm in Guilford, Connecticut, all the barn doors had latches like this. I was thrilled when we bought our house years ago, that the garage door had the same kind of latch. I spent time with this photo, trying for something more abstract, rather than just representational. I love that the shadows are blue. One of these days I will tell you why that is.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I went to the water late in the day, and liked the gentle motion of the waves. When I saw this rock, I started looking for the interaction between the waves and the rock and made a whole bunch of exposures, trying to get a nice effect. This photo was taken at about 1/125 second so the wave is "frozen" by the shutter, but I love that it appears wispy and ethereal.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
There is new life in our neighborhood! This is Heike who is two weeks old! Isn't she cute? She also has an older brother who is two years old and he is cute as a button too! It is wonderful to start to have younger children in the neighborhood once again.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:42 PM
When I was just finishing diner last night I started looking closely at the flame of the candle burning on the dining table. I was intrigued with the beautiful blue lower edge of the flame and how the colors changed within the different areas of the flame, so I decided to photograph it. I realized that the process taking place was interesting, because the parafin wax making up the candle went from a solid state, to a liquid, to a gas, and the stored energy went from something cool, to something emitting light and heat. An amazing process. So then I went to Wikipedia.org to see what was actually going on, and here is the description of what happens in a candle:
"Prior to the candle being ignited, the wick is impregnated with the fuel in its solid form. The heat of the match or other flame being used to light the candle first melts and then vaporizes a small amount of the fuel. Once vaporized, the fuel combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to form a flame. This flame then provides sufficient heat to keep the candle burning via a self-sustaining chain of events: the heat of the flame melts the top of the mass of solid fuel, the liquified fuel then moves upward through the wick via capillary action, and the liquified fuel is then vaporized to burn within the candle's flame."
:The burning of the fuel takes place in several distinct regions (as evidenced by the various colors that can be seen within the candle's flame). Within the bluer regions, hydrogen is being separated from the fuel and burned to form water vapor. The brighter, hotter, yellower part of the flame is the remaining carbon being oxidized to form carbon dioxide." --Wikipedia.org
Isn't that cool! But after all the chemistry lessons, the most significant part, for me, is the sublime beauty of the flame itself when I studied it! The camera cannot capture the full brightness range of the flame, so the orange color is missing in this photograph, but it is there to be seen with the naked eye.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 11:50 AM
Friday, April 18, 2008
I am going to go out on a limb here and tell you about the beauty of these "Cherry tree" blossoms I saw today when I went to visit my old place of employment. After describing "daffodils" in yesterday's post as "Tulips" I realize I may be going out on a limb in describing these as Cherry trees! But I think they are. In any case, they were just beautiful in their brilliance. I chose to show the contrast of the dark trunks with the brilliant white blossoms. I did shoot the blossoms against the beautiful blue sky, but I thought this photo was more effective in its design.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:47 PM
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Moosup was Liz' cat for many years, and spent her life in Manhattan. She was named after a town in Connecticut, believe it or not. When she died, Liz brought her home, and made a resting place for her up on a hill in our back yard, marked it with some paving stones and planted some Daffodils around the grave. They bloom each year in the spring, and remind us that Moosup is buried there.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:07 PM
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I love being around at the end of the day, when the sun is low on the horizon. There are a lot of changes to be seen in a really short amount of time, so I find I need to be paying attention every minute. I went out the font door onto the porch, and as I turned around to lock the door, I saw the shadow of the dogwood tree left by the setting sun.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:55 PM
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I drove down to the water around sunset today, hoping to find a photo for the blog. I had some ideas in mind for what I *might* find, and I spent some time looking around, but didn't find what I thought I might. However... Long after the sun had set, I was walking along the sidewalk by the water, and noticed the branches of this tree against the orange sky of dusk. Wow! Just what I was looking for, but didn't expect! Funny about having preconceptions. Try clicking on the photo to see if the larger image has more saturation in the color.
Monday, April 14, 2008
I saw this just after supper tonight, and raced down to the car in the driveway to grab the camera, raced back upstairs, and the light had faded some, but it was still there. I had only enough time to make 6 exposures before the light was gone. Strangely, it appears that by the look of the light, there is snow outside. It is not, of course, because this is April. It is a flowering tree across the street. Why is there a reindeer on the windowsill in April? I haven't got a clue...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:52 PM
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I shot this down at the beach the other day after photographing the bricks. The thing is, I am not as at ease with this photo as I am with all my others. It feels as if this is some kind of shot for a photo contest or something. It doesn't feel like my usual landscape photos, where I feel something about the light or the subject or the mood of a scene. This seems more like an exercise in composition. But I tell myself that the purpose of the blog is to explore other ways of seeing with my camera, so I am posting this, even though I am a bit uneasy with the image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:11 PM
Saturday, April 12, 2008
So here's the story: After my bike ride the other day I stopped at the park by the water to drink in the day. When I got up to leave I happened to notice some bricks piled up on the rocks below. It looked like something that kids would have done. I was in a hurry, and had to leave, so I didn't have time to come back with a camera. I thought that when the tide came in, the bricks would probably be OK, and I could come back the next day and photograph the scene. Well, I went down there this morning, which was two days later, and the bricks were all gone! So I decided to reconstruct things as I remembered them. This is what I came up with. It seemed too important a photograph to miss out on. So here's the part I don't understand: Why are these bricks arranged in a natural landscape so arresting? Is it that we are taken by evidence that others have been here before us, even if it was just a child? I am not sure, but this seems like one of my more powerful images in a while.
Friday, April 11, 2008
So this is the blossom that started it all. I spied it on the windowsill from the living room and decided to photograph it. I started with this photograph which can be considered "the thing for what it is." It looks like an Easter Lilly blossom. As you have already seen in previous posts, I then moved in and photographed it for whatever else it could be, choosing views that were much more abstract. This is not as dramatic as the abstract views, but is sure is beautiful, isn't it?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:26 PM
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Stopped at a McDonalds after supper for a vanilla cone (low fat!) When I drove around the building and got out of the car, I was taken with the warm light of the setting sun illuminating the golden arches against a beautiful blue sky. So I started looking for the best view of this scene. It wasn't until I moved closer, and saw my shadow on the building that I felt that I had the "something else" that I needed to complete the photograph. Please click on the photo to see the larger image, and to see more saturated colors.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:13 PM
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
The kitties are really pretty. The other day, when I shot one of them looking out the window, it was from behind and you didn't get to see what she looked at. So when I was sitting in the rocking chair working on email, I noticed the kitty sitting on the stair landing. I quickly grabbed the Nikon and hoped that she wouldn't move. She didn't and I had a chance to do a number of exposures. This one is my favorite.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Readers who go back to when I started posting on this blog over a year ago will remember that I already posted a photo of these bottles. They are on the windowsill in the kitchen. But THIS time I moved in much closer to the pattern on the shelf created by the sun shining through two blue bottles. This is a much more abstract photo than the post last year. You might have difficulty understanding what it is a picture of, if I didn't explain it to you. I love the abstraction, and the puzzle that it creates.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:42 PM
Monday, April 7, 2008
I promised to show you some more investigations of the Easter Lilly with my camera. I still haven't shown you the overall shot of the flower, but this is the last photograph I did after spending some time looking at all the possibilities. Another abstraction, and probably the most interesting because it is not immediately obvious what it is. The point here is that I spent a lot of time first photographing the flower for what it is, and then moved on to show what ELSE it can be. A really interesting approach to a lot of subjects.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:21 PM
Sunday, April 6, 2008
I love these cats. They are always lookin' (or at least one of them is always lookin' - we have two and I can't tell them apart...) They look through cracks in open doors, or under closed doors, or out windows. They will appear to be motionless for a long time and then "snap" - their eyes suddenly see something and their heads snap in a second to follow it. I never get tired of watching them, and every now and then I see a photo, like I did today.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:22 PM
I remember this from when I was a kid:
"Spring has sprung,
The Grass is riz,
I wonder where
The birdies is."
Cracks me up to think of that, which I always do when spring is just around the corner. Well, yesterday, it finally felt like Spring. Finally! The temperature was around 61, and for the first time this year, I rode my bike wearing shorts. A sure sign of spring. I stopped at a nearby botanical garden to see what was up (literally) and found these flowers. Something wonderful about their color, and they were everywhere. I have been photographing gardens for about 20 years now, and still don't know the name of this particular flower. When I retire I am going to learn the latin names for all of the species. Wait! I AM retired... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 AM
Friday, April 4, 2008
Here is one more from my harbor series. More experiments in composition. Perhaps this is a bit like a fugue in music, with layers on top of layers. Or not. I don't know enough about music to go around making metaphors about it. I may show you one more from this series, but I want to get back to the Easter lilly first.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:58 PM
Thursday, April 3, 2008
So after two closeup photographs for the last two days, it's back to the harbor, to show you some of the photos I took when I went there a few days ago. I guess I was looking for abstractions. I liked the straight lines of the old man-made groin in the water, and the gentle curve of nature, in the sandbar at the top of the photo. I mean, I know it's not Ansel's "Moonrise" but this day seemed more like an assignment to change how I look for different ways of seeing.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:30 PM
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
So the last three days have been really interesting in regards to my photography. Rather than stopping to shoot something that I saw that grabbed me, instead I just went to a place and looked and looked until I found something. A completely different way of shoting. The first day it was down at the harbor. Today it was the Easter Lilly on the windowsill. In fact, I think it might be illuminating for me to show you some of the variations that I did just of the lilly. This is one of the favorite final images of the Lilly shoot. It is far more abstract than my first image. I will show you the others in subsequent days.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:56 PM
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
So I told the story in yesterday's post of spending time by the water, just looking for photos. I will post some more from yesterday's shooting - most of the photos were about the rocks and the water. But as I was leaving the waterside, I stopped to look at a memorial garden and found these grasses blowing in the breeze. I shot a lot of images of these, because it was difficult at the moment of exposure to know where the grasses would be, since they were blowing back and forth. So here is the last photo first. Rocks and water tomorrow...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM