Saturday, August 30, 2008
OK, first the confession... I didn't get "THE" shot. Nope. Missed it. I first saw this man walking slowly up the hill in front of our house, with his dog. He was stooped over and walking very slowly, and his dog was following slowly as well. Two wonderful old long time friends. By the time I saw him it was too late for a photograph. So I grabbed my camera in case he came back down the hill, which he did, but now he was on our side of the street and blocked by the bank of ferns. So I ran down the driveway and photographed him walking away. It is an OK photograph, but the one I didn't get was better. Sigh...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:25 PM
Friday, August 29, 2008
I still have some photographs from Vermont that I didn't have time to post a few weeks back. This is one of them. It was at the Vermont Information Center. The day I visited there I showed you the photographs of all the Armed Services Vermonters who lost their lives in the war. When I left that building, I found this garden around to the side, and because it had been raining, there was fog in the background. Purple Coneflowers are one of my favorites, for some reason. What makes this nice for me is the sense of foreground, middle ground, and background. Having those extra layers in a photograph adds much more interest in my estimation.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:11 PM
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Today there here was an amazing construction project next door. They were having a new cesspool installed, and this huge backhoe had to carefully make its way up the front embankment and down between the houses to the back yard. It was great fun to watch - hey all boys love big machines that move dirt around. I was taking some photos just for fun, and the neighbor suggested getting out her 3 year-old son's toy earth mover out for a photo, and I jumped at the chance! Here is the result. I sure love being silly!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:41 PM
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The program tonight at the Astronomical Society of Long Island was a DVD "The Fever of 57 - The Sputnik Movie." It is a stunning documentary that traces the launch of the satellite, and the the immediate arms race for space that resulted from the paranoia of both governments. It only stopped when Eisenhower and Kruschev talked face to face, and because both were ex military men, they agreed to stop the race for weapons in space. This shows the DVD playing from a laptop via a projector. And the scene is a bomber dropping an atomic bomb. I wanted to shoot something completely different today. I think this shot does it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:03 PM
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
After I posted my Day in the Garden detail photograph a few days back, several people asked me what the rest of the garden looked like. So here is a view of a larger part of the garden. The whole garden is a beautiful and complex border garden around the property, which is located on the water. So here is a view which gives more of a sense of the whole garden. There is more than this - I did a quick edit and came up with nearly a hundred photographs, taken over 5 hours. It is quite a place! Click on this one, and see a much larger image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:18 PM
Monday, August 25, 2008
Amy came to Long Island for the weekend, so she could spend time at her beloved Montauk. On the way back to Los Angeles, she stayed for dinner and overnight which was really nice so we had time to catch up. It is tough, having both of our daughters on the west coast, so times like this are wonderful. This morning I drove her to JFK for the flight home. I love this shot, with her wonderful smile and her hair flying all about from the open windows of the car.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:04 PM
Sunday, August 24, 2008
When I was at the Stellafane Convention this year, I went back to Mass MoCA again. This year there was no restriction against photography which was really nice, because I kind of like to take "notes" on what I see with the camera. Well, I bought the catalog, of course. The show was called "Badlands, New Horizons in Landscape" and it was just stunning! This is one of the exhibits - a digital tree. It is a projection on a wall, and the tree moves as if it is blowing in the wind, and it develops buds, then blossoms, then leaves, then the leaves change color, then they fall off. It is an absolute delight to watch this piece in action. The title of the piece is "Mike Kelly, 2007" by Jennifer Steinkamp. The piece is named for one of her teachers, I believe.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:34 PM
Saturday, August 23, 2008
This was my lucky day! It's the usual story - I have passed this porch a billion times because it is only a mile from my house, on the way to and from the bagel store. So today I decided to finally stop and add it to my porch series of photos. I made about half a dozen exposures, and then the woman who owns the store came out to ask why I was taking the photo. I explained to her that I loved architecture and the pink porch was a great shot. I then asked if I could photograph her standing on the porch and she said yes. She invited me up on to the porch to try any other angles, but this original angle was the best. But the shot wouldn't be anything if it were not for her standing on the porch smiling. My lucky day indeed!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:22 PM
Friday, August 22, 2008
I don't really know much about gardens and gardening, but I have been photographing gardens for about 20 years now. I think it is an adaption of my ability to photograph landscapes, which I have been doing since I first picked up a camera and photographed my grandparents farm. Anyhow, I haven't photographed gardens for several years now - the paper eliminated that kind of coverage. So I was thrilled to accept a freelance job today to document a private garden on the east end of Long Island. What a great day! An amazing garden and all the time in the world to shoot it. I spent around five hours of intense photography! What a joy. This is one of my favorites from a quick edit.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I was driving up route 96A, on a familiar route south of Geneva, NY, when for some reason, this scene stopped me. It stopped me because the scene appeared to be commonplace - like a whole bunch of similar towns in the state. I nearly didn't stop, but then I did because the scene appeared so ordinary, and yet it felt like towns like this feel. Subtle things make up the scene, but yet seem to capture the feeling of parts of rural New York State. Have I made any sense here...
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Went to the "loo" in the middle of the night, and while contemplating the world from the "great white insulator" (do you want to know all this?) I noticed the moonlight coming in the window. I was barely awake, so was going to just forget it. But I am a photographer, and we don't "forget" things - not if we have a daily blog to populate with wonderful photos... :-) Anyhow, went and got the Nikon and a tripod, and set it all up. For the technically inclined, I had to set the ISO at 3200 and the exposure was 30 seconds at f/3.5 the interesting thing is, the only way you can tell that this was not a daylight exposure in sunlight, is that if you enlarge the photo by clicking on it, you may just see stars in the sky outside the window.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I try not to have any preconceived notions of what a photograph will be, these days, when I am just shooting for myself. I stopped on the sidewalk at the George Eastman House in Rochester in order to do a shot down the sidewalk, looking at some trees and ivy and a wall and the sky. While I was thinking about all that I happened to look down and see my shadow. "Hmmm... that looks interesting." So I shot a few frames. Not one of the best photos this year, but I liked the boldness of the graphics, for a change.
Monday, August 18, 2008
There are some magnificent row houses on South Main Street in Geneva, NY. They are up high - perhaps two hundred feet above the water with a beautiful view of Seneca Lake. Many have historical markers on them. Then there are some who are a bit frayed around the edges. This is one such house. What stopped me in my tracks was this particular color of blue! I have no idea why it touched me so, but it is the perfect blue, at least as it relates to the red brick of the structure. So I stopped and looked at it a bit, and came up with this one composition. It was interesting to me that there was no question where the edges of the image would be. I only shot this particular composition. Usually I spend a lot of time trying variations. But not this time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:20 PM
Sunday, August 17, 2008
This is the bridge that carries route 96 over Oswego Creek, in Turner's Bridge, NY, near Owego. It is of a type called a truss bridge, and it is nearing the end of its life, unfortunately. I have passed over this bridge for years, on the way to Upstate New York. There was a similar bridge of this type, but much larger, which crossed the Susquehanna River at Owego, just a few miles away. It was replaced seven years ago, by a modern concrete bridge which no doubt is stronger and safer, but something wonderful was lost. The old bridge was a spectacular structure and made the approach to Owego an amazing sight. It was necessary to replace it, of course, but sad. Now this bridge is on its last legs as well. There was construction all around, and the new poured concrete abutments are nearing completition right next to this bridge. This bridge won't be long for this world, sad to say.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:59 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I am not sure if this feels like an Edward Hopper painting or not, but that was the first thing that came to mind when I was editing these photographs. This is from that magical hour of shooting at the Fellows Gear Shaper Company site in Vermont. I have so many interesting photographs from that session, that I thought I would stretch them out. So here's another one. It's an old saw in photography: Someone says "How did you get that shot?" and the answer was always "f/8 and be there!" That's all I did. I was photographing the factory, and turned around to look at the waterfall and saw this!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:41 PM
Friday, August 15, 2008
You heard my frustration story yesterday, and the rainbow photo that went with it. This is the other photo I wanted to take. "Take" as in park the car, grab a real camera and get out and wander around looking for the best angle. But I didn't have the time, so I reached for the Canon point-and-shoot on my belt - ALWAYS on my belt, which is a good thing as you see here - and grabbed it, and did about 5 quick shots out the window while I sat at the stop sign. An interesting note, I have NEVER, in 42 years, seen these trees lit like this, with the dark gray thunderstorm sky in the background.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:20 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Thunderstorms moved through again today after dinner, and this always makes for interesting possibilities. I was headed down to a meeting and the first thing I saw were the Shore Road trees, edge lit by the setting sun, with the dark gray sky of the thunderstorm in the distance, and I couldn't take time to stop to shoot it. I did a quick snap with the toy camera while at the stop sign. That's for another day. Then I was driving through the business district of the next town, and saw a brilliant rainbow. The only thing was, that the sky was blocked with really tall high tension power poles! I drove along looking for an opening, but there was none. After a few minutes, I drove by a cornfield, and there was the rainbow, but it had faded some. I made the shot anyway, but wished for more brilliance. Click on the image to see it larger and with more saturation.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I have driven past this house a whole bunch of times in the last 5 years, when I think I first noticed the collections of things on the porch, and on the lawn. This house is on Five Mile Line Road, in Penfield. For some reason, I really love the name of the road! Anyhow, this house has stuffed animals in costumes on Halloween, and all kinds of Santa things around Christmas time, and other seasonal variations. Today, on leaving Rochester, I finally decided to stop and shoot the porch for the first time. Don't you just love all the stuff there? You should know that some people are apparently offended by the collection. What do you think? I have decided to show a series of porch photos, from time to time, because I have some interesting porches that I have shot.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:00 PM
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I wandered into a pottery shop today, and while looking around the shop at the usual objects - mugs, candle holders, plates, bowls,and the like - I rounded a corner to find these faces staring at me. The are apparently made from clay rolled into flat sheets, and then formed into these faces by hand. Very clever I thought, although most likely, I wouldn't buy one for my wall! I did end up buying a coffee mug, however... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:25 PM
Monday, August 11, 2008
Mary Jane and Herm have been friends since my first job out of college. They are both really creative people. Herm was an art director, and Mary Jane became an author. Initially the books were just text, but in the last several years they have collaborated, with Mary Jane MAKING these wonderful chickens, from head to toe. Herm then photographs them, and then uses the photographs as illustrations for the books. The chickens are not to be believed, they are so cleverly designed and made. I visited them today, and just had to photograph some of the wonderful birds, and this is the one I decided to share with you all.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Sunday, August 10, 2008
This is a wall at the George Eastman House in Rochester. Every time I come here, I photograph the wall. I am always fascinated by the ivy that grows there. In the fall it is red, in the winter the leaves are gone, and now it is green. I have photographed it in all seasons, but afterwards, I have never been quite happy with the results. This time, I like the shot. I think the thing about this is some sense of the life force as the vines reach out across the wall. I guess. But the real story here is the photographic exhibits I saw today. Two of them are absolutely stunning: A series of photographs by Ed Kashi called "Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta," and "West African Masquerade: Photographs by Phyllis Galembo." Both of these are almost life changing! I kid you not. If you are anywhere near this great international museum, go see this collection of photographs from Africa.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
A crit, or criterium, is a type of bike race held on a short course often run on closed-off city centre streets. In this case it was a one mile course in the heart of downtown Rochester, NY, where I am visiting. The killer was, that it started raining in the middle of the race, making things really treacherous for the riders. There is a three day cycling event called the Rochester Omnium this weekend. The races are for both professional and amateur riders, which this group is. I love that the rain adds so much more to the photograph with the spray in the faces of some of the riders in the back. Please click on the photo to see more detail in the larger version.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
Friday, August 8, 2008
I was driving into Ithaca this afternoon, and the approach to the city is from up high where you can see Cayuga Lake and the hills in the distance. The sky to the west had these stunning storm clouds, but there was no way, with all the telephone wires and buildings in the way, to get a good photograph of the scenery. After driving down a long hill into the city, I stopped to get gas. Now the sky was covered with even more obstacles. Then it occurred to me that perhaps that was the picture - what the sky looks like from down in the city. So I end up taking advantage of all that I was trying to avoid. It's just a different kind of picture.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:42 PM
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I was out mowing the lawn this afternoon, and accidentally mowed over a bunch of Purple Coneflowers laying on the lawn. I glanced down, and saw that the mower blade had sliced one of the flowers in half! I looked and thought "Wow! That's interesting." When I was finished mowing, I went back and got a complete flower, brought it into the house, sharpened a knife to a razor's edge and carefully sliced the bud exactly in half. What a stunning sight to see in close up! I have posted a larger file than normal, so please click on this to see even more incredible detail within the blossom.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:56 PM
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I suddenly realized that I have been coming to Springfield, Vermont to the telescope maker's convention for 20 years! And I have driven by this factory twice a day for the three days I have been here each year. FINALLY, when I was leaving the conference on Sunday, I stopped to photograph this factory. I have seen it when it was a going business, but it went into bankruptcy back in 2002. Springfield is located in the center of the "Precision Valley" region, which was the home of the Vermont machine tool industry, where a new era of precision manufacturing first began. I love the architecture and the settings of the buildings and factories in these New England towns. Fellows Gear Shaper company began here in 1897 and was originally powered with the water from the Black River, in the foreground. I spent about an hour photographing all around here, and I will be showing you more photographs as time goes on. The sky was particularly nice on this day - it was raining and I got wet, but the rain made for some really nice photos. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I stopped in the Vermont Visitor's Center in Guilford, on the way to the conference. I went to this room where a Vermont-made canoe used to be on display, but it was not there this time. Instead there were these picture frames on the windowsill. I walked over to see what they were, and I was stunned. There is a Dire Straits song "Brothers in Arms." The lyrics start like this: "These mist covered mountains, Are a home now for me, But my home is the lowlands, And always will be, Some day you'll return to, Your valleys and your farms, And you'll no longer burn, To be brothers in arms." In each of these picture frames are two photographs and brief descriptions of Vermonters lost in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. If these photos were in a room with plain walls, the display would be moving. But there was something about seeing these photographs, with the view out of the window of this misty valley with green trees - a landscape that these soldiers would never see again. The scene nearly moved me to tears.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:56 PM
Monday, August 4, 2008
So do you like my new silver shoes? Aren't they great! Having silver shoes would be weird, UNLESS they happened to be bike shoes, as these are. They are Shimano SH-R131S, for the cyclists out there. The best part, is that I bought them with some of the money I was given as a going-away present when I took the buyout from work. So, thank you friends and colleagues! I decided that bike shoes would really be an appropriate choice. Something about the feeling of freedom when I ride my bike, and now the freedom I have to ride each day, and the freedom I now have to pursue all kinds of interests.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:52 PM
Sunday, August 3, 2008
This is the Black River in Springfield, Vermont. Today I took a billion photographs! No Joke. You will be seeing some of them in the next couple of weeks. I have photographs from the convention, of an old factory, and of the landscape. I stopped to photograph the factory today which is located on the Black River, and while looking around, saw this photograph. I love the complexity of it, with the foreground flowers, the river, and the reflections of the sky. It's a really interesting balance of all the different elements.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Believe it or not, this is a telescope. An 8" f/4, to be exact (and to use terms telescope makers will understand). For many this doesn't resemble a telescope at all. It is in fact, an absolutely brilliant design, believe it or not! It was designed and made by a fellow from Biddeford, Maine, and I forgot to get his name. The mirror is inside that black sphere on the bottom and the eyepiece is right about where his hands are. It would take a page to explain to you why it is brilliant, so you will have to trust me on this one. The painful thing is that he arrived at the site late, so didn't bother to register his scope for the judging. But the main thing is that there was a crowd around him all afternoon, asking how he made it, and for a place like the Stellafane Convention, that in itself is the best reward - the admiration of your fellow Amateur Telescope Makers!
Friday, August 1, 2008
Well, not exactly, but... I took photographs on the trip up to Vermont yesterday, and today I drove down to North Adams, Mass to spend the day at Mass MoCA, a contemporary art museum that I have spoken of in the past. So I already have enough photographs for the next two weeks, and the telescope maker's conference has only started tonight! On the way to the museum, I passed through Williamstown, and saw this house as I drove around the green. It is called the 1753 House, and the sign says: "Constructed with tools and materials used in 1753, for the Williamstown Bicentennial." It is a wonderful piece of architecture and history, all rolled into one, and I loved studying how the clapboards were cut and joined for the walls of the building. It doesn't look as if there is a straight line in the entire building!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:21 PM