Saturday, February 28, 2009
Funny how during the day, most gas stations are not that interesting looking. At night, however, some of them, like this one, with the illuminated portico over the gas pumps, take on a whole new feeling. Something about the light from above makes it seem other-worldly. I think I need to look for more nightscapes. I haven't explored the world at night in a long time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:48 PM
Friday, February 27, 2009
I was asked to be a judge for a photo contest at a local library. It was the "Young Adult Digital Photo Contest" for kids from about 11 up to 20, I think. There were three of us as judges, and I brought my camera, of course, hoping I could fine a blog photo. I was immediately taken by the hands of this judge, how she was holding her fingers while she contemplated the photographs. There were a lot of really interesting photographs, and so our job required a lot of thought. We ended up all being in agreement for the winning photographs, which was nice. No fistfights!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:17 PM
Thursday, February 26, 2009
It is only the end of February, but I have desperately been looking for any signs of Spring for the last several weeks. Foolish, of course. It IS February after all. Coming back from my bike ride at the end of the day, I happened to glance over at the leaf-covered garden next to the house, and was stunned to see these Crocus stalks emerging! This early? I don't know, because I know nothing about gardens at all, even though I love to photograph them. So whether or not the Crocus are early, I don't know, but it sure was wonderful to see this glimpse of green!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:23 PM
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I was on the way home from my astronomy club meeting, and feeling guilty that I hadn't found a blog photo yet. I glanced out of the car window as I was driving along the harbor, and saw the reflections of the lights from across the harbor on the water. Usually there are waves of some size or another, and so it is rare to see the harbor this calm, such that it serves as a mirror. Then the trick was to make some kind of composition that worked. I hope you think that this is it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
It has been a bit difficult these days to find subjects. I decided to look for close-ups today, and started examining these Hydrangea leaves outside the dining room window. I was looking for texture and design in the image. I was taken by the vein structure of the leaves in the center. What I did NOT see was the bluish tint to those leaves. I was photographing in late afternoon in the shade, but there was no hint of blue. It was a surprise to find that color in the final image. You may have to click to see a larger image to see the subtle colors.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:18 PM
Monday, February 23, 2009
I have been working on organizing my photos, little by little. I found this image from the year 2000 when I was working on stories on the environment in Africa. These two 11-year old boys are Richard Gede, and Ezera Mataiu, in the village of Chankele, near Kigoma, Tanzania. Their village is learning environmentally friendly agricultural techniques through Jane Goodall's TACARE program. Some of these techniques involve techniques for planting on hillsides to avoid terrible erosion, which is the case in a lot of villages. Entire hillsides in many communities have lost all their topsoil because they were not planted with contour methods. What I love about this photo is the very open way both boys are looking at me.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I went down to the beach late this afternoon, to see if I could find an interesting photo in the rain. Man, it was cold! So I looked around and the only thing I could find was this bit of archaeology. Apparently years and years ago there must have been a bulkhead here, which has since rotted away. The level of sand on the beach was way down, exposing this. Usually it is much higher - I don't ever remember seeing this before. When the prevailing winds change, I am sure that this will once again disappear beneath the sand.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:50 PM
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This post is more about memory than it is about the photograph itself. I met my sisters here for our day in the city last week. Grand Central has always been "my" train station. I grew up in Connecticut, so I first came to this station as a high school kid, and later as a college freshman where I took the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad from Milford, Connecticut, to here and then took the New York Central train to Rochester, New York where college was. It feels as if this station has played a significant part of life, with my comings and goings. So it was good to be here again, and have memories wash over me.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:46 PM
Friday, February 20, 2009
It was a sunny day, and when I walked into the back room a flash of light caught my eye. And it caught the eyes of the kitties too! A mystical sign? Naaaa... I was carrying a CD in a case, and it caught the sun and reflected it onto the wall. The kitties went nuts, trying to chase it around and catch it. They do that to any reflections of the sun - the face of my watch, a shiny tool, a glass or dish. It is fun to move the bright spot around and watch them chase it. After they got bored, I did one last shot without the cats, and decided that this was my favorite.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:47 PM
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I used the title as a joke. It was the first thing that came to mind when thinking of a title for this photo. Why? Because I was just about to go in the front door of the Post Office when I spotted this scene. I saw the clouds first, then I saw the dark shapes of the houses, and I loved the combination of both. Kind of a nice feeling, if a bit spooky.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:05 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a bunch of reasons, but one of the coolest things is that they allow you, in most cases, to take photographs in the museum. I love to be able to take snapshots of text that accompanies exhibits, for instance, and I love photographing people looking at paintings and sculptures. This was a really neat exhibit in the photography department. The photographer Walker Evans collected postcards from the 1930's and 1940's and had a collection of about 9000 cards when he died. I am guessing that about 800 were on display in this exhibit. The cards were from all over the country, and were fascinating to look at. I even found one from Sea Cliff! Most were hand colored and the walls were an explosion of color. You could spend hours looking in the two small rooms where they were on display.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:49 PM
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
When I got up this morning, I looked out of the bedroom into the upstairs hall and saw this splash of light on the wall! It grabbed me immediately, so I ran downstairs and got the camera. I played with the composition some - more or less of the window to the left, and a higher shooting position, then a lower one. Suddenly the light dimmed dramatically. Wait! I haven't got the shot yet! So I went out into the hall to see what was going on. It turns out that the light was a reflection of sunlight off the bathroom floor, and one of the cats had just sat down in the light! So I shooed the cat away, and then got this image. I love the mysterious quality to the whole photograph because of the strange, unexplained source of light.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:09 PM
Monday, February 16, 2009
I went to the city today to meet two of my sisters who took the train in from Connecticut, and we met at Grand Central Station. While waiting for their train to arrive, I saw this photographer. It was unusual to see a tripod in use, and she was shooting film, using a Rolliflex camera. I went over to talk to her and found that she was a student at the International Center of Photography working on an assignment. She was doing long exposure portraits as her subjects stood still, and rushing passengers were blurred in the background as they passed by. "Wow, that's a cool idea, I thought. I will have to try that sometime..."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:46 PM
Sunday, February 15, 2009
During the Pre Cana program this evening I looked up and saw the faces of these two couples listening to some of the other couples sharing their experiences. There was something about the warmth of their expressions and smiles that I couldn't resist. So I asked them if it would be OK to take their photograph. They agreed, so I went and quickly grabbed my camera, and then watched and waited until they were concentrating on the speaker again. Click! Or rather, click click click click click...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:58 PM
Saturday, February 14, 2009
This is a photograph of the side yard in the house I grew up in, in Milford, Connecticut. I recently found it while going through some boxes of old stuff. Here's the interesting part. This picture was taken with a 4x5 view camera probably when I was still in college, so the picture is about 45 years old. Instead of using film in the camera, I used a piece of photographic paper that I would normally use for printing. The result is a paper negative, instead of a film negative. When I found the old paper negative, all the tones were reversed - the white sky was black on the negative, and the dark lawn was white on the negative. So I scanned the print on my scanner, and then in Photoshop, I reversed the tones to get this print. What is amazing to me is the wonderful atmospheric quality of the image. It blew me away to find this, and to see what I did way back then, kind of without knowing. But I recognize this quality now, and will make a nice print for my wall. The apple trees and the pear tree are now gone. It is wonderful to see the sheets my mom has put out on the clothesline to dry. It really takes me back to remember my mom putting all our wash on the line to dry - everything always smelled so fresh and clean!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:01 PM
Friday, February 13, 2009
Sunrise? Where are the golden colors in the sky? This is not a sunrise in the sky. There is something called a "Sunrise pattern" known to those who fabricate the stainless steel for diner walls, and this is an example of it. We have all seen this pattern in diners, and it is a classic. I was at the "Dinosaur Breakfast" this morning - the gathering of ex-newspaper people that I go to once a month. The light was just right, to add highlight reflections, and this caught my eye in a second. I have been here for breakfast a number of times, and for some reason never noticed this, for some reason. Well, I saw it today, and here is my photo!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:53 PM
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I have always loved huge industrial things - skyscrapers, dams, bridges, railroads, and heavy machinery. I am in awe standing next to these gigantic structures. So today I decided to photograph something industrial. Look at the feeling of strength and power in these machined parts. It is both powerful and beautiful, even thought it is covered in dirt and grease. Can you tell what it is? It is part of what makes my bicycle go! It is the cassette on the rear wheel, which is made up of 10 sprockets of different sizes which the bicycle chain wraps over in order to drive the rear wheel. That is a part of the chain in the center of the photo. This is, of course, an extreme close-up. It was astounding to me to see all the details that became evident looking through the lens. And I was stunned at how dirty the chain is - I cleaned the bike only three days ago. On some of the photos you can see these "giant" grains of sand that the grease has picked up.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:57 PM
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I drove by this store in Sea Cliff, and saw the American flag and a reflection of the sky in the window, so thought I would stop and see what I could come up with. It was not easy. I ended up with three completely different photographs. Three of them were more about the inside of the store, and the design of elements in the photograph. This image was more about a sense of place, and a sense of light. After working on all four photos, I spent a fair amount of time trying to choose, and decided to go with a sense of place. It is a more subtle choice, but somehow richer, for not being about just design but about where the store is.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:42 PM
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
When I log in to my blog each night, it lists the number of posts that I have made since the blog began. I was stunned just now to notice that I have made 700 posts! Wow! That almost seems impressive. Anyhow, I didn't shoot today, but this is one of the photos from the snowstorm last week - there is something about the simplicity of the lines in this image, and the "high key" effect (that means the majority of the tones or colors in the image are at the white end of the tonal scale.) That makes this a different kind of image from what I normally post.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:40 PM
Monday, February 9, 2009
I saw this amazing exhibit a few weeks ago. It was at one of the museums in Manhattan. I just did a quick snapshot, but it was stunning to see in person, and I wanted to remember it. These are portraits of famous people done in wire! A single piece of wire, bent and twisted and formed, and then perhaps another piece of wire twisted on to it and also bent, to form a three dimensional head! And they were hung on a single piece of wire so that they would slowly twist back and forth, revealing their three-dimensional qualities. I don't ever remember seeing anything like this before - it was simply stunning! Click on the photo so you can see the sculptures in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:51 PM
Sunday, February 8, 2009
This is Bebe. Aren't you amazed that I know which cat this is? (I had to ask... ) She is sitting on the radiator, looking intently, ready to pounce. I love the intensity of her gaze. The light was just right, and I first saw the shadow on the wall behind her - that's what caught my attention, because here ears were moving and the shadow moved. She didn't stay here very long, but long enough for me to grab a camera.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:14 PM
Saturday, February 7, 2009
It was nice to have the temperature so far above freezing today. I got to go for my first bikeride in a week. So you are asking, "If it was 44 degrees, how come you are showing us yet another snow picture?" Good question. I took some really nice images during the snowstorm earlier in the week. Since I only post one a day, I thought that some nice photographs were going to waste, so to speak. So that's why you get to see this image today. When it was 44 degrees out!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:38 PM
Friday, February 6, 2009
I saw this scene coming out of the grocery store. Lovely and haunting, with the first quarter moon shining through the gray storm clouds. I decided to title this "The Moon and Sixpence" because it just came to me. I have no idea what it means. Well, actually I do. It is from "Of Human Bondage" and it is supposedly about the protagonist being so involved in the idealist realm of Art and Beauty (the Moon) that he overlooked human relationships and the ordinary pleasures of life (the Sixpence at his feet). Only thing about that philosophy is that for me, Art and Beauty are among the extraordinary pleasures of life. Whew, a lot of philosophy in this small space... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:20 PM
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I went to the Post Office this afternoon, and when I got out of my car, I saw this flag hanging in an automobile repair shop that has been in the village since forever. Something about the late afternoon light, and the fact that it was not evenly illuminating the scene made it far more interesting than if the light was even. I tried cropping out the sky, but the image was more "dead" than with the sky in it. Download the image and try it yourself. It is, of course, better if you click on it, to see more saturated color.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:20 PM
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I took a lot of snow pictures yesterday, and thought I would post one more of them today. Then I went down to the bottom of the driveway this morning to retrieve the newspaper, and noticed the sun shining through the Japanese maple, which had a frosting of light snow on all the branches. I started by including the sun in the photograph, and realized that the Sun became the subject. But I was feeling, instead, the blue of the sky and the brilliant white of the snow, so I moved so the sun was no longer in the frame. This was the result, and I just love the striking blue of the sky contrasted with the white of the snow. This image feels as if it is a different way of seeing the landscape for me. PLEASE click on it, to see how rich the blue color really is.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:02 PM
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I worked hard today! We had very light snow all day long. Light enough that it would sit gently on branches everywhere. So I went outside looking for photographs, of course. I photographed the usual things, but my mission was to do something different - to begin to see in new ways. I ended up taking a number of beautiful images, but this grabbed me as being different, and yet interesting. It looked to me like a Japanese calligraphic character, and I think the strange qualities of the background add interest as well. It is a color photograph, by the way.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:08 PM
Monday, February 2, 2009
Guess where I was today. Guess what lesson I learned, yet again.. The lesson is "ALWAYS bring my camera!" For some reason I forgot to put my toy camera on my belt when I left the house. Dumb! I was in here for a short time, and spotted this after leaving the building, and reached for the camera which was not there! In this case, nothing lost - I went to the car and got the regular camera, came back here and spent some time shooting this. The blue sky and the blue building contrasted with the bright yellow parts stopped me in my tracks. While shooting, the person walking through the frame made it perfect. Please click on this to see the more saturated colors.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I think my blog is badly in need of more people photographs! I have been doing so many landscapes, because that's what I see every day. So I decided to photograph engaged couples who come to our house on four separate Sunday evenings to talk about the nature of marriage. Here are two couples, who have answered questions, comparing their results with each other. Most couples find the results both illuminating, and they enjoy the process as well.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:41 PM