Thursday, April 30, 2009
I have photographed this house before. But always from the front, and usually as a medium shot of the front door and windows, and in one case, just a detail of the old glass front door. So I was thinking that I was "done" with this house as a subject. Then, on the way back from Rochester, here it was along the roadside. The sun was coming in from the right, just illuminating the front of the house, and there were gray cumulus clouds in the sky, which added more interest than just a plain blue or white sky. The clouds and the sun made the scene more dramatic. I guess the lesson is, you are never "done" with a subject.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:07 PM
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
"One of these days..." is what I have told myself all winter long when I would drive by this tree and this scene. The problem is that it is a busy road with not much room to pull off, and cars come by here fast. So I worried about safety. Tonight I was looking carefully for a safe spot. There were no cars behind me, so I slowed and then saw a spot where I could get the car completely off the road. I wanted to get the shot with no leaves on the trees. I really love this scene - it looks so forbidding, and abandoned. Just to the right of the tree is an old driveway which is no longer in use. There once was a house up that road, and a farm, but now they are gone, and a development has taken their place. Oh, and the thing that really made me stop was the view of the crescent moon through the branches of the tree! There was no way I was going to pass that up!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:01 PM
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
"Red Lobster" What does THAT have to do with this photograph? Well, on the trip upstate, we stopped at a Red Lobster for dinner, and on the way into the restaurant, I spotted these trees on a hill behind the building and decided I had to take this photo. I was impressed with the delicacy of the trees - I believe they are Birch trees, against some darker trees in the background. But the subtle thing, is the reddish haze within the photograph - apparently small buds all over the trees. It is subtle, but adds something special to the overall picture. Please click on this to see better color.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:45 PM
Monday, April 27, 2009
I went out to throw a burger on the barbeque, and while it was cooking, looked up to see this gorgeous sliver of a three-day old moon. I finished cooking my dinner, then put it on the table and let it get cold while I did this photograph. There is something magical about a thin crescent moon, it seems to me. It is usually a surprise to see it when it appears. This probably is because a full moon is in the sky for 10 for 12 hours, while a crescent moon only becomes obvious at sunset, and then sets within an hour or two, so it is visible for such a short time, compared to other phases. But there is something also magical about something so delicate and so thin. I can glance at a full moon, and then walk away. A crescent calls me to grab a telescope sometimes and to spend time studying its delicate structure.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:27 PM
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I still have a bunch of shots from upstate that I haven't had time to post yet. But this photo is interesting for different reasons. A while ago when I posted a photograph of the Portage Bridge in Letchworth, I went on the web to find out what the actual name of the bridge is. I stumbled across a wonderful website with photographs of great bridges in the northeast. But the most illuminating thing I saw on the website was that the photographer had taken the time to shoot CLOSEUPS of various details of the bridge construction! Duh! Why didn't I think of that? What a dolt! So, when I went back to photograph the bridge again, I took time to carefully look around and shoot various details. It was a fun way to explore the bridge. This is one of the footings and it shows one of the main vertical "I" Beams , and some of the steel rods which stabilize the structure. As usual, please click on this to see better color in a larger image.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Ricky is the boyfriend of our long-time neighbors' daughter. I found out that he was on the cycling team at his college, and so we started talking bikes. He has this classic 1990 era LeMond racing bike that needed fixing up. So he brought it over today and we worked on it for about three and a half hours. We changed a shifter cable and housing, took apart the front and rear wheel bearings and the rear cassette, and cleaned and lubed them, and then cleaned everything else on the bike. Making a bike look new is so good for the soul. Then, we went for a ride! Fourteen miles to Bayville and back. I am so accustomed to riding alone, that it was really a treat to ride with a friend. Time to chat, and talk bikes. What's better than that!
Friday, April 24, 2009
Back to Letchworth State Park, the "Grand Canyon of the East" as it is known. I love this park, and the chasm, and the river, and of course, the bridge. So I walk up to a place to photograph the bridge from, and I look to the left, and think "WHAT?" What the heck is that stuff clinging to the rock wall? It is mainly brownish-gray. After a while I realize, that although it is the middle of april, and it is gray, the substance is actually ice! I suspect that when the falls were running all winter long, the spray that the falls put into the air has frozen on the rock wall. And now, even though it is warmer, the dirt that covers the ice is protecting the ice from what little sunlight makes it into the canyon. I actually did some close-up views of just the ice. I was going to post one as sort of a quiz, but decided I loved the beauty of the falls and bridge more. Please click on this image to see greater detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:03 PM
Thursday, April 23, 2009
We went to Rochester for a bridal shower for Bethany and Pat. They are going to be married in July. We got to tour the place where their wedding reception will be held. It is called "Artisan Works" and ultimately is un-describable. But roughly, it is a huge old warehouse, with art and photographs and sculptue EVERYWHERE. Like on the ceiling. This is a wonderful sculpture of a headless woman riding a bicycle which hangs in the main dining room. You know me and bicycles! It was done, I was told, by someone named R. J. Dobbs, to give credit where credit is due. Very cool, and very clever sculpture.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
We headed home from Rochester early this morning, under leaden skies. This photo was taken south of Geneva, on Route 96, one of my all time favorite roads in the state. For some reason, the sky didn't look threatening - the clouds were beautiful in their silver gray colors. It felt more like fall than spring, because of the cold temperatures. There is something quintessential about this photograph in terms of showing upstate as it feels to me. I have a wealth of interesting photos from upstate, to I will be continuing to post images from there, even though I am now home.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:56 PM
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
This is my friend John. We have known each other since we were both students at RIT back in 1962. Here's my favorite story about John and I: Someone came up to another friend of mine and asked if John and I were brothers. My friend said, "No, why?" "Well," they said, "They kind of look alike, and they kind of dress alike, and they kind of talk alike, and, they are both a bit flakey!" That still makes John and I laugh, even now! We are both photographers, and both pilots, and we have a whole bunch of similar interests. Anyhow, I stopped to visit him today, and went with him while he walked his dogs. They were all over the place, constantly tripping him up with their crossed leashes!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:33 PM
Monday, April 20, 2009
This is Bethany and Libby. "Libby" is the dog. Libby is the shortname for "Liberty Belle" because Pat and Bethany got Libby on July 4th! She is a Portuguese Podengo and is so beautiful and delicate in her structure. She is also such a quiet dog as well. I hate to disappoint you, but I am NOT going to stick my neck out and describe Bethany's qualities. Although I will say that she doesn't bark either!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:29 PM
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I was going to say this barn may not be long for this world. But then I thought of so many barns that looked like this, that I have watched over the years, that never do seem to fall down. So this may be here for years to come. But it sure does look unstable now, doesn't it? Especially the silo, which is tilted at such a precarious angle. I guess the thing is, if you knocked these structures down then you would have to clean up the mess. So the longer you wait, then the longer before you have to clean it up. Please click on this to see better color, and more detail in a larger image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:38 PM
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I had the best day today! I bought a book about the canals of New York State, and so decided to drive an hour or so down to Nunda to look for the ruins of the Genesee Valley Canal locks. The canal stretched 125 miles from the Erie Canal in Rochester to the Allegheny river near the Pennsylvania border. Construction started in 1836. It was an engineering marvel in its day, completed in 1868 but abandoned by 1872 - replaced by railroads. The cool thing is, that there are the ruins of about 6 stone locks in great condition that can be seen by hiking a quarter of a mile, from lock to lock.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:03 PM
Friday, April 17, 2009
So Pat and Bethany showed up last night, and he has a new haircut! I have never seen his hair this long, and this curly! Everyone thought it was so cool looking! So I decided to take a photo to send to Liz and Amy, and then after the normal portrait, decided to see what else I could do. Here is the result. This is unlike any portrait I have shot before - a portrait without the face! It is not an accident that the curved trees are in the background - I used a wide aperture on the lens to make sure they were out of focus.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:30 PM
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I have driven past Binghamton literally hundreds of times over the years, blazing along on Route 17. Today I decided it was to get off at the exit and look at the city itself on the way to Rochester. I found some amazing architecture downtown - beautiful old buildings in excellent condition. I spent some time photographing them, and then continued through town headed back to Route 17. Suddenly here was The Red Robin diner and I just had to stop again. So I didn't spend long here, but there were only two compositions - this one, and a wider-angle view more from the front. But this one won out, in that it was more graphic. I just love old diners, and this one is a classic.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:20 PM
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
We were headed upstate again, along Route 17, a route we have traveled so many times. At some point I realized that I would be driving by three abandoned houses soon, and with the late afternoon sunlight coming from the west, the houses would be in perfect light. I chose this house out of the three - it is in the worst condition of all, the second floor having completely collapsed. I couldn't decide which image to post - I think the window is the more powerful of the two, but I like the sense of the whole house in the wider shot. I began to wonder how long ago someone lived here. There is Old Route 17 which in places runs alongside the present superhighway. Apparently it ran by these three homes. The new road was finished in about 1965. But this house is so far gone, it was probably abandoned long before that.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:52 PM
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I decided to photograph this year's Easter Lilly. I wasn't expecting anything, because each year I try and make something different, and I am running out of ideas, unless the blossom ends up in some kind of spectacular light. That wasn't the case this year. So I set those photographs aside. But the next day, the light was different, and I tried a close-up, and then for some reason backed away, and found it was more interesting to include the whole blossom, and some of the other parts of the plant in the background. Sometimes simple and direct is better.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:05 PM
Monday, April 13, 2009
This is just a little vase with a few blossoms in it from the gardens outside. I thought I would take a shot of it to see if it offered any possibilities. When I looked at the first image, I was blown away. I had left the color balance setting on "fluorescent" instead of daylight, and so I got this amazing blue image. I loved it immediately, so decided to shoot more photos. I think this photo is all about the unusual color, rather than composition or subject, which is otherwise rather ordinary. Be SURE and click on this, to see a more saturated version of the photo.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:35 PM
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Happy Easter! It was standing room only at church this morning. Even this photograph doesn't begin to show the size of the crowd today. Our church is so beautiful inside, and I see it so often, I forget to notice how really wonderful it is. Suddenly I see it in this photograph. I take the photo for one reason, and learn something different as a result.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:16 PM
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Cold again today, and rainy. I made the usual Saturday morning bagel run, and was sitting in the car looking at the rain running down the windshield when I noticed the colors changing on the moving sign in the bagel store. then I thought, "Well, this is a slice of life" so spent a few minutes shooting it. The red only happens only once every two minutes or so. I decided I liked that color best, instead of the green and yellow. So I had to sit there for a while. Interestingly, the drops on the windshield turned into a smear, so I turned on the wipers to make a clean slate for the drops to fall on. That improved the photo so much.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:19 PM
Friday, April 10, 2009
Well, I haven't been riding since Tuesday. I thought I was feeling OK and went for a ride. Bad idea. An apparently pulled muscle in my upper chest reminded me I am not fixed yet. And my new bike hasn't recovered yet either. The stick that jammed in the wheel bent that spoke. I had to cut the spoke in half to get it out of the wheel. I went to three bike shops, but these high-tech bikes being what they are, no one had a spoke in stock - it had to be ordered from California! So here sits my very cool ride on the bike stand, waiting to have the front wheel repaired. And for me to feel better.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:29 PM
Thursday, April 9, 2009
It was a gorgeous day today, and so I went to the city to see some photo exhibits at the International Center of Photography. After that, I wandered into Bryant Park to look for photographs. It felt like Paris, with small metal tables and chairs everywhere with people sitting around eating and talking and enjoying the afternoon. I decided to sit in the sun for a while, and after a while noticed this couple. She was pretty lovey-dovey with him, and he was on his cell phone! Go figure.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:28 PM
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Finally, our own daffodils! It has been so cold, and has taken so long for these flowers to arrive. To add insult to injury, we had snow showers for a brief period today! I don't know how these flowers stand it. It is supposed to be 60 tomorrow, so maybe it will get warmer for good. I tried several different compositions, some including two or three blossoms, but I loved just concentrating on one single blossom. I think we get to concentrate on the individual shapes and forms that way.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
What IS this? At first glance, it looks like a marble frieze in a classic building. But it's not. Kathy makes home-made soap. Not the heat and pour soap, but the made-from-scratch stuff, that is made from Sodium Hydroxide, Cocoanut Oil, Palm Oil and Olive Oil. Nasty stuff work with, but the soap is amazing because it is loaded with glycerine. So good for the skin! Anyhow, when everything is finally mixed together on the stove, its temperature is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and is liquid. Then it has to be beaten until it thickens. You continue to beat the mixture until something called a "trace" appears, and then it is poured into a wooden mold lined with paper. The trace is this whitish relief on the top of the long block of soap. I saw this the morning after the soap was poured, and was amazed at the shapes and forms. I could begin to imagine all kinds of imaginary figures, and shapes within the soap trace.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:11 PM
Monday, April 6, 2009
It is difficult to remember when I first began to see these roadside memorials appear. I guess perhaps ten years ago, which means probably they started twenty years ago! For those of you haven't seen them before, the memorials are liable to contain crosses, flowers, and photographs, among other things. The memorials are placed on the sides of roads where accidents have occurred, and where someone has died. I think they began with an increase in the Hispanic population on Long Island. This flag is from Brazil, however. I know nothing about the accident, and when it happened. But I was taken by the large photograph of the young man, and the flag of his country. There is a soccer ball signed by his friends, and rosary beads. It does seem important to me, that in addition to memorializing the terrible loss of a young man, that we are reminded how fragile life is, and how dangerous the roads can be.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:00 PM
Sunday, April 5, 2009
One bent spoke on my new bike. Doesn't look like much. Well... What actually bent this spoke is a piece of a small branch that was lying in the roadway on my ride yesterday. I was going uphill, at about 6 MPH, and apparently the tire clipped the edge of this branch, and flipped it into the spokes, which carried it up to the front fork, where it stopped the wheel cold! What happens when the front wheel stops dead while I am going 6 MPH? I flew over the handlebars! It was so sudden I just remembered being upside down, and then less than a second later, I felt my helmet gently hit the pavement, and then I rolled onto my shoulders and back, and suddenly I was sitting in the road! I was extremely lucky! I had some "road rash" on one knee, and my shoulder hurt a bit, but I was fine. A woman who was driving by turned around and came back and asked if I was OK, which was really nice. I realized I was fine, so climbed on the bike, and continued up the hill, and on my way. I don't want to do THIS again...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:59 PM
Saturday, April 4, 2009
On the way to the bagel store this morning I saw this tractor flash by out of the corner of my eye. I went back later in the afternoon to photograph it. I spent about 20 minutes trying all angles. Just as I was leaving, the owner came by in his truck and asked if I liked it. I told him I loved old machinery and old buildings, among other things. He told me that this is a 1943 John Deere tractor, which means it is one year younger than I am! He said he has another tractor which he spent three and a half years restoring, and it looks as if it just came from the factory. What is wonderful about this machine is the simplicity of its design. It is simple, rugged, and easy to repair and maintain. I am sure it gave long service to its owners over the years.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:53 PM
Friday, April 3, 2009
I was working on doing the Income Tax, and all the work with numbers was making me crazy. I don't really have a head for numbers, and even though I was making progress with the taxes it didn't feel as if I was accomplishing anything. So I decided I needed to MAKE something. So I went down to the basement and started cutting wood to build this box. It felt so good to smell the sawdust, and to watch the box take shape. I felt like I was really DOING something. So here it is in it's infancy. More on this project as it progresses, and then I will tell you what this box is for.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:32 PM
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I went to the store at the end of the day to get some salad fixings. The display of red peppers jumped out at me from ten feet away! I first thought it would add a wonderful flavor to my rather ordinary green salad made from Romaine lettuce. So I went over to get a pepper, and was taken by the shape and forms of the peppers. It was then that I realized I needed to get one to eat, and one to photograph! It must have taken me ten minutes to pick my subject! I came home and got a big electronic flash unit, a light bank, and set up a background on the dining room table. I realized that I SHOULD have taken a photo of my studio set up - you would find it interesting, no doubt. I am sorry I didn't think of it at the time. The salad was delicious, by the way, and here is the other pepper. You MUST click on this image, to see much better color in a larger image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:51 PM
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Not Really. These are actually the cobblestones of the Vanderbilt Museum, in Centerport, where our astronomy club meets each week. When the meeting was over I was walking back up the road from the Planetarium to the car, and it had started raining. With the wet cobblestones, and the fog in the air, it felt like somewhere else. Like Paris, for instance. Not that I have ever seen Paris, but when I was in College, the photographer Bruce Davidson did an amazing photo essay on "The Widow of Montmartre" and many of the photographs felt like this.