Monday, November 30, 2009

The White Deer

This is an amazing story! This white deer is one of a herd of about 200 on the grounds of the former Seneca Army Depot, in Romulus, New York. It is a facility of some 11,000 acres, and was used for storing munitions for over 50 years, from 1941 to 1994. There were reportedly atomic bombs stored here as well. I remember driving by once, just as a C-141 Starlifter broke out of the overcast and landed on the runway of the Depot. A security fence was built around the facility in 1941, and gradually the army noticed that there were some white deer on the property, along with the more numerous brown deer. Realizing they were special, they allowed the white herd to increase, while they controlled the population of the brown deer. We were driving by late in the day, and saw a few cars stopped alongside the road, and there were the white deer. I pulled up alongside the fence where this buck was feeding, he looked at me, and went back to his grazing. When he looked up again, I got this shot.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I know these plants in the foreground look like some kind of flower, but they are not. They are actually apple trees. I kid you not. This is a nursery in an apple orchard, and the new shoots are grafted onto root stocks. Apparently the buds along the main stem are trimmed, leaving a long slender tree. All of the trees are more than three feet high. Eventually they are transplanted to an orchard, and then grow in a more traditional shape. The tops of the leaves of some of these are bluish in color because I photographed them after the sun had set, and they are reflecting the remains of the blue sky. The old barn in the distance is not part of the nursery, but it sure adds interest to the photo, doesn't it?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Do Not Fly

"Do Not Fly," the red sign says. OK, I won't... :-) This is the fuselage of an old Taylorcraft L2-M aircraft built for the military in Ohio, back in 1944. It is what is called a "basket case." That doesn't mean it won't fly again. John and I went to a small airport near Rochester, where an enthusiastic group of pilots restore old aircraft. The owner of this airplane is talking about having it flying by spring! Apparently he will have have a lot of help from volunteers in working on the restoration. It was fun to hang out with a bunch of pilots in a hangar, telling stories.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Walking the Dogs

I drove up to Pultneyville today to see my friend John. He and I have been friends since college, and we are both photographers and pilots. We spent most of the day just hanging out and talking, went to lunch, and then he had to take the dogs for their afternoon walk. It was cold, and had rained, and was late in the day. So he walked the dogs, and I walked backwards in front of them, and tried to get an interesting picture. This is my favorite - I love the sky, and the wet road and the blue light of late afternoon.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Watching YouTube

This is Chris, Angela, and Vince watching the now famous YouTube interviews of Sarah Palin supporters while they waited in line to have their books signed, in Columbus, Ohio. If you watch the video, first you think it is funny, but then you realize how little her supporters know. But that is not the real topic of this blog. I was really enjoying watching Vince showing the video, and how much fun they were all having together. Having fun together - isn't that what a gathering of family is all about on this Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Something New

I just typed the title "Something New" and laughed, because clearly what I have photographed today is not new! When I was photographing the remains of this garden today, I was trying different ways of looking at this subject. Then I began to have the feeling that I was seeing this in a different way than I normally would. It just feels like a new way of seeing, perhaps in some small way. But different, nonetheless. In case you are curious, this is the remains of this year's Chinese wisteria, and it is in the beautiful West garden at the Eastman House in Rochester, one of my all time favorite places.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ho Hum, Another "Old" Thing

It's the same old story again... Driving down the road, see something, find a place to park, and go back to shoot. The interesting thing about this shot is that the thing that grabbed me was a view of this house from the other direction. As I walked back to where I thought I wanted to take the photos, I saw this, and decided that I would shoot it as well. As it ended up, I liked this shot better. I should post both and you can all vote...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sarah's Book

I was in Borders today, and happened to walk up this walkway to look at books in the science section. I was amazed at how many copies of Sarah Palin's book were stacked up here. Turns out she was actually at this store Sunday night, for four hours signing books for her fans! I did not buy a copy...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Willard Asylum

This is Willard State Hospital, which was built in the 1860's and originally called "Willard Asylum." More than 50,000 patients were admitted to the facility in its 126 years. At its peak in 1955 it had over 4,000 patients, but state hospitals began to use newly developed antipsychotic drugs to control patients crammed into ever-tighter living quarters. In the early 1970s, political and economic factors including new laws that promoted patients' rights and forbade unpaid patient labor resulted in a shift away from long-term institutionalization. It was closed in 1996. I believe this building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, the grounds are now run by the NYS Department of Correctional Services, so I was reluctant to go on to the property to look for other images.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Burned to the Ground

It must have been thirty years ago that I stopped to photograph this abandoned farmhouse for the first time. I just photographed the outside, but what was really cool was an old rusted truck next to the house that was covered with weeds and vines. I didn't give the house much thought each time I passed it in the ensuing years. Then about 5 years ago or so, I realized that the house was gone. It was overgrown, but I thought I saw the chimney. Today I took the time to go investigate it, and this is what I found. What an amazing thing to see - the chimney still standing and the old cast iron bathtub in the basement. Can you find it? I have posted an extra large image so you can see more details.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Red and Yellow

I am relieved - I wrote about how the Japanese maple tree didn't appear to be turning the traditional colors I expected. Instead the leaves turned a deep purple from green. I was worried that the leaves were not going to turn to the red and yellow that I have come to expect. I stepped off the front porch this morning and saw this. It poured rain last night something fierce, and here was a beautiful carpet of the red and yellow leaves in the driveway. Oh happy day! PLEASE click on this to see brilliant color.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chairs and Kitties

The kitties are so funny. They keep to themselves most of the time, either sleeping or running around acting nuts or just hanging out. But every once in a while, I find them just looking at me. Like here. I was sitting in my easy chair in the living room reading, and just happened to look up to see this. They sat there for a while, just looking at me. I hoped they wouldn't move when I reached to get my camera which was at my elbow. They didn't move for 30 seconds, and I got the shot. The funny kitties. Oh, and the one sitting on the dining room table? That is NOT allowed!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Beautiful Mistake

I went out to look at the trees in the back yard because there was some nice fall color. I saw this scene, composed it carefully and snapped. I took a look at what I shot in the LCD screen on the back of the camera and was completely surprised by the color - instead of red and orange it was all blue. That was because I had the camera's color balance set for tungsten light - like lightbulbs indoors. I immediately changed the color balance back to "daylight" and proceeded to take normal looking photos. But when I went to edit the pictures, there was something about this one that was wonderful. I just loved the blue color. So here is my mistake!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Orion Rising

I drove out to Sunken Meadow State Park, on the North Shore of Long Island tonight, to do some observing with friends from the astronomy club. Man, it was COLD! Well, not in the beginning, but after a couple of hours sitting at the eyepiece, without moving much, the cold starts to soak in. It was really nice to observe with friends, because someone will say "I have the galaxies M81 & M82 in the eyepiece" and then we will come over to look through each others' telescopes, or find the same objects in our own scopes. And there were some visitors who don't know the skies at all, so it is really fun to show newcomers some of the more interesting objects in the sky at the moment. After I packed up my scopes, I wandered over to a nearby tree, and did this photograph of Orion rising in the east. It was a long exposure - 16 seconds at an ISO of 1600. The only thing is, I was unable to determine correct focus in the dark, and as a result, this image is slightly out of focus... :-(

Monday, November 16, 2009

In Church

We went to a seminar at a church in a nearby town, and the meeting was held in the sanctuary of the church. When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was the aroma of incense, then I spotted these "crepuscular rays," the result of the sunlight coming through the overhead windows. We can see the rays, because they illuminate the microscopic particles of the smoke from the incense suspended in the air. It was nice that the priest happened to be sitting in the foreground, as a point of interest.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Will I Look Like This When I Get Old?

This is my Jack-O-Lantern and he is on his last legs, as you can see. He is still kind of cute. Makes me laugh when I look at him. But then I had this thought when I saw him today - will I look like this when I get really old? :-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Working On My New Telescope

I am finally doing some serious work on my new telescope with the 18" mirror. I decided that I needed some detailed drawings of what size everything needs to be to fit properly. I am building a "standard" design, but I am making it as small and as light as I can. So it is important that I have the sizes just right. These are full-size drawings, so they are too large for my drawing board downstairs. So the answer is to work on a piece of plywood on the living room floor. And the kitty is enjoying watching me work too.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Purple Tree

I think of this Japanese maple as being the last tree to change color and loose its leaves every year. The leaves are really colorful, though. I remember the driveway covered with very delicate multipointed leaves of brilliant red and yellow. Just gorgeous to look at and photograph. I went to the side yard and looked at the tree, and was surprised to see that it was a beautiful dark plum color. I don't remember seeing that color before on this tree. Maybe, once again, I just never noticed... Anyhow, I grabbed the camera and a long lens and made this shot. When I looked closely, I did see some yellow and red leaves, so maybe the tree will be normal this year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Gray & Rainy Day

It was a gray and rainy day today, so I wanted to look for something different. That means I didn't want to go outside to shoot! So I looked for raindrops on one of the windows and hoped that there would be fall color in the background. I found drops on the east windows, but very little fall color. So I started looking and shooting. I noticed an interesting thing - the raindrop is a lens. If I didn't focus on the drop itself, but back focused, I could see the image of a yellow tree that the raindrop-lens created. You will want to click on the picture to enlarge it, and you can see the tree. It is upside down, by the way. Lenses do that.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

"Remembrance Day" is what they call this day in the United Kingdom. Here in the U.S. it is, of course, "Veteran's Day." I bought the new Mark Knopfler album "Get Lucky" a month ago, and it is a stunning album. Sublime music, and brilliant lyrics. One of the really touching songs on the album is "Remembrance Day" and he uses a group of children singing in the background of the song. He starts by describing a cricket match, with the town in the background, the players on the field, and people watching and waving handkerchiefs. Then he starts naming the names of the players, and it becomes obvious they died in the war. The refrain is "We will remember them, remember them..." It is a poignant song, and after hearing it a number of times, it chokes me up. You can find the song on iTunes or It is more than worth the $.99 it costs. So after living with the song for a month, I find myself contemplating the day, and I spotted the neighbor's flag and realized that it was such an important part of the day. I made this photo from my front porch, where our flag was also on display.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Quiet End of Day

I went down to the water again - something about the sea shore - it always seems a good place to go when I need to find a picture. It has been windy lately, but on this day there was almost no wind, so the water was calm. The hazy light of the setting sun illuminated the grasses along the shore, turning them a beautiful golden yellow color. Add a bit of pastel to the horizon, and you have a subtle image of a day as it fades.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Garden Fades...

I walked down my street to the water and passed this garden. I saw the pink blossoms first, and they caught my eye, so I stopped to shoot the scene. I thought it looked worth a few exposures - three horizontal exposures, then I turned the camera on its side and did two vertical versions, and walked on, not thinking I had anything particularly great. But when I got home, I realized that this was a beautiful scene, with the brilliant blossoms against the nearly colorless dark foliage. PLEASE click on the image to see better color.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Sunday Afternoon

Wow, I am EXCITED about this one! It is unusual these days that I am around people so when I saw this scene, I moved in to be closer to the couple in the foreground. Then I composed the shot, being mindful of the fishermen in the distance, and the young girl on the bicycle way back. I waited and waited and took the occasional shot, but it wasn't until the man in the center walked there from the background, that I realized everything had fallen into place. I made three exposures, and the girl on the bicycle disappeared around the corner, and the moment was over. To me this image is all about foreground, middle ground and background, and balance. This is a larger than normal file, so please click on it to see it in more detail.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Road Ahead

This is wonderful bike riding weather, and along with the cooler temperatures there are the leaves in their fall colors. This is one of the prettiest roads on my route, or should I say, one of the most artistic. First I have to climb this mile-long hill, where I rest and have some water, then I turn and scream down the hill at 30 MPH! Part way down the hill this beautiful curve comes into view, and then the fun is carving through the turns at high speed. Beautiful and fun. And gorgeous on this fall afternoon.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Industrial Sunset

I am a sucker for a sunset. Normally I would prefer some idyllic scene of the natural world as part of my scene, but I drove up the driveway to Micro Center, and was faced with this. I have photographed this scene before, but on a rainy, misty day. I liked the contrast of the industrial foreground with the beautiful sunset background.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Have Been Waiting For This...

I left late today for my bike ride - too close to darkness. I thought: "Why bother to bring my camera on the bike because it will be too dark to shoot, even if I find a picture." Well, I brought the camera anyhow, and I am glad I did! I took this photo at my rest stop near the end of my ride each day, at the top of a mile-long hill. I have seen this scene on and off, over the last four years, and each time, if the light was right, I would think: "I need to come back here with my camera." Well, today everything was right, AND... I had my camera! Wonderful scene, isn't it, with the yellow artificial light and the blue light from dusk. Such wonderfully rich color.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Modern Ruin

I was running errands and at Roosevelt Field, (There is an Apple store there!) and saw this structure late in the day, illuminated by the setting sun. There was something that seemed classic to me about this structure. Classic, and abandoned. Except it is not - it is a very active parking garage. The only thing that made it more of a photo was the blue sky with the cloud. There certainly are modern buildings that have no warmth at all to them. But, hey, they can be built cheaply. And look it...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Red Tree

I drove by this scene while taking junk to the recycling center. Then I remembered that I had removed my camera from the trunk! Yikes! So I did the right thing - I drove home, grabbed the camera, threw it in a backpack, and rode my bike back to this side of town to take this photo. No wasting gas by this guy! I don't think I remember seeing a tree quite this red before! I mean, when I saw it, I snapped my head to the right to look at it as I drove by. The color in this image looks terrible, so please click on it to see more brilliant color.

Monday, November 2, 2009

HDR Moonrise

Have you seen the moon in the last few days? It is full tonight and because it is nearly overhead in the sky, it is incredibly bright. I looked out the upstairs widow just after dark, and saw the moon rising in the east, behind some high level clouds. It was a beautiful sight, with the silhouettes of the dark trees around the edge of the picture. The thing is, the brightness of the scene is too great for a camera to record. So I made 4 separate exposures, and then combined them in Photoshop using a technique called HDR, which stands for "High Dynamic Range." What it means is that you can see the moon, and detail in the clouds, and detail in the dark trees around the edge. Pretty, isn't it?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kitty's World

We have had two other cats, and they were both indoor and outdoor cats. But then they would end up getting chewed up in fights. So when we got the two sister kitties, the decision was made to never let them out. One escaped one time and we thought we had lost her for good, but we discovered her under the next door neighbor's back porch two days later, and saved her. Anyhow, these kitties only know life from inside the house. They spend a lot of time at the windows, looking out at birds and squirrels, and thinking kitty thoughts, whatever they are.