Saturday, January 31, 2009
I was taking a shower and turned to see all these spots of sunlight on the wall of the shower! They are caused by the holes in the outside lace curtain. The only problem was, the room was full of steam from the shower and by the time I could dry off and get the camera, the sun had moved and everything had changed! So the next morning I waited for the correct time, and had no problem photographing before I took my shower. What does it all mean? I haven't a clue, but I thought it was kind of interesting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Friday, January 30, 2009
I was driving along the shore heading home late today, and I looked out the car window at the sky to the west. There was the orange light where the sun had set, and I noticed the gray clouds above the horizon. I have no idea why this occurred to me, but I suddenly thought that every day the sun rises and the sun sets, and performs this "ordinary" miracle. For a moment, I was more aware than usual of the cosmic connection we have as humans, to the universe. So the photograph is not one of my great ones, but it is a reminder of what I thought at the time I took it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:41 PM
Thursday, January 29, 2009
It was only cloudy for two days, but it seemed longer for some reason. Yesterday it was cloudy and rainy as well. So it was uplifting to the spirit this morning to have the sun shining in the windows when I got up. It was SO exciting that I thought I should do a photograph that celebrated sunlight. I spent a while trying different things, and picked this one because the addition of the circular "flare" in the photo added more interest to an ordinary photo. This was a natural effect of the bright sun on the optical elements in the lens, by the way.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:44 PM
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Snow this morning, which changed to rain and drizzle. Then fog formed this afternoon late. It was a bleak and dreary day, it seemed. But the fog does have this wonderful way of making scenes magical - in this case, separating the near from the far. I love how the branches of the closer trees are black, and then as the trees get farther away their branches get lighter and lighter gray. I have always loved that effect, and it shows here. I think it makes things more mysterious.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:42 PM
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
There was something new in the side yard the other day - animal tracks! I have no idea, of course, what kind of animal made these, but they were an interesting pattern in the otherwise blank canvas of the snow covered field. Now here is the quiz... What is the subject of the photograph? While I was shooting the photograph, I suddenly realized that the picture was as much about the shadows of the trees on the snow, as it was about the tracks. Did that suddenly "flip" the photo for you - to help you to see it in a completely different way?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:21 PM
Monday, January 26, 2009
I love industrial landscapes, just as much as I love landscapes of the natural world. I went to the computer store this afternoon, and driving in the entrance saw this scene in daylight, so shot a couple of frames through the car window. Then I parked the car, and grabbed the big camera and shot for 15 minutes or so. I thought I had the shot. After spending an hour inside, I came back out, saw this, and was blown away. It has so much more going for it - the pastel colors, and the lighting, in addition to the atmospheric effects of the scene. Amazing how beautiful industrial things can be sometimes.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:31 PM
Sunday, January 25, 2009
This is the season of Pre Cana, a marriage preparation program which we do once a year in the winter. Five or six young engaged couples come to the house for four sunday nights and we discuss the nature of marriage in general, and specific issues that couples face, like communication, personality match, family of origin, sexuality, parenting, finances, and spirituality. It is always a joy to meet the new couples and to see their love for each other. I thought this photo was a symbolic way to show the care this couple had for each other.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:41 PM
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I first noticed these stalks from the remains of the garden from my bedroom window. It looked interesting shooting down on them from above. Then I came downstairs and went outside to look at the scene. The stalks stood out better when looking at them from this direction, rather from above. The sunlight and long shadows on the snow of the side yard adds interest. Then I raised the camera to include the little fence in the background and the wall, to add more complexity to the shot. It's called foreground, middle ground, and background.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:36 PM
Friday, January 23, 2009
I was eating breakfast this morning when suddenly one of the kitties (OK, it's "BeBe") jumped up on the dining table. This is not allowed, of course, but the light was perfect, and she was staring at me, so I slowly got up, found the camera, searched for the macro lens for close-ups, and hoped that the kitty wouldn't move while I was doing all this. She continued to sit there, and I slowly made about 40 exposures. Funny how a cat's expression can change from moment to moment. What grabbed me when I first looked at her was the incredibly beautiful coloring of her coat and how detailed the patterns of color are in her fur.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:04 PM
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I went back to the beach today, early enough so that the sun had not yet set. I wanted to see how the ice would look with late afternoon sun on it. I guess I spent an hour shooting while the sun sank lower in the sky. I think my best photograph was just before it went below the horizon. There is a line of seagulls along the water at the top of the picture, which is nice. The other nice thing is that this photo doesn't make it look nearly as cold as yesterday's photo did. It was warmer by quite a bit which made my time photographing much easier. Click on this image to see it larger, please.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:48 PM
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
It doesn't happen every winter, but when it is really cold, the waves from the harbor crash onto the rocks and freeze, and coat them with ice. This has been that kind of winter, so late this afternoon I went down there and photographed for half an hour. Boy! Was it COLD! I was chilled to the bone after 30 minutes. But it was so picturesque I wanted all the time I could stand being out there to look for different photographs. This one is not bad, and there is one other that I like as well. The light is magic after the sun sets, with everything all blue in color. I was expecting that, and was not disappointed. Please click on it to see better color, and to see more details in the image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:23 PM
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I went out on the front porch on the way to the driveway to go look for the morning paper. For some reason this scene caught me. Could it be that I have been using this shovel every day, two or three times a day for the past several days? :-) I do know that the light was right, with a enough directional light coming from the right to make a faint shadow on the wall and of course my favorite Japanese maple spreading to either side of the porch pillar. That seemed to be enough. It was not an easy shot, though. I think I spent 15 minutes trying different
compositions before choosing this one.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:08 PM
Monday, January 19, 2009
Every night before heading up to bed, I step outside to see what the weather is. Last night I was pleasantly surprised to see that the people across the street still had their Christmas tree lit up. I love that, because it brightens the night. Some houses in town still have electric candles in their windows, which is also a wonderful idea. All of these lights brighten up gray winter evenings. Of course without all the snow we have been getting lately, this wouldn't look anywhere as nice as it does. I love the darkness all around the tree and into the background. It feels as if the lights of the tree are keeping the night at bay.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:47 PM
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I woke up to more snow this morning, and it was still snowing so I ran around looking out the windows hoping for a photo. I didn't have time to go outside, and guess what - it shows in how lame my photos are! Some days it is more difficult than others to find something meaningful. Today was one of those days. Even though big flakes were falling, I had trouble showing that - I tried changing the focus of the lens manually, but I just couldn't capture how it looked. This image begins to capture the look. I will try harder tomorrow.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:27 PM
Saturday, January 17, 2009
It was 10 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. Yikes! I happened to notice ice crystals on one window window when I got up, and seeing that there were crystals patterns on all of the windows, I went around looking for the best patterns. Because of the nature of the light on the crystals, I could only photograph crystals with dark backgrounds. This is my favorite of all the groups and I think it looks like forest of pine trees. It is just stunning to me to see the delicacy in the patterns. They would be even more stunning under a microscope, I am sure, if you could keep them from melting. In fact, I decided to crop the original picture as close as possible, and add this photograph to this post.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:07 PM
Friday, January 16, 2009
Does this garden angel look cold? I think she does. It is 10 degrees Fahrenheit as I write this just after midnight. I think it was about 16 degrees when I went out to shoot this. It was actually kind of nice to be out in this and experience the cold. It was clear and crisp and the snow crunched under my feet. Of course, I wasn't out in the cold all afternoon. I tried a bunch of different angles but this direct angle was the most successful photo, because you could see what the angel is, and there is almost a symbolism to the the background fence.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:22 PM
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I went to the city today to see two exhibits at the Whitney Museum - the photographer William Eggleston, and sculptor Alexander Calder, the Paris years. Both stunning exhibits. Anyhow, I promised you no more ice. Well, it was snowing, so I am showing you a photograph of Central Park in the snow, which technically, is not exactly ice. I love all the design elements in this image. I love how my eye moves around within the frame from place to place, exploring all the different elements. I found the composition I liked, and fortunately there were a number of people walking on the paths, so I just had to wait until some people were in the "right" spot. Here it is! I think...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 11:14 PM
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I promise that this will be the last of the ice photographs! When I went out to look for photographs of the ice on the Japanese Maple tree, this is the first thing I found. I thought it was pretty cool, so I took a lot of photographs of this. Then I moved in closer - really closer - and did that image of just the frozen water drop, which you have already seen. Then there was the wider shot of all the backlit branches. But I really love my original shot - this one - and decided to let you all see it. I promise there will be something completely different tomorrow.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:11 PM
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I saw one of our kitties sitting in the window, looking out at the world. The trick was to get my Nikon and the 200mm lens, and get close enough to the kitty to take this photograph without her moving. I did manage to do that, but not for very many exposures. She eyed me suspiciously as I got close then she relaxed and went back to looking for a bit, then she jumped down and was gone. We have two kitties, and I still can't tell them apart. Everyone else can. What a dolt I am!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Monday, January 12, 2009
It is still cold here - so cold that the ice from the ice storm is still on the tree branches. It is so much prettier than anything else, I decided to see what else I could find. This is a favorite - the branches and ice are pretty, but the icing (so to speak) on the cake is the out-of-focus circles which are created by images of the sun reflected by other frozen water drops in the background.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:52 PM
Sunday, January 11, 2009
This is astounding! We had a light coating of ice on everything this morning, after the snowstorm yesterday. I started taking the "usual" photographs of ice-covered branches, then gradually moved closer and closer. What amazed me is the detail in this single frozen drop of water! I think that the texture in the drop is from air trapped within. I have posted a larger than normal image. You HAVE to click on it to see the amazing detail in this drop of ice.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Saturday, January 10, 2009
These two men are dinosaurs. And I am proud to say that I am one too. As explained on the Dinosaur website: "We are former newspaper and TV cameramen and women who gather once a month to have brunch, cuss, spit on the floor, and bemoan the fact that our beloved profession has gone to the dogs in our absence..." Al is on the left, and Jim is on the right, and they are casualties of the recent Newsday downsizing. Neither of them were ready to retire yet, but were forced to take the buyout. Then the company went and hired five freelancers to take the place of the dismissed staffers! This is the thanks that these photographers get for their years of dedicated service to photojournalism.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:46 PM
Friday, January 9, 2009
This is Rudolph. He is listening intently to me describing the challenges of taking and posting a photograph a day on my blog, and of what a great project I think this might be for him. Rudolph is a student, and is really excited about photography. I met him at the Dinosaur Brunch, a monthly breakfast that is for retired photographers and other staffers from Newsday, the NY Times, the Post and the Daily News. He is here because his mom worked at Newsday years ago, and she brought him to a couple of these breakfasts so he could meet and talk with some of us about photography. While we were talking I realized that this would make a good portrait, so I quickly made three exposures.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:01 PM
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Ho-Hum, you are saying by now... Another photograph from the tour of the Village. This is the window of Murray's Cheese Shop, and it just seemed to be to be a quintessential New York image. Wheels of cheese and hand-lettered signs with prices. What was even better was to go inside and be nearly overwhelmed with the aromas of the various types of cheese! What a shop this is! The good news is that I only have one more favorite photo to post, and then I will be done with New York photos.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:55 PM
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
You are looking at astronomical history. This is my friend Rich, a long time member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island. He was the featured speaker tonight at our meeting, and in front of him is his first telescope, a 60mm Tasco refractor which he received for Christmas in 1967 when he was a boy. He spoke of his beginnings in astronomy, and of first seeing some of the wonders of the universe through this telescope. This was the scope which started it all for him. Today, this would be considered a "toy" telescope. He loaned it to his brother years ago, and recently got it back in poor condition, so he went in search of parts and lovingly restored it over the past year. What is particularly nice is that he has the original box it came in. His guess is that the telescope cost about $30 when it was new.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:16 PM
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I guess I am going to beat to death my trip to the Village last Saturday! Here is yet another photograph from that day. I can't help myself - the change of scenery caused me to see photographs everywhere as I walked around. I must have looked weird running after people walking down the street in order to stay with them until I could bet the composition I was looking for. Weird Ken, at it again!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:57 PM
Monday, January 5, 2009
I saw this sight while wandering around the Village the other day, and loved how incongruous it was, and how pretty, sort of. The white balloons against the blue sky. I had no idea at all why there would be balloons on a traffic light, so stopped thinking about it. I did think it made a good photograph, so I was moving around checking different angles to shoot from, and different backgrounds when Amy said: "Oh, look at that, left over from New Year's Eve!" "Duh!" I thought... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:32 PM
Sunday, January 4, 2009
While walking around Greenwich Village yesterday afternoon we came down a side street that dead ended at MacDougal Street. MacDougal is only six blocks long, but has a history longer than your arm. It has been the subject of many songs, poems, and all manner of artists, singers, writers and other famous people have lived here. Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix got their start performing in a club on MacDougal Street. It is a very photogenic street. What was stunning at this time of day was the reflection of the late afternoon sunlight off the fire escapes of all the buildings on the street. It looks more like an abstract painting to me, than a real life cityscape. I have posted an extra large photo so if you click on it you will see a much larger image to enjoy.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:07 PM
Saturday, January 3, 2009
We went to the city today to have lunch with Amy, and to hang out with her for the afternoon. She has been on the east coast for a week, so we wanted to see her before she heads home. Picture taking runs in the family of course... :-) So we were taking photographs of each other all afternoon. This is my favorite of Amy. I took half a dozen exposures, and I chose this one because of the blowing hair. Don't you just love it?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:38 PM
Friday, January 2, 2009
It was snowing in the city on Wednesday when I was there. I love the shapes and the pattern these trees made at the edge of Bryant Park, on Sixth Avenue. What made the photograph is the snow in the background. It set the trees off from the buildings in the background, and lends a lovely atmospheric effect to the whole scene.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I have a bunch of photographs from my trip to the city yesterday. This is one of the first - my train arriving at the station. I love the textures in the photograph, brought out by the covering of the snow. Smooth on the platform, and textured on the rail bed. I love that the majority of the photograph is made up of gray tones, with the contrast of the black rails and the hooked lamps against the sky, and I love the one red jacket on of the girls waiting for the train. The headlamps on the train add the finishing touch - another spot of color in an otherwise gray scene.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:15 PM