Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Amy and Gus arrived today! Liz will be here in a day or so, and then we head up to Connecticut for the July 4th Holiday celebration. There are a whole bunch of us in the family with birthdays in July and we all celebrate on the forth. Anyhow, when Amy and Gus arrived here, a thunderstorm had just gone by, and it was raining outside. Amy went out to the porch and was looking out at the rain, and remarked how nice the smell of the rain was in the air. I wandered out to see what she was looking at and realized what a lovely photograph it was. Click.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:37 PM
Monday, June 29, 2009
When I was in college my freshman year, at Rochester Institute of Technology, I would visit friend's rooms, and a few of them would have whole sets of Leicas and lenses sitting on their desks. I would ask to pick one up and look at it, feel the weight of this beautifully made camera, look through it, advance the shutter, push the shutter release and hear that wonderful quiet click. When I graduated, I took my first paycheck, went down to Rowe Photographic on West Main Street, and bought this used Leica M2 for $150. Finally, my very own Leica! As you can see, it has seen a lot of use in 45 Years. Some of the leather covering has come off, but it still works perfectly. Given the cost of film, and the bother of processing, it is sad that I no longer use this wonderful machine.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:44 PM
Sunday, June 28, 2009
This is Al, who has been a lector at church for 40 years. This was his last day and after Mass he was recognized for his years of service. The pastor asked parishioners to extend their arms as a blessing was given, and this is what we are seeing here. I was not aware that this was going to happen today, so when it did, I grabbed for my point-and-shoot camera on my belt, and managed only 2 or 3 images. I am glad I got something!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:00 PM
Saturday, June 27, 2009
When I was trying to find out information on that Superfund site where they are planning all this new development, I went to Google Earth to look at aerial photographs of the site. While carefully perusing the properties involved, I spotted what looked like a large building, but it appeared to have holes in the roof! Wow! One of my favorite things! So armed with this information, I headed over to the site, and I drove up a road I had never been on, and there were two abandoned factory buildings. Oh happy day! So I believe this is a building which was part of the infamous Li Tungsten plant, which polluted a huge area of the waterfront. I had to climb over rubble to get to the doorway where I shot this, but looking at the roof, I was not about to go any further into the structure.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:37 PM
Friday, June 26, 2009
A cold front came through late this afternoon, with its attendant thunderstorms. Lots of rain and lightning and dark as night at one point. But beautiful, of course. I happened to look out at the garage a bit later, and it was orange and pink in color! I got my camera and went to the back yard. It was then that I looked at the sky to the west and was stunned. I am not sure of all the cloud types, but it was an amazing sky. I photographed it for about twenty minutes, and I like this one best. It is so unusual to get anywhere near this much color in the sky. Please click on this small image to see a larger one with better color. You will be stunned!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:20 PM
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The new couch arrived today. I think the old one was at least 20 years old or more. Yikes! Anyhow, the old one was navy blue and this one is a much lighter tan/olive color. So imagine my surprise when I came into the living room late in the day today and saw this pattern of light from the setting sun on the couch and the table next to it. The sun actually sets rather quickly, so I had to run downstairs, grab my camera, and get back upstairs and shoot this before the sun moved enough to change the design of light and shade.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:21 PM
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I arrived at my astronomy club meeting tonight earlier than normal, and it was still daylight, which is unusual. Tonight we were meeting in a basement room of the Vanderbilt mansion itself, instead of in the planetarium. Since it was daylight I decided to walk around outside the mansion to see if I could find a blog photo. Bingo! I shot a few things, but this is the winner. I love the old wrought iron railing, with the curlicue adornments. And what made this extra special for me is the "low-key" aspect of the image. Low key means the image contains mostly blacks and grays, and none of the lighter grays and white tones. It makes it look more sombre I think. I tried lightening the image and adding contrast, but it changed to picture dramatically, so you are seeing the image as I first visualized it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I took the garbage out late last night, and as I turned to come back up the driveway, I saw this. I have no idea why last night seemed any different, but suddenly the nature of the light on the house stopped me. I don't know how many nights I have taken the garbage out and seen this very same thing. It may be that there are now leaves on the trees, and they are blocking some of the light from the street light, which is what is illuminating the scene. Then, get this, I thought "Hey, I will have to shoot that some night..." Are you kidding? What was I thinking! So I walked 30 feet to the car, grabbed the camera and a tripod, and shot this when I should have - right there and then! I love the strange and mysterious quality of the light, and the building and the photo.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
Monday, June 22, 2009
I was thinking of talking about this photograph as if it wer an abandoned colony on Mars or something. Except everything on Mars is orange! This was not, in fact, a colony. It was the terminal for a high speed cross-sound ferry from Glen Cove to a gambling casino in Connecticut. I think it ran for 3 or 4 years, and then was abandoned. I love how this structure does seem kind of unearthly. Maybe if there was not all this greenery around, the structure would look even more unearthly.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:42 PM
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This was Ida's last day today. She is the crossing guard at St. Brigid's Church, and has been here every Sunday, rain or shine, snow or heat, making sure parishioners safely made it across the street to church each week. She has been doing this for twenty-eight years having started in 1981. But that's not the best part... Rain or shine, she has this wonderful sunny disposition, and no one gets across the street without a sunny "Good morning everyone" or "You have a great day." That's Ida, sunshine on a cloudy day. Here retirement today was really something - she was brought in to say goodbye to everyone at the end of each mass, was given a huge bouquet of flowers, and EVERYONE crossing the street stopped and gave her a hug or a kiss and many gave her cards to tell her how much she meant to them. We will all miss her.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:17 PM
Saturday, June 20, 2009
This is what's left of the Regina Maris, a three-masted barkentine, nearly a century old, with a storied history, having sailed four oceans. She has given up the waters now, and what is left of her is firmly planted on land. The ship was barely intact when it first arrived in Glen Cove from Greenport. There was hope to save her, but so much of the hull was rotten. Unfortunately it sank at the dock, and after being submerged they decided to save some small part of her and install the remains on land. They took the top four feet of the hull and the bowsprit, the masts and deckhouse, and permanently installed them next to a walkway by the creek. I was so surprised when I drove by in the distance, and saw the masts and yardarms in the distance - I couldn't imagine what it was. Unfortunately, it is located next to the Superfund site, so even though there is a nice walkway, it is closed to people who might come and visit what once was.
Friday, June 19, 2009
This is the original figurehead on the bow of the three-masted sailing ship Regina Maris. Clearly she is in a predicament. Ships are supposed to be in the water, and as you can tell, she is not in the water. She is no where near the water. What a predicament. I will be telling you more about the story of this ship in a future post.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:02 PM
Thursday, June 18, 2009
This is one of the broken old-fashioned lamps by the side of a pretty curving walkway along Glen Cove Creek. It looks like it might have been a nice place to walk, except the whole thing is fenced in. Of course there are people like me, and the man walking his dog, who will sneak around a fence just to see what is there. At one time, to the left in the photo, they started to build condos. There were cement beams three stories high. Suddenly the construction stopped. Turns out that the whole place was a Superfund site! There had been a town dump here, and next to that, a tungsten processing factory which had been there for years. They decided it was not safe to build there, and perhaps 10 or 15 years later, the structures were torn down. Get this, now they are once again proposing a huge development down here! Hotels, condos, retail space. If it was contaminated then, why is it OK now?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:50 PM
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
My friend Larry collects things. Wonderful things. Like old worn out work boots that he then planted flowers in, about twenty years ago. Anyhow, he owns a fence company and was called to tear down an old iron fence around a cemetery. When he saw the gate, he asked what they wanted to do with it, and they said "throw it out." So Larry, recognizing this gate for the gem it is, brought it home and installed it in his garden! Isn't this wonderful? Please click on the image to see more detail and better color.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:35 PM
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Look what's growing in my tree! A shingle! How cool is that! I won't have to buy more shingles ever again - I will just wait for them to grow. Only thing is, it takes a long time for one to grow. I think I did the math on my last delivery of asphalt shingles for the roof, and I think I came up with something like 800 pounds. Which I then had to carry up the ladder to where I was on the roof! Anyhow, you can tell I am scraping the bottom of the barrel in using this photo. Sorry.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:30 PM
Kathy moved her office from Sea Cliff to Glen Head, where she now shares the space with another therapist. So this meant that she only needed some of her furniture in the new space. This couch is now temporarily in our dining room waiting to be sold on Craigslist. So about 15 minutes after we put it here, I noticed both kitties had taken up residence on it! 15 minutes! It is now their new favorite place. They have a thing, that if there is something new to lie on, they use it. If I open a computer case and leave it on the floor, zing, one of them curls up in it. If I put a jacket on a chair, suddenly one is sleeping on the jacket. They are so much fun to watch.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:12 AM
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Saw this beautiful flag hanging from someone's porch in Sea Cliff on the way to dinner tonight. It is flag day today! I put out our relatively small flag on the front porch this morning to celebrate the day. It was a flag I found in the closet of our house when we moved in. So it is fairly old, and a bit stained over the years - I think that I am supposed to burn it and buy a new, clean one, but there is something about having this flag for so long - 37 years to be exact, that I am not willing to dispose of it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:47 PM
Saturday, June 13, 2009
These are the ruins of the Brooklyn Water Works, which are actually in Freeport, NY. The building opened in 1891 to send water to Brooklyn, and was active until 1929, and then was on standby for emergency use until 1977, using giant steam-driven pumps. The building is in the neo-Romanesque style. I photographed it about 20 years ago, for a story on great Long Island architecture. I shot it with a 4x5 camera, and spent several hours inside and outside the building. It is a stunning building both inside and out. It burned about 10 years ago, which was a shame. There was hope it could be converted to some other use to save the structure. I uploaded a really large file, so click on it and maybe download it, so you can see all the detail in the image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:16 PM
Friday, June 12, 2009
It is interesting when I spend a lot of time in one place looking for photographs, that at first photos seem to jump from everywhere, but after a time, I have to look harder to find new things. It was late in the day when I wandered by this pond with a mirror-like surface, and so I started looking to see if I could find anything. When I first saw this, I tried focusing first on the reflection of the trees in the water. That didn't look interesting, so I focused instead on the group of leaves floating on the water, and then it seemed like a picture because of the complexity of having two "layers" - a background and a foreground. This is the result. The color is terrible, so please click on this to see better color.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:31 PM
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I have so many photos from my time in Shu Swamp, that I can't stop posting them! So you will have to forgive me for my excess... I shot so many different kinds of photos - close-ups, medium shots, and the wider angle views. This is one of the latter - showing more of a sense of what the preserve looks like. I cannot believe all the shades of green! Please click on it to see better colors.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This is another photo from the wildlife refuge. It is a reflection of the cumulus clouds in the water of one of the ponds. I am not sure why the water looks so gray. There are streams flowing through the refuge, and into this pond. Those streams are crystal clear. This water was clear enough to see Carp swimming near the surface, but for some reason the water was dark gray. The surface of the water reflected the clouds, but it was a strange look. Usually water will reflect both the white clouds, and the blue sky, but not here. Small leaves were floating on the surface a well. I love the strange dark moody look of the photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:28 PM
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Last night's post from Shu Swamp was a bit obscure, I will admit. I was taken with the image because it was so different. So today I present you with a more traditional landscape. This is a pond that suddenly appeared while I was walking through the woods. What I loved was the fact that the marsh which was sunlit, appears in the distance, adding another layer of complexity. Stay tuned - there are more photos from this day in the swamp to come.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:56 PM
Monday, June 8, 2009
At least 20 years ago a friend told me I really needed to goto "Shu Swamp." It is a wildlife refuge that is also a swamp. So today I finally went over there. It is an astounding place! Green everywhere, and an incredible variety of plants. There are narrow trails, with small "bridges" across the small streams that run through the property. I took all kinds of photographs and then the problem is which one to choose. I picked this one because it was completely unexpected for me. It is not a landscape in the traditional sense, and I love the complexity of the image, with the highlighted leaves way in the background, a middle ground, then the foreground leaf with the shadows on it. I think complex images hold our attention for a longer time as we discover all that is going on.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
A blue cloud on the porch. It is just a newly-arrived basket of Lobelia. I have been watching this for three days, and have shot it about four different times, at different times of day, over different days. It just looked like a blue cloud to me the first time I saw it, and wanted the photograph to have that effect. I was photographing it hanging by itself, but realized finally, that I needed this little bit of white shingled porch in order to make the picture feel like I thought it should. The color is terrible, so please click on this image to see a larger image with better color. Thanks.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:57 PM
Saturday, June 6, 2009
This is the 20" Alvan Clark great refractor in the dome at the Van Vleck observatory, at Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut. It was installed there in 1920, on a Warner and Swasey mount. I was at Wesleyan all day for StarConn 2009, an astronomy conference. When the evening program was over, we go to go to the observatory and look through this historic instrument at the planet Saturn. The view was stunning. The telescope is almost 28 feet long. When observing, the dome is dimly lit by red lights, so our eyes can become accustomed to the dark - so many objects in the telescope are faint and we need to make sure we don't loose our "night vision." This is a really long exposure - the dome in real life is very dark - but if I didn't make a long exposure, you wouldn't be able to see anything.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:13 PM
Friday, June 5, 2009
I went to an opening tonight at an art gallery in a nearby town. It was a show of photographs by the dad of our next door neighbor. The photographs were stunning. He takes flowers, some of which have dried out and curled up, and then he scans them on a flatbed scanner, and then prints them. I rarely go to events like this, but this show was special so I went. I was kind of looking for the chance of a photo but didn't see anything for a while. Suddenly, while talking with someone, I noticed this tableau, an quickly raised my camera and started shooting. I photographed three different scenes but I loved the design of this shot, with some people close and some others further away. The differences in sizes of the people was what grabbed my attention in the first place.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:55 PM
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Any idea what this is? Right. It is copper. Brand new shiny copper sheeting. I bought a bunch of it to use for flashing around the new chimney on the roof. I had no idea how gorgeous it is as a material. The shine, the color - it is stunning. And it is really easy to work with. When you bend it, it bends easily, and stays in the position you bend it in. I have had to make two assemblies made from three pieces each, all soldered together with an acetylene torch. The down side - it's expensive, at about $5.50 a foot in the 8" wide roll. I just set this small circle of copper on a board, on top of a garbage can to photograph it in the driveway.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:05 PM
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
This house is across from the Post Office, and every time I leave the P.O. I think that I need to photograph it. So today was interesting light - soft light from all directions so you can see more details, and I loved the cloudy sky behind it. I was taken with the fact that even though the house is a bit tired, the porch has hanging baskets of flowers, small American flags, and Japanese lanterns on ropes looped across the front. The owner clearly wants to keep the place bright and sunny.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
This is the end of the old Roslyn Viaduct, built in 1949. Here is a line from a newspaper article back in 2005: "The Roslyn Viaduct, the nondescript and little-loved half mile of rusting steel and worn concrete that carries Route 25A over and past the village of Roslyn at the head of Hempstead Harbor, is an aging relic of Long Island's postwar highway-building boom." Wow, beautifully written! They have already removed the northern half of the old bridge and replaced it with a modern segmented concrete box girder bridge. Now they are dismantling the south half of the bridge. How many times have I crossed this bridge? One time I even walked over it. It does have a beautiful view of the south end of Hempstead Harbor. The New bridge is quite elegant, with sweeping curves. I will show you a photograph of the new bridge when the construction materials are removed from underneath.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:57 PM
Monday, June 1, 2009
Larry called me the other day and asked if I had a clam knife and an oyster knife, which of course I do. Someone had given him a small bag of oysters and clams. He wasn't sure about exactly how to do it, so I went over there with my knives. I have not opened or eaten an oyster in perhaps 20 years, which is strange, because I LOVE them! So I got my knife, and gradually remembered how to open them. So I opened them all, and was rewarded with some to eat. They were delicious. I got to thinking, "Why would anyone even begin to think there was even food in there?" And the shells are not attractive at all. So I decided to photograph them, because that's how I study something that interests me. So here is one shell, inside and out. Please click to make it larger to study them in more detail.