Saturday, October 31, 2009
I actually heard those words today! Hooray! We haven't had trick or treaters here in several years. For a long time there were no kids on the street, but now we have two young children next door, another across the street, and one more down the street. They came in a pack, with all their parents, and it was SO cool to see them all! They are SO cute. The smallest one took something out of her pumpkin, and put it back in our bowl! Maybe next year she will know how it is supposed to work. What a joy to see them all! One of the moms thought to pose them with my Jack-O-Lantern, and I grabbed the shot!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Friday, October 30, 2009
So it's the night before Halloween, and it is time for my annual pumpkin carving and my annual photograph of the pumpkin for the blog. So what am I going to do this year, to make the pumpkin photo different from other years? I know! I will pretend to be creative and photograph the pumpkin with a zoom lens, and make a long exposure, AND.. I will zoom the lens during the exposure. You might think that this is being creative, but it's not. I remember when the first zoom lenses came out, back in the late 1960's I think. The first thing photographers did, was exactly this - they zoomed the lens during an exposure. But at least this image is is different from last year's Jack-O-Lantern. By the way, please click on this to see a much larger version, so you can see all the nice detail and better color. Enjoy your Halloween!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:06 PM
Thursday, October 29, 2009
This is a progress photo of the building of the new Roslyn Viaduct Bridge. The old bridge was constructed of steel girders. You will remember photographs of that bridge being disassembled that I posted here a while back - June 2, 2009, to be exact. They have done this in two sections, removing half the old bridge, and erecting one side of the new bridge, and the first half is now done. All of the old bridge is now gone, and they are getting ready to assemble the second half of the new bridge. The new structure is called a "Concrete Box Girder Bridge" and it is comprised of sections that are about 20 to 25 feet in length. This Gantry Crane is what lifts these sections from the ground up to the bridge level, where the sections are connected to each other with cables under tension. This Gantry Crane is HUGE! It must be almost 300 feet long, and nearly 100 feet high! Here it towers over the houses below. I love these machines, with their extraordinary scale, in human terms. I also love that it is painted bright yellow - you can see this structure from a mile away.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This is Liz, packing in her room. She arrived from Los Angeles last night and tomorrow morning will be retrieiving all her stuff that she put in storage a few years ago, when she moved to LA. So she and a friend are renting a truck, and tomorrow they load it up and head out on their 3000 mile drive back to Venice, CA. Some trip! We wish them Godspeed. I, of course, will be sitting around biting my fingernails until we hear they have arrived safely.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:04 PM
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
There are days when I have to work like a dog to find a photograph for the blog. Then there are days like today! I went to the city again, this time to see the Robert Frank exhibit of photographs at the Met. It was raining lightly when I came out of Penn Station, and I began to see photographs everywhere! It was about all the people with umbrellas, and the wet streets reflecting people and buildings. I had to walk over to Herald Square to take the subway, and I found photographs on 32nd Street. I took the subway to Central Park South, and then walked north along 5th avenue up to 82nd Street. I saw photos everywhere, and I was shooting like a madman! By the time I got to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I had a camera full of images! This is a new statue at 5th Avenue and Central Park South. It is stunning with it's brilliant color, especially on a rainy day. It is titled: "The Ego and the Id, 2008" by the sculptor Franz West. It is 20 feet tall, and made of welded aluminum. I think you can sit on the little seats, if it is not raining.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:27 PM
Monday, October 26, 2009
Debra, who lives a couple of houses away from us, has been a theater lighting designer for years. So every Halloween she always has really interesting displays in her front yard. This witch and the spider web with orange lights, went up the other day, and I really loved how it was put together. I know it is early for Halloween, but I thought I would show this to all of you, so you can get an early start on all your decorations.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:58 PM
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Yesterday I mentioned I was shooting a freelance job today. It was a wedding. I don't shoot weddings, but a friend from work asked if I would shoot their small wedding, and I agreed. I took all the usual photographs at a wedding, but when I saw this, I thought it was different than anything I had ever seen. Her husband is very tall, as is the best man, and so to see Julie through the frame of the two men stopped me, and I shot this. I think her expression is priceless and captures her love for Mike.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:30 PM
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I have a freelance job tomorrow, so I needed to do some on-camera flash tests, to make sure everything was working. I took some photos around the house, and then did some pictures of my corner of the living room. You can tell it's my corner, because is is kind of a mess over there by the light in the bookcase... :-( The trick was to use some fill flash, just to lighten the shadows. And the other thing is that the fill light should be much less light than it takes to correctly expose the picture - just enough to fill in the shadows. I was just doing some technical tests, but then realized that it was kind of an interesting shot. So here it is!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:49 PM
Friday, October 23, 2009
You're not going believe this, but I have just finished a book: "Why Buildings Fall Down," by Matthys Levy and Mario Salvadori, both brilliant architects and engineers. It is full of fascinating stories of architectural disasters and bridge collapses both in ancient times, and in recent times. They also talk about different types of construction, and they describe a "space frame" which is used to support huge surface areas of buildings, like walls and roofs. I looked at the drawings of a space frame, and was having trouble visualizing it exactly. Today I was at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, for Photoplus Expo, a giant trade show. After I picked up my badge, I turned toward this towering glass wall, and suddenly discovered that I was looking at a space frame! How cool is that! I took about 10 minutes to study its construction, and then snapped this picture.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:39 PM
Thursday, October 22, 2009
So I painted today, and then late in the afternoon took my usual bike ride. Brought my toy camera in my new little pouch on the bike, which is a great idea - now I am NEVER without a camera. Stopped by the water at the end of my ride and was admiring the landscape and the clouds after the sun had set. I almost missed this thin crescent moon! So I tried several different photographs, but thought that this view with a young tree in the foreground had a completely different feeling from some of the landscapes I have been showing you lately. So that's it - moon and tree after sunset. In some way, there is something magical about a crescent moon that goes deep within me, and touches something very special.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:38 PM
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
So this is kind of an excuse... I was putting up gutters and drainpipes on the back room of the house, and washing the shingles to get ready for painting. Which means I didn't go for my bike ride until late in the day. I brought my toy camera with me on the bike, and this is the best I could find for you. I will try harder tomorrow...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I love this time of year! But is has been unseasonably cold for the last two weeks, so it was such a relief to have the warm temperatures for today, and forecast for tomorrow. Made it nicer to work outside today. But I did take the time to go look at the water - I gotta' have a picture each day, you know. I do love the beauty of cirrus clouds. They are among the highest clouds of all - they exist way above the freezing level, somewhere around 25,000 feet, and are made up of ice crystals. They are also known, for obvious reasons, as mare's tails.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:13 PM
Monday, October 19, 2009
It was gray and rainy when I arrived at the Whitney Museum last week, and my radar was working full-time looking for photographs. This is the first thing I saw, these aluminum chairs on the patio in the rain. Normally you can sit and eat food from the cafe out there, but not at this time of year. I liked the contrast between the bright and dark, and spent some time deciding what to leave in, and what to crop out.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:00 PM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Flashed by this on the way to church, and fortunately, on the way back home, it was still raining and nothing had changed. These pretty wreaths were on a wrought iron gate at the entrance to a fairly fancy home in Old Westbury. It is SO fancy in that village that I am surprised that they actually let me drove through there. Once I pulled over to answer my cell phone while driving, and a cop pulled over to ask what I was doing. When I said answering my cell, he said "you can't do that here..." Anyhow, I am glad these people put these unusual wreaths on their pretty gate. In the rain and the fog it makes for a lovely picture, and it brightened my day to see it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:59 PM
Saturday, October 17, 2009
You will all be pleased to know that finding this object at the Whitney Museum was not a surprise. You would think it might be, given my mention lately of so many things I was surprised to see. This is an amazing piece of sculpture and the thing that makes it even more amazing is where it is located. It is on a window ledge in the stairwell in the museum. AND... When you stand next to it, there are instructions to look out the window and across the street, where there are two other similar sculptures, one on an outside windowsill, and another on top of a chimney! They are all called "Dwellings," by the artist Charles Simonds. If you click on this to see more detail you will see that the structures are meticulously constructed, and resemble some of the Native American structures in the Southwest U.S. This is a beautifully detailed piece. If you are curious, the clay-colored base is about 18" from left to right.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Friday, October 16, 2009
I ride my bike by here every day. For the last year, they have been digging enormous amounts of sand out of this place. Originally it was a giant hill, but over time most of the hill was taken away. Then they started putting in those concrete block retaining walls. This photo does not begin to show how many walls there are, how far they extend and how high they are. It was obvious that this was going to be a development of new houses. MacMansions, most likely. Well, I watched the first house go up, and couldn't believe how it turned out. Can you believe that they placed the house what looks to be six feet from a wall that towers over the house? Are you kidding me? Who would want to live in a house like that? I am guessing that there are no windows in the side of the house that faces that wall! Yee Gads! Well, maybe it is for people who don't go outside, and spend all their time in their family media center room. They don't need daylight, or a view of the sky. I am anxiously awaiting the location of the next house to see how close they put it to this one. One day I will ride my bike up there and show you a panorama of the whole place when it is done.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:14 PM
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I went to the Whitney museum today to see the Georgia O'Keeffe Abstraction show at the Whitney Museum. I went down to the lower level cafe for lunch, and when I came back up the stairs to the main floor, I happened to look up and was astounded to see this ceiling! Once again, this is a place I have been a whole bunch of times and I don't recall seeing this ceiling. I am sure I have, but it never jumped out at me as it did today. I took a couple of pictures, and while I was thinking that the ceiling lights were so cool, someone walked up the stairs past me, and I shot again as they were silhouetted against the lights. I stood on the stairs for about five minutes, and waited for others to pass me, and continued to shoot silhouettes. But the first one was best, and this is it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:46 PM
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
So, back to my visit to the New Museum last week. On the way there, I passed this wall, and was amazed to see how much it curved and leaned - away from the sidewalk, fortunately. I started looking through the camera to find the view that showed the lean and the curve the best, and then I noticed this woman walking toward me. I thought she added interest, so I waited until she was almost to the edge of the frame and shot the first photo. (The shadows of the trees, one on the wall, and one on the sidewalk are interesting.) I liked the shot, but realized that it was more about the woman than the wall. I walked around back and discovered that they have propped up the wall, so it won't fall over. The wall is obviously quite old. It surrounds the Old Saint Patrick's Church, which was dedicated in 1815! A woman who was going into the church, obviously a member of the parish, said that plans have been made to rebuild the wall. The last of these photos is from the other end, and shows more dramatically how much lean and curve really is in the wall.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
We had winds the other day that were howling out of the northwest. As I was driving North along the harbor, there were whitecaps as far as the eye could see. There is a scale of wind speed called the Beaufort Scale, and in order for whitecaps to form, the wind speed has to be at least 17 MPH. When I got home, the wind speed reported at the time was 31 MPH with gusts to 41 MPH. Man, it was howling! I stopped to photograph this just because it has been quite a while since I had seen so many whitecaps, and because it was so pretty. It didn't hurt that there was such an interesting sky with complex layers of clouds as well.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:32 PM
Monday, October 12, 2009
Well this is what I have been up to when I am not shooting photographs for the blog. Three years ago I started tearing off the roof of our house - two layers of asphalt shingles. Twenty five years ago I put a new roof on top of the existing roof. This time I stripped it all, and replaced some rotted roof boards here and there, and put down a brand new roof. But I needed a place to "store" all the rubbish from the stripped roof,so I tossed it off the roof into this small side yard. So now that the new roof is on, I ordered a five-cubic-yard "dumpster" container, and then needed to put all of this, into that. Whew! It was a seriously tedious project. Then when I finished doing that, I used a small motorized cultivator to chew up this whole side yard, and then fertilize and seed the whole thing. Whew! It looks nice, though, doesn't it? Click on this please, and you can see more detail in a larger image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:02 PM
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I was driving to the bagel store yesterday morning and as I drove along the edge of the harbor I was stunned to see this. I realized immediately what caused it. We had really strong winds for two days, and it was howling around here. Apparently what happened is that the mooring lines for this sailboat had broken with the strong winds and waves. It has happened before, when strong northwesterly winds blew across Long Island Sound and on other occasions, boats have been blown into Hempstead Harbor from across the sound. So OK, this is intended to be a photograph that is not obvious at first glance. What is it? This is a photograph of the bottom of a yacht that was blown on to the rocks. You can see where the keel is missing - that is a portion of the mainsail coming through the hole in the bottom. The bow of the boat is smashed and cracked as well, and there is another hole visible here in the bottom of the hull. This yacht has sailed its last, sad to say.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:28 PM
Saturday, October 10, 2009
We went to a wedding ceremony today. These are our friends Andi & Claudia who we worked with during the marriage preparation program at church. They have been to our house for dessert and conversation and we really enjoy their company. They invited us to their wedding today. I brought my camera, of course, and did some photographs of the ceremony, and a portrait of the wedding party afterwards, and then did some portraits of them. I took a lot of photos, and caught different expressions. Out of all the pictures, I really love the moment in this one. Being there for their wedding was a very special time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:05 PM
Friday, October 9, 2009
There were so many things to see and photograph in the city, I will take them in order of when I saw them. I was walking away from Penn Station, East on 32nd Street, and I happened to look up and see this highly detailed structure, crossing above me, from one building to the next. It is apparently a three-level pedestrian bridge. After researching it, I discovered that the building was the flagship store of the Gimbel Brothers department stores! In the 1930's Gimbels became the largest department store corporation in the world. It closed in 1987. That would explain the beautiful architecture and construction detail, with the building sheathed in copper. I am astounded, of course, that I never noticed this bridge before. I don't want to even guess how many times I have walked along this street and under this brigde. Yikes! And I like to think that I am always paying attention.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:32 PM
Thursday, October 8, 2009
After all my hard work on the house these last few days, I decided to take a day off, and go to the city to see an exhibit of photographs by the South African photographer David Goldblatt at the New Museum. More on that later, but I started my day with a ride on the Long Island Rairoad, which is the easiest way to travel to Manhattan. While waiting for my train, I was looking around, as I always do. I have waited on this platform a billion times (without exaggerating...) and for some reason today, the yellow of the sign telling me I was on the correct platform to get to New York jumped out at me - I think maybe because of the brilliant blue sky. I also loved the curve of the lamp. Anyhow, more photographs from the trip to come. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:12 PM
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Finally! It's Done! It has taken a year longer than I thought. The first year, in 2005, I started by re-roofing the garage. The next year I did the front half of the house. Last year I did the rear half, but didn't get it all done before winter. So this spring I finished the back, but it was getting warm, and my shoes were starting to tear up the new roof. So I waited until now, and the cooler temperatures, and did the back room, and the bay window over the dining room. So I am done! it was a LOT of work, but I feel really good for having done it, and relief that I am FINALLY finished. It really looks nice, doesn't it? Now I can start building my new telescope - a much smaller project.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:43 PM
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
While moving the ladder today I was temporarily blinded by the reflection of the sun from the new TV antenna I installed a month or so ago. The sky was bluer than blue today, and the antenna stood out brilliantly from the sky. So I decided to take a photo of the antenna and its aluminum mast. While looking through the viewfinder, I suddenly saw the cross-shape. It made me start thinking about whether or not we "worship" TV too much. Then, in order to give it some kind of other-worldly feeling, I breathed on the filter on the front of the lens, and quickly shot before the "fog" evaporated. So, OK, I over-did it, but it makes me smile when I look at it, and I will take just a small bit of credit for being a bit more creative.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:24 PM
Monday, October 5, 2009
I looked out from the front porch at the Dogwood tree, and was surprised to see these beautiful red berries all over the tree. I was stunned. I do not recall seeing these berries on the tree before. I think that this is about my brain, not about the tree... :-) I just don't remember them last year. What a dolt! Clearly they have always been there. Anyhow, I grabbed my camera, and a step ladder so I could get close to the branches, and went to work.. The berries are brilliant, so please click on the image to see it with better color.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I like to think that I pay attention, but i'll tell you, sometimes I amaze myself with what I don't notice! I was moving a ladder in the driveway, and looked down and saw these Montauk Daisies. They are so beautiful, and I thought "Hey, a blog shot!" So I went right to the micro-nikkor close-up lens. I thought I would photograph the whole bloom, but as I got closer I was fascinated by the pattern in the center of the flower. The yellow disc is composed of hundreds of tiny fertile yellow florets while the 20 or thirty white rays or "petals" are actually sterile flowers. The rays have, in evolution, given up their reproductive function in order to serve as decorations to draw insects to the pollen-bearing center of the flower. The pattern of the florets is nothing short of astounding. And imagine my surprise to find that there were actually water drops on the petals as well! Wow, what more could I ask for. Please click on this to see more detail in a larger image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:42 PM
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I went to the neighbor's house today to ask a question about painting, rang the doorbell, and then turned away from the door to wait for her to answer. I was just idly looking around and then looked down from the porch and saw this! Wow! I saw the rusty ironwork first, and then noticed the flowers coming through the gate. Wow, what a beauty this scene is! A few years ago I did a photo-essay on benches in gardens around Long Island. I wanted to do another essay on garden gates. I had a few photos, but not enough for a complete story. So, seeing this photo got my attention right away! Makes me want to go back and look for the other photographs and see what a layout would look like now. Of course I have no place to publish the essay, but still it would be neat to see what it might look like. Please click on this to see how beautiful the detail is in a larger image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:30 PM
Friday, October 2, 2009
Today was only my second bike ride this week - I have been roofing and painting. Wait - you already knew that. Anyhow, at the end of my ride, I usually stop and cool down on a park bench down at the harbor. You have seen photographs from there before. A lot! Anyhow, today I happened to lie down on the bench for some reason - it feels good after hammering out almost 10 miles. Anyhow, I always close my eyes for five minutes or so. When I opened them, I happened to glance toward the harbor and saw this view. I had never seen this scene from this low angle before. I was amazed how different the scene looked - it feels like a completely different place, so I spent a few minutes shooting the scene. This is my favorite.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:42 PM
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I finished roofing the back room today! I am almost done with the whole house re-roofing project! I took a lunch break early in the afternoon, and so took off my tool belt, hammer, and gloves, and set them on the work table I have on two saw horses. I started to walk away, and then realized that I had made an interesting still-life photograph without thinking about it. So I grabbed the camera, and here it is.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:08 PM