Sunday, January 31, 2010
Wow, was it COLD again this morning. 14 degrees! Yikes. Looked out the window kind of absent-mindedly and happened to see this grouping of frost crystals right under my nose. Quickly ran to the basement to grab the Nikon with the Macro lens on it, which is needed for close-ups. I shot quickly because it only takes a hint of direct sunlight to melt the crystals. It's funny, there were all kinds of crystal formations on the glass, but my eye went right to this one, and it was the only one I photographed. I first did just the larger part, then backed up just a bit and got the little thingie on the bottom, which added more interest, I thought. I can't offer any impressions of what feels like for me. Just think of it as your own personal Rorschacht test. Let me know what you come up with.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:02 PM
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I drove by this yacht yard today when I was out doing errands and was struck by all the sailboat masts. It looked like a forest of... well it looked like an aluminum forest. Man it was COLD here today - 14 degrees Fahrenheit! I got out of the car wearing a light jacket, and no gloves and was frozen in 5 minutes! I took several views, but liked this one because the motor yacht in the foreground was covered with white protective plastic for the winter, and at first glance you don't know what it is, making the photo just a bit more mysterious.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:12 PM
Friday, January 29, 2010
So this is the "other" photograph of yesterday's snow. I thought that this one looked more like a textured tapestry compared to yesterday's more graphic design. You can vote for your favorite, if you would like. It would be fun to hear which photo is your favorite. I was first attracted to the way the background trees receded into the distance - partially because the falling snow acted like fog does, and the more fog there is, the fainter the background. Please click on this to see more detail in a larger image. I love the delicate tracery of the dark branches.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:48 PM
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I woke to a gentle snow falling. Gentle, but there was an inch and a half on the ground, with more continuing to fall. I ran out with the camera and found a scene, and did several variations of the shot. Then I went looking for the "something else." This is it. While I was shooting I felt that both of the shots were equal. But the second I saw the two images in the editing program, this image jumped out at me as being much better. I think it is because it is more graphic. If you squint at it, you will see a much stronger design, instead of a softer "pattern." Maybe I should post the other one tomorrow...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:11 PM
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I made a last minute dash to the hardware store to get more paint, and driving home the sun had already set. What jumped out at me was the brilliant yellow of the sodium vapor lamps on the light poles. Bright splashes of yellow receding into the distance. So I pulled over and looked for the best composition. It's funny, but the lamps on the poles were less obvious in the viewfinder, so the picture is not as much about them anymore. But the one in the foreground is obvious, and I found when I waited for car headlights they added another source of light, and that, combined with the sodium vapor light and the sunset finally gave me something I was happy with.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:03 PM
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I walked into the dining room this morning and saw this. The kitties love to sit on the chair cushions, and they each have their favorite chairs, but this was such a surprise, with one on the bottom and one on top. This seems new. Of course I had to make a lot of noise so they would both look at me at the same time. That's what you have to do with kitties.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:10 PM
Monday, January 25, 2010
It was raining today, as my mother was fond of saying "like the dickens." Pouring. Howling winds and rain lashing the windows. Late in the afternoon the rain stopped and the sun came out. So I headed down to the beach to see if I could find a picture. I was not sure it it was high tide, and not sure where to look exactly. I drove into the parking lot at Tappan Beach, and in front of me were these Phragmities blowing in the wind. That looked like a possibility with all the different clouds in the distance, and the sun setting. So I played with this for about 20 minutes, until the sun went down behind a cloud deck. The edge of the cloud deck is brightly lit, and looks like a river in the sky.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:03 PM
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Painting, etc... So maybe this will be my last post from the last MoMA trip. We were walking upstairs, and this was at the beginning of the escalator. I saw the circle of light, and then took a picture of Liz standing in the circle. Then she took one of me, and as we walked away, I snapped this of someone else being photographed. Thought it was an interesting composition with nice light. Here's the bad part... I completely neglected to find the identifying tag, which was probably on a wall somewhere! Duh! So I can't tell you any more about the artist or the title of the piece. I will be more thorough next time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Same excuse. Painting. So here is one more photograph from my trip with Liz to MoMA. There was a room with a small number of Monet's "Water Lillies" series of paintings. A small number, but huge paintings. You can how large this is based on the scale of the people. It was a wonderful experience, standing in front of this image. The longer you looked, the more you saw. It was a bit difficult because there were so many people looking at the exhibit. Some people stood quietly looking, others walked back and forth, and others photographed it. So I did too, but I was photographing the people, rather than the painting. It is important to remember that experiencing the painting in person is more important than photographing it, to look at later. It is not the same thing.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:05 PM
Friday, January 22, 2010
I was painting, so didn't photograph again today. I was looking for a photograph on an older computer and stumbled across this image from a bunch of years ago. Because it is now winter, and cold out, I was immediately attracted to this photo, because I remembered how nice and warm it was when I took this, one September outside of Tucson. These are Cholla cactus, and have this wonderful glow to them when backlit by the sun. Don't you feel warm too, looking at this scene?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:49 PM
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I was painting today, so didn't photograph at all. This is an image from one of the trips to the city with Liz a couple of weeks ago. We were both standing on a subway train and I happened to look down and saw this woman sitting. There was something about her body language that grabbed my attention. I am not sure what it was. I thought of it as a picture maybe, then discarded the thought. Then I looked again, and this time reached for the camera on my belt. My main concern was that the woman NOT notice that I was taking her picture, so I was very careful, and only did two exposures. I think the red pocketbook is an important element in the photograph. And I am not sure why, but it does seem important.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:48 PM
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
When Liz and I went to the Whitney for the Georgia O'Keeffe show, we saw two abstract paintings on display. They were, surprisingly, views looking down on clouds from an airplane. That was a bit of a surprise, but I guess Georgia O'Keeffe got to fly at some point. Anyhow, I looked up at this sky, and it reminded me of the types of clouds that she looked down on before making her abstract painting - thus, "A Georgia O'Keeffe Sky."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:25 PM
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I know this is a strange photograph, but the story is interesting... I went to an FAA Safety Seminar tonight, all the way up in Stratford, Connecticut. It was about "Communication in the Real World" for pilots. But the highlight of the evening was that the meeting was held at Sikorsky Aircraft! And... The deal was, that there would be a tour of the factory where the famous Sikorsky helicopters are built! That's why I drove three hours round-trip to attend! And the tour was everything I expected and more. The only "problem" for me, a photographer, was that no cameras were allowed, of course. They make both military and civilian aircraft. So it was slightly frustrating to have this incredible tour, and see so many astounding things, and yet not be able to photograph any of it. So in desperation, so I would have something to post, I took this quick, blurry snapshot out my front window of the Sikorsky logo as I drove out of the parking lot. Oh, one more thing... We all got free Sikorsky baseball caps!
Monday, January 18, 2010
When my dad would talk about people who were so much like their fathers, he would say "They're a chip off the old block." Well, Tony's daughters are clearly that. They are a whole family of photographers, according to Tony's wife. They all have point-and-shoot cameras, and are always taking pictures. There were wonderful family photos with Tony in them, on display at the wake. I should point out that most photographers (like me, for instance) are never seen in family photos. It made me feel really good to see his daughters photographing the casket and flowers before the internment, to record this last moment with him. I am sure Tony would be thrilled as well - he truly was a photographer's photographer. There was a wonderful prayer service at the funeral home before driving to the cemetery - Tony's brother-in-law Joe spoke, read scripture and led the prayers. It was a simple, beautiful and profound service. Here's what I will carry with me after that - "We should honor and remember Tony by taking his best attributes, and adopting them as our own." It was a very powerful message. Farewell friend, I will miss you. I hope I will be a better person because of you.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:06 PM
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Perhaps this photo is in desperation. It was raining outside today, so I was trying to come up with a photograph that didn't involve going out in the rain. Lazy me. Well, not really. I worked this afternoon doing more prep work for the painting. I guess that is why I have a fixation on the accouterments of painting. Or I am looking at the Tao of finding things right under my nose to photograph - things that are not obvious. Or at least that don't involve me going out in the rain! The photograph is of the plastic sheeting that I have hung in front of the railing and bannister while I do my prep work, and of course it is about how the light comes through it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:26 PM
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I still have some left-over photos from MoMA and have been waiting to show them. This photo was taken in an exhibit: Monet's Water Lillies. I noticed people using digital cameras to take photos of the paintings. So I was going to take a photo of a person and an illuminated viewfinder, with the painting in the background. Then I noticed this. I was taken by this woman's pony-tail and the way it was swept up. But the best part was the loose hair that looked like some kind of fountain. So that ended up being the subject of my photo. I have no idea if she intended her hair to be this way. If I had to guess, i would say that this was intentional. What do you think?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:46 PM
Friday, January 15, 2010
I am standing on my plank, suspended between two ladders, getting the ceiling and walls ready for painting. I know you are not supposed to SAND plaster - you are supposed to use a damp rag. I think sanding works best, but WHAT A MESS! Yikes. Does this photograph make you dizzy? I tried to frame it so it would, but when I am working I am looking up, so it doesn't make me dizzy, at least so far...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:43 PM
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Tony Jerome, a photographer, editor, and one of the nicest guys I have ever known died last night, well before his time. He had been fighting liver disease for a number of years, and passed away in the hospital with his family by his side. He was my editor at the paper, and a good friend as well. He was such a good photographer and so committed to doing the best work imaginable. He was also so supportive of all the photographers who worked with him. He was a wonderful editor as well, taking great care to talk with writers and editors to understand the nature of the stories, and then to talk to the photographers with suggestions of some of the best ways to illustrate them. He also worked harder than anyone, both as an editor and a photographer. Writers and editors loved him and he would always bend over backwards to help anyone - to make everyone's job easier. He was also a passionate fisherman, and loved nothing better than to spend a day in his boat on the water, fishing. He would come to the office after a weekend completely sunburned, and grinning from ear to ear when he talked about his fishing expeditions. It just seems inconceivable to me that he is gone...
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I have been to three museums in the past week. One on Long Island, and two in Manhattan with Liz. I could not believe some of the people who were wandering through the exhibits, while TEXTING! WHAAAAAAT? Are you kidding me? Why bother to go to the museum in the first place? Now, to be fair, I grabbed this shot in the line of people waiting to retrieve their jackets from the coat check. What struck me however, was the intensity of the young woman. I watched her text for perhaps 10 minutes while in line. So I took the photograph because of that intensity, which I think shows in this picture. This is a cropped version of the original picture, which was 3/4 length. I thought it was stronger as a close-up. I love the glint in her eye from the screen of the cellphone.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:22 PM
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
When we went to Connecticut to visit with the Aunts and Cousins, we also went to visit my mom. She was in the hospital for a week with pneumonia, which came on the day after Christmas. She is now in a medical facility for recovery near the hospital, and is doing much better. My mom is 93, and these are her hands. She has had arthritis for a number of years, and both my sisters and I have hints of this, with the last digits of some of our fingers starting to head off at an angle just like Mom's. So here are her hands after 93 years. What's also interesting is that she is reading "The Book of Ruth" and that is my mom's name.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:24 PM
Monday, January 11, 2010
What an exciting day! Amy's book has actually arrived! She has written a book called: "Meeting Your Half-Orange - An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Using Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match." Her project has been underway for two years, and we have read the manuscript, but now the book is finally here! A box of them arrived from Amazon.com today. Pretty exciting to actually hold the book itself, after all this time! It is published by Running Press, and if you know someone who is having trouble meeting their soul-mate, tell them to buy her book. (A shameless plug by her dad!)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:50 PM
Sunday, January 10, 2010
One of the reasons Liz wanted to come East was that she missed seeing family members at Christmas. So she decided to come home and visit my mom and my sisters and her cousins. We went to Milford first, then to New Haven where Jon works and had a GREAT meal in the restaurant Jon works in. It was so nice for all of us to have plenty of time to visit. And it was worth running out to the sidewalk for a second to take this picture, even though we were all freezing.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:23 PM
Saturday, January 9, 2010
This is a sculpture by Gabriel Orozco in the Museum of Modern Art. It is a Gray Whale skeleton from Mexico, with graphite markings on it. It is suspended in a huge atrium and is a spectacular object to see. So many visitors to the museum stop and photograph it, or have their picture taken with it. As you can see it dwarfs visitors. This is just one of the many pieces in an exhibit of photographs, sculptures and paintings by this amazing artist.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:17 PM
Friday, January 8, 2010
This is Liz on the LIRR platform at Jamaica station, on the way to New York City. We went to Manhattan together to go to the Museum of Modern Art to see several shows. It was COLD today, and windy on the platform, while we waited to change trains. Liz was smart and was bundled up, and I was not. So she was toasty warm, and I was freezing! I think this is a really cute picture of her. I will post some of the photographs I took at MoMA in the coming days. I have some REAL photographs, for a change.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
I have been doing a lot of work around the house, and Liz is visiting, so I have admit I haven't been as conscientious as I should have been recently in looking for photographs. I did ride my bike for the last two days, so in desperation today I shot this down by the water, at the end of my ride, so I would have something to post. That's not the way I like to do the blog, however. I will look for something really different tomorrow. Promise.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:43 PM
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
This is one more sculpture at the art museum I was at the other day. I took this photo first, AND I found the plaque with the artist's name and the name of the piece on it. It is "Snake Tree, 1988" by Niki de Saint Phalle. What I love about this photo, besides the amazing sculpture, is the tiny figure of a child running away in the distance. Did you notice that when you first looked at the photograph?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:17 PM
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
So I am no longer on the roof, but I have an indoor project that is way up in the air. I am preparing to paint the hallway over the stairs leading to the second floor. It is a bit tricky - I need to put two ladders on the stairs, and then put a 2"x10" plank between the ladders and then climb up on the plank. Wow, it is way up in the air! I am chipping out the loose plaster and digging out the cracks, and then taping and using joint compound to fill in all the imperfections, before I begin painting. I will be at this for a few days, but the project is fun. I love making things new and clean and fresh looking.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:25 PM
Monday, January 4, 2010
This photograph is not a normal representation of the scene. I am still experimenting with High Dynamic Range photography (HDR), where I take 3 or 5 photographs at different exposures, and then combine them with special software to be able to show details you would not be able to see normally. In this case, in the actual scene, the tree was nearly a black silhouette, but there was a hint of orange light on it, from a streetlight across the street. This software allows me to bring out much more detail in the tree, thus making it almost completely oranage. It is a really cool effect. The saturation of the entire photograph is a bit high, which also adds to its sense of unreality. Here is one of the original photographs for comparison.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:27 PM
Sunday, January 3, 2010
I went to the Nassau County Museum of Art today to see the show of Norman Rockwell paintings, and Saturday Evening Post covers from the 1920's to the 1960's, featuring his artwork. On the way to the museum I passed this sculpture on the lawn, and stopped in my tracks. At first glance it just looks like a human figure, but as you look more closely you see that it is made of layers of flagstone with ragged edges carefully stacked! It is simply stunning in it's simplicity and in it's beauty, and in the feeling it creates when you contemplate it. I didn't stop to photograph it on the way in because I was cold - it was 22 degrees here today. On the way out I did stop, and quickly photographed it, but forgot to look for the plaque that identified the artist. What a dolt I am. I am sorry I didn't get this information for you. I want to go back and photograph it again in the Spring in different light.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:09 PM
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Since we had a respite from snow pictures yesterday, I am back with "Topic A" and I wanted to show you this photo I did the morning of the small snowstorm. It's a view out the bathroom window. Here's the thing... If I showed this image as it was shot, it would be kind of bluish, because it was taken on an overcast day. I looked at the blue and then color-corrected it back to a neutral tone. I am tired of looking at blue-gray pictures. But I am having second thoughts, so I will put it up for a vote and show you both versions. Which color do you like best?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:10 PM
Friday, January 1, 2010
It snowed again today, and so I went and took some more snow pictures. But since it is the start of a new year, I was cleaning up my computers and filing last year's photographs and I stumbled across this recent photo. They are Cosmos, I believe, and I photographed them on Liz' front porch. Today is gray outside, and I like that this photograph is bright and colorful, something I would rather see today. I did gray yesterday!