Tuesday, August 31, 2010
This is called a "Moire Pattern" and it is an interference pattern created when two grids are overlaid at an angle, or when they have slightly different mesh sizes. This is two screen doors at a farm market in Amagansett where we stopped to shop a week or so ago. I was just wandering around aimlessly when I saw it, and so while others were shopping I could have fun with my camera!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:48 PM
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I am just being melodramatic here. We took a late train out of Penn Station, and when we were nearly to Port Washington, our destination. I noticed the profile of someone in the seat ahead of us, as seen through the new molded plastic seats and the fancy curved vinyl seat and back cushions. So I took a couple of frames. I like that at first you are not sure what you are seeing. It might be someone wearing some futuristic head gear. But it is not - it's just a stranger on the train. That was a movie, right?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:31 PM
Saturday, August 28, 2010
We just got back from a most amazing evening - a 5 hour course in Manhattan at a culinary school, learning how to make ciabatta and focaccia, AND hot cross buns! Unbelievable! The chef runs a famous bakery in the city, and was so good in explaining all the steps and techniques and secrets for all the recipes. It was astounding to be working on three things at once. But the most amazing thing was to watch the results. These are the ciabatta loaves, in two forms, hot out of the oven. I have never seen such beautiful breads in my life. They are stunning objects, almost works of art in a way. The coloring is so rich and varied. It was an amazing experience, and I may just start baking bread after this!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:19 PM
Friday, August 27, 2010
I am still using up photographs I took a couple of weeks ago that I never got around to posting. This is a huge flag hanging on the National Grid powerplant on the harbor in Port Jefferson. We sailed by it on the Port Jeff ferry. I have no idea how large the flag is, but it is definitely BIG. You are lucky today because I have no comments about the artistry, or lack of it, in this shot.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:38 PM
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I needed some beautiful pictures of people observing for our astronomy club website, and it is always difficult to find people and get the perfect day. Today ended up clear as a bell, and I thought this is perfect - Amy is here! So I loaded up the car after dinner and the two of us went down to the little park by the beach, and set the telescope up, and I started shooting. For a few of them, I stepped in behind her with binoculars, and used the self timer on the camera. This is the result. I was hoping for a nice picture, but to me this is really stunning! Oh, and Amy wanted to see something interesting, so I showed her the planet Venus, setting in the west, and it was only half-illuminated, which was fun.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:06 PM
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
There is an aquarium tank with native species in it, on the dock at Gosman's Dock in Montauk. I loved the look of this one so I spent some time trying to get a good photo of it. I didn't quite succeed, because you will notice that it is a bit out of focus. The big problem was finding out what kind of fish it is. I had no luck trying to look it up on the web, but the next day I asked, and a fisherman suggested that it might be a Black Sea Bass. If YOU know the answer, I would love it if you could tell me the answer.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:07 PM
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
We were having lunch at Gosman's Dock under the umbrellas, when I looked to the right and saw this. Yuk! I hope a seagull was not perching on our umbrella. Anyhow, this photo is not about seagulls at all, of course, it is about the design of the photo, and the gull was just the point of interest. The real subject is triangles, right?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Monday, August 23, 2010
Actually, it is neither. It is just my latest project. Back when I was putting a new roof on the house, I didn't quite cover a section of stripped roof properly, and wouldn't you know it rained, and when I went to bed, there was water dripping on the bed and pillow! Yikes! I climbed up on the roof, at night, and fixed it. But the damage was done. The plaster was soaked, and the top layer of plaster and paint peeled. So I am starting to fix all that. I have to use a chisel to dig out all of the buckled plaster layer, and then I will use joint compound to tape and fill in all the missing plaster. When I started taking off some of the buckled plaster, what I found underneath were sections of the wall that had been painted different colors in the past. Sort of like suburban archaeology!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:54 PM
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Bicycles in various stages of repair and disrepair are the preferred mode of transportation in Montauk. The house that Amy has lived in for nearly ten years is called "Captain Dusty's" because it belonged to the captain of a charterboat called, strangely enough "Captain Dusty." The evidence of his work is all about the property, with fishing poles in the basement, and an engine block up beside the house, and lobster buoys on the fence. He raised a family there, and his daughter is the one who rents it to Amy and her friends. It is her favorite place in all of Montauk.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:16 PM
Saturday, August 21, 2010
There are two ways to get to the beach at Ditch Plains - the regular way, and the hidden path way, which Amy knows, of course. So we took the hidden path, and it brought us through this subtle but beautiful landscape of plants native to the beach region. I loved seeing the bleached out silver branches in the middle of all the rich colors of the other plants. You may want to click on this to see more details in a larger version.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:32 PM
Friday, August 20, 2010
Well, this is hardly driftwood. It is an entire tree. A huge tree, washed ashore on the beach near the Montauk breakwater. I was working around it, looking for compositions when the couple wandered through the picture, and I realized I needed more than just the tree. The people made all the difference.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Thursday, August 19, 2010
This is a sculpture called "Dark Elegy" by the artist Suse Lowenstein, in the back yard of her home in Montauk. It is a memorial to the 259 passengers and crew of Pan Am flight 103 which was blown up by a terrorist in 1988. The artist lost her first-born son in the tragedy, and felt she needed to create a memorial by translating her emotions into human figures. There are one hundred figures here, and in order to make this assemblage she had mothers of some of the people lost, come to her studio and pose for each of the figures. It is a sobering experience to approach this sculpture from a distance, and move closer until you can see the faces and the figures in detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:06 PM
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I woke this morning and stumbled out into the kitchen and living room of the Montauk House, and there was Amy reading. I was immediately taken with the way she had draped herself into the couch, and especially how her legs were arranged, and particularly how the top foot was carefully arranged over and beyond the bottom foot. That may have been why I decided to take this - the arrangement of the feet. But clearly she looks comfortable, so I thought it would be a great example to all of us, about how to get comfortable for reading. Not for my less flexible body, of course...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:54 PM
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
..Amy in Montauk! Amy has taken a few weeks to be in her favorite spot in the whole world - Montauk, out at the extreme east end of Long Island, where she has spent parts of her summers for the last 10 years or so. Gus was here last week, but had to fly home, and we came out for a couple of days for salt air and the beauty of the ocean. We went to the beach at Ditch Plains today, and sat and watched the surfers, and took photographs, of course. This is my favorite. I had two to pick from and had the hardest time choosing. Maybe the other one was a better portrait, but this is a better choice, in terms of it being a better photograph. Gee, after all that, maybe I need to show you the one I didn't choose, and then you decide...
Monday, August 16, 2010
We went exploring yesterday, out to Port Jefferson. One of the main attractions for me is the coming and going of the huge automobile ferries that travel between Port Jefferson and Bridgeport, Connecticut. While the women visited the shops, Jim and I headed down to the ferry dock to watch one of the boats load up. Naturally I had my camera at the ready. I was playing with the shapes and angles. If you have never seen these boats before, the front ends of the ferries lift up so cars can unload and unload. In this case, the raised bow adds an element that is confusing, perhaps. But it was the people on the upper deck that finished out the composition.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:03 PM
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Weird looking, huh? We are making great progress. We took the day off to go out exploring and continued with the work after dinner when we got home. This is actually a sign of great progress. The electric cables have been run through holes drilled through floor joists to where they need to be for connecting all the lights together, and to the switched power outlet. The old florescent fixture (which had a diffuser over these tubes) will be coming down tomorrow, and we will be putting the lights in. This scene doesn't begin to hint at the absolute mess that ensued from drilling and sawing plaster to make all these holes. Whew!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:44 PM
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Man, what a messy job today! Jim and I worked at cutting holes in the kitchen ceiling for recessed lighting fixtures. I bought the fixtures six months ago, and then just sat on them. Jim got me going today, in installing them. Years ago when he came to visit one time, we tore out the entire bathroom upstairs! What a mess that was. I was thanking him for his help back then and he came up with the phrase: "Hey, what are friends for, but to use!" We both laughed about it back then, and I thought about it again today when I was feeling so thankful for the help. Making sure we didn't drill into any pipes in the bathroom above, or drill through any electrical cables took a lot of planning and checking. We are done with this part, the hard part, and tomorrow we do the installation. Whew! What a pal!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:04 PM
Friday, August 13, 2010
This is my friend Jimmy "Moose" who I have known a long, long time, since college days. Whenever we get together, we manage to have fun, do goofy things and laugh a lot. The last time one of our escapades appeared on the blog, I was standing on the edge of the helipad on top of a building in Los Angeles, where he was the building engineer, and we were having a contest to see who could stand closest to the edge! Today our fun was more benign. We were sitting on the front porch here at home, and he sat in my favorite chair - an L.L. Bean Rocker - because he KNEW I wanted to sit there. So I was sitting on the wicker couch, and the sun was shining in my eyes, and I was complaining about the sun. So he dragged the rocker over near me, and held this magazine up to block the sun, while we talked. And he said: "I will block the sun for you, but I will NOT give you back your rocking chair!" So that is why he is laughing! So wonderful to have a friend like this!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:38 PM
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Here's one that got away. I shot this two weeks ago when the moon was full. I think I went out to take out the garbage or something and happened to notice the moonlight shining through the trees on to the back of the house. I needed to use a tripod, of course because it was a long exposure. I liked the yellow glow of the windows as a contrast to the "normal" color of light from the moon. Since the moon is only reflecting the light from the sun, it is daylight in color - it is just a whole lot less bright.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:57 PM
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
This piece is called "Re-Projection: Hoosac, 2010" by Tobias Putrih. It is an absolutely stunning sculpture. It is pure simplicity in terms of materials, and construction, and brilliant in what happens when you walk around it. Just stunning! It is built in a room about a hundred feet long, and consists of several hundred pieces of monofilament line attached to opposing walls. Then it is lit by one simple spotlight. That's all. But to come up the stairs into this room will stop you in your tracks! As you move even the slightest bit, the reflections move back and forth along the lines. I couldn't tear myself away from this - I kept coming back. I photographed it by itself, and then with people interacting with it. I could NOT decide which photo was the best, so I have done the unusual thing of posting three photographs, so you can see how different the piece appears, depending on where you observe it from.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This is my friend Mike who now lives in Arizona, and works for the planetarium there. He joined our astronomy club on Long Island about 20 years ago, and took up learning astrophotography. I helped him by giving him film, and processing it for him and making prints. He became a master at this demanding task. We have been friends for years, and have traveled together over the years to Stellafane together. He hasn't been east in a few years now, but came this year and we traveled up to Vermont together. One morning as we were finishing up breakfast, I noticed Mike looking out the window at something. and was struck by what a great profile I saw in this light. I said "don't move!." This is the photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:27 PM
Monday, August 9, 2010
Yesterday I talked about architecture, and today it is on to the art at MASS MoCA. This astounding sculpture is part of an exhibit of seven artists titled "The Material World: Sculpture to Environment." I think the premise is to make wonderful art objects from common materials. This piece is called "White Stag" by collaborators Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen. It is on two floors of the museum, seemingly growing through the floor. The sculpture is made from rolled up paper, apparently on an armature which we cannot see. The sculpture on both floors appear to resemble "roots" of a tree, It is an astounding and magical environment which you can walk through and in and around. It never ceases to amaze me how artists think of such incredible objects.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:29 PM
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I went to my favorite museum while up in New England - MASS MoCA, in North Adams, Mass. I have done posts about this place before, and I will do more in the next few days. But I thought I would start with this. One of the attractions to me, besides the amazing exhibits, is the architecture - a series of buildings which were once the Sprague Electrical Company, where capacitors were made for electronics assemblies. When I am here, I find there are so many things to photograph - so many that I have trouble picking between art and architecture. So I will start with this photograph from an abandoned former powerhouse. This was once a huge boiler for heating the factory - there are three in this building. The walls and insulation have been removed, and only the boiler tubes remain. What a cool looking room, don't you think?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:49 PM
Saturday, August 7, 2010
My friend and mentor in astronomy for over 20 years, Sam, received an award at this year's Stellafane Convention. I know this is just an ordinary picture, but he is an extraordinary teacher and is well deserving of this recognition. He received The Northeast Region of the Astronomical League SPECIAL SERVICE AWARD for his work in Astronomy Education. "With his lectures at New York City's Hayden Planetarium and the Edwin P. Hubble Planetarium in Brooklyn, Sam has guided the careers of so many astronomy students and has pointed some of them to professional careers in astronomy. His services as as Vice-president and newsletter editor of the Astronomical Society of Long Island, and as the Secretary of the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society have been substantial. So to Professor Storch, we say that your service to astronomy in our region will not be forgotten." (Sam is moving to Florida at the end of the month - it will be really be tough not to have him nearby, after all these years.)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:28 PM
Friday, August 6, 2010
What a night! The weather changed today and a cold front swept through early in the day. By the time night came, it was clearer than any of us can remember in recent years here at the Stellafane Convention. I set up my little 8" telescope and we observed with friends for hours, and then thought I should take some astrophotos just for fun. I happened over to where my friend John has his gigantic telescope with the 32" diameter mirror set up, and decided to do a long time exposure of someone looking through the eyepiece, up on his ten-foot tall ladder. It was a 30 second long time exposure, at an ISO of 3200, and I told the person on the ladder not to move, to keep from blurring the photo. And this is the result! The really bright "star" to the right in the photograph is the planet Jupiter, rising in the east. It was SO clear that even in my small telescope I could see so much detail in faint galaxies wherever I looked in the sky. What a wonderful night of observing! A night to remember. I am typing this at 3 AM, before heading off to bed, one happy camper. If you click on the photo you will get an extra large image to look at and I think you will find it really nice to see so much more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 11:55 PM
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I was a conference all day on the topic of "Moon Morphology" which is the study of how the Moon and features of the moon were formed, including craters, mountains, rilles and mare, among other features. Some of the top scientists and authors gave talks about observing the moon, and the history and structure of the moon. So much wonderful information, and so inspiring. I can't wait for the moon to appear again - it is nearly new moon now, which means the moon is not visible for another week or so. One of the speakers wanted a photograph of the group of presenters, but the candid photographs I did indoors had terrible lighting to they all agreed to come outside for a posed portrait. That white structure in the background is a one of a kind - it is a concrete housing with a telescope at one end, Built in 1910, and during the cold Vermont winters, one can observe the stars from inside the structure without freezing to death. A brilliant design, and one-of-a-kind telescope, which was owned by a man who was at one time the governor of Vermont.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:28 PM
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I traveled to Vermont today for the Stellafane Convention of amateur telescope makers, and I traveled with my friend Mike, from Tucson. Fortunately he is an "aircraft nut" as I am, so we stopped at the New England Air Museum near Bradley International Airport, in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. More airplanes (and helicopters) than you could shake a stick at. Some in beautiful condition, some looking pretty warn, waiting their chance for restoration. This is a CH-54B Sikorsky Skycrane, which is a heavy lift helicopter built in Stratford, Connecticut back in 1962. Some of them are still in service. They look like mechanical praying mantis' it seemed to me - some kind of mechanical bug. An impressive aircraft back in its time, a bit sad to see this one in this condition.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I was riding in my car with a friend today, and she said "Wouldn't it be interesting if you found a blog shot today while I am riding with you." Not fifteen minutes later I drove by this old oyster boat, up on blocks in a parking lot, in the village of Oyster Bay, of all places. I immediately jumped out of the car (well, I stopped and parked first...) grabbed my camera and spent 15 minutes photographing the scene. Note to anyone who might be a passenger in my car... be prepared to wait when I see an interesting subject. When I was growing up in Milford, Connecticut, across the sound, I would ride my bike down to Brad's dock after school, and every day at 3:30 PM a line of oyster boats would enter the harbor from the sound. The boats were dirty white with rust stains all over, from the iron fittings on the boat. I have taken some photos of them, and the negatives must be somewhere, and I hope I can find them one of these days. The oyster fishery in Long Island Sound collapsed after predators - starfish and oyster drills - and pollution, decimated the mollusk, and the boats have been long gone for years now.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:45 PM
Monday, August 2, 2010
Do you remember my post with the photograph of George Steinbrenner last month? Well, before I photographed him for my "Born on the Fourth of July" project, I photographed Mitch Miller. He was the first person I contacted after I made up my list, and without hesitation, and without asking who ELSE was going to be part of the project, he said: "yes." A number of other people wanted to make sure that people more important than them would be included. He could not have been nicer, and agreed to be photographed with the American Flag and the sparkler, while clutching the cigar in his teeth. It was really nice to get to meet him. I had no idea at the time how many incredible things he had done in the music business! I was blown away when reading the NY Times obituary today, and seeing all his accomplishments. Isn't it nice that someone so famous can be so kind.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:26 PM
Sunday, August 1, 2010
While everyone was at the shower, I got to go exploring. So I went to Menlo Park, where Thomas Alva Edison had his first office and research center. He did some of his most important work here, received 400 patents, and invented the incandescent light bulb, and the phonograph on this site. This is the Edison Memorial Tower, built to commemorate the work that took place here. It is a beautiful structure, 138 feet tall, built in 1938 from concrete, and it needs work. After 72 years, the structure is showing some damage - some of the skin is coming off and crashing to the ground. It is surrounded by a chain link fence, and is slated for restoration - money has been appropriated, fortunately. So the cool thing is that I met a fellow from Cincinnati, Ohio who had come to see this and was surprised that there wasn't more here to see - the little museum is closed for restoration. I told him about the Edison Historic Site up in West Orange, NJ, a National Park site, with factory buildings and laboratories and Edison't house, and he told me that some of the buildings that had been here were rescued by Henry Ford, and have been restored are on display at Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum in Ann Arbor. I love the part about how I come to photograph a structure, and then end up having such a nice conversation with a stranger. Please click on each of these to see the images in more detail.