Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Apparition

When we were in Attleboro, one night we went over to see the Christmas lights and decorations on the grounds of the National Shrine of the Lady of Salette. Why is there a shrine? Because back in 1846, in La Salette in the French Alps, the Virgin Mary appeared to two young children and spoke to them. The last thing she said to them was "Make this known to all my people" and then she disappeared. So I guess you could consider that I am making it known to you as well. The grounds had a spectacular display of lights, by the way, with giant illuminated snowflakes hanging in the tall trees.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hot Italian Pizza

"Hot Italian Pizza" huh? And that would be as opposed to Scottish pizza? Or Chinese Pizza? Or Irish Pizza? Well, you get the idea, without me beating this to death... :-) Funny, I was going to say "South African Pizza?" and then I thought I would check Wikipedia (have you made your contribution to them this year?) and found that the largest Pizza ever made was 37.4 meters in diameter (that's 122 feet 8 inches). It was produced in Johannesburg, South Africa. They didn't happen to mention where they found an oven that large... Oh, the sign? I saw it when we stopped on the Connecticut Turnpike to get a coke on the way back from Masachusetts.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Pat & Bethany have a fireplace in their new house. And they use it. I don't remember the last time I sat in front of a nice warm fire. And this warm fire was surrounded by family - how wonderful is that. What a great way to spend an evening, all cozy and warm. Just looking at this photograph brings it all back, and I sit here cozy and warm.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bethany's Berries

It was rainy and misty and there was some fog yesterday morning so I went outside to look around - always a great day for looking for photographs when it is an "atmospheric" day. I found these red and yellow berries only 15 feet from the front door, growing in and around an old split rail fence. I decided to use a telephoto lens so that the berries would be sharp, but the background would be out of focus. It was only when I was closely examining the image in the viewfinder that I was able to see that the berries are red, but that they have yellow coverings on them which have split, showing the berries underneath. Of course, since these are some kind of plant, I have no idea what they are, but they are so beautiful in the rain and the soft light.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dick & Trauti's Birdhouse

I went back to my friend Dick's house today for even more conversation. We had another wonderful day, of course. While sitting at the kitchen table - the same table I sat at yesterday - I noticed this birdhouse. I had not seen it yesterday! So I went outside and looked at only one angle really, and made this image. It was that simple, at least today. It may not be obvious, but over the door of the birdhouse there is a sign that says "Antiques" which is cute. Of course what makes this such a lovely photo is the garden that serves as a background for this house - it is all the work of Dick's wife Trauti. She has gardens everywhere around the house and they are absolutely lovely.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

East Coast, West Coast, Thanksgiving

We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We are with family in Masachusetts, along with family from Rochester, and it is so nice to all be together. But it is also difficult to have Liz and Amy and Gus so far away in California during the holidays. Fortunately we have the ability to use video iChat on our Macintosh computers to connect with each other, and that is almost like being together. I know this technology is taken for granted these days but it does seem amazing to me still, that we can do this. And it makes the day so much richer and everyone feel so much closer. We are thankful for that as well. This is just a blurry screen shot of the video iChat, but it gives a sense of the fun of seeing each other.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Photographer's Office

We are in Massachusetts with family for Thanksgiving, so I drove over to the next town to see my long-time photographer friend Dick. We met in 1965 when we both worked for a newspaper in Rochester, NY. He was fresh out of the Army and I had just finished my active-duty time in the Air Force Reserve. We have been friends ever since. So I thought I would just visit for a bit, and ended up staying half the day. When we get together the conversation starts, and just goes on and on - such a rich experience. A couple of years ago he built a new office over his garage, and it is a beautiful workspace. I was taken by the view from his desk, and the late afternoon sun shining in the window. I love how this is brand-new, and yet feels old in some way.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Love These Leaves!

I looked out through the back door window at the back yard and saw this incredibly beautiful carpet of yellow leaves. I went outside and breathed the aroma of damp leaves that only Fall can give us. What a magnificent, perfect day of fall! I will leave these leaves here for a couple of weeks, to drink in their beauty and their aroma in days to come. Not because I am lazy, but because I want to enjoy these moments for as long as I can. Fall is my favorite time of year because of days like this.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nightscape Doorway

For a change of pace, here is a shot not done in daylight but late in the day, after dusk. I brought Liz and Amy over to Kathy's office, and while I waited for them, I got my camera out and was looking at the sky with the cloud, and how it related to the building. When they came out of the building, seeing their silhouettes in the light of the doorway completed the photo. Well, I mean, I think it is kind of a photo. It is not my best, but it is different. I will try harder...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Circle the Wagons

I love the design and the colors in this photograph - it's kind of like an abstract painting that is not abstract. This is a photograph of a grouping of chairs and a table in Times Square. What is cool about this is, they are located in the middle of Broadway, the avenue. About a year ago they stated a pilot project by closing Broadway to traffic, and making it a pedestrian mall, and they added tables and chairs for people to sit at and eat their lunch or to have coffee, and just relax. They have painted the street in bright colors to brighten it up. It is so amazing to walk up and down Broadway in this area - it changes the whole character of the street.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

American Fall

I have been really enjoying the colors of fall this year. Every time I turned around I saw another burst of color, and another photograph. Same thing this day. I was coming down the street and saw these red and yellow trees. So I grabbed the camera and looked from up the street, and then got closer, then backed away and went up on my front bank so I was looking down more. I tried a bunch of different angles, and finally chose this one. I was bugged by the bags of leaves, and wished they were not there. It is a new rule in town - you can't just rake the leaves into the gutter for pickup by village trucks. Now you have to bag them. So I guess I figured that this was a view of "real life" rather than a Norman Rockwell painting.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I came downstairs and happened to glance toward the kitchen, and there were the two kitties! Sitting head to head under the lamp on the radiatior. Bookends! How cute are they! Of course it is one thing to SEE them, and a whole other thing to be able to photograph them. On so many occasions I have seen them in some great position, and by the time I got the camera, or even moved toward getting the camera, they would change or move and the photo would suddenly be gone. Not tonight. Lucky me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fetching the Mail

I went down to the mailbox to bring up the mail, and happened to look down when my eye caught a flash of bright red. This is a shoot from the Japanese maple tree which is on the other side of the driveway. I guess this has been growing here all season, but when it was surrounded by other green leaves, and the green ferns, it was invisible. Only the change to fall colors made it stand out. I love the beauty of these leaves, and how they stand out in contrast to the weeds and other faded growth which surround them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Perfect Morning

It rained fairly heavily last night and it had stopped by morning. The ground was still wet, and was covered with leaves, freshly fallen from the Japanese Maple tree. I was immediately taken by this beautiful blanket in the driveway. I realized that it was a perfect morning. Eventually the leaves would dry out and loose some of their color, and then be blown away by the wind. So here was the perfect moment, with wonderful color, and the amazing aroma of wet leaves. It would soon be gone. So the camera and my memory of the smell will remind me of what once was.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Point

I took this the other day when it was sunny. They rebuilt the sea wall here, and changed the riprap to protect the new concrete wall. There used to be huge rocks here, but that has changed. So it was funny to stand at this point that I have photographed over the years and realize the changes - there are no big boulders, just smaller rocks. The funny thing is, in this photo, there is a "point" at the point! This photo is all about design I think - triangles and straight lines, and stuff like that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Blue Box

I went into the city late this afternoon to attend an evening lecture at the Hayden Planetarium, about how star formation takes place in the Milky Way. The Hayden Planetarium is located at the American Museum of Natural History, inside this giant glass box which is called the Rose Center For Earth And Space. Can you follow all that? Anyhow it is all lit up blue at night, and it is a rather spectacular sight when you first catch sight of it. The giant ball inside is what contains the planetarium itself, but in this photo is somewhat obscured by the tree. Although I like having the tree in front of the building for some reason. Please click on this to see a larger image with better color.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

First Quarter Moon and Cirrus

While riding my bike this afternoon I was looking for the moon to see where it was in the sky. I knew it was first quarter. I finally found it, while riding, when glancing over my shoulder and seeing it near some Cirrus clouds. I realized that it would make a really cool design. The clouds were moving rather quickly, and where I first saw it, there were high tension wires all around - there was no way to make a picture without the wires. So I kept pedaling and finally found a place that gave me a clear shot. I quickly jumped off the bike, grabbed my toy camera, and then waited for the hole in the Cirrus clouds to arrive over the moon. I only had chance for one frame when the moon was centered in the opening. About a minute after I took this, the orange sunlight disappeared, the clouds became a dull gray and the picture possibilities were gone.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Surfing The Web, Junior Style

We went to Lorina and Jose's new home today for a housewarming party. Lots of old friends from work, and wonderful Philippino food! Wow! I had at least two of everything, and three of some desserts! When we gathered in the living room for some conversation, I spotted these two cute kids across the room. At first I thought that they were playing a video game, but when I got up for yet another bite to eat, I noticed that they were surfing the web. What I loved was that the little one's feet were nowhere near the floor, and the older one had designer holes in the knees of his jeans. Click. It's a keeper!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Moon at Sunset

I finished my bike ride today at a perfect time - the sun had set and the sky was brilliant and blue, with pastel shades of orange, pink, and pale yellow on the horizon. I started looking at the reflection of the sky in the waves and tried a bunch of views of that, and then I looked and saw the moon. So I fooled around with several views and ended up with this one. It was a magical time of day, and so after taking the photograph, I just sat on the bench soaking it all in. I thought to myself that I should probably time my ride on clear days, to end up on the bench at the same time of day, again. Of course it was also relatively warm. When it gets cold, I will NOT want to be sitting there on the bench.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Parts of a Flower

I really have no business photographing flowers, because I haven't a CLUE what they are or what their parts are called! Duh! These remains of flowers are in the little garden under the dining room window. I was attracted to the bright but fading yellow leaves. On closer inspection I saw these "buds" (which of course, are not buds at all. I think they may be called "sepals"). In any case, they are the leftovers from a complete flower blossom. And what really did it for me was to see that they are blue in color. They are also such an interesting shape. I started by photographing from further away, but the closer I got the more interesting the picture became. If anyone would like to let me know what kind of flower this is, I would be most appreciative. By the way, please click on this to see a larger image, and to see how interesting the flower parts are.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Possibilities of Extra-Terrestrial Life

Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth. Possible forms of extraterrestrial life range from simple bacteria-like organisms to sapient beings far more advanced than humans. It is unknown whether any such forms of life exist or ever existed. Tonight at our astronomy meeting, Dr. Urszula Golebiewska who specializes in physiology and biophysics and does research in cellular biophysics was the speaker. She gave a wonderful talk starting with defining what life is, exactly, and then what is necessary for it to form and flourish, and then where we might look for it in the solar system, and beyond. A wonderful talk for an enthusiastic audience!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Shadow Lurks

I was down photographing by the water, and was loving the color of the rusted steel bulkhead in the late afternoon light. I happened to see my shadow on the rock, and then started goofing around with what my shadow looked like. So then I took this pose, and loved how it looked. I have no idea why I did this or what it means but it just made me laugh. So, the question is: "How did I shoot this?" Actually it was easy. It did take me a minute to figure it out. I used the self timer. Left the camera hanging around my neck, started the self timer, and turned my body until I thought the camera was pointing at the rock. Click!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Rider

Truth be told, I am not a long-distance rider. I just liked the play on the title from the book of stories about running. I only do ten miles a day, but I try to ride most days of the week, and I do climb several hills along my route, really hammering it. I took this photograph yesterday, because it rained all day today. I actually SAW this photo the day before, but since I broke my rule about always bringing a camera, I was unable to TAKE the photo. So yesterday I brought the camera. This is the mile-long long hill I climb when I am nearly at the end of my ride, then I turn around and scream down the hill and am nearly home. I just loved the brilliant yellow light that made my shadow and lit up the leaves by the side of the road.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Blessing for Father Jim

This is Father Jim who has had a really long career as a priest in the the Diocese of Rockville Center. He was ordained 50 years ago, and has been pastor of a number of churches on Long Island. He speaks Spanish, French, and Italian, and has visited the countries of El Salvador, Haiti, Chile and Argentina, where a number of his parishioners were from. When he retired from being a full-time pastor, he came to live at St. Brigids and said masses during the week and on the weekends, which is how we came to know him. Now that he is older, he is going to live at a retirement home for priests. So today was his last mass for a while here, and all the priests from the church celebrated mass with him, and then blessed him at the end of the mass. We will miss him.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Sign of Fall Color, At Last

Either Fall has not come to Long Island yet, or it is here with an underwhelming display of color. Many trees still have green leaves, some of which are fading to pale yellow - not the brilliant yellows and reds that we love to see. So imagine my surprise when I went out to the car, on the way to the grocery store, and looked up to see the late afternoon sun illuminating this tree which is across the street up on the hill. It didn't hurt that the sun was warmer in color - it certainly added to the brightness of the red leaves on this tree. It also helped that the sky was overcast with gray clouds.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Strange Room

So I started digging into cracks and loose plaster on the wall in the bedroom with a chisel. I am in the middle of painting this room. It has been a number of years, so there are a lot of cracks and loose plaster. The house is about a hundred years old, with wood lathe and plaster. It is solid construction, but does end up developing cracks after a number of years. So i just went after all the things that needed digging out before filling with joint compound. When I was done digging, I stepped back and was looking at the pattern. I just thought that it somehow looked interesting or strange or both.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two Tiny Punkins

These are the two small pumpkins that Liz and Amy bought along with their large pumpkins which they made into Jack-O-Lanterns. The Jack-O-Lanterns are long gone, but when I went out to get the newspaper this morning, I saw these two sitting on the front edge of the porch, all wet and shiny from the rain. I just liked the look of this, and the rain, and a few leaves on the porch as well. Kind of a bright spot on a gray and rainy day.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Laundry Room

Our astronomy club meets at the Vanderbilt Planetarium in Centerport, which is also where the Vanderbilt Mansion is located. It was the home of William K. Vanderbilt II and is called "The Eagle's Nest." When we have an observing night, we meet outside "The Laundry Room" which is underneath the mansion. Tonight, I happened to look up at the carvings over the door to the laundry room and was amazed at what I saw. There is a beautiful sun carved into the stone, and I have never noticed it before. The contrast of the lighting was extreme, from the floodlights illuminating the building. So I resorted to an HDR image which makes both the brightest and darkest parts of the photograph render properly. There were some color shifts, so I converted the color photo to black & white, and it adds to the feeling of strangeness, I think.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sidewalk Sale

I was walking down Sea Cliff Avenue, which is the main street in town when I spotted this bench that had items for sale on it. The concentric circles jumped out at me from some distance away. What a great collection of bowls! I have never seen so many nested bowls in one place before. I guess that it is because no single house needs this many. In any case, once I saw this as the centerpiece of my photograph, then my job was to see what else needed to be included or excluded from the frame to make the strongest image. Well, here you have it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Mature Master Speaks

This is my great friend and work colleague for 41 years. His name is Dick Kraus and he was at Newsday longer than I was, but he started perhaps 10 or 15 years before I did. When I arrived there, still wet behind the ears, I learned there were two classes of photographers: the "Mature Masters" and the "Snot Nosed Kids." Guess which one I was... :) Dick was a mature master when I arrived and over the years I watched him bring back amazing photographs. Tonight he spoke at a library, so I drove out to hear him and see some of his pictures. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane. This is a photograph of one of the Tall Ships from many years ago.