Thursday, March 31, 2011
You're not going to believe this one! I drove out to Huntington to have lunch with a friend in this great little restaurant. My hands were dirty from having read a newspaper while waiting for my friend to arrive. So I went to the small room in the back to wash my hands. I happened to look up and was amazed by this arrangement in the window up high on the wall. I kept looking at it, and decided that it would be a good blog post, for some reason, so here it is.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:37 PM
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I came out of the planetarium tonight after our astronomy meeting and as I was getting in my car, I looked over a balcony toward the garden, and saw the power plant lights reflected in the water of the harbor. Then I saw the statue. I loved the smoothness and softness of the clouds and the water. I had only two places that I could shoot from - through gaps in the hedges. In the other version, the statue is off to the right hand side of the photo. So I did two versions of the photograph, and had the hardest time ever, trying to decide between them. I don't remember having such a struggle in choosing a favorite.
So here is the other shot so you can see if I made the right decision.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:07 PM
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I was sitting at the supper table when I glanced out the window and saw shadows of the Japanese maple tree on the neighbors cement block wall. Because they were crooked and twisted they really grabbed my attention. It was then that I saw the little stone garden angel. Wow! So I grabbed my camera and 200mm lens, and quickly ran outside, knowing that the light can change in an instant at this time of day. Fortunately I got the shot before the light changed. This is amazing, right?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:33 PM
Monday, March 28, 2011
I was brushing my teeth this morning when I noticed how the sunlight was shining on the sink. I almost walked away from this, but then went downstairs and grabbed my toy camera and came back upstairs. The composition seemed obvious - I didn't change much between exposures. As I was framing the picture it felt as if this was either some kind of hyper realistic painting, or an abstract image. Funny about how I was going to walk away from this. The lesson is always to listen to the still, small voice from within.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:49 PM
Sunday, March 27, 2011
This photograph is left over from the snowstorm last Thursday morning. I was surprised to see these shoots coming out of the ground after the snowfall. What made the work even harder for them was that the garden didn't get raked last fall, so the shoots had to push up through a tough layer of fall leaves which were all sort of glued together. The shoots will have their way, and they did rise, against all odds. Wonderful to see the force of nature at work.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:45 PM
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Our astronomy club met at the Cradle of Aviation museum today for a guided tour of the facility, and then to watch an IMAX movie. We had a great tour guide who added so much richness and background to so many of the aircraft and space vehicles that were on display. I have been in this museum since before it opened, and love every visit, but with such a great guide, the experience today was absolutely first rate. When we went to the IMAX theater I was looking around at the blank screen kind of half heartedly, when I saw these people walk up the far side. Wow! Click! It was all about the shadows on the wall.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:31 PM
Friday, March 25, 2011
This is a quiz. Why do all the pigeons sit close together on the wires like this? One of the "big" questions in life for me at the moment! It is not as if they can get warmth from one another. It is not as if they get aerodynamic efficiencies by being close. Geese fly in "V" formations, by the way, because it is aerodynamically efficient for each of them - the trailing birds gain a bit more lift from the air coming off the wings of the leading birds. And that's why the leading bird doesn't lead for long - they all switch off after short periods in the lead. Back to my quiz. I think this must be from the "flock" instinct. If you know different, please let me know.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Woke this morning to two inches of fairly wet snow all over everything. It was nice for two reasons - one, that it was only two inches, particularly after all the heavy snows we have had this year, and two, that it was wetter than normal, so it stuck to everything. Whatever it was stuck to, was transformed. I love the delicate tracery of my favorite tree - the white frosting sets of the delicate branches from one another. This was all gone within an hour or two, and the sun was out. Now that's how I like my snowstorms!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:16 PM
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
You have to click on this photo to see it large enough to understand what is going on. I am driving home from astronomy, and it started to snow, yet again, and in my high beams with the snowflakes rushing at me, it felt like a scene from one of those science fiction movies where the people are zooming down a tunnel through time. Anyhow, the flakes were not quite as large as I would have liked for a better picture. So this could have been better. But there is a lovely quality to the fine white lines zooming toward me.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:04 PM
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Last Saturday night the full Moon occurred when the Moon was as close to Earth as it has been in about 20 years. The Moon's orbit is not circular, but rather elliptical. When the moon is closest to Earth it is called "perigee" and when it is furthest away it is called "apogee." So on Saturday night the perigee Moon was about 7 percent larger than average. Next October the full Moon will be the furthest away, and it will be 7 percent smaller than normal, for a difference in size between large and small of 14 percent. That is a huge difference in size. So I photographed the moon, and will save this photograph until next October, and post this again with another photo of the smaller moon. THAT will be an interesting comparison.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:26 PM
Monday, March 21, 2011
Can you believe this, a snowstorm in March? Well, actually it's not a snowstorm, but rather a brief show shower this morning, with huge snowflakes! I grabbed the camera right away, and started shooting. The first thing that came to mind was a pointillist painting. That is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image, and then the mind kind of blends the dots together to complete the image. I was amazed at the intensity of the snowflakes - I could barely see from the house across the side yard. It was all over in ten minutes or so, and was beautiful while it lasted.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:17 PM
Sunday, March 20, 2011
It has been one year since our mom passed away. I have this little card from the memorial service that I found the other day, so I stuck it into a little space in the dashboard so that I would see it and remember the day. But of course I have a sieve for a brain, so when I woke this morning I had forgotten. But my sister Betsey sent a text to my sisters and I as a reminder, and we called each other on the phone during the day, just to be in touch with each other, and to remember what a great woman our mom was, and how lucky we were to have her with us for so long. We all feel so fortunate.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:15 PM
Saturday, March 19, 2011
I bought a new telescope several weeks ago. It is specially designed for looking at the sun, using a sophisticated filter that only shows the sun in light of the Hydrogen alpha line of the spectrum. What is amazing about this telescope and filter is that you can see prominences on the limb of the sun, as well as areas where there is sunspot activity, and you can also see detail on the surface of the sun. It is a whole new experience to watch the sun day by day. These prominences sometimes come and go within the space of two or three hours. So here is a photograph of the entire sun, and then a cropped view showing details of just the area with prominences.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:43 PM
Friday, March 18, 2011
I noticed a faint reddish tint to the Japanese Maple tree. I thought I was imagining it, but when I got REALLY close to one of the branches I saw these really tiny buds. I used my Micro Nikkor closeup lens to take these photographs, and the size of the buds as displayed on the blog is probably eight times normal size! These buds are less than 1/8" in size. Looking at the buds through the closeup lens got me thinking of the miracle that recurs every spring when the buds emerge.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:53 PM
Thursday, March 17, 2011
This is Jared, one of our new young members in the astronomy club, and he is getting ready to do a presentaion for last night's meeting. He is quite enthusiastic, and believe it or not, he loves the idea of putting together talks for the club. Man, I never would have been able to do that as a young man of his age! I would have hidden under a chair in the back of the room. But Jared is comfortable, and loves to do research on a topic and then prepare a PowerPoint presentation and a talk to go with it. You can see his intensity in this picture, which is why I like the shot.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
There was a Mass at church last night, to bring to a close the winter season of the marriage preparation program. The process involves the engaged couples meeting in the homes of some married couples for four weeks, to talk about their coming marriages and issues which are important to them for their coming life together. Here the pastor blesses all of the couples gathered on the altar in the chapel in the school.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:09 PM
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I was on my way back from lunch in Oyster Bay with some former colleagues from work, when this field full of fences flashed by in my side window. Screeeeeech! I was looking for patterns to photograph when I spotted the geese. What grabbed me was that there was a goose head in each of the three openings in the fence, as if they had been placed there. I quickly grabbed three frames and then the geese moved to different positions. No more picture. I tried some other kinds of compositions but without the geese, the pictures didn't seem as interesting. Oh, it is really a horse fence, of course.
Monday, March 14, 2011
I was driving to the bagel store this morning, and happened to glance at Scudder's Pond as I passed. The surface of the water was mirror-like so I screeched to a halt, and grabbed the camera. I probably have not made the best use of the mirror part, but the delicate detail in the trees and the delicate phragmites across the pond, are something to behold. I waited for some ducks to make their way into the photo, although I am afraid they don't add much. I have posted a larger than normal image, so please click on it to see all the wonderful detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:52 PM
Sunday, March 13, 2011
I stayed with my friends Dick and Trauti last night in Massachusetts. This is their garden in front of the house. They put it in nearly 40 years ago, and now is has this wonderful patina of lichen and moss. The fence is well weathered, and it is covered with lichen as well - you can see it in the distance. A nicely designed garden is said to have "good bones" when it has a nice design and still looks good in the off season. I have taken a lot of photographs of their garden over the years and I can always find something to shoot, whatever the season. I have uploaded a larger than normal image, and you may want to click on it to see more details.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:07 PM
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I had an amazing experience today. One of the featured speakers was a young photographer named Matt, whose work is just stunning! He does documentary photography as his passion, and magazine assignments to pay the bills. He started out documenting the death of a coal town in Ohio, and then by a lucky circumstance, a small working class neighborhood in a blue collar town in Mississippi. He went there on assignment at first, and then has returned every six months or so, to photograph the residents as his personal project. He has bonded with the residents and they allow him into their lives. His photographs are amazing. His sense of color, and the way he composes his images, the ability to capture "moments" and the intimacy he has with his subjects was life-changing for me! Yes, the work was that different, and that good. Here is a photograph of him after his talk as other photographers waited in line to compliment him or ask questions. I was in line too.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:37 PM
Friday, March 11, 2011
This is a group of some fellow photographers, intently listening to one of the speakers at one of the many workshops I have attended the last two days. I have listened to workshops on gathering sound with digital recorders, learning to edit video with Final Cut Pro, creating multimedia slideshows, storytelling with multimedia, which included both video and stills, and this workshop on how to use a pretty sophisticated application for editing still photographs. Whew, my brain is full! But it is a wonderful way to spend a couple of days, both learning new things, and refreshing my memory with things I *used* to know! And then, of course, there the conversations with old friends, as well as meeting new friends. Makes me a happy camper, AND, so much smarter than I was two days ago... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Thursday, March 10, 2011
I was walking down one of the halls here at the Press Photographers gathering, and saw David, a friend of mine photographing a sign outside one of the meeting rooms. I am sure he had a good reason for doing this, but to a passerby, it was a strange looking scene. So naturally I stopped to take a picture of him taking a picture, which certainly makes sense at a gathering of photographers.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:31 PM
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
So here is the whole, long story... I was driving to Providence, Rhode Island today, and was planning to stop and see my sisters Joan and Betsey for lunch. So Kathy decided to bake some Irish Soda bread to give to them. Except last night I wanted something with my coffee. She said I couldn't have the bread because it was for my sisters... :-) Evenutally I convinced her to let me cut a 3/4" slice out of the center of the loaf, and then they would each get "half" a loaf and be none the wiser. So we did that. But this morning I was going to take coffee with me in the car, and just grab something to eat for a light breakfast on the road. I kept thinking about the Irish Soda Bread, but that was not mine to eat. It was for my sisters. But I kept thinking how good it was! And how good it would taste with my coffee on the road. Anyhow, here is a photo of Joan and Betsey with their half loaves of Irish Soda bread. Do you notice anything missing from each of the loaves? Yup, you got it. The tips of each loaf are missing! Ah-hah! Caught in the act! Well, no, not really. I *thought* of doing that, but bought a donut instead, and they received complete halves of bread. I just asked them to break the corners off for the photo, so I could have some fun with the blog!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Went down to church tonight for a prayer service for young couples, and the couple in front of us brought their child. She was cute, and I could not believe how well behaved she was. Of course it didn't hurt that her parents had brought a bottle for her, and a plastic container of Cheerios. But still, she barely let out a peep, and spent nearly the whole time looking all around to see what was going on.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:57 PM
Monday, March 7, 2011
So when I went on my bagel run Sunday, I knew that it was going to be pouring rain all day long. That was foremost in my mind, because I knew that I needed to find a blog photograph by the end of the day. As a result of this, I was hyper vigilant during the ride in the car. I first stopped to photograph the trellis and vines. Then, thinking that it might not be good enough, my radar was working at high speed all the way home. Then I noticed the raindrops on the car windshield, so I turned the wipers off to watch larger drops form, and see how the rain drops distorted the world outside. Here was another interesting photo. Click, click, click, all the way home.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:44 PM
Sunday, March 6, 2011
On my bagel run this morning, I passed by this. It was raining, but I got out of my car and took the picture. I liked the design of the winding vines on the geometric background. OK, here is a confession... It wasn't until I was looking at the image on my computer screen that I noticed what was going on in this severely cropped version. Duh! I thought that it looked like an apartment house with giant vines growing on it. OK, maybe I have overdone it in the imagination department. The lesson is, that I should have spent more time when photographing, to look for other possibilities. Because it was raining, I didn't spend the time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:51 PM
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I photographed this plant before, but from a distance. It sits in the dining room window where the sun can shine on it, and I have found it fascinating to look at it under different lighting conditions. I was examining it closely today and decided to get the Micro Nikkor close-up lens for the Nikon, and I spent a fair amount of time composing pictures. I tried further away, and this closer version, and I like this one the best. This orchid is really a stunning plant when examined closely. I guess many orchids are.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:21 PM
Friday, March 4, 2011
I went out to the side yard and set up my new telescope for looking at the sun. It has a special filter on it that only passes the line of Hydrogen alpha light. It allows me to see prominences on the sun, and all kinds of detail on our nearest star. I digress. So while setting up the telescope, I happened to glance over at the garden, and saw the stone angel sitting there. She is usually surrounded by the flowers and plants in the garden. She seems so lonely here, sitting on the bare ground with not a plant in sight. I will feel better when she begins to be surrounded by green again.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:28 PM
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I was on the phone with Amy this afternoon, and we were talking for a while, and then I noticed a brilliant reflection of the setting sun from a window of the house next door. Then I noticed the shadow of the handset coiled cord on the wall. Then I started looking around to see what else there was. Well, there didn't seem to be more than the shadow of venetian blinds. I was trying to get something with a different feeling to it. But it still needs to be a photograph. I think this might not be successful. Trying too hard, but not making it. Although it does have an interesting feeling to it - it just doesn't feel complete, at least as I think of a photograph as being complete.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:11 PM
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I stepped into the living room and saw this, and couldn't believe it! It just cracked me up. I mean, the kitties sleep everywhere in the house, on top and under all kinds of things. But this is amazing. Sitting on top of three pillows, which are, in turn, on the couch. I just hope she was comfortable enough to have a good sleep.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:54 PM
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I have photographed this window before. I have photographed these blue bottles before. But today I noticed this plant in front of the bottles, and I was taken by the combination of the two. This photograph, to me is about the layering in the image - the overlapping and interaction of foreground and background. It is that simple. I love the complexity of it. And the beauty of these two things together.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:32 PM