Friday, April 29, 2011
When I was at the South Street Seaport, I saw a lot of helicopters coming and going from the Wall Street Heliport. So I decided to walk a few blocks down to watch the activities. As I was walking I saw two heavy lift helicopters over Brooklyn, flying in formation. "Hmmmm, I thought - those are the kind of helicopters that accompany the President!" Then I remembered getting an email from the FAA announcing a "Temporary Flight Restriction" in NYC. Oh boy! It IS the President. Then, as the big helicopters came in and landed, I saw in the distance two of the helicopters that carry the president also in formation. There are always two of the aircraft flying together - that way no one would know which aircraft carries the president. Anyhow, all four of them eventually landed, and sat there with their engines running. I waited and waited, and no one got out. After about 10 or 15 minutes the two presidential aircraft took off and then a few minutes later, the heavy lift helos. They headed off in different directions. Where was the president, and how come he didn't get out? When I got home, I looked up the notice, and the flight restriction was for the following day! So this must have been just a dry run. Still, it was pretty exciting and an impressive thing to see, even from a distance through a 300mm telephoto lens. These heavy lift helos, by the way, carry the bulletproof presidential limousines. In the distance in this photograph, you can see one of the "Marine One" helos that carry the President.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Thursday, April 28, 2011
I was walking along 34th street and saw this. The sign just jumped out at me. It is on a street vendor's food cart, and I think what grabbed me, though, was that the person who designed the sign felt the necessity to print the words "Hot Dog" on top of, well, a picture of a hot dog! Whaaaat? Anyhow, I loved the bold color of this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:52 PM
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
We took an hour long ride around the lower part of Manhattan yesterday, and then out to the Statue of Liberty. I haven't been anywhere near the statue in years. I had a 300mm lens with me, so did both full length pictures, and a closeup of just her head. My dilemma is trying to figure out which shot is my favorite. I think the head is more dramatic, but the full length image is more subtle, but much more beautiful. I also love the clouds in the background of the full length shot. She really is a stunning beautiful sculpture. Please click on each one to see it in a larger size, and then let me know which image is your favorite.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:43 PM
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Today the four of us took a "field trip" to Manhattan, and went down to the South Street Seaport. There is always so much to see and photograph there and in the surrounding area. Today I was looking up the East River and saw this arrangement - the Brooklyn Bridge appearing to be balanced on the Manhattan Bridge, and then in the distance is the Williamsburg Bridge. Just a graphical arrangement, but a different way for me too look at several bridges at once. Just fun with a camera! Please click on this to see it in greater detail.
Monday, April 25, 2011
We drove to Montauk Point today because Vince and Jo Anne have never been there. There was a sea fog that drifted in and gave everything a wonderful mysterious look. This cold war relic is located at the former Montauk Air Force Station, overlooking the Atlantic ocean about a mile west of the Montauk lighthouse. It case you are curious it is the radar antenna for an AN/FPS-35 long range radar. It was used to scan the skies out to 200 miles for airborne objects. It was in operation during the cold war, from 1960 to 1980. I photographed this about 20 years ago when I did my photo essay on "The Ruins of War." But today in the fog it had a whole new look to it - mysterious and spooky, looming over a dark landscape.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:55 PM
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Vince and Joanne have been visiting for several days now, and we invited Kathy & Vince's cousin Jerry, and his wife Winnie to have Easter dinner with us. Winnie mentioned she would bring her violin and play for us. We had no idea she played the violin! She started playing when she was ten years old in China. So this was a treat to have her play four pieces for us, as after dinner entertainment. Because she was in our living room, I loved being close enough to watch her concentration and intensity while playing. It made for a lovely afternoon.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:13 PM
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Happy Easter to everyone! Every year we get an Easter lilly, and every year I photograph it, of course. This year is no different. How to take a different photograph of the same thing is something I think about all the time. I decided that photographing the blossoms from the side was a different way of looking at the flowers. There is something wonderful about these blossoms, that even when they are photographed on a rainy day, they still seem bright and sunny.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:25 PM
Friday, April 22, 2011
The kitties are so cute! I started upstairs, and saw this. Then the problem was, would they move if I went back down the stairs and slowly went to the living room to get my toy camera. I moved REALLY slowly, and was in luck. When I got back with the toy camera, they were still there - perhaps what I was doing made them curious, especially when I sat on one of the lower stairs to get this angle. Fortunately they didn't move while I took three or four shots. I love how they mirror each other in the direction they are facing and how their tails are.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:45 PM
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I spent all afternoon at the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City, at their Astronomy Day. I brought with me one of my home made telescopes, and a telescope mirror, and this glass and wood "telescope." I built this device to show to some middle school children when I gave a talk one time. It is a wonderful demonstrator for kids - it includes the glass lens to the right, in an open frame, and a telescope eyepiece on the left. Viewers wondering how a telescope works can see that there is nothing else in the tube - just a lens and an eyepiece. This gentleman who stopped at my table was fascinated by it, first photographing it sitting on the table, and then he picked it up and spent quite a while looking through it. I love to see his concentration, and how his fingers are gently holding the device.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:06 PM
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I love this line from Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall." It makes a good title for this photograph of the gate between our yard and the neighbors' yard. But in this case it doesn't really apply. We have wonderful, considerate and caring neighbors on all sides. It is just that the people who put up this gate have two young children, and felt that they needed to fence in their yard for the kids safety. What was so nice was that they came over and told us about it first. Some people would just go and build the fence, since they have the right to. In any case, I love the subtle colors in this, whith a hint of green haze in the background - it is as if you could almost see spring.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:29 PM
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I remember a time when the sky was blue, and the moon was out. Then the gray came. Gray sky, gray clouds, gray rain. So I didn't feel like photographing the gray, but rather recalling the blue and the moon, and here they are. Of course the forecast is still for clouds for one more day, then sunshine. One can hope.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:09 PM
Monday, April 18, 2011
I love the arrival of Forsythia in the spring. For me it is the first sign that spring is on the way, and never fails to lift my spirits. We had a Forsythia bush in the front yard for years but it is gone now. This bush is in a neighbor's yard and so I went and photographed it from a distance with a long lens. There was something about the way these branches are shooting straight up - it feels as if the bush is growing with such exuberance.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:14 PM
Sunday, April 17, 2011
OK, I need to beg your indulgence here. You remember yesterday's post? Late this afternoon I went back over to the raptor display to look at the birds again, and found out that for a small donation, you could be photographed holding your favorite raptor! Oh man! So I decided to do that. Here is the cool part - they give me a leather glove for my left hand, and brought the owl over and put her on the glove, and then hooked a little leash to the glove, so she couldn't take off. After the handler placed her there and let go, the owl flapped its wings a couple of times to get her balance. It was astounding to feel the wind that her wings made as one wing passed just over my head! She looks heavy, but she is a bird, and is surprisingly light in weight. I have to tell you, it was a thrill to have her so close to me, and to hold her long enough to have our picture taken together!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:17 PM
Saturday, April 16, 2011
I went to the Northeast Astronomy Forum today up in Rockland county. It is in a giant field house at a college, jam packed with every imaginable kind of telescope, eyepiece, telescope mount, imaging camera and accessory any amateur astronomer would ever want. There were also lectures all day by professional and amateur astronomers on imaging and cosmology and various other subjects. They did have a number of activities just for children, which involved astronomy. And then there was this. They had an organization who brought in 5 raptors to display, and they demonstrated the birds for the kids and let the birds fly around the field house. So I came face to face with this European Eagle Owl, which was bread in captivity. What a stunning visage!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:00 PM
Friday, April 15, 2011
I heard a strange rustling noise in the garage late this afternoon. I had been working on the car, and the garage door had been open for a while. Eventually I found a robin between some boxes and the window on one side of the garage. I tried to open the window to let the robin out, and it flew to the window on the opposite side of the garage. I made sure the garage door was open all the way, and went to try and open the other window. But... then I saw the robin looking out, so got my camera instead! I took two pictures with a telephoto lens from some distance away, and suddenly the robin was gone. I couldn't tell for sure, but I am sure the bird flew out the open garage door. Whew, what a relief. And I got my picture.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:29 PM
Thursday, April 14, 2011
"Bleak House." Is that the name of one of those PPS series? I digress. We were having coffee and a donut at a Dunkin' Donuts nearby and I happened to look out the window at this structure. It is a multi level parking garage. It works just fine, but man, it is ugly to look at, isn't it? I am not sure how they could make this structure look warm at all. I think it looks like an abandoned block house at a missile launch site. In my imagination, I guess. It's just that I wouldn't want to live here.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:26 PM
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I want a "do-over." I photographed this plant a couple of weeks ago, and posted it. I only included about two or three buds or blossoms in that photo. This morning I happened to look down at the plant as I passed by the garden. It rained cats and dogs last night, and there were more blossoms showing than two weeks ago, and they all had water drops in them. So I grabbed the camera and did this photo. I like this version a whole lot more, because I like the pattern. You should see how nice it looks when blown up to fill the whole computer screen.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:31 PM
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I recently passed a landmark without realizing it. I went to check how many posts I have made since starting the blog. The number is 1495. When I divided that number by 365, the answer was 4.095 - the number of years I have been doing the blog! Wow! The reason I looked up the number of posts was because my friend Mike is teaching a course in digital photography at a college in Washington, DC, and wanted me to talk to his class about my blog. Of course I am still on Long Island, so we chatted with Skype on our computers. He used a projector in his classroom so everyone could watch my interview. This is a quick shot I did of my computer screen showing Mike at the start of the interview. Mike and I go way back - we first met while students at RIT back in 1960, and we were also on the varsity fencing team together. Oh, and he is a better fencer than I am!
Monday, April 11, 2011
On Saturday morning I awoke to fog and posted a picture of that on the blog. What was really interesting is, by the end of the day, most all of the clouds had vanished and the sky was nearly clear at sunset. There were a few high clouds to the west and that added to a lovely sunset that ended the day. I love the contrast between the beginning of the day, and day's end.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:33 PM
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Yesterday was warm enough so I decided to have lunch on the porch for the first time this year. Bundled up with a jacket on, of course. I made a sandwich and put it on a plate and poured a glass of soda and went out to the porch. I set the soda and plate on the floor while I went to get the small wicker table to put my lunch on. But then I looked down, and saw this spray of light, caused by the sunlight shining through the glass of soda. Wow, what a cool looking pattern of light! So I grabbed my camera, photographed this 4 different ways, and picked this one. I like that it is not obvious what this is at first. Oh, then I ate my lunch.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:35 PM
Saturday, April 9, 2011
I actually got up at the crack of dawn today. That would be 6:30 AM, my version of "the crack of dawn." I was headed out to an FAA safety seminar at MacArthur Airport in Islip. I was really anxious to hear this presentation, because it was by a photographer who has done work for Flying Magazine for years, and I wanted to meet him. When I woke, it was foggy outside and overcast. As I headed down toward the Long Island Expressway, the clouds began to thin just a bit, and I was able to see the sun's disk through the clouds, and here it is. The lecture, by the way, was wonderful, and I got to talk to the photographer for quite a while, which was really nice.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:41 PM
Friday, April 8, 2011
I had lunch with a friend last week. It's funny, we talked a hundred miles an hour - it has been a couple of years so we had a lot of catching up to do. Here is what is funny, though... I am never not looking around, even in a restaurant, to see if I can find some kind of blog photo. I look around while waiting outside, and while eating. Not in an intense way, mind you, but just kind of always being aware what is around me. I didn't find anything. But when we stood up to leave, I turned toward the window and saw all these chairs. Bingo! I liked the repetitive pattern and the different angles.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:22 PM
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I was coming back home from running an errand, and as I drove by Scudder's Pond, I caught a glimpse of a white shore bird standing in the water, and reflected in the water, because it was so calm. I kept driving. What a dolt! About a hundred yards later I finally thought to turn around. Grabbed the camera and the scene was sublime! The original bird was no where to be seen, but fortunately there was another bird, in a different part of the pond, and that completed the picture. The subtle colors and delicate textures in the background are what the photograph is all about, in my opinion. Please click on the photo - I posted an extra large file so you can see all the detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:19 PM
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
One frame! One shot! That was it! Yikes! During our astronomy meeting tonight, several members were demonstrating how to collimate the optics in a Newtonian telescope. I wandered over, saw this image (or rather part of the image) and took one shot with my toy camera. Then they all moved and the picture was gone! I was so surprised when I got home to find out that the shot was OK. And even more surprised because I hadn't seen the man on the right - I thought I was only photographing two people! The addition of the third face on the right really makes this shot, I think.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:22 PM
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I went over to the Apple store today to fill my brain up and to try and get smarter. I only got a *little* smarter... :-) I am getting bummed about the weather - it feels as if warm weather will never come, after a few days of shirtsleeve weather. Anyhow, today was cold and gray and rainy. I tried several different photographs, but this image had the best feeling for how the day felt.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:25 PM
Monday, April 4, 2011
This is the photograph you would have seen yesterday, if I had not gotten caught up in my rant about the stupid cyclists. I was in church, and took my glasses off so that I could rub my eyes. The sun outside was in and out of the clouds. When I looked down at my glasses, resting on the Missal, I was struck how a shaft of sunlight had illuminated my glasses and the book. Fortunately, I always carry my "toy" camera, and it only took me about 15 seconds to frame this image and take it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:34 PM
Sunday, April 3, 2011
This is a rant, so if you want to skip it, please feel free to do so. This is a group of cyclists who we run into every Sunday. They are riding on the back roads, which we take to get to church in Westbury. The law says that cyclists must ride no more than two abreast. Guess what... Do these guys look like they are two abreast? The pack takes up the entire lane from side to side, and there is no way to get around them. I have tried to pass at times, and they just will not move over. I guess it is the mob mentality - they are in a pack and gain strength in their numbers. So it is annoying, and I slow to a crawl, and follow them until they turn off after several miles.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:07 PM
Saturday, April 2, 2011
This is amazing! We were cleaning up the garden, and I looked down at these shoots or buds coming out of the ground, and saw sparkles like diamonds within a number of the buds. What? So I got the close up lens and investigated. There were water drops within the petals but because of some kind of surface tension, all the drops were sitting there as droplets, apparently not wetting the buds at all. Look at the tiny round water drop sitting by itself. Amazing. I posted a larger image so please click on it to see more detail. Someday I will even find out what kind of plant this is.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:35 PM
Friday, April 1, 2011
The forecast last night included the possibility of snow overnight. When I awoke, there was not a flake to be seen. But it did remind me that I took a picture I really liked in the snow last Thursday morning. I was shooting all around my favorite tree when I spotted this view - I suddenly saw this tree in a way I never had before. I was thrilled that I could see the tree so differently. It has never felt like a twisted tree, until this photograph of it. Do I say something about being glad that we are done with the snow, at long last, or will that put a hex on everything and give us a blizzard in the next week?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:23 PM