Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I was on my way to my astronomy meeting when I drove through Cold Spring Harbor. I saw the orange patch of light in the sky and saw it reflected off the water, so I stopped to investigate. I thought I would find a kind of traditional seascape when I walked out to the dock. Instead I noticed that the wooden railings around the dock were illuminated by spotlights. That seemed to be an important part of the composition - a "something else" part of the photograph. So I walked along until I found an only partially illuminated section, and I composed the image around this feature.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:55 PM
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
There is good news and bad news when there is a power failure. The good news is, as I first discovered Sunday night after the Hurricane, that without a lot of stray light reflecting up into the sky, it was so dark around here that I could see the Milky Way, which is really unusual. The absolutely wonderful thing was to walk to the end of the driveway and look up the street, and it was pitch black - I could not see a thing! And the stars seemed so close, it felt as if you could touch them. In this photograph, looking up the street, the star at left is Capella, the Pleiades star cluster is above the trees in the center of the photo, and the planet Jupiter is at upper right. I had two nights of glorious dark nights, before the power came back on.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:44 PM
Monday, August 29, 2011
I had a difficult time yesterday deciding on which shot I wanted to use in the blog. I had the community gathering photograph, and then I had this one. I think that this is the better photograph, but it didn't match my story as well. I did spot this father and son, and watched as the boy jumped up and down in the water and ran around. He was having such a great time, and his dad was taking photographs the whole time. It was so much fun to watch the boy's unrestrained joy in the wind and rain and the deep water, on a day where neighbors gathered.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:56 PM
Sunday, August 28, 2011
After breakfast this morning I grabbed some rain gear and headed down the street to see what the harbor looked like with the high winds and the storm surge. It actually was not raining, but it was high tide. I was not prepared for what I found - a community gathering! There were people everywhere, looking at the flooding, taking pictures, and wading in the water. The extra high tide had completely flooded Shore Road, and had started up Laurel Avenue. But people were treating it like a celebration - everyone was talking to each other, and some were posing for family photographs while knee deep in the water. There was very little damage in town, although there were some large trees down, cutting power in some parts of town, including our house. I had to go to the closed Starbucks, and sit outside in my car to get wireless in order to post this. I posted a larger size image, so if you click on the picture you will see more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:18 PM
Saturday, August 27, 2011
It was about 76 degrees all day, and not a breath of air. Just quiet, and silent, and no wind at all. A bit of rain now and then for most of the day. After supper the rain started and then stopped. It would pour for a while, then just drizzle. I needed something for a photo, but by then it was dark, so I photographed the rain with my flash. The circles in the picture are out-of-focus raindrops. It hardly looks like a deluge, but it was pouring when I shot this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:12 PM
Friday, August 26, 2011
After my bike ride today, I rested for a bit on the bench by the water. I was taken by how calm everything looked. I took a few pictures but it was boring. So I came back after supper, and photographed the scene more completely. I also got bitten to pieces by the noseeums! Oh man, it is hard to concentrate on composition when being bitten to death by ten at a time! If we get a lot of wind and rain you can depend on me to get down there and photograph whatever is going on.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:20 PM
Thursday, August 25, 2011
When I was at ICP last week, I was looking for photos. Surrounded by photos, and looking for photos. Only you are not allowed to take photos in a museum of photography. Go figure. Anyhow, you know me and how I follow rules. (Can you spell "Taking pictures while driving?") Anyhow, while having lunch downstairs in the cafe, I happened to glance up, and loved the shape of the recessed area for lighting in the ceiling. Looked like an amoeba to me.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:09 PM
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
WOW! Look what I found! While headed out the Long Island Expressway I slowly drove up behind THIS car and was blown away! I first photographed it from behind, but then decided I wanted a photograph more from the side, so I moved over to pass it in order to get this picture. Do you recognize this car? It is an EDSEL. And even better, and Edsel convertible. What an amazing car! I photographed another edsel a few years ago with its owner for a story, and it was so cool. A real "boat" of a car. But seeing this one just completely blew me away, it was such an amazing design - and, in mint condition. Click on it to see a larger version.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:43 PM
Just after dinner yesterday, I headed out to Southold to do some observing with my telescopes. I was on the Long Island Expressway headed east, with the sun low in the sky behind me, just before sunset The sun was a brilliant orange, and illuminated everything with its glow. I was fascinated how it reflected off of the various surfaces, and reveals details in them we don't normally see when the sun is high. I also love the quality of it being nearly dark, and the cars being almost shadowy objects. I looked at the stars until nearly 1 AM and didn't get home until after 2 AM, so that's why this post is so late. For some reason, it doesn't show here in the photograph as colorful as it was, which is disappointing. Please click on the image to see it in a larger size, with better color.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:48 AM
Monday, August 22, 2011
I walked by a shop that used to contain a Kitchen remodeling business. They have moved out and took all their sample cabinets with them. And this remained on the wall. Interestingly, I never noticed this when it was part of a counter backsplash. I just never noticed it. Until everything else was gone. So I spent some time studying the tilework image. Interesting artwork. I have posted a larger than normal file, so you can click on it and see it in more detail. The technique and the artistry of the craftsperson who made this, is really amazing.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:25 PM
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Look what was in the sky today! What IS that? Is it a drawing or a photograph. It looks to me as if it is some kind of Japanese print. I should run a contest here and have everyone guess what they are looking at. I would love to know if anyone could figure this out. OK, last chance... Look carefully and tell me what you think it is, please. Give up? This is one of the polished aluminum crank arms from my bicycle - a crank arm is the thing that the pedal is attached to. I noticed some kind of corrosion a few weeks ago, but didn't get to look carefully at it or to try and polish it off until today. What is strange is that the corrosion wanders around in little loopy things, as if a bug of some kind made these tracks. I have no idea why this is, but when I find out, I will let you know. I placed the crank arm on the hood of the car, and it is reflecting the sky, which why it is blue. Please click on the image to see it larger.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
I found this in the lawn today while mowing and realized that I could make mushrrom soup for supper! Yummmm... Oh wait, this is a fungus, not a mushroom! Mushrooms are fungi. I did some reading in Wikipedia, and they talk of the danger of trying to figure out which mushrooms are hazardous, and which are edible. "Amanita phalloides accounts for the majority of fatal mushroom poisonings worldwide" "FATAL MUSHROOM POISONING???" Their advice, not surprisingly, is to buy them in the grocery store. Those mushrooms come from mushroom farms, where they are grown in sterilized conditions. By the way, all these delicate curvey things are called "gills." Like fish, you know. This is an amazingly beautiful object, isn't it? But as beautiful as it is, maybe I will make tomato soup instead.
Friday, August 19, 2011
I went to the city today to see two special exhibits at the International Center of Photography. I took the subway up to Times Square, and then I walked to ICP from there. It was wonderful to see how many people were gathered in the middle of Broadway! The mayor shut down parts of Broadway a year or so ago to turn parts of it into pedestrian malls. They painted the street, and put tables and chairs everywhere. What a cool thing it is to see - people having their lunches at the tables and others walking everywhere. What a brilliant idea! The exhibits I saw, by the way were a retrospective of Elliott Erwitt's life work, and another exhibit of US Army photographs of the destruction in Hiroshima, taken back in 1945. Sobering stuff.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:44 PM
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I had to stop by the wine store, and I happened to notice this out front. I have no idea how long it has been there. The store was recently enlarged, so maybe it was installed then. Maybe I only saw this because I was desperate for a picture on this day! I have seen these all over the place for years now. I may have even photographed the black and white horse outside the Eastman House in Rochester, NY. But I don't get these. I am not sure what their purpose is. I think maybe they have something to do with fund raising. I have seen a few that are beautiful, but honestly more of the ones I have seen are kind of ugly. (Says the art critic...)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:01 PM
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Here's an amazing story... About 20 years ago this nine-year old boy came to our astronomy club, brought there by his dad, faithfully, week after week after week. He was really enthusiastic about astronomy, and really enjoyed our meetings. He became interested in observing, and I loaned him one of my telescopes for a while. He grew up, went off to college, got a Bachelor's and Masters in Electrical Engineering, and then went on to get a Masters and then a PhD in Astronomy! Wow! He is now a professional astronomer, headed to Germany for three years for his post doc work. He has observed using the Hale telescope on Mt. Palomar and was part of a team which confirmed the physical association of the star Alcor's dwarf companion. Wow! And to think he had his start as a fourth grader in our astronomy club! He was the lecturer tonight at our meeting and it boggled my mind to hear him talk of his work, and then to think back to twenty years ago.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:13 PM
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Had to go to the city today for a meeting, and while walking up Sixth avenue saw this fountain. There are actually two of them in front of one of the buildings. I have seen these fountains before, but today they kind of jumped out at me. My first thought was that this looked like a dandelion, just after it turns all white before the wind blows all the seeds away. So I took a picture of it, of course. That way I could share it with you. And you might be amused. Or astounded. Or none of the above.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:50 PM
Monday, August 15, 2011
I went to a meeting tonight, and then to an astronomy lecture at a local library. The speaker brought a home made telescope and set it up in the parking lot of the library. This is probably the worst place for observing the heavens that I have ever seen! There were giant bright lights on tall poles illuminating the entire lot. There was hardly a star to be seen. Someone asked "Where is Alberio?" Alberio is a gorgeous double star, one orange and one blue. When I took this, different people were pointing to where they thought it was, or shielding their eyes in order to be able to look for the star.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:32 PM
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I was driving along in the rain when I saw this fence decked out with flags. So I pulled over, got my umbrella, and camera, and went looking for a photo. The interesting thing was the last flag in the distance - the nearly all blue one. It said "Land of the Free." the more I thought about this display, the more I wanted to know about the person who put it together. Hate to disappoint you, but I did not go knock on the front door to see. Maybe someday, but not today.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:54 PM
Saturday, August 13, 2011
I wandered into the living room an hour or so before sunset, and saw this shaft of sunlight illuminating just the corner of these old astronomy books which I have on the small table next to the couch. The sunlight had to work hard to get this far - it made its way through the branches and leaves of the big tree next door, and then under the front porch and through the window, and finally to the books. I thought that the photo needed the shadow of the edge of the books on the couch - it adds complexity.
Friday, August 12, 2011
I am pleased to report that I know the name of this flower. How unusual. It is a Zinnia. If there are several varieties, that information has not reached my brain yet. What I love about this is that it is not a bad looking blossom, given the beating the garden has taken this year. The trick to try and make this an interesting photograph, is to have more in the image than just the blossom - what can make it interesting is the background. In this case, there are nice graphic elements in the green leaves, and a hint of another blossom.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:18 PM
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I saw one of the kitties looking out the window intently this afternoon. I wondered why, and then I heard scratching in the rain gutters. I have seen this before - sparrows are down in the gutter, and they apparently like to eat some of the granules that come off the roofing material. Maybe they have it in their gullet like chickens do. Anyhow, I ran and grabbed my camera, and the kitty was still there absolutely rapt while watching the birds. I wonder what was in her mind. She clearly has built in instructions to hunt birds, but the window screen won't allow that, so I guess she just watches, because it is in her instruction manual!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I was backing out of the driveway tonight, on the way to my astronomy meeting, and as I looked out my car window I saw this. I have never seen the tree in this light before! Evening sunlight on the trunk as the sun was setting gave an orange glow to the tree. It was accented by the cooler blue and green colors of the lawn in the background, making the orange color even more striking. I have photographed this tree so many times before, but today was about seeing it in a new way.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:45 PM
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
This has been a really tough year for the garden. This is, or was, a Purple coneflower, one of my favorite flowers. Are you impressed that I even know the name of a flower? We were away while the temperatures went over a hundred degrees, so there was no watering of the garden during such a difficult time. So this is the result. I will confess that photographing a garden in this condition is similar to photographing the abandoned buildings that I love so well. I try and find some kind of beauty in whatever I photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:31 PM
Monday, August 8, 2011
This was a huge exhibit at Mass MOCA, covering several rooms. It filled the largest gallery in the museum. I did look at their website to see what was on display, and when I read that this exhibit consisted of large pieces of styrofoam and painted dirt, I must confess I thought that this was not going to do much for me. Imagine my surprise when I arrived in the gallery and found this really amazing! The raggedly cut Styrofoam was amazing in itself. It had a feeling of pieces of iceberg. And the painted dirt had a quality that was so much more than you might think. I spent a lot of time exploring this entire room. And of course took photographs. It was tough to pick just one - the is over one hundred feet long, so there was a lot to this sculpture. This is a huge construction, by the way, reaching to the ceiling. Please click on the image to see a larger version with more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:53 PM
Sunday, August 7, 2011
We were seated behind this couple and their two cute boys in church today, and at some point the woman turned around and said: "We remember you. We did Pre-Cana with you eight years ago!" We were knocked out! So eight years ago, they came to our house with 5 other couples for four sunday nights of talking about marriage. We have met so many couples over the years, and then they get married and we rarely see any of them again. So what a thrill to see this couple again, and to see their wonderful children! So naturally I asked to take their picture after Mass was over.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:28 PM
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Last year when I visited Mass MOCA, I was wandering around, and found the old powerhouse. Some doors were open, so I snuck inside and did some photographs. I love being around abandoned buildings and machinery, which the powerhouse was full of. So this year I went back just to look around, and imagine my surprise to find a printed sign hanging on the outside of the building, explaining its history. They have turned the powerhouse into a museum and as an exhibit about where Mass MOCA came from! I wandered in, legally this time, and did some more photographs. It is hard to say why I love this photograph, but it jumped out at me right away. I do love old machinery, so that's a big part, but it also has to do with the circles and pipes and valves, and also with the light on the machinery. So much of what draws my attention to some pictures is a mystery to me.
Friday, August 5, 2011
I made my annual pilgrimage to The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass. I am never disappointed with what I find here - inspiration and surprise and brilliant creativity. It recharges me and my spirit. This is part of one exhibition by the artist Katharina Grosse. I don't know the name of this artwork. I couldn't find a card on the wall with a title. In another gallery she had a work entitled " One Floor Up More Highly." I will show you that one in a few days. Meanwhile there is this piece. She paints on the walls and floors of the galeries which is unusual. I found this absolutely striking! It stopped me in my tracks.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Amy and Liz decided to make fresh pasta one day, and then make ravioli with it. Amy has a pasta machine for rolling out the dough. One batch of ravioli was butternut squash with cheese, and the sauce was browned butter and sage! I thought I wanted something more traditional - until I tasted it. Wow! My mouth is watering just thinking about that. The other ravioli was filled with three cheeses and was in a marinara sauce. It took all day to make all of this. What a dinner! And I love the bare feet while cooking.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:26 PM
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
I didn't take this. But I found it in my toy camera when I downloaded the photographs from the card! Amy had asked to look at my camera because she bought a Nikon toy camera, and less than a week into her vacation, her brand new Nikon Coolpix failed! Deader than a doornail! Fortunately she still had her iPhone with her, so all was not lost, but she would rather have had a real camera. Anyhow, I saw her looking at it, and she asked me about it. By the way, she bought her Nikon at Target, and when she brought it back, they gave her her money back in a SECOND. As she put it, "Target ROCKS!" Anyhow, imagine my surprise when I looked at my photos from the card, I found this one shot, and it cracked me up! What a fun surprise. I know I didn't take this, BUT, it was taken with MY camera, so I feel I have the right to post it. :-) By the way, my toy camera is a Canon, and that is the camera she is going to go buy.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I have so many photographs from the last two weeks that I haven't had room to post, that I have saved them up. Now I will start using them, because most of these photos will be more interesting than something I shoot in my back yard. This is a photo out the window of our Airbus 320 descending to land at Los Angeles. We are about 75 miles from the airport, I would guess. I love this because it is an interesting sort of combination landscape. The natural world at the top, and a manufactured landscape at the bottom - the wing of the airplane. I love the combination.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:41 PM
Monday, August 1, 2011
This is a really amazing device. It was designed and built around 1910, by a brilliant Vermont mechanical engineer and inventor, James Hartness, who was also a one-term governor of Vermont. This is not, of course a cannon. It is a telescope. Hartness wanted to build a telescope that would allow him to be indoors in a heated room and still be able to observe the heavens. So this is the result - a concrete structure with a rotating "head" which supports the telescope. You should see the huge gears inside that make this head rotate. Easy to produce at the time in this area of Vermont, which was known as "precision valley" because of the mechanical expertise at a number of manufacturing facilities. You feel as if you are in a submarine when you are at the eyepiece. My post on July 29 shows the tunnel leading to this telescope.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:42 PM