Friday, September 30, 2011
No more sunsets! Now we have a real picture. Funny, it has water and sky in it. I had been working indoors yesterday, and then decided to go down to the bike shop to pick up a new crankset. When I got to the water I was amazed to see that the sky to the northwest was nearly black with clouds. So I parked the car and grabbed the camera and ran to the water. I looked in a couple of different directions and took basically two different views. I chose this as the best one. The other shot didn't have the boat in it. There was a cold front headed our way, by the way, and it did a lot of damage in New Jersey and in Queens. We got some heavy rain, but no damage to speak of. But, it is something beautiful to look at.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:51 PM
Thursday, September 29, 2011
OK, this is it - the last one. But I think this may be one of the more interesting images in some way. I recognized "something" when I saw this. I am not sure what it is, but something about the real world in the distance, as seen through the camera and it's color display on the back. I don't even know what it means, but it seems kind of significant. Don't you love how specific I can be in telling you what I am up to with my photography? :-) So "Sunset Week" is done, and I am excited to announce that I HAVE been shooting this week, so I will have some nice pictures to show you after this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:31 PM
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Well, SOME people are tired of my sunset marathon, but I am not done, so here is yet another one... :-) You will notice that the sun is getting lower, and the picture is darker, so pretty soon it will be dark and I will be DONE! Soon, but not now... The point here is that I thought a couple of figures would be interesting for a sense of scale. Probably only one or two days left to go.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Are you bored with my sunsets yet? I guess not, because I have never received as many comments, ever, as I received for yesterdays post! Anyhow, this is my next one. This is my friend Glenn, who was driving to the restaurant. When he saw the bright orange sun, he kept going past the restaurant, saying "We need to check out this sunset," so he gets credit for bringing this to my attention in the first place. While I was running around shooting, he was shooting as well. Suddenly I realized that he would be a good subject. I did a couple of different compositions. The first one had him in the center of the photo, then I tried this, to be different, and I decided I liked it better. More interesting to have the image off balance, I thought.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:33 PM
Monday, September 26, 2011
What was nice about the sunset location was that there was beach grass between the parking lot and the beach. Ansel Adams has always spoken about a good photograph having a foreground, middle ground and background, which adds more interest to a image. The beach grass was my foreground, and that was helpful. So after doing the first picture, I began to think about how I could make use of the foreground. So I crouched down so that I would be looking at the sun through the grasses. It makes this a much different way to see the sunset, than picture number 1. Having said all that, I just realized that this photograph only has a foreground and a background! Duh! There is no middle ground in this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:20 PM
Sunday, September 25, 2011
So after getting some nice views of the sun going down, I looked around to see what else there was. I noticed some people on the beach, then I noticed a young mother and two young children headed down to the water's edge, and I was after them in a shot! It was only when I got closer that I noticed the dad was photographing them as well, using his cellphone. And he was in MY way - I had trouble getting a clear shot of them! Then it occurred to me that a mom and to kids at water's edge at sunset was kind of a cliche. And what I had was more about real life, at least these days. So this picture is more about the dad taking a picture, than it is about the family. A bit more "real."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:40 PM
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I was at Astronomy Day today out in Southold at Custer Institute. When it was time for the dinner break, I rode to the restaurant near the water with my friend Glenn, a young photographer who is doing some amazing work. He has the fire inside for photography. As we neared the restaurant I have to confess, it was Glenn who first spotted the bright orange sun just about to set over the water. We drove the short distance to the beach, and both jumped out of the car like madmen, and started blasting away with our cameras. It was the most spectacular sunset that I have seen in YEARS! Unfortunately, the color of this picture does not do justice to the scene itself. I took a LOT of photographs, and I have decided to show you a number of them, a day at a time, so you can see what I choose to shoot, and I will explain why.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:29 PM
Friday, September 23, 2011
I pulled into the parking lot of the local grocery store, and saw these flowers right in front of me. I had never noticed them before, or, perhaps they were not in bloom earlier. I was taken by the number of blossoms together like this. And also, they looked like stars - so many stars that it looked like a constellation. Of course I have no idea what flowers these are, but there are many of you out there who do, and I can't wait to find out!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:45 PM
Thursday, September 22, 2011
On our way to wine country in the Finger Lakes, we passed farm after farm. I thought this farm was picturesque, but what is more interesting is that when I looked around from this spot, there were at least a half-dozen farms within view. I keep forgetting that New York, as a state, is a large agricultural producer. It is, in fact, number 28 in the United States, in terms of agricultural income. But more importantly, it is beautiful country up here. It is such a joy to drive around and see fields with crops everywhere.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
It is apple picking time in upstate New York. I was reminded of this when I saw these crates of apples at Red Jacket Farms in Geneva, NY. We drove through there on the way home, and so I had to stop and buy a bag of just-picked McIntosh apples. Then I saw these crates. Their size is deceptive - each of these crates is perhaps three or four feet tall, and they are moved around by forklift trucks. This is just a small section of the stored crates. A lot of apples! And when I bit into the Macs, they split with a crack. There is nothing like a fresh Mac.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:27 PM
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
On my way back from the Eastman House, I took the usual route, and was astounded to see that a whole row of buildings were missing, and that this building on the corner was nearly gone. The only thing there now is a huge empty lot with construction equipment leveling the ground. There used to be a row of empty old stores in a couple of wooden houses, and at the end of the row was this granite bank building. I figured that the old stores were not long for this world, but the bank was not a bad looking building, and it was solid. I did a photograph of the wooden houses with the stores, and posted it on the blog a couple of years ago, but I don't think the bank was in the photograph. I'm sorry I didn't make a record of this building at the time.
Monday, September 19, 2011
We went on a "field trip" today, headed south to drive around some of the Finger Lakes. It was a beautiful day, and we headed down the west side of Seneca Lake from Geneva. In the distance, I saw the smokestacks of a power plant that I have flown over a number of times, and I was interested in seeing it up close. As we drove around trying to find it, we drove down a dead end street, and past this house. Wow! The first thing I saw was the rocking chair on the porch, so I grabbed my camera and made a shot of just the chair. Then I looked around a bit and saw more of the architectural detail of the porch, the window, and then the statue with the flowers. Double wow! I shot both versions and then had to pick one. It wasn't easy. But I decided the wider shot was the more interesting. Please click on this - I have posted a larger file so you can see more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:20 PM
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Jo Anne and I went for a walk today - three miles, for exercise. All along the way, I was looking for a picture for the blog but wasn't having any luck. But I kept looking. Near the end of the walk I saw a father and son hitting some golf balls, and then I saw the father give his son some pointers. So we crossed the street to get in position to shoot the picture, and they walked away from where they were hitting the balls. They went out on the field to retrieve the balls they hit. When they came back, they started packing up their clubs! Oh No! So I figured I was done, and then Jo Anne said "Why don't you go ask if they can hit some more balls?" My upbringing in the journalism profession would not allow me to do this. Then I remembered that this is just my blog and not a photograph for the newspaper, so I asked the father if I could take a photograph of them practicing again. He was thrilled, and so they went back to practicing, and I took the photograph. I showed him the image on the screen on the back of the camera, and he loved it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:02 PM
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Here is a sad story. When we travel from Sea Cliff to Rochester, our main route has always been Route 17, which has been around for at least 40 years, or longer. Starting almost ten years ago, signs stated appearing that Route 17 would eventually become Route I-86. But first improvements had to be made in the road in order for it to be an Interstate route. Meanwhile, this diner was renamed the "I-86 Diner" some years back, I guess to make it seem more modern. I can't quite recall how long it was open, but it has been closed now for perhaps 5 years or so. It is for sale - price $1,345,000. But here is the killer. The section of Route 17 that it is on is in the town of Parksville, and there is a traffic light, where you have to stop. Obviously you can't have a stoplight on an interstate! So the state is in the process of buiding a new road which bypasses the whole town of Parksville, which includes a gas station, ice cream store, an antiques shop, and this diner. My guess is that this will doom the town, and all the businesses in it. A similar thing occurred along parts of Route 66 back when the Interstate Highway System first began, and cars took the new road, and abandoned Route 66 and all the towns it passed through.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:45 PM
Friday, September 16, 2011
After the shock of seeing the flood damage under overcast skies, it was refreshing to have the skies begin to clear as we continued north toward Rochester. As we came to Seneca Lake in Geneva, I spotted these sails way off in the distance. It was clear to me that it was a sailboat race. I drove closer, and grabbed a telephoto lens, and ran to the water's edge. And a cloud came across the sun and the sails disappeared! Oh No! So I waited, and fortunately the sun came out again, and the sails lit up, and I had my shot! But this shot is really more about design, than it is about racing sailboats. It is about bands of color and tone running horizontally across the picture, and then a line of triangles at the bottom as bright accent.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
On the way to Rochester, we drove through a couple of areas that had suffered serious flooding - the worst in 60 years, from the Susquehanna River, in the Southern Tier. This is a photograph of a bookstore on Front Street in the town of Owego, alongside the river. Apparently every store and house in town had water in the first floor! As we drove down a few streets, there was a pile of water soaked rubbish in front of every house and business. What a terrible tragedy. This is a used bookstore, and you can see on one side of the building an enormous pile of water soaked books. This is just unimaginable.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:13 PM
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Amazing what I can find when I am desperate! These lamps come on at dusk, and stay on until about 11 PM, just in case someone wants to come visit late in the evening. And I know they are there, but maybe I don't look as carefully as I should. But let me start to get desperate for a blog post, and I start finding all kinds of things. So Dusty Miller is not a woman who lives down the block, it is the name of the beautiful gray-green fuzzy plant underneath the light. Nice color contrast I thought, between the neutral gray plant and the orange light of the lamp.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:05 PM
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I first photographed this Sedum when it appeared in the side garden next to the house. Of course I had no idea what the name of it was, so I cried "help!" and Bunny came through for me. So now I know the name of at least one plant around here. Sedum is green for most of its growing life - it is only very recently that these delicate pink and white blossoms have appeared. And don't the bees love this plant! It was swarming with honeybees. So I grabbed my camer and went investigating. Please click on the picture to see more detail in an enlarged image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:02 PM
Monday, September 12, 2011
Long Island's Gold Coast, as it was called, originally comprised vast areas of the North Shore of Long Island, from Great Neck to Huntington, and was a favorite retreat of the rich and famous. Starting around the turn of the century and through the 1930's, the North Shore was a virtual Who's Who of High Society. From the Astors to the Vanderbilts, this was the place to be for some of the most notable Americans. The mansions constructed during that period numbered in the hundreds. Many of the mansions had elaborately designed wrought iron gates at their entrances. Today I saw this portion of a new fence and gate, and what is amazing is that it is new construction! Someone has enough money to build something that would only be seen in the old days. Must be a hedge fun manager!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:29 PM
Sunday, September 11, 2011
The other day when the sun was setting, a small shaft of sunlight came through the window of the front door. It was reflected in a mirror on the wall, which then illuminated the bannister and the stairs. The thing I love about this photo is that most of the tonalities in the image are in the shadows. There is a wonderful feeling that comes from an photograph that contains mainly deeper tones. There are a couple of Ansel Adams images that make use of this. It just gives the photograph a completely different feeling.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:08 PM
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Several years ago, earth moving equipment went in here and started digging out an entire hill. I when it was done, it just sat there for another long period. Then one day they went in and started building the huge stone retaining wall. I couldn't imagine what was going to go in here. Imagine my surprise when they started building a house. How would you like to live in a house where if you looked out the window, you would see a retaining wall that covered up your view of the sky? Anyhow, now the first house is done, and they have started digging out another area near where I am standing, probably for a second house. But who would want to live here? We'll see... Oh, and if the wall starts to fall down in 20 years, who pays to fix that?
Friday, September 9, 2011
I was on my way to my computer club meeting tonight, and blew right by this. What a dolt! It took me about 20 seconds to realize that I had just passed a good opportunity for a photograph. So I turned around, went back, and spent some time with this lovely scene. It has been a bit gray and rainy around here lately, so the patches of late afternoon sun really brightened me up. As I was driving away, I did think of something that bothered me - I was convinced that this angle, looking down the fence line was the best way to "see" this picture. After I had driven away, I thought, "Why didn't I shoot the fence straight on?" That photo would have had a different sense about it, and maybe would have been a better choice. I am bothered that I didn't think of the other view while I was still there.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
It was late in the day when I went out for my bike ride, the sky was overcast and it was beginning to get dark. Coming down the home stretch, I could see the stratus clouds to the north, through the line of the sycamore trees. The traffic lights were green but turned red before I got to them, so I had to stop. (Note: Ken stops at traffic lights when he is out on his bike!) Anyhow, I was taken by the color contrast between blue-colored clouds and water, and the bright red lights. I had to pull over, get my camera out of my bike jersey pocket, and then wait for the next red light.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
We had a talk at my astronomy club tonight, from the brilliant astronomer who conceived of a huge new solar telescope, designed it, and found the funding to produce it. He showed some wonderful high resolution movies of the Sun's surface that were mind boggling! I photographed him giving his talk, and even brought one of my lights to improve the lighting. But I really didn't think the photograph was flattering. So I waited until the Question and Answer session at the end of his talk, and when he stopped near a painting of a Space Shuttle launch, I took some photographs there because the natural lighting was much better. Then I cropped it for dramatic effect. Just to give you something different.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:04 PM
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I still hadn't taken a photo today for the blog, and was getting desperate. I took the garbage can down to the end of the driveway, and across the street I thought I saw a picture. It is a neighbor's street garden and picket fence. The scene is lit by a single streetlight and I love the feeling that this lighting gives. It seems spooky looking to me. I shot it in color, but the strange color from the streetlight was a distraction. So I converted the color to black and white - this way the form of the image has more importance than the color. The fun thing is that you would not recognize this scene in daylight.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Monday, September 5, 2011
Oh boy, here he goes again! Instead of driving along and looking out the front window shooting, he is looking in the rearview mirror instead. It is for a good cause though. I happened to look in the rearview mirror as I was headed east on the Long Island Expressway, and saw the setting sun in the west and headlights of cars behind me, so I decided it made an interesting complex image. Kind of layered - two directions at once in the same picture. And I just knew that you would appreciate such an interesting
photograph. That's why I did it!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:53 PM
Sunday, September 4, 2011
While waiting for the train the other day, I looked down at the railroad tracks, and the ties and ballast that support them. I was noticing the way the rails are fastened to the ties involves some complexity - they are not just fastened down with driven spikes. then I noticed how far apart the railroad ties were. About a foot between each tie. And then it hit me - imagine how many ties were needed to construct the transcontinental railroad! Wow! At one foot apart, that means over five-thousand ties per mile. Wikipedia tells us that the first transcontinental railroad ran from Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska, via Ogden, Utah, and Sacramento, California with the Pacific Ocean at Oakland, California. The total distance was 1777 miles! THAT is a lot of railroad ties!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:36 PM
Saturday, September 3, 2011
I was going to title this post "Commonplace." But I worried that it would be referring to the people I photographed, so I called it "Neighbors" instead. Why I wanted to call it commonplace is because it is really difficult to record the commonplace in our lives. Things we see every day - things we are so used to that we are unable to really "see" them, especially when we are looking for photographs. I stopped to talk to the neighbors down the street. We talked about the storm and about the electric being off, and then we talked about our kids. Then I realized I had a photograph in front of me. We have known them for so many years, and our children grew up together. So I asked if it would be OK to take their portrait. It just occurred to me that it would be nice to have a portrait of them after all these years.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:51 PM
Friday, September 2, 2011
I have been doing some walking around town lately, checking out things after the storm. Sometimes even slowly cruising on my mountain bike is moving too fast. So one of my rewards was noticing this beautiful small work of construction. This is the house number on a fence in front of a Victorian home here in Sea Cliff. There is this wall made from heavy timbers, and they have carefully made a recessed area, and then spanning the top of the recess is a lintel, with another detail in the center, and then the wonderful typography. I was taken aback that someone would take this much trouble to do something so beautifully. Of course, I know the feeling because this is important to me both in my work as a photographer, and as a carpenter and telescope maker.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:01 PM
Thursday, September 1, 2011
This is the Sea Cliff Water Company, which is located down by the water. Obviously the employees who had to sandbag the doors were not happy. The water came right up to the building, but didn't get in, as far as I know. It is fun to see that after doing the work, the employees wanted to add their own editorial comment.