Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I was headed off to the dentist today, thinking that I needed to find a photograph for the blog, before the end of the day. I started thinking about the possibilities. I was having trouble trying to come up with something. Everything I thought of, I had shot before. So much for thinking. Then I noticed raindrops making circles in the puddles alongside the road. I vowed to stop on the way back. I did, and spent time at several different spots. I tried the pond first, then two different puddles. The strange thing was seeing the giant bubbles. Turns out they are the result of big drops of water coming off the trees that were overhead. I was amazed how often the large bubbles formed. I shot a LOT of pictures, just to get one good one. I would never know where the next bubble would form, and it was hard to quickly focus in time before the bubble burst. I love all the different sizes of intersecting circles.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:09 PM
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Another late day walk. I saw this car parked at the beach, with its lights on. It was the lighting from the headlights that got my attention. So I used a telephoto lens to move in close. I just liked the feeling of the blue of dusk, the lights on the fence, and the streetlight. Seeing the car parked at the beach reminded me that as a kid, people talked about teenagers parking at Gulf Beach in Milford. They said they were watching the "submarine races." Cute.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:37 PM
Monday, February 27, 2012
I always think to myself I need to find new subjects. It feels as if I am always shooting the same types of things over and over. Part of it is that I love to look for beautiful things. Anyhow, I always try to find other things even though I think I am not successful at it. I was down at church for a class tonight , and during a break, took a walk around the room we were meeting in, which is a combination auditorium and basketball court. The lights were only on at one end. I was just stretching my legs, and then noticed this bright light at the other end of the court. It was the Snapple vending machine, and I loved the strange light in a dark room that gave a sense of loneliness.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:02 PM
Sunday, February 26, 2012
I went to a tag sale just because I wanted to see the house it was held in. There was a lot of junk that didn't tempt me at all. Just before I left, I went out to the garage, and saw this typewriter sitting on the floor. I cannot understand why it was even for sale, given that it is so far gone. It must have been out in the weather. And of course, since it is in a state of decay, I was immediately attracted to it. It seems so sad to see this magnificent machine in such a sorry state. My grandfather had a typewriter like this, and Amy bought one like this years ago. Because I have worked with so many writers over the years, and have family members who are writers, and know the power of words on a page, a once-magnificent machine like this seems almost sacred in some way, which makes it's demise even sadder.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:40 PM
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Yesterday I spoke of trying to come up with a new way of looking at things, while walking the boardwalk on a rainy day. Of course first I had to look for the more traditional ways of seeing. I found this scene, but it was late in the day, and there was no one around. It felt as if I needed a person in the photo, even if they were a long way off. Lo and behold, way off in the distance I saw a person walking a dog, so I ran back to where the boardwalk began, and waited for her to walk toward me. I chose a picture where the person was in the distance, but still visible.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:13 PM
Friday, February 24, 2012
The taking of this picture was an exercise in composition. I saw a whole bunch of interesting things, being out in the rain today. and did a bunch of more "normal" photographs, but then I kept trying to find some new ways of looking at stuff. I noticed the raindrops on the railing, and then moved in close. Then I started playing with the composition - it is a three line railing, but I decided I only wanted two of the three pipe railings, to simplify things. What fascinated me was the distant shore which was right on the edge of being visible. What I like about this choice is that in the first second when you see the image, you are not quite sure what you are looking at. So that made the exercise fun.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:48 PM
Thursday, February 23, 2012
You may be tired of my astronomical photographs, but I had to add this one. I took it from the parking lot of the grocery store at about 6 PM. I have known that Jupiter and Venus have been together in the western sky, and photographed them before. But I had lost track of the Moon's phase, and was delighted to see the thinnest crescent moon in the sky at dusk, in a line with the two planets. It is a stunningly beautiful sight, with the rich deep blue of the sky as the background. This is a sublime thing to see. These three travelers will be in the sky for the next few days, with the Moon gradually having a larger and larger crescent, and moving closer to Venus and Jupiter. I hope you can get out to see it. Please click on this image to see it in a larger size.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:11 PM
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The pastor of our church asked if I would come take some photographs of services on Ash Wednesday, so that he could use them in church publications and on the web. I agreed and was there early for the 12:10 service, which was good, because it was standing room only. Yikes! I could hardly find a place to crouch, waiting for the time when they apply the ashes. Both the priest who is officiating at the Mass, and several lay persons were available to apply the ashes. I did some wide-angle views to cover myself, but felt that a close up of one or two faces would make for a more powerful photo. I shot almost everyone as the ashes were applied, and hoped that I would catch that special "something" in one of the images. I think this one fills the bill. I can't explain why, but there is something about the woman's expression that takes this image above the others.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The radiators in the house are some of the favorite places for the kitties to sit, either as individuals, or as a pair. They have so many ways of standing and sitting and curling and lying down, I could make an entire catalog of the ways they plunk themselves down. In fact, if I have trouble coming up with photographs, I may make a catalog on the blog! Just kidding. But when I spotted this one with her tail curved around the curtain, it really stopped me. I wondered why it was important for her to curl it that way. There are a billion other places to put her tail, and she chooses this one. These kitties are always fun to watch.
Monday, February 20, 2012
I passed this scene yesterday, and something about the tree and the moss covered stonewall caught my attention, but it took a couple of hundred feet for it all to register. So I didn't turn around yesterday. Today I was expecting this scene, and I stopped to look at it more carefully. When it came down to it, I couldn't put something together with just the tree and the wall. I even tried including more of the cottage. That didn't help. Then I noticed the shadow. That seemed to be the most interesting thing in the frame. So here is my excuse for a photo for today...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:04 PM
Sunday, February 19, 2012
So I was sitting in church before the service began. I looked up on the wall to see the numbers of the hymns that we would be singing, and then I leafed through the hymnal to see what the hymns were. I just happened to notice the gentle curves of the pages against the dark background. The curves are subtle, but quite beautiful, and I was taken with them. So you get to see this photograph because of that.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
I had to go out to the store after supper tonight, and while I was out it started to rain. I didn't turn the windshield wipers on right away and so the lights outside the car seen through the windshield and water drops got really interesting looking. I drove through a few green lights, hoping that they would turn red so I could stop and photograph. When I came to the last light, and it was also green, I pulled over in a parking place and stopped, which let me spend some time photographing through the windshield. So here you have it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:03 PM
Friday, February 17, 2012
On my walk, I noticed a partly open gate in a fence that surrounds a piece of land by the harbor. The land has been vacant as long as I have lived here. Recently I read a couple of articles that explained that this parcel was where some kind of plant was once located, and I *think* it made coal gas from coal, or something. Bottom line, it had some hazardous waste here at one time. I think I remember perhaps 10 years ago, there was construction equipment and they put a clay cap over the bad part. Anyhow, I always wondered what was there, and the opening in the gate was just large enough to squeeze through. So I didn't find much, but there were these grasses, and the way they twist and turn reminds me of the fur on an animal. Sort of. I find that it is really beautiful, and I spent a long time trying to find an interesting composition.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:14 PM
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Well, I have showed you an Anemone, and a fish, and so I will complete the trilogy by showing you a butterfly. There was a bird room, but I think I will leave the birds out of it. The butterfly room was fun, because there were so many, you could see one and then another just a foot away. So I could just walk up to them and see them at close range. Some were flittering around like butterflies do, but I think that after they had eaten from the special feeding dishes, they probably just wanted to cling to a leaf and relax for a while. What was surprising was the incredible detail on their wings - each wing is made up of thousands of very tiny scales, and those different colored scales are what makes up the patterns.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:33 PM
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
"Lookdown" is the name of a fish - one of the most surprising fish I saw yesterday. It is about 6" or 7" long and is known for how thin it is, and it's bright shimmering blueish-silver scales which are highly reflective. They look beautiful when their scales reflect the light off the sand at the bottom of the tank. The scientific name is Selene vomer, they range from the Maine all the way to Uruguay. They generally live in shallow coastal waters over sand or mud. So this means they are in the Atlantic Ocean, right off our shores! That is a surpprise - I thought they were tropical. By the way, this is a photograph of one fish, with part of another fish behind it - I chose this because I like that it looks confusing at first. It is really astounding to see this fish in person - I spent perhaps ten minutes just studying them in their tank.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:22 PM
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
We did a field trip today, to the Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead. It's been a while since we have been there. They now have a butterfly room and an aviary. But the collection of marine exhibits is the primary attraction, and it is wonderful. There is a giant shark tank which is amazing. But the smaller tanks with all kinds of fish and aquatic life are full of beautiful and wondrous things to see. When you spend time at these exhibits, you walk away with an amazing sense of some of the variety of life in this world. These are called "Tube Anemone." They look like plants, but I *think* that they are animals. In any case, they sure look other-worldly to me, and that was the attraction. These things are so brilliant, that you wonder if they don't have batteries inside to light them up.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:13 PM
Monday, February 13, 2012
As you know by now, when I decide not to ride my bike, I have begun to do a three and a half mile walk down to the power plant and back. I leave late in the afternoon, generally, and it takes me about an hour for the trip. What this does is keep me out until long after sunset. What is nice about that is that I am finding all kinds of new ways of seeing familiar scenes. So when I was walking back home yesterday, for some reason I saw this scene, and it blew me away. I have never shot the curve of these trees from the sidewalk before - I have always shot from the road. I just love this composition, with the curving sidewalk and curving road alongside each other. I photographed this when the traffic signals were green, then yellow, then red. The red was far more dramatic than the other colors.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:38 PM
Sunday, February 12, 2012
There was a special Mass today at church, for couples married for 25 and 50 years. I was asked to come and take pictures, both for the couples, and for the website at church. It was a beautiful ceremony, where each of the couples were presented with a certificate and a cross. 25 years is an amazing milestone, particularly these days. Did you know that among younger couples, fewer and fewer are getting married at all? There has been a significant decline. But today was a day of celebration. I was looking everywhere for a moment that showed what the ceremony was about. Each couple had their own pew for family members, with a valentine heart with their name on it. The hard part was waiting for smiles. I came back to this couple twice in order to get this wonderful smile that gave a good sense of what was going on.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:18 PM
Saturday, February 11, 2012
So on my long walk, I went all the way to the power plant. Across the street from the plant was some piping that came out of the ground that looked interesting. I took my camera out, and within ten seconds, a guard came out of his shack, and said that I couldn't take any pictures. I said "of what?" He said "of anything." He pointed to a small sign behind me, on the brick wall surrounding the power plant, and it said something about "No photography permitted." But that was on the wall of the power plant, and this was across the street. So I thanked the guard for telling me, and walked on, and he went back to his shack. About 100 feet further I saw this oil tank with it's brilliant blue color, and decided it was worth a shot. For what it is all worth, these tanks say on them "Abandoned in Place, 1991" and it has been announced recently that the power plant itself is slated for demolition! Gimmie a break! Oh wait: "It's because of 9-11" By the way, these steel tanks are apparently coated with some kind of insulating foam, and I am guessing that the black "stains" on the blue are mildew. Just a guess. But this feels kind of like an abstract painting. That's why I wanted to photograph it in the first place.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:29 PM
Friday, February 10, 2012
We received a dusting of snow yesterday. It was fun to wake up and see the yard lightly covered with snow. The light dusting, which is actually rare, is wonderful, because you can still see what lies underneath. So I wandered around the yard and the side garden looking for an interesting composition. Actually it was much harder to find a photograph than I suspected. These stalks ended up being the most interesting graphic object that I could find. I was going to post this yesterday, when I shot it, but at the end of the day after seeing Jupiter and Venus, that photo won out.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:24 PM
Thursday, February 9, 2012
There has been a spectacular sight in the southwestern sky for the last few weeks, when the sky is clear. It is best seen at about 6:15 PM or so, but you can see it an hour earlier or an hour later. Jupiter and Venus are both visible, and when the sky is clear and the sun has set, both of them are blazing, brighter than diamonds, in the deep blue sky. The planets are very tiny specks in this photograph, so please click on the image to see a larger sized image. And I hope you can all get out and see this for yourself. Make sure you are not in the vicinity of street lights, because they brighten the sky, and take away some of the apparent brightness of the planets.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:08 PM
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
I was desperate. It was cold and gray all day today, with overcast clouds. So I am thinking, "How am I going to find a blog shot on a day like this?" So I accepted it as a challenge. I headed for the water and didn't see anything along the way, while looking in people's yards and gardens. The sky and the water looked so gray from a distance. What hope is there? When I finally got there, in addition to all the gray, there was a pastel shade of peach in the steel-gray sky! A hint of color! Was I relieved to see this! So although this is not some great new way of seeing, or something that I have not photographed before, I will accept this as an answer to my own challenge. I did keep walking another few miles, and I did find some other photographs - I will show you one tomorrow.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:40 PM
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
About an hour after sunset, I was walking back home along the harbor, just looking out at the sky and the water. I didn't see anything that really grabbed my attention. At one spot along the sidewalk, I saw a faint pink color illuminating the railing and the ground. I looked up at the telephone pole that was holding the streetlight across the street and saw that light was a bright, deep pink - meaning it was a mercury vapor lamp. So even though there was only a faint pink in the scene, I started making exposures to see what the scene would look like as recorded by the camera. I was thrilled to see that in the camera, the pink was very obvious, especially when seen against the blue of the water in the harbor. It felt like winning the jackpot, and I was thankful that I had noticed that very faint tint in the first place. Oh, and I love that a figure was walking toward me at the same time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:45 PM
Monday, February 6, 2012
This is SO cool! Amy's second book goes on sale TODAY! It is called "Bright Side Up" and it is a wonderful book about how to look at life in a different way. This is one of the blurbs on Amazon.com: "We all have those days when life could use a lift. Enter Bright Side Up, a clever and comforting compendium to help you shift your perspective and appreciate what's right in front of you. With the warmth and wisdom of a dear friend, this deceptively simple guide offers emergency optimism when you need it with fresh tips that can be put to use on the spot." And get this - the book got a blurb in "O Magazine!" Wow, how cool is that! Amy is such a wonderful writer and she uses stories to make each point. She even tells some family stories, and one story you won't believe about her father and one of his crackpot "science projects" that didn't turn out well!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:15 PM
Sunday, February 5, 2012
So this is kind of a cool story... I was wandering around the remains of the garden in the side yard, looking for a photograph, and I wasn't having much luck. But then I spotted these pale gray stems. There were a bunch of them kind of tangled up. Try as I would, I just couldn't come up with a photograph, because the background was weeds of about the same color. What to do? So I picked this one stem and went looking for a darker background. I ended up opening the garage door, and putting the stem on the top of a light stand to hold it, just outside the open door. The garage was dark inside, of course, and it gave me this wonderful black background which made the form of the stems jump out. Cool, huh?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:31 PM
Saturday, February 4, 2012
It was late in the day, and the sun had already set when I saw this. There was not a breath of air and so the pond was as still as a mirror. The mirror image is stunning, of course, but it doesn't feel as if there would be a real picture, without that tuft of grasses to the left of center. At least that's how it seems to me. I love this photo, and for some reason it feels like a gift.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:11 PM
Friday, February 3, 2012
Yesterday I went for a really long walk, and brought my camera with me, of course. I walked all the way to the power plant, with stops about every ten feet! It certainly wasn't much of an exercise walk, but I found all kinds of photographs. And I crept through a fence so I could explore an area by the harbor I have never seen. It was so much fun, and I was making so little progress in terms of the distance walked, that before long it was dark. Well, that gave me some new options for photographs. These two red lights jumped out at me - sort of like evil eyes or something. I love how brilliant they are, and how dark and moody the background is. A completely different feeling from most of the photographs I post.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:01 PM
Thursday, February 2, 2012
I walked along the shore today and down by the beach. Suddenly I saw this car covered with birds! Yikes! They were all over the ground, but the thing that grabbed me was the seagulls standing on the roof! Oh No! The BIRDS! (Oh wait, do you all remember the Alfred Hitchcock movie of that name?) So I put a telephoto lens on and shot from a distance. After about five minutes the driver's side window opened, the woman's hand came out, and she dropped bread crumbs on the ground. Oh. No wonder...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:50 PM
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
So this is the last photo I took of the Buttonballs. I think it is my favorite. Well, maybe the pedestrian first, then this one. But again, the lesson is that you never know what you will find when you go looking for photographs, so it pays to constantly be looking. I think I like this one best because it is very specifically about the structure of the tree. Because it is a silhouette, the structure is the only thing you really see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:20 PM