Friday, August 31, 2012

The Owego Buildings

These buildings are one of my favorite subjects. I first photographed them back in the early 1970's in black and white. I have photographed them every once in a while since. Today while crossing the Allegheny River over the new bridge, they looked especially bright and cheery. I think that some of them have been recently painted in brighter colors. So much has changed since I first saw them. I believe at least two of them have been torn down (out of view of the photo, to the left) and last year there were terrible floods - their first floors were completely flooded - so hard to imagine on a day like this when the water level of the river is so far below. I love that they are always there - like an old friend - and that they are constantly changing in subtle ways, and that are such an interesting subject for me.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Rings of Saturn

This is Rocky the dog, owned by some people we know. I stopped by their house today, and Rocky had just come home from the veterinarian's office after having eye surgery. Ouch! So they put this collar kind of thing, made of plastic, around his nick to keep him from trying to scratch himself on his face with one of his paws. It also made it very difficult for him to eat from his food bowl as well. Gee whiz, poor doggie. When I first looked down at that cute little face, with the ring around it, I thought of the rings of Saturn. Well, at least a little bit, right?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Old Power Plant

I was on my way home from my astronomy meeting, and realized that I had not found a photograph for today yet. I did see the stacks illuminated by lights at the power plant, so got out my tripod and camera, and walked around to see what I could find. I liked the fact that the stacks were fading in the background. It turns out that this power plant is no longer in operation, and it is slated to be torn down. It has been here forever. I will be spending some time trying to get some more photographs of it before the demolition begins. Sure wish I could get inside the plant, though.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Painting the Garage

You have seen so many photographs of the garage before it was painted. I loved the peeling paint, and the raking sunlight on the doors, but it was way past needing painting. So I have primed everything, and so far done a finish coat on only one of the doors. The rest to come, now that the weather has gotten cooler. The doors do look beautiful in their new paint, I have to confess. Maybe I will do a close-up so you can see how nice it really looks.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's About The Clouds

I have photographed these trees before, as many of you will recognize. So when I was driving along shore road, and saw the cumulus clouds in the distance, I almost didn't stop, because I have taken too many photographs here. But today was a bit different, because it had just rained, and the tree trunks were reflected in the wet pavement, and in the distance were the clouds. So I drove too far, but eventually stopped, and walked back to make this picture.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Rule of Law

In a civilized society, there need to be rules - or laws - governing how we all behave. In our society it is called "Rule of Law." Rule of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law. It stands in contrast to the idea that the ruler is above the law, for example by divine right. So how come we all see people who have a sense of entitlement - who we see behave in anti-social ways? I mean, look at THIS idiot, who chained his bicycle to the sign that prohibits any parking here! Is that directly flaunting the law, or what? Oh wait! That is MY bike! I chained it there for safety while I went in to the bagel store! Oooops...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Boat Motor

I guess I need to stop posting photographs of museum exhibits. But there are so many interesting things to see and so many creative ideas, I can't stop! You are going to love the title of this sculpture: "My Girlfriend Never Gave Me a Boat Motor." It is by Clint Newfeld. I was blown away when I rounded a corner and saw this! I wondered how this couch could hold up an entire boat motor! Guess what - it is all ceramic! It is a stunning reproduction of an engine in clay, and fired with a white glaze! Amazing. And of course, this is incongruous (my favorite new word) to find this engine on a beautiful, delicate upholstered couch.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Invisible Cities

There were two major shows at Mass MOCA - one was "O Canada!" and the other was "Invisible Cities." Here are three pieces from the "Cities" exhibit - there were so many creative responses to this theme, and so many different materials used to build these models of cities. I have picked three of the depictions of cities that three artists have created. The fun for me, after being attracted to each of these sculptures, was to find the viewpoint that best represented what the sculpture felt like when I was there. So I took a LOT of photographs of each of these, and it took some time to choose just one to represent each of the sculptures. My hope is that I chose some images that you might find interesting.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Mystery

I probably shouldn't be writing at all about my response to the art that I see. I do know that my response to subjects I photograph is always emotional, not intelectual. I have no idea why I respond in the way I do - which means I feel "something" and then in response to that I set about making a photograph. I cannot begin to explain why I responded to this multimedia piece. It is a long darkened room with a projection screen at the end, showing a movie of a very subtle arctic landscape of ice, with the wind blowing. I think I was attracted to this, once again, with the incongruity of a perfect room with a polished floor, and a view of wilderness visible at the other end. The piece is titled "Loveland" by Charles Stankievech.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


This is a multimedia piece at the museum - there is a video playing on the large screen, but to listen to it viewers have to put on headsets to hear the audio. I saw two women connected to this and made one image, then shot this after one of the women left. It is hard to explain exactly what it is that attracts me to this. But it has to do with the incongruity of the elements - the AK-47 rifle pointed at the viewer, and that fact that she is connected by wires. I also like the headphones on the wall. Bottom line I think, is that I have no idea why I like this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What is Art?

What is Art? Boy, I haven't a clue, but I know when I have been moved. And it is not an intellectual response - it is an emotional one. When I first see an important piece, the reaction is pretty much instantaneous - I immediately know I am in the presence of something special. That was the case here. I entered this dark room through a black curtain, and saw all these wheels going around and around. Accompanying this visual experience was the sound - a constant "Ssssssssshhh, Ssssssssshh, Sssssssssshh." It was mesmerizing. As I watched, the lights in the bottles blinked on and off in a regular pattern. Here's the brilliant part - The bottles each have a small amount of sand in them, and as the bottles rotate, the sand slides down the bottle, creating the sound, and the sand covers up the LED lights which are illuminating the bottles! It is brilliant. I spent a long time in this room, just watching it all. This was my favorite exhibit in the whole museum. The piece is called "Knight of Infinite Resignation" by Diane Landry.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Old Boiler Room

It is amazing how many photographs I can find when I am out of town. There are always such wonderful things to photograph in a new environment. So I am going to take a week to display all the things I found. This image is a recurrent theme in my photographs there. It is a photograph taken at Mass MOCA - the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Every year when I go to Vermont, I take a day to drive down to North Adams, Massachusetts to Mass MOCA. Anyhow, the museum is located in a series of 19th century buildings that were last the home of Sprague Electric Company, where they manufactured capacitors. This detail is in the boiler building which supplied steam to heat all of the buildings. In a stroke of brilliance, they preserved this building, removed the hazardous materials, and kept it as an exhibit. I love the richness of the rust colors in this image and the old steam pressure gauge.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


That is the name of this sculpture which I saw at the Vermont Welcome Center on the way to the convention. It is made from a metal band from an 1800's wagon wheel, and pieces of slate that came from a slate roof about the same time. It is a really interesting object to study, with the different textures, and the sensuous curves that bisect the circle. I spent a fair amount of time studying this, and then figuring how to photograph it. I elected to crop part of the sculpture out of the picture, because the picture is not just about the sculpture.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Astronomer's Sunglasses

So there is a young couple staying at the bed and breakfast I am at, and we have had some nice conversations over breakfast. There are six of us staying here, who are all attending the telescope maker's conference. Up on the hill today, where the conference is held, I met them again by the food pavilion, and couldn't believe his sunglasses. He said his eyes are sensitive to light, so when it is sunny out, he absolutely needs sunglasses, and these were the only ones in their car. They are VERY cool sunglasses, but you would never find me wearing them! I think that this photo is also interesting because of the way I cropped it - I only really wanted the glasses, so I am coming in much tighter in than I would normally be, and I like this composition as a way of seeing things differently.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vermont Countryside

When driving the back roads of Vermont I am, of course, always looking for photographs. Strangely, I don't fine wonderful ones all that often. Sometimes there will be part of a photograph, but, for instance, perhaps there is an old tractor, but it is parked in front of a modern steel barn. Probably not a shot. But driving over to Manchester this morning I flashed by this, and screeched to a halt! It's perfect! Vermont outdoor advertising! I guess they call it "vernacular?" This photo was a gift. I felt badly that I was on my way to North Adams to Mass MOCA (more on that in the coming days) that I couldn't go buy some Sharp Cheddar Cheese to take home with me, because my car would be parked in the sun all day, and I had no way to refrigerate it. So I owe them, big time.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

You Want a Telescope With That?

I spent the day today at a workshop on antique telescopes where I watched presentations on the restoration of old telescopes and other astronomical instruments. Some of the members had brought antique telescopes and set them up around the room. One friend put this telescope on one of the tables in the room. When it was time for lunch, I laughed out loud when I saw that everyone just sat down, food and all, and ate with the telescope still lying on the table. It reminded me of the fast food places when they inquire: "You want fries with that."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Betsey & Joan

So I thought it was time for all my faithful readers to meet two of my three sisters. This is Betsey on the left, and Joan on the right, who work together in a law office in Milford, Connecticut. They are always so good about posting comments about my photographs on the blog, and that means a lot to me. I am now in Vermont for the Stellafane Convention - a yearly gathering of amateur telescope makers. This will my 24th year in a row of attending this event. I always stop in Milford on the way to Vermont, and the three of us go out to lunch at a nearby restaurant. It has been a tradition, and it is always a lot of fun. We laugh a lot, but I forget about what. I tried two different portrait settings, and chose this background and lighting as the best. The outdoor light was better then the photo on the porch, and I love the classic New England shingled exterior of the building that is behind them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Know This Plant!

So are you impressed that I know the name of a plant? Everyone knows what this is of course - it is Basil, growing in the garden. I love how the leaves are shiny, which is part of the beauty of Basil. But my favorite part of Basil is how aromatic it is. The garden is right next to the car, and sometimes I smell the Basil just getting into the car. Sometimes I brush up against it, and I nearly swoon with the scent. And of course adding fresh Basil to things like pasta, or making Pesto is more like sensory overload!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Occultation of Venus

There was an interesting astronomical event late in the afternoon today. The Moon was going to cover up the planet Venus at about 4:40 PM just before the Moon set. A friend from the astronomy club and I set up in Memorial Park in town - it is up high on the cliff, and overlooks Hempstead Harbor and Long Island Sound. We set up a telescope and looked through binoculars, but there were clouds all the way to the horizon so we didn't see a thing, unfortunately. I was COUNTING on taking a photo of the Moon just about to cover Venus for the blog, so when we didn't see that I was at a loss. So I came home, and around sunset I saw this one cloud illuminated by the setting sun. So you get a pink cloud, instead of the Moon and Venus.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Fish Week"

"Fish Week" is a joke. I am not going to post fish photographs all week long, but since I recently posted some other photographs of fish and fishing, I thought I would use this title for a laugh. So this is one of the other fish caught on the boat - it is a "Fluke" and it is stunningly beautiful, isn't it? The Mate held it up against the light and it was almost as if you could see through it. I decided to post two photographs instead of just one because the fish looks so different in each photograph. The fluke lives right on the ocean bottom, and with the coloring on it's back, it has to be nearly invisible to predators.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Mature Master

When I was hired at the newspaper, in November of 1966 there were several other young photographers who had also just been hired. And there was a whole staff of photographers who had been there for a long time. So the older photographers were called "The Mature Masters," and we were called the "Snot Nosed Kids!" There was a lot of jesting about all of this, and it was fun for all of us. So this is a photograph of my friend Dick, who is a prize-winning photographer. I think he worked at the paper longer than I did, which was 41 years. I have always admired Dick's skill and enthusiasm. He is a photographer with a capital "P" which means he is always photographing, not just for for work. Here he is taking some photographs at Friday's "Dinosaur Breakfast" which he established about 6 years ago. It is a wonderful gathering of ex-newspaper photographers, that keeps us all connected.

Friday, August 10, 2012

After The Storm

There was a drenching rainstorm that passed through here this afternoon. It was astounding how much rain fell - there was flooding everywhere. As it is with these storms, there are "cells" where the rain is the heaviest, and areas where the rain is lighter. I was not in Sea Cliff, but out on the road on the south side of the island. When I finally got home it was obvious that the flooding had been the worst we have seen in a long time. I went to the beach, and huge parts of the sandy beach were just plain GONE! So I looked around and saw these geese preening themselves, and the gorgeous gray sky, and the moored sailboat. I thought it made a nice photograph.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


So this is another photo left over from fishing in Montauk. This fish is a Porgie, I believe, one of the fish that Kathy caught. I have never been a fisherman. No particular reason, but it just didn't interest me - I would rather stand around with a camera watching, which is what I did on this trip. When this first fish was caught, we all looked at it, and the mate put it on the painted deck. I moved in close to it to photograph and was struck by how magnificent an animal this is! We all realized that it was so beautiful, and we felt badly that it was dying. I just didn't expect that reaction. We all felt really badly. More fish were caught, and several hours later we ate them for lunch, and they were the best fish we had ever eaten. But man, it is tough to see them this way, fresh from the water with their life ebbing away.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Know It's Not Easter

Recently I have been taking a number of classes at night down at church. The classes are actually in the school, and at one end of the parking lot there is a really nice raised garden with grass and boulders, on top of which are three crosses. It is a striking sight. I have known that it is there for a long time, but I never got around to looking at it closely. The most recent classes are three hours long, and fortunately we have a break every hour. So I went out at dusk for a walk, and went over to where the crosses are, and discovered that they make a stunning sight against the sky and lit by a giant mercury vapor lamp.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Tiny Chapel

We went to visit a retired priest today, who is a friend of ours. We had never been to this particular facility. When the visit was over, we were driving out of the parking lot and I spotted this chapel. I couldn't believe my eyes - this stunning architectural treasure - in miniature, it seemed. I couldn't find anything out about it, other than there is a cemetery behind the chapel, so perhaps it is used for small funerals, or for contemplation. I still can't get over how cute it is, and how beautiful. Picture perfect, I would say.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Two Will Get You Seven

Well, actually two will get ME seven. As in two days in Montauk will get me enough posts for seven days on the blog. I got a whole bunch of nice photographs when I was out there, but then I was back home and finding other things I wanted to post. So I decided to go back and find some of the other shots. These are the cliffs at Montauk Point - not out at the lighthouse, where the cliffs are protected by a very sophisticated anti-erosion system, and huge boulders, but back to the west where no such protections are in existence. The erosion is disturbing, but it results is these fantastic shapes on the face of the cliff. Amy things these scenes are pretty cool as well - that's her and her camera looking for the perfect composition.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pharaoh's Fury

We went over to St. Rocco's Feast tonight. Haven't been there in years, but it is fun, and I always get a sausage and pepper hero, and a cannoli for dessert. It is really fun to wander around the midway, and the food area, and people watch. I was looking for photos the whole time, of course. I did some people pictures, but they weren't that great. I was using the toy camera, and I should have had the Nikon with the 200mm lens. IF I had brought that equipment, I could have done a close-up of the people riding this machine - "Pharaoh's Fury" - a swinging ride that looks like a curved boat. Anyhow, I didn't get THAT shot, but the "boat" itself was kind of bizarre looking, so here is a different shot.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Help! Someone Took My Laptop Apart!

Oh, wait! I forgot - I took it apart. This four-and-a-half year-old MacBook Pro only had a 160 GB Hard Drive. I was running out of space, so I bit the bullet and decided to put in a larger drive. But man, this was definitely a "non-trivial" process. I couldn't believe how much I had to take out just to get to the Hard Drive. Whew! I had to take out about a billion screws! My secret? I found this really great series of videos on the web that show you exactly how to disassemble the computer and change out the drive. When you want to change out YOUR hard drives, go to < > to find out how it's done. Oh, one more thing... "Don't try this at home."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sixteen Miles Per Hour

I ride by this building every day on my bike, and since at this point the road goes just a bit uphill, I usually pass the office at about sixteen MPH, so you can imagine I haven't much time to notice what is in the two offices in the building. But the sun was low enough to shine in the window and illuminate this mannequin. I don't remember exactly what caught my eye, but on the way back, I pulled over, and since I always have a camera with me on the bike, I was able to make this photo. Love the white on white color scheme.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Judy's Garden

I went over to a neighbor's house today to look at some limbs from one of her trees that came crashing down in a thunderstorm last week. We chatted a bit, and as I turned to walk down her front steps, I saw this! One of my favorite flowers - the Purple coneflower, surrounded by Lavender. Are you impressed that I actually know the names of both these flowers? I hope so.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Astronomy Lesson

Today was the last day of the astronomy course that a friend of mine is teaching, and three others include myself, do small segments at each class, talking about an astronomy topic that interests us. This is Sue, one of the other astronomers giving a lesson on what causes solar eclipses and lunar eclipses. You can see a model of the earth at right, and a very tiny moon and its shadow on her hand. The class was a lot of fun, with all of us working together at each session.