Sunday, March 31, 2013
I was finishing up breakfast at the dining table, when I looked over at Vince and saw him reading the Sunday paper. He was engrossed in his reading, and I realized that there was wonderful light on his face - from the side, and the subtle shadows on the front of the face were perfect. Where is my camera? Across the room, on the chest of drawers. I didn't want to ruin the moment, so then I thought of my cellphone in my pocket. I got it out, switched to Hipstamatic, and made this one frame. It seems perfect.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:05 PM
Saturday, March 30, 2013
We walked up to Sea Cliff today because it was a gorgeous day, with blue sky and sunshine, and a temperature of 56 degrees - it almost felt like Spring for the first time. I am tired of grey skies and rain and snow flurries. Anyhow we walked to Memorial Park which overlooks Long Island Sound. And what did we fine? A whole collection of cyclists from Queens, out on a 50 mile ride, AND... The Easter Bunny! So we waited while the cyclists had their pictures taken with the bunny, and then we had our picture taken with him as well.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Friday, March 29, 2013
This sculpture is called "Shaul" by the sculptor Boaz Vaadia and was made in 1986. I think that it is a incredibly creative sculpture. Because it is so simple in concept - a human form made of piled up slate, or "bluestone." I am stunned by the brilliance of the concept. I guess that's the point of really creative thought - that it can be simple, and yet somehow profound. Click on the image to see it in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:19 PM
Thursday, March 28, 2013
I have photographed this stairway before, on February 23, to be exact. That picture shows the spiral nature of this three story stairway. So I figured I had the best picture. So imagine my surprise when I walked out of one of the gallery rooms and saw this! A completely different way of seeing the same stairs. The first photograph is more dramatic, I think, but I love being reminded that there is more than one way to see something.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:37 PM
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
There is a new exhibition at the Nassau County Museum of Art. While wandering through the various galleries, I saw this. I was looking at the painting on the foreground wall, and then noticed the light coming through the door from the previous gallery. I like that I can see another painting and the window as well. I really like the sense of depth from this - layers and layers of depth. But it is really about the light. The exhibit, by the was is a re-examination of abstract expressionism. I spent a lot of time examining the paintings in the exhibit because this style of painting doesn't touch me as easily as other more representative styles. There were some amazing paintings, though.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:43 PM
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
This is a nice story. Kathy works evenings several nights a week, seeing clients. She is usually done by 9PM. At about 9 PM on some nights, I will look into the dining room from the living room, and realize that the two kitties have gotten up on the table, and they are sitting there, looking out the window, patiently waiting for her car to arrive in the driveway! It is amazing to me how they have a sense of time, and know when she is due home. I just find that amazing, and of course, wonderful. They're so cute aren't they?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:04 PM
Monday, March 25, 2013
This is a real life dinosaur, believe it or not. His name is Dick and he and I were work colleagues for about 35 years. The amazing thing about Dick was that until the day he retired, he continued to learn and continued to be completely engaged in his work. Shortly after he retired, he decided to put together a group of mostly retired press photographers, and we meet once a month at a diner, and we have breakfast together. It's a really nice gathering in that we get to stay in touch with friends, and we get to talk face-to-face. That's just like being on the internet, but different! Here he is talking to Deborah who was another colleague in the photo department.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:17 PM
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Today was Palm Sunday - a very special day in the Church calendar. So the service begins with a blessing of the palms everyone was given when entering the church. And then the procession begins while everyone in the congregation sings and waves their palms as the Priest, altar servers, lectors and eucharistic ministers make their way to the altar and the continuation of the Mass. It is a always a joyous day.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:14 PM
Saturday, March 23, 2013
I saw this the other day during one of my afternoon walks. The scene is right next to the old power plant. I am not sure what I saw first - perhaps the gently curving line of the oil boom in the water. But I liked the way that line paralleled the shoreline. Then I noticed the short vertical line of the high tension tower. Then I saw the faint lines of the high voltage wires against the gray sky with the bright glow of the sun. I thought it made a picture. I dunno, what do you think? You will have to click on it to make it larger to see more details.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:03 PM
Friday, March 22, 2013
Between the years of 1916-1920 a couple built a summer home on Long Island. The mansion has eighty seven rooms, and looks like a medieval castle. There is stunning architectural detail everywhere and beautiful carvings in the marble. In 1937 they donated the facility to the Jesuits and it has been used as a retreat center since the 1960's. Unfortunately, it is too expensive to keep up, and is now for sale. It may be kept as it is, or maybe the building will be torn down so that modern homes can be built on the property instead. It would be a terrible shame to loose this bit of history on Long Island's Gold Coast.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:23 PM
Thursday, March 21, 2013
This sounds like the start of a blonde joke, doesn't it? But it's not - I just thought it would be funny to write it that way. I was walking up Fifth Avenue on the way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art the other day, and suddenly I noticed this two women walking ahead of me. What made them stand out for me was that the color of their hair was the same, and that they both had black coats and black hats, which made their hair stand out even more. I probably looked like some weirdo guy following them for a block or two while shooting! Lucky I didn't get arrested.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I came home from my astronomy meeting tonight, and after parking the car, stood and looked up at this. A light was on in the bedroom window, and a first quarter moon was over the roof of the house. And scudding clouds were hiding and revealing the moon. So I set up the NEW camera on a tripod and started making time exposures. Only thing was, the house was all in shadow. So I got a small LED flashlight out of the car, and during the long exposure, quickly swept the flashlight over the side of the house, so you can see more detail, and it makes the house just a bit blue.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:34 PM
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Have I mentioned how much I love going to New York? I am sure I have, but every time I go there I see photographs everywhere I look. It's enough to make your head spin. Today was gray and rainy, and I walked 20 blocks from 59th street up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 79th street, photographing all the way. How much fun is that! I really like the arrangement of all the umbrellas within the frame.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:32 PM
Monday, March 18, 2013
He's doing it again! Driving and taking pictures! Don't worry, it's OK. The roads had some snow on them, so I was driving VERY slowly... This is the back road we take down to church every sunday, and I had a class there tonight, so snow or no snow, I drove down. What was really cool is, that for winter, this trip was always in the dark. Now that daylight savings time has arrived, I am driving down at dusk. With snow starting to fall, the road had a kind of spooky quality, and the blue light of dusk just added to the feel. I love the orange light above the center of the road. It seems mysterious, but is only a yellow caution light at an intersection.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:55 PM
Sunday, March 17, 2013
I was away when we had the last big snowfall - about eight inches around here. Several days later I returned home and some of it had melted, but the side yard and garden were still covered with snow. Late one afternoon the sun was low and the shadows were long. And a shaft of sunlight was skimming the snow in the yard, and it illuminated the stone angel that lives in our garden. She seems so alone. This is such a beautiful image seen larger. Please click on it.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
The weather was strange today - there were snow flurries that started and stopped, and then some freezing stuff, then some rain, then more snow flurries. It was all delicate enough that it clung to the branches of my magic tree. I have photographed this tree with snow on it, and after an ice storm, but it never quite looked like this. One thing I did, because of the house and the car in the background, was to shoot this with the lens aperture "wide open" meaning that the focus would only be in a narrow area - only some of the branches in the foreground are in sharp focus.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:08 PM
Friday, March 15, 2013
In late 2011 the Vanderbilt Planetarium closed for renovations. They completely renovated the building and dug a giant hole in the middle of the room. The hole was for a brand new state-of-the-art planetarium projector which retracts into the floor. Last night I was invited to the reopening of the Vanderbilt, and the facility is stunning. Brand new comfortable seats, and an incredible Konica-Minolta projector makes the sky come alive inside the dome. The control system looks like the flight deck of a 747 aircraft. The projector is the ball in the bottom center of the photograph, and you can see this amazingly detailed recreation of traveling through the Milky Way.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:09 PM
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I know you are all dying to actually see my new camera, right? Well, OK, so you're not. But I wanted to show you how nice the camera looks. But the MAIN reason I am posting this picture is so that I can tell you what my good friend Chuck wrote me when he found out I bought a new camera: "Thanks for taking the time to tell me all about the new camera. I'm glad you're getting it. Now maybe you can take some GOOD photos. :^) I'm tired of seeing such poor quality from your other cameras. " He is so funny, isn't he!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:10 PM
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I bought a new camera! It is a Canon 6D. I bought it because it is a full-frame camera, and because it is 5 years newer than my Nikon D300, it has a much more modern chip and processor. This is crazy, but the ISO goes as high as 12,500 and above! That's nuts, but I can't wait to try it. The main thing is that when I shoot at 3200 or 6400 the images should have a lot less noise. You will all be glad to know that this camera is "Photo Dude Approved!" Of course it will take me a week to begin to learn all of the cool things it does. The photograph is of the camera still in its box, inside the shipping box.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:23 PM
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I loved the view from THIS hotel room! While at the Northern Short Course my room was on the 8th floor, with a front-row seat to all the goings on at Newark Liberty International Airport. The aircraft would be parked there most of the day, and when I got up in the morning they were gone, only to reappear later on. Apparently this is a storage area away from the gates, and I am guessing that they were used for transcontinental night flights. And the containerized cargo cranes in the background are just stunning structures, aren't they? They are at the Port of Newark, right across the road from the far side of the airport. The telephoto lens compresses everything, making the cranes seem much closer than they are. This may be the best hotel room view I have ever had anywhere! I have posted a slightly larger image, so please click on it to see it in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:00 PM
Monday, March 11, 2013
These two guys are in one room, at one end of the building where the conference was. On the left is the prize winning photographer J. Kyle Keener who worked for the Philadelphia Enquirer, and then was the director of photography for the Detroit Free Press. On the right is Alan Spearman, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and photojournalist. Alan created the video "As I Am" which you can see on Vimeo. Man, I swear, that with both of these heavyweights in the same room at the same end of the building, the building tilted! Both of them gave stunning presentations at the conference. If you wonder why the photograph is in black & white, it's because the walls of the conference room were a sickly green, and the color version of this looked awful!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:21 PM
Sunday, March 10, 2013
I don't have all the details exactly correct here - I didn't do a good job of reporting. Every night at the conference photographers show multimedia projects - either slideshows or video productions to anyone who wants to be in the audience, and then members of the audience are are allowed to offer constructive criticism. This young woman is a high school student, and I think she is from Washington, DC. She came to the conference with two other students - seen on her left and right. She put together an audio slideshow to educate people about the dangers of bullying - she took all the photographs and recorded the audio track.. She did a stunning job - it was a brilliant production that was riveting to watch, and a powerful lesson about the hazards of bullying. Here she is listening to some comments by one of the audience members. She is one talented young woman.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
There were two workshops on lighting for photographers and I went to both of them. In this one, after a slideshow of photographs were shown demonstrating various lighting techniques, the presenter set up two lights on stands and picked one person out of the audience with a camera, and another person to be the subject, then he watched as the photographer arranged the lights and took some portraits. Here he is watching the photographer at work, then we got to see the results.
Friday, March 8, 2013
I come to the Northern Short Course in Photojournalism every year for a number of reasons. It feels like it keeps me engaged with the profession - I get to take workshops on both technical and esthetic issues, and listen to speakers who show their work on stories both local and from around the world. The conference never ceases to energize me. And then there is joy of reconnecting with friends I have known for a long time, and for friends I have only known a year or two. This is Andrea, and I met her last year, and so this year I got to catch up with where she has been what she has been up to during the last year. She is a really talented photographer and both she and her boyfriend are doing freelance assignments, for newspapers and magazines but they also have personal stories they are working on, about people who are less fortunate than most of us. They are both committed to pursuing this work as well. And I find it is wonderful to hear about people this committed to their profession. I took this, by the way, when we were standing in the lobby talking, and I realized that I really liked the light on her face.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:27 PM
Thursday, March 7, 2013
I had an amazing start to my day here at the Northern Short Course. This post is not about a photograph, obviously, but is about the story. This is the book I am reading - you saw a photo of it in sunlight with my glasses on it. So I was eating breakfast in the hotel dining room this morning. I happened to notice an airline captain (four stripes on his epaulets) and he was finishing his breakfast at the same time I was. So I took a chance and went over to his table and asked if he had ever read this book. He said he hadn't. So I told him that it was about the start of commercial aviation in the United States back in the early 1940's, and that if he were to read it, he would have white knuckles! So he thanked me, and then I stood there and talked to him for about 20 minutes, and we both had flying stories to tell, and I learned how he got his start in the U.S Force, before coming to the airlines. It was such a wonderful conversation and a really nice start to my day!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:32 PM
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
"What is he doing?" "He's taking photographs while driving. We TOLD him not to do that!" I was on the way from Long Island to Newark, NJ for a photo conference that starts tomorrow. I took the Queens Midtown tunnel to Manhattan, and then the Holland Tunnel to New Jersey. I realized that I haven't driven through the Queens Midtown tunnel for a long time - perhaps 6 years or so! I always take mass transit to get to the city and rarely drive, so it was fun to pass through here again.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:15 PM
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
"I saw the harbor lights, They only told me we were parting..." This song has nothing to do with my photograph - I just thought of "harbor lights" after I took the picture and so Googled it, and found there was a song with this name. Other than that, I drove by the water tonight and because there was almost no wind, the lights on the far shore were reflected in the water. I thought it was pretty, so I jammed on the brakes and screeched to a halt in the middle of the road with tires smoking, so I could take this photo. (It didn't actually happen that way - I pulled over carefully, and stopped.) Oh, then I did a long exposure on a tripod to capture this. Sometimes I tend to embellish my stories.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:46 PM
Monday, March 4, 2013
I never tire of looking at the kitties - they are always doing interesting things. It is so interesting to see them when they curl up on the couch for their afternoon nap. Sometimes their faces are showing, but at other times they tuck their nose and eyes somewhere into themselves, and put a paw over their face, and they appear to disappear. They are almost like a complex knot in a piece of rope that you have to struggle with to untie.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:11 PM
Sunday, March 3, 2013
This is another photo quiz! Which photograph is your favorite? Here are the details: I saw these wreaths of flowers hanging on one of the benches down at the shoreline, so I stopped to photograph them. I have no idea what the flowers are for - I have never seen any of the benches with flowers on them before. There hasn't been any kind of ship sinking in the harbor, so I doubt it was something like that. Each bench, however has a bronze plaque with a name on it. The plaque on this bench says "In loving memory of Eda Maria Ayres 1926 - 1998" Perhaps this is an anniversary of some kind. So which photograph do you like best? I think the lower one is more dramatic, from a low angle and with the larger wreath. But I think I prefer the top photograph, because it has a greater sense of context - we can see more clearly where the bench is located, and I also love the gentle curve of the sidewalk and the railing curving into the distance. What do you think?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:49 PM
Saturday, March 2, 2013
On the way to the bagel store this morning I saw several eight-man rowing shells in the harbor. It was a bit tricky to shoot them, because it was a bit windy, and their course was south of the power plant, and it is difficult to get a clear view down there. I tried one vantage point but I only had a narrow view which didn't work, so I drove to another spot and finally got this clear view. I like that the yellow oil boom in the foreground is both yellow, and graphically similar - a line - as is the yellow rowing shell. Man, I do NOT envy these guys out on the water when it is this cold out. It is worth clicking on this to see it in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:48 PM
Friday, March 1, 2013
I traveled out to Stony Brook University to attend an astronomy lecture about the Sun this evening. The campus has grown so much since I first arrived on Long Island 46 years ago - I found there were whole new areas that I have never seen, and I ended up driving around quite a bit, looking for the lecture hall. At a stop sign I saw these new dormitories, and I was dumbstruck to see that they looked as if they were built from Legos! This is funny, right? The truth is they were constructed from prefabricated insulated aluminum panels, and these buildings are considered sustainable architecture, involving the use of recycled materials.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:18 PM