Monday, September 30, 2013

History Dismantled

OK, so this is not the world's greatest photograph, but I felt it was important to mark the passing of a landmark.  This is what remains of the famous Pan Am Worldport terminal at JFK.  This was designed as a showcase for international jet travel and is particularly famous for its 4-acre "flying saucer" roof suspended far from the outside columns of the terminal by 32 sets of steel posts and cables. The terminal was designed to allow for aircraft to be parked under the partial overhang so boarding passengers would be protected from the weather.  The terminal was built in 1960 and closed exactly 53 years later and is being torn down.  Please click on this to see more detail in the picture.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Leftovers, Again...

Oh no, now we have a lot of "leftovers" to deal with.  I am back home but I have all kinds of photographs that I took while in California.  So...  You get leftovers for at least the next week.  Hope you like them.  This is one of the plazas at the Getty center where you can buy lunch or a snack, and sit and relax in the sun.  The things that caught my eye were the delicate dark lines of the chairs, and the dark lines of the shadows.  The Getty is so amazing - there are photographs everywhere!  It is one of my favorite places to photograph.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Wasteland

I was glued to the window after departing Los Angeles on the flight home today.  I never know what I will see out of the window, so I scan the landscape as we climb to altitude.  I found a couple of things of interest today and this may be the better one.  It is a photograph of the desert landscape northeast of Barstow, California.  You can see railroad tracks going through the bottom of the photograph. But the most interesting patterns are the flow patterns of water, now long gone, over the landscape.  They look like tentacles reaching out.  It is a desolate landscape, but incredibly beautiful in its own way.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sunset, Venice Pier

We were headed to a restaurant on Washington Boulevard, and we parked in the beach parking lot at the Venice Pier.  The interesting thing was that this is the scene we saw when we got out of the car, but, it was darker than this, and the color was not this vivid.  So I made a number of exposures by bracing my toy camera up against a tree and the time exposures I made revealed more color and more brightness.  The one thing that the photo doesn't reveal to us is the wonderful aroma of the salt air in the onshore breeze. Oh, and the bright dot in the sky is the planet Venus.

The Amazing Getty

The Getty is an astounding museum.  Or, actually two museums - The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, and the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa. I went to the Getty Center to see a couple of photography exhibits, and discovered that two of the shows don't open until October first.  No need to worry - there are so many more things to see.  I stumbled across these marble statues of, in the back, Venus, done in 1773 and Juno, in 1776.  They are simply beautiful, and stopped me in my tracks when I wandered into this gallery.  The joy of discovery is what makes visiting museums such an enriching experience.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

L. A. Style, Revisited

You saw my post called "L. A. Style" a few days ago, where I showed a woman in striped pants at the Los Angeles Airport.  Well, here is another version of L.A. Style.  Well, actually it is more correctly "San Diego Style" - this is a photograph of a couple of zebras at the San Diego Zoo.  Same stripes, same style!  We went to the zoo today, and I got a billion photographs - it is such an amazing place!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Portrait Sitting

We went to Venice Beach yesterday just to lie in the sun for a bit, take naps, and then walk around.  I love photographing at the beach - it feels as if I could shoot a billion blog photos in a couple of hours there.  Well, maybe not a billion.  But I did find some interesting things.  The fellow on the right apparently wanted portraits of himself.  Perhaps he is an actor and needs headshots.  The first shot they did was under the Venice pier, and in the first setup the subject was backlit.  It didn't look like a great portrait setup.  Then they did this shot.  I was dying to go over and ask what they were doing, and if I could see some of the images, but I decided not to bother them.  Bur I sure am curious if any of the portraits were interesting.  I love the light on this image, and I find it fascinating how the subject and the photographer are standing.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Man Thinking, Sarah Thinking

We all went to Abbot's Habit for breakfast today.  This is where we always go, to this wonderful funky coffee shop each morning when we are in Venice.  There are always people here working on their screenplays or their novels, I guess.  So the man in the corner was working on his laptop and I thought that would make a picture, but then I noticed Sarah, sitting next to me, and realized that the picture was much better when it was more complex, with her thinking in the foreground, and the man thinking in the background.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

L.A. Style

I was walking to baggage claim at LAX when I saw this woman walking ahead of me.  Kind of hard to miss, I think.  At the time she had her zebra-striped neck pillow on her shoulder, so she was even more obvious.  So I waited until she stopped at the baggage carousel and I quickly snapped two pictures.  Any more photos than that, and I figured I would be be taken for some kind of pervert.  So welcome to L.A. and all the wonderful styles on display here!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Up In The Air, Again

Up in the air. Again.  This time we're flying to Los Angeles to visit Liz & Amy.  Wait, you will say, you were just in Wisconsin.  Yes, I know.  But this is different - it's about visiting family.  Anyhow, sitting at the window seat I hoped to find something interesting to post.  And I did.  But it's clouds again.  But completely different.  I have posted a wide angle shot, and then a separate close-up.  We were way above this cloud deck, and all I could think of was that it looks like snow that has fallen on a frozen pond.  I was fascinated by the patterns of the clouds - no particular rhyme or reason for why the lines and swirls formed that way.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Up In The Air

It is interesting about flying and clouds.  Many times after takeoff, the aircraft is in clouds in short order, and then after a while it breaks out on top.  By that time, the clouds are liable to be high clouds without much structure.  So on this trip, it was pretty nice that when we were climbing out because we were closer to these cumulus, and could see them in detail.  It was nice to get a close-up for a change.  Clouds are so beautiful, and magical, and so subtle in their gray colorings.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Architecture of Agriculture

Wisconsin.  The corn is everywhere, and huge fields of corn disappear over the hills and go all the way to the horizon.  I would have photographed those fields, but I was on the interstate, so there was no way to pull over, AND I elected not to risk "an airbag moment."  The other thing that I saw everywhere were silos, and all the piping that connected them.  I wasn't sure which was more interesting, just the tower of pipes as a close-up, or the wider view with all the tanks.  So I chose the wider angle shot.  Oh, Wisconsin is known as "America's Dairyland" and much of the corn is used to feed the cows.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hands On

The hope was, going to Wisconsin, that I would get to see the famous Yerkes refractor, and have a fair amount of time to photograph it.  There was all of that, and then the icing on the cake.  The astronomer who was our host raised the floor of the observatory, and pointed the telescope down so we could see the famous lens in the front.  It was an amazing experience to see this glass close up.  Then he pointed the telescope up, and released the clutches and told us we could try and move it.  It is really well balanced, and REALLY heavy.  But if I put all of my weight into it, I could start to get it moving.  What an amazing experience for such a famous telescope.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Big One!

So this is the big one!  This is the Yerkes 40" refractor, the largest refracting telescope in the world. The observatory was founded in 1897 by George Ellery Hale and financed by Charles T. Yerkes, who was an American financier, born in Philadelphia.  The length of the white telescope tube is 62 feet. You can get some idea of the sheer size of this telescope by looking at the small figures on the left hand side of the blue mounting.  The entire floor of this telescope moves up and down so that the astronomer can be at the eyepiece whether the telescope is pointed at the zenith, or nearer to the horizon.  It is difficult to give a sense of the real size of this instrument, so I am including another photo, and you can see how small people are in the background.  It was stunning to be in the presence of this instrument, and we all got to view through it, looking at the Moon, and the globular cluster, Messier 15.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Not Venice

This was not taken in Venice, Italy.  I mean, it looks as if it might have been, but it is actually a close-up of the architectural detail on the Yerkes Observatory dome for the great 40" refractor.  The building was built in 1895-1897 and was designed by Henry Ives Cobb, architect for the University of Chicago. This ornately detailed building is the most beautiful observatory building that I have ever seen.  It is just stunning, both outside and inside.  Below is a view of the whole building, showing two of the three telescope domes (not counting the plastic observatory on the lawn.)  We spent all day here, exploring and photographing, and got to use the 40" refractor for a bit of observing at night.  40" is the diameter of the front element of the telescope, by the way, not its length!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Observing With The 15.6" Refractor

We had clear weather the other night, so we went up to the Washburn Observatory, and we all had a chance to observe through the 15.6 inch refractor.  This construction of this classic American observatory began in 1878, and it is a beautiful building.  The telescope was built by Alvan Clark and Sons, one of the premier telescope makers of the time.  The telescope is really large - it is over 20 feet long and the objective lens in the front is nearly 16" in diameter. The reason the photograph is red, is because the dome is lit only by red light, so the light will not ruin our night vision.  We looked at the first quarter moon, and the Hercules globular cluster.  It was very impressive!

Saturday, September 14, 2013


This is Taliesin, the home of the brilliant architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and I had the chance to tour it!  By accident.  While sitting on the plane for two and one-half hours on the taxiiway at LaGuardia, I struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me.  She said she was headed to Wisconsin to visit friends, and that they were going to Taliesin.  I have known of this house, and the stories about it for years, but it was not in my mind exactly where it was.  It is only one hour from Madison, where I have been staying.  So, I woke the next morning, called them, and was able to get a reservation for a two hour tour, both inside and out.  Unfortunately, we are not allowed to photograph inside the house, but it was just stunning to be able to have plenty of time to walk around in this amazing home.  It is not possible to give you any idea of the structure in just one photograph, but this photograph probably gives the best sense of part of it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

"Could you take a picture of us, please?"

I left early to walk to the restaurant, so that I could look at the Wisconsin State Capitol Building.  The sun had already set, and the building looked beautiful in the fading light.  I slowly walked around it as the light faded, and then the lights illuminating the building came on.  I was taking a picture from this angle when these two lovely young ladies walked up to me and asked if I could take their picture, with their iPhone.  I said "sure," snapped a few and then realized "Whoa!  This would be a great shot for me too" so I asked if I could take a picture with my camera, and they said "sure."  After I took the picture, we talked a bit.  The woman on the left is from Madison.  The girl on the right is from Austin, Texas.  I said "My favorite barbeque place in the world is "The Iron Works" in Austin, where my friends take me when I go to visit.  She got a funny look on her face, and said "I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I don't like barbeque!"  I said "What?  But you're from Texas!"  "Yes," she said, and I am only tellying you this because we are in Wisconsin!"  It's a cute shot isn't it?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Airplane Jumble

I boarded a flight from LaGuardia to Milwaukee, and at noon we pushed back from the gate.  We taxied to the end of a long line of aircraft waiting to take off.  The pilot made an announcement that we were number 22 for departure!  Seems there were a couple of thunderstorms west of LaGuardia and when they got close, they shut down arrivals and departures.  For half an hour.  Then the thunderstorms passed by, and the line started to move again.  Originally our flight was due to leave at 12:30 PM and arrive in Milwaukee at 2:30 PM.  We finally took off at 2:30 PM from LaGuardia!  So we sat on the ground for as long as the flight would have been!  Yikes!  Nothing anyone could do - it is all about the weather and safety.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Ivy Doesn't Quit

I told you several weeks ago that the garage ivy was coming up the side of the garage and beginning to cover the windows.  I took a photo and said that it was time to remove the ivy.  Guess what?  I haven't done that yet.  I noticed that now the ivy has come around the corner and is climbing up the front of the garage.  So I photographed it, and now I promise to rip it all off.  It is not good for the paint.

Remember Floppy Disks?

When was the last time you saw one of these?  The Floppy Disk.  I found a box of these the other day, and realized I hadn't needed to use one of these in a long time.  The last two ThinkPads that I owned had external Floppy Disk drives that came with them.  The next to last Windows tower computer that I built had a floppy drive, but the newest tower does not, and the new ThinkPad does not.  I decided that it was time to toss a bunch of these.  What is interesting is that I have the original floppy disks for Photoshop 2.0!  I will keep those for a while, as historic.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Our New Pastor

This is our new pastor, Father Tony.  We finally got to attend a Mass that he was celebrating, and he is such an enthusiastic speaker and his homily was beautifully crafted.  He has wanted to come to St. Brigids for years, he said - this is his dream assignment.  It is always difficult to lose a pastor who we have come to love, but it is so nice to have the prospect of someone really special to lead us in the times ahead.

So this is a first...

I have decided to post another version of the same shot, not cropped as tightly, and with the crucifix lightened.  See which one you like best! I am thinking that this version IS better.  I shouldn't do my blog posts so late at night!   :-)

Sunday, September 8, 2013


It appears that the New York Citibike program is successful, based on my observations of one bike station.  :-)   The top photograph was taken at 12 Noon, on Broadway, around 41st Street.  The second photograph was taken at 5 PM, same location.  So there are a lot of bikes out being used, on the streets of Manhattan.  The way it works is that you insert a credit card into the device that holds the bike, and purchase a 24 hour or 7 day pass, then you take the bike, ride it around, and then return it to any location.  Cool way to get around!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Cat and The Cat

This is one of the kitties sitting on the vanity in the bathroom.  I am not sure why she is looking at me this way - perhaps it was because I called to her to get her attention - I forget.  Her look is pretty intense, though.  What makes this photograph interesting is the sign on the wall behind her - it says "The Cat" in French.  It is the name of a soap company, I believe.  So there you have it - the cat and the cat.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Leftovers, Sort of...

Kathy made a blueberry pie as a treat.  Whenever she makes a pie, there are always leftover pieces of pie crust, and usually, some of the pie filling.  So she puts the scraps together and rolls them out in a kind of random shape.  Then she puts a dollop of pie filling it the center and folds the piecrust edges toward the center and pinches them together, and...  we have a free-form blueberry tart.  They are absolutely delicious, even though they look kind of weird.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Chives & Marigolds

There is something about the chives growing in the garden box by the driveway that I really love.    They grow straight up and I look forward to seeing them each year at the end of summer.  The blossoms are white now, but  as fall comes their color will fade, they will be all tan, and will be interesting as well.   Without the Marigolds in the background, however, this photograph wouldn't be as interesting.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Scarecrow Balloons

I love this photograph!  I was driving down this back road in Old Brookville past a farm that sells vegetables to the public, and saw these eyes looking at me!  I couldn't believe how cool these things are and how amazing they look!  I first saw just one and it stopped me in my tracks.  When I got out to photograph I tried a couple of different angles, and when I all of them in a row, I thought it was the best picture.  These things make me feel happy, for some reason.  Big eyes, and no mouth, and yet, they still make me smile.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Captain Dusty's Books

There's a bookcase at Captain Dusty's, and the books look old.  I mean, not "antique" just "old."  I took some of them off the shelves, and the publication dates were all in the mid-1950's.  It was kind of fun to look through them and see what was there, and to see the design of all the dust jackets.  The decor in the house is from the same period, and it is part of the charm of the place - it is like stepping back in a time machine.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Amy Photographs The Boat

We came out of one of the cutsie shops in Montauk, and I spied this fishing boat.  Something about the symmetry of it caught my eye.  Amy was in front of me, and she went directly toward the boat, and raised her camera and started composing a picture.  I immediately thought that the picture was much more interesting with Amy in the scene, rather than just the boat.  I grabbed three frames before she turned away.  Whew!

Sunday, September 1, 2013


When we were in Montauk, we went by a park that is on land next to a horse ranch which has been in Montauk forever.  A few years ago we all took a group ride rode on horses through and around this wonderful landscape, and then along the shoreline.  On this day, most of the horses were down in a corral, but there were two up on the top of the hill by themselves.  They didn't move away, so I had a chance to photograph them.  I haven't been this close to horses in years.  So it was fun just to look at them carefully.  This one kept lifting one leg while eating.  I have no idea why, but it made the photograph more interesting. I decided to crop the picture very close, so that it was obvious that this was about just the horse, not the landscape.