Saturday, November 30, 2013

Venus & Contrail

Clear cold air moved in after the last of the snows in Rochester.  When we left Jessica's house late in the day it was brisk and impossibly clear.  And there in the west was brilliant Venus blazing in the sky.  Just above it was a random contrail completing the spectacle.  What made it perfect was enough light left to illuminate the scene, and the warmth of outdoor lights on so many of the homes. Please click on this to see it in more detail, and to see Venus better.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Jessica's Toes

We went to visit my nephew and his wife and two daughters today.  Jessica showed us her decorated fingernails that she had just finished creating and I was admiring them when she said "Look at my toes!" and she put her bare foot up on the counter so that I could see.  Wow!  I forget what she called this design - perhaps it was snowflakes.  Amazing.  Funny that it took me maybe fifteen seconds to realize that it was a picture!  She was very patient, balancing on one foot while I took a few photographs.  I thought this would be such a great photograph because the subject is so unexpected!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Finley's Rainbow

We were sitting around the dining room table after Thanksgiving dinner, and Finley got down from her chair and wandered off.  She returned shortly saying "rainbow, rainbow!"  So some of us followed her up the stairs to the second floor.  There on one of the bedroom doors was a rainbow!  Actually rainbows can only be made by raindrops, and this was made by the beveled edge of the bathroom mirror, but who is to quibble with a two-year old!  It was fun to see how excited she was about seeing her rainbow.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More Snow

It began to snow gently yesterday afternoon, and it continued on into the evening.  We worried about Pat and Bethany coming from Boston in all of this, but they arrived safely after 10:30 PM.  We were hanging out and talking until bedtime.  When I turned out the lights to head upstairs, I happened to look out the window to see this scene.  At first I thought I could wait until morning to shoot this, but then thought better of it, and shot this through the window.  Good thing, because in the morning there was very little snow remaining on the branches.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Contemplating the Universe

I went to an exhibit of photographs of Space today, at my favorite museum.  Maybe because it was snowing slightly, there were very few people in the galleries.  So when this gentleman came into the gallery, I hung back, and followed him around as he looked the different photographs.  When he got to this image, a complex mosaic of the Milky Way - our galaxy - assembled from a number of different space satellites, I felt that this was the image that I wanted.  Man contemplating the universe.  Rather cosmic, don't you think?

Monday, November 25, 2013

B&W or Color?

Every once in a while, I take one of my color photographs and convert it to Black & White, because I am interested in seeing if it works better without the color.  Sometimes it's architectural photographs which work best when they are not in color, because those photographs are more about form, and they don't need color for that.  So today I converted this photograph of a church across the street from the Eastman House.

So what do you think?  Is this more effective in back & white?  I miss the warmth of the color in the first photograph - this photograph seems "colder."  Somehow I think that I am "wired" for color - I don't see things in B&W very often.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Creativity at 23 degrees

I will confess that I am a wimp when the weather gets cold.  It was 23 degrees here in Rochester today. I knew I had to go out shooting, so I gave myself a challenge - could I go outside, and walk once around the yard and come up with a photograph?  I did loose track of time, but I suspect that I wasn't out any longer than ten minutes.  I found several different photographs but this is the best, I think.  These are the leftover buds of a Rose of sharon tree.  I like the subtle colors of brown, which I spoke of yesterday, but couldn't photograph.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Beginning and the End

We drove to Rochester today for Thanksgiving week. We started out on a gorgeous day and what was stunning to see was a landscape of so many beautiful shades of brown against the shades of gray in both trees and rocks along our route. Stands of bare gray trees were lit from the side by a low sun shining in a clear sky.  It was impossible to stop and take photographs because of the roads we were on.  So I will hold those images in my mind. 

Four hours into the trip, just about at Gridleyville Crossing Road, in Candor, we ran into the first of the snow squalls which we would drive into and out of, all the rest of the way to Rochester.  It was beautiful to drive in the snow, with high winds blowing snow across the road in waves. Quite a change from the day we started out in.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Raking Leaves

I spent a good part of yesterday raking leaves, and then putting them into plastic bags for leaf pickup.  What was wonderful was the aroma of the leaves - it was as if I was swimming in them.  The wonderful scent made the work seem like play.  I happened to notice this one leaf that was not damaged, and I was taken by the almost straight line on the bottom of it.  It turns out that almost all the Maple leaves are like this. I photographed it against the lawn so that the outline of the leaf stands out.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Listening to the Astronaut

I went to a program tonight at the Cradle of Aviation, to hear two astronauts speak.  As it turned out, there was only one - Rusty Schweickart - the other one had to leave because of illness.  They were the two astronauts from the Apollo 9 mission where the Lunar Module was tested in space for the first time. He is the co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the B612 Foundation, a group that aims to defend Earth from asteroid impacts, and he spoke about that part of his work, along with his experiences in space.  This child was riveted, listening to him talk.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Blue Period, Continued

The other day when I photographed the father and son at the railing, I mentioned that beyond where they were standing there was a fisherman standing on the rocks.  Well, here's your chance to see the photograph, finally.  The more I look at this image, the more I like it - it's growing better with age.  I particularly like that you don't see the opposite shore right away, and even when you do, it is almost an apparition in the fog.  This is now really a favorite of mine.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Power of the Closeup

Yesterday I told you that I found photographs everywhere, on that magic morning.  This closeup of wet leaves is in the driveway, about 6 feet from my front steps.  That's the thing about looking for photographs - you can't have tunnel vision.  I find that I need to be looking all around - 360 degrees, and up and down, and think in terms of long shots, medium shots, and closeups.  It is so easy to overlook a particular way of looking at a subject.  Be sure and click on this to see it larger - it is glorious in all its detail.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Magical Morning

The morning was magical here!  There had been a bit of rain, and as a result it seemed as if half the leaves had come off the trees.  The driveway and lawn were covered with damp leaves, and the aroma in the air was that delicious smell that only wet leaves can create.  There were pictures everywhere I looked.  An embarrassment of riches.  I photographed wide views and close-ups, and probably did half a dozen photographs, all within 25 feet of each other.  Selecting one for the blog was difficult, but this one jumped out at me.  You will be seeing other images from the day, in the days to come.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Blue Period

I guess you could call this my blue period.  The photograph I posted yesterday had blue in it, and this one has a much deeper blue.  I went down to the harbor at the bottom of the cliff late this afternoon, to see what things looked like, because it was drizzling and foggy.  I saw a fisherman on the rocks at the point and photographed him, and there was my blog shot for the day.  I thought.  Then this father and son came along, and they stopped at the rail to watch the fisherman.  I saw these dark shapes against the water and fog, and grabbed three quick shots.  Only this one was worthwhile.  I like this because it looks different - it is much more graphic than what I usually shoot.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Almost Perfect...

It was the color blue that caught my eye as I passed this scene on the way to the bagel store this morning.  I have photographed this scene before - in sunshine and snow, in fog and in rain.  Today there was enough haze in the background to set the tree and bench off from the background.  Here's the other thing - it is a public park, and there have always been one or two garbage cans in the photographs that I have taken before.  That kind of ruins the effect, so it was so nice to see them gone.

Friday, November 15, 2013


On our way back to the subway from our lunch in Chinatown, I looked south along one of the avenues, and was surprised to catch a glimpse of the new One World Trade Center.  It had just been declared the tallest building in the United States, because they said that the antenna on top was, in fact, a permanent structure.  I took this picture because I loved the contrast of the bulk of the dark buildings, compared to the relative elegance of One World Trade.  The thing is, however, that this is a stunning structure sweeping up into the sky, and my photo shows it dwarfed by the foreground buildings.

A block or so later I saw this view, and we can see the building  much better and it soars over every other building in the photo.  It represents 1 WTC more realistically.  However, I think that the first photo is far more interesting.  Perhaps because of the contrast in size, and the contrast in color.  But it doesn't represent the tallest building accurately.  I need to go down there and photograph looking straight up at it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Other Choice

When we had the snow showers the other day, I quickly photographed the Japanese maple as seen through the snowflakes, and posted that.  An hour or so later I got in the car to go to the store, and saw this single leaf on the windshield, along with some of the leftover snow.  It was hard to pick which picture to post, so I picked the more subtle one.  But I liked this as well, and here it is.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Seeing Differently

Two days after I did my Project ASTRO presentation to three middle school classes, my friend John was doing his second presentation to a class at a school an hour away.  He was doing a demonstration of free astronomy software that shows the sky both day and night.  I wanted to go see two things - how he taught the class, and I also wanted to learn how to use the software.  I took the "normal" shots of the class, of course, and then while watching the presentation with the software, saw this.  Hard to say when I noticed this, but the second that the arm went out, I realized I had something good. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's Snowing!

When I woke up this morning it was snowing!  I was not completely surprised because there was one forecast that talked of snow showers in the morning.  But still, it is probably the earliest snow that I can ever recall.  It was really beautiful, especially when seeing the large white flakes against the backgrounds of the trees which are still in color.  It was a beautiful sight, and fortunately, after turning the side yard white, the snow stopped.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Poor Sad Jack-O-Lantern

Life has come to an end for our poor sad jack-o-lantern.  He didn't last long even though I carved him on Halloween Eve.  Not sure why it had such a short life, because the temperatures were not that cold - if it freezes, then pumpkins don't last long at all.  I kept the Jack-O-Lantern lit for a number of nights after Halloween, and it was a surprise to see one morning that he had collapsed.  Of course, the thing that crossed my mind was that one day I may look like this!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Amy at Work

Hey!  Look who is in New York!  Amy flew to the East coast to have meetings with a bunch of her editors in Manhattan over several days, and in between times, get to visit her friends (and her parents!)  So we took the train to the city today, and went to a restaurant in Chinatown.  Only thing is, work would not leave her alone!  Ah, the joys of having a cell phone, so a person could be reached at all times! We had a great lunch and it was so nice to hang out with her for a couple of hours.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Nibbler

The smokestacks that stand alone, are now coming down.  I wondered how they would do that, because there is not enough room around them to use explosives to topple them.  I had a chance to talk to one of the workmen, and he said that a "nibbler" would come in, and be lifted by a crane to the top of the smokestacks.  The nibbler has hydraulically operated jaws, and it is placed on the top of the masonry and it just chews its way down.  Every time a bunch of bricks fall all the way down, a cloud of dust could be seen.  It is amazing how much is gone now.  I will have to post before and after photographs.

Friday, November 8, 2013


This is a house just down the street from us, and I have photographed it before.  I went for a walk in the rain yesterday, and this was the first scene I came to, after photographing my fading ferns and the front fence.  This scene just jumped out at me because of all the leaves on the front lawn.  That's what I saw first, but that alone does not make a picture.  Then a second later I noticed the American flag, and that's when the scene came together for me as a complete picture.  Isn't this just Americana?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Magic of the Telescope

Yesterday I told you about having to get up early.  So this was the purpose of it all - to bring my telescopes and accessories used to demonstrate how lenses and mirrors work, and then how telescopes work.  I have done this a number of times before, but this time, the teacher asked about how the children could look through the telescope.  So I found a photograph of the planet Saturn, and we pasted it on a wall at the end of a hallway about 100 feet away.  The children were blown away when they looked into the eyepiece, and the picture of Saturn was magnified, and they could see it in great detail.  Look how much this student is enjoying the view!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Early to Bed, and Early to Rise...

Early to bed and early to rise is not part of MY world!  Nosireee!  But, I am involved in the Project ASTRO Program where I go visit a school and work with a teacher to teach astronomy to middle school children.  In order to do this today, I had to wake up at 5:30 AM to get to the school on time!  I hope my body can recover from the shock!  So I guess I was rewarded for my sacrifice, by driving by a golf course that was covered with early morning dew, and that's where this photograph was made.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Checkin' Things Out

I must confess, the kitties are an endless source of amusement.  I can't help but stop and watch them and some of their antics.  I was sitting at the dining room table reading after breakfast, and I caught some movement out of my eye - it was this kitty poking her head up, after climbing up on one of the chairs.  She just looked at me for a bit.  The trick was getting up slowly, finding my camera, coming back, and sitting down, without any sudden movements, so she wouldn't go away.  I really only got one shot, before she jumped down and walked away.  Whew!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Trick or Treat

Look what's living in our house!  Kathy decided she wanted to make a mask for trick or treating and so set to work.  She made the one on the left, and decided it wasn't quite what she wanted, so she started work on another mask on the right.  You start with a thin plastic shell, and then add modeling clay, and finally cover it all with paper mache.  She got this far, and then realized that she had to work Halloween night, so we couldn't go trick or treating!  Actually, they are a bit scary to look at.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Winter is Approaching

It is interesting to me sometimes, to step back and see what kinds of things I am photographing.  Sometimes I get into a groove, and photograph the same subjects for a while.  I appear to be stuck on the sky these days.  But, hey, if I see a really wonderful photograph, it would be hard to ignore it.  That was the case today - blue sky, cumulus clouds, and these trees lit by late afternoon sunlight.  Who could walk away from that?  Not me.  I love the contrast of the bare branches, with the fully leafed out tree.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Beautiful Day, Beautiful Light...

It was a gorgeous day today, and the skies were beautiful with luminous gray clouds.  As I finished my bike ride, I stopped at my favorite park bench that overlooks the harbor.  And what a lovely sight, to see the sunlight streaming through the clouds in the distance.  There is a name for these rays, and you are really lucky, because I am going to tell you their name: "Crepuscular rays."  Aren't you glad you stopped by today to learn this?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fall Color

I was driving home along one of my favorite roads on Long Island.  Cedar Swamp Road, also known at Route 107 has fields like this, and horse farms.  It is an easy place to find a picture, and I have photographed along this road for years.  I came around a bend in the road and saw this, so I pulled over and took this photograph, and then  I went exploring with my camera.  I thought this view was both pretty, and traditional.  Then I became interested in what else I could find.  The photo below is my answer.  It is certainly less traditional, and even has a sense of dread about it, perhaps.