Thursday, February 28, 2013
So this is fun... Last night I just happened to check the number of posts I have made since the start of the blog, and saw that the number was 2190. Not a significant number, it seems. But just for the heck of it, I divided it by 365 days, and came up with exactly 6 years! Wow! A milestone, and I nearly missed it! It is a nice feeling to have had the discipline to keep the blog going this long. I was sitting in my easy chair and reading while having lunch, and put my glasses down on the book to rub my eyes. Wow! Wonderful what direct sunlight does. And it is only for a brief period each year that the sun comes in the window on the second floor landing, and shines on where I am sitting. In case you are curious, the book is "Fate is the Hunter" by Ernest K. Gann - the story of his early days in commercial aviation in the United States. A stunning aviation book!
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
There was a speaker this evening at the astronomy club, so I was taking some photographs of him during his presentation, possibly for use on the website. All the photographs were "normal" in their composition, but when I was doing the editing, I enlarged this photograph and was taken by how the photograph looked better when I just concentrated on his hands. Then I decided to crop so that just his mouth was in the image, instead of his whole face. I keep talking about trying to see things in a different way, and this is probably the best example. It IS different. It is not a particularly flattering picture of the subject, however. But it does feel as if I am seeing things in a differently.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:17 PM
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
We just finished four weeks of this winter's Pre Cana at our home. Five couples came this year as part of the marriage preparation program at church. This engaged couple was one of those in the program, and they were wonderful participants. I snapped this quick portrait when were chatting after the other couples had already left. It is not a great portrait. I should have set something up to make a more formal portrait, because they both have wonderful faces. This needs a tighter composition, and I didn't want to change anything, and when I took these, she was checking her phone. I know better, and should have done a better job.
Monday, February 25, 2013
This is one other piece of sculpture on the lawn that I passed going to the museum. Wow! This is crazy wonderful! I spent a fair amount of time walking around it looking for the best angle. The museum has a number of children's programs, so kids must be either terrified or fascinated walking by this piece. It is titled "Snake Tree" by Niki de Saint Phalle and it is eighteen feet high!
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:31 PM
Saturday, February 23, 2013
During one of my visits to the museum, I stopped to chat with one of the guards, who was seated at the top of the stairs. While talking to him, I happened to look to my right and saw this staircase spiraling down to the first floor. I had just come up these same stairs but it never occurred to me to look down when I got to the top. This Georgian brick manor house was built in 1904, and then modified in 1917 by Charles Frick, whose father was one of the founders of U.S. Steel. This oval staircase with turned balusters winds up to the third floor and is an absolute marvel of woodworking.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:23 PM
Friday, February 22, 2013
I haven't had enough of art museums lately. Two days ago I went to the Nassau County Museum of Fine Art to see an exhibit of paintings by American artists over the last 300 years. It is a stunning exhibit - so good, that I went back again today, to see it again. I looked out of a window in one of the galleries and saw this in the distance. It is a sculpture titled "Wood Duck" by the artist Allen Bertoldi. Normally it just sits in the water, but what makes this scene so spectacular is that it is now surrounded by ice and bare trees, and everything in the photograph is gray. I will photograph this again, but I am guessing that this photograph at this moment in time and in this light will be hard to beat.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:47 PM
Thursday, February 21, 2013
I still have photographs from Philadelphia, but I also have photographs taken since then, and I went to another art museum yesterday. Anyhow, when you park at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you enter the building from the rear. And that means this is the first sculpture you see. It is a bronze sculpture of Chief Justice John Marshall by American sculptor William Wetmore Story, installed in 1931. It is a stunning sculpture, and it has a wonderful presence. I think I mean that it draws you in immediately. It had snowed on that morning, and I like the highlights on the statue from the snow.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
We had an amazing astronomy meeting tonight. About a year ago I went to the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center to give a talk about astronomy and show some telescopes to a group of young children. So they said they could bring some of their raptors to our astronomy club in exchange, and give a talk. Wow, what an amazing thing to be so close to these birds! This is Alice, a Wildlife Care Coordinator and her favorite raptor, a Red Tailed Hawk, and she also brought an Owl, and a Kestrel. What magnificent birds, and what a great presentation.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:52 PM
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the United States. The main building is an astounding architectural treasure, and its construction began in 1919. The building has eight pediments which were intended to be adorned with sculpture groups, but only one was completed - this one called "Western Civilization" (1933) by C. Paul Jennewein, with painted terra-cotta figures depicting Greek gods and goddesses. It is a stunning piece of sculpture, as you can see from these two photographs. I decided to include a close-up so you can see the beautiful detail and brilliant color. Please click on these to see even more detail
Monday, February 18, 2013
I LOVE to photograph in museums! I love museums that allow photographs in them! This is a favorite photo I took in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I spotted the man who was tired, leaning backwards on his companion's shoulder, and then the trick was to wait for the people in the background to make an interesting composition. I love this photograph because it is unexpected. It stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it, and that was really fun.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:51 PM
Sunday, February 17, 2013
When I returned from Philadelphia I had at least a week's worth of blog posts, but I came home to snow, and then there was fog, so that kind of took over the blog. But I want to post some of the photographs that would have been posted already if the weather was more boring. After wandering around in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I decided to go out the front door and photograph the plaza and the stunning architecture of the museum. Just outside the front door, I noticed the columns illuminated by sunlight reflected off the front of the building, and the glow was wonderful. So I pointed my camera straight up, and started shooting, when a man and his wife walked up the steps. She said out loud, "What are you looking at?" I said, "the columns", she looked up, and said to her husband. "Wow, look at this shot!" Then she said to me "How did you FIND this?" I said "I saw the light on the columns, and looked up." Then her husband pointed his camera straight up and started shooting. So that felt like a nice compliment. For the technically minded, this is a mild HDR image, to keep the sky dark and yet allow detail in the columns.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:56 PM
Saturday, February 16, 2013
It never ceases to amaze me how I know so little about what drives me as a photographer, and what it is that makes me stop and take a picture. You would think I might have a clue, but I don't. I was sitting at this red light, where a small road meets a larger road and ends, thus the traffic light is on a pole on the opposite side of the road. Behind the light is a historic colonial house in Roslyn. The scene caught my eye for some reason - maybe because most traffic lights are way up high against a confusing background and this one is against a plain background, maybe because there is a window behind it, or maybe it's the contrast between the old and the new. I haven't a clue, but I find this really fascinating.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Is it obvious to you right away what this is a photograph of? Take a minute and see if you can figure it out. It was a brilliant sunny morning and I turned on the water in the shower, which in our house, is in the bathtub. There happened to be a shaft of sunlight shining into the bathtub, and the brilliance and beauty of the water from the shower praying through the sunlight was mesmerizing. So I broke my rule - I was about to step into the shower, and I didn't go get a camera. Fortunately when my shower was done the sunlight was in about the same place, so I grabbed my camera and used a range of different shutter speeds - between slow and fast - to try and preserve in a still photograph, the sense of what I saw with my eyes.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:57 PM
Thursday, February 14, 2013
The trees I love so much are at the harbor's edge, planted along a sidewalk. But this is the view if you turn and look out at the harbor. I like this photo because it is completely different from the ones of the trees in fog. Mainly this photograph is about design, and about how I divided up the space within the frame. It is also different because it's not a full range photograph - there are no pure blacks or pure whites in it - just shadows of gray, which is appropriate for a picture taken in the fog. I also like that the far shore is only barely visible - I like the subtlety of this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:38 PM
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I am not really going to post photos every day with fog in them, but I did do a whole bunch of photos the other morning. I was out shooting for a couple of hours. For two reasons - I really photographing in fog, and, in the middle of winter with bare trees, I find it difficult to come up with interesting landscape photos - until the fog comes along. So I will be posting a few more fog photos over the next few days. This scene, with the Sycamore trees alongside Hempstead Harbor is probably my favorite location for finding photos - unless, of course, you consider my Japanese maple tree. I love how the trees disappear into the fog in the distance. I do like this, but it is the expected thing from me. Let me see what else I can come up with. It looks better if you see it in the larger size, so please click on it. Thanks.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:54 PM
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Here's a lesson - I drove out to get bagels yesterday morning, and the trees along the shore were enveloped in fog. I thought that I would stop on the way back, because of the snow on the road, there was no space to park going in my direction. Not ten minutes later I returned and the fog was GONE! Yikes! So I drove home, had breakfast, and then noticed that it was foggy out in the side yard. So I drove down to the water and photographed for an hour or so. The lesson: Shoot it NOW, don't wait! Then I drove around town looking for other photographs that didn't involve the Sycamore trees all in a row by the water. I liked the shape of these trees and the variation in types of trees, up by the ball field.
Monday, February 11, 2013
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:49 PM
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:14 PM
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:08 PM
Friday, February 8, 2013
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:31 PM
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:08 PM
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Monday, February 4, 2013
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:45 PM
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Friday, February 1, 2013
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:03 PM