Friday, May 31, 2013
We always put our flag out on Memorial Day, and on July Fourth, and on Veteran's Day. So we put it out in the morning, and then didn't think about it again. Late in the afternoon, I happened to wander into the front hall, and the sun had come around to the west far enough to light up the flag, and to shine in front door and illuminate the lamp as well. Something about this stopped me in my tracks, and I grabbed a camera and made this shot. It's all about the light.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:02 PM
Thursday, May 30, 2013
For the last year or so, once month on Thursday nights, I have been meeting with an interesting group of men, including a particle physicist, a college professor, a carpenter, a couple of high school teachers, an ex-cop, a doctor, a Post Office supervisor, and a few others. Oh, and me, the photographer. These meetings have taken place at this facility - the St. Ignatius Retreat house owned by the Jesuits. I have photographed it before - it is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind building. But it has been sold and we have to find another place for our meetings. So I took one last photograph, on the last night.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:50 PM
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
On Memorial Day, after dinner, I drove up to Memorial Park which overlooks Long Island Sound. There is an ongoing conjunction of three planets which I wanted to try and see. This is a great park for viewing astronomical events, because it is high above the water and you can see all the way to the distant horizon. I did manage to see Venus, Jupiter and Mercury together through the thin clouds. As I was leaving I was looking around, because that's what I do, and I noticed the bright yellow color of the leaves on these trees against the dark blue sky. The leaves look yellow, because they are lit with mercury vapor lights, which is very red light. Then I noticed the flag was at half staff, and there was my picture.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:56 PM
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Here's a "secret" for photographing parades - don't forget to look away from the parade itself, and see what the spectators are doing. Sometimes the people watching the parade are more interesting than the parade itself. Of course quickly turning from the parade to look behind you, and then turning back can make you a little nuts after a while. Hey, it's just part of being a photographer. I took a lot of pictures of this group - it was hard to get everyone looking good. There were flag shadows on the older child, and at one point the woman in the middle was blowing her nose! Man, this ain't easy. But I finally got this shot where you could see everyone, and they looked as if they were enjoying the spectacle.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Monday, May 27, 2013
Here's the thing - when I am looking for photographs each day, and nothing in particular is going on, it can be difficult to come up with something decent. Then along comes an event like Memorial Day, and I am definitely "locked and loaded" and looking for photos. And I find a lot of photos in a relatively short time. So here is the first of my Memorial Day photographs. There will be others. There are actually two veterans riding in the back seat - you are seeing one vet's face, and another's arm. But I love this shot because of all the bystanders cheering and waving flags. That's what makes the photo for me.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:03 PM
Sunday, May 26, 2013
While wandering around the old RIT campus, I came across this building. I didn't recognize it at first because an expressway has since been built through part of the campus. But then I realized what building this was - The School for American Craftsmen. I spent time there when I was in college, because it was the coolest place to take photographs - it was where the potters worked in clay on their wheels, others built furniture, and jewelers worked with precious metals and torches. Anyhow, I saw this part of the building and the tree, and saw a photograph right away. I shot it one way, then the other, changing my point of view to "move" the tree within the image. I was sure that first picture was the best, then when I was editing, I thought that the second picture was best. Whew! Which is it? I am honestly not sure. But you can vote on your favorite photo, if you like.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:43 PM
Saturday, May 25, 2013
I was going by this group of industrial buildings and spotted this doorway right away. Because? Because the doorway was two feet off the ground! With no stairs leading up to it. Who builds a doorway, with doors that don't open, and that you can't walk up to? I don't know. Perhaps the owner of the building wanted to make this industrial building look more beautiful or something. I do love incongruous things like this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:00 PM
Friday, May 24, 2013
I came out of Artisan Works, where the photo exhibit was, and I was walking to my car about a block away, and came across these chairs across the street. I thought "What the heck is that?" So I crossed the street to investigate. I had some fun trying to figure out the best way to make an interesting picture of all this. I am not exactly sure what this is, but I believe it is some form of public artwork. The red elephant in the distance is a separate piece of art. There were no labels on these pieces. Note the scummy water in the seat of the nearest bench - unfortunately these benches are not useful for sitting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:31 PM
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Whenever I go to Eastman House, I walk along the side of the photography collection building on the way to the entrance. There are always vines growing on the wall, but they change from season to season and year to year. I always stop and photograph them, but I think I rarely find an interesting enough design to post. But this trip, I found this design, and really like it a lot. Can't tell you why, but I thought that it was worth showing. What I don't know is whether or not the vines are intentionally arranged this way.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
There is an interesting story that goes with this picture. What you are looking at is a giant photographic silver print, that has been kept in a water bath (seen in the foreground) for a long time, until it deteriorated. Then the print was lifted out of the water and hung up to dry. This is part of an exhibit of landscape photographs called "Silver and Water" presently at Eastman House. The photographs in this exhibit are giant pinhole photographs, taken from inside a shipping container that was driven across the United States. The interesting thing about this photo is that the original subject of the photograph is not recognizable, but it has become a beautiful object with an abstract image on it. It is surprisingly beautiful, and I would never have expected that, if you had described the process to me. Please click on the image to see it enlarged.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:43 PM
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
This is 343 State Street, the headquarters of the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY. When I was in college in Rochester between 1960-1964 they were sitting on the top of the world. They owned 90% of the film business in the United States in 1976. I have shot Kodak film for most of my professional life. They invented the first digital camera, but when the CEO saw it he said "Great, now lock it up and don't tell anyone." He was afraid that digital technology would cannibalize their film sales. Well, the Japanese companies like Fujifilm ate their lunch and Kodak declared bankruptcy in January of 2012. They have sold their film business and their camera business and many of their patents, and are hanging by a thread. It was so sad to contemplate all of this as I revisited this site and the company that has meant so much to me in my life
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:31 PM
Monday, May 20, 2013
So he is photographing her, and she is photographing her, and I am photographing them. So it really is not a triangle. I guess it's sort of a square. Or a rectangle. It was fun to wander around the gardens at the Eastman House, and watch all the visitors photograph each other. It is not that this is a great photograph or anything, but the idea of what was going on really tickled me. I am not sure if the older woman realized I was photographing all of them. I wonder if someone else was photographing me!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:44 PM
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Upstate New York is apple country! And at this time of year, all the trees in all the orchards are in bloom. It is a stunning sight, with row after row after row of trees, extending into the distance. It is spectacular enough that I stopped and turned around the first time I saw these rows of trees under gray skies. Then I did the same thing about three more times. It was hard to pick the best scene and the best shot. I chose this one because I loved the wiggly shapes of the tree trunks on the three trees at the heads of these rows. I posted the first shot, and then thought I was done. Then I started thinking about the pictures again, and decided to post a second shot. I still can't decide which is my favorite. Please click on these shots to see the pictures in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:24 PM
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Today was Astronomy Appreciation Day at the planetarium, an event sponsored by our club and the planetarium. We set up some special telescopes on the lawn outside, so that visitors could look at the sun in both white light and hydrogen alpha light. This father and son took the time to look through one of the telescopes to see what they could see. I loved how it was important for this dad to make sure his son got to observe the sun.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:54 PM
Friday, May 17, 2013
...in Rochester, New York. When I went to school in Rochester, and then when I lived there, I remember that slogan. Rochester has a Lilac festival every year, but I have never been to it. On this trip I went to the George Eastman House, which I always do, and there weren't any Lilacs, BUT there was Wisteria in bloom in George Eastman's garden. The Wisteria was lovely, especially given the beautiful architecture on which it grows. I couldn't decide between these two, so you get to see them both.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:02 PM
Thursday, May 16, 2013
OK, first things first here - I was NOT driving the car when I shot this picture! I got tired on the trip home, and took a nap while Kathy was driving. I woke up just before we got to this bridge, and I realized that this was a perfect moment. They have already started installing pilings for the new bridge, and it is expected to open in 2017. This a spectacular structure - construction began in 1952, and the bridge opened in 1957, and is the longest bridge in New York State. The total length of the bridge and approaches is 16,013 feet. The cantilever span (what you are looking at in the photographs) is 1,212 feet long. It is a beautiful, complex, magnificent structure, and the new bridge will not be anywhere near as interesting a bridge.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
This is my friend Herm. I have known him since my first job at the Rochester Times-Union - I was a photographer and he was an art director. He has been my mentor in so many things. He taught me to ski, and we used to go hunting together, and then he got me involved in Amateur Radio, and then cycling. He rode across the entire United States on a bike with a writer, for a series in the paper. So when we go to Rochester, I now bring one of my bikes, and we get to ride together. He is four years older than me, and he can kick my butt on the hills! How did I do this shot? I held the camera out to the side with my right arm, and just pointed it in our general direction. I had to shoot a lot of images to finally get this one.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:48 PM
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
This is Chimney Bluffs State Park on the shore of Lake Ontario, near the town of Sodus, in case you want to look for it on Google Earth. It is an astounding landscape. We walked for a mile at the very edge of a cliff that was undercut by erosion. The Bluffs were formed from drumlins, which were created by glaciers. The wind, rain, snow, and waves, both from above and below has formed the landscape into razor-sharp pinnacles. Some are as tall as 150 feet from the lake shore. The panorama is ever changing - the average erosion of the bluffs is 1 to 5 feet a year. And would you look at the color of the lake! Those are the actual, natural colors of the water.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:41 PM
Monday, May 13, 2013
My brother-in-law Vince and I went on a field trip today. When I was at Eastman House, the woman at the cash register told me that when Ansel Adams came to Rochester many years ago, to do photographs for the University of Rochester, he also went to a place called Chimney Bluffs State Park. I had never heard of this but used Google Earth to look at the site, and you could see almost a mile of something that looked like sand dunes on the shore of Lake Ontario. So we went there today and were amazed at what we saw. The formations looked as if they belonged in Utah, instead of in New York State. We hiked for about three miles, along the very edge of cliffs that were a hundred feet above the water, and got some really interesting photographs. Here Vince is working at carefully composing a shot.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:52 PM
Sunday, May 12, 2013
I went to the opening of a photo exhibit today. In fact, this opening was the reason we made this trip to Rochester. This is my friend Will Yurman, and he is an amazing photographer! He has a blog called "A day A photo" and seeing it was the inspiration to start my blog in the first place six years ago. He is shown here with his two favorite subjects, his son and his daughter, at the opening. So he made a selection of favorite images, from a total of 3,420, and printed and framed them for the exhibit. It was a spectacular show, because he is such a creative photographer. You can find his blog at < www.willyurman.com > and you will be amazed.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:56 PM
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I was standing outside one of the gardens at the Eastman House, when I heard a woman in a loud voice say: "One, Two, THREE!" and I couldn't imagine what was going on. I stepped into the garden and saw this - on the count of three, she took the photo. She was just a mom doing photographs of her children, and they are well trained! I snapped off two shots really fast, then it was over. Whew! Then they moved to another part of the garden, and it started all over again: "One, Two, THREE!" What's cute about this, is that the dog seems to be the only one who knows I am taking their picture. Please click on this so you can see it in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:08 PM
Friday, May 10, 2013
Today I went to downtown Rochester and was walking around the old R.I.T Campus taking photographs. I was photographing a church, when this gentleman came by on his bicycle. He asked me if I knew if the church was serving lunch today. He walked around but all the doors were locked, and as he started to leave, I offered him some money for lunch. Then I asked if I could take his picture. He has such a wonderful face and such warm eyes. He rides a bicycle because although he has had two knee replacements, he is in a lot of pain, so the bike makes it easier to get around. So interesting what you can find out when you stop to talk to strangers.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:41 PM
Thursday, May 9, 2013
We drove to Rochester today, and my favorite route involves driving up the Palisades Parkway, and then taking the Long Mountain Parkway over the mountains to Route 17. It was raining along the way, and the trees were unbelievable - there were a thousand shades of green. What was maddening is that along a route like this, there is no place to pull over and park, so that I could get out of the car to photograph. I saw SO many wonderful possibilities, and was limited to, as one friend calls it, "the possibility of an air bag moment." (Which means shooting through the windshield while driving.)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:48 PM
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
We went looking for a tree. I found this. We want a tree for the side yard, and have been visiting garden centers. I always bring my camera, of course, and so I was looking for something to shoot. The irrigation sprayer caught my eye right away - it was more interesting than plain old trees. The trick was not to get soaked while doing this. The misty background was only attractive when the sprayer head was in one particular position. Only thing was, one second later the spray was pointing right at me. I would try to snap and then jump. I wasn't entirely successful, but the picture was worth it!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:48 PM
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Rituals. The small joys of life. So our Tuesday morning ritual is to go to Dunkin' Donuts for coffee and one donut each. We used to go to Starbucks every Tuesday after I retired, but they changed their frequent flyer program, and it really annoyed me, so now I am boycotting them. I am sure they are feeling the pain... I have a bavarian cream donut. Every week. For eight months. I get stuck in my ways.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:48 PM
Monday, May 6, 2013
I was on the way home tonight after a meeting, and I was taking the back roads. I took a few photographs on the spooky looking roads, but there wasn't anything really that interesting. I should tell you, given my history, that when I wanted to take a picture of a dark roadway, I came to a complete stop before shooting a picture. See how good I am about this! Anyhow, I couldn't find a picture that I liked, but when I came to a red light on a busy intersection, I saw this face in the sky, and realized that this was going to be the best I could come up with.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:05 PM
Sunday, May 5, 2013
There is a house on the corner just up the road from us that has been there forever. It was sheathed with cedar shingles, weathered gray. Recently some carpenters began working on the outside of the house. But after a couple of days, instead of looking like some kind of minor repair work, it began to look like demolition. They removed all of the exterior sheathing from around the whole house, and the complete roof over a small room on the other side of the house. But they have left the interior lathe and plaster walls intact, so I think they are going to start rebuilding shortly. I hope so. I can't wait to see how this turns out. I will keep you informed.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:49 PM
Saturday, May 4, 2013
I was on my way to the recycling center when I drove up this short street, and saw a border garden of Tulips. What grabbed my attention was that instead of the flowers just being in a garden with other flowers, or with just a lawn as a background, there was a fence directly behind them. I am not sure why they jumped out at me, but the fence really got my attention. Perhaps because it is a neutral background, instead of being a background of color. Maybe the Tulips would be prettier amongst other flowers - now I am not sure. But it was different, so here it is. You can all vote on this topic!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 3:39 PM
Friday, May 3, 2013
I decided after looking at the Dogwood tree today, that I wanted a do-over on yesterday's photograph. So I went back and looked at the tree in different light. The sunlight was shining directly on the blossoms, making them more prominent. So this photograph shot from a low angle is perfect - you can see the constellation of blossoms, and, you can see the bare trunk and other bare branches beneath, showing that the rest of the tree is dead.
Then I backed away from the tree and stood up, and took this photograph. At first glance it looks as if the tree is in full bloom. It's kind of a pretty photograph, but if you enlarge it by clicking on it, you can see through the blossoms that the other branches are dead. So my favorite of all the photographs is the first one on this page.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:46 PM
Thursday, May 2, 2013
We had two Dogwood trees on the property when we bought the house, and our neighbor had another one right on the property line. So in Spring, it was quite beautiful with all of them in bloom. But gradually over the years they have died off. Now there is only one left, and it only has one branch bearing blossoms. So sad to see them go - apparently is is a well-known fungus that it killing them off. So this tree is on it's last legs, but it still brightens everything around here in Spring.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:05 PM
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
I was on my way home from the dentist today, and I was in a hurry when I passed this pond and saw the reflections of the trees in the water. Bummer. So I came back about two hours later, and fortunately nothing had changed. Except that the wind was blowing, leaving waves on the water, ruining the reflection, and the sun had gone behind the clouds! But I was patient, and the wind stopped, and the sun came out, and I lucked out!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 11:00 PM