Thursday, October 31, 2013
I have dramatic news from the Jack-O-Lantern front! For openers, I always make the same face each year on the pumpkin. But this year is different - you will note a jagged smile now replaces the curved mouth of other years. Then, after I put it on the front porch, I got an idea to find one of my quartz lights, and a blue colored gel, and decided to light the porch with it, for a more dramatic effect. Pretty cool, huh? But guess what - we only got 5 children! And that was from one visit - the neighbor next door and her friend. Now who is going to eat all the Snickers bars we bought?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:20 PM
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
I have photographed this house before because it is across from the Post Office in town and I see it whenever I have to mail a package. I love that the people who live here take the time to put out a pumpkin, and hang a Jack-O-Lantern picture on their front door. It is good when we take the time to celebrate our traditions. I guess this is a stretch, but I did think of a Mondrian painting while composing this. "Mondrian with Pumpkin" - maybe that should have been the title of this post.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I saw this sign on these wheelbarrows at the local Home Depot. I really don't want to sound snarky, but the spelling made me laugh. So does this mean that you will get both "Israel in Egypt" AND "Messiah" at the same time, if you buy this item? Sorry, I was desperate for a shot!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:40 PM
Monday, October 28, 2013
This is another picture from the photo show at the Javits Center. At the Nikon booth they had this giant display of colorful candies. So many people were gathered around photographing the sweets on display, I couldn't believe it. I guess it's just me, but the still life display didn't interest me at all, in terms of wanting to take a picture of it. What did interest me was this silhouette of one of the photographers at work looking for a picture.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:46 PM
Sunday, October 27, 2013
On the way to astronomy day yesterday, I had to travel for nearly an hour on the Long Island Expressway, and then down another road that had tall trees on each side. Then I ended up on a road that opened up on the sky and flat land for as far as the eye could see. There was such a lovely sense of space and openness, and the colors of green grass, blue sky and white clouds gave me such a wonderful sense of well being. This is a man-made landscape - it is a huge sod farm. So it is not a natural landscape, but I accept the wonderful sense it left me with. Please click on this to see all the wonderful detail in the photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:02 PM
Saturday, October 26, 2013
I spent the day in Riverhead today, at the Custer Institute Astronomy Day. We met at the college, and there were lectures during the day and outside members had set up some telescopes to view the sun. These are two of my friends, Steve, behind the telescope, and Dave, squinting at the sun. They are trying to find the planet Jupiter, during the day, not a simple task. The ruler is marked in degrees, and they use an astronomy program to see how many degrees Jupiter is from the sun, and then try and find where it should be in the sky, and then use the telescope to see it up close.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:02 PM
Friday, October 25, 2013
...you never know what you are going to see! This is a giant show at the Javits Center in Manhattan, and all the photo manufacturers everywhere show up and display their wares - cameras and lenses, and color printers and lighting equipment, and camera supports and video equipment. It goes on and on. So obviously some manufacturers want to do things that will attract visitors to their booths. That what this is. There was a big crowd gathered, photographing these three models. Apparently the company held a competition for make-up artists, and the winner got to decorate these three. That's all I know.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
OK, so the title is a joke. This is not a Swan, it is a Great Egret. But "swan song" makes such a great title for the post. I saw this beautiful bird while across the harbor photographing the power plant that is being torn down. That's why "swan song" seemed appropriate. Anyhow, I took this photograph because of the expanding ripples in the water surrounding the Egret. That, and the pink clouds reflected in the water. The bird alone wouldn't have made much of a photograph, in my opinion.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:51 PM
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Tonight was a spectacular night at my astronomy club. My friend, the photographer Stan Honda, came to our club to talk about some of his work. First he showed photographs he has taken over the years of the launches and landings of the Space Shuttle at Cape Kennedy. They were simply stunning! Then he showed a number of photographs of the night sky that he has been taking over the past five years in the national parks of the southwest where dark skies are everywhere. Those photographs knocked everyone's socks off. I wanted a portrait of Stan speaking, and so brought a light to illuminate him when he was talking. Those photographs are nice. Then I wanted to try something completely different, and shot this silhouette, with the light off, with his photograph of the milky way over a mountain, behind him.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:49 PM
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I love this statue in the garden - I think I was the one who bought her. During growing season, sometimes she gets completely lost in the flowers, but now that fall is here, she reappears. It is hard to put into words why I like her expression so. I do know that there are a lot of statues that are reproductions of larger statues, and the reproductions are not very artful or pretty, but this statue is just lovely in my eyes. And I love that she is emerging from the fading colors around her.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:52 PM
Monday, October 21, 2013
I went to an FAA Safety Seminar on weather and flying tonight, at the Cradle of Aviation museum. When it was over, I was driving out the driveway, and saw this. This Astronaut marks the entrance to the museum, and I have seen it a billion times in daylight. But tonight, it grabbed my attention as I was leaving, so I circled around and photographed it. It was the blue light, and the roadway with only a few cars on it. It just came to me that he looked completely out of place in these surroundings. I particularly like this photograph because it is completely different from the things I normally photograph. I think it is unexpected.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:20 PM
Sunday, October 20, 2013
I feel like a ghostbuster, driving around looking for these cute little guys. I have been passing this ghost for a couple of weeks now, and I was always in some kind of hurry, until today, when I finally stopped to photograph it. I like that it is painted wood, rather than plastic. I do wonder if someone made this, or bought it. I am guessing that it was store-bought. I am thinking seriously of making one of my own out of wood - it would be an easy project. Do you think that the original owners of this would be offended to see that I had copied theirs?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:29 PM
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, because I love ghosts and jack-o-lanterns. So I was thrilled to see this little guy hanging from a tree, just up the block. From a distance I thought that it was home made. On closer inspectionI discovered that it was only plastic. That was a disappointment, but this guy is still really cute, isn't he? And it is such a simple decoration.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:01 PM
Friday, October 18, 2013
Every day there is less and less of this plant standing. I have to drive around to the other side of the harbor to see this, because there is not much that you can see from the street on my side. There is a tall brick wall that runs along the length of the plant which obscures what it going on. But I can see everything from across the water. I love the colors in this - the warm light late in the day, the warm toned bricks, both red and yellow, against the blue sky. Although I am not sure how many people besides me are really interested in industrial architecture.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:37 PM
Thursday, October 17, 2013
My friend Stan recommended me to a documentary filmmaker who wanted still photographs of thirteen giant metal sculptures that are temporarily installed on the mall on Park Avenue. The sculptor is Albert Paley and the works are amazing in their diversity and design. I am guessing that some of the tallest ones are more than twenty five feet high. Anyhow, the project was not funded, but I really wanted to photograph the sculptures just for me. It was a great day, exploring each of these from a number of different angles, and showing them in context with their surroundings. These are only two of them, and I plan to go back and photograph them in the rain one day, and photograph them at dusk with car lights on, on another day. Stay tuned. Please click on these to see much more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:20 PM
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
OK, so this is weird... Today's photographs are not about photography. This is a little unusual for my blog, but it feels as if I need to respond to some of the issues brought up in my "I Give Up" post. Actually I have been busy, working on stripping part of the front porch floor and the front stairs. I built these stairs about 15 years ago, and after too many coats of paint, just a new coat of paint was not enough. Time to bite the bullet and do the tedious thing - strip them down to bare wood and repaint. I am doing this to the front porch floor as well. It feels so good to complete a project like this, because it looks so good. Good for the soul. You know, to finish a project... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:10 PM
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
This is the scene from the park bench I sit on at the end of my bike ride each day. And this week, the days have been magical. Still warm enough for riding with just bike shorts and a bike jersey. Not to mention blue sky and sunshine. These feel like the last warm days of Fall. Add to that the warm glow of sunshine on a late afternoon just before sunset. A magical day indeed.
Monday, October 14, 2013
We have had these same dining room chairs for more than 40 years. The rush seats started giving out a few years back. My sister Joan, who comments here so often, is pretty handy, and she has redone both rush and cane seats. Joan described the process to me, and so I thought, "I could do that!" So I bought some rolls of rush, and bought a book and set about replacing one of the seats. You can see how far I got. However, the work was a killer, in terms of the pain in my hands. You have to grip the rush, and pull it tight, and hold it while nailing it down with a hammer. You can see how far I got with only one seat. We checked the price for having the seats done commercially, and it was $160. So I gave up, and we bought both a new dining room table, and 6 new chairs. I hate having to give up. What made me feel good was that I put the chairs out yesterday, and this morning someone came and took them all!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:25 PM
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Fall and Halloween are here, and along with decorations that people put up at their homes, there are decorations at the church office. There is a really talented woman who is a wonderful craftsperson and a talented seamstress who does a lot of volunteer work at the church. I thought these scarecrows and this jack-o-lantern were absolutely charming, and they brightened my day! You should click on each of these, to see them in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:24 PM
Saturday, October 12, 2013
I photographed these Garlic chives back in September but the lighting was different. Here they are backlit by the morning sun in the side yard, so we only see their silhouettes. It seems unusual to me that I can see plants in silhouette - usually plants are layered so that they are seen against other plants in the garden. I guess that's why this view jumped out at me - because I could see through them.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:58 PM
Friday, October 11, 2013
They are tearing down my plant. They have been for a while now, but the progress is not obvious from the road I travel on every day. I had to go across the harbor and use a telephoto lens to show the progress of the demolition. I have been photographing this plant since moving to Long Island back in 1966. I love industrial architecture, and this plant has been a wonderful subject over the years. It is sad to see it go, and I only wish that I could have had a chance to photograph the inside of it. I would love to have seen the giant boilers and generators before they were destroyed.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:10 PM
Thursday, October 10, 2013
On the way to the grocery store late this afternoon I saw this bike chained to a street sign. It apparently arrived today. It is beautiful in its light blue color, seen in the fading light of day. It is disconcerting, however, because it resembles a "ghost bike" although they are white. Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel. There was no sign on the bike, though. But it is not a working bike, because the pedals have been removed. So for the time being, this bike is a mystery.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:13 PM
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
This is a Hippopotamus, and you don't normally get anywhere near this close to them. I have seen them in the wild in Africa, and the boat skipper gave them a wide birth on the river. The hippopotamus is one of the largest four-legged animals, and, despite its stocky shape and short legs, it can easily outrun a human. Hippos have been clocked at 19 mph over short distances. Is that unbelievable? The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and, as such, ranks among the most dangerous animals in Africa. So it was nice to have inch-thick glass between him and us!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:34 PM
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
I am taking a short astronomy course at the local high school. The teacher is an architect, and avid amateur astronomer and a really good teacher. The subject tonight was the size of things in the universe. He started with scale models of the planets, some of which were the size of peppercorns. Our sun was a soccer ball, in comparison. Then he wanted to show us that the sun is an ordinary star, and this slide shows some red giant stars, Betelgeuse at left and Antares, on the right. He is pointing at our sun, which is a tiny dot at the end of his finger, and miniscule in comparison.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:46 PM
Monday, October 7, 2013
I am not done with my "leftovers" from California, but I made this photograph late this afternoon, and just had to post it, because it is so beautiful. I was working outside, and knew from checking the radar online, that a squall line was headed our way this afternoon. Suddenly the sky got really dark, so I jumped in the car and drove down to the beach. I grabbed an umbrella because it was starting to rain and the wind was howling, and managed to get this shot before the squall hit. I am stunned by the beauty of the dark clouds, and all the delicate shadings in the clouds.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Sunday, October 6, 2013
This is one of the wonderful exhibits at the San Diego Zoo. It is the skeleton of a Python in a display case. It is hard to figure the length, but I think it is between 6 feet to 8 feet long. And displayed backlit like this shows how beautiful its structure is. Of course, this is not really a "backyard snake." At least not in any back yard in Sea Cliff.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
Saturday, October 5, 2013
This is another photograph from La Jolla. I am standing on some of the rocks that are covered with bird waste. There were two groups of kayakers paddling around below the cliffs, and it took me a while to realize what they were looking at. There are caves underneath the cliff, and rocks below at water level, and on those rocks and in the caves are Sea Lions and Harbor Seals. The Kayaks were able to move in and get great views of the animals. Wish we could have done the kayak trip, that would have been really cool.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:12 PM
Friday, October 4, 2013
This group of flamingos is at the entrance to the San Diego Zoo - the first animals you see after entering. There have been a group of flamingos at the entrance since the museum opened almost a hundred years ago. I spent a fair amount of time photographing them because their shapes are so interesting. I love this shot because the three necks in the foreground are almost mirror images of each other. I was curious why the flamingos stay there, and I asked one of the park people if they stayed because they are social and want to remain in the group, or because their wings were clipped. The answer is that some of the primary feathers are clipped. They're not taking any chances.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:59 PM
Thursday, October 3, 2013
The cliffs at La Jolla are really picturesque, and they are the home of a number of different sea birds. There are pellicans and I believe these are cormorants. There are hundreds of them, everywhere. There is only one problem - they defecate all over the rocks that they live on. This is an environmental disaster. The smell around the cliffs is awful, if you happen to be downwind. There were notices that there is an environmental clean up program in progress. But it can't be easy because they can't just wash the waste into the ocean - they have to remove it from the cliffs without polluting the water. Wow, what a mess.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:36 PM
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
So this is the skeleton that I spoke about in yesterday's post, sitting on Amy & Gus' couch It really is wonderful, with its wispy cloth body. It just seems so creative, and the head does light up sometimes. I am serious, I wanted to bring one of these things home, but it would have to be carry-on and I can't imagine that it would make it successfully through airport security, given that there are some electronics in its head. So now I don't know what we will hang on our porch for Halloween.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:30 PM
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
You have to love Hollywood! We were shopping in the Rite Aid, and noticed that there were Halloween decorations already on the shelves. So we started looking around and found some really cool stuff. We bought two skeleton head ghosts with long gray wispy robes, one each for Liz and Amy. And then Amy found this, and of course could not resist trying it on. And since all Spencers are actors, she couldn't possibly put this on and keep a straight face, and so we have this wonderful photograph!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:09 PM