Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Leaves of Spring

When in doubt, or in need of a photograph, I head for the Japanese maple tree.  And I did that today.  I happened to notice while getting the newspaper at the end of the driveway, that there was a faint green color on the maple tree.  Then I noticed the water drops on the tips of the leaves, so I went back in the house and grabbed the camera with a macro lens on it.  I didn't spend a lot of time looking for the perfect picture, because it was raining fairly hard.  I kept the lens aperture wide open, so that the background would be blurred.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The House I Grew Up In

This is the house I grew up in, with my three sisters, and it is being sold, after all these years.  I stopped to see my sister Joan today, and she said our family has lived here for 64 years!  It is too big a house for Joan, and shoveling two sidewalks, one down each side of the house is a killer in the wintertime.  And then there are the drafty windows.  So it will seem strange not to be able to visit our family home anymore.  I guess we have taken it for granted that we could always come here. It is a wonderful house with large windows and bright sunny rooms.  How lucky we have all been to have grown up here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Easter Lilly

You have probably been waiting for me to do this year's Easter Lilly photo, because every year I photograph one.  The Lilly has been sitting in the window for over a week now, and I kept looking at it, but I didn't see any of the blossoms illuminated by light that I liked.  Until today.  I tried several  different ones, and thought I was getting something decent, until I saw this, and KNEW that I had a real picture!  I think it has to do with the neutral gray background behind this Lilly. Be sure and click on this to see it larger, then notice the drop of nectar on the Stigma coming out of the bloom.   

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Six Abstract Paintings

I found this collection of six abstract paintings in the strangest place.  They were not hanging on a wall in an art gallery.  Actually they are panes of glass in the roof of a greenhouse.  During the summer months there is a white material that is put on the outside of greenhouses to reduce the amount of sunlight getting in.  Gradually the white material washes off, so during the colder months, there is more sun warming the greenhouse.  I just thought these looked like abstract paintings.  Each one is kind of an interesting object, I think.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Greenhouse

This is one of the photographs from our trip to Planting Fields.  This is one of the smaller greenhouses, off the main greenhouse.  I like the misty feeling through the glass windows at the end of the of the aisle.  I shot the picture in color, but when I was looking at the scene, I thought it might look nice in black & white.  I like it in color, but I like this better, for some reason.  Perhaps it is about all the subtle gray tones in the image.

Here is the same image in color, because my sister asked for it.  Brothers are supposed to do what their sisters ask...   :-)  It doesn't feel as if color adds much to the image.  Which photograph do you prefer?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Camellia japonica

This is funny - I show you  a close up of a blossom, and I have the nerve to label is "Camellia japonica."  What's funny about this?  That I sound like I know what I am talking about!  In this case, I haven't been studying flowers - I just read the tag in the greenhouse where this was growing.  I LOVE this photograph!  I love that it is so delicate and that the color and shadows are so subtle.  It is almost like looking at something through a fog.  Please be sure to click on it to see it larger.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nice Bannisters!

We were walking crosstown up in the 40's when I noticed these two sculptures coming through a wrought iron fence.  They are on the ends of the bannisters on either side of the stairs leading to the front door.  I mean, these are just stunning!  Can you imagine having one of each of these on either side of your front steps?  Some people probably wouldn't come to your front door.  I want some of these!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Scary Building

How's this as an attention getter?  Wow!  Amazing!  And a bit scary as well.  It is an advertisement for something - perhaps liquor.  The thing that is being advertised is on another wall of the building, to the left of the portrait.  I was stopped dead in my tracks, seeing this, and figured that it would make an arresting photograph.  Brilliant advertising idea.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Breakfast

This was my breakfast today.  A bran muffin.  So here's the story...  Kathy made bran muffins for all of us.  Everyone except me cut their muffins up, and toasted them in the kitchen, and added butter before bringing them to the table.  I eat my muffin at room temperature with no butter.  So I carried the muffin to the dining room table, on a plate, and brought along a knife to cut it into quarters. As I sat down I decided to do something silly, to see if anyone was watching.  I stuck the knife into the top of the muffin like this.  The good news is that everyone noticed!  And first they were shocked, and then they started laughing.  Mission accomplished!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Planting Fields

We went on a field trip today, just to get out in the beautiful weather.  After considering the possibilities, we headed off to Planting Fields Arboretum and Historic Park.  The grounds are wonderful, with gardens and amazing trees everywhere, as well as Coe Hall - the mansion on the grounds.  And then there are the greenhouses.  The display of plants and flowers in the main greenhouse is just stunning.  I love wandering around their greenhouses, looking for interesting details.  I found this palm in there, and had a lot of fun coming up with the most interesting composition.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find the tag for this plant, so I can't give more details about what it is.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vince & I Go For a Walk

My brother-in-law Vince is here visiting us with his wife Joanne, and he and I took a walk the other day - a three-mile round trip to the power plant and back.  We stopped at the pond to check out the work going on there.  I need to do some posts about the work - they are dredging the pond to remove all the sand and silt that has built up over the last thirty years.  They are also removing all the phragmites to restore the pond with the natural plants that belong there.  We are looking at some of the broken pieces of phragmites floating around, and you can see our shadows.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Moment on the Street

The four of us went to the city today to see a broadway show.  We walked uptown from Penn Station and then walked around afterwards, and then walked back to the train station to come home.  While walking down 8th avenue, I kept my toy camera in my hand, just looking around for possible photographs.  At a crosswalk with a red light, I was looking around and saw this mother and son looking at something.  I have no idea what, but it made an interesting "street photograph" I think.  I also like seeing the faces of the other two pedestrians.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Poor Daffodils

I guess I was too overjoyed with the prospect of warm weather.  It felt like it was finally here to stay.  Guess what?  Temperatures back in the 30's.  I feel so badly for the Daffodils.  Here they are, coming out of the ground to bring us joy, and look what happens to them.  I tried to lift some of them up, with the hope they would stay upright, but it didn't work.  I have seen these flowers in other's gardens, and some of those flowers are on the ground as well.  I am wondering if warmer weather will bring new life to them, and they will stand up again.  Or maybe it is just too late this year.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Different View

Here's a different view of the plant being demolished.  I was able get this shot by putting the lens of the camera through a space in the fence. The power plant has that bleak look because the steel and glass have been removed from all of the windows.  I spoke to one of the workmen today and asked how they would bring the building down, and he said they would pull it down with cables.  Wow. That will be interesting to see!  And sad, of course.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ice Landscape

This is my latest landscape, in a land covered with ice.  This land is in an unexpected place - on the windshield of the car. But wait, you say - it's April.  True.  But a cold front came through last night, and at the tail end of the front, it was cold enough for snow and ice precipitation.  I think it didn't happen until morning, but there was ice and snow on the grass and on the cars in the mornin.  So I went looking for a picture.  This was the best that I could do.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Work of Squirrels

One of the joys of our house and our property, small thought it is, are the trees.  There is a giant Hickory tree on the front lawn and every fall the squirrels go nuts (I didn't mean to say that) and for several weeks all you can hear are the remains of Hickory nuts banging off the roof and off the metal rain gutters.  When fall is over, there are so many pieces of hickory nut on the lawn, that it is like walking on gravel.  So I decided to take a close look at what covers the lawn, and this is it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Astronomical Legends

So one of the fun things about the astronomy convention is the part about randomly bumping into friends that I haven't seen in a while.  Here are a couple of astronomy legends, enjoying each other's company.  On the left is Perry Remaklis, who with his wife owns the publisher Willmann-Bell that specializes in astronomical books, and to the right is Richard Berry, formerly the editor of Astronomy magazine.  He has designed a number of really cool telescopes - I have built one, and years ago he told people how to build their own CCD camera for astronomy.  Brilliant people!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Two Hours of Bad Roads

When I left the astronomy convention, I spied this mountain bike on a rack on top of a car in the parking lot.  I have never seen a bike so covered in mud!  Strangely enough, I know whose bike this is!  He belongs to our club, and told me that in the morning before coming to the convention, he was going to do a two hour mountain bike competition ride nearby.  Well, I guess he did!  He will be doing a lot of cleaning and lubricating of the bike before his next ride!  Be sure to click on this to see it in more detail.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

High Rise

I drove up to Rockland county today to go to the first day of a two-day astronomy conference.  I forgot to take a blog picture while at the conference - I was too busy looking at all the stuff, and talking to everyone I met as I wandered around.  So in desperation, on the way home, I did my shooting-out-of-the-car-window trick.  As I went by Co-Op city, I saw these patterns in one of the high rise buildings that make  up Co-Op city.  I was attracted to the repetitive design.  It looks much cooler if you click on it and see the design up close.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Moonrise, Dunkin Donuts

I love when I get desperate for a photograph for the blog.  I have my radar working at high speed scanning everywhere, looking for a photograph.  I was on my way to my astronomy meeting, and each week that involves me stopping at the Dunkin Donuts, where I buy coffee and donuts to bring to the meeting.  As I left the store, I looked up to see the moon, and then the strange lighting fixture on the dormer.  I have never noticed that before, but that just goes to show how, when I am desperate, I really start looking around.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blue Landscape

What do you see when you look at this photograph?  Think about it for a minute or so.  There will be a quiz.  What I have photographed to get this image, is the light from the late afternoon sun, shining through one of the blue glass bottles sitting on the windowsill.  I have photographed several of the bottles in one picture before, but this is just the light from one bottle, photographed with a closeup lens. It looks to me like trees in a forest reflected in a pond. Your experience may vary.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I have been meaning to do this for a while...

This is the famous Japanese maple tree in the front yard, illuminated by car headlights.  I have seen this picture every time I pull into the driveway at night.  It's just that I never quite get around to shooting it. Tonight I said: OK, no more fooling around, stop the car here, and shoot it NOW!"  So I did.  I am fairly sensitive to the different feelings that different kinds of light evoke in me.  This lighting on the tree comes under the category of strange and creepy, and I like that, as a change of pace.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Moonwatch

About eight of us from the astronomy club drove out to an elementary school with our telescopes for a moonwatch this evening.  One of our club members is Colin, a high school senior, who is planning to study astronomy in college next year.  He is a brilliant student, and his knowledge of astronomy in mind-boggling.  Here is shown explaining to one of the students at the school, some of the geological features on the moon that she was looking at in the telescope.  There was a young girl about nine years old that came to my telescope to look at the moon.  She put her eye to the eyepiece, and then was frozen in place.  I could tell in her voice that she was stunned seeing the craters and the surface of the moon.  She was immobile for a long time, and then after walking away, came back to my telescope for another view.  What is more rewarding than that, to introduce people to the universe!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Time to Paint the Fence

I took my camera outside to look for a photograph, and went down to the street where the mailbox is.  It was then that I noticed the fence post right next to the mailbox.  And the first thing I noticed was that the fence was badly in need of paint.  Then the trick was to show this, AND  to play with the composition, and the balance to make it as interesting as possible.  A lot of work ahead for me this Spring.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


This is one of several Crocus that have finally emerged from the ground in the garden next to the house.  What's crazy is how late they are this year.  My memory may not be right, but I *think* I have seen Crocus much earlier in the season in other years.  Maybe even poking through the snow in February?  And they are only buds at this point, not fully in bloom  as they usually are.  I guess it is all about the really cold winter we had.  I will keep an eye on them, and look for another photo when they bloom. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Picture I DIDN'T Take...

I went to get a haircut today.  Actually, I got them all cut...   har de har, har...  Anyhow, I go to a nice hair salon called Lucia's.  It is always full of women, and just me, and I am OK with that.  While I was waiting on the couch, a beautiful 4-year old girl, with gorgeous curly hair came over to this table and started leafing through a magazine.  What a great shot there was, right in front of me.  But photograph a young girl who I don't know?  No way!  Maybe years ago, but not now.  I wasn't even tempted to try and take a shot.  So instead, I did this photograph of the girl's lunch that her mom brought for her to eat.  Maybe an interesting shot, but it doesn't hold a candle to the portrait you will never see.

Friday, April 4, 2014


I was pulling into the driveway late in the afternoon today, and I spotted this dead plant where it was left so I could take it out for the garbage pickup.  The plant is dead, of course and I think that was the attraction to me, because the structure of the plant is so visible. It is not as if it is a beautiful structure, but the overall effect is of something reaching up.  I think that's what caught my eye.  And since the background is one of the white doors of the garage the structure of the plant stands out.  I do like the additional complexity because the garage doors have a pattern as well.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Kitty in the Sunlight

The kitties are always interesting.  I was sitting in my chair in the living room, eating a sandwich for lunch, and drinking my tea.  Then I noticed that one of the kitties was watching me.  I am not sure why, but I was eating a turkey sandwich.  Kitties have sensitive noses.  Or maybe she was just hanging out and looking around.  I reached for my toy camera, worried that they can decide to move, and I was hoping she stayed in place, just for a few seconds longer.  She did.  Click.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Abstract Landscape

I was examining the patterns of the bark on the sycamore trees that line the sidewalk down at the harbor.  Really interesting patterns and colors at this time of year.  So I photographed a number of tree trunks, looking for an interesting pattern.  When I was all done, there was something not quite right and I wasn't sure what it was.  I decided to rotate one of the images so that it was horizontal, and it began to look more like a landscape.  To me.  Because I am desperate...   :-)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Half-Full or Half-Empty?

Or, is the cup just half?  This is interesting...  We have owned some of these cups for years.  The other night I made a cup of tea, and then happened to notice that there was tea all over the countertop.  What?  I looked more closely and saw a hairline crack down the front of the cup, so I knew the cup was toast.  After dumping the tea I pulled on both  sides of the cup, and it came apart, just like this.  Usually when a cup breaks, it ends up in tiny pieces.  This looked so different, and so unusual, that I decided to photograph it.  It is amazing to see the cup this way, and to see the gentle curve of the breaks. I think this is interesting in a puzzling kind of way - "What is going on here?"  I love puzzles.