Sunday, August 31, 2014
So here's a funny story. Patty decided to take the Jitney back to Manhattan for the day, so Amy and I drove her to the bus. There wasn't much time before the bus left so Amy and I went to the bakery to get breakfast to take back to the house, and something for Patty to eat on the bus. Only she wanted a bacon and egg sandwich. Only thing is, it took 20 minutes to get, and the bus had left before we got back to it. So... We brought the sandwich back to the house, and Amy and Phillip decided to eat Patty's sandwich, while taking a picture of them eating it! Then they texted the picture to Patty, who was on the bus, and starving, with no breakfast! These two are such kidders!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:22 PM
Saturday, August 30, 2014
So this is just your ordinary photograph of someone's car windshield, and the stuff around it and on it. Or not so ordinary... This is the windshield of the four-wheel drive I spoke of that the housemates bought. They added the upside-down hula girl, and the portrait of the young child. Wait until you hear where that small photograph came from! It seems that one of them rented their apartment to some people visiting New York. When the people had left and the owner returned, in the center of the kitchen table was this tiny framed photograph. How weird is that. So the housemates named the girl "Marta" and they put her photograph above the windshield. Their detective work came up with the fact that she is dressed in clothing that was from years ago, apparently. Other than that, the whole thing is a mystery. Do the people who rented the apartment leave photographs like this everywhere they go?
Friday, August 29, 2014
This a bush in front of Captain Dusty's, the house that Amy and her friends have. So they decided trim the bush in front, only their hedge clippers didn't reach to the top. So when they got this far, it occurred to them that it was starting to look like a head. So they got some paper plates for eyes and drew black pupils on them, and then found a yellow plastic thing for a mouth. It is a spectacular thing to come upon when driving down the road, day or night!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:57 PM
Thursday, August 28, 2014
You're probably thinking: "Dude, who is the surfer guy?" And where did he find those very rad sunglasses? Well, this is Phillip, and he is a surfer, but he's really a brilliant photographer who did the show supported by Kickstarter, called "Horse By Sea." He sees things in such an amazing way, that it feels to me as if he comes from a different universe. I an in awe of his creativity, and it is so much fun to spend time talking when we visit the Montauk house. He is one of the four people who have shares in it. Oh, and the glasses? He found them in a taxi in New York!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 3:51 PM
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
So here's a cool thing. Amy and her housemates decided to buy an old four-wheel drive beach car. What's REALLY cool is where you can go in Montauk with a 4WD. So they found some trails to beaches that can only be reached by driving on sand. Amy loves driving the beach in their new truck. So she took us out to an amazing beach where there was no one else for miles. It was so beautiful, and so peaceful. So here is Amy contemplating the infinite.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:24 PM
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
We all went to Ditch Plains two days in a row, which is where the surfers hang out. There were wall-to-wall surfboards and surfers in wet suits both days. I put a long telephoto lens on my camera, and stood on the breakwater, looking for interesting photographs of the scene. Well, this looks interesting! How did this child end up appearing to float above the water? Mysterious, huh? The man closest to the camera is the child's father, and a moment before this photo was taken, the father was holding the boy by his feet, over his head, and then the dad pushed the boy forward and up in the air where you see him here. It just happened that two surfers paddling out were passing by in the background. An amazing coincidence!
Monday, August 25, 2014
We are in Montauk visiting Amy and her friends Patty and Phillip. When we drove into the driveway of the house they are in, known as "Captain Dusty's" this is the first thing that greets you. It seems so Montauk to me - fishnets, and lobster buoys and then the flower garden. It is late, and so no one knows what flowers these are, but I will find out in the morning and let you know.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Every day when I ride my bike, I pedal up a mile-long hill and then stop to rest for a few minutes before heading back down the hill. Today I happened to look down at the sidewalk and noticed a manhole cover, and I noticed that it had printing on it. I remember seeing printing on manhole covers before but I don't remember paying attention to what it said. So I was surprised to read this and see the words "Bell System." Wow, what a surprise. I thought it might say something about the Nassau County Department of Public Works or something. I am now going to pay more attention to what's under my feet when I walk.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:58 PM
Saturday, August 23, 2014
OK, so I am being a smart aleck here. I went to look on Wikipedia to see if black-eyed Susan was hyphenated, and that's where I saw the latin name for the flower. I am always looking for blind headlines which means that you can't tell what the story is about by reading the headline. I think. Anyhow, I have driven by these flowers and this fence a number of times recently. It is on the way to the recycling center. Today I stopped to photograph the scene. I think I want to add these to our small front garden. They really are pretty, and they would brighten up the present garden. I think it helps that the fence is ivory colored, and not bright white, which softens the contrast.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:36 PM
Friday, August 22, 2014
I was making dinner tonight - a grilled hamburger - and I boiled some carrots to go with it. Then I thought I wanted some other vegetable to go with it. So I sliced up half of of a fresh red pepper that I bought the other day. End of story. Except then I looked at the remaining half of the pepper and was taken by what I saw. So I went and got a studio strobe, and bounced it off the ceiling, to get shadowless lighting, and this is the result. It is commonplace - just the inside of a pepper, but it is so amazing how it is constructed.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:16 PM
Thursday, August 21, 2014
I photographed this statue May 4 during the day. Tonight I was driving home and went past the park and was stunned to see that it was illuminated. It was absolutely striking, to see this brilliant white statue against the black background of the park What a wonderful surprise. This statue is called the "Horse Tamer" and is a copy of the Marly Horses commissioned by Louis XIV in Paris in 1649 and now located at the Louvre. This statue was actually brighter white than this photograph shows - I wish you could see it in real life.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:19 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I drive by this body of water, Cold Spring Harbor, every week on the way to my astronomy club meeting. I always look at the sky as I approach this area, hoping that it might make a nice picture. If the sun is up above the horizon, I usually figure that I can't get a good shot. But tonight there were these beautiful high clouds, and the sun was obscured by the cloud on the horizon. I thought it was perfect for a picture. I just needed to walk along the harbor until I found an interesting foreground, and this is the spot, I think.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
This is an amazing tugboat! I have never seen one this large before. And I was puzzled by how high up the pilot house is. Wow! Why does that need to be so high. And here is the answer... I noticed a fuel barge across the harbor, and it had these huge slab-sided sides. The top of the barge must have been 25 feet above the water. Then it came to me - if this tug is pushing a barge that high, it would need to see over it in order to navigate. One other clue - if you enlarge this image, you can see that there is an extension ladder sticking up behind the pilot house. There are ladders on either side. They, too, are needed to get to the top of the barges they are pushing. Interesting stuff, right?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:57 PM
Sunday, August 17, 2014
One of the cool things about being in Port Jefferson is that the huge passenger and car ferries come and go all day long. This is the Grand Republic, and the front is open because cars were still boarding. I can't explain this exactly, but I went to take a snapshot of the ship, and when it was framed in the viewfinder, I was struck by how this hardly looks like a ship. Something about the shape and design reminded me of the stylized Art Deco posters of ocean liners made in the 1930's.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2014
This is my friend Dick, a great photographer. We have been friends since we both started working for the Gannett Newspapers in Rochester, NY back in 1965. We have been friends ever since. He and his wife came to Long Island for a couple of days to visit where they used to live. He and I both worked at Newsday for a while, as well. So we drove out to Port Jefferson to have lunch with them and spend the afternoon visiting. Naturally we needed a group photo, so we took turns balancing our cameras on a garbage can, so we could all be in the picture.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:53 PM
Friday, August 15, 2014
I keep experimenting with seeing in black & white, because of seeing the Winogrand show. And it is interesting because I shot this on the way into the city, so I hadn't seen the show yet. But I did know of his work already, so maybe that had an affect on me. This is all about the face of the baby being carried by her mother, I think. Please click on this to see it in a larger size - it changes everything.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:41 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2014
There is a major exhibit of photographs of the photographer Gary Winogrand now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is one of the masters of street photography, and was mainly active in the 1960's and 1970's and into the 1980's. So I went to the city today just to see it. Stunning photographs - an amazing breadth of subject matter and creativity. There were so many many black and white photographs to see, it was exhausting, and exhilarating. So naturally, when I left the museum I started shooting on the street. Nothing I did is even CLOSE to his work, but it was interesting to try shooting in a new way. Interesting in this photograph, that two of the four people that are in the picture, are on to me! Winogrand mostly shot in black & white, and I was shooting in color. So I converted the image to black & white to see if I liked that version better. Which one do you like?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:18 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
This is Colin who has just graduated from high school, and is on his way to Columbia University to study Astronomy! He has been a member of our astronomy club for several years now, and is just brilliant! I was able to follow some of his lecture, but his knowledge is way beyond mine.I decided to try a portrait of him, using one of his slides from his lecture, of the Andromeda galaxy. It seemed like a good idea, but I am not as pleased with the final picture. The galaxy image has color differences, and it makes Colin's face mottled. Not what I had hoped for.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:28 PM
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I had a delightful experience this afternoon! A couple of weeks ago, leaving the recycling center, I drove by this gnome garden, but didn't have the time to stop. Today after I went to the Post Office I decided to finally check it out. As I was approaching the front yard, the woman who made this garden called out from the front porch. Here name is Rose, and she is a jazz singer! So she told me the story of the garden, and about a number of the individual gnomes and where they came from. She was thrilled that I wanted to photograph her creation. I love the big gnome sitting on the chair - it is so detailed. I had such a nice visit with Rose - we must have spent half an hour just visiting, and the conversation made my day. Isn't that what life is about, meeting others and finding out what their passions are?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:17 PM
Monday, August 11, 2014
All this talk of a "super moon" is all hype. The increased size of the full moon when it is closer to us in its orbit -"Perigee" - is only 7% larger than the average full moon. It's not much bigger and it's not much brighter. The only way you could see the difference, would be to photograph the moon with a long telephoto lens, or a telescope, when it was close, and when it was far, and compare the photographs. Having said that, I went out last night, and because the moon was behind scudding clouds, I thought it would make a lovely photograph. For the technically inclined among you, I had to make this an HDR image. I picked the best image, shot in RAW, and then exported a lighter exposure, a normal exposure, and a darker exposure, and then combined them. This way there is detail in the face of the moon, and there is detail in the clouds. I have to say, that watching the scudding clouds across the face of the moon, using either binoculars or a telescope, is an absolutely magical experience.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:23 PM
Sunday, August 10, 2014
You will need to click on this image to see it in more detail. It is part of a room constructed at Mass MoCA by the artist Darren Waterson. He has re-imagined a room designed by James McNeil Whistler, known as The Peacock Room, only this room is seen as a deteriorating ruin. It was just stunning to enter into this room at the museum, and see what a mess it is. But it is a captivating mess. Just look at how everything is falling apart. I spent a lot of time here, examining it in detail. You should Google Whistler, and the Peacock Room, so that you can see what the original room looks like . What a brilliant work of art this is!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:46 PM
Saturday, August 9, 2014
I was out in the back yard cleaning and lubricating my bicycle, when I heard the far-off drone of five big radial engines. I knew by the sound - because there are no radial engines in modern aircraft - that with that many of them, it had to be the "Sky Typers." They consist of five WW II era North American SNJ training aircraft, and they have a computerized system that controls the release of smoke so precisely that they can "type" letters with very brief puffs of smoke. I used to see them a lot more frequently years ago, but it is always a thrill to see them pass over. Their message was advertising the Mohegan Sun casino, up Connecticut way.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:41 PM
Friday, August 8, 2014
Saw this in the parking lot of a local hamburger restaurant, and thought that it was really different. A landscape lit by artificial light. One streetlamp is blue-white light, probably a mercury vapor lamp. Behind it is a yellow light that is probably high-pressure sodium. The two different colors add to the strangeness of the landscape.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:33 PM
Thursday, August 7, 2014
I was sitting on my bench in the park, at the end of my bike ride, and looked over and saw this lavender. It stood out for me, because it was surrounded by all the green of the marsh grasses in the distance, and the green in the garden surrounding the lavender. So I think this photograph is that simple, and uncomplicated. Unless, of course, you want me to talk about something that makes landscape photographs more interesting - foreground, middle-ground, and background. That additional complexity can make photographs more interesting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:58 PM
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
I had an interesting idea for the program at my astronomy club tonight. I made a model of the planet Venus, and put it in a black felt lined box, and then lit it with a small spotlight so that it was in its crescent phase. A few of us brought in small refracting telescopes, and I brought sketching materials. Members spent some time studying the model of Venus through one of the telescopes, and then spent time making a sketch of what they saw. Some of the drawings were really well done! I have included a photo of one of the sketches being worked on.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:05 PM
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Crassostrea virginica? What? That is the scientific name for "The Eastern Oyster." Why would I know this? Because in High School I worked for the Milford Marine Biological Laboratory, and I did photography for them. I used to photograph oyster larvae through a microscope. If you do that enough times, you get to memorize the name. Kathy was out east with a friend for a couple of days, and she surprised me by bringing home a dozen fresh oysters! Man, I haven't had oysters in years. Really. Maybe 20 or 30 years? I have been meaning to head over to F.M. Flower & Sons in Oyster Bay to buy some fresh oysters, but never quite got around to it. I even went to the Oyster Festival, but the line was too long, so I didn't get any there. So I rummage around in a drawer, and came up with my old oyster knife, and this is what I did. Man, these were incredibly delicious! In case you were curious.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:30 PM
Monday, August 4, 2014
One of the other exhibits at the museum was devoted to a few artists who still use silver based motion picture film, in the digital age. So there are a number of separate rooms with video being displayed on screens on the floor, by rear-screen projection. This very clever photographer had his lady friend go behind the screen and in front of the projector, and he had her dancing while he photographed both the movie, and her silhouette. I was seriously impressed with his creativity!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:15 PM
Sunday, August 3, 2014
There was one exhibit by an artist in the largest gallery at the museum, that for some reason, didn't reach me. There were a number of temporary rooms, like stage sets, with paintings on tulle fabric - "veils" - hanging on the walls .The artist is very famous and it's a huge exhibit. What did grab my attention was this small white statue, one of two, that was on display behind the walls that made the rooms for the exhibit. It was like being backstage, and the elegance of the statue seemed in contrast to its surroundings. This was deliberate on the part of the artist, of course. It was an exhibit in itself.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Last Tuesday we went to the St. Rocco's Festival - you saw the photograph of the children on Pharoah's Fury. When we got hungry, we had sausage and pepper heros, and bought cannoli's to bring home for dessert. By this afternoon, it occurred to us that we could go back and do it all over again. We were, in fact, craving the food! So we headed over there around supper time. People were streaming toward the festival from all directions, and I saw this father and two of his children ahead of me. I loved the way that they were all holding hands. I just thought this was so cute. The mom is just out of the picture, to the left, in case you were curious. Oh, and the Sausage and peppers were as good as we remembered!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Friday, August 1, 2014
OK, so this is astounding to me. The same artist that did the artwork I posted yesterday, did this piece as well, and it is completely different in feeling and in the materials it is created from. This piece is called "Black Sun, 2014" and it is constructed from a whole series of different colored translucent plastic tubes suspended from the ceiling. It is meant to invoke the feeling of the sky at sunset. I photographed this sculpture from a number of directions, and from below and above. I like this one because of the photographer, who gives both a point of interest, and a sense of scale.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:01 PM