Friday, January 31, 2014
This is a photograph I took of the mirror making class that I visited in New London, with a friend of mine, who gave a lecture on some history of amateur telescope making in the United States. These students wanted to learn how to grind and polish a telescope mirror, so their professor decided to conduct classes. I was impressed to see how enthusiastic they all are about their project. I brought two telescopes that I made along with me, and photographs of three others. That's my telescope sitting in the foreground - and it was pretty neat to see them carefully examining it, and looking at photographs of the others. It is exciting to me to be around people this motivated.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:11 PM
Thursday, January 30, 2014
When we were in Connecticut recently Nicole reminded me that her favorite photos on the blog are those that feature the kitties. Today I saw them sitting together looking out the dining room window so I grabbed my camera to take a shot for her. Guess what - the minute I had the camera, the kittie on the left turned to look at me! Arghhhhhhh... So I had Kathy go out to the back yard and they immediately sensed that she was there, somehow, and the left kittie turned to look at her, and I had my shot.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
How's this for a photograph that you would never have thought of? I stayed at my sister Joan's last night and she is getting rid of stuff she has collected over the years. I took a look around before leaving and saw this rocking horse, upside down, in a window in the basement. The incongruity of it - where it was and the fact that it was upside down and covered with cobwebs struck me immediately. So I had to go out to the car and get my camera, and record this. I can't, however, tell you why it makes such a powerful impression on me.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:53 PM
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Pretty picture, huh? I have photographed this scene before, in the spring, I think it was. But it is always pretty spectacular in the winter if the temps have been below freezing - the water droplets freeze after going over the falls. So here is the embarrassing part: I was driving through Milford on the way to New London, and I really needed a photo for the blog, and I knew I would be coming back after dark. So I drove here and parked the car. It took me three minutes or less to do this photo. That's because when I was in High School, and a member of a camera club, every member of the club did this photo, in one season or another, for the photo contests. And I did it myself as well. So I know exactly the right spot, and this is it! Three minutes! Embarrassing...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:10 PM
Monday, January 27, 2014
On the way down the street to photograph the frozen landscape at the water, I passed by this garden in the front yard of a neighbor. I have tried to photograph these grasses before, but the picture never quite worked, for some reason. Maybe there wasn't enough snow, or too much snow. I can't remember. But I love how it looked on this day. There is something about the subtle color of the grasses that made me feel good. It brightened up a cold and gray day.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:11 PM
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Snow everywhere, and it is pretty cold, so naturally I needed to go out and look for a photograph. First place I always go is down the street to the water. What was cool is that the tide was out, and the whole sandbar was covered with ice, which makes for more interesting pictures. I wandered around for a while shooting the ice patterns, and then, lucky me, a woman came along the edge of the harbor with her dog! Perfect! I had to wait quite a while because her dog was a long distance from her, but eventually she called him and he came to her, and then passed her, and then I had my picture.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:37 PM
Saturday, January 25, 2014
It's not as if this is one of my great photographs, but this situation interests me. For some reason, it would not occur to me to have my portrait taken with a painting. I have seen a lot of paintings in my life, but never thought to do this. So what do I have my picture taken with? Airplanes. A lot, in the real world and in museums. Buildings. The natural landscape - like the Grand Canyon. But to each his own. This a Van Gogh painting of sunflowers that this visitor decided to be photographed with.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:13 PM
Friday, January 24, 2014
I went to The Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday to see an exhibit of photographs called "Everyday Ephipanies." Then I figured I would just wander around and see what else I might stumble across. I wandered in to see a five channel video installation called "The Refusal of Time." It was crazy wonderful. There were five video projectors displaying moving images on three walls in a room, with an amazing, strange soundtrack. In the middle of the room was a wood and metal "breathing machine" which is impossible to describe. In this photograph, there are silhouettes projected on the wall, moving around the room, which is part of the exhibit, and two visitors, also seen as silhouettes.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Thursday, January 23, 2014
When I take the train to Manhattan from Sea Cliff, I always have to change trains at the Jamaica Station. The technical part is that the first train a diesel, and at Jamaica we all switch to an electric train for the rest of the ride to Penn Station. More than you wanted to know, right? Anyhow, I always have my camera ready for the short wait on the platform after we all get off, and have to stand around for 5 minutes or so before the second train arrives. Most days I don't find anything interesting, but today there was a perfect composition! Nice that they were lost in what they were doing - they were oblivious to me taking pictures, which made it easier.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:38 PM
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
First thing I had to do this morning was shovel the driveway. I felt that I didn't have time to look for pictures until I got the work done. Then I went looking for a pretty picture in the snow. In the Fall, Kathy asked if I wanted her to leave these stalks standing, when she was cleaning the garden. I said "yes" because they are fascinating to me. But the stalks alone are not enough - it was the dark shadows of the trees curving down the small hill in the background that made this special. I think in this case, the picture is really about the background.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:20 PM
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
I went for a walk late in the day while it was still snowing. I guess there was about six inches of snow on the ground. I probably walked for an hour or so - and it was much harder to walk in the snow because it was slippery. And it was cold! The worst part was turning around and walking back into a howling wind coming off the harbor. I did a bunch of photographs, but this is is my favorite because I love the moody blue color and there is one car headlight in the distance.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Saturday morning the forecast was for possible rain showers. Imagine my surprise when it started snowing, and within a few minutes, the ground was white. The snowflakes were huge - I am sure that they must have been almost an inch across. They were light, and fell slowly, and stuck to all the tree branches. It was beautiful in an instant. Only thing was, we had to drive to Connecticut, and the road was covered. After driving about two miles south, however, there was no evidence of snow! Amazing how localized the weather can be sometimes.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
This is Keera, again. Yesterday I showed her checking out her video on her iPod. After we finished dinner, she had some spaghetti left over, and some chicken tenders. Sounds like just what a person would need to make a face, on a dinner plate. Spaghetti hair, chicken tenders for eyes, pieces of french fries for pupils, and more spaghetti for a mouth. Very clever, don't you think?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:48 PM
Saturday, January 18, 2014
We traveled up to Connecticut today to visit Connor, who is in the hospital. Afterwards we all went to dinner, which was nice. This is Keera, Connor's youngest sister and she was using her iPod Touch to shoot a video of all of us around the dinner table. Then she watched the video to see how it looked, and I took the picture. I love how the screen of the iPod was illuminating her face. A really interesting light source, and so prevalent these days, with all of us spending our lives looking at our screens.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:04 PM
Friday, January 17, 2014
At the photo exhibit yesterday, I saw photographs that Lewis Hine took during the original construction of the Empire State Building. Mainly he photographed the workers during construction, but it made me want to go over and look at the building, and photograph it. I walked down to 34th street, and did a few shots from far away, then walked toward the building, photographing all the way. Finally I was across the street, and shot nearly straight up at it. What I noticed was that as I got closer the building, it looked smaller, as you can see here. But it was an interesting exercise. So then I was walking back to Penn Station and look what I found! A woman was doing the same thing that I was, using her cell phone! How cool was that, and there's my blog shot!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:52 PM
Thursday, January 16, 2014
I went to the International Center of Photography today to see an extensive exhibit of the photographs by Lewis Hine, who was active starting in about 1905. He was was an American sociologist and photographer who used his camera as a tool for social reform. His photographs were instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the United States. So there was a group of these young students, gathered in a corner, speaking French, and working on their iPads. I spoke to the teacher and found they were from a school for ex-pats here in New York, and were here to see the exhibit, and work on a project about the Industrial Revolution. I was just amazed at how they were using their iPads so intensively for this project.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:31 PM
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
I was getting desperate for a blog photograph today. When I arrived at the planetarium for my astronomy meeting, I parked behind the planetarium building because there was a board of directors meeting in the lobby. I was looking for something, anything, that would make a picture, and didn't see any possibilities. Until the meeting was over. I came out the back door to see a dense fog, and suddenly the back door and security lights seemed really moody and interesting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:02 PM
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The fancy breakfast. Yessiree. Tuesday mornings are Dunkin' Donuts mornings. It is part of our ritual. It used to be Starbucks, but we got tired of going there and have been going to Dunkin' instead. Small coffee, one donut. Not all that bad for one's diet, if it's only once a week. At least that's my rationale. Yummmmmm.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM
Monday, January 13, 2014
When I am walking around an exhibit of paintings, I am always looking for the silhouettes of people who are in the exhibit with me, seen against the artwork on the wall. I have done some mildly interesting photographs like that. So I was really excited as I wandered through this exhibit to see this wonderful, graceful sculpture in the center of the gallery. By itself it was pretty cool, but I decided to stay in one place and watch people as they moved through the gallery. This is my favorite, although there was an interesting second place image. The sculpture, by the way is called "Man in the Open Air" by Elie Nadelman, and was done in 1915.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:24 PM
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Poor mouse. It came in our house. It didn't know that two kitties live here. I feel badly for this poor mouse, though. It is so cute, isn't it? I am not sure if it is a field mouse or not, come in from outside because of the cold weather. The funny part is how I came to discover it. We have a couple of little toy mice made out of felt that the kitties play with. I was watching TV and noticed both cats facing each other, with the toy mouse between them. Then I looked again more carefully - it was NOT the toy mouse! It was this little guy, and he was already dead. Also felt badly that I had to take the mouse away from the cats, and dispose of it.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
I got up much earlier than normal this morning to go to an FAA safety briefing. I am not fond of getting up early, but sometimes I make the supreme sacrifice, and this morning I was rewarded. I was amazed when I got down to the harbor to see a fast moving layer of fog being blown across the water. It was beautiful to see how it moved among the trees making them disappear, and then reappear. It was both mystical and magical.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:42 PM
Friday, January 10, 2014
This is another photograph from yesterday of the ice on the harbor. This was one of the first pictures I took, and I was sure this was going to be the blog. But later on, as you saw, I did the picture of the circle of ice held against the sky. What was happening here, was that the woman's daughter was picking up blocks of snow and ice, and piling them along the edge of the boat ramp, just for the fun of it. The woman told me "Oh, she's a collector..." In this case, the young girl carrying the ice really makes the shot!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:22 PM
Thursday, January 9, 2014
OK, so here is a GREAT story! I went down to the harbor late in the day because I had seen that ice had formed due to the cold weather. There was a mom there with her young daughter and we started talking while I was taking pictures of the ice. Her daughter was gathering up thick chunks of ice and snow, and piling them up on the edge of the boat ramp. She was really having a good time. Then she brought this piece of ice which was very thin and handed it to her mom, who held it up to the sun and remarked how beautiful it was. I immediately asked if she could hold it up for a picture, and she was very patient, and I shot this a few different ways before coming up with this photo. Something wonderfully mystical about it, I think. I think this is one of my best photographs in a while!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:46 PM
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
I went to the Museum of Modern Art today to see an exhibit called "American Modern: Hopper to O'Keeffe" and another one of photographs by Walker Evans. But while I was there I saw that there was a big exhibit of Rene Magritte paintings. I hadn't expected to see this exhibit, but that's the cool thing - all the other things you discover when wandering around a museum! As I approached the entrance to the exhibit, I saw this man on his cell phone, and the reflection of the phone in his eyes! Everything was in place, including the woman in the background. He was intent, so I managed to get about four shots before he moved away.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
I was driving along today, and happened to look over at a car to my right. Inside were two elderly people who were both laughing. I kept looking and they kept laughing while talking. It made my heart feel warm and fuzzy. Imagine, a couple like this who have been together for so long, and they laugh so easily together. This is not a great photo, because I elected NOT to try and do a photograph while driving! That's a first. I waited until we both stopped at a light, then I got the camera out and made a few exposures. I wish this photo was better, but it does allow me to tell your their story. If you click on this, you will see them in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:05 PM
Monday, January 6, 2014
One more photograph from El Matador beach, for Betsey. This is another of the rock outcrops along the beach. I love that this one is standing all by itself and the late afternoon sunlight gives a golden glow to the colors of the rock. You probably wonder why I am still posting photographs from California. It's just that I can't deal with the reality of the East Coast cold, and so I am imagining that I am still on the West coast!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:58 PM
Sunday, January 5, 2014
I was sitting on one of the benches on the 4th Street Promenade while the ladies were all shopping. A young woman stopped and was standing right in front of me, and appeared to be waiting for someone. She was just looking up and down the Promenade. After a while she got out her cellphone and was apparently texting. I wanted to do a photo because it looked like a good shot, but she was too close to me, and would have seen me. So I waited, and then she went over to the wall of the building and continued to text, and I thought that it looked like a good shot. I was far enough away to finally take the picture. I really love that her face was illuminated by her cellphone. After about ten minutes, she finally walked away. Don't know if she ever found the person she was looking for.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:13 PM
Saturday, January 4, 2014
There is a new hat store in Venice, and the girls, knowing that I LOVE hats, said that we should visit the store. It was really cool, because when I tried on one of the hats on display, the hat maker came over and took the hat I was wearing, and spent about 20 minutes or so changing the hat almost completely! It was so cool to watch him at work, using a special steam iron and another metal tool to form the felt, and add an upturned edge all around the brim. Of course all the steam was a magnet for me, and I asked if it was OK to shoot some photographs, and he said that it was. So here is Ruben, the hat maker, at work.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 11:00 PM
Friday, January 3, 2014
OK, no more pretending. I am home, and it snowed. Boy, did it snow. Well, actually only 8 or 10 inches, and it was a light snow, which was nice when it came to shoveling. I went over to the neighbor's to help her shovel. But she had another helper, with a snowblower - the neighbor across the street. So there wasn't too much to do, but I did the stone stairs and the front walk. While doing the stairs I noticed this - this beautiful old rusted gate and the Purple coneflowers in the background. This does look cold, doesn't it?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:36 PM
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Betsey asked for more photographs of El Matador Beach, so here is another one. It is really a spectacular landscape, and it looks so different from above and from below. I keep meaning to do some searching on the web to learn how it was formed. There are similar landscapes, of large rock outcrops on the beach, on beaches up in Oregon and Washington State. I am guessing that pieces of the cliff fell off into the water, but I want to know more about the geology. I will be sure and let you know what I find out. (So far I did find out that the name of the beach is EL Matador Beach...)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:56 PM
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
We go over to Abbot's Habit each morning for a breakfast of coffee and danish. The parking lot is behind the store on Electric Avenue. I love the name of that street - there was even a Rock n' Roll song called "Electric Avenue" by Eddie Grant, but it is about Electric Avenue in London. Anyhow, we parked on the street, and while walking to the coffee shop we passed this wall around someone's house. These faces are amazing. I have no idea why they are green, but it is a stunning painting. We have also seen this artist's work on walls in other parts of Venice.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:51 PM