Friday, October 31, 2014
A week or so ago I showed you two masks that were under construction in Rochester. Kathy brought her mask home to work on it, and I don't know what Jo Anne's mask looks like. So this is Kathy's finished mask. Man, what a creepy thing to have on our front door! I love it! We didn't get that many kids trick-or-treating. I wonder why?
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Another day at the jobsite, tearing down the power plant. I spotted this through the fence as I drove by, but the fence was in the way when I tried to shoot it. They have set up sections of chain link fence which are wired together, to keep the site secure. But they left a space between two sections. A space just for me, so I could crouch down and sneak inside, and create the perfect composition. I was taken by all the wires hanging down - something new that I had not seen before.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:11 PM
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
I have never seen an escalator illuminated like this. Have you? I think the only light source is the white stripes just above the steps. They are probably LED or florescent Tubes. Know where this is? It is the escalator that you take back up to the street level, from the basement of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The Museum is a pretty powerful experience, so having something as dramatic as this to take you back to the ordinary world is a wonderful idea.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:51 PM
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I found these beautiful red leaves on the vines that were growing on one of my compost piles. I think that these are the leaves of "Grape Ivy." I have no idea exactly what grape ivy is, but I am fighting it all year long. Man, does it move fast and take over huge areas of vegetation. It overuns regular ivy, and climbs up tree trunks and out into the branches. It is a nightmare. But isn't it pretty at this time of year, when its green leaves turn a beautiful red? OK, but I still hate it!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:54 PM
Monday, October 27, 2014
My friend Bob Keeler and I went over to the Port Washington Public Library together this afternoon because he wanted to see the exhibit of the portraits I had done for the library. After the library, we went to dinner at this restaurant that overlooks Manhasset Bay. Since the sun was going down, the first thing we both did was take photographs out the window of this pier. I told Bob that his picture better not be better than mine!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:09 PM
Sunday, October 26, 2014
So this gives a really good view of all that is now missing from the power plant. The whole center section is gone, and three of the smokestacks are gone as well. I wish I could have been here to see how it all came down. I will be watching from here on out to see what's next in the process.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
What a killer, the week we go away, they remove some major parts of one of the main buildings! Arghhhhhhhhh! Weeks have gone by with nothing ever happening, and then last week they made major advances in their demolition. I will take more photographs of the buildings so you can get a better idea, but I liked this detail a lot. It shows that the walls of the main hall were made from the yellow glazed brick, with inlays of reddish brick. I WISH I could have seen this back in the day... Sigh... I do like that this photograph has a monumental feeling to it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:26 PM
Friday, October 24, 2014
When some of us from the astronomy club brought our telescopes to the "Kidfest" at Old Westbury Gardens, we saw a number of other displays for kids. One of the displays included a number of very creatively carved pumpkins. The new, new thing apparently, is to carve the outside of the pumpkin, instead of carving a face through the entire shell of the pumpkin. In fact, there is a program called "Rise of the Jack-O-Lanterns", where they have literally hundreds of pumpkins displayed at night, and some of them are like this. I can't quite imagine it all, so we are going to go to the event, and of course I will bring my camera.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:19 PM
Thursday, October 23, 2014
You may have to click on this photograph to see the main subject of the picture. I was down by the harbor, on the opposite side of the fence from these Swans and their cygnets. The adults kept their eye on me the whole time. What astounded me was the color of the young swans! I guess this photograph shows the importance of their gray coloring - you can barely see them in this photograph, since they blend into the sand and reeds that washed up on the shore.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:17 PM
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
First I saw the blue sky at dusk, then I noticed the old-fashion street lamp, and thought it would make a nice photograph. While shooting I realized that most of the leaves were missing on one tree, and some were missing from the other. Oh boy, it was a reminder that Winter is coming on! Brrrrrr.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
There are really nice gardens at the George Eastman House, and I always photograph them when I visit there, no matter what the weather. Here's the thing - I have always photographed gardens in color. But I have this book of extraordinary black & white photographs by the English landscape designer Gertrude Jekyll who lived from 1843-1932 in Surrey, England. She photographed her own garden, which was legendary in its design. So here's the thing - it is easy for me to photograph in color, but shooting gardens in black & white is hard. So for that reason I always try to do it. This is one of my attempts. I do love the luscious gray tones that black and white photography produces.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:36 PM
Monday, October 20, 2014
I have a bunch of photographs that I hadn't gotten around to posting before leaving for Rochester. I showed you one picture from inside the museum. This is a photograph of one of the memorial reflecting pools on the plaza outside. This part of the memorial is stunning and sublime. It is a brilliant idea, and beautifully executed. It is impossible for me to put any of my feelings into words, other than to say that you should really come and see this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:14 PM
Sunday, October 19, 2014
It was raining as I made my way toward Rochester on Route 96, up above Ithaca. As I drove by this field, I recognized it immediately. I have driven by this field for at least forty years. Seriously. A farmer started storing old equipment there long before I started coming by. Strangely, I have never stopped to take pictures here. But the view of this old truck in the rain stopped me in my tracks! It just seems beautiful surrounded by fall colors. If I had to guess, I would think this truck dates back to the 1930's or 1940's. Perhaps one of you will know.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:11 PM
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Halloween is approaching soon, and so Kathy and Jo Anne decided to make masks for the occasion. They start with thin molded cardboard bases that fit your face, then they use white glue and industrial strength blue hand towels to build up features on top of the cardboard. So in the condition they are in now, they are half-done. Even at this stage, they are really creepy, aren't they? They have done more work since I took this photo, so I will have to do a shot when they are finished.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:25 PM
Friday, October 17, 2014
As part of the homecoming events today, there was a fancy luncheon, and then a visit to the RIT archives, where the curators had arranged a whole collection of items from 1964 for us to look over, including copies of the student newspaper and photographs. Oh, and the tiger. "Why the tiger?" you might ask. Well, in 1963 a tiger cub was acquired to be the RIT mascot. It was so cute, and students would lead it around the campus on a leash, and bring it to sporting events. Within a year or so it got too big, and I guess too dangerous, so the tiger was given to the Rochester Zoo. We learned today that it died in the zoo at about age 2. So they brought the remains of the tiger to a taxidermist, and now "Spirit the Tiger" lives on in the archives.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:28 PM
Thursday, October 16, 2014
These students at Rochester Institute of Technology, my alma mater, are sitting in rapt attention, as you can see. What could possibly be that interesting? The answer is "us." By us, I mean eight guys who graduated from RIT back in 1964. We have returned to the school for our 50th anniversary! Wait, that means I must be really old! The group of us talked a bit about the path of our careers, and about how we, as film shooters for more than half our lives, managed the switch to digital photography. The students, of course, have known only digital imaging. We hope it was an interesting presentation, and I didn't notice anyone falling asleep. Below is a photograph of some of the panel members. I think there are about 14 of us who came back for the reunion. It is astounding to me to think that we were once here, went out and lived our lives, and that fifty years later we return and our lives intersect, once again.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:12 PM
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
So as I mentioned yesterday, I went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. There is so much there to see, it is really overwhelming, just in the exhibits alone. There are two sections - in one section you can see some of the beams from the twin towers, and a crushed fire truck, and part of the antenna that was on the roof. The other section involves artifacts from peoples's lives, and missing posters from the period, and written and audio and video stories. Stopping to read or listen to too many stories is overwhelming. No photography is allowed in that section. So this is a photograph of two of the beams. The power of these two objects has to do with the fact that they are covered with rust, and that their scale is enormous. What you can see here, from top to bottom is about ten feet high. And the thickness of the steel is astounding.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:56 PM
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I went to the World Trade Center today to meet two friends and to tour the 9/11 Memorial. I took the E train to the World Trade Center stop and when I came up to the street, this is what I saw! It stopped me in my tracks! I have seen One World Trade Center while it was under construction, but never finished. And now the outside is done, and the antenna is on top, topping it out to 1776 feet. It is so impressive how the mirrored glass surfaces reflect the clouds and the sky. I think that's what stopped me - that the surface of the building matched the sky.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:51 PM
Monday, October 13, 2014
I went to MacDonalds for an ice cream cone late in the day the other day - it's a ritual, once a week. I parked my car and happened to look up when I was getting out, and I couldn't believe my eyes. These clouds were just astounding! They were moving some, so I started shooting, and stood there for a while trying different compositions, both horizontal and vertical. This is my favorite. Some people might see things in this photograph. I just see amazing shapes, but hey, have fun with it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:02 PM
Sunday, October 12, 2014
They ripped off part of the front of the building of the power plant a couple of weeks ago. But they put up concrete Jersey barriers and poles and chain link fence, and then to add insult to injury, they put up a green plastic material to screen the work from people on the street! So I climbed up on the Jersey barrier and fortunately they had put small openings in the fabric to let the air through. So I pulled on one of the fabric openings and there was just enough room that when I put my lens through the chainlink fence, there was a small hole in the fabric! Whew! Anyhow, I managed to get this shot. I wish I had seen this hall when the plant was running. I think that maybe this was the location of the first generators when the plant opened in 1919. Little by little my favorite plant is coming down.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:28 PM
Saturday, October 11, 2014
The kitties are so funny. Sometimes - most times - they are friends. But sometimes they use their paws to bat each other. And most times they find separate places to sleep and take their naps. It was so amazing to see them today lying next to each other to nap. They rarely do that - most times they are in separate parts of the house. Sometimes they are on the same couch. But today was really unusual. What caught me was from where I was sitting, their faces were in tandem, and I thought that was so cute. The trick was to get the camera without them moving. I was able to do that, and you get to see this.
Friday, October 10, 2014
I was parked in front of the hardware store this afternoon, and this truck was stopped in traffic. I grabbed my camera, and when it got closer, I got one shot. I LOVE the dog looking out the window! So, since I know nothing about cars and trucks, I emailed my friend Sam, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of these things. I asked, "What truck is this?" Here is his answer:
“You are looking at a Chevrolet pickup, 1955-1958, but unusual in that it is the 3100 series. Like the Fords, there were three load ratings, roughly equivalent between the two brands. The Chevy 3100 series was like the F-350s- big, brutish. The Chevy 2100 series was like the F-250 series, and there was a lowest series like the F-150. This particular truck has been modified by at least the following: Aluminum radiator and expansion tank visible through grill opening. Chrome bumpers- seldom found on the 3500 series, common to lower ones. All-around disc brakes with wheels and hub caps (not wheel covers) reminiscent of 1966-1969 Chevrolet "SS" designs, as on the Impalas and Caprices. The vehicle rides on radial Goodrich T/A tires, unknown in 1955. Side dump exhausts- probably sounds wonderful under "load." My guess is that there is a more modern "crate engine" (bought fully ready to fire up from the factory). For this car, it is probably what's called a "502" engine. There are also analogous versions of the Ford engines available- the most recent are the Coyote motor (the newer version 302 cubic inch (5.0 L) found on 2013 and later Mustangs, and also the 351C (5.7 liter) of Crown Victoria Police Interceptor fame. Other than that, I didn't notice much. Nice, nice find. Sam.”
I told you he would know! Be sure and click on this, to see all the details on the truck.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:49 PM
Thursday, October 9, 2014
The group went to the University of Minnesota to see the observatory and antique telescope there. After our tour was over, I went over to the Bell Museum of Natural History, on the campus. It is a wonderful museum, and one of the staff members told me that the dioramas in the museum were painted by the artist who painted the dioramas at the the Museum of Natural History in New York. In any case, the dioramas are just beautiful! I was really taken by the stunning beauty of these two foxes. They are just gorgeous! I guess I didn't know that, never haven seen foxes in the wild before. And then in a nearby diorama, there was this River Otter. Is he cute or what!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:44 PM
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
I was driving east along Northern Boulevard, on the way to my astronomy club meeting, and saw this magnificent astronomical scene - moonrise. It was particularly stunning because the moon was rising directly over the highway. It took maybe four seconds to pull the car over and stop. I needed a tripod because the exposure was too long for being hand-held. Want to know the secret to this photograph? OK. So in the main exposure of the scene, the moon is so bright that the moon was just a bright white circle. So I switched to manual exposure, and underexposed the scene in another photo, which then showed detail in the surface of the moon. Then I used Photoshop to carefully combine both images. When I worked for the newspaper, this kind of work was forbidden. But I don't work for the newspaper any more. I can do whatever I want!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:49 PM
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Where's Gramps? Where's the fuel? This was a gas station and the remains of a mart right next to Interstate 35 leading to Minneapolis, and seven miles outside of Northfield. It looks as if it has been abandoned for quite a while now. Not sure what happened to Gramps. Of course I love nothing better than photographing any kind of ruin. I made this photograph fairly early in the morning on the way out of town, and stopped again later, on the way back, when it was overcast. I have some nice close up views of some of the buildings in overcast light, but this seems to be the best version of the overall scene.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:47 PM
Monday, October 6, 2014
You are probably bored with all my telescope photographs, so I am offering something different. During my first day in Minnesota I went to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I arrived late in the day, but was really lucky because that day the museum was open until 9 PM. There was so much going on in the museum. I got to take a tour of a new photographic exhibit, by the curator of photography, there was another talk by an author, and at one point I looked down from the second floor balcony to see these people on their backs in a circle. There was a woman leading the group, but I couldn't quite hear what this was all about. They are looking up through the circular opening in the floor surrounded by a balcony at a painted dome ceiling. They made an interesting design as seen from above, though.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:02 PM
Sunday, October 5, 2014
One thing that Antique Telescope Society members all do is take pictures. Of telescopes. Of each other. You wouldn't believe how they crawl all over the telescopes and observatories, photographing all kinds of details. I have some other fun photos of people examining things in the observatory. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:15 PM
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Every year at the Antique Telescope Society Convention, we do a "class portrait." This the portrait for this year, at the Goodsell Observatory. What I want you to see is not so much the class, but the observatory. It is an absolutely beautiful building. The cornerstone was laid in 1886. The first instrument installed was something called a Meridian circle. It was used to observe stars as they crossed the meridian, and from that they could calculate the exact time. The observatory would then sell this time service to both jewelry stores, and more importantly, the railroads. Obviously railroads need to know the exact time so that their trains would not collide. This time service supported the observatory for years. Here is a photograph of the Meridian circle telescope. There is a slit that opens in the ceiling of the room above the telescope so the telescope can see the sky.
Friday, October 3, 2014
This is a magnificent historical telescope, still in use at the Goodsell Observatory at Carleton College. The lens was made by John Brashear, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, back in 1890. When it was installed, the scope was the sixth largest in the U.S. and the 12th largest in the world. It is 22 feet long, and weighs 27,000 pounds. We got to observe through this telescope on two nights. This is Taylor, the student who operated the telescope for us.
In order to find astronomical objects in the sky, you need to know the Right Ascension and Declination of the object, which is the sky's version of Longitude and Latitude. So what's really cool is that Taylor is sitting at the eyepiece end of the telescope, and using her iPhone to find this information! How's that for a comparison of two different technologies that are separated by one hundred and twenty four years! If you are curious, the yellow instrument she is holding controls the rotating dome - she needs to keep the opening in the dome in front of the telescope at all times.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:41 PM
Thursday, October 2, 2014
This is a view from the 5th Street Bridge which crosses the Cannon River in Northfield, Minnesota. It was a calm day, and the surface of the river was like a mirror. I thought the architecture of the buildings was interesting - they don't look like American buildings, they seem more European in appearance. Which is why I like this photograph. The arched bridge in the background also seems European as well. Kind of a lucky moment on a Sunday afternoon, to find this scene.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:51 PM
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
The American photographer Frank Gohlke has said "The grain elevator is the essential American monument. No other structure so completely testifies to the vastness of the American landscape and the magnitude of its production." Driving from Minneapolis-St. Paul airport to downtown, I passed a huge number of different grain elevators stretching nearly a mile. On my last day in Minnesota, I drove back to the site and spent a couple of hours photographing these structures. They are enormous - most are one-hundred feet tall or more. They are used for storing grain received from farmers, before being shipped to processors. In Minneapolis, many of these storage facilities were used to store wheat, before being ground into flour by all the mills along the Mississippi River. Please click on each of these to see them in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:29 PM