Saturday, February 28, 2015
We went up to Milford, Connecticut today for a baby shower. That is a ladies only affair, so I needed to find something to do while the party was going on. First I went out photographing. This is the iconic view of the First United Church of Christ, and the duck pond. I have been photographing this scene since I first started using a camera when I was in the 6th grade. Of course back then I was only shooting black & white film. If you own a camera, and live in Milford, you have photographed this scene. I have posted a photograph of this before, during warmer weather, but today both the pond and the waterfall were frozen. So I posted the black & white as a memory of my beginnings, and I have also posted the color image. You can pick your favorite.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:08 PM
Friday, February 27, 2015
This Bebe and today she hopped up onto my chair and just sat there like this. For maybe ten minutes or so. She sleeps in my chair sometimes, and so she usually jumps up, and then turns around a couple of times in a little circle, and then lies down. But I have never seen this. I can't imagine what she is looking at. Ah, the mysteries of cats...
Thursday, February 26, 2015
This is one of the photographs I took a couple of days ago when I spoke of going nuts because there were photographs everywhere I looked! This is the iconic Japanese maple in the driveway, of course, and I found even more photographs when I walked down to the frozen harbor. It is fun to find so many photographs so easily. Usually this is a tough time of year to come up with interesting images.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
At our astronomy meeting tonight, we had a lecture on how to collimate a Newtonian telescope. My friend John, standing at left, was the lecturer. He is a master Amateur Telescope Maker and mirror maker. "Collimation" is the process of aligning the optical elements in a telescope for the best performance - in the case of a Newtonian, the two mirrors which make the telescope work. Here John talks with another member, as a third member, in the foreground checks the alignment. I love this photograph because there is so much going on in it. This is about the most action you are liable to find in one of my photographs!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:57 PM
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
They are tearing up the town! The occasion is the installation of a sewer line to service Sea Cliff Avenue, the "main street" of town. Crazy that they are doing the construction in such bitter cold. Whew! The construction company is really efficient, though. They are digging a trench perhaps ten feet deep, and 40 feet long, and then installing the pipe, and while they are extending the trench on one end, other machines are filling in the back of the trench. It is astounding to watch. It was such a shock to look down the street and see large piles of dirt completely covering the street.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:40 PM
Monday, February 23, 2015
This is another photograph from yesterday, where everywhere I went, I saw more pictures. I have photographed some version of this scene before, but the difference is that the harbor was not covered with ice. And the thing that caused me to take this picture was the subtle pastel color of the whole scene. Actually the only colors are the pale blues in the sky.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:01 PM
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Today was a crazy wonderful day for photographs. I was up at 7 AM because I had to shovel the driveway so Kathy could go to work. We had a light coating of ice on everything. It was overcast at first but then the sun came out, and there were photographs to be seen everywhere! I went to the bagel store and on the way home stopped several times to photograph. I have some new views of familiar subjects. But let me start with this. So much going on here, with the abstract design of the ice, plus all the Mallard ducks on the ice. I love all that is going on and I love the subtlety of the monochrome color.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:38 PM
Saturday, February 21, 2015
I was out in Huntington and saw the frozen harbors, so decided to drive over to Northport. I spotted these giant smokestacks from a long way off and they looked beautiful to me. Beautiful colors, with red and white stacks against a deep blue sky, with white steam. What's better than that? So then the trick was to find the best place to shoot them from. I found this frozen inlet and walked out on the ice to get a clear shot. Then as I walked back through the woods, I became fascinated with the stacks as seen through the trees. It makes for a more complex image, and I actually think that it is a better photograph. I don't know, what do you think?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:35 PM
Friday, February 20, 2015
After the Sun had set today, the Moon and Venus appeared together setting in the western sky. As it got even darker, the planet Mars with its reddish color, became visible above Venus. The two planets and the ghostly Moon were unusually close. This was a sublime sight, both with the unaided eye, or with binoculars. What is interesting is how quickly the Moon moves in relation to the planets. My friend Dean, in Tucson, did similar photographs when it got dark in Tucson, about two hours after I shot these, and the Moon has moved so much that it is up above Mars.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:28 PM
Thursday, February 19, 2015
It has been so cold for so long, that the harbor is beginning to ice over. There was a thin coating of ice the other day - perhaps half an inch thick. The ice is now about eight or ten inches thick, and it fractures and piles up upon itself, as the tide rises and falls. It really is beautiful. And the cool thing is when I expose for the really bright ice, the sky ends up being naturally darker. I love the look of this. When I shot this, the temperature was 20 degrees F, which is -7 degrees C (for my Australian friends) and the wind was gusting above 25 MPH. Wow, was that cold! I did not stay out here long. Please click on this to see it in a larger size. It is beautiful!
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
I was on my way to visit my photographer friend in Manhattan on Sunday, and as I approached the building he was staying in, I happened to see this. These trees just jumped out at me as I walked down the block. Normally you don't see a plain enough background to separate the trees from their background. So I composed the photograph, took a couple of shots, trying to avoid passing cars, and then saw a couple coming down the sidewalk. I shot three frames as they passed through the scene, and then chose the first shot.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
I hadn't stopped to look carefully at the demolition work in several weeks, with all the snow and the cold. They are now working on the right-hand side piece of what was once the main building, and it is getting smaller from front to back. We are looking at the disappearing end. The recent work has exposed the beautiful blue walls, and a number of doors to nowhere. Boy, would I have LOVED to have had time to explore these buildings before the demolition began. Sigh...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:58 PM
Monday, February 16, 2015
I won't tell you in the first line, what this is a photograph of. Would you care to guess? This photograph has not been manipulated at all, and it is not a "negative image" (which is when you print a positive as negative) Give up yet? This is another photograph of frost on a windowpane. In this case, in the bathroom which is on the south side of the house. The sun was shining on the frost and casting shadows of the frost on a window shade! Is this amazing or what? As I was photographing it, the frost was melting and drops of water were visible moving down the window. In five minutes, the frost was gone! Whew!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:19 PM
Sunday, February 15, 2015
For those of you who know me, what I am going to tell you will shock you! I woke this morning at 6 AM and took a 7 AM train to the city. Then jumped on the "F" train to take me to the upper east side. I was meeting a photographer friend who was visiting from Santa Fe, to look at each other's photographs and then have breakfast together. I do have to tell you I was spacey most of the day, because I got up so early! It was comforting to see that others on the subway felt as tired as I did - I certainly could identify with them!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:44 PM
Saturday, February 14, 2015
It has been cold enough that the harbor is starting to have ice on it. That's cold, because the harbor is salt water. Anyhow, I decided to walk around the beach today when the tide was out. I found all kinds of interesting things involving the ice on the beach. As I was leaving I went over to a small breakwater, and was stunned to see this! The rocks were obviously really cold, and the water must have been pretty calm, and here is the high water mark - in ice! I couldn't believe this when I saw it! An absolutely perfect line. If the water was rough, there would be ice splashed all over the rocks from the crashing waves. What a find.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:30 PM
Friday, February 13, 2015
I always know when it gets REALLY cold, without looking at the thermometer. When the temperature gets into the teens, frost crystals appear on the window pane when we wake up in the morning. The crystal patterns are absolutely fascinating if you look at them closely. So I got the camera and a macro lens so that I could do these close-ups. Dean will like that I got REALLY close to these. Sometimes when I do close-ups, I am not close enough for Dean! Please click on it so you can see all the detail in the crystalline structure.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:32 PM
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Back on January 7th, I posted a photograph of a tree on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and talked about another photographer who was photographing trees in difficult circumstances. So I decided to steal his idea and see how well I could do. So this is my second post of trees in a predicament. It is a pine tree on a little strip of ground next to a parking garage in the next town over. I was trying to come up with the feeling I get when I look at this photograph. I will let you try and describe what you feel.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
My friend Stan came out to visit today, because he was speaking at our astronomy club tonight. So we got to hang out, and talk photography. He brought his brand new camera with him - a SONY A7s. It is a full frame camera, and the "s" stands for "sensitive" as in a high sensitivity to light which means , as I discovered today, you can take pictures in the DARK with this thing! For you geeks out there, the ISO goes up to 102,400! Most cameras shoot at 400, 800, or 1600. This one is crazy! His talk showing photographs he has done of the night skies all around the US was just stunning! If you are curious, please go to www.stanhonda.com to see his work. Please click on "Comet Lovejoy" and "Yellowstone National Park."
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
OK, so maybe this is a stretch. It is hard to find interesting photographs these days. Overcast skies much of the time, and everything covered in snow. I was looking out the bathroom window into the neighbor's yard and saw this. I wondered if it was a picture, and tried to walk away from it, but somehow it called to me, so I went and got the camera. I think that this is about design - an arrangement of elements within the frame. The trick is to balance all the elements, and then decide what to include in the frame, or not to include. I think it looks better larger, to please click on it.
Monday, February 9, 2015
I took the train to Fun City this afternoon, to have dinner with two friends, and then we went to the reading of a play about some people in the history of astronomy. Didn't see anything in the city - maybe because it was so cold! But when I arrived back home at the train station I saw a couple of things. This is the second thing. I loved that it looks like some kind of a sculpture, and that it sits in a pool of light. By the way, it is a crossing gate at a grade crossing.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:49 PM
Sunday, February 8, 2015
I was sitting in my chair in the living room three weeks ago, and saw Sweet Pea just looking at me. Her sister, Bebe was asleep in the chair. I knew Sweet Pea was sick, but she looked just fine in this photograph. So I took a few frames, just so I would have a photo of her with her sister, when she still looked good. The photograph seems particularly poignant now.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Sweet Pea, the more gentle of our two kitties, has been sick for about six months. Recently she was eating very little, in spite of the medicine we were giving her twice a day. This morning she could hardly stand, and we realized that the end was near. Having lived through the deaths of two other cats at home, we decided that it was time to take her to the vet, and have her put to sleep. Here she is wrapped in a down quilt for her trip to the doctors. It was a sad and painful day for us.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
Friday, February 6, 2015
When I was at the Met a week or so ago, I was coming up the main staircase, and saw these two women doing a "selfie" with a "selfie stick." First time I saw one of these was at the Santa Monica Promenade where a father was doing a family shot. I wasn't fast enough to get a shot of that, but I have been on the lookout ever since. So I snapped a few photos of these two, then one spotted me and started laughing, so I went over and talked with them a bit. So this morning I opened the newspaper and saw a story that selfie sticks have been outlawed in most museums in New York! Their concern is that someone might damage an artwork because they are so interested in getting their picture taken! The Met, so far, is not one of the museums who have banned these.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:49 PM
Thursday, February 5, 2015
I photographed the Japanese maple during the snowstorm, and thought it was a beautiful photograph! Please click on it to see the blurred snowflakes falling. When I looked at the picture on my computer, I was reminded of the photograph I did a couple of years ago, of the same tree, in the summer, photographed with a borrowed infra-red camera.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:58 PM
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
There was an ice storm, but the beauty of it all was not immediately obvious. It was overcast and everything was gray. While I was next door helping out, the sun came out and the sky turned bright blue. Walking back down the street I passed the Japanese maple, and was surprised to see all the ice visible on the branches. It is such a beautiful sight to see the ice, lit by the sun, against the blue sky.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:26 PM
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
I went next door today to help our neighbor shovel her driveway for a bit. She was well along in her work, so I didn't do a whole lot of shoveling. There is a wall next to her driveway and I did start up the stairs, removing the snow along the way. At the top of the stairs is this wonderful gate, with a garden right behind it. I have photographed it in years past, but to see it covered with ice, with the Purple Coneflowers behind made for a wonderful silhouette against the snow.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:04 PM
Monday, February 2, 2015
It snowed most of the night and into the morning, with a mix of snow, rain, and sleet. When we shoveled in the morning, it was wet underneath the snow, so the mess would stick to the shovel, and it was heavy. Got the shoveling done, and the cars cleared off. Then it started snowing again! The snow was dry and relatively light, and quite beautiful. I did a couple of different photographs and picked this as my favorite. Then we set about shoveling the driveway all over again. Sigh...
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Whenever I walk by any part of Central Park, I make sure to take a peek in to see if I see any nice compositions. When snow is on the ground it gets really interesting. Interesting because there are curving walkways and benches, and trees and people. So when I saw this scene, I found a good composition, and then waited for people to walk into the scene, and then waited for them to get to the perfect spot. I think this works. I think I probably stood in this spot for about fifteen minutes until everything fell into place.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:41 PM