Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ship of Art

This is the Frederic C. Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum, and is the second of two buildings making up the museum.  It was designed by Daniel Liebeskind as an additional space to display the collections.  It is astounding to see from the outside - it looks like a ship, or spaceship.  It is clad with 9,000 titanium panels that reflect sunlight in really interesting ways.  Some of the galleries inside have sloping walls, as you would imagine, but they make for interesting spaces for displaying art.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Portrait Week_4

This is Jim, ninety-three years old.  I met him on a tour of a greeting card company in Boulder.  I think the first thing I saw was his well-aged straw cowboy hat!  It's a beauty, isn't it?  After the tour, I saw him outside sitting on a bench, and stopped to talk to him.  I asked if I could take a portrait of him, because I really admired his hat.  So here is the killer - before I asked to take his picture, I wandered around outside the factory, looking for great light.  I could not, for the life of me, find great portrait lighting.  The lighting was very soft in the shade because there was a lot of sunlight bouncing off of the concrete.  I tried several locations, but couldn't get the directional light that would have made this portrait more dramatic.  So the portrait is not as dramatic as I would have hoped, but we had a nice long conversation about life.  Oh, about the bear.  There is an astounding collection of bronze sculptures on a western theme outside the factory and I chose to include the bear in my photo.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Portrait Week_3

OK, so enough drama with the elevator.  Back to my portrait project for the week.  This really interesting concrete wall is part of the architecture at the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver,  The architecture is pretty amazing, as is the artwork.  This young woman works at the front desk and we were having a conversation after touring the museum, and I realized that the wall would make the perfect background for a portrait of her.  I was pleased that she agreed to be photographed.  In addition to working in the museum, she works with children as an art therapist.  I think this will be the best portrait of the week.  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Elevator Rescue!

The four of us had just arrived back at the hotel from dinner late tonight, and we all piled into one of the 7 elevators.  At the last minute another couple made it in to the elevator.  The doors closed, and the elevator started up then stopped with a lurch!  We pushed the obvious buttons, and pushed some different floor buttons, and nothing happened.  Then we pushed the red alarm button and got a recording that said that the elevator repair company was being notified.  It was starting to get warm in the small elevator, but everyone was calm.  Fortunately, a few minutes later the hotel manager came on the phone in the elevator, and said that they had notified the Fire Department and that a truck was on the way!  Hooray for the Fire Department - those guys get the job done!  About 5 minutes or so later we heard them outside the door, and heard them working on getting the door open.  When they opened the outer door, we could see them gathered outside, through the crack in the inside door.  That was comforting.  They needed to make sure the power was completely off, so there was no chance of the elevator moving, then they used a tool to release the inner door and slowly managed to open it.  We were about two feet above the floor, and the firemen helped everyone down.  I can't tell you how comforting it was to know that the firemen were in charge! Lets hear it for the men and women of Engine 26, of the Denver Fire Department!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Portrait Week_2

In the middle of Boulder, Colorado, there is a pedestrian mall, on Pearl Street.  Great place to hang out with restaurants and shops.  There are all kinds of performers here, and I stopped to watch this Didgeridoo player.  His name is Adam and he does a wonderful job of playing his homemade instruments.  Additionally, while he is playing, he has a stick and some wooden frog sculptures velcro'd to the didg.  Traditionally when the Aboriginals in Australia play their instruments, there would be another musician hitting sticks together.  Adam does it all himself.  I love the sounds of the Didgeridoo - I own one, but have not yet learned to play it.  He inspires me, though.  He has a wonderful calming presence which I felt when I talked to him - he is a very special person.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Portrait Week_1

I forget that some of the best memories of a trip are not just the sights you see, but the people you meet.  That was certainly true for today.  We are here in Colorado with Fred, a colleague of Kathy's, and his wife, and he and Kathy are attending a professional conference.   Today we took a day before the conference to drive up to Boulder, Colorado.  So Fred, who is also a photographer, and I did some wandering on our own.  Fred spotted this amazing "beat" bookstore and record store in a basement.  So we went in, and spent quite a while talking about books and music with Thomas, the proprietor.  So then I asked if I could photograph him, and he said "Sure."  I do like the intensity of the interaction visible in this portrait.  And this is a great looking store, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Guess He'd Rather be in Colorado

Wow, this is some tall control tower!  I don't know if I have ever seen a taller one.  The reason is that it is at Denver International Airport, and the airport is HUGE.  This is the largest airport in area in the United Stated, encompassing 53 square miles!  The runways are a long way away from where the terminals are located. so the controllers need to be up high to see way off into the distance. The tower is 327 feet tall.  When built it was the tallest tower in the United States, but now this is superceeded by three other towers.  We're in Denver for a conference, and I will be galavanting around town photographing.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Different Way of Seeing

I saw some photographs taken in an office, for advertisements recently, and the photographs focused on a single coffee cup which was sharp, but the rest of the background was really out of focus.  I have seen a number of photographs that looked like this recently, and I decided to experiment and re-learn how this was done.  It is simple.  I used a 50mm lens on the Canon full-frame camera, and set the aperture to f/1.8, which is wide open.  How interesting the world looks, with out of focus backgrounds.  So I may do some more experimenting to see what else I can shoot with this technique.

Monday, March 23, 2015

What a Difference Two Days Make...

There is this amazing perfectly curved sandbar at one point along the edge of the harbor.  I am drawn to it because it is hard to imagine that this could be formed by nature.  The sharp edge of the curve is somehow made just by the tides.  Which means that every time I walk by this spot and look down at it from the sidewalk above, if the tide is out, I look to see if there is a picture there.  The first picture was taken in the middle of a snowstorm, and the second two days later when the snow was melted and the sun was out.  Interesting comparison, isn't it?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Curves and Lines

Today was a perfect day for my walk to the power plant and back, along the shoreline of the harbor.  I loved having blue sky and sunshine.  It was only two days ago that it was snowing here!  On my way back, I was taken by the gentle curve of the railing, and the curve of the shadow on the sidewalk, compared to the straight line of the horizon.  While I was composing this, a runner came by, and I took several photographs as he got smaller in the distance.  He seems about right here.  This photo is also about the branches of the Sycamore trees reaching out toward the water.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Derelict

 I was out walking around while it was snowing and I wandered along the harbor's edge.  I was surprised to see the mast of a sailboat sticking up above the railing along the sidewalk.  So I went to investigate.  I climbed down some rocks and got down to the rocky beach.  The boat is a little banged up.  Part of the keel was damaged, probably from bouncing on the rocks as the tide came in and went out. The rudder was damaged as well.  The boat is from Glen Cove, the next town over.  It has a registration number on it, so it is strange that no has come for it.  I also don't understand how it got here.  With such a cold winter and ice covering most of the harbor I don't understand why someone would have left this boat on a mooring. Makes for an interesting picture, though.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Another Snowstorm

A week or so ago I stopped at this baseball park, and took three photographs of the benches and the trees with snow and fog.  I called the post "Expected, Different, and Unexpected."  So when I drove by the park today and it was snowing, I thought I would challenge myself and see if I could find yet another photograph here, and one that was different.  This photograph is mainly about design, and the graphic quality of the trees.  It's about foreground, middle ground and background. I like this a lot, because it is more complex than usual.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Farewell, Faithful Friend

I went to take a picture with my "toy camera" the other day and when I turned it on, instead of seeing a view of what the camera saw, I saw this.  The viewing screen was all magenta and blue stripes of noise.  Uh Oh.  I tried some troubleshooting and I reinitialized it.  The next day I thought it was fixed, and brought it to an event, and when I went to take a photo, it went bonkers again.  The troubling thing is that it was only two years old.  A premature death.  It is a SONY RX 100, so I called them and they sent me to a camera repair facility in Connecticut.  I logged in to their website and was shocked to find out that the cost of the repair was a fixed $305 and that the repair might take three months!  Because I use this camera nearly every day, repair was out of the question.  So after a couple of days, I ordered a newer version of the camera.  It does make me sad, however, because this camera has been with me every day of the last two years.  I have done so many blog photographs with it. The new one arrived today, and now I can finally leave the house, because my new traveling companion is with me!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Lost Trees...

About 6 months ago, I think, I photographed some of these trees and spoke of what bad shape they were in.  They were clearly dying for some reason.  But it was still a shock to drive along Shore road yesterday and see that a tree service was in the process of cutting them down.  Wow.  That is so sad.  These trees have been here for as long as I have lived in Sea Cliff, starting in 1966.  The good news is that other trees have been removed in the past, and they immediately plant replacements.  In fact, you can see some of the replacements next to the standing trunks - the replacements are so much thinner.  But these Sycamores which line the sidewalk for nearly a half mile along the edge of the harbor, make for one of the more spectacular scenes on Long Island.  Be sure and click on each photo to see it in more detail.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I Spoke Too Soon

Yesterday I said that it was no longer freezing, but that I had some pictures left over from when it was cold.  Well, it is freezing again tonight!  So I went back and found this photograph which I never had a chance to post.  It is one of my favorites because it is a landscape, and yet it appears to be an abstract image, except there are ducks, and we are brought back to the land.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ice Sculpture

It is no longer freezing, but I took so many photographs during the month of February when the temperatures were in the teens, that I have some leftovers.  This is one of them.  I seem to be doing a number of abstract images lately, which is a nice change of pace.  It is salt water ice frozen on to the steel bulkhead on the harbor.  I just think this is a really interesting design.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Beautiful Estelle

This is the beautiful Estelle - beautiful both inside and out. She was one of the first people that I met when I started photographing the project at St. Brigid's church back in 1994.  Her smile lights up any room she is in, and you feel her spirituality when you are in her presence.  She was the director of liturgy for the church for many years, until hired by the Diocese to be in charge of the Pastoral Formation Institute.  She recently retired, and many of the people who went through PFI gathered to celebrate and honor her ministry.  At the end of the party, everyone gathered around her and extended their arms, and there was a blessing.  It was an amazing day of celebration.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Expected, Different, and Unexpected

On the way back from the grocery store late this afternoon, I drove by the biggest park in Sea Cliff where there are a couple of baseball diamonds and a memorial for those lost in the service of the country in the armed forces.  So I shot this - it's sort of the expected landscape photograph, based on its composition.  Then I went looking for a different composition.

I found this only a few feet away.  It is a different than the expected composition, with the tree trunk sticking up through the center of the photograph.  It has a completely different feeling from the first photograph.  And I like it because it is unexpected.

Then we get to this photograph, which I think has that "something" extra.  Completely unexpected.  As I wandered around looking, I was stopped in my tracks when I saw the tree coming out of the top of the rock.  This is my favorite.  This rock, which we are seeing from the side, has a bronze plaque on the front of it, with names of the lost.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Only One Part Left

This is all that is left of the original power plant, that was made up of a complex of many buildings and smokestacks.  I spoke to one of the workmen the other day and asked how this last part will come down, and he said they would disassemble it piece by piece, rather than to topple it over.  I like this view - most of my photographs are from the other side.  This was earlier in the day, and the light was good on this side of the buildings.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Seven Years

I went out to Huntington today to see a photography exhibit at the Heckscher Museum of Art.  Afterwards I drove down Route 110 through Huntington Station to meet my friend Bob for dinner.  I realized that I have not driven this route for seven years now.  Wow!  I used to drive it all the time, before I retired.  I drove by this church and saw the late afternoon sunlight on the building, and decided to stop and photograph it.  It is Calvary Holy Church and it feels as if the building is having a conversation with the sun.  There were a lot of distracting colors in the original image, so I decided to convert it to black and white.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ice and Sea and Sky

Our side of the harbor was completely frozen over for the last couple of months.  What is amazing is how quickly the ice has broken up after a few days of temperatures in the fifties.  The individual ice floes are much more interesting to photograph than an entire broad field of ice covering the whole harbor.  I spent about an hour, wandering among the ice floes, with the tide out.  This is one of my favorites, but I have several others.  I may post some others and ask for a vote.  I love the delicate colors in this image and I love that the sky has become the sea.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Night Light and Moonrise

I went out to the garage to take out the garbage.  After dragging the container down the driveway, I came back to the garage to close the door and happened to see the inside light of the garage shining out on the snow.  In addition to that, the moon was rising through the trees in the background.  I had to crank up the sensitivity of the camera in order to get this. I used ISO 6400 and hand-held the camera against the side of the garage.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Engaged Couples

Tonight was the closing Mass for the Pre Cana couples who just finished four weeks of the in-home program for engaged couples getting married in the church.  We have had five couples come to our house for discussions about communication, conflict resolution, finance and parenting, among other topics relating to marriage.  There were two other groups as well, and we all came together for a lovely mass with a relatively small number of people.  The parents of the engaged couples came as well, and it was a really nice ending, having everyone come together to celebrate.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

What Time is It?

Let's see, what time is it?  This is a wonderful coincidence, but yesterday I went to Lucia's Salon for a haircut, and in the back room where the they wash hair, I noticed all these timers lined up.  I knew immediately what they are for - they do a lot of hair coloring, and everything is timed.  See, I even pay attention at the hairdressers!  This tickled me because I have never seen so many timers in one place.  And, it was the day we switch to Daylight Saving Time and switch the clocks forward. But of course these are not clocks.  So this doesn't make that much sense, but I grabbed my iPhone and shot it anyway.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Blue Sky, Sunshine...

...and icicles!  I know this is not one of my greatest photographs, but I do like the sense of sunshine and blue sky.  I struggled with this, trying to make a more artsy photo, but if I got closer, all I ended up with were details that were not that pretty - all the sense of the beautiful weather was lessened.  The good news is that the temperatures are forecast to be nearly 45 degrees tomorrow.  Goodbye icicles!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Flying Up

Another cold day, and more crystal patterns on the window.  But these have a completely different feeling to them.  I thought they looked like something flying, headed upward. And then I remembered...  Have you seen the movie "Still Alice?"  There is an amazing piece of poetry from the dialogue, that turns out to be from Tony Kushner.  This is only part of it: "Night flight to San Francisco; chase the moon across America...  But I saw something that only I could see because of my astonishing ability to see such things: Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead, of people who had perished, from famine, from war, from the plague, and they floated up, like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning..."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Abstraction or Realism?

It was, of course, distressing to awake this morning to more snow.  The forecasts were for 3 to 5 inches, or 4 to 6 inches.  We ended up with 10 inches by the end of the day!  It was the type of snow that clung to everything, making for the possibility of beautiful pictures.  I was looking at some trees from out of the upstairs bedroom window, and I saw the scene in a different way.  I began to see it as an abstract composition.  So I tried a few different variations, and this is my favorite.  Please click on it to see it in more detail.  I love the complex shapes and forms, and it is fun to let your eye wander around following different objects.  The second picture is a different view of the Japanese Maple tree from above, a realistic scene.  You can pick your favorite from these two.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


There has been so much going on with the weather, that I never got around to posting one of the photographs from the Yale University Art Gallery.  There are two Mark Rothko paintings on display in the gallery and I was spending some time with them.  I am trying to "get" his work.  I have watched a couple of DVD's about his work, and done some reading, and am still working on my appreciation of these paintings.  While standing there, contemplating this painting, a young couple came into the picture, and I snapped this.  There was something about them and how they were dressed, so I wanted to photograph them.  So here's a confession...  I missed a great shot.  At one point the man on the left, leaned over and kissed the young woman at right, on the back of the head, and I missed it.  Oh well...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Bit of a Snotty Night...

It started snowing again this afternoon, continued into the night, and then, if that wasn't bad enough, it started to rain.  Yikes!  We were supposed to go to a meeting tonight, so I went out and cleaned off my car, and started the engine to defrost the windows.  My car was parked at the end of the driveway, behind Kathy's car, and when I walked away from it, I saw this interesting lighting.  So I went in and grabbed my camera.  The phone rang, and the meeting was cancelled, so we lucked out.  If you click on this and get a larger image, you can see the rain in the headlights.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Movies - Not Like Los Angeles!

It was Monday night so we decided to go to the movies, to see "Still Alice."  Julianne Moore won an academy award for "Best Actress" for this film.  We were kind of early to the theater, and the multiplex seemed empty, except for one person in the ticket window, and one person accepting tickets for the whole place.  We went into the theater, and there was no one else there!  So I thought this would be funny to take a picture showing this.  Before the film started one other couple came in.  That was it for the audience.  In Los Angeles, we have to call and reserve a seat and buy tickets before arriving at the theater.  Some difference!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

You Have Probably Been Wondering...

...how the demolition has been going.  It has been going well.  The section of the building on the right is getting shorter and shorter.  And the section of the building on the left is getting completely hollowed out.  It will be really interesting to see what they do next to the left hand building.  I drove by the building in a light snowstorm today, and I loved the atmospheric effect that the snow has created.  This photograph is quite different than any other that I have taken from this vantage point.