Friday, July 31, 2015
So this is the day that all the rafters were attached to the roof beam. Here's the silly thing on my part - I have not photographed the roof beam itself - it is blocked by the aluminum scaffolding. But it is so cool to get more of a sense of the room, now that the outline of the roof is obvious. The boxes of windows are waiting on the front porch, so things are really moving along at a pretty rapid pace.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM
Thursday, July 30, 2015
We went to the vets today, and picked up Grace, and another kitten which we have named Sam. When Grace went to New Jersey to be nursed by a mother cat, The mother cat also was nursing Sam. We decided that because these two kittens have spent so much time growing up together, that it would be better for both of the kittens, and better for BeBe, our older cat, because that might mean that Grace would make our 14 year old cat nuts, trying to play with her, if she was the only kitten in the house.
So we decided to adopt Sam and they are wonderful together. And is Sam adorable or what! The first photograph is the two kittens in their carrier in the car on the way home. The second is them in the room they will be living in, separate from Bebe, until the kittens and Bebe get to know each other.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
This is so funny! This is Bebe, and she knows that she is not allowed on the table. But many times when we are at a meal, she climbs up on the chair opposite me, and then peers over the edge of the table at us. It is so cute and so funny! I have tried to take this photograph before, but she quickly gets bored and looks away and there would go my photograph. So I knew I needed to be quick. And on this day, I was.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
I spent a good part of the day over at Cedarmere, William Cullen Bryant's home, doing interior architectural photographs. There are some wonderful things in this old house. The original section was built in 1787. Bryant owned the property for 35 years, and made significant modifications, and then there was a fire in 1902 which destroyed a number of rooms. This is the front door, and what a door it is. Look at those hinges, and the wonderful oval glass window! They don't make 'em like that any more.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Three carpenters came today to start a push to get the framing and siding and roof done. The plan is to get the addition to where it is waterproof, and then they will break into the little back room, and see what they have there. They may have to reframe a large portion of the back room, before tying the two structures together. The really cool thing is that we can walk around on the floor and get a sense of the size of the room and see the location of the windows and the gas fireplace. It is now getting to be fun!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:18 PM
Sunday, July 26, 2015
This is Nova Theresa, the newest member of the family! She is only five days old and was the center of attention at the picnic. She is being held by her uncle Connor, who clearly loves taking care of her. He's a natural with her. I love both of these photographs because they are a study in contrasts - of large and small. It is amazing how tiny a newborn baby's fingers are!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:44 PM
Saturday, July 25, 2015
We drove up to Connecticut today for a graduation party for two children of two of our cousins. It was a wonderful family gathering with all the relatives, and friends of the relatives and friends of the kids. That place was full of life today! One of the things that this family loves to do is to play games. The choice of game today was what they call "Combat Croquet." This is not the game I played with my great aunts and my grandmother when I was a kid! This is killer croquet! I thought you would like to see a photograph of the combatants!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:28 PM
Friday, July 24, 2015
I have a cool new project. I have volunteered to do some photographs of the William Cullen Bryant home and grounds, in Roslyn, for a brochure. I love shooting architecture and landscape photographs, so this is an exciting project. While I was wandering the grounds today I saw this bridge on the next door neighbor's property. So I shot this for you! I love how it looks like a human eye.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:52 PM
Thursday, July 23, 2015
We had a second night of observing the moon for the general public. Tonight's observing was at Old Westbury Gardens, where we have been doing these programs for several years now. Five of us showed up with out telescopes and we ended up having over fifty attendees. It was fun, because the ages ran from young kids, to older folks and everyone in between. This one of our members and his refractor set up on the lawn. The moon was spectacular as seen through our telescopes, and many of the visitors had never seen the moon up close. It is a rich experience to show people the Moon for the first time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:40 PM
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
We had an observing night tonight at our astronomy club meeting. The turnout was astounding and we had people of all ages. This is Alexis, our youngest ASLI member and she is being helped in observing the moon through her telescope by Dave, who does the programs for the Planetarium. Alexis and her mom came with some of her young friends and their mom. They were all really excited about seeing the moon through a telescope!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:59 PM
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
You probably remember that I posted a photograph of the trunk from our attic, where we found it when we bought our house back in 1971. When I was cleaning the trunk out, I found that the bottom was lined with some sheets of newspapers. I was curious, and was stunned to find that the paper was the Pasadena Star-News, dated March 7, 1956. All the pages were from the fashion section. I am not sure if they were printed on pink paper - that would be too much - or if the newsprint faded to a pink color. I realized that I hadn't seen fashion ads like this since I was a kid. The big mystery is, who shipped a trunk from Pasadena. We knew that the owner of the house was Paul Soder, and neighbors said that he had been a fighter pilot in WWII - I sure wish I had a chance to talk with him when he was alive! He also owned an automotive garage here in Sea Cliff for years. Maybe he and his wife had a daughter. I have done some internet searching with limited results. If I discover anything I will be sure and let you know.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:35 PM
Monday, July 20, 2015
For the last several weeks, we have had the foundation sitting there with nothing going on. Today two carpenters arrived and began bolting the plates on to the foundation, and then installing the floor joists. Suddenly it feels as if we are really going to HAVE a new room! So this is really fun, and I am enjoying talking to the carpenters and asking questions about what they were doing. I also am enjoying the aroma of fresh wood.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
I was out pulling weeds and ferns that had grown up, almost instantly, it seems, around my newly painted fence. The sun was out, and I was taken by the delicacy of the fern fronds. The problem was that in bright sunlight, some of the fern was in sunlight and some in shadow. So I waited for later in the day, when both the fern and fence were in shadow. I think that this photograph is interesting because it is a bit disorienting, if you try and figure out what you are looking at, and from what angle.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
The kittens, and their mother have returned again, after an absence of a couple of weeks. They seem to feel right at home here, curling up in the chair on the front porch and falling asleep. But make the slightest sound, and they are wide awake immediately. Look how cute the gray and black tiger cat is! What a cutie! Notice in the bottom photograph, at the top of the photograph is a Have-A-Hart trap. We have set it up and tied the door open. We have moved the food dishes further and further inside the trap, and the mother cat has been completely inside. But catching a cat is never a sure thing. I will keep you posted.
Friday, July 17, 2015
We were leaving the reunion, and went back to the hotel on a different route. I couldn't believe my eyes when this house flashed by. It was the stone that first caught my attention, then I saw the lovely late afternoon light and then the flowers. There was a sign that explained that this is the Hiram Hubbard Homestead. Don't you love the alliteration? It is a stunning home, and it was built in 1820 by the founder of Champion, New York. It is built of "graystone" in case anyone is curious. It is beautiful to see in person. It had been abandoned for years, and deteriorating, and then the 4 River Valleys Historical Society and the town decided to restore it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:10 PM
Thursday, July 16, 2015
The veterinarian called yesterday to say that our kitten, Grace, had returned from New Jersey. She was sent there back in April, because they had a nursing mother with "space" for two other kittens. Her nursing time was done, so they brought her back to Long Island, and we went down there to the vets today to see her. She is not ready to come home - she needs to be neutered, but we were so anxious to see what she looks like. They said she is "feisty" and we were not sure what that meant. Well, this is probably the most curious and active cat we have ever seen! She was all over the place, but was purring the whole time. She will probably be able to come home in a week or so. This is what she looked like back on April 29. What a change!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:58 PM
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Within one mile of the dairy barn I showed you the other day, was this barn. Funny how different it is from the big white barn. Both barns flashed by my window, and they made enough of an impression that I realized that I wanted to come back and photograph both of them. I think the texture of the dark wood was part of what interested me, and then the barn roof which had two different angles to it. I decided that I like this better in black and white. I found that seeing the same photograph in color was distracting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:17 PM
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Is this the strangest fried egg that you have ever seen? Ever? It was one of the choices at the free breakfast offered by the hotel we were staying at in Watertown. Several in our party were seen eating these, but I chose to have instead, a bowl of raisin bran cereal. Guess why... :-) I mean, this thing looks REALLY strange. So I have spent time trying to figure out how it was made. I think the manufacturer separated the yolks from the whites, and then used some plumbing to squirt a dollop of each somehow in this shape. One of the mysteries of the universe!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:22 PM
Monday, July 13, 2015
Found this waterfall almost by accident. It is only a mile down the road from the home where the reunion was held. Jim, the homeowner said that a river ran behind his property, and I wanted to see that river. He mentioned a bridge that crossed the river, and that's why I drove down the road. Imagine my surprise to find this waterfall here! I photographed the falls in color, but decided that the color added nothing to the image - you could see the form of the water and rocks better in black and white. And here is a secret. When you shoot at a normal shutter speed, like 1/125th of a second, the water is frozen, and the effect is not all that pretty. So I braced my elbows on part of the bridge and hand-held the camera with the shutter set at 1/8th of a second. Please click on this image to see it in more detail, and you will find the blurred water in the photo has a nice feeling to it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:06 PM
Sunday, July 12, 2015
I love driving around the North Country in upstate New York, because I never know what I will find. On this trip to the family reunion, I spotted this barn before we even arrived at the reunion. In fact I drove by two barns which I photographed. The light reflecting off the silver colored roof was what first grabbed my attention. I tried a number of different compositions and ended up with this wide-angle view, showing the barn bracketed by the two evergreen trees.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:40 PM
Saturday, July 11, 2015
We are up here in Watertown, New York, for a giant family reunion on Kathy's side. Its the McAvoys and the Brenons. I believe there were something like 170 people expected to come. The first photograph is at the hotel in the morning, of people looking through a genealogy that was published thirty years ago, looking at charts and old photographs of many people who are now gone. The lower photograph is the giant portrait of everyone at the reunion, on the lawn of our hosts Jim and Kelly in Carthage. Each different family sub-group wore different color tee-shirts, making for a colorful display.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:23 PM
Friday, July 10, 2015
Wow, this was a tedious travel day! We left Sea Cliff at mid-morning for our trip to Watertown, NY for a family reunion. There was traffic at the Throg's Neck Bridge. Then there was a long backup leading to, and across the Tappan Zee Bridge - they were doing repairs to the roadway. Then, if that were not bad enough, on Route 17, the traffic was funneled down to one lane while they made some concrete repairs to another bridge. In the first three hours, we only drove 100 miles! Then this was the scene outside of Binghampton, on the way to Route 81 north. We finally arrived, seven hours later, on a trip that should only have taken five and one-half hours. Sigh...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:32 PM
Thursday, July 9, 2015
The New York Times did a travel article recently, which a friend sent me, about some of the Navajo peoples and lands which the photographer Edward S. Curtis photographed in the early 1900's. I have been fascinated by the southwest peoples, and the early pueblo ruins which I first heard about back in the early 1980's. I started making photographic trips out to these same lands shortly thereafter. I photographed with a 4x5 view camera, mostly in black & white. The Times had a photographer shoot this site, which is called Spider Rock. I didn't like the photograph at all. I think mine is much better! You can see the Times version here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/travel/photographer-edward-s-curtiss-southwest.html
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:53 PM
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
I took the garbage out to the curb last night, and for some reason noticed the silhouette of the mailbox against the street. I can't explain the attraction, but I think the background is kind of mysterious, because it disappears into darkness. I shot this in color, but the color from the streetlight lent an orange glow to the image that was too distracting, so I converted the image to black & white.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:56 PM
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
I found this very tiny print in a box of stuff left over from high school, I think it was. I am photographing myself in the bathroom mirror in Milford, holding my very first 35mm camera. I saved up money from my paper route, and then bought the camera by mail order from the Lafayette Radio store which was located on Long Island, believe it or not. The camera had a fixed lens, and a lever action film advance, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. A few years later, I bought a 2 1/4 by 2 1/4 Minolta twin lens reflex which was a more "professional" camera. I would love to know the name of this camera, and I cannot remember what became of it. Who would have guessed where all of this would lead.
Monday, July 6, 2015
I should post this as a guessing game. Why on earth did I take a photograph like this? There is a simple answer. I was photographing two pair of well-used Sperry Topsider boat shoes to show to a friend. (Don't even ask...) I put the shoes on the front porch floor, and lifted the camera to my eye. The zoom lens was set on wide-angle and I was surprised to see my feet in the frame! The more I looked at the scene, and saw how strange it was, the more I realized that this had to be a blog post!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:35 PM
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Every year on the Fourth of July, I discovered that they have fireworks! Can you imagine that? When we are in town, we get invited over to our friends Nancy & Larry's house, which overlooks the harbor, and we have dinner and watch the fireworks with a group of friends. It is a really nice tradition that we have been doing for years. What makes the photograph more interesting, is that we were looking down on fireworks, which is unusual, and because of that we see the reflection in the harbor, which makes for a much more interesting and complex photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:00 PM
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Back in 1988 we were having a staff meeting and they were looking for a summer story for the magazine. Jokingly, I said "Why not do a photo essay of people born on the Fourth of July?" Everyone laughed. Then the editor came to me a week later and said he liked the idea. So I set about finding celebrities who were born on the 4th. Mitch Miller was the first one I called, and he said "Sure!" I called Ann Landers because I had been to Chicago and photographed her a couple of times before and she agreed, so I was on my way. I wanted to have everyone with the colors red, white and blue. So this is her portrait. I also photographed her sister, Abigail Van Buren, and George Steinbrenner, and Ron Kovic among others. Oh, and they ran a photo of me, since I share that birthday as well.
Friday, July 3, 2015
We always have a "July 4th" party every year, to celebrate all the family born in July. My mom and dad were born in July, as was my sister Betsey and I. Amy was born in July, and my niece Kelsey was as well. That's why we have the July 4th party. Everyone brings something, especially desserts. These are sour cream cookies that Betsey made. These are incredibly delicious, as well as being cleverly decorated. There is a secret, however. They are REALLY difficult to make! They are refrigerator cookies, which means you make the dough, and then refrigerate the dough. Then after an hour or so, you take the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin. Well, Betsey said the dough was very sticky, and very frustrating to try and roll out - it stuck to everything. Betsey even said that she said a couple of bad words while making these!
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Late in the day I went over to the garden to see how the Zinnias are doing and there were a couple of beautiful blossoms on display. As I moved around photographing the blossom, I suddenly noticed that behind the blossom which I was concentrating on, was a whole constellation of tiny blossoms of Baby's breath. It looked as if I was looking at a galaxy of stars! Without the Baby's breath, this would just be an ordinary photograph of one blossom.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:10 PM
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
My faithful track shoes... When it was time to put a new roof on the house, which took two years, these were the shoes I wore. They were soft and flexible, and didn't damage the new roofing when I walked around on it. As you can see they have taken a beating from the rough granular surface of the asphalt shingles. So the roof was finished about seven years ago, and because of the holes in the fabric, if I wear these, my toes stick out. So it is time to say farewell to my faithful companions.