Monday, August 31, 2015

Captain Dusty's Bookcase

The house that Amy and her friends rent in Montauk was owned for years by Captain Dusty, who was captain of a charter boat that sailed out of Montauk for years, bringing fishermen out to the sound and the ocean.  He raised his family here, and his daughter owns the house today.  The house is a time machine - everything in it is from the 1950's and early 1960's  This is just one shelf in the bookcase in the living room, and it is so much fun to peruse.  Also, you have to love the plastic lobster and the fish.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Montauk Moonrise

We are out visiting Amy in Montauk.  We were sitting in the living room when Amy said, "Look at the Moon!"  Out the window was an absolutely deep orange moon, rising among the silhouettes of the trees.  I ran and got my camera and a tripod.  The thing is, to our eyes, you could see all the detail on the Moon's face.  But if I exposed to show the detail in the moon, you couldn't see the silhouettes of the trees.  So I made a much longer exposure that burned out the Moon's detail, but gave us the outlines of the trees, which retained the sense of what we saw.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

1/1600 second at f/1.8

I walked over to the next door neighbor's house to ask if she had seen the mother cat or either of her feral kittens.  We haven't seen any of them in weeks.  While we were standing talking, I happened to look down and see her Purple coneflowers.  I have photographed these flowers before in the same place, but at a different time of year.  What made them striking today was the beautiful rusted gate.  The deep rust color was perfect with the color of the faded flowers.  Oh, the technical stuff in the title?  I photographed this with my toy camera, but the background was too sharp - it was too confusing.  So I came home and got my Canon 6D and a 50mm lens, and then used it "wide open" at f/1.8 and the background was completely blurred.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Ordinary

It was an absolutely beautiful day today, and so I decided to go by the water.  I have photographed this scene so many times before, but I couldn't resist photographing it again.  Something about the blue sky and puffy white clouds that grabbed me, and then, of course the green marsh grasses.  It makes me thankful for the ordinary in life, and the beautiful.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Trip to the Vet

We had to take Bebe to the vet for a checkup.  We use this plastic cat carrier to transport the cats safely because they are carefully locked in during the trip.  Bebe knows that when the cat carrier comes out, she is due for a trip, and she doesn't like trips to the vets.  She usually curls up in the very back of the carrier as far from the door as possible.  Kathy likes to get up really close to the carrier so she can look in, see how the cat is doing, and talk to her in hopes that the cat will be more comfortable.  It was then that I realized that I was looking at a picture for the blog!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Insides

I thought it was time to show you what the inside of the new addition looks like.  We are thrilled with how it is coming along.  The top photo is looking from the fireplace end toward the door to the kitchen.  You can see the bathroom on the left in that photo.  It looks really small from this distance, but it is a nice size.  The bottom photo shows the fireplace at the far end of the room.  In the ceiling there are high hats for lighting, and there will be a ceiling fan.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Why is This Comfortable?

I will never understand cats.  But they are wonderful to watch because they do so many interesting and cute things.  This is Grace, the abandoned kitten that we saved.  She is really growing as fast as a weed - she is now really long and thin and athletic.  Her ability to jump long distances is astounding.  I saw her like this and couldn't imagine why she thought that this was a comfortable way to rest.  Her tail end is on the window sill, and there is a gap large enough for the radiator, and then her head is on the easy chair.  I cannot imagine that it is comfortable, but she stayed like this for quite a while.  Or at least long enough for me to capture this in a photograph.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pushing Her Luck

The new kitties and our older cat are still trying to learn how to live in harmony.  This is an interesting photograph because the two cats were taking naps on the couch, in close quarters.  As I watched, Grace, the black and white kitten, slowly moved her paws closer and closer toward Bebe.  Bebe was aware of how close her paws were getting but she didn't do her usual growling and hissing.  Eventually, Bebe slowly sat up, yawned, and jumped down from the couch.  On some days, Bebe will start hissing and growling from three feet away.  So we never know how it will go.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


It has been one hundred years this August since the cornerstone of the present St. Brigids Church was laid in 1915.  Today the pastor decided to rededicate the cornerstone after mass was over. So we all gathered at the corner of the church for the blessing.  A hundred years!  Wow!

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Everything is moving right along.  While I was away in Vermont, the mason returned and built the steps and stoop, covered in bluestone.  A crew came in and almost completely shingled the whole addition!  The shingles will be painted white, to match the house.  There are things going on inside as well, but I will save that for another post.

Friday, August 21, 2015 if she owned the place.

I keep looking for evidence that the new kittens are feeling at home.  Well, if this doesn't make that point, I don't know what does!  This is Grace, on her back, on the couch, asleep.  And look at the way she has installed herself!  I would say that she feels quite at home.  They are now fully integrated into the family.  I have another photo which I will have to post, showing how the kittens co-exist with Bebe, the older cat. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bandit the Rabbit

We took our kittens to the veterinarian today for their last shots.  While we were waiting for our appointment, we started talking with a couple waiting with their rabbit.  This man was so gentle and so caring about their pet that it warmed my heart.  He kept petting the rabbit to calm her while they waited for their appointment. The rabbit's name is "Bandit" because she has black fur around both eyes!  She is an old rabbit, in rabbit years, and they have had her for a long time.  It was so nice to see the care and love he was giving her.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Women of the Revolution

This is one of the works of the German artist Anselm Kiefer - his work never fails to astound me!  Recently a giant water tank at what had been the Sprague capacitor factory was converted to a gallery space, and now there are three exhibits in the gallery all by Kiefer.  This piece is called "The Women of the Revolution" (Les Femmes de la Revolution), comprised of more than twenty lead beds with photographs and wall text.  This is a very powerful thing to see.  I mean, who would even think of lead sheeting as the bedclothes for a bed!  It is brilliant and powerful and haunting. This piece takes its inspiration from Jules Michelet’s 1854 study, which chronicles the lives of specific women, who, in their uncompromising willingness to pursue democratic values, played an important role in the French Revolution.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Joy of Books

There is an exhibit at Mass MoCA called "Bibleotheca Philia" and it is about our love for books, and libraries and the rooms we read books in.  This exhibit, which fills an entire room, is called "The Secret Lives of Books" by the artist Jena Priebe.  This is such an astounding thing to see and it is a joy to stand in the room and take in all the details.  I cannot explain what it is that is so fascinating, but it is so creative to think of something like this that it makes my head spin!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Learning to See in Different Ways

I love to photograph in museums.  One of the reasons is that I enjoy trying to figure out all the different ways I can photograph a particular work of art. Each of these pieces is a "photograph" - they are ink jet prints on translucent material.  The colors are very subtle and involve only color.  There is nothing representational of the outside world.  So as I walked around the relatively small gallery and tried different views.  The first photograph shows what three of the images look like.  Then I went into a smaller gallery and found a more complex image, where you can see the light from one of the boxes as seen through a second box.  I figured that I had nailed it!  Then I looked at the brochure that they give out to explain the exhibit.  I saw a photograph similar to the third one, where a photographer had included one of the posts that holds the building up.  The original paint from when the building was a capacitor factory was left on the post.  The lesson is, that it would NEVER have occurred to me to include a post in the middle of a work of art!  They do say that the installation of these pieces was site specific, so clearly the old painted post relates the art to the site.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Vermont Leftovers - One

It is always much easier to find interesting photographs when I am out of town.  After I photographed the picture of the house and fenceposts in the fog the other day, I left my room and went looking outside to see what else I could find.  These are three other stone fence posts on the lawn across the street.  They are so much more dramatic, seen in the early morning light, and I really love the hints we can see of the garden in the shadows behind the posts.  For some reason, I really love this photograph.  I did wonder how the wooden rails of the fence were fastened to the stone posts.  If you click on this photograph so it can be seen larger, you can see something that looks like nails sticking out of the stone, on the sunlit side.  One more mystery solved!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

New Horizons Mission

I had an amazing day at the Stellafane Convention today, seeing all kinds of home made telescopes brought to the convention from all around the U.S.  But the frosting on the cake was the keynote address tonight by Dr. Alan Stern, the man who led the team of the New Horizons mission which just flew a spacecraft by Pluto, after a nine-year voyage.  It is an astounding story of an incredibly complex mission and Dr. Stern is a wonderful presenter.  The story was riveting.  He spoke for an hour, and then answered questions for another forty minutes.  The audience was transfixed, as you can see in the second photograph.  Oh, get this:  He is holding a bumper sticker that he had made, that says: "My other vehicle is on its way to Pluto!"  How cool, and funny, is that!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Now You See Them, Now You Don't

I was photographing this architectural detail in one of the galleries at Mass MoCA today.  I did my annual trip there to get my creative batteries recharged.  These columns are at the entrance to a large gallery which is displaying an unusual photograph - a negative print of a landscape, printed on 3/4 inch plywood.  They think it is one of the largest prints ever made.  I was photographing the columns with one person in the photograph, and then with none, and then all these people walked in, and I tried to quickly snap a shot while keeping the crop the same.  I love the contrast with no people, and then lots of people.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Foggy Morning in Vermont

I am so used to waking up early for the arrival of the carpenters, that I woke this morning at about 6 AM, and noticed that it was foggy outside.  So I looked out each of the four windows in my room, until I saw this scene and decided that it was the best.  I love the atmospheric feeling of the picture but I really love the granite stones all in a line.  I asked the husband and wife who own the bed and breakfast, and they said that those were the posts for a wooden fence!  Yikes!  Can you imagine having to plant stone posts like this for a fence!  That's building a fence the hard way.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Airplanes, airplanes, airplanes!

While traveling to Vermont to the telescope maker's conference, I decided to stop and visit the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  The museum has a spectacular collection of aircraft, most of which are indoors in hangars.  Those airplanes are tough to photograph because there are so many of them so close together.  So the top photograph is the view you see when you enter the museum lobby, where you can see all these airplane models hanging from the ceiling.  It is a stunning sight.  And the lead aircraft is a B-25 Mitchell, in case you were curious.  There a few airplanes on display outdoors, many the worse for wear.  I photographed this Grumman Tracer, because it was made on Long Island many years ago, and it has seen better days.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why Do Kitties Do What They Do?

I wear each of my cycling jerseys for a week, and then change to a new one.  They are delicate in terms of how they get washed, so I usually wait until I have about 4 or 5 jerseys to wash.  They are drenched with sweat, and if you get close to them, they smell.  So I brought them downstairs, and left them in the hall on their way to the washer in the basement. Five minutes later, here was the kitty, curled up in the jerseys!  Yukkkkk.   Why on earth would she chose to sit here, of all places?  Do not try to understand the thinking of cats!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Christmas Wrap

They are getting ready to put the cedar shingles on the outside of the addition.  First they need to install the vapor barrier, which is the white plastic with the red printing on it.  This keeps the water out from the outside, but it lets moisture from within the house escape to the outside.  That is some kind of magic, I think.  I love that the addition looked like a Christmas present all wrapped up.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Twins are Baptized!

We drove up to Connecticut for the baptism of Evelyn and Grayson, the twin babies of Jonathan and Lauren.  The baptism was wonderful, and the family gathering even better!  The people holding the babies are the Godparents, not the parents, by the way.  There sure were a lot of people taking photographs, and shooting movies on  their smartphones and on an iPad.  It is a new world out there! The competition was heavy - others may have gotten better photographs than I did! 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Birch Trees

I thought I would change the pace a bit, and get back to the beauties of nature.  This is one of my landscape photographs from my series of photographs at Cedarmere, the William Cullen Bryant home.  The birches are so beautiful in a group like this.  It is nice that they are out in the open, and more visible than if they were deep in the woods.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Getting to Know You...

So the new kitties have been in the house for over a week now.  They have been living by themselves in an upstairs bedroom.  After a week in the bedroom, I got a piece of plywood to block the stairway downstairs and then we allowed the kitties to roam everywhere upstairs.  But the next step involves allowing the kittens and Bebe to meet.  Bebe did know there were kittens in the bedroom.  So how to facilitate their introduction.  So I cut a hole in the plywood, and added some screening, and then one day Grace, the white kitten, and Bebe got to meet.  There was some hissing, but it seemed to go well.  A few days later we let all of them hang out together upstairs for an hour or so, and things went well.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fun With Explosives

I guess I will get a comment or two on this one...  I am throwing out stuff from the basement, and came across 3 cans of smokeless gun powder.  I bought these back in 1965 and used the various powders to reload shotshells, rifle shells, and target rounds for handguns.  I haven't done any reloading in 40 years at least so it was time for these cans and their contents to go.  But, of course, I can't just toss them in the garbage.  So I decided to try burning the powder, by pouring some out in a line on a board.  Since it is not contained at all, it won't explode - it just burns rapidly.  So I got rid of most of the gunpowder this way and it was only when most of it was gone that I suddenly thought: "Wait, I should photograph this!"  So I had enough power for two tries, and this is the best shot.  I really like this, because if you hadn't read my explanation, you might have no idea what this is.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

G & H Auto Repairs

I went to the Post Office last night, very late.  Had a couple of letters that needed to go out first thing in the morning.  On the way back to the car I noticed this garage with an American flag in the window.  I know I have photographed that flag long ago, but not at night.  So here you go, in case you wondered what it would all look like.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ink at Dunkin Donuts

Tuesday morning is our Dunkin' Donuts ritual, every week.  I always have my toy camera with me, of course.  So I was standing behind this man in line, and I was looking at his tattoo for at least a minute before it occurred to me that this was a picture!  Fortunately the line was slow, so I had time to get my my camera out and do two exposures.  I think that this picture is as much about the design of the elements within the frame - the shape of the man shoulders and head - as much as it is about the tattoo. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

A More Complete View

You are all probably bored silly with the construction photographs, so this will be the last post about all this for a while.  What you get to see here for the first time, is a sense of what the addition looks like from a couple of angles.  The view from the rear is a bit deceiving in terms of scale, because I was using an extreme wide angle lens to take it all in, but it makes the addition look almost the same size as the house.  But you get a better sense of what this will look like when it is done.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Little Back Room Disappears

The work has been proceeding apace all this week.  A lot of work was done on the new addition, and then they went after the little back room.  They removed all the plaster from the ceiling, and all four walls so that they could see the condition of the studs in the wall to know if any of them had to be replaced.

There was some evidence of termite damage that could be seen from the outside.  Once all the plaster was removed, the amount of damage was astounding!  When we bought the house, the inspectors said that there had been termite damage, and the ground around the house and the crawl space were treated to prevent any return of the insects.  But we had no idea that there was all this hidden damage.  Is this unbelievable or what?

So when they got all done, they decided to remove ALL of the walls and the floor of our little back room!  This is actually good news, because the bathroom will be located where the original back room was located and now everything will be brand new construction.  You wouldn't believe what a kluge the floor of the back room was - over the years there were apparently three different configurations of stoops before the back room was added!

So this is amazing to see - the only thing left of the little back room are three courses of roof rafters, seen here covered with a tarp.  Everything else is gone, and it is fun to see brand new floor joists.  Whew!  That was a lot of work.  Be sure and click on each photograph to see more detail.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The First Quarter Moon and Cirrus Clouds

As we were observing the first quarter moon last week, a single cirrus cloud moved across the sky, while illuminated by the setting sun.  It made a magical composition, I thought.  Hard for me to put into words, but the scene felt mystical in some ways to me.