Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Know Who You Are

I still have some photographs from Los Angeles.  They are more interesting that anything I could shoot around here!  I went walking with Liz when she was walking her dog Wesley, and we saw this sign, weighed down with rocks, in someone's garden between the sidewalk and the street.   Wow!  Liz and I had no idea what could possibly have happened here.  But this note just boggles my mind!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tall, Short, Fat, Thin

I've still got some photographs from California to post.  This is a shot I did on Santa Catalina island, just after we had dinner.  The sun had set, and the moon was rising.  I was stopped by all the wonderful shapes of the palm trees - the tall ones and the short ones and the fat ones and the thin ones.  I just love all the shapes in this photograph.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bucket List or Death Wish?

Kathy was talking with Amy a month or so ago, and mentioned that she had always wanted to do ziplining!  Really?  Amy mentioned that she knew that there was a zipline facility on Santa Catalina island.  So we took the ferry over, and all went ziplining.  I will say this, that it is absolutely exhilarating!  We were all carefully instructed in how everything works, and safety considerations, then we were fitted with helmets and harnesses.  The we took a bus to the top of one of the mountains and for each of the 5 ziplines, our equipment was carefully checked before each launch. One of the lines was 300 feet above the ground!  Wow.  But screaming along the zipline in our harnesses and feeling the rush of wind in our face was really something!  I recommend it for everyone!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Lunar Eclipse!

The weather forecast for this evening's lunar eclipse was not looking good.  But amazingly, just before the eclipse began the skies cleared!  I started observing with binoculars and then noticed a neighbor and her son trying to photograph the moon with a cell phone, using flash.  I asked if they had binoculars, and they didn't.  I said "stay right there - I am going to get a telescope."  She went and got two more neighbors and their two kids, and her husband, and I called another neighbor, and we had a star party!  The kids thought seeing this was pretty cool!  Then it looked like it would stay clear for a while, so I got another telescope and my camera, and this is the result.  After I got this photograph, I got out my 15 power binoculars and a lawn chair, and just sat there watching this magical scene.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Leaving Los Angeles

Taxiing out for takeoff from Los Angeles International airport this morning I caught this glimpse of the iconic LAX Theme building, at center, which once contained the Encounter Restaurant.  The building was built in 1961 and the restaurant opened in 1997 and then closed in 2013.  There is an observation deck on top, but it is only open on the weekends.  To the right is another icon, the Air Traffic Control Tower which is very distinctive, and one of a kind.  After flying for about four and one half hours, suddenly the orange light of the setting sun illuminated the edge of the airplane window.  I love the orange light inside and the blue light outside.

Friday, September 25, 2015

RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach

On the ferry trip back from Santa Catalina island, we sailed back to Long Beach, at night.  As we entered the Los Angeles River, to head up to the ferry's berth, we went by the RMS Queen Mary, certainly one of the most storied ocean liners in history.  It is operated as a museum and tourist attraction and hotel.  Her maiden voyage was in 1936 and she was retired after her last transatlantic voyage, to Long Beach, in 1967.  Oh, the RMS?  It means "Royal Mail Ship."  After sailing past the Queen Mary, we sailed under the Queens Way Bridge, which is illuminated with blue, green, cyan and pink lights, making a stunning scene at night.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Vacation Pictures

We took the Catalina Flyer out to Catalina island today on a field trip.  Being on that ferry is a treat - there are several levels, and I could look down on different passengers and see what they are up to.  I took this photograph on the way home at night.  It is a couple looking at their vacation pictures on their cellphone.  I love the enthusiasm and the smiles they both have - a nice display of emotion.

California Flora

I spotted these plants on Amy & Gus' front porch.  The orange flowers at the top are "Bird of Paradise" blossoms.  But what caught my eye were the succulents in the pot - I love their subtlety.  There is something else growing in the pot, but I had to crop it out so that there was only the lawn in the top of the picture - just above where I cropped is a black iron fence which I wanted to eliminate. I like this photograph because the plants seem so distinctly California.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Monster Next Door

Amy and Gus have been living in this cute yellow California bungalow for almost nine years.  At one time, these bungalows and houses similar in style were all over Venice, California.  Times are changing, and I have spoken of how a similar home next door, which had been abandoned for nine years, was sold for 1.3 million dollars, and then demolished.  So this is what has replaced it - a giant three-story monstrosity.  Houses like this are being built all over Venice, replacing the smaller homes which have been here since the beginning.   One photo is from the front, and the other photo shows the view from the back yard.   Be sure to click on these photos to see more detail. 

Venice Never Disappoints

We went for a walk on the boardwalk today, at Venice Beach.  When I am looking for a photograph, the scene at the Venice Beach boardwalk never disappointments.  I spotted this man, wearing a top hat, as he stared out to sea, after lighting a cigarette.  He had his arms in various positions over a period of a minute or two, and I shot about a dozen frames.  This one is the most effective.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Free Hats!

When Liz and Sarah showed up at Amy & Gus' today, Amy said she had a present for each of them.  And the presents were Dale's Pale Ale baseball caps!  The story is, that Amy posted a photo of herself wearing a Budweiser cap, on FB and a week or so later, a box arrived at her house, with four of these caps inside!  The reason is that her cousin Jonathan works for Oskar Blues, and they make Dale's Pale Ale.  Hd couldn't have his cousin wearing a hat for another beer.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Bleak Landscape

New York to Los Angeles today, at Flight Level 380.  I, of course, am glued to the window for most of the way.  I was taken by the bleak appearance of this landscape, west of Needles, California, and north of I-40.  It is part of the Mojave desert, and it may be bleak, but it is stunningly beautiful in its abstract way.  It's just that I would not have wanted be down there hiking on foot.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Yum! Mushroom Soup!

OK, OK, so I know it it not a mushroom!  And I can't make soup from it.  I mean, I could, but you might die from eating it.  I found this beauty, whatever it is, while mowing the grass today.  The amazing thing is how quickly they appear.  I think that they pop up almost overnight.  This one is big - about four inches in diameter.  I broke off its stem, and you are seeing the underneath of it, instead of its domed top.  It is amazing how delicate its structure is.  Be sure to click on he image to see it larger and in more detail.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Kitty is Watching

The two workers who were sanding the floor of the addition put up plastic sheeting in the doorway to the kitchen and taped it in place, to keep sawdust out of the house.  So Grace came into the kitchen, saw the plastic, and heard the machines on the other side, and crouched down to watch and listen and take it all in.  You tell by her stance that she is prepared for leaving quickly!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sanding the New Floor

On Monday, we drove to Connecticut, and on that day two carpenters came in and installed the new oak floor.  I wished I was here to see it.  Today two more guys came in and sanded the floor smooth, in preparation for staining and finishing it.  This monster sanding machine is something else.  It uses so much current, that they had to take the cover off the fuse box and connect to both of the busses to get 220 volts and enough amperage to run it.  They did a stunning job - you should see how smooth and beautiful the new floor is!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


You cannot believe all that is going on around here with the new addition!  Things are happening at an amazing speed!  I will be showing photographs of some of those things, and the photos will not be in sequence.  Today a two man crew arrived to install the window and door trim.  We are so lucky that the original trim in the house is very decorative.  You can't buy ready-made molding to match what we have, but the builder ordered custom molding, and it is beautiful.  I held a cutoff piece up to where it was illuminated by the sun so that you could see the details more clearly.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Brendan and Nova

We drove up to Connecticut for the day today, to visit family.  Vince and JoAnne stopped in Wallingford on their way back from Boston, and everyone got to hang out together.  So this is Brendan, and he is holding his niece Nova.  Nova is a beauty, two months old, and the belle of the ball.  When family gets together there is always a waiting line to hold her!  So this was Brendan's moment for today.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

I Need To Buy a Doorbell Button

We tried to think of everything for the new addition.  But after the crew came and installed insulation, and then the crew came and installed sheetrock, Kathy said: "We should have a doorbell at the back door"  Yikes!  When the walls were wide open,  snaking a wire from the door to the basement would have been easy.  Fortunately the sheetrock only goes to within one inch of the floor, to allow the flooring to be installed, so there was an easy way to snake the wire.  So I did that.  Only thing, I forgot to buy the doorbell!  So until one arrives, it is easy to ring the bell - just follow instructions!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

What Remains

I happened to drive by the place where the old power plant was, late in the day.  The sun had nearly set and the orange light was illuminating the fuel tanks way in the background.  This is annoying, but the colors that are displayed on my computeras I write this, are lacking saturation.  The tanks should be orange in color.  Oh well, here is what the scene looks like, where the power plant once was.   I think that if you click on the picture to enlarge it, that the colors will be a bit better.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Mother Comes to Visit

The mother cat has been gone for a long time, but she showed up about a week ago, and she was clearly pregnant.  It kills us that we were unable to trap her and have her neutered.  So she showed up three days ago, and she is now very slim.  We have no idea where her new kittens are.  She showed up this morning, and I got a dish and food to feed her.  The kittens heard the noise and both jumped up to look at her from the living room window.  The kittens were transfixed!  And the thing we can't stop thinking about is, if our kitten Grace were to meet the mother cat, would either of them know they were mother and daughter?  Makes your head spin, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Another Way of Seeing

I have just finished reading "Hold Still" the autobiography of the photographer Sally Mann.  She works with an 8x10 view camera, and glass plates that she coats with photographic emulsion herself.  She has a book of landscape photographs called "Deep South."  Many of the photographs are very impressionistic.  I was taken by them, and wanted to try and see if I could create this feeling in my own back yard.  This is a photograph of a vine hanging from a tree, with our house in the background.  I didn't use a normal lens on the camera, I used something called a "Lensbaby" which is essentially a simple lens, like a magnifying glass, mounted on the camera.  I love the feeling of this photograph!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

After The Meeting

Tonight we had our annual business meeting and election of officers and board members.  No one else wants to be president, so I am it once again.  After the meeting a bunch of members were standing around talking, as we do each week and I decided to take a photograph of what is going on.  Nothing in particular was being discussed, I just liked the different looks on everyone's faces.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Night Light

I didn't have a blog post an hour ago, so I put the 50mm f/1.8 lens on the Canon 6D.  One of the cool things about this camera is that the ISO - the "sensitivity" of the camera, can be jacked up to 12,800 and above!  In the days of film cameras, an ISO of 400 was normal and 3200 was the absolutely maximum.  So 12,800 is crazy fast!  Then I went out looking for interesting things.  I found three different scenes, but this one was the most magical. - one of the lights on the front steps.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Long Time Companion

Kathy baked a blueberry peach pie tonight for dessert.  She needed to know how much sugar to add to the filling.  So she got this cookbook out.  Man, this has gone a lot of miles!  She can't remember where she got it, but the publication date is 1970.  If I had given it to her, I would have inscribed it, as I have done with other cookbooks I have given her as gifts. I love how this book looks - it's patina and all the wear that is obvious on the outside.  Isn't it wonderful to have a book like this that you have used all your life?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sleeping Kitens

These kittens are growing up so fast, and they are endlessly fascinating.  I found them sleeping on the couch, or at least one of them was sleeping - that would be Sam, in the foreground.  Is he cute or what!  He has huge eyes, and larger than normal paws.  It would be fun to know what kind of cat he is descended from.  Grace, the one with the pink ears was nearly asleep with her eyes closed, until the first click of the camera.  It is also amazing how big they have grown, as well.  When they stretch out they are both REALLY long!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

From Outside to Inside

So I have shown you the outside, and now here's the inside!  All the insulation was installed, and I didn't take a photograph quickly enough and suddenly all the sheetrock was installed! The 3-man crew that showed up put up all the sheetrock in under three hours one morning!  The first picture is looking toward the door to the kitchen from the fireplace, and the second picture looks toward the fireplace.  I cannot believe the speed with which this is all happening.

Friday, September 4, 2015

How Pretty This Is!

So the exterior is pretty much done.  I have started to paint the rafter tails that stick out beyond the sheathing, because they would be hard to paint after the rain gutters are installed.  The whole building will be painted white, as well.  I love the square posts that hold up the portico.  On the drawing, they were shown as round columns, but the builder said he thought they would not be appropriate for this style of construction.  Square is perfect!  And the bluestone stoop and steps is gorgeous!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

You Decide

I went to the harbor again to look for photographs.  I loved finding this scene with this unusual piece of silver driftwood.  I saw it in color, of course, but something made me think that perhaps this should be a black & white image.  I tried to imagine the scene without color, and I thought it might be a better photograph.  So when I got home, I converted one copy of the picture to black & white, and left the original in color.  I think I like the B&W image the best.  What do you think?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

There is a Bike Under There!

There is a bicycle under here!  Actually there are two bicycles under here, if you look closely.  You might guess that this is absolutely painful for me to see bikes like this.  I am a maintenance maniac when it comes to my bikes, and I keep them cleaned and lubricated and indoors to protect them from the weather.  Bicycles are magnificent machines and a magical way to get around, if they are maintained properly.  I am guessing that these bike chains are completely rusted.  These are beach bikes in Montauk, with all the salt air that exists there, but having them overgrown with vines is beyond the pale!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mystery Ship

This is some big yacht! It appeared early in the season, anchored inside the breakwater at Hempstead Harbor.  I have tried to photograph it before, but I needed to have a west wind so the yacht would be broadside to me, and also the sun would need to be in the south, around noontime.  I did a couple of photographs but neither was good enough.  Suddenly the other morning there it was in all its glory, broadside and lit properly.  Perhaps some readers (that would be you, Primo) would be able to guess the size of this yacht and tell us what kind of rig it is. My guess is that it is a ketch rig.