Saturday, January 31, 2015
I was standing in the line for the coat check to retrieve my jacket, when I saw the young woman's face brightly lit by her phone. Then I noticed the guy next to her whose face was illuminated by the screen on the back of his camera. I grabbed my toy camera, on my belt, and started shooting. The problem was that this was in the lobby of the museum, and there were people walking back and forth between me and the people on the bench. Also, I didn't have the ISO set high enough, so I was at a slow shutter speed. I managed to shoot about 6 or 7 frames in between people. Only ONE was sharp! Whew! It was only then that I notice the third man, on the right, also illuminated by a screen. I won the trifecta!
Friday, January 30, 2015
I went to the city today, to see some more exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had lunch with my friend Stan, and then spent the rest of the afternoon looking at the Carleton Watkins photographs of Yosemite, from1866, and then an amazing collection of early Cubist works in the Lauter collection. Once again I was exhausted and crawled out of the museum at 5:30 and started walking back down Fifth avenue. And what a beautiful time of day it was. The lights begin to show in the office windows, there is still light in the sky, and the stream of tail lights illuminates Fifth Avenue. It was a magical time of day in the city
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:26 PM
Thursday, January 29, 2015
I am really beating these faded flowers to death, aren't I? But they have such interesting shapes and as the light and the background change, I keep finding different photographs of the same thing. I was thrilled when the sun finally came out. The sunlight just makes me feel good, after days of overcast. And because it is winter, the Sun travels a lower path through the sky, in this case, giving me long shadows on the snow. There is a small hill at the back of the side yard, and that is why the long shadows curve in this photograph. I think that this is one of the more beautiful photographs I have done lately. Be sure and click on this to see it larger. It is stunning!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:28 PM
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I spent part of the day clearing the last of the snow off of the driveway. It was nice shoveling snow when the sun was out. It sparkles, and the shadows on the snow were really pretty. I wanted to post a photograph of the snow, but though that you are probably tired of seeing snow. Maybe tomorrow. I happened to notice the first quarter moon rising above the tree tops, tinged with the warm light of the setting sun. So here you go.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
So we lucked out, and only ended up with 12" of snow, instead of the 24" to 36" forecast. It was still a lot of snow, though. I have been shoveling all day, taking breaks in between by reading or using the computer. I thought that just for fun, I would start by showing you how the weeds in yesterday's photograph looked after the storm. Then I saw the patio furniture by the garage, and thought that would make an interesting photo as well.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:24 PM
Monday, January 26, 2015
It has been snowing lightly all day, and very windy. Three inches or so is just a preview of what is to come. Late in the afternoon, I was sitting at the dining room table, and looked out at the herb garden. I was immediately taken by the delicate shapes of these plants. Back in 1962 when I was an R.I.T. student I did a photo essay on winter for the student newspaper. I found a poem by South African poet Roy Campbell, and used it for the text of my photo essay. It began:
"I love to see, when leaves depart,
The clear anatomy arrive,
Winter, the paragon of art,
That kills all forms of life and feeling
Save what is pure and will survive."
I thought of these words today, when taking this photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:38 PM
Sunday, January 25, 2015
They have finally taken all the bricks off the west side of the power plant. I am fascinated by the fact that there is structural steel that is painted blue. Perhaps that part of the plant had the steel out in the open, and the rest of the plant surround that steel with brick, thus obscuring it. The plant is so much more interesting with the outer walls removed. It is fascinating to see how it is built. In the bottom foreground are two of the barges that take the remains of the plant away.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:05 PM
Saturday, January 24, 2015
On the way to Port Washington yesterday, I discovered that the road that passed by the power plant was closed. They were doing some demolition on a wall next to the road, so they had to close it. So I took a detour on a small road that I knew. The cool thing is the road took me up above the plant, and with the leaves missing from the trees, I got a whole new view of the plant. Why didn't I think to do this months ago? In any case, this was a whole new way to see the demolition.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:45 PM
Friday, January 23, 2015
OK, so I didn't go to the arctic today. But you knew that... I went over to Port Washington to help a friend with his telescope and on the way back I drove by the harbor and saw all this ice, which had blown into a corner on the west side. So I got my camera and went exploring. Because of all the different sizes of ice, I thought it would make an interesting abstract photograph. Then I looked for another photograph that would show more of what the scene looked like. So you get two photographs for the price of one today.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:53 PM
Thursday, January 22, 2015
There is something just magical about a thin crescent moon. Even though I know about the motions of the moon and planets, I am usually surprised when I catch an unexpected glimpse of a new crescent moon. This happened today when I was going upstairs at dusk and stopped to glance out the window on the landing. What a joy to see this. The thing on the roof is a metal chimney for a wood burning stove in the house next door.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:37 PM
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I was coming back from a bagel run earlier than normal, and I was blown away by how the light illuminated my favorite building! The sun was lower in the sky, and more easterly, so it lit up the east side of this building, which is now in two parts. Most of the time, as you probably remember, I end up shooting into the light, which makes seeing detail in the structures difficult. But since the light is raking across the structure, the detail jumps out at you. This is probably one of the more dramatic images I have taken in the whole project.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
You will be pleased to know that I DO know why I took this picture! It's about the beautiful brown color of the faded flowers. I was sitting at the dining room table and happened to look out the window toward the garden, and from about seventy feet away I could see this flash of brown. This time of year is the most difficult for me, in terms of finding photographs for the blog. The leaves are all off the trees, no one is out walking around, and the skies overcast and gray much of the time. Perhaps it is that reduced stimulation from the world that makes me more sensitive to subtleties in the landscape.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Once again, I have no idea why I took this! Betsey and I were having lunch in the cafeteria at the New Britain Museum of American Art, and I looked out the windows at the end of the room, and I saw this. I have no idea what it is that resonated within me. But I walked over to the window, and quickly composed this image without any experimentation - it seemed as if there was only one way to look at it. So this is the picture that I "felt" but I don't have a clue what it is about!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:46 PM
Sunday, January 18, 2015
I don't know why I took this picture, exactly. I was walking along the sidewalk that runs along the edge of the harbor. I went up to the railing to look around - I am not sure why I did it at just this spot, but I was immediately taken with the dark shapes of the rocks. Then I noticed the remains of the yellow grasses, then the gray water and snow. I do know that I really like it when a photo is "layered" like this, with foreground, middleground, and background. It just felt right, and it only took a second or two to compose the image in the viewfinder. Just like that.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:52 PM
Saturday, January 17, 2015
I did a nice mood photograph the other night of these two structures. Nice mood, but not much information. So I went back to see what I could see in daylight. You can see so much more of the structure in daylight. I had to wait until sunset, because for most of the day this particular scene is backlit by the sun. I am finding that with the buildings in this condition they are SO much more interesting. With most of the brick gone, you can see so much of the structure for the first time. The photographs from here on out will be much more interesting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:58 PM
Friday, January 16, 2015
I came into New Britain, Connecticut, and as I turned a corner on the way to the New Britain Museum of American Art, I saw this silhouette in the sky on top of a really tall monument. Wow! It was huge and I realized I needed to stop and see what it was all about.
So this is what the monument looks like. It is 51 feet tall, and was constructed in 1900. It was dedicated as a lasting monument to all those who served the “War of the Rebellion” - the Civil War. The winged figure of victory on top typifies the reconciliation between the two sections of land which were at strife.
The monument was recently restored, and Winged Victory was replaced. There are inscriptions on each of the four sides of the monument, and they seems poignant because of the style of speech. Here are the words: "For you and me they put their armor on," "They joined the mortal struggle and went down," "For you and me they stood in grim array," and "Oh rare and royal was the sacrifice." What an astounding memorial - it is really impressive to see in person. Please click on each picture to see everything in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Thursday, January 15, 2015
I drove up to New Britain, Connecticut today to meet my sister Betsey, and to see an exhibit of photographs at the New Britain Museum of American Art. The black and white prints were from something called "Group f.64" and included photographers Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Imogen Cunningham, among others. Then we spent time with the paintings collection. Then, we found this. It is a room constructed in a gallery, called "The Vesper Project" by the artist Titus Kaphar. The interesting thing is that you are supposed to walk through the room. Betsey is doing that here, and it almost looks as if she belongs in the room.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:33 PM
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I photographed the power plant yesterday but I had not driven by it today. When I was on my way to the astronomy meeting, I was stunned to see that the whole insides are now removed! Wow! Wish I had seen some of that. So on the way home from my meeting late tonight, I set up a tripod (in the middle of the street - don't worry - I was wearing a bright red jacket and there was almost no traffic.) I was not sure what I was going to get. It took one exposure to see that the sky was bright enough to show the outline of the two buildings. You have seen so many photographs of this scene, that you couldn't be blamed for being bored, but the scene at night like this is a completely different feeling.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:49 PM
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
If you are where you can see the western horizon, and the weather is clear, be sure to go take a look from about 5:15PM to 5:45 PM at the planets Venus, at left, and Mercury, on the right. This is called a "conjunction" of the planets, and it is fairly rare. I think I saw the statistic somewhere that less than one percent of people have seen the planet Mercury. It is elusive, and fairly faint. Because it is winter, the skies are clearer and it is more easily visible. I have looked so many times for Mercury in the summer, but the thick haze at the horizon always obscures it. So this is a treat, and I hope you get a chance in the next few days. Each day they will be moving further apart and in 15 days Mercury will quickly move below the horizon. You might want to look at the planets with binoculars if you have them. Binos won't help find the planets, but will give an interesting view with some magnification.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:22 PM
Monday, January 12, 2015
I was on my way to the bagel store this morning, driving in the rain, and I noticed this "mountain" on the other side of the harbor. I would never have noticed it if it were not for the snow clinging to some of the ridges. This is not, of course, a "mountain," it is a pile of gravel that has been brought in by barge from up the Hudson River, I think. Then the gravel is used for roads, and it may be used to mix concrete. I love the way the trees disappear into the mist in the background.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:55 PM
Sunday, January 11, 2015
After I finished photographing the skaters on the pond, I was walking back to my car, when I saw this guy in the bright red jacket walking along the sidewalk, heading away from me. I kept walking and then thought WAIT! I turned around and started running toward him, but by the time I could see the sidewalk, it was empty! Oh no! Then I stepped around the trees and discovered that he was walking in the street. Whew! So a snapped off a bunch of pictures as he walked away. I chose this one. Without the red jacket, this would not be interesting at all.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:58 PM
Saturday, January 10, 2015
I was driving by Scudder's Pond just down the street from us, and I noticed all the cars parked by the pond. So I turned around and found a place to park, and look what I found! The pond was dredged last year, and all the non-native plants were removed and new varities were planted. So the pond is much larger than it was. It did not occur to me that with temperatures in the teens, that by now it would be frozen. It is. There were so many people skating, that I thought it looked like a Currier and Ives hand-colored lithograph! Pretty, huh?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:36 PM
Friday, January 9, 2015
I thought it would be interesting to show you the other side of the power plant. I am always shooting from the north side, and it is always backlit by the sun, unless it is an overcast day. It is difficult to shoot from this south side because so much stuff is in the way, and there is a fence. But the gate was open enough for me to stick my camera in. Nice colors from this side. You can see how they have "eaten" into the center of the building little by little, which is how they are taking it down.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:01 PM
Thursday, January 8, 2015
It's been three weeks since my last post showing the demolition work on the power plant. Now there are almost no bricks on the outside of the building at all. Much of the structural steel that holds up the building is still there, but he steel piping within the building is gone, and little by little, they are removing sections of flooring. The building is getting thinner and thinner from the side which we can't see from here.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:25 PM
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
I read in a photo newsletter that I subscribe to, that there is a photographer who did a whole series of photographs of trees, growing in unlikely places, or that looked like they were in a predicament. I immediately loved the idea of that and thought it would be a good project. It's funny how an idea can change your brain and your sensibilities. The next day I was in the city, and I spotted this tree. I might not have seen this if I didn't have trees on my mind. It also helped that there was snow on the branches. I think I will look for more trees, and also make a collection of them as the project continues.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:49 PM
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
It was snowing a bit today, so I decided to go to the city and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art because there were a couple of shows that I wanted to see. My usual route is to take the subway to 59th street and then walk the mile and a quarter up to 82nd street, and the Museum. The thing I love about getting there this way is my walk up Fifth avenue. I always find so many opportunities for photographs on this walk. Today was not a disappointment as you can see from this photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:58 PM
Monday, January 5, 2015
This photograph looks like Christmas itself! I know you are semi-impressed that I was able to come up with the name of this plant. I read the tag. But that answer is way to simplistic. There were a number of these plants in the greenhouse, but none of them had tags on them. Finally I found a tag that described the plants, and I was all set. It almost looks as if I am smart... :-) This is just for your viewing pleasure.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:22 PM
Sunday, January 4, 2015
I found so many interesting photographs at Planting Fields Arboretum the other day, that I just have to post some more. And there will be more posts after this. I couldn't find the plastic tag with the name of this plant on it. I did speak to one of the people in the greenhouse, and he said all that he knew was that it was a member of the palm tree family. That's good enough for me - I am more interested in the image itself, than the data. And this image is all about the design of it - all the lines going off at different angles.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:43 PM
Saturday, January 3, 2015
It was such a beautiful day on New Year's Day that we all decided to go for a walk. We hadn't gone a quarter of a mile before I was ordering everyone where to walk. "Oh, quick, can you all cross over to the other side of the street, please?" That was because I wanted to have them walking in the sunlight so that I could get these great shadows. It is not easy walking with me, when I have a camera! :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:30 PM
Friday, January 2, 2015
Today we went to to Planting Fields Arboretum. During the Christmas season, they have a beautiful display in the greenhouse and Poinsettias are a major part of the exhibit. I walked around looking at all the different colors of these plants, from those that were nearly white, to this stunning variegated version. This one is called "Ice Punch" and it is just beautiful in person. There is a strange pink color to the lighter parts of the leaf, but that is not the true color. Our eyes see colors differently from what the sensor in the camera sees, and this is one of these examples. It's still really pretty, though.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:48 PM
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Another New Year's Day tradition in Sea Cliff. I don't know if it is called a "Polar Bear Swim" or not, but it has been going on for a long time. You will be surprised to know that I have no interest whatsoever in taking part in this. I think about 10 people took the plunge. Brrrrr... But the coolest thing was that two women took part, and one of them won my fashion award for the day. Not only was she wearing a hot pink bathing suit, but she had on long formal pink gloves! Here she is posing for a photograph with her friend.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM