Sunday, May 31, 2015
When I was walking up the steps of the Museum of Fine Arts, I happened to look up at the name carved over the entrance to the museum, and it was done in the old style. Thus, the strange spelling in the title. Next. So this is a brilliant wire sculpture of a cow, done by Alexander Calder about 1929. The title of the sculpture is "Vache" (Cow). It is absolutely brilliant in its conception. Look how clever it is. Humor and lightheartnedness were always important to his work. Note the accompanying cow pie!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:21 PM
Saturday, May 30, 2015
I walked into one of the galleries at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, saw this, and was stopped in my tracks! There is something so powerful about the way the angel is holding the man. I couldn't imagine what the sculpture was about, but I found it so moving. Turns out it is a memorial by the Pennsylvania Railroad to the 1,307 employees who gave their lives in World War II. This particular piece is the maquette for the final sculpture. This is about life size, and the final piece is thirty nine feet tall. It is called Angel of the Resurrection by Walker Hancock. So get this: The finished sculpture is in the 30th street station in Philadelphia. A light bulb went off in my head, and I think that maybe I saw the finished piece when I was in Philadelphia some years back. And I think I may have photographed it, but who has time to try and find the image, after 8 years of posting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:01 PM
Friday, May 29, 2015
I love this work of art! Is is on the wall at the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston. I was so excited to see it, then read it, then try to take an interesting photograph of it, that I forgot to search for the text on the wall somewhere to see who the artist was. Oh wait! There is the Internets! I just looked it up, and it is titled "Please" by the Danish artist Jeppe Hein. I love the sense of humor we are left with, having to do with visiting the museum. The trick was to wait for some visitors to stand in front of it in an interesting way.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:35 PM
Thursday, May 28, 2015
We are in Boston for a couple of days, and on the way up here we stopped to visit Pat and Bethany. We had pizza with them for dinner, and got to spend time catching up. After dinner I wandered by the living room, and noticed Finley watching television with Libby. I liked that the dog was in the picture, but he wouldn't look at the television - he only wanted to look at me. What is the matter with dogs anyhow?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:52 PM
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
On the way home from the parade, I spotted this American flag on display in a window. If it had been the only thing in the window, I would have passed it by, but there is that house in the lower left hand corner, and a hint of a plant. I just thought this was something different on a day when most people had their flags displayed outdoors.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Late in the day I looked out through the window in the front door, and saw our flag flying on the front porch. I had hung the flag our earlier in the day. I am not sure what it is about this view that caused me to want to shoot the photograph. Feels like a Norman Rockwell moment, perhaps. But it is different, and I really like the shot.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:14 PM
Monday, May 25, 2015
I don't have one single great shot from Memorial Day this year, so I will post a bunch of different photographs that will give you a sense of the parade and the memorial ceremony in the park. I like this photograph for giving a sense of place and a sense of the parade. I like the Norman Rockwell feeling of all of this.
I try to keep an eye out for people watching the parade, because they can make interesting photographs. I loved the dog and the flags in this shot.
Every year the parade stops at the memorial at the firehouse to remember the volunteer firemen who have served the village, and have since passed away.
I spotted another photographer along the parade route, and I was impressed while watching him, with the intensity of his focus on his shooting. And you have to love the woman and the two dogs as well.
Maybe this could have been the stand alone photograph of the day. All the servicemen in uniform were standing in line at the memorial service at the park. I was taken by the contrast between these two men. On the left is a well-known Sea Cliff resident who comes to the ceremonies every year. He was a Green Beret in Vietnam about 50 years ago. The Marine on the right has just finished training, and graduated first in his class. It makes my head spin to imagine what the Green Beret has seen, and what the new Marine will get to see in his career.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:43 PM
Sunday, May 24, 2015
After all the demolition, it has come to this. A vacant lot, covered with topsoil, and seeded with some kind of grass. Here they have put in fence posts for a chain link fence to surround what's left. Wow, it seems kind of impossible, even though I have watched every step of the demolition over the last two years, demolishing an amazing power plant that was over a hundred years old, so that there is no longer anything recognizable.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
This fence is looking much better! Someone hit the left hand end of this portion, and broke it away from the post that holds it up. I repaired that with a couple of lag bolts. Then I had to clean it using mildew remover and detergent. After a couple of days of allowing it to dry, I painted this section with primer. I still have a finish coat to apply, but it looks better already. After this one is finished, I have three more sections to do... But it is easier to work on, having this section as an example.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:24 PM
Friday, May 22, 2015
The pond down by the beach was absolutely flat, like a mirror, because there was no wind at all. So I was attracted to the mirror image. And what's nice about this one is the curving trunks of the trees on the right, that form a semi-circular dark form at the edge of the frame. I think it adds something extra.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:16 PM
Thursday, May 21, 2015
It is time to paint the front picket fence. You can tell that by looking at the condition of the paint on the top of this picket. While I was scrubbing this section of the fence with detergent and mildew remover, I noticed this weed with a flower growing up in the background. I thought the combination was interesting, so I went and got my camera. I will have to go back after the fence is painted, but I don't think it will be as interesting a photograph, with a bright white freshly painted picket.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
At the end of my bike ride the other day, I was sitting on the bench down at the beach, and I happened to notice a dandelion on the ground, lit by the setting sun. The sun was only illuminating the blossom - everything else was in shadow. I only had my iPhone with me for a camera, so I knew there was no way I could photograph the dandelion up close. So I held on to the idea, and the next day, I found a dandelion in the lawn, and so brought it inside the house and made a little studio setup and illuminated it with a spotlight, and used a macro lens to get this. Nature is just astounding, isn't she? It is wonderful to see the incredible detail in something that seems simple at first glance.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:04 PM
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
I haven't done any carpentry around here in a while. This project is long overdue, however. I have rebuilt the front steps three times now, since we bought the house in 1971. Originally there were two 4x4 inch posts at the top and bottom of the stairs, with a 2x4 hand rail. Not very fancy, but at least there was a railing. Cut to 44 years later, and it was long past time to build a new railing! I went down to Home Depot, and bought two newel posts, as they are called, and seven balusters, a hand rail, and a bottom rail. It was fun making the calculations and the diagonal cuts for everything on my bench saw. I worked carefully and everything went together nicely. It became even more beautiful after the white paint.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:51 PM
Monday, May 18, 2015
So the saga continues. About a week ago, we came out of the house, headed out for breakfast, and Kathy noticed that the mother cat, followed by two kittens was leaving their nest in the ivy and headed under the gate to a neighbor's yard! One of the kittens turned around and went back, and the mother continued on with one kitten following. They went under a chain link fence and turned east, the mother cat leading the way, and the kitten was happily following behind. That is the image frozen in my mind, as my heart sank. We drove away, and worried about the left behind kitten. When we returned from breakfast the last kitten was gone, fortunately. We had no idea where they went, but there was no way we could follow, into other neighbor's yards. The mother cat, which we had been feeding for a couple of weeks, did not show up for meals, and so we were saddened that they were just plain gone. Cut to 4 days ago, and I went to photograph the empty nest for a blog post. I took the picture and looked up to find the mother cat staring at me through the fence, from the house next door! They are only three feet away from where they were! So we know where they all are, and we are now feeding the mother again, along with our friend Judy from next door. Whew! What a relief that everyone is still OK.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:15 PM
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Kathy came in with a sprig of Lilly of the Valley from a shady corner garden in the back yard. I forget that it grows there. She reminded me that the original plant came from her mom's garden in Geneva, New York, and it has been in the back garden for a long time. I forget how beautiful and delicate the blossoms are. And how fragrant. So I found a bud vase to put the sprig in, and I went around the house looking for the best lighting. So here are two different versions in two different places.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:36 PM
Saturday, May 16, 2015
We went back to the carnival tonight. For Dinner. We had the usual - a sausage and pepper hero, and two deserts - a soft ice cream chocolate cone, and a bag of six zeppoli. Sounds well-balanced, don't you think? Then I wandered around looking for interesting photographs. I liked all the lights at dusk, before the sky was completely dark. And I love the people riding "Pharaoh's Fury." Some of them seem completely unaffected, while others appear to be screaming. The carnival is always an interesting place to find photographs.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:25 PM
Friday, May 15, 2015
There is a carnival in the parking lot down at the beach this weekend, so I decided to go down and take a look around with my camera. Among the rides and attractions was this climbing wall. What was astounding was seeing this young girl going for the top! I was so impressed with her fearlessness. She slipped off a couple of times, and was saved by the belay rope, and went back at it until she finally reached the top. An impressive performance.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
I don't do enough portraits on the blog. I love doing portraits of people, and I should work harder at shooting more of them for this space. So this is Jessica. I met her about seven years ago when she was a sophomore in high school, when she came to an ASLI meeting, and said she wanted to build her own telescope, and grind and polish her own mirror! Cut to seven years later, and she is graduating from Stony Brook University with three majors: Mechanical Engineering, Physics, and Astronomy! Wow! She came to our observing session last night, and we stood around talking while waiting for the sky to clear. The sun had set a while before and it was really dark. I used my SONY RX II camera, and set the ISO at 12,800, and was stunned at how good the photograph was. I like the black and white version, because the color casts in the original image were distracting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:15 PM
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
We had an observing session tonight on the lawn of the mansion, where we set up our telescopes. I happened to glance across the harbor and saw that the setting sun had broken out from under the overcast, and the stacks at the Northport power plant were bathed in golden light. I was afraid I would loose the light, so grabbed my camera and sprinted across the lawn to where I could see this view. You have seen a photograph of this plant before - in the middle of winter with steam coming out of the stacks into a clear blue skies.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:16 PM
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
A while ago, I saw a photograph taken in an office of a cup of coffee, and in the background were out of focus computers and other office equipment. I was taken with the quality of that image - that only a small part of the picture was sharp. I realized how the photographer did that. They used a normal lens - a 50mm focal length, and they used it "wide open" meaning at it's largest opening - f/1.8. So I experimented a bit with several different subjects and liked the effect. So here is a photo of a single fern on the front bank. I really love the look of this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:30 PM
Monday, May 11, 2015
"I eat my peas with honey
I've done it all my life
It makes the peas taste funny
but it keeps them on the knife"
-- Ogden Nash
Kathy made a pasta dish for dinner, and it was pancetta, lemon and peas, with white wine, butter, and parmigiano reggiano, over spaghetti. Wow! The funny thing is, when I was eating this dish with the peas in it, I thought of this Ogden Nash poem that I memorized as a kid. I love this poem, because it is so silly. So then I started putting the peas on the knife, just for the heck of it, and it looked interesting, so this photograph is what resulted.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:43 PM
Sunday, May 10, 2015
So here is an update on the kittens. This is the mother cat. She is getting used to us, because we are feeding her several times a day. We are feeding her because she is nursing four kittens. She keeps her distance but comes out from wherever she is, when we hit the food dish with a spoon, and the dish rings like a bell. She is either with the kittens buried in the ivy, or sitting up here about 20 feet away where she can keep her eye on them. The difficult time is yet to come - when the kittens are old enough, we have someone who will trap the mother cat, and have her spayed. Then the kittens will go to a shelter. We are not looking forward to all that...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:39 PM
Saturday, May 9, 2015
We have been buying bagels most weekends, for something like 15 or 20 years now, from a bagel store nearby. Recently the local specialty supermarket started selling bagels, so just for the heck of it we decided to try some from that store. THIS is one of the bagels! I have never seen a bagel that looks like this. My sense is that bagels are cut out of a rolled out sheet of dough with something like a cookie cutter. This looks like a strip of dough rolled out to a cigar shape, and then the ends stuck together. Is this a REAL bagel? Anyone else ever seen a bagel like this? By the way, the bagel was not as good as the ones from our favorite bagel store!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:36 PM
Friday, May 8, 2015
I went out to the driveway today to photograph a little woodworking project I am working on, using my toy camera. More about that in another post. I happened to glance down and noticed my shadow on the ground after I took the picture I wanted. Then I thought, "Hey, here's a blog post!" I couldn't figure out what to do with my free hand, so I tried some different things - fingers closed, fingers opened. I chose this one.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:29 PM
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Obviously I was running wild with my Macro lens! I saw closeups everywhere I looked! I guess it's just that I am overjoyed to see any Spring color at all, after this Winter! Years ago I had a fashion model stand amongst some Daffodils, and the woman who was producing the shoot she said she loved that the model was in the "Jonquils." I had no idea what that meant. Then it was explained to me. I just now looked up "Jonquils" and learned an interesting lesson: This term actually refers to a specific type of daffodil known as Narcissus jonquilla, although the name is often used as a more general term for daffodils in certain parts of the country. Fascinating, right?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:05 PM
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Ah Spring... The season of... The Macro Lens, of course! Who can avoid the chance to shoot extreme closeups of blossoms at this time of year? I thought this photograph of a Lilac blossom was pretty nice. And... Maybe Dean will think that finally I am close enough! Or not!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:43 PM
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Every spring Kathy hangs a basket of flowers from a hook I put at then entrance of the front porch. The Japanese maple tree is the background for whatever flowers we have. I love the splash of color each morning when I go out to get the newspaper. It reminds me again that spring is in the air. Get it? :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:13 PM
Monday, May 4, 2015
This is amazing! Kathy found the kittens, and they are only forty feet from where they were born! I saw a big gray male cat hanging around in the side yard, and we think he is the father of the kittens. I chased him away, and then Kathy saw a bit of white in the ivy. She looked closer and saw the head of the mother cat. When the mother saw her, she took off running. So Kathy got closer to investigate, and looking into the ivy she hollered "I found the kittens!" The mother cat had kind of burrowed under the ivy and pulled some of it away from the wall, and that's where the four kittens are. When I went over to look, I could only see one of them, the cover was so thick. After I did the closeup, I backed away and photographed the scene. There is no hint at all that the kittens could be hidden under this ivy. So we are back to feeding the mother cat now that we know where she stays, and she is accepting of the food.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:58 PM
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Every year this magnolia tree across the street sheds its blossoms on the lawn. I have tried to photograph this scene before, but the picture was never quite right. Either there were not enough blossomson the ground, or not enough on the tree. On this day, everything looked much better. How about that - Spring at last!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:31 PM
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Here are two photographs from inside Cave Creek Canyon. This is a shot driving down the main road that comes from the Research Station where we stayed. Interesting trees, and in the distance, the rugged eastern ridge of the canyon.
And this is a long exposure at night of the starry sky. The ridge is illuminated by a setting crescent moon off to the right, outside the frame of the picture. Please click on the photograph to enlarge it - the stars will be easier to see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:19 PM
Friday, May 1, 2015
A couple of days ago, I posted "The Road to Portal" on the blog. Just after you get to Portal, you then come upon this scene. It is looking down the valley of Cave Creek Canyon. It is a stunning landscape here. It feels like Yosemite National Park. Stan and I drove here to photograph and stargaze, because we were not sleep deprived enough after two late nights at two different observatories. This is a birdwatcher's paradise. Everyone and their uncle is looking for "The Elegant Trogon" which is the name of a real bird, believe it or not. We did not see one sitting on a branch. Stan saw one flying. But we met some other hikers and had some nice conversations along the way. We also got some nice photographs, like this one, for instance.
This is an interesting landform. Why do you suppose these farmers have arranged their fields in a horseshoe shape? I think I know. This area is just east of the Mississippi River, somewhere around Memphis. The thing about rivers like the Mississippi is that over geological time, they meander. That is, they create little loops on either side of the river when the flow of water erodes the bank. It is hard to describe, so look up "Oxbow Lake" on Wikipedia. Anyhow, I am guessing that the oxbow formed, and the river moved away, and then the land filled in. This is in exactly the correct shape for an oxbow lake.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:55 PM