Sunday, January 31, 2016
After all the leaves are off the trees it gets more difficult for me to fine beautiful photographs in nature. So I hope you will forgive me if I am showing you so many snow photographs lately. The new snow reveals all kinds of wonderful things, especially when the sun comes out. These stalks are almost two feet high, which gives you an idea of how much snow we got. Early in the morning the low sun made wonderful shadows of the stalks, which I spotted from the second floor bedroom window.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:09 PM
Saturday, January 30, 2016
I have a leftover photograph from the snowstorm. While the snow was tapering off on Saturday night, I started looking out the windows to see if I could find any pictures. I have posted one already, and this is the second one. It is our new back porch, showing the snow drifting over the stairs, and one of the columns which hold up the roof of the portico. I love that this is pretty much an abstract, and I also like that I have kept it really dark, which adds to the abstract nature of the image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:31 PM
Friday, January 29, 2016
I have posted a couple of photographs of this oak desk when I was building it, and then a photograph of it after it was varnished. Today I installed it in a corner of the new back room. It is fastened to the wall on two sides with aluminum angle so it appears to be suspended in space. The three coats of marine spar varnish have such a glossy finish that the desktop looks wet all the time. It is such a beautiful addition to the addition.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:04 PM
Thursday, January 28, 2016
So this is not our mailbox - it is the neighbor's across the street. Can you believe that the mail carrier left a package balanced on top of the mailbox like this! I spotted this today, and it struck a nerve. We have the best mailman ever and he is so conscientious. Whenever there is something that doesn't fit the mailbox, he brings it up and puts it on our front porch, by the front door. But every once in a while, a replacement driver does the route, and this happens. I came home one day and there were two small Amazon boxes sitting on the curb at the foot of our mailbox. It would be too easy for someone to walk away with them, so I complained to the post office. They said they were sorry, and that they had talked to the driver, but he continues to do it his way. Sigh...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:59 PM
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
On Saturday afternoon, I used my snowblower on the whole driveway, knowing that much of the show would drift back, but still, I would have a head start on cleaning up. Saturday night the snow continued to fall, and I tried several views of the snow and shadows outside our windows. This one of the views, and I love the subtlety of the light and shade on the snow. Please click on this to see the larger image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:27 PM
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
I have never photographed the Japanese maple from this angle before. It wouldn't be very interesting when the tree was leafed out, seen against the grass. But to have the delicate branches silhouetted against the snow covered yard gives a whole new sense of the structure of the tree. Funny that I have never noticed this before.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:55 PM
Monday, January 25, 2016
I went to the city tonight to attend a lecture at the Japan Society by George Takei. My friend Stan and his wife had two tickets, but Ann couldn't make it, so Stan invited me. George is presently on Broadway in a musical called "Allegiance" which is based on his own story of he and his family being sent to a U.S. Japanese-American internment camp, when he was five years old. They were in the camp for three and one-half years! His story was very moving because of all the details he shared with the audience. The first thing he experienced was when two soldiers with rifles banged on the door of their house and escorted the whole family away before dawn. As an activist, his mission is to promote seeing that this story is told in history classes everywhere. Education is the only thing that will keep this from happening again.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:30 PM
Sunday, January 24, 2016
So the morning after the big storm finds me running my new snow blower. Unbelievably we got 24 inches altogether. The snow doesn’t look that deep because I went out yesterday afternoon and did the whole driveway. What you are seeing is the second accumulation of snow from 3PM until the storm stopped last night. It was so much fun, playing with my new toy, and instead of snow removal being a grind it was fun. And I did my good deeds for the day. After our driveway, I went to the next door neighbor’s and did her driveway - she is the person who takes care of our cats. Then the guy across the street who used to loan me his snow blower, but sold it because he didn’t have a place to store it, needed help getting through the thick snow from the passing snowplows. Then same thing for the husband and wife down the street. Then the same thing for our neighbors who are in Vermont for the weekend. They will be so surprised to see their 20 foot apron to the garage all cleaned out. It felt really good helping everyone. This machine, by the way, is a BEAST! Look at how far it was able to throw this snow - nearly all the way across the side yard! So glad I bought the biggest one. I spent half the time being stunned by the beauty of the sun shining through the blown snow. Isn’t it stunning? It was a fun day! Oh, photo credit: Photograph by Katherine Spencer! Nicely done!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:12 PM
Saturday, January 23, 2016
About three o'clock this afternoon, I finally fired up the new snow blower and cleaned the driveway. Can't tell you how much fun that was! Then I grabbed my camera and headed down to the street to the water. When I got to Shore Road I was thrilled to see two people in the distance walking toward me in the road. Without that couple in the road, it would just be another photograph of my beloved Sycamore trees. The three of us stopped and chatted for a few minutes - they live around the corner from us - and then we went our separate ways. I am stunned to hear on the news tonight they reported we have have had a 24 inch snowfall!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Friday, January 22, 2016
On January 9th I posted the story of my going to the FAA Seminar on Aerial Photography given by Russell Munson, and I described his aerial photography. So here's what happened, unknown to me. An editor friend of mine at Newsday happened to see my blog, and called Russell and asked if she could do a story about him! Then she assigned a writer to the story. The writer who I know, called me to say he was going to do the story, and he wanted me to tell him a bit about Russell. So we chatted and I talked about flying and photography, and how good his photographs were. But I was feeling so jealous that the story was being done and I wasn't going to be a part of it. I was bummed! Then I got an idea... I called the director of photography who is a friend of mine, and asked if he would consider assigning me to the story. He said "Sure" and I was ecstatic! So this morning I got up early, picked up the reporter and drove to East Hampton, and we spent the day hanging out and interviewing and photographing Russell and his plane. So I had to have a photograph of the two of us together with his airplane! What a day!
Thursday, January 21, 2016
I went to the grocery store to get dinner - a filet of salmon, and some broccoli, and I decided to buy a red pepper to munch on while I prepared the salmon. After I got home, I looked more carefully at the pepper and couldn't believe what I had bought! This pepper is astounding in its misshapen beauty! So It was dinner time, and I thought, "no way I can photograph this pepper before dinner" so i put it in the fridge. After dinner I went to work on my dining table studio. Here is the best shot of the take.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:06 PM
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
This is Brian and Deane. They are the primary carpenters who built our beautiful room. They are first rate craftsmen and over the months that they have been working here, we have become friends. Shortly after they started work, Kathy would bake cookies each day for them, and I would announce "The Cookie of the Day" when they arrived for work in the morning. They have not been working here for several months, but they came back to finish up some of the last details. It is always such a rich experience for me to watch people who are the very best at what they do. Since we now have a nice gray wall, I decided to do a studio set up and do their portrait.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
I have posted photographs of ice crystals before - most recently on January 7. So you might wonder why I photographed them again. Two reasons - one is, because these feathery looking forms are unlike any I have seen before. The second reason is that Dean says I never get close enough when I do my close-ups. I think this is an improvement on how I normally shoot. These forms are astounding, aren't they? Be sure and click on it to see all the detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:28 PM
Monday, January 18, 2016
I found this photograph while going through some old folders. This is the Spencer family farm, in Guilford, Connecticut. I love that the road that it is on, is called "Three Mile Course." I took this photograph back when I was in High School. You can get some idea of the date by looking at the car to the left - something from the 1950's. The farmhouse has changed considerably since I took this. The farm was sold, and then the field I am standing in was sold separately, and is now filled with development houses. You can't go home again.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:44 PM
Sunday, January 17, 2016
I decided to construct a built-in desk for Kathy's computer in the new back room. It will be bolted to the wall with steel angle iron. I wanted it to be beautiful, so I bought a couple of pieces of solid oak and glued them together. And then I needed to add a second layer of wood to the edges, in order to make the desk one and one-half inches thick - that's what all the clamps are about in the first picture. Then I needed to add three coats of marine spar varnish, with careful sanding between each coat. You can't believe how gorgeous this piece is now that the varnishing is done!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:39 PM
Saturday, January 16, 2016
It's not really "cat week" it just seems that way to me, because I have been doing a bunch of cat pictures. Can't help myself. All the cats do this thing, where, if I get up from a chair and leave the room, when I come back a minute later, one of the cats has taken my seat. So today I was measuring the bathroom shower before installing the shower curtain rod. So I brought in a step stool and set it up and went looking for my measuring tape. When I came back a minute later, there was Grace sitting on the top step! Anything new, they want to sit on it! Look at her look! Is that cute or what!
Friday, January 15, 2016
We were so overdosed on Christmas cookies that it wasn't even funny. I mean OVERDOSED! So when we got home from Los Angeles, the rule was "no sweets in the house!" Well, we have done well so far, but I got a hankering the other night. We were also watching "The Great British Baking Show" and Kathy wanted to make some kind of rolled up thin cake filled with something like a jelly. Well, we passed on that, and decided on pie, and apple pie seemed like the correct one. Well, here it is, and not only is it gorgeous, but the taste is out of this world! So much for self control!
Thursday, January 14, 2016
I have to soak my toe twice a day - don't ask - and the kitties are absolutely fascinated by this. Mainly because is when there is water around, they can't take their eyes off it. So with my foot in the dishpan, Grace could not help watching. Then she got closer. Then, when she couldn't stand it any longer, she had to put her paw in the water! These kittens are an endless fascination!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:11 PM
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
We had a wonderful speaker at the astronomy club meeting tonight. His name is Dr Calder and he spoke about some of the things we have learned about Pluto from the New Horizon's spacecraft. The planetary probe was launched on January 2006 and passed by Pluto 9 years later on July 2015. It was a terrific talk and that is a photograph of Pluto's moon Charon. I decided to try to do a portrait of Dr. Calder, illuminated by the digital projector. Only thing is, that some of the surface detail of Charon fell on his face, and it ended up looking as if he had a skin disease! Epic Fail! I should know better by now. This is the second time I tried this technique, and the first time it was even worse than this! Man, when will I learn?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:53 PM
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
It was a cold, gray, rainy afternoon, so I went down to the harbor really late in the day, to see if I could find a photograph. I saw these old posts embedded in a sandbar and they looked interesting because it was so dark out. I used the camera on a tripod because the scene required a long exposure. I actually "saw" the picture in black and white as I was shooting it, and so converted the color image when I got home. I love seeing this image with its rich black and gray tones. Oh, and it was COLD and windy down at the water, and then it started to rain. OK, no more whining!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:31 PM
Monday, January 11, 2016
When I got a tour of the victorian house that is being restored by my friends the carpenters, I discovered this extraordinary staircase on the second floor. How amazing is this! I can't imagine what kind of craftsmanship it took to construct this originally. Certainly this will be a centerpiece in the restored home.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:52 PM
Sunday, January 10, 2016
I went over to visit the carpenters who built our addition, who are working on another house not too far away. It was great seeing them, and they had a story to tell. There is a house on the cliff, and a group of workers came in to make some changes to a retaining wall behind the house. The workers did something wrong, because about 15 feet of the back yard gave way and slid down the cliff, all the way to the water! So they said I should go down and see the mess. I did that, and then noticed this scene. The cliff is about one hundred feet above the harbor so it gives me a whole new perspective on the harbor. And I love the subtle pastel colors of dusk.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:21 PM
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Today I got up early and drove out to Long Island MacArthur airport to attend an FAA safety seminar. This seminar was a bit unusual in that it was called "AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY – the Beauty, the Problems, the Safety." The really cool thing is that it was given by a photographer and pilot whose work I have followed in Flying Magazine for forty years! His name is Russell Munson and he is a brilliant photographer of both airplanes, and the landscape from the air. And he is a really friendly guy. I mentioned that I was a photographer for the newspaper for 40 years, and he seemed impressed. We had a nice conversation, and he signed my copy of his book which I bought back in 1989. It was a really nice experience.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:38 PM
Friday, January 8, 2016
This is a portrait of Bebe, who is about fifteen years old. I was sitting at my laptop which was on the dining room table, and she jumped up and was sitting on the table right in front of me. What more could I ask for! Originally she was looking right at me which made for a great picture, but I didn't have my camera right near me. By the time I got the camera and the close-up lens, she was looking down more. So this isn't perfect, but it's not a bad photo. If you click on the photo you will be astounded with the amount of fine detail in the image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:13 PM
Thursday, January 7, 2016
The other morning, the temperature was 12 degrees Fahrenheit when we woke up. All of the upstairs windows were covered with frost - ice crystals. Depending on where the windows were located, in relation to radiators or whether or not the sun was shining on the windows, made a huge difference in the patterns of ice on the glass. I think that this image is the most interesting of all that I shot. Please click on this to see the incredible detail in the crystalline structure.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:53 PM
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Another photograph from my walks to the no-longer-in-existence power plant. It was shortly before sunset and the shadows on the sycamore trees were very dramatic. The trick was to find a particularly interesting tree for the foreground, as well as an interesting background. I stopped at about six different spots along the way, and this is the most beautiful, in addition to being dramatic. On, the funny thing? The title of this post is based on a stunning TV cop series that I just finished watching!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:59 PM
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
I went for another walk today, down to where the old power plant was located. It is a three mile round trip which is good for exercise. It also takes me along the harbor, and past the double rows of Sycamore trees, and then by Scudder's Pond, and later, by some remaining industrial structures. It is a gold mine for photographs, in my experience. I am always taking landscapes of the harbor and I photograph everything I see, even if I have photographed it before. I can't help myself. When I stopped to photograph at Scudder's Pond I did some wide angle photographs, and then thought of Dean's admonition, "get closer." Well, this will not be close enough for his liking, but it is closer than what I usually do. That's a start, right? The setting sun, of course, is what makes this so beautiful.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:49 PM
Monday, January 4, 2016
OK, so this is a puzzle. It is a door on a street just off Abbot Kinney. I have about a billion questions about this photograph that I just can't answer. I don't even know if the door opens - I suspect that it does not. And the artwork is the main attraction. It clearly is the grim reaper, but what is he doing - helping a child in a crosswalk? What would that mean? One more piece of wonderful art in Venice! All guesses as to what this means are welcome.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:07 PM
Sunday, January 3, 2016
Amy asked me to bring my Google Cardboard device out to California so everyone could try it using the NY Times Virtual Reality application. It was a big hit - everyone was amazed at what it was like to watch scenes where you could turn left and right and up and down, and even 360 degrees around, and the scene would change, as if you were there. I love this photo of liz because I love how delicate her hands are as she holds this device with my cellphone in it.
Saturday, January 2, 2016
I got to do a lot of walking while in Los Angeles. That's because Liz has a dog named Wesley, and he definitely enjoys having his walks each day. So I would go out with Liz and Sarah and Amy as they took Wesley for a walk through the neighborhood. These were not once-around-the-block kinds of walks. Usually we did about two miles which is not bad exercise if my day was spent sitting around talking and eating Christmas Cookies. The walking was definitely one of the best parts of the day. I was also trying to do something different, in terms of how the photograph looked. Not sure how to describe seeing this way, but I do like how this looks.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:51 PM
Friday, January 1, 2016
It was a lovely day for a New Year's Day walk. The temperature was 39 degrees and there was a 20 MPH wind and overcast skies. The clouds were beautiful in their leaden gray colors. I was lucky because as I walked along the harbor there was a break in the clouds in the distance, and the golden sun shown through. Then, like frosting on a cake, a cloud of sea gulls began orbiting in a circle right near where I was standing. Perfect.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:03 PM