Friday, September 30, 2016

Back to Work for Me!

So now that I have used up all my California photographs, I have to get back to work! I was on the way to the bagel store this morning when I saw these Halloween dolls perched on the fence.  I think that they are so cute, and they made me smile.  They almost look home made, but they probably are store bought.  It doesn't matter.  I love that people will take the time to brighten up the season by putting out decorations like these! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Corn Snake

We have been back from Los Angeles for two whole weeks now, but I have continued to show photographs from the west coast.  That's because it is so much easier to take photographs when I am away from home.  The Sunday after we got home, our astronomy club brought our telescopes to a program at Old Westbury Gardens called "Kidsfest."  A bunch of organizations having to do with nature and science had displays for kids and their parents.  The people across from our table had a Corn Snake.  What a beautiful animal!  I thought it made a good photo because of the green background.  The young man who was holding the snake offered to let me hold it, but I politely declined!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Stop the Pig!

The thing about Venice, California is, that there are a lot of artists living here, and if there are community issues, you can expect to see paintings here and there having to do with the issues.  One of the major problems in Venice is that in many areas, there were all these wonderful cottages where families lived and raised their children.  When you drive around now, these cottages are being demolished and giant mansions are constructed on the tiny plots where the cottages once were.  One abandoned cottage on a small plot next to Amy was sold for 1.3 million dollars!  Now there is a monster house on the property that towers over the other homes.  No wonder people are upset.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Architecture of The Broad

I have shown you some details of The Broad museum in another post, but I haven't given you a good sense of what the building actually looks like.  I had to take four images, from left to right, and then join them together with software in order to get this wide-angle view.  It wasn't possible to get any further away than across the street, so you either need an extreme wide-angle or you need to do a panorama.  You will be interested to know that the indentation in the front of the building is called "The Occulus."  There are windows in the occulus, and you can see out of them from inside.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Abstract Expressionism

I stopped to look at this bicycle on Abbot Kinney, because I have never seen a bicycle wheel with this many spokes.  I was going to make a snapshot just of the wheel, and then I noticed the shadow of the other parts of the bike on the sidewalk, so I spent some time trying different compositions to see if I could make an interesting abstract photo.  Whaddya think?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Leftovers in the Trunk

So we went to this restaurant in Santa Monica.  They served huge portions and *some* of us couldn't eat all of their dinner.  So some of us left with doggie bags.  When we got to the parking garage we decided to put the leftovers in the trunk.  Then for some reason, both Amy and Liz decided to photograph the three styrofoam containers side by side!  I thought this was funny, so of course I had to photograph them photographing.  And, no, I have no idea what they did with their photos!

Saturday, September 24, 2016


This is Oliver the cat, one of the two cats, and two dogs, who reside in Liz and Sarah's house.  He is a friendly guy, after he gets used to us.  I found him here at one of his favorite places early one morning, the back kitchen window checking out the back yard. It is hard to tell from this photo, but Oliver is missing his left front leg.  He was a rescue cat, and he gets around just fine with only three legs.  And you can see, he is a beautiful animal.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Melinda Ketelsen, September 22, 2016

Melinda Ketelsen, the wife of my dear friend Dean Ketelsen, passed away last night after a three-year battle with cancer.  She is second from left in pink, and Dean is in orange.  Dean has documented her heroic battle with the disease on his blog, and her endless regimes of chemotherapy.  You may know Dean from all his wonderful comments on my blog.  He is a legend in Tucson with his outreach work in astronomy, and he works in the Mirror Lab, finishing 8 meter astronomical mirrors for observatories.  This photograph is the result of a trip that Stan Honda, to my left, and I took to Tucson  back in April, to spend a week doing astronomical things with Dean, and my long-time friend Mike Terenzoni, in center of photo.  We got to meet Melinda, spend time visiting, and have some dinners together, and she was such a lovely person.  My heart is saddened.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

In the Gallery

I LOVE this photograph!  We were all wandering around the galleries at the Broad, and I happened to run into Amy in this room.  I think we were talking for a bit, and she looked up, and I shot two frames!  That's all, but I got it.  This whole photo is sunny and bright and colorful, and makes me feel good to look at it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Under The Table"

It was such an amazing sight to enter this gallery from a door to the right of this couple.  It was a small door, and there was no sense of what to expect.  And then you come face to face with this huge, oversized table and chair set.  It was so cool!  And I needed to have some people in the photograph, otherwise you wouldn't have a clue to the size of things.  The piece is called "Under the Table" by Robert Therrien.  The text says: "The table at nearly ten feet tall, exudes an extraordinary presence."  Yeah, that about nails it!  Oh, this was at the Broad museum, by the way.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nightscape, Venice

It is so easy to forget that pictures can be taken at night, as well as during the day.  Funny that I can forget that.  This is a photograph of Liz and Sarah's house.  There is a little building at the far left of the photo, which is a studio that liz has for her work.  I was going out to the car to get something, and when I came back to the house I saw this scene.  I mean, I would see it every night, but I never saw it as a photograph, until this particular night.  Funny how human perception works.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Students

I have been to a lot of museums and looked at thousands of paintings and photographs, and I have photographed so many people studying art works.  But I have never seen this many people study a painting this close, for as long as they did.  I didn't stop to talk to them, but they appeared to be students.  I shot this from some distance, so I couldn't hear what they were saying.  It was just fun to see these three crowding this painting!  The painting is by Edgar Degas, and is titled "After the Bath." We can only see parts of arms and legs in between the viewers, and it is so strange it makes me laugh.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Getty, Again

The Getty Center is such an astounding place for a bunch of reasons.  One of the reasons is, of course, the architecture.  I can always find new photographs here.  I have said this before, but when I am in the galleries, I start thinking "I need to go outside and look around a bit."  The first photograph shows that the Getty has one of the best views of Los Angeles!  Sometimes it feels as if there it too much marble, but in the second photograph, you can see that this view of the plaza is softened by trees.  And then I can also look for abstractions, like these curved railings with people enjoying the view.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Walt Disney Concert Hall

I finally got to see the outside of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles!  I have been looking forward to seeing this for years now.  This building, designed by the amazing Frank Gehry, opened in 2003.  It is the home of the L.A. Philharmonic.  I watch Tavis Smiley most nights and this building is featured in the opening credits of the show.  We have wanted to attend a concert of "Messiah" here when we are in Los Angeles at Christmastime, but the concerts are always over by the time we arrive.  I would love to see the interior, which is apparently stunning.  But at least I finally got to see the outside, because the Broad museum is right next door!  It is an amazing building, isn't it?

Friday, September 16, 2016

"Why Bother?"

This painting on a building on Lincoln Avenue in Venice is hard to miss.  I had to walk over and photograph it. of course,  But then the question is: "What does it mean?" and I am at a loss.  I am open to any and all interpretations from all of you out there.  I am left with one feeling, and that is that a painting like this could only exist in California!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Building Stuff

We got to do some father/daughter projects on this trip.  Liz has been building an adjustable bench for her practice.  She needed just a small bit of help to finish the mechanical part of it, before she applies the finish to it.  So we got to work together on this project, and one other thing that Liz was building.  It was fun to do some projects together again!  Back in 2006 Liz was home for a bit, and she grabbed a nail gun, climbed up on top of the garage, and helped me put a new roof on the garage! That was a great project to work on together!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

At The Bread Store

There is a new bread store in Venice, California, and we made another trip there for bread for breakfast one day.  We bought a killer Sourdough loaf, and an amazing Pumpernickel loaf.  And, get this, I was so anxious to EAT the bread, that when we got home, I forgot to PHOTOGRAPH either of the loaves!  Duh!  So here, sitting on the steps of the bakery are Sarah, and Amy, and Liz, and on the left "Toby" and in the center "Wesley."  Three beautiful women, and two loaves of bread in white bags!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Broad, Rhymes with Road

The Broad is a new contemporary art museum in Los Angeles.  It opened a year ago September, and I couldn't get to see it when we were here last Christmas.  It was still hard to get tickets this time but we did so five of us went to see the main show, which was a huge Cindy Sherman exhibit.  More on that in another post.  But the museum itself was just stunning, and I was unprepared for how interesting the building was architecturally.  The exterior doesn't give a clue to what the interior looks like. The outside wall is separate from the inside glass wall that surrounds the exhibit space. Inside, it looks like a cave in the areas leading to the exhibits.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Venice Canals

This afternoon we went walking in the Venice canals historic district.  There are only six canals left, and none of them are the original canals that Venice was named after - those canals were filled in when land became more valuable, believe it or not.  In the 70's the canal district was run down, and the canals were full of garbage.  Since then the canals have been refurbished and this area is one of the most coveted real estate locations around.  The houses are just beautiful - both the original small bungalows, and the more sophisticated architecture that has replaced them.  The whole place is an amazing collection of architectural styles.  The gardens at so many of the homes are also amazing as well, with many plants we didn't recognize at all - a wonderful lesson in horticulture.

The Getty Center

I went to the Getty Center today, to see a photography exhibit of early French  photography, from 1847 to 1860  It was an amazing exhibit - much better than I expected.  Fascinating that during this period the photographers made paper negatives in their camera, because glass plates had not been invented yet, and then printed them on paper.  I spent nearly two hours just in the one exhibit.  Then I headed off to see an exhibit of paintings by Theodore Rousseau called "Unruly Nature."  I am embarrassed to say that I didn't know anything about his work, and I was really taken by his work - really stunning paintings, and different than what other artists were doing with the landscape.  I also took time to do some photographs of the architecture of the Getty Center, which I always do.  This is a view of the plaza. I was talking with a woman photographer from out of the country, and we both agreed that the architecture here is so spectacular, that it is hard to spend time in the galleries looking at exhibits, with such amazing architecture all around us.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


So this is Buster.  He is a feral cat who lived with a whole bunch of other feral cats on the property of an abandoned house next to Amy and Gus.  Before the house was demolished, volunteers came to the property and trapped all the cats to rescue them.  All except Buster, who had been visiting Amy and Gus' yard for about five years.  So they had to formally adopt Buster, in order to keep him, a requirement of the City of Los Angeles.  Anyhow, Buster was friendly with Amy and Gus' cat Tarzan and little by little, Buster would let Amy approach him, and he would even come in the house for short periods of time.  So Buster has come a long way, and is a very lucky cat!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Abbot's Habit

After Liz and Amy had both moved to Venice, California, and we came to visit for the first time, I think it was Liz who said: "There is a really cool place to have coffee in the morning!  It's called "Abbot's Habit" on Abbot Kinney Boulevard."  So we have now been having breakfast here for about nine years!  There were always rumors that it was going to close.  Then we heard it was going to close in October.  We went there for breakfast today, and I was talking to Nina, the owner and I said I was sorry that the shop was going to close.  She told me that she had an extension to June, now, which is good.  The said that the coffee shop has been here for about 24 years.  This is one of the all-time great coffee shops in the country!  All kinds of people come here, young and old, some working on movie scripts, and others just on computers, hanging out. It's great not only for coffee, but for people watching as well.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dinner With Liz & Amy

All kinds of things were going on tonight.  Sara was away at a a training, and Gus was working.  So Kathy and Liz and Amy and I went out to dinner at a "modern" mexican restaurant in Santa Monica.  The food was wonderful, and the conversation even better.  We haven't seen them since last Christmas, so it was really nice to be hanging out together, and breaking bread.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Popcorn Clouds

OK, first, there is no such thing as "popcorn clouds."  I just made that up, because the clouds did remind me of popcorn.  The weather from JFK to LAX was above clouds, all the way.  Our route was different this time - I asked the pilot when we landed why we took the southern route - almost direct from JFK to Little Rock, Arkansas, and then almost directly west to Los Angeles.  The pilot said that there was a lot of weather around the Chicago area so we avoided it by taking the southern route.  Also we were not flying into the jet stream, so we arrived in record time for a westbound trip - 5 hours and 10 minutes!  And we got to see these scattered cumulus clouds all the way to the horizon, for a good part of the trip.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Educated Cat

Kathy was lying on the couch reading the paper and when I walked by, I saw the silhouette of Bebe looking at the paper!  I couldn't believe my eyes!  The difficult part was having to leave my spot, cross the room, grab my toy camera, set the ISO to 1600, and THEN I could take a photo.  Fortunately, the cat did not move until after I got about three exposures!  Whew!  Got it!  This is so cute, isn't it?

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Light on the Stairs

Sometimes the subject of my photographs is light itself.  It's that the quality of the light is more important than whatever the subject is.  I think that's why I was attracted to this scene.  It is the late afternoon sun shining on the stairway landing.  I love how the light is exploding around the ballusters.  I also like the design of the photograph, with all the lines at different angles.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


I love that they have greeters at Home Depot when you arrive.  Look at the new greeter they now have.  Met him when we stopped in to get a few small items.  His name is Winston (it says on his apron) and he was talking, but it was noisy and I couldn't hear what he was saying.  I tried to ask him to repeat what he said, but he is old, and clearly hard of hearing, so no luck there.  Who ever put him together did a great job, didn't they!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

"Spencer, you ain't too swuft"

When I was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force reserve, I was getting "on the job training," at Niagara Falls International Airport.  I drove fuel trucks, fueled airplanes and set up pumping stations to transfer fuel from tanker trucks to 100,000 gallon tanks of JP-4 and Avgas.  Sometimes the other airmen would forget to tell me how things were done, and when I made a "mistake" there was one guy from Texas who was very fond of saying "Spencer, you ain't too swuft!"  That always cracked me up!  Anyhow, I say that, because yesterday my whole post was about struggling with trying to figure out my new telescope mount.  Then after all that, what did I show you?  Right, a landscape photograph!  I am definitely not too swuft.  I should have shown you a photograph of the scope and mount!  Duh!  So here they are.

Friday, September 2, 2016

I Was Hoping for Clear...

This is kind of pretty with the clouds in the sky, but I was really hoping for severe clear.  I have a new computerized equatorial mount for one of my telescopes, and I am trying to learn how to use it.  If anyone asks me about what kind of telescope to buy, I always say "DO NOT BUY A COMPUTERIZED TELESCOPE!"  And then I did buy one.  What's wrong with me!  So I am learning how to align the computer with the sky, but I have more to learn, and I need a clear dark sky in order to do this.  So clouds are pretty, but not when I have new toy!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Busy as a Bee

When I was out photographing the tomatoes which are in the flower garden, I happened to notice some bees at work.  Out comes the close-up lens, and I spent time watching them move around the flower, gathering nectar.  Man there is a reason that there is an expression "Busy as a bee."  It is just amazing to watch them at work, and it is all for the good of the hive.