Sunday, July 31, 2016
One of our long time traditions is to attend the St. Rocco's Festival which runs for 5 days every year. It is put on by the church of that name in Glen Cove, the next city over. Mainly what we do is to get sausage and pepper heros, and walk around the grounds of the carnival, watching people on the rides and at the games of chance. Then, of course, we stop and get a cannoli and a napoleon to bring home. What is really nice is that along the sidewalks as we walk into the neighborhood, many people have planted sunflowers in a narrow strip at the edge of the sidewalk. Beautiful, and kind of cool.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:03 PM
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Since it was raining out this afternoon, I grabbed my Nikon with a Micro Nikkor close up lens, and headed out to the garden. It was late in the day and overcast and still sprinkling. These tomatoes were the first thing I came to, and I could see the water drops from a distance. So I moved in close (well, not close enough for Dean, but close enough for me... :-) This is my favorite shot. The color balance of the camera was set to "Auto" but you can see how the image is bluish green. When I saw this color, I reset the color balance, and got the color in the image below, which was close to what I saw with my eyes. But when I was editing the photographs, I decided I really liked the much cooler color balance in the first image. I guess because it seems more mysterious. What do you think?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:02 PM
Friday, July 29, 2016
I went to the post office today to mail an oversized letter. I parked my car, and looked out the passenger side window, and this is what I saw. It is on the property of a house I have photographed before, because it is in need of some paint and some repairs - something that always attracts me. I was taken by the patterns of the picket fence, and the patterns of the spacers in the balusters of the porch railings.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:46 PM
Thursday, July 28, 2016
I have one other photograph that I made, on the day of the thunderstorm. I took this one shortly before the horizontal photograph of the sailboats, as the storm was clearing. The sun was still blocked by the towering cumulus, and there was moisture in the air which was backlit by the sun. Really nice atmospheric affects. Some days you get lucky and end up with a whole pile of photographs in a short period of time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:19 PM
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
This heat seems to bother not only us, but the kitties as well. I haven't done any timed observations, but they seem to be sleeping more than usual. It is so cute to see that both of the cats at times, put one paw over their eyes, when taking a nap. When I saw this, all I could think of was the three monkeys: "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." Guess which one this is.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:52 PM
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
So after all the clouds and wind and rain and thunder and lightning, the storm moved on. I stayed in my car overlooking the harbor, where I had watched much of the storm. Gradually the visibility improved, and I could begin to see the moored sailboats and then the layers of clouds above them. Wow! I really love this photograph!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Monday, July 25, 2016
I was out shopping down in the center of the island. On the way back north, I noticed towering cumulus clouds in the distance. As I got closer to home I saw this very threatening "roll cloud." Man, that looks nasty. So I tried to get to the harbor to watch the clouds coming across the water, but it was too late. By the time I got to the harbor, the rain was falling heavily. That's the second picture in the series. Then I decided to drive down and park facing the water, just to watch the rain fall. The raindrops were fairly large, so I decided to focus on the windshield, instead of on the scene in the distance. My theory, by the way, is that if you can't take one great photograph, then shoot three that are just OK... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:41 PM
Sunday, July 24, 2016
This is my long time friend Dick Benjamin. We both started as photographers at the Rochester Times-Union within six months of each other in 1965, and have been friends ever since. He is a really great photographer, and worked most of his career at the Providence Journal in Rhode Island where he was born and raised. After retirement he has specialized in landscapes and cityscapes of Rhode Island and has published a book of his photographs, and for the last five years, a calendar each year. We visited Dick and his wife, and had a grand time hanging out with them. It seems so rich to have had a friend for so many years. If you would like to see some of his work, go to this website: http://www.photosofri.com/ You will be amazed!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:23 PM
Saturday, July 23, 2016
We were headed down to Glen Cove, and as we drove along Sea Cliff Avenue, I just happened to glance to the left, and caught a glimpse of this house. I couldn't believe my eyes! It was the colors that first caught my attention, and then the flowers by the stairs. How had I not seen this before? So on the way back I stopped to take these two photographs. Which one do you like the most? I also looked up this house on the web, and one reason why I might not have noticed this before is that not that long ago, the house was all clapboards - there were no shingles in the gables - those have been added recently. It was very ordinary in it's previous incarnation, but it is really something special now.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:44 PM
Friday, July 22, 2016
We were driving from Rhode Island up to Connecticut, and decided not to travel all the way on I-95 to New Haven, and I-91 to Wallingford. Instead, we got off I-95 in Old Lyme and took Route 9 up to Middletown, and then Route 66. We had to stop at a McDonalds just to get a soda. While Kathy was doing that, I was wandering around in the parking lot. I saw this sky with the towering cumulus clouds, and when I saw the McDonalds sign against this, I realized I had a shot. Unfortunately, the sun did not illuminate the McDonalds sign which would have been much better. So instead, I had to use HDR processing to get a good combination of the bright sky and the sign in shadow. When I was standing there looking at this scene, I could not help but think of Simon & Garfunkle's song "America." "Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike, they've all come to look for America."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:32 PM
Thursday, July 21, 2016
I ordered a new toner drum for the laser printer, and it came packed in a box, surrounded by this crumpled brown paper. So, knowing that the kitties get bored some days, I just threw the paper on the floor and it wasn't long before Grace was rolling around in the paper and having the time of her life. They have so much fun with the simple things.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:10 PM
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
These are two of Trauti's gardens surrounding their home. She and Dick have been working on these gardens for years, and she really has the artistic touch. Because of their beautiful design, I spent a lot of time wandering around looking for the best views, and looking at the gardens each time the light changed. These are my favorites.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:26 PM
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
This is Zoey, Dick and Trauti's dog. He is such a great dog and so well trained and behaved. He is fun to be around. Here is my photo of him taking a nap. So this is an interesting photograph, because there is something interesting going on within the frame. Can you tell what it is? I was hoping that the secret would be more obvious, but I am afraid that it is not. Figured it out yet? Look carefully, please. Let me know when you give up.
Monday, July 18, 2016
Since we were in Rhode Island, we decided to stop by and visit Pat and the children. He had taken them to a playground, which is great, because Findlay and Cormac really needed the exercise. Wow, they have so much energy! It was fun to watch the children who were in constant motion! Findlay wanted to dance, so she asked Pat to sing some music for her, and off she was dancing. It was wonderful to see how Pat is such a wonderful father with the children. Aren't they beautiful!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:49 PM
Sunday, July 17, 2016
We are visiting some of the Connecticut relatives. Keera wrote a short story about a dog named Snowball, and asked all of us to read it. It is really well written and very imaginative. We were also talking all evening, so when it was time for Neil to read the story it was too dark. So Keera went and got a campers headlamp so that he could read the story in the fading light. Brilliant idea! That's Tracy in the background in conversation with others in the group.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:55 PM
Saturday, July 16, 2016
My friend Dick is a photographer who was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and knows the area like the back of his hand. He has been photographing the city and the countryside most of his life and has published calendars, and books and sells his landscape photographs in galleries. So this afternoon, when he said "Hey, do you want to go out and photograph this old greenhouse I know about" I was ready to go. So we drove down to Dighton, Massachusetts and found this beauty. I am so accustomed to photographing alone, that it was really nice for both of us to be out photographing together. I especially love the curved chimney. I guess whoever built it never heard of a plumb bob!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:37 PM
Friday, July 15, 2016
Kathy and I are in Massachusetts visiting our friends Dick and Trauti. On the way up here today, we stopped at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut. It is a museum that features American Impressionistic art. The first picture is of the original family farmhouse that was turned into a boardinghouse, first, and then an artist's colony. The second picture is of the entrance to the museum itself. Really interesting architecture, isn't it, with the galvanized metal curving roof? And the last photograph is of one of the gardens behind the main house. A wonderful place to visit.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:01 PM
Thursday, July 14, 2016
There is a castle in the city! Actually, there are probably a lot of castles here. This one is up on 94th street, and it stopped me in my tracks. It is such a stunning piece of architecture. Just look at the detail in the brick work! Astounding! They just don't make them like this anymore! Formerly, this was the site of the 94th Street Armory; today, part of the armory's facade (including two large towers) stretches for the entire block of Madison Avenue in front of the school. The greater part of the armory building has been demolished. Guess what this building, and an adjoining newer building is used for. A high school. It is called "Hunter College High School." It is ranked as the top public high school in the United States by both The Wall Street Journal and Worth magazine. The New York Times calls Hunter "the prestigious Upper East Side school known for its Ivy League-bound students" and "the fast track to law, medicine and academia." The Washington Post calls Hunter "legendary." Isn't that fun to know?
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
I finally got to the new International Center of Photography yesterday. It opened in March, so Stan and I decided it was time to see what it is all about. The first exhibit is called "Public, Private, Secret." There are lots of video, presentations rather than just still photographs. My feeling was that it was disorienting, overall. When you enter into the first gallery, the walls are covered with plastic mirrors, and because they are plastic, they distort what they reflect. Thus, two of us become four of us.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
These two women made my day! My friend Stan and I went to two museums today. We started at the new International Center of Photography down on Bowery, and then came up to the Met Breuer. where there was an exhibit of photographs by Diane Arbus. I was just approaching this image of a set of twins, when these women came up to me and said, "Could you take a photograph of us in front of this picture?" I said, "Are you twins?" They said "yes" and handed me their cellphone. I took several photos of them, and then asked if I could take a photo with my camera. They said "sure" and this is the result. I just love that they wanted to be photographed in front of this famous picture. I told them that I was so glad that they wanted me to take their photo. They were thrilled when I said, "You made my day!"
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:01 PM
Monday, July 11, 2016
This is the tiger kitty, who is the brother of our Grace, the black and white cat. He seems to have chosen us as his home, sort of. He comes by in the morning, and we feed him, and then he lays around in the sun, as Grace and Sam look out the windows or the door, only inches from where he sits. We wonder if he hangs out because it is a form of being connected to our indoor cats. We wonder if he knows that Grace is his sister. He also shows up most evenings and climbs up on the porch furniture and meows through the window or door, to announce his presence, and his desire for food. He is a beautiful cat, and this photograph does not show that.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:08 PM
Sunday, July 10, 2016
I went out to pull some weeds under the white picket fence out front. While I was weeding, I noticed these beautiful ferns curling around behind the fence. In some ways they felt like curling ocean waves. I spent some time doing different versions of this. One of the versions is just ferns, and no fence. For some reason, that wasn't as interesting as this version.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:43 PM
Saturday, July 9, 2016
I had to go to Home Depot this afternoon to get some supplies for some projects around here. Like stripping paint from the porch floor. I took the usual back roads that are the shortest route, and passed this field, which is a front lawn for a big house behind the trees. It must be just the right time for these wildflowers, because I take this road once or twice a week, and haven't noticed the flowers. Or maybe because it was overcast. In any case, this is subtle, but quite beautiful.
Friday, July 8, 2016
The forecast today was for possible showers and thunderstorms. I wasn't paying attention until it was time for me to go out on my bike ride. Then I started checking. I was looking at the radar on my iPhone and saw that there were cells of rain heading my way from New Jersey, but it looked as if I might finish my ride before the rain hit. I did, and then stopped at the little park at the foot of our street, to rest a bit. The sky was absolutely beautiful and glowing in shades of gray.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
I was on my way to the hardware store today, but couldn't reach it directly because of a traffic accident. So I took a detour, and ended up going by this house on a corner on a street that I never go down. I do go down the next street over on my bike when on the way to buy bagels. I was stunned when I saw this house in such bad condition, and for a moment wondered why I had never seen it before. It has a fence around it, but there are signs of fresh wood visible in some places inside. The rear of the roof probably hasn't had shingles on it for more than 20 years. So I am wondering if someone is going to restore it. It seems like monumental project, though. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
After we spent time at the 9/11 Memorial, I suggested that we go uptown some and explore the High Line, one of my newest favorite things. Vince and Jo Anne and Kathy really enjoyed seeing this amazing place. They loved the plantings and the old railroad tracks, and the creative design and all the places to sit. And then this... I have showed you the sculpture before, and there is always a crowd around it. But this was really unusual - I took this shot over the shoulder of a woman wedding photographer after she did this photograph. I have no idea where the bride is, in case you wondered.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
This is a new building which opened recently, known as the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. It used to be called just the PATH station where trains run from Manhattan to New Jersey. They are not finished with construction but the station is open. They call this building "The Oculus" which seems to be a misnomer, because an "oculus" is a circular opening in the centre of a dome or in a wall. Santiago Calatrava, designer of the station, said the Oculus resembles a bird being released from a child's hand. The hub is composed of a train station with a large and open mezzanine under the National September 11 Memorial plaza. I have been looking forward to seeing the inside of this for a couple of years now.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:01 PM
Monday, July 4, 2016
When we arrived in Penn Station yesterday I immediately noticed the American flags hanging from the ceiling of the concourse. I had never seen that before - at least I don't think I ever did. I liked the subtlety of this - a nice way to celebrate July 4th.
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Vince wanted to visit the 9/11 memorial in Manhattan, so we went in today. We just toured the outside part of the memorial, deciding not to see the underground part. I have seen the underground museum, and it is a wrenching experience, taking you back to the days of the attacks and destruction. Not for the faint of heart. The outside plaza with the memorial pools are just sublime for so many reasons, and they are very calming. The fact that the pools exist in the footprint of where the two World Trade Center towers once existed is very powerful as well. This part of the memorial is called "Reflected Absence" and was designed by Israeli architect Michael Arad. We should be thankful for his understated brilliance. Of course, half the people who visit the memorial do selfies of themselves and the site. The pools, by the way, are one acre each in size, and are the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:53 PM
Saturday, July 2, 2016
I have passed these flowers on my bike rides dozens of times. But today, as I was cycling along, I had on my mind that I hadn't come up with a photo for the blog yet. The flowers flashed by on my right and I kept going. Then I thought, "Don't be dumb. Stop NOW!" So I turned around and came back. I always carry my iPhone with me, and that's what I used to take this photograph. Worth stopping for, right? Notice how I am not mentioning the kind of flowers these are? That's because I haven't a clue. But fortunately I know I have knowledgeable readers, and they will know what flowers these are.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:21 PM
Friday, July 1, 2016
OK, so "Oh No" is a joke! It is a joy to have relatives visit. And look, we're using the new back room! Vince and Jo Anne are down from Rochester for the week, and Neil came down from Connecticut for a couple of days. What a wonderful gathering. Sitting around talking and enjoying each other's company. Oh, and then there is the food. Kathy has been working overtime on wonderful things for us to eat. Note to my sisters who just visited: We had Chicken Simon & Garfunkel this evening, just as we did when you were here!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:05 PM