Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What to do at a Museum

OK, so I am not making fun here, because I take photographs of paintings in museums all the time.  I like to be able to bring the paintings home with me as a reminder, and sometimes to study them.  Although it is a completely different experience to view paintings in person, than it is to look at them in photographs or books.  Anyhow, I was standing looking at this painting, and in the ten minutes I was there, at least ten people came up with either cellphones or cameras to photograph the painting.  Confession: I had already photographed the painting by itself with my camera!  Another confession: I was watching the painting for ten minutes because I was trying to get a photograph like this!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Painting at the Met

When I spent the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I came upon this scene and was so surprised.  I don't think I have ever seen anyone copying a painting in this museum before.  I do know that it is a practice for may students to be allowed to copy paintings, and I have seen it in other museums, but not here.  I noticed that the painter was wearing ear buds while painting.  If he had not been, I would have asked if he was a student, and asked what school he was from.  But I didn't.  When I was shooting, I tried several different views.  When editing, I decided that seeing the white cloth on the varnished floor was the most dramatic image.  But I have included a closer shot so you can see how the artist is doing.  Be sure and click on the pictures to see more detail.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunset in Central Park

Walking a few feet further from the location of yesterday's photograph, and looking over the wall on Fifth avenue, I saw this scene at the lake in Central Park.  I love the beautiful atmospheric effects in the sky and the background.  One other thing that makes this photo, in my estimation, is the couple sitting on the bench by the water, and the two pedestrians walking along the water's edge.  Be sure and click on the photo to see these small details.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Dinner in Manhattan

A little further south on Fifth avenue I came to the memorial for Richard Morris Hunt.  I always look at the sculptures, but then I was amazed to notice this woman sitting in the memorial, apparently eating her dinner.  It really caught me by surprise, so I hurried to take a few photographs before she noticed me there.  Eventually she looked over for a second or two, then looked back at her dinner.  After I took the photographs, I walked over to her and said how much fun it was to find her in the memorial, and I said it made a nice photo, and thanks for being there.  I had never taken the time to find out who Richard Morris Hunt was.  He was an amazing architect who sculpted the face of New York City, it is said, including designs for the facade and Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, and many Fifth Avenue mansions now lost to the wrecking ball.  Wow!  Look what you can learn from Wikipedia (and my blog!)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Street Food

I was walking the twenty-three blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art down to the subway at 59th street at the end of my day in the city.  I was also hungry.  As I walk down 5th Avenue, I continue to look for photographs and I am never disappointed.  I saw this food vendor and his customers from some distance away and got the camera ready.  I love the sense of life on the street in this photograph. After taking the photo I walked by, and that's when I got the aroma of something that was delicious!  But I had a train to catch, and couldn't stop and take the time to eat.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Waiting at the Depot

I went down to the depot today, to wait for a train to New York City.  I found these two other citizens waiting for the same train.  We didn't talk at all, I just watched them wait.  It was pretty exciting.  So then I got my camera out and took four frames.  Quite a day for me!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Billion Times

I have wanted to stop here and take some photographs for years!  I have driven by this spot at least a billion times, and that's not exaggerating!  This beautiful piece of property is located on Post Road, in Old Westbury, and many times is has horses on it.  But it is only a two lane road, and there are "no parking" signs everywhere, and the police don't take kindly to people stopping.  It is hard to find a place to pull off the road.  So that's why I never stopped before.  But I took a chance today, and lucked out - no one caught me.  And this is not a bad photograph.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Uncle Neil

Time for more portraits.  They are more interesting than fences in snow...   :-)   This is my brother-in-law Neil, who has been a writer all his life.  He was a columnist for the New Haven Register, and really loves history, particularly Irish history.  Since retirement, he has written a number of books about history, and many are about Irish history in Connecticut.  We were sitting around the living room having a conversation, and I saw that wonderful arch of sunlight in the background, and decided it would help make an interesting portrait.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Connecticut Cousins

We went to Connecticut for the day.  We wanted to visit my sisters, who we haven't seen since before Christmas, and our nieces in Wallingford.  So there was family everywhere, nieces and nephews and cousins even dogs.  So this is a photo of two aunts, and one niece - can you tell which is which?  We have, from left, Keera, and Nicky, and in front, Nova.  We all had such a good time and it was great to see everyone.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

White on White

I took this earlier today, and now the scene no longer exists.  It was really warm today and most of this snow has melted.  I liked the white on white color scheme.  And, of course, I was desperate for a photograph for today.  Can you tell...  :-(

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Venus at Dusk

My guess is that many of you have seen that brilliant "star" hanging in the western sky at dusk.  There is something soul satisfying about that brilliant diamond in the deep blue sky.  It is not a star, but rather the planet Venus.  In the next thirty days, each day it will be lower and lower in the sky, until it sets with the Sun, and we will be unable to see it.  It will be too close to the Sun for the next three months, and then Venus will rise at dawn, before the Sun in early May, once again as brilliant as a diamond.  Such magnificent clockwork is our Solar System.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Architecture and Light

I went to Roosevelt Field today to go to the Apple store, and to do a bit of shopping.  When I left, it was late in the afternoon, and this outside wall of the new Neiman Marcus store was illuminated by the sunlight from the west.  I had noticed the unusual pattern of gray rectangles, but had never seen it illuminated this way.  So I stopped and had some fun.  It really is a striking scene!  I discovered that  Elkus Manfredi Architects was the design architect.  Then I went and did a bit more exploring.  This is the same wall construction, just around the corner, but with blue skylight glancing off it.  Quite a change.  Please click on these to see them in more detail.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Night Comes to Fun City

I still have leftovers from my last trip to the city.  A day or two after that trip, we had the snow, so I had lots of snow photographs to post.  So now I am bored with snow, and it is less interesting now that it is old, dirty snow on overcast days.  So I decided to find an interesting leftover photo.  The city is absolutely magical at dawn and dusk - this photograph is from the end of the day as I finished my walk down Fifth avenue.  Note the term "Fun City" in the headline  I remember that was a marketing term for advertisements, and I think it made its debut during the term of Mayor John Lindsay.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Abstract Expressionist Art

I have decided to have a try at abstract expressionist art.  How do you like it?  I am actually bummed about this.  What you are looking at is a close-up photograph of mold and mildew on some of my beautiful 4-ply Bristol mat board which I use when framing my photographs.  This stuff is expensive and it is a shame to waste any of it.  We had some water come into the basement from a burst garden hose outside.  It was only an inch of water in parts of the cellar.  I thought I dried everything out, but I obviously missed this area.  This happened 8 months ago, and look what has been growing on the board ever since.  Bummer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

No Trespassing

"No Trespassing."  Man oh man, I hate to see that sign!  The signs are always on places I want to get into, like abandoned buildings.  Not that I pay attention to them.  I went out to an abandoned mental hospital a few years ago, with a younger friend who was a photographer, and we wanted to get into the abandoned power plant.  So we found some wooden pallets and stacked a couple of them up against a fence like a ladder so we could get over the top and inside!  We got some nice photographs.  So here is this sign, at the end of my street, but I couldn't figure out how to get in to the property!  I mean the gate is locked, and there was nothing I could use to climb over it!  So I gave up in frustration and walked away.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ice With Everything

We have had such a mild winter, I hate to complain.  But as soon as February came along, things got nasty.  We had the 10" snowfall, but what was bad was the way the temperatures changed.  It was really slippery underneath the snow.  Then just the other day, we had freezing rain falling.  Never a good thing - that's the stuff that, if enough ice accumulates, down comes branches and wires.  Fortunately there was only a light coating, and once again, here is one of the branches of my favorite tree.
Anonymous: OK, so this is really interesting!  Anonymous posted and asked if I was wearing a hat, because they mentioned that water drops can act like a lens and either create an image of something behind the water drop, or perhaps create a reflection of something in front of the water drop, like the photographer.  I have seen the lensing effect of objects behind the lens many times before, but never the reflecting effect.  In any case, I went back to the original image, and enlarged and cropped it, to see what I would find.  Turns out that since the water drops are frozen, they make poor lenses.  But here is what the frozen lens imaged from behind the lens.  Fascinating! Thanks for the suggestion!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

25 & 50 Years of Marriage

We had an interesting day today.  The church had a special Mass for couples who have been married for twenty-five and fifty years.  The ceremony was lovely, and we all stood on the altar and as a group, renewed our marriage vows.  Then there was a reception at the parish hall, with lunch and cake and photographs. Of course I had to take a quick photograph of all of us on the altar, but it's not a selfie, so I am not in it!  Oh, us?  We were in the fifty year group!  How amazing is that! 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

I Guess I Should Turn Right?

I guess I should turn right here, correct?  What's the worst that could happen if I didn't?  I would end up in someone's front yard, after going through the bushes.  I am not sure why I like this photograph so much.  Perhaps it is because the yellow color of the sign is so much more obvious, when surrounded by snow.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Beauty of Snow

I had a wonderful time walking in the snowstorm looking for beautiful photographs.  They didn't seem hard to find.  The trick was to come up with photographs that didn't all look the same, as might happen if all the photographs were taken from the same distance.  It also helps if the subject matter is different as well.  I photographed these grasses at a house two doors down the hill,  a week ago, with no snow on the ground, and in black and white.  I love the delicacy of this image.

The tree in the center of this photograph was photographed back in January with red illuminated disks decorating it for Christmas.  This image looks nothing like that photograph!

I always go to the harbor to see how Long Island Sound looks when the wind is howling, and I also love when it is snowing or raining, because the trees in the distance disappear because of the rain or snow.

This classic Victorian house is called "The Woodshed" and is the image which is most associated with Sea Cliff.  I have photographed it before, but never in weather like this.

I love that this tree, which is the only one that still has leaves on it, has the only color in the scene.

I walked some of the narrow streets in my journey, which was fun, because I met a number of people who were shoveling their driveways, and since the road was so narrow, there was no way not to say "hello" and chat for a bit.  This house was stunning in its color scheme, which might not have been so obvious, had the snow not surrounded it completely.

Lastly, as I walked down my street at the end of my walk, I saw this wrought iron railing, that just jumped out at me, because it was seen against snow, as well as being covered in snow. I hope I have provided enough variety for you.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Young Entrepreneurs

Today was a perfect day for a walk!  Snow everywhere, and pretty pictures to be found.  As I walked down Laurel Avenue I saw these four guys headed up the street with snow shovels, looking for driveways to shovel.  About half an hour later, up closer to town, I saw these three younger kids, also with snow shovels.  So I took their photograph as well.  I also did a number of lovely photographs showing the beauty of the snow - stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Trees in the City

In all my talk yesterday of the things to see while walking up Fifth Avenue, here is a perfect example.  I actually took this before the Moon photograph.  I am fascinated lately by the idea of seeing things on the other side of trees.  I may post another example of that.  But this picture is interesting to me, because while taking this, I experimented with different exposures to see how that changed the sense of the photograph.  This is the one that I like the best.  I intentionally overexposed the buildings, because I really like the atmospheric effect.  I think in doing this, the subject of the photograph is the trees.  Just for the heck of it, I am also posting a darker exposure, below, and I think that picture emphasizes the buildings rather than the trees.  What do you think?  Do you have a favorite?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Moon on Fifth Avenue

When I need to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or something in the neighborhood, I love to walk.  I take a subway from Penn Station up to 5th Avenue and 59th street, and then I walk the twenty or so blocks up 5th avenue.  Not only is it great exercise, but it gives me so many opportunities for photographs, both looking into Central Park, and looking at the architecture on Fifth Avenue.  That's what I was doing when I noticed a gibbous moon following me up Fifth avenue.  I would stop and photograph when there was interesting architecture in line with the moon.  This is the best photograph, and it is an interesting building.  It is called The Harry F. Sinclair House, a mansion at 79th Street at Fifth Avenue,  that houses the Ukrainian Institute of America, which promotes art and literature by hosting exhibitions open to the public. It is a striking building and perfect for my moon photograph.

Monday, February 6, 2017

In Search of Mark Rothko

I have written here about my search for more understanding of the paintings of the artist Mark Rothko.  For me it is an interesting journey which includes tracking down his paintings in museums, reading books and watching documentaries about him and his works.  Tonight I went to Manhattan to hear his son, Christopher Rothko talk about the book of essays he wrote about his father and his father's art.  It was a wonderful presentation, and there were many illuminating things that he spoke of.  He is a very personable and I can't wait to read the book, which is called, by the way "Mark Rothko, From Inside Out."

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Structures Marked with Time

On my walk, I went into a small park down near where the power plant was, and when I looked over the railing I saw these pieces of a concrete foundation that have fallen over into the water.  When we first moved to Sea Cliff, there was a small restaurant located where this park is now and we dined there a couple of times.  Then the foundation collapsed, and the town demolished the restaurant and drove metal bulkheads around where the park is now.  When I saw the colors on the concrete, it left me with a feeling that these were structures from ancient times.  I really love the colors that the harbor has left on the concrete.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Silver Clouds

When I was walking by the harbor yesterday I noticed that there were very complex cloud layers in the sky.  It was quite beautiful, looking at the silvery tones and the different patterns.  What attracted my attention were the streaks running from the center of the photo up and to the left.  The streaks at first looked like contrails from jet exhaust, but they were at too low an altitude.  So I have no idea what was going on, unless these clouds were the result of some frontal activity moving through.  In any case, I love how beautiful this scene was.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Grasses of Winter

I ran out of photographs, so the solution is to always go for a walk.  Down to where the power plant used to be.  It is a three and one-half mile walk and can take as little as an hour and twenty minutes, or much longer, depending on how many times I stop to photograph.  The trick is to see if I can find something new to photograph along this well-traveled route.  Today I saw these grasses in the front yard of a neighbor who lives two doors down.  I am decent as a photographer, but not good with words at all.  So it is hard to describe what it is that I love about this.  I think it has to do with the delicacy of the grasses and the gentle curves they make.  I used black & white for this image because I thought that color was distracting.  I do love the rich tones in this image.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Arches and Ivy

After I photographed the railroad tracks the other day, I headed back to my car.  As I walked along, I happened to notice these arches in a wall and the ivy growing on them.  This is one of a number of buildings at a masonry yard where I go to buy portland cement, aggregate and sand for some of my projects.  What I love about this scene is the way the ivy is growing - it all comes down to that.  I also like the feeling of cold, with snowflakes captured as they fall.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

At the Salon...

This is Lucia's salon, where I have been coming to get my hair cut for ages, it seems.  I was sitting in the chair talking with Lucia, and we were trying to figure out how long I have been coming here.  Probably close to twenty years.  Kathy visited Lucia at the suggestion of a friend and I followed her there as well.  I usually go on Saturdays when it is crowded with women speaking Italian, and Spanish and English, and I enjoy just watching all the activity.  This week I went on a Wednesday and it was much quieter, and so I thought I would ask if I could take a picture of  Paola, Lucia and Janet, and they agreed.  It seems so important sometimes, to photograph life as it is, because life changes, and it is really nice to have a record of a moment in time.