Friday, March 31, 2017

More Trees, Another Golf Course

I was running a few errands today, driving around in the rain when I drove by this golf course.  It was really only a quick flash of a view, through some trees along the side of the road, but what jumped out were the fences and the tree trunks all in a line.  I actually hadn't realized that it was a golf course.  I had to make my way through some bushes, but the scene opened up with the greens, and the pond, and the road and the trees.  Pretty scene on an otherwise gloomy day.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Portfolio Reviews

I had the coolest experience today!  About three years ago I signed up with an organization that connects business people to students in the classroom.  Some of the programs involve teaching, and in my case, I reviewed student portfolios.  These are high school students that, believe it or not, have to submit their portfolios to the College Board!  Yikes!  You know I never use names on the blog, so all I will say that they are located somewhere in Utah.  The student work was simply amazing!  I can not believe how accomplished they are as creative photographers - so much further ahead than I was when I was in High School.  We had a great time together discussing the photographs.  It was a VERY cool day!  What you are looking at is my laptop on the dining room table where I did the video conferencing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Observing Night!

Tonight at the astronomy club meeting, we finally had the first clear night for observing the stars in about nine months!  This is my friend Dave, who does the planetarium shows, looking into the eyepiece of his 12" Newtonian telescope.  We had really clear skies, but the bad news was that we had a fairly strong wind out of the north, and before long we were freezing to death.  Well, not exactly to death, but it was REALLY uncomfortable.  But it was nice to be using our telescopes again.  The white blob just above the telescope, by the way, is the crescent moon.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Fog and Trees

It was a bit after suppertime when I went out to do an errand.  I drove by this golf course - it's a place I drive and cycle by almost once a day.  But this time it was raining and late in the day, and the light was fading, and there was this light fog in and among the trees.  I think it was the darkness and fog that got me to stop.  The killer is that the golf course is surrounded by a chain link fence and there are bushes growing up above the fence.  So the problem is to find a place where I could see over the fence and through the bare branches.  I had to hold the camera above my head, and push my arms through the branches and then shoot in the blind.  Then I would bring the camera back and look at what I had shot.  Then I would make a pointing adjustment, and shoot again.  Well, it worked, but this is photographing the hard way.

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Portrait

This is Deacon Frank, who is a friend of ours at church.  We stopped to talk with him after Mass and I though that the light was interesting so I did what I always do - I got out my "toy camera" which is always on my belt, and started shooting.  I think I got something interesting, but I don't think I got something great.  I like the shadow down in the lower left and the bright areas in front and behind Deacon Frank, but I didn't feel that the picture doesn't quite measure up to what I had hoped for.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I Can't Make Up My Mind...

OK, so this story is wild!  This old building has been abandoned for years and years.  I just went and checked previous blog posts, and I photographed it back in June of 2007.  I will re-post that post at the bottom of this post.  (All of my editor friends will no doubt be bonkers at that last sentence...)  Anyhow, I drove by the building late in the day, and was surprised to see that was finally being demolished.  Apparently because the building had some historical significance, the town would not allow its destruction until now.  Anyhow, I grabbed my camera and started taking photographs.  Only problem is, I can't decide which of these photographs I like best.  They all show slightly different aspects of the scene.  It is hard to pick the one image that represents the scene best.  So scroll to the bottom and see my post from 10 years ago.

So here is the photograph from June of 2007.  And here is what I wrote:

TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2007
I had to photograph two real estate agents today at a property they had bought. They are going to demolish this building which has been here for a long long time, and move a more modern house onto the site. I was told that it was a cabinet makers shop for many years but it has been vacant at least 25 years. I found the building so interesting, that I went to work photographing it right away, and this is the result. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Doggie Den

I went out to buy some Canolli and some Napoleons as a surprise.  Did you know, by the way, that "canolli" is plural, and the singular of cannoli is "canolo?" Thus it's "vorrei un cannolo" (I'd like a cannolo).  Don't you love all that you learn here when you visit?  Anyhow, on the way back I drove by The Doggie Den where people board their dogs.  I have passed this place a billion times, but today the light was striking as the late afternoon sun raked across the side of the building.  What is really nice is how they have decorated this long building to make it bright and sunny with the colorful doghouses and flowers.  What a nice thing to do to what would have been a long, plain, boring building.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Crack of Dawn

We had to get up at 4:30 AM this morning because Kathy was getting a routine procedure done and we needed to be at the hospital at 5:30 AM!  Yikes!  I waited with her for a while, then headed home to get some sleep before returning to drive her home.  That's what put me on Sea Cliff Avenue at 7:30 AM.  The sky had been overcast since first light but the sun broke through as I started into town.  I love the dark gray sky with the orange light of the sun illuminating the buildings. Leaving my shadow in the foreground was intentional.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stray Light at Night

I turned out the lights and headed for bed last night, and then I noticed that the light from the neighbor's front porch was shining into our living room.  They have this really bright light right by their front door.  It does seem unnecessary because there are no front steps at their house.  The light is way too bright - it could be much dimmer, and it is annoying when I am doing stargazing in the side yard.  When I am using my telescope I have to position it so that our tree blocks the light.  Anyhow, light is strong enough to shine across the street and into our living room, as seen here, and it lights up the bookcase.  Cool lighting effect, though.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Planetarium Show

Tonight's presentation at our astronomy club was a talk by Dave, who runs the planetarium and who creates shows for the public.  He had put together a completely new show and was giving us a preview of it.  Part of the show was about our eyes and the electromagnetic spectrum, and the way we see light.  He started with the Milky Way as we see it and then showed the same part of the sky seen in other wavelengths.  For the technically inclined, this is the Milky Way seen in the 21cm line of hydrogen.  Don't ask.  It is just that the Milky Way looks so different seen in different wavelengths.  The round device in the photograph is part of the projector system that puts the stars on the dome.  Mainly it is kind of a cool picture, right?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Pitcher of Lavender

Once again I was desperate for a photograph for the blog today.  This pitcher with Lavender has been sitting on a table in the back room, and I have thought several times of photographing it.  So tonight  I NEEDED to photograph it.  So I set up a light in order to have control of how the subject would look under different lighting.  I used a direct spotlight which leaves sharp shadows for the first three images.  The last image was lit with the light bounced into a white umbrella, which gives a much softer illumination.  So it is voting time again - which is your favorite?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Grace's Father Appears!

This is not the greatest picture ever, but it is a historic moment in cat history.  The cat on the stairs showed up today, and that's the first time we have seen him.  Kathy noticed that he was just black and white in color, exactly like our cat Grace!  So we realized that this is probably Grace's father. He has markings and colorings that are so similar to Grace.  The mother kitty is under the stairs, and didn't run away when the new cat showed up.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Baking Course

OK, it is time to reveal the mystery destination.  We went to take a food course called "The Home Patisserie: Laminated Doughs."  What?  Well, it turns out that laminated dough starts out as a dough that is rolled out, and then a pound of butter is rolled out to a thickness of 1/4" and is placed on the dough, and then more dough is folded over it.  Then that is rolled out and folded over and rolled out and folded over again.  If you do the math, what you end up with is hundreds of layers, of dough and butter and dough and butter.

There are variations of the ingredients which make up different laminated doughs, and those doughs are used for different  pastries.  This photo, below is a pastry that is fairly obscure - it is called "Kouign Amann" seen before baking.

This is the Kouign Amann after baking.  It's beautiful, isn't it?  You should taste it, with all that butter in it!

And I forget what the pastry below is.  The dough was rolled out, then folded back and forth around some fillings - chocolate, and an almond croissant filling. Then the long roll is sliced into these pieces that fit into cupcake tins.  After baking, they looked like muffins, and they were awesome!  It was an amazing class, that lasted for four hours, and it was chock full of information.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Paddleboarding? In this Weather?

I was out running a few errands this afternoon, and on the way home decided to drive by the harbor just to see how everything looked on a day of rain and drizzle.  I was stunned to see this man and woman slowly riding their paddleboards in this cold and rain.  They were traveling some distance as well.  All I could think was that they would be in a really dangerous spot if one of them fell off their board.  That water is cold, and they were a fair distance from shore.  It didn't appear that they were wearing wet suits.  Please click on this to enlarge the photo.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Atrium, Brookfield Place

To get to this spectacular atrium, you take a subway to the World Trade Center stop, and then you walk through the Oculus, which I showed you yesterday, and then down a long corridor, and ride an escalator up one floor, and here you are.  It is just a stunning thing to see.  Out those windows is the Hudson River and the skyline of New Jersey.  This place, by the way, is called Brookfield Place, and it consists of four towers comprising eight-million square feet of office, retail and public space located in the center of Battery Park City.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Entering the Oculus

We took a train into the city today, but I can't tell you what for, yet.  Then we took the E train south to the World Trade Center station.  When we got off the subway, we entered the Oculus, the most dramatic of the new buildings that are now part of the new World Trade Center site.  Then we continued west through the Oculus and then down a long white hallway, almost as far as the Hudson river.  What was cool, is that we were indoors the whole time.  I have been in the Oculus before, but there were very few people in it at the time.  For me the picture is all about the silhouettes of all the people coming and going within the structure.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Wires in the Neighborhood

There has been a lot of work on power lines in the neighborhood, starting about a mile away.  They are putting in brand new power poles, and then brand new high voltage wires on top.  Those wires are the 13,200 volt lines that the pigeons were sitting on in my photo from the other day.  I spoke to one of the electricians,  and he said that it was time for new wire and especially new insulation, so that there would be less chance of a short circuit on the high voltage lines if a branch fell across the lines.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I Used to be a Photographer...

I am tired of cleaning up snow.  I am tired of photographing snow.  So I am going to give you all a treat, and post a REAL photograph.  This is one photograph from a story I shot about LaGuardia Airport for the Sunday magazine back around 1987.  It was a story on how the airport was too small, and the runways were too short and there were always delays because there were too many flights coming and going.  The point was also made that pilots had little room for error when taking off and landing.  You had to be at the top of your game here.  Anyhow, I called LaGuardia tower on the phone and said I wanted to come take photographs from the air.  I was flying a Cessna 172 and after talking to the tower controllers, I was directed to fly right over top of the airport, and was put in a holding pattern over the field, and I just flew around and around and took pictures looking down at the airport.  It was really a cool thing to get to do, and I think that this is one of my great photos!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fueling the Beast

There is a rumor going around that we might get some snow on Tuesday.  I am not much for paying attention to rumors, but just in case, I went out today and filled my gas can after topping off the gas tank in my snow blower.  It is a beast - you can see how large it is.  My logic was to buy the biggest one, because I had experience with a borrowed machine, which was much smaller, and when the snow was too deep, the machine would burrow underneath the snow, and it took forever to finish the driveway.  Not with this baby!  It eats snow just for fun!  Watch me go!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Old Iron Work

I walked around the neighborhood for some exercise and, of course brought a camera along with me.  I found this old rusted iron gate around the corner.  At one time there were some large houses on property that later on was divided up and more modern houses were added.  Every once in a while you can find remnants of the larger estates.  I think that this old gate and flagstone stairs behind it were once part of one of these estates.  And you know me, I love things that old and rusty!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Danger of Electrocution

I was stopped at a traffic light when I saw this, so I had only a short time in which to grab my toy camera an get this shot.  Whew, only time for three frames.  Why is this interesting to me?  Because I know that the voltage between those three wires that the pigeons are resting on is something like 13,200 volts.  The thing is that the pigeons are each sitting on one wire.  In order to be electrocuted, they will have to touch both the wire they are sitting on, and the center wire. So the birds are safe, but still...  At least now you know enough to do electrical wiring in your home...   :-)

Friday, March 10, 2017


"Spring has sprung, the grass is riz,
I wonder where the birdies is."

It's funny that I thought of that little ditty this morning - it always makes me smile when I think of it.  I did a search today trying to figure out who the author was, and it seems that no one knows where it came from, but a number of people remembered that their parents would quote the ditty years and years ago when they were children.  So, we awoke to snow this morning and I looked for some photographs around here.  We took a walk around the neighborhood later in the afternoon, and the sun came out.  As we walked up the driveway the snow covered branches of the Japanese maple were brilliant against a deep blue sky.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Lunch With Friends

I drove out to Huntington today to have lunch with a work colleague that I haven't seen in eight years!  I chose Finnegan's because I wanted a burger and fries.  Finnegan's has been there since forever.  I parked in a big lot behind the restaurant, and then you get to the front by walking down this narrow alley.  On this wall outside the restaurant there is a painted mural that also has been there forever.  It is about thirty feet long - this is just a detail.  There is a sign on the painting that it was first painted by Philip Jordan in 1978, and then apparently repainted by him and two others in 2012.  This painting has been a landmark in the town for years.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Industrial Landscape

I am always on the lookout for industrial architecture, and tonight, once again, I was desperate for a shot when I saw this.  It is a bit bleak but I thought that the light was interesting.  It is the back wall of the planetarium building which I saw after our meeting was over.  I have done more interesting, and more beautiful photographs...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Too Much TV Watching for Grace!

This is Grace sitting on the couch, where she was watching TV with us.  We are not happy to see all the stuff we see on TV each day, but we were so surprised to see that Grace couldn't take it anymore either!   She is so cute, isn't she?

Monday, March 6, 2017

A New Visitor

A new cat has recently showed up at our back door.  It is a pretty looking cat, and I hope that it is some family's cat which is allowed outdoors, which our cats are not.  I think that it is a "he" and he is coming around because mama cat is a "she" and she comes to eat usually once a day.  So I think that she is the main attraction.  Fortunately mama cat has been fixed.  He stood off at a distance while she ate, and then when she walked away, he went in and finished the few leftover bits of cat food.  I would have loved to have fed him more, but that would mean way too many cats at our door.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I'm on a Diet

I'm on a diet, and this is dinner.  :-)    Actually that's not true.  Kathy made pasta for dinner and we had a salad first.  While she was finishing her salad, I went to the kitchen and served myself this portion, and brought it into the dining room.  She really laughed when she saw this!  And that was the object of the exercise, of course.  I love being silly.  Oh, and for those of you, and I know you are out there, who pay attention to the niceties of table setting, yeah, I know the fork is on the wrong side!  Didn't realize that until after we finished dinner.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Hydrangeas Emerge

This post is kind of a goof.  Because yesterday I posted the shoot of a Hyacinth emerging from the ground, and when I wrote the caption, I said it was a Hydrangea.  Duh!  The thing is, I photographed both plants yesterday, and they are only about a foot from each other.  I thought yesterday's photo was more dramatic, but I like this one as well, so you get to see both.  And both are named correctly, at least this time.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Hyacinths Emerge

When I get desperate for a photograph, I put the macro lens on my Nikon - it is a lens for doing close-ups - and I head out into the yard.  I was not disappointed today.  I had seen hints of green in the garden the other day.  I was amazed to see how many plants have emerged.  Of course is has been unseasonably warm for the past week.  What really surprised me, when I got really close to this emerging Hyacinth, was how brilliant the green color was.  Seeing this color is such a joy after January and February.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Buildings Seen Through Trees.

On my trips to Manhattan, and my walks up and down Fifth Avenue, I have been taken with views of buildings as seen through trees.  I am not sure why I am seeing these pictures this year, but I can't help myself.  I think it has to do with seeing the structure of the trees without their leaves, with the added complexity of the buildings as background.  What was fun was on this visit was to find a painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Paul Cezanne, titled "Trees and Houses near the Jas de Bouffan, 1885"  My photographs are not unlike this painting in some ways.  Crazy, huh?