Sunday, May 28, 2017
The cats are endlessly fascinating, if you pay attention. I saw this shot of Grace sitting on the back of the couch in her favorite sleeping place. When I noticed that she had one paw over her eyes, I thought it was so cute that I had to take yet another picture!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Guess how I took this photograph... Right, playing with the drone again! I have been trying to figure out how to make interesting photographs with my new flying machine. I have seen young kids playing baseball on this diamond but the problem is that you are not allowed to fly drones over people. Of course that law doesn't include the drone pilot! So I thought of this photograph and even thought of the title I would use, before taking the photograph. I have not gone off the deep end - I am just having fun. Please click on the photograph to see more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:59 PM
Friday, May 26, 2017
I was going to make this another quiz, but I have decided against it. But before I tell you, take a look at this and see if you can guess what it is... I was just finishing dinner, and I lifted my wine glass to take the last sip. The wine glass acted as a lens, and imaged the front living room window, which looks out on trees. I loved the color so I got the macro lens to shoot this.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
We were supposed to have an observing night at our astronomy club meeting, but it was cloudy, so instead we showed a DVD about astronomy. I sit at the console for the giant sky projector, and just use my little laptop to play the DVD, which is projected on the dome. At one point I saw this image of the Sun in hydrogen alpha light, which is part of the movie, and in the foreground are the screens for the sky projector. This seemed like an interesting photograph because it doesn't seem to make sense. I love stuff like that!
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
When the weather gets really hot, as it did last week, the behavior of the cats changes dramatically. They usually have periods of racing around the house interspersed with long periods of sleeping. But when it gets to 80, they become mostly immobile. They, just like us, lie around and don't do much besides eating and resting. Just like humans. Isn't he cute? We love his curiosity and his expressions!
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
I took the garbage can out to the curb last night, and when I looked down our street I noticed that the next streetlight in the distance was burned out. Having the street disappear into darkness was erie looking. And of course you know that I really love spooky feeling things and places. So I got my Mikon camera and tripod and did a number of long exposures. I was disappointed to find that the images were not perfectly in focus. So I waited until it was dark tonight, and went out again, this time with the Canon 6D. This photo is as sharp as a tack! Whew!
Monday, May 22, 2017
I took the drone out, and went down to Tappan Beach again, this time to the playground. The FAA rules do not allow a flight above people, so this children's playground set was a good subject because there were no kids around. I was just looking for an abstract image, you know, like modern art... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:04 PM
Sunday, May 21, 2017
As Monty Python would say: "And now for something completely different..." I was doing something today when I saw this. I was really excited because it was different than what I would normally shoot. I loved the idea that I was really seeing something subtle and different. That I was paying attention. So now it is up to all of you to guess what this is!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:22 PM
Saturday, May 20, 2017
After dinner tonight we headed over to McDonalds for ice cream cones. At the stop light I came face to face with this scene! I couldn't believe it! What a great shot! It just seemed incongruous to find these three sets of legs leaning up against the building. Made a left at the light, parked the car, and 60 seconds later had my interesting picture. Not all photos happen in 60 seconds!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:08 PM
Friday, May 19, 2017
Because it's been so warm the last couple of days, I put the screens in all the windows. That means that the cats now have new places to sit while looking outdoors. You can tell that they are having so much more fun because they spend a lot of time sniffing the outside air. Well today, I noticed that Sam was intently looking at something. Then I heard the bird calls from outside the window. What I love about this is the shape of his body. I think that shape tells a lot about his intensity. And he was definitely intense.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:48 PM
Thursday, May 18, 2017
This is the basket of flowers that arrived at our house the Friday before Mother's Day. They were sent to Kathy by Liz and Amy and Sarah. It is one of the most beautiful flower arrangements that we have ever seen! So I thought I would photograph it, and I decided to fall back on one of my tricks, which is to use a cool little gadget called "Lens Baby." It is essentially a common magnifying glass lens mounted for the camera to shoot through. That's why the blur. I know, a photo trick. Hey, sometimes I get desperate to make an interesting photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:41 PM
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
My brother in law Neil and I went out to Dunkin Donuts on Sunday morning to get coffee - we already had donuts at home because some of his grandchildren work at a great donut shop! While standing in line, I noticed these three old-timers enjoying each other's company. Wait, Neil and I are old-timers! Anyhow, I got my camera out and made three frames before one of the men noticed me. I really love this photograph, because it speaks to the richness of friendship. Oh, and the artwork on the wall really makes this photograph something special.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:20 PM
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
You have probably been wondering what I have been doing with my new drone. The answer is "not much," mainly because of weather. We have had a lot of rain and high winds over the last couple of weeks which is not conducive to flying. Today was warm and sunny with light winds, so I took my drone down by the water. This was the first scene I found, of four fisherman at the point. I told them what I was going to do, and they were fine with it - they just said "just don't scare the fish away." OK, so this isn't the worlds greatest photo but I thought you might enjoy it. If you click on the photo you can see more detail and the individual fishermen.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:19 PM
Monday, May 15, 2017
One of the fun things from yesterday's family gathering was the presence of the twins. They are now two years old, and both of them are cuter than buttons! They are a joy to watch, and a bundle of energy, and so smart. In the photo below, Evelyn is using her mom's smartphone to take photographs, and she is a wizard at doing that! It is amazing to see her use the cellphone!
And here is Evelyn again, carrying her plate of sliced pears around in the living room. I love this photograph because of the high angle, which is different from how I normally shoot. Is she cute or what!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:43 PM
Sunday, May 14, 2017
We spent a wonderful Mother's Day weekend in Connecticut. Saturday we were in Wallingford to visit with Neil and Maureen and Tracy. Today we went to my sister Betsey's and Karen and Sy were there and Joan and Kelsey and Jon and Lauren and the twins as well. We had a lovely dinner and conversation and laughter - it was a wonderful Mother's Day! Oh, and we posed for a family picture.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:40 PM
Saturday, May 13, 2017
We are up in Connecticut, and some of the family went to dinner tonight. This is Keera and her dad, and during dinner she started asking us to solve some riddles she knew. Some were really clever, and beyond us to figure out. Others were just plain funny. She also asked us for riddles, but we could only come up with a couple of them.. So then she asked us some more. At one point Keera asked her dad to look up a particular riddle for us. It was a fun way to spend some time during dinner, and lots of laughs. She is smarter than we are!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:14 PM
Friday, May 12, 2017
I first heard of the High Line when I stumbled into a gallery in Chelsea, and saw photographs by Joel Sternfeld of the natural beauty of this abandoned elevated rail line, overgrown with all kinds of weeds and grasses. It was like a meadow in the sky and it was stunning! The rest, as they say, is history. You have seen so many of my photographs of this wonderful garden and walkway in the sky. They began the renovation by removing all the railroad tracks, and ballast and then cleaning and painting all the original steel beams and supports, before replacing ballast and tracks and soil, and then by planting gardens among the tracks. But I discovered on my most recent visit something that I must have seen before, but which hadn't registered completely, and that was that they have left a long section of tracks in their original state at the north end of the park. And that's what caught my eye on this trip. I am so glad they realized the importance of what was there before the renovation. It has a beauty all its own, don't you think?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:36 PM
Thursday, May 11, 2017
I was driving through Roslyn and this window flashed by. I was in a hurry so didn't stop, but remembered the scene. I stopped a couple of hours later on my return trip. This building was the home of Poco Loco, a Mexican restaurant that we had dinner in maybe twice, but 20 years ago. Well, by the look of the front windows, this restaurant is no more. I thought of this photograph as an abstraction, rather than as a documentary photo. It is all about shapes and sizes and colors.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:29 PM
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
I mentioned going to the Cradle of Aviation on Monday night for an FAA Safety Seminar. This is an interesting photograph of the Cradle of Aviation. When we took a break, I went outside for a bit and was stunned to see all these wonderful colors, and the foreboding sky. So, since I always have my "toy camera" with me, I took this photograph. The contrast of the scene was very high, so I must confess that I used some HDR software to make the highlights darker and the shadows brighter.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:45 PM
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
At the four corners in the center of Glen Head, there used to be three gasoline stations and a tire store. The tire store closed and was torn down, and has since been replaced by some stores and a couple of nice places to eat. Then one of the gas stations closed, and was left abandoned for nearly ten years. There was talk of building a Seven Eleven on the spot, but neighbors protesting shut that down. Then there was talk of brightening the center of Glen Head, by building a park on the spot. That would really have changed the feeling for the village and made it much nicer. I thought that was the final decision. I drove by the fenced in and obscured area a few weeks ago, and saw that they were doing some digging. I wondered why they would have to dig down to build a park, level with the street. The answer showed up the other day. The hole was deeper and it is clear that a building foundation was being installed. Turns out it will be another bank building! Such a shame to miss out on having a beautiful green park.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:54 PM
Monday, May 8, 2017
I went to an FAA safety seminar tonight, at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. If anyone is curious, the subject was aircraft operations at non-towered airports. It was a great presentation by a terrific instructor from the Aircraft Owner's and Pilot's Association in Frederick, Maryland. When the presentation was over, I heard someone call my name. It was my friend Phil Dionisio. Phil and I worked at Newsday together for years - he was an artist in the art department, and I was a photographer. In the early years when we both worked evening shifts, if I didn't have an assignment at meal time, Phil and I would go have dinner together, usually at the Sizzler Restaurant. He is a pilot and was great company. It was more fun having dinner with Phil, than with the other photographers! Phil has owned his own plane for years, and now lives on Block Island, and the plane allows him to easily fly back to Long Island. I photographed him in front of two magnificent illustrations that he did for a Newsday book on the history of aviation on Long Island. These reproductions are on display at the museum.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:53 PM
Sunday, May 7, 2017
My friend Stan invited me to a talk at the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center in Glen Cove this afternoon. The talk was by two women who as children, with their families, lived on the west coast, and were taken from their homes and moved hundreds of miles inland to hastily constructed barracks covered with tar paper. The government was afraid that these American citizens might be spying for the Japanese! 120,000 people were ultimately imprisoned in these centers. There were about 10 such centers, with up to 15,000 people in each facility. Most people were held from 1942 to 1946. Here's the thing - the majority of these people were American citizens! The whole program was a travesty of justice, and as someone said today, "It was one of the darker chapters in American history," and "It was a failure of political leadership." The stories these two women told were very moving. And their hope is that if our government even STARTS thinking about some illegal program involving people of other religious faiths being singled out because of their religion, then people will be reminded of this terrible program which began 74 years ago. (REVISED) Stan wrote me after I posted this, with this comment, correcting what I had originally posted: "My father was 24 and you can say both sides of my family were incarcerated (parents, their brothers/sisters and their parents.)" Such a shameful act by the United States government.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:11 PM
Saturday, May 6, 2017
When Liz was here at the end of March we did some things including visiting the Bailey Arboretum. I took several different photographs that day but there was so much going on, I didn't have a chance to post them all. So now I am catching up. This is the main house at the arboretum. What caught my eye was the blooming yellow tree. I *think* that this is a Witch hazel tree. I can't be sure but maybe someone out there will recognize it. I love the delicacy of this image.
Here is a closeup of one of the blossoms.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:20 PM
Friday, May 5, 2017
I have had the drone for three days now. It came with a 55 page manual and I wanted to memorize all of it before flying for the first time. This drone is a very sophisticated device that uses GPS for navigation, and a "return to home" mode if it looses contact with its controller, among other things. It has a number of colored lights on it, and you need to know what all the lights mean if they light up. It was also really windy for two days as well and these drones can't fly in high winds. But finally, today, the heavy rains stopped late in the afternoon, and I decided to try for a first flight. It was amazing - this aircraft is actually really easy to control and the flight was flawless. I can't wait to go looking for subjects that look really interesting from the air. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:02 PM
Thursday, May 4, 2017
I went into the kitchen and recognized the first signs of a pie! This is a good thing. This bowl contains the makings of the filling for a strawberry rhubarb pie! I can't wait, but I will have to, because this pie will be for a Mother's Day gathering of the family in Connecticut. The strange lighting is the late afternoon sun shining through blinds covering the kitchen window.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the Hutchinson River Parkway a few weeks ago, and then I noticed the rising moon. I was moving slowly enough that I could watch for things in the foreground moving past. When I got to these trees, I realized they made the perfect photograph with the moon. I am taking the time to tell you all this story because *some* of you might think I shot this photograph while the car was cruising along at highway speed.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
The box? What's in the box? Oh... a drone... :-) Yeah, I couldn't stand it any longer, and after learning so much about drones decided I needed one. It is good that I waited two years to get one, because the Phantom 3 that I got is a great drone that has been superceded by a newer model, and so I got it new, at a bargain price. Now I have to learn how to use it! Given the nature of this flying machine it is REALLY important that I know every detail about its operation. The manual is 55 pages long, and I need to read it all.
Could you imagine if I *thought* that I knew how to use it and then after takeoff it just flew away! Yikes! So maybe I will get to fly it tomorrow for the first time. Maybe not. Depends on how comfortable I feel about all the controls. I can't wait! And of course, since the drone does both still photographs and video, you can look forward to aerial photographs once I get this figured out.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:34 PM
Monday, May 1, 2017
...but she does not have any arms! She is a motivational speaker and she is amazing. She was born with no arms because of a birth defect, but was determined to live normally. So how does she fly a plane? She uses her feet! She flies a 1945 Ercoupe which does not have rudder pedals. She is also a SCUBA diver and has earned a black belt in Taekwondo.
Pilots wear headsets, and here she demonstrates how she puts her headset on before each flight, using her feet. In the shot below, I forget why she stood on the chair, but it surprised everyone during her talk.
Then she demonstrated how she OPENED a pull-tab can of soda with her feet, and then showed how she drank from the can after it was open. She also demonstrated for us, how she tied the laces on her sneakers with her feet, before putting them on.
The event was held out at Islip MacArthur Airport in an airplane hangar. The place was packed, with both adults and kids.
She told a number of inspirational stories, and she has met the Pope and visited wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Hospital. She also told humorous stories. She mentioned that she gets stared at wherever she goes. At restaurants, everyone assumes that her husband feeds her, so to mess with those staring, when the food comes, she feeds her husband by holding the fork with her feet! She also told a story of a waitress who came to the table and said to her husband "What is she going to order?" Her husband replied: "She is missing her arms, not her brain!" It was an astounding and inspiring evening.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM