Friday, June 30, 2017
For those of you not living in the New York metropolitan area, you should know that both the Long Island Railroad, and the New York City Transit System have been having a rough time. These commuters are waiting for the arrival of a train in Penn station at rush hour. Yesterday there were two power failures, one in the morning at one in the evening, and many trains were cancelled, and delayed. I was lucky, and my rush hour train left on time. It is so easy to see the resignation and frustration on the faces of these men waiting on the platform.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Thursday, June 29, 2017
I went into the city today, to see a monumental photographic exhibit at the International Center of Photography with my friend Stan. This landmark exhibition celebrates the 70th anniversary of the renowned photo agency Magnum Photos. It was created in 1947 and includes work from a huge number of some of the most legendary photographers working at that time, and at present. There are something like 200 photographic prints on display - you need plenty of stamina if you spend enough time with each photograph, as you should. In addition to the photographic prints there were two slideshows as well. Here two women are watching one of the slideshows.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:40 PM
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
This is the newly refurbished fountain in the Rose Garden at the Vanderbilt Museum & Planetarium. It is located right next to the planetarium, so I get to see it every week when we have our meetings. I was really pleased to see that the fountain has recently been repaired and painted. It is quite beautiful now, and the sculpture is lovely. I was able to catch it late in the day, with the afternoon sun shining through the trees, which added something special to the photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Do you have any idea what this is a photograph of? It IS a color photograph. Any guesses? This is an astounding photograph, in my mind. It is a photograph of a white counter top, with the shadows from sunlight shining through a glass half full of water. That is amazing, isn't it? And the tiny rainbow was a big surprise. Please click on the photograph to see it in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:37 PM
Monday, June 26, 2017
I was walking around town, carrying my camera, of course. Imagine my surprise when I came across this Buddha on the front porch of the main street in town. It was a pleasant surprise. I have no idea how long it has been there, and I don't know who lives in the house. It didn't seem appropriate to knock on the door to ask about this statue, but I would love to know why it is there. I went to Wikipedia to look up the term "Buddha" and was overwhelmed by the information there. That's why I am not telling you anything about the meaning of this statue.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
So here is the portion of the porch after all my paint stripping and scraping was finished. Then I set about painting, which took almost no time at all, compared to the preparation. There is a thing about looking at the finished work - for me it is soul-satisfying! It feels good having it finally done. I started the stripping and scraping last fall, but it got too cold to use paint stripper, so this part of the porch looked awful all winter.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:13 PM
Saturday, June 24, 2017
We went out for ice cream after supper, and then as is our custom, we drove down Sea Cliff avenue through town to see what's going on, on Saturday night. Actually lots of people walking around and dining at the restaurants in town. As we got to Memorial Park which overlooks Hempstead Harbor, the sun was a beautiful orange ball. I had to do a U-turn and find a place to park. We walked into the park, and there were more than a dozen people watching sunset. The sun was disappearing in to a cloud bank, so I missed that, but managed to get these people in silhouette, all watching the fading light of day.
Friday, June 23, 2017
I am stripping layers and layers of old paint off of the front porch floor. Is this fun? No. I have probably painted this floor perhaps half a dozen times since we bought the house in 1971. There are so many layers that the paint was cracked and looked terrible. Stripping the floor was the only choice, but man, is it tedious work. It takes at least 3 or 4 applications of stripper to get all the way down to the wood. It will be fun to finally put the new paint on.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
I still have some leftovers from my most recent visit to the High Line. This is a modern building right next to the High Line with lots of glass, and the windows are reflecting a brick building across the street from it. I really love all the graphic stuff that is going on in this photograph - it's as if there are layers in the photograph. I tried using Google Maps to find the specific building, but the maps are older, and much of the new building construction alongside the High Line seems to happen over night.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:19 PM
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Imagine that you have this view from your home! Not a bad way to relax at the end of the day. If your name was William K. Vanderbilt, then you would have this view from the golf course next to your mansion, in Centerport, New York. His home is now the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium, and the home is absolutely stunning, along with the grounds, and the view.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:57 PM
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
This is the blossom of the Columbine flower, which I photographed in the Walled Garden at Old Westbury Gardens. It may be that I like this flower for the strangest of reasons. There are drawings of comets in the night sky that have been done down through history. The drawings don't look exactly like this, but they feel like this photograph looks. Anyhow, this is an amazing blossom, isn't it? The reason I remember this flower's name is also weird. "Columbine" was the name of Dwight Eisenhower's presidential aircraft, a Lockheed Constellation. Wait, how did I just get from flowers to airplanes?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:03 PM
Monday, June 19, 2017
This is funny - I went to Old Westbury Garden to see and photograph the sculptures which led to some interesting photographs. But I also photographed the gardens themselves, as I have done for years for the newspaper. It is such a joy for me to wander in gardens and look for photographs. I took a lot of photographs, and had a hard time trying to edit the images down to a few. So that's why I am posting seven. I won't even begin to try and tell you what plants these are, other than the Foxglove, below! Be sure and click on each of the photos to see all the wonderful detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:20 PM
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Today was the day we said "farewell" to Father Jason. He is shown celebrating one of his last Masses, before leaving, with other priests and deacons on the altar with him, He came to St. Brigid's four years ago, as a new priest right out of the seminary. He is a wonderful priest and is loved by the whole community. He came to the priesthood in an interesting way - he graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a masters in computer science. Then he dramatically changed course and went to the seminary to become a priest. Now that he is leaving us, he is headed to Catholic University in Washington, D.C. for five years for his second masters and a doctorate! It is expected that he will be teaching at a seminary eventually. During the party in the parish hall, parishioners could have their pictures taken with him, and three daughters from one family are shown posing for the photographer.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:31 PM
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Most everyone who comes to Old Westbury Gardens carries some kind of camera with them. Some take a photograph or two as they walk around. But some people use their camera like a machine gun and can't take two steps without taking another photograph. I fall into this category! :-) And so does this fellow. He was with two women, and was taking photographs of them constantly. I thought that his intensity with his photography was worth a photo.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:31 PM
Friday, June 16, 2017
I promised that I would show you some more of the Seward Johnson sculptures at Old Westbury Gardens. I think there are 39 sculptures in all, but they had not all been installed when we were there. I will have to go back and see all of them, and take some more photographs. One interesting thing that is not obvious is that these sculptures are not just sitting on the grass. The individual pieces are bolted to steel I-Beams, and then those are buried in the ground! If you go back and look at my post a few days ago, of the man lying on the cart, you can see the support sticking out of his feet! the last photograph below, is of four women, waiting in the wings to be installed. I spotted them just outside the walled garden.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
You are not going to believe this story. My friend, and astronomy mentor, Sam, sent me a blurry image of this picture. I wondered where he got it. He implied that I might already know about it. I thought about it for a while and then realized that maybe I did know where it came from. Go back two posts to "Have a Seat..." On the left hand side of that photo, you can see this food cart! I am astounded that my friend Sam saw this other picture in my picture! This is a very cool shot, isn't it?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:55 PM
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
We went to Old Westbury Gardens today. As I was walking around with my camera, I saw this woman sun bathing alongside one of the paths. I wanted a shot from up close, and she appeared to be asleep, so I moved in very close and did this shot with a wide-angle lens. Do you think it was creepy of me to photograph this woman while she was asleep? Am I a creepy photographer? What do you think? When I was working, and doing garden photography, I would come here a couple of times a month in growing season to do photographs. It is a spectacular garden and mansion, clearly one of the great gardens in the United States. OK, so the joke is, if you haven't noticed it yet, the woman on the ground is actually a sculpture! She is made of painted bronze. She is one of something like forty sculptures that have been installed at the garden. I will have to show you some of the other sculptures in the coming days. The most interesting photograph that I made today, however was this one - another of the sculptures which was being moved to where it will be installed. THIS photograph stopped me in my tracks when I saw it! Oh man, I nearly forgot - the artist who constructed these wonderful sculptures is the American artist Seward Johnson.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:17 PM
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
During my last couple of trips to Manhattan, I got glimpses of workmen installing this new artwork. It is an amazing thing to see. These are scattered pieces of furniture and arches modeled after one of the grandest Fifth Avenue mansions - the now-demolished William C. Whitney Ballroom. Only these reproductions, as you can see, are made from concrete! The piece is called "Open House" by Liz Glynn, a Los Angeles Artist. It is located just north of Grand Army Plaza, at Fifth Avenue and 60th street.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:41 PM
Monday, June 12, 2017
On the way out of the exhibits I was visiting, I walked past this statue, which has been here forever, I guess. I was taken by the extreme emotion, so first I photographed the sculpture, then read about it. Whoo boy, this guy is in trouble. This is the satyr Marsyas who challenged the god Apollo to a musical competition. The god triumphed and then punished his challenger by skinning him alive! Yikes! Now, THAT is a bad day!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:52 PM
Sunday, June 11, 2017
The Metropolitan Museum of Art buildings and the surrounding plazas are just beautiful. I never tire of looking for photographs here. They have recently refurbished this fountain, and it was nice for me to see that these students were really enjoying the beauty of their surroundings. Oh wait! They are not! In fact, they are completely oblivious to what is going on around them. Oh well...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:12 PM
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Every Spring and Summer, the Metropolitan Museum of Art commissions an artist to create an installation for the Cantor Roof Garden on top of the Met. This work is called "The Theater of Disappearance" and is by Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas. One part of the installation is a series of tables with objects scattered on the top in monochromatic white. And the objects are scattered everywhere and tipped over. What makes it all interesting is the contrast of the white tables with the skyline of New York in the background. There are also sculptures of people as well, but these are no ordinary sculptures. Note the one below. The arms outside the frame of the picture only go as far as the elbow. There are other sculptures as well, in monochromatic black. It is an amazing exhibit! Please click on the photos to see them in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:34 PM
Friday, June 9, 2017
Yesterday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art I saw an astounding photographic exhibit. It is the work of Irving Penn, one of the great American photographers, who had a 70 year career, working mainly for Vogue magazine, doing portraiture, still life, and fashion, all over the world. When I was in college between 1960 and 1964 I was in awe of the work of Irving Penn, and I still am! One of the exhibits is this canvas background which was a piece of an old theater curtain that he found in 1950. He moved it from studio to studio and used it for fifty years. The subjects who were photographed in front of this background are some of the most famous people in the world of literature, entertainment, and the arts.
So here is what's cool - they set up a spotlight which illuminates anyone who stands in front of the background. Which means you can be photographed in front of perhaps the most famous photographic background in the world. Nearly everyone who passed through this room took out their cellphone or their camera, and had their picture taken. Including me! I was not going to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. Below is a portrait of T.S. Eliot, one of the portraits that Penn used the background for.
I decided to convert one of my portraits to B&W and tone it sepia to see how it measures up. Cool, huh?
Thursday, June 8, 2017
I was in the city today, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My normal method of travel is to take a subway to 5th Avenue, and then to walk the 22 blocks alongside Central Park to the Met. I noticed these young women when the woman closest to me, in the blue jeans, vaulted over the stone wall, from inside the park to outside the park. I am not sure why they just didn't walk down to an opening in the wall a block away. Anyhow, I decided to stop and see what else was going to happen. I was not disappointed to see an escape from Central Park! If you click on the first picture, you can enlarge it and see all of the photographs in a much larger size.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:24 PM
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
When I was down by the water, I noticed these white markings on the metal bulkhead by the edge of the water. I am assuming that these are Seagull droppings. It looked to me as if something was swimming upstream chasing tadpoles. I thought it was worth a shot. But get this, I just went to check on the correct term for Seagull excrement, and came across this information: "Do Seagulls Carry Disease? In a word, yes. In a recent study, seagulls were found to be responsible for E-coli contamination as well as carriers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is best not to handle the birds or come in direct contact with them, for health reasons." Yikes! Aren't you glad that you read this blog?
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Bebe is OK, so don't worry. But she has a cold and has been sneezing a lot, so we took her to the vets just to have her checked out. She was NOT happy with her examination, however. She had to be held down by the vet tech while the doctor listened with a stethoscope, and then drew blood and a urine sample. Man, she was NOT happy. But the good news is that she is in good shape, given that she is 17 years old! And we have an antibiotic to get her back to good as new in no time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:10 PM
Monday, June 5, 2017
I drove down to Glen Cove, over to where they are going to build a huge condo development by the water. It is a huge project with more than 1,100 units planned and structures that may be as tall as eleven stories! It is way out of scale for the site and people are trying to fight such extensive development. In any case, as I walked around I suddenly spied this Great Egret wading around in the water. I used a 300mm lens, but it was a long way off, so I very slowly walked closer over about 20 minutes and got these two photographs of this elegant bird. I was really happy with the first shot. But I kept following the Egret, and when it turned around and headed in the other direction, I got a much more interesting photograph, because of all the bands of waves in the background. Which photograph is your favorite?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:35 PM