Thursday, August 31, 2017
I went down to the water well after sunset to see what I could find. I put my camera on a tripod and did a number of long exposures, from 5 or 10 seconds, up to 30 seconds as it got darker. I like the impressionistic feel to these grasses in the water. They were moving in the wind and the waves, but there are still sharp parts of the image. Something new for me to try. Please be sure and click on this image - it is quite beautiful when enlarged.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
There are four benches in the little park that I stop at, when my bike ride is finished. The other day I took time to look at the slats in the benches that I sit on and was amazed to see that the seat was covered in lichen. How did I not notice this? So I took my cellphone, which is the only camera I carry with me on my rides, and looked around to try and make an interesting photo. This is the best I could do. Do you see a landscape in this photograph? If you do, please tell me about it and what you see. thanks.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:06 PM
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
...from little acorns grow." Yesterday I cut a pretty good sized branch off a tree because it was overhanging our new back room. It was low enough that the branches coming off the big branch would start to rub on the roof, damaging the shingles. Turns out it was an oak tree. As I was cutting up the smaller branches I noticed that there were acorns forming on many of the branches. They are not fully formed, as you can see - usually the cap doesn't cover this much of the inner part of the acorn. Man, you can learn so many things by reading this blog, right?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:42 PM
Monday, August 28, 2017
This is so cute! Sometimes Grace jumps up on things just because she is a cat. I don't know why she chose the front hall table. I was about to go out the front door, and saw this, and went back and got my camera. It feels as if she has a human expression on her face. It is not as if she wants to go outside, fortunately. When she was a small kitten, she would get curious when I started to open the door, and it made us nervous, so I stood on the front porch with a spray bottle of water. I would open the door, and when she got close to the opening, she got squirted. I think it only took three times before she lacked any interest in an open door. Which is fortunate for us, because it would be terrible if any of the cats got outdoors.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Sunday, August 27, 2017
I was sitting on the front porch and saw this "X" in the middle of the entrance to the porch at the top of the steps. What the heck? Oh wait, I made that. I did some touch up painting on the porch floor, and wanted to keep any unexpected visitors from stepping on the wet paint. So I grabbed a couple of pieces of wood moulding from the garage. What I didn't expect was the symmetry - it makes it appear that this was carefully planned, but it wasn't. When I saw this, it seemed like some kind of strange artwork. Hey, any excuse for a photo.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:22 PM
Saturday, August 26, 2017
I went to the recycling center today to drop off newspapers and cans and bottles. I noticed the manager of the center taking a picture with his cellphone of something over by the dumpsters where larger items are dumped. I walked over to see what he was photographing, and saw this Halloween costume. He said that he had moved the costume around and photographed it is different places! When I saw him at first, the ghost was hanging on the wall. I asked if I could put the ghost back in the dumpster, and he said sure. So here you are!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:56 PM
Friday, August 25, 2017
We were expecting 200 guests at the college research station where a friend and I were setting up our telescopes for the eclipse. Someone in our club suggest this viewing device made from a black funnel and a piece of translucent plastic. The funnel fits over the telescope's eyepiece, and you see an enlarged image of the sun. This allows 4 or 5 people to see the sun's image at the same time, as opposed if there was just an eyepiece, and only one person at a time could see the image. This device was a huge hit at the observing session, but not for the reason you would expect.
I think some of the first people to come by this telescope saw the solar funnel image, and immediately sat down on the little stool I brought, and faced AWAY from the telescope, so that they could either take a selfie of themselves and the image of the sun, or have someone else take their photograph, as is happening here. I couldn't believe the number of people who wanted to do this. It was so much fun to see how everyone enjoyed doing this unexpected thing.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:31 PM
Thursday, August 24, 2017
This is the crescent moon as seen last night, Wednesday, at our observing session. The moon was very close to the horizon by the time it was dark enough to see it. The moon orbits the Earth once every 27.322 days and it begins its journey each month at New Moon, when it is close to the Sun, or, as it did on Monday, when it eclipsed the Sun. Each day, the Moon moves further from away from the Sun by about 13 degrees. It is fun for some amateur astronomers to see how soon they can see the thin crescent moon, after New Moon. The sighting of the lunar crescent within one day of New Moon is usually difficult. The crescent at this time is quite thin, has a low surface brightness, and can easily be lost in the twilight. With all the pollution in the air in our area, it is really rare to see even a two-day old moon. This Moon is 2.3 days old, so I am thrilled to have seen it.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
We had an astronomical observing session this evening. I arrived at the observing field at the planetarium, and as I was carrying my telescope out to the field, I spotted this osprey on a branch about one hundred feet away. He was stunning to see, because of his size and because he was silhouetted against the sky. Apparently the male may stand off at a distance from the nest to keep a lookout. These are huge birds, growing to 24 inches long with a wingspan of over 70 inches!
So someone pointed out that the nest was built on top of one of the towers of the Vanderbilt mansion, and in this photograph you can see the female in the nest, which was about two hundred feet away.
I first looked at the osprey with the ten power binoculars I had with me. Then I used the 300mm lens on my camera to take the first two pictures. Then I pointed my astronomical telescope at the male, who was closer to me. Wow, what a great view. So I took my toy camera and held it up to the eyepiece and got this incredible view! Keep in mind that I am about one hundred feet away from him!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:17 PM
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
So this is a first for me - a multiple exposure of the whole eclipse. When the director of photography for the paper told me what he hoped I could shoot, he mentioned a sequence. I said "I don't know how to do that" and he said "That's OK, whatever you can get." So I wrote my friend Stan and said "Quick, how do I do that?" Stan was in Oregon but got back to me fairly quickly, and I called the director back and said "Hey, I can do that!" Stan always has all the answers! I set up my Nikon D-300 with a wide angle lens on a tripod and then, get this, used the built-in intervalometer in the Nikon to take one photograph every five minutes! So I ended up with 36 exposures. You will only count 30 here, and that's because I didn't get the Sun's path right, and the last 6 exposures were outside of the frame on the bottom! Duh! Then the other thing I needed to know from Stan was how to combine all the images in Photoshop. He knew that too! And this sequence is living proof! Please click on this image to see it in a larger size.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Today was an astounding day, and richly rewarding. Another member of our astronomy club and I went to a college research station out in Sayville, and we set up four telescopes between us. We had about 200 visitors, both adults and children and everyone was amazed to watch the sequence of the moon moving across the sun. Everyone had such a great time, and they were so thankful that we were there with our telescopes for them. I also photographed the eclipse for the newspaper I used to work for, and they will be publishing some of the photos that look like this tomorrow. What a day!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:27 PM
Sunday, August 20, 2017
I have been testing my telescopes, my telescope mount, and my cameras in preparation of the eclipse. I will be going to a college marine research station with another member of our club, where we will be setting up four telescopes to show visitors the partial solar eclipse. Someone called from the paper, and wants me to shoot the eclipse for them as well! I am going to be a busy bee. We are expecting more than 200 visitors for the four hour event. What surprised me when I was shooting the sun, was that the sun has been nearly blank for nearly a month now. and all of a sudden there are a whole bunch of spots that developed over several days. I count about eight spots in this image! I wonder how many will be left for the eclipse tomorrow.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
When I am desperate for a blog photo, I usually head to the harbor. I can usually find some kind of picture down there. In this case, I was not disappointed. I saw some swans swimming and put a long lens on the camera and started shooting. What finally made the photo was when a boat went by and the wake, from some distance across the harbor, made these waves, which reflected the sky, or didn't, resulting in black and white stripes.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:34 PM
Friday, August 18, 2017
You will have to forgive me for always photographing the cats all the time. But they are so cute, especially when they sleep upside down, which they do a lot. This is Grace and I have photographed her so many times with her paw over her eyes. She does that a lot. What makes this picture fun is the little hook in her tail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:18 PM
Thursday, August 17, 2017
I received an email request on our club website from a Rabbi looking for someone to talk about the eclipse and what causes it. My talk would go along with a talk that the Rabbi was putting together about references to eclipses in the Torah and in Jewish Scriptures. I agreed to do a talk because I wanted to hear her talk! I was not disappointed, and I found a really enthusiastic audience for my talk and demonstration. I brought a golf ball, and a ball bearing painted white to represent the moon. Here the Rabbi is taking questions from the audience.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:16 PM
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
We had an observing session tonight. Four of us set up our telescopes and we had a new visitor as well. For some observing sessions we have had as many as twenty or more visitors. It was such a surprise to have one new person tonight. Here one of our members is showing her a Planisphere, which is a map of the skies showing the stars and constellations. The skies were not all that dark because of light pollution and moisture in the air. So she got to see Jupiter, and Saturn and one globular cluster in our telescopes, but most of the galaxies were obscured. She was absolutely blown away by the idea of seeing the planets with her own eyes. It is fun to have such an enthusiastic visitor.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:10 PM
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
On the way back from the hardware store (where I bought some more paint) it started to rain lightly. As I drove along the harbor I could see this yacht in the distance, and through the rain it looked like a ghost ship. So I parked the car, grabbed my camera with a long lens, and got down to the waterline. The ship was there, but not so ghostly anymore, because the rain had stopped. I took the picture anyway because it still looks a little bit ghostly, right?
Monday, August 14, 2017
I am working on preparation for painting the kitchen walls, sparkling and sanding the walls, and priming them. While standing around cooking some meat on the barbecue I happened to look over at the garage window and the shingles. Yikes! The garage is beginning to look like one of those abandoned farm houses that I am so fond of photographing! More work in store for me!
Sunday, August 13, 2017
For those of you who have been following my photographs of the new countertops which have been installed our kitchen, we have now had new white tile installed. The result is just stunning! The work is so beautifully done! It was funny, after the new quartz countertops were installed, the kitchen didn't look all that different. It took the installation of the tile to make it look like a new kitchen! Now to paint the walls.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:31 PM
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Guess where we went for an ice cream cone after dinner. As I got out of the car I first saw the colors in the sky and then I noticed the McDonald's sign and at the same time I saw the utility pole with the power lines. I just liked the combination of all those elements. Then I started trying to think of a title for the shot. The words "post-industrial" came to me for no reason, which is strange because I have no idea what that term means. So I come home and look the term up, and get this: "In sociology, the post-industrial society is the stage of society's development when the service sector generates more wealth than the manufacturing sector of the economy." So it's about hamburgers instead of heavy machinery! I mean, where did that idea come to me? The human brain is magic!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:20 PM
Friday, August 11, 2017
When I took the buyout in March of 2008, the photo department had a going away party for me and one other staffer who was leaving at the same time. We had dinner at a hamburger joint with a great turnout of people, which was really nice. They took up a collection, and the other staffer and I each were presented with a card and $168. That amount was just enough for me to buy these bicycle shoes and I thought they were a good choice as I would be reminded each day that I rode, that I was no longer working. They are getting pretty beat up these days, but they still work. I have an odometer on my bike, and I passed a milestone of 7000 miles of cycling with these shoes the other day! Wow!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:05 PM
Thursday, August 10, 2017
I went to Manhattan today because I was invited by Stan and Ann to accompany them on a Subway Art Tour. Most of the people in the group were the same people who attended the Noguchi Museum, and they are a group of some docents at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I rode the new Second Avenue Subway for the first time, and our tour included four of the new stations on the new line. This first photograph of the group is taken in front of a self-portrait of artist Chuck Close, done as a mosaic.
Here is another Chuck Close portrait of a woman, done in mosaic.
And this is a portrait of Lou Reed, done with ceramic tiles that have been created from a photograph.
And this is our guide, Phil, and one of the artworks in a different subway station.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:55 PM
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
We have had our new countertops for several weeks now, and today the tile guys showed up to begin installing the tiles on the wall behind the counters. I liked this shot because the workman brought his own cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee with him to the job. In the shot below, Ken, the other workman is using a sponge to clean up some of the tile adhesive. What's interesting is that this is Italian tile, and it doesn't come with the little nubbins along the edges to create the correct spacing, which American made tile does. So they install the tile, doing the spacing by eye, and then use these little tiny wedges to keep the tiles in place after they have been pressed into the adhesive.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:58 PM
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
This story started out as a picture I took of a hole in the ground over in the next town, and I explained that there had been talk of building a park on the spot, but it was not to be. Then I showed you a photograph of steel being erected on the site after they poured a foundation. As I passed by the other day, they were erecting trusses for the roof of the building. I snapped a quick photo at a red light, because I loved all the angles present in the photograph. The title, by the way, is the title of a novella by J. D. Salinger.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:36 PM
Monday, August 7, 2017
This is Sam, the upside-down kitty. I swear he spends half his life on his back. If you come near him, he rolls over so you can pet his tummy. He sometimes even sleeps upside down. He is a n absolutely a beautiful cat, with his fine, gray fur, and cute as a button and endlessly fascinating, as are all our cats!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:44 PM
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Kathy has a friend who is a musician, and she and her two sons were involved in a production of "The Addams Family Musical" at a church in Glen Cove. So we went to see the show this afternoon. It was an amazing show with great production values, and some amazing student actors and singers. We were astounded at how good the show was! I decided to take some photographs, but only from my seat - I didn't get up and move around as I would have done if I was shooting a job for someone. So my photographs aren't that great, but I think this in an interesting shot. Oh, and we had never seen this musical comedy, and it is really funny!
Saturday, August 5, 2017
I bought two bottles of shampoo and when I came home, I set them on the kitchen counter. Sunlight was shining in the window, and suddenly there was this bright yellow flash as I moved one of the bottles. So I started experimenting. The bottles in cross section are in the shape of lenses, and this is what the shampoo lenses do to the sunlight. Cool, huh?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:21 PM
Friday, August 4, 2017
"The Lamp" you say? Clearly that is a dress form. Well, actually it is not. I thought so too when I first saw it, but then when I stopped to photograph it, I saw the white cord coming out of the bottom and realized that it is made out of translucent blue plastic. It stopped me cold, seeing it out at the curb like this. It just seems incongruous photographed against the background of the lawn and the plants in the garden. It's in perfect condition, so I don't know why it was thrown out. The good news is that it apparently was picked up by someone before the garbage men came!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:09 PM
Thursday, August 3, 2017
This is an astounding installation in one of the largest galleries at Mass MoCA. What we are seeing are twelve thousand eye-dazzling spinners hanging on 1,500 thin cables from floor to ceiling! Each of the spinners create constantly changing patterns - and some are quite dizzying. As you look more closely, you start to notice spinners surrounding images of handguns. The name of the installation is "UNTIL" as in "Innocent Until Proven Guilty." The artist's work began as a protective response to violence, particularly within the black community, and the recent deaths of African Americans in the United States.
As you wander the internal pathways of the "forest" you see the spinners in different light, and they appear quite different when they are back lit as they are here. The installation is by the artist Nick Cave. Please click on the images so you can see all of this in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:01 PM
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
So a woman who lives in Maine, and who has 626 Facebook friends decided to go around the world and photograph them all! The results are on display at Mass MoCA and they are amazing. She has done an enormous number of wonderful portraits of individuals, children and adults, and families. She was able to actually photograph 420 of them and each of the portraits is on the wall. On sheer material hanging from the ceiling are images of Post It notes where people were asked to talk about what a real friend is..
This is a close-up of some of the portraits that were on the huge wall display that stretched the length of the gallery. The idea is really amazing, and the variety of the photographs such a joy to see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:04 PM
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Yesterday when we were all walking around Port Jefferson, I saw this motorcycle parked at the curb. I saw all the chrome and realized it would make an interesting photograph. While I was taking the pictures, I heard Jenny behind me say to someone: "Is that your motorcycle?" So after I finished with the picture, I went over to talk to the owner. He was such a nice guy and really interesting to talk to. We talked about motorcycles, and riding across the United States, which he has done a few times, and sailing and cycling. All this talking was going while the women were in the cutsie shops on the street, so I stayed out of the shops and had a great conversation!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:43 PM