Thursday, November 30, 2017
I haven't flown my drone in some time so I took it up yesterday and today. When you are a beginner, the altitude of the drone is limited to 100 feet. I figured I could take it out of beginner mode, and when I flew up to 200 feet, in my side yard, I was surprised how much of the harbor I could see. Also, with so many of the trees missing their leaves, I could see more of the homes in Sea Cliff. It's time I did more flying around here. Please click on this to see a lot more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:39 PM
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
We went to the city to see two specific things. The Irish Hunger Memorial - more on that in a later post - and this work of art. It is called "Whiteout," located in Madison Square Park. This is a public art project by artist Erwin Redl and is comprised of hundreds of transparent white spheres, each embedded with a white LED light and suspended from a square grid of steel poles and cabling. The white LEDs are animated in large-scale patterns superimposing a virtual movement that looks like waves of light coming and going. It is fascinating to watch. One of the things I love about public projects is that people looking at them never fail to turn to a perfect stranger, and comment on how cool an experience it is to be seeing it!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:11 PM
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
The Oculus is an astounding piece of architecture! It is the new transit hub at the rebuilt World Trade Center site in downtown Manhattan. Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, the “Oculus” is a train station, plaza and shopping mall adjacent to the memorial site for the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. In the background is the new Freedom Tower. The Oculus is astounding both inside and out. The architect has said he designed the Oculus to resemble a winged dove. This is the first time I was able to photograph the building without construction fences in front of it. But I don't have the best photograph yet. I need to photograph it when the sun is on it, and it will be a brilliant white inmcolor. I will get back there when things are just right. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:03 PM
Monday, November 27, 2017
While walking around the Memorial Pools at the World Trade Center Memorial I spotted these roses placed into the cutout of the name of one of the victims. It was so moving to see not only the roses and an American flag, but a laminated photograph of her. She is Betty Ann Ong, an American flight attendant who was aboard American Airlines Flight 11 when it was hijacked and flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Such a powerful thing to come face to face with.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:23 PM
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Well, I think I finally got a REAL photograph! We took a trip to Manhattan today to see some things, and I will be showing you some really interesting things with future posts on the blog. We did go through the 9/11 Memorial pools and by One World Trade Center. Every time I see this monumental tower I take the time to do photographs of it. Today was no exception. I did see it in a new way, however I had not noticed that from some points the entire side of the building appears to end in a point. This reminded me of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. What makes this so interesting is that the building is seen against a sky of broken clouds AND the mirrored front of the wall is reflecting similar clouds. The whole thing blends together in such a way that you are not sure at first what you are looking at.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:40 PM
Friday, November 24, 2017
This is, of course, the famous Japanese maple tree. What is always surprising is that the leaves on this tree were still green until about 4 days ago. I am always amazed at how quickly they go from green to orange and yellow. I never get tired of going out to explore the tree after the colors have changed. I try to find a view that I haven't photographed before, and I think that this fills the bill. The yellow leaves are closest to me, but in the background are orange leaves on higher branches. I love the contrast in colors.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:41 PM
Thursday, November 23, 2017
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. I decided not to photograph the turkey or other expected foods. This is a new item, called Pull Apart Bread. It is a bread with herbs in it. Does it look great? It is astounding! And of course, it is one more item on the dining table, so when dinner was over, we were STUFFED!
And this is the cast of characters for dinner today. Jerry, Winnie, Vince, Jo Anne, Kathy and Me. For those who don't know us all. We had a lovely day with great conversations and food.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:44 PM
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Another day of Fall color, because I am desperate. There was a brief moment at the end of the day when the overcast skies were clearing, and the sun peeked through just long enough to illuminate the trees. I do love the tree on the right, which is a Locust tree covered with vines, which is why there is green on the tree. Please click on this image to see it in greater detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:34 PM
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
I jumped in the car late this afternoon to head over to the hardware store to get a few things. As I started down Laurel Avenue I was amazed to see the orange and yellow glow from these trees down the block. I think this is the first Fall color I have seen, since that one small tree in the cemetery. I was overjoyed to finally see evidence of Fall! I mean, it ain't like Vermont or anything, but this IS Long Island.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:36 PM
Monday, November 20, 2017
When in doubt, or in need of a photograph - any photograph will do - then I head to the beach. It has always worked for me. Instead of looking for wide landscapes, I walked around to see if I could find some kind of close-up photograph. I thought this was worthwhile. I like the contrast between the softness of the feather and the background of sand and stones.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
When I was walking over to Photo Expo, as I passed through Hell's Kitchen I walked past a long mural and it immediately grabbed my attention. I am thinking that it was nearly 50 feet long, and this is just one small part of it. There was some text explaining that it was part of the NYC Mural Arts Project. The headline on the text said: “Some days I have to push myself to go outside and walk to the park. Say Hello! We can embrace ourselves and open doors together.” The mural was painted by 27 artists. Here is their explanation of the project: "The New York City Mural Arts Project uses a collaborative mural-making process to discuss mental health and foster new social interactions in New York City’s communities. We work with community-based organizations, artists, people living with a mental health diagnosis, and the community at large to break down misconceptions and stigma associated with mental illness. Together, we translate our conversations into a mural that reflects the diversity and strength of everyone involved in the mural-making process." This was an impressive mural to see - I wish I could have shown you all of it!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:45 PM
Saturday, November 18, 2017
When I was delivering the telescope and mount to our student and his family, his dad wanted to show me something. The dad is a pretty talented guy, showing me some projects he has done. And none was more amazing than this. He found a Wurlitzer in a bar in New York that was covered with twenty years of dirt and grime. So he completely disassembled the juke box and cleaned every part and then made repairs to the electronics and some of the mechanical parts. The machine is stunning to behold, and he has it loaded with old 45 RPM records which we played. You will be thrilled to know that the sound it produces is just stunning.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:31 PM
Friday, November 17, 2017
This is a young high school student who came to our astronomy club and asked for help with a two-year science project he wanted to do, but he needed help. So we loaned him this telescope and mount that someone had recently donated to the club. The club is also going to buy him a special grating for spectroscopy for use with the telescope and his camera. He is a brilliant young man, and I am in awe of the project he is not afraid to take on. It is really rewarding to be able to help him.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:23 PM
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Back when my friends Ginger and Ron were in town, Ginger and I spent the day wandering around the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We stopped in front of a painting by Cy Twombly, and were discussing it, because we didn't "get" the painting. This woman was sitting on the bench and she overhead us, and joined the conversation. We all had a nice time standing around talking about art, and she didn't get the painting either. When we were about done, I asked if I could take her picture. She said "sure" and I did. It was only after taking the picture did I notice that the color of her dress matched one of the colors in the Mark Rothko painting in the background! It turns out that the woman is an artist who lives in Bermuda, and that she is spending four months in New York on a fellowship.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:50 PM
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
I was driving down Sea Cliff Avenue, which is the main street in town, and just past the Post Office, I glanced to the right into a yard, and saw this! I have no idea, of course, what it is all about, but I love this! I have seen other really interesting things in this yard. There is a "two-story" bicycle that I may have photographed, but didn't post in the blog a few years back. It is an amazing, inventive bit of welding. I don't think you can actually ride it, however. But the point is, there is a lot of creativity going on around this house. This made me smile, which makes my day!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:52 PM
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
I was sitting at this red light, looking up at the dark gray sky. After about 10 seconds it felt as if this was a picture that needed to be taken. It was a fairly strong feeling and so I grabbed my toy camera and took several shots before the light changed. I cannot explain why this seemed important as an image. I do know that it involved both the light, the dark gray clouds, and all the wires going through the picture. What is also interesting is that when the light changed to green, the photograph didn't work for me any more.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:51 PM
Monday, November 13, 2017
This is a detail shot of the front of what once was the Whitney Museum and is now the Met Breuer Museum. "Breuer" because it was designed by Marcel Breuer and finished in 1966. The building created a strong modernist statement in a neighborhood of traditional limestone, brownstone, and brick buildings. Considered somber, heavy, and even brutal at the time of its completion in 1966, Breuer's building is now recognized as daring, strong, and innovative. It has come to be regarded as one of New York City’s most notable buildings. But it is not a building that exudes a feeling of warmth. I photographed it after leaving an exhibition we saw, and I liked that this made an interesting abstract photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:56 PM
Sunday, November 12, 2017
The reports I have read about the fall color this year, all say that because of the drought, the leaves are falling off the trees before changing color. That is pretty much what I have seen so far this year. But I did go by this tree in the old cemetery in Sea Cliff. It was wonderful to see some fall color at last. I also love the loopy branch way up high - that seems as interesting as the color in this photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:01 PM
Saturday, November 11, 2017
We drove up to Connecticut to have lunch with my three sisters. We arrived in Milford a bit early so I drove by City Hall. I decided to photograph it, and then on the way back to the car I noticed this statue of a soldier. It is a beautiful sculpture of a WWI doughboy and a memorial to 22 soldiers from Milford, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War. It was dedicated in 1928. A sobering reminder of the cost of war.
This is Milford City Hall, which is just over a hundred years old. It was designed to resemble Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. It is a very photogenic building from both the front and the back, and is considered modern colonial style. Behind the building is a pond and waterfall which makes a stunning photograph, but the light has to be right. Remind me to photograph it in the spring, please.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:04 PM
Friday, November 10, 2017
Man, am I STUPID! I was on my way to the hardware store and the grocery story just before sunset. As I came by this scene, the winds were 21 knots gusting to 30, and the waves were crashing into the rocks. The sun was still up in the sky, and was backlighting the waves, so each crash was a a burst of brilliant, backlit spray! It was stunning! So I saw the scene, but thought there was not a place to pull over without turning around, and it was cold and the wind was blowing and I thought that I might get salt spray on my camera, so I kept driving. What a dolt! After the hardware store I came to my senses and drove back to the scene. Only thing was, the sun was setting. By the time I was in place, the sun had gone from the waves, and all the brilliance was gone! When will I learn?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:37 PM
Thursday, November 9, 2017
I went to fun city today to meet my friends Stan and his wife Ann, and we went to two photographic exhibits. One was at the Rubin Museum, about Cartier-Bresson and his black and white photographs of India, starting back in 1948. The other exhibit was at the Met Breuer, and it was color photographs of India by Raghubir Singh. Both exhibits were amazing to see. At the Rubin, I happened to notice this woman on her cell phone down a short hallway that led to the rest room. There was something about the lighting and the dark walls and the fact that she was wearing black that grabbed my attention and after several over-exposed images, finally got it right. this photo needs to be dark and low key in order to work, I think.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
I went down to the beach to look around. It usually works, when I am desperate. I saw this man digging on the sandbar. I thought he might be looking for hardshell clams, although given the state of the harbor, you would NOT want to be eating clams from Hempstead harbor. I was trying to try and get something different, so I shot through the marsh grasses in a desperate attempt to get something that looked different. So I did that, but I am thinking it is not all that successful.
Here is a "straight" version of the photograph. It probably gives us more information because I am a bit closer. I included the water draining across the sandbar to add some more interest. I think it is better than the first photograph.
I went up to the man with the shovel, and asked what he was digging. I don't speak Spanish so I wan't able to communicate easily with the fisherman. So I think he was digging clams, but not hardshell clams. When I asked, he went to his bucket and brought out these two things which he had dug up. I think they are parts of clams. If they were razor clams, they would still have a long hard shell. In any case, I think I understood that he was digging bait, so that later on he would go fishing. That thing in his palm that looks like a piece of bacon kept curling up into a circle and then uncurling. It was the strangest thing.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:27 PM
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
I am trying to do some cleaning up and throwing out. I came across a small faded print of this self-portrait I shot in the bathroom mirror, I am guessing. I had used an old 620 roll-film camera I got from my mom, and then I bought a Brownie Hawkeye. But when I used money from my paper route to buy a 35mm camera, it felt as if I had finally arrived! It had a rapid-advance film lever that was operated with my thumb, just like the pros and their Leicas. I bought it, by the way, from Lafayette Radio, which was located here on Long Island, of all places. I have no idea what happened to this camera, unfortunately. I kind of wish I still had this. I am a pack rat, so I have most of my other cameras I owned after this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:06 PM
Monday, November 6, 2017
...will I look like this? I carved the Jack-O-Lantern early this year and by the time Halloween came around this punkin was looking pretty tired. And by today this guy was full of fruit flies and there was mold all inside him, and his mouth is not looking so good. When I saw him I began to wonder if I will look like this when I get older. I guess if I do, at least I will be smiling... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:03 PM
Sunday, November 5, 2017
I was using the men's room at one of the seashore parks in Rhode Island, and when I went to wash my hands I was stunned to see this tiny "Bible" sitting on the soap dispenser! What? I think this is the strangest place to see something like this! On closer look, I discovered that it is not in fact, an actual Bible, but as it says on the cover "Verses of Comfort, Assurance, Salvation." Well, if leaving this little book in a men's room eventually is helpful to bring comfort to someone, then all the better. After looking at it, I left it where it was.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:25 PM
Saturday, November 4, 2017
I spent the day at the Astronomy Jamboree at Custer Institute in Southold. It is something that I attend every year. A day of great speakers on astronomy and a chance to meet up with old friends. This is Joe Rao, a TV meteorologist who is also an eclipse chaser, which means he will travel all over the world if necessary, to view an eclipse. He gave a wonderful talk about the history of his fascination with eclipses that began when he talked his father into driving 900 miles into Canada to see an eclipse when he was just a teenager!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:36 PM
Friday, November 3, 2017
I was driving in Glen Cove, and I saw this car, which was parked, flash by out of the corner of my eye! I couldn't believe it! It took me about 5 minutes to do a U-turn and then find a place to park, and I hoped the woman wouldn't drive away. When I finally walked back to talk to her, she said that she had just had her brakes done, and as she was driving along, her brakes apparently came on, and she couldn't move the car! So she was parked waiting for a tow truck. I asked if I could photograph her and her magnificent car, and she said "sure."
So this is not a Nash "Rambler." It is a one-of-a-kind Nash Metropolitan. They made four of these and each one was named for a particular city. This one was on display at the New York Auto Show in 1960. This woman is only the third owner, and the car still has the original paint! Don't you love that the owner has a matching pink silk jacket?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:12 PM
Thursday, November 2, 2017
This is Marble House, one of the magnificent mansions on the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. The most famous of these is "The Breakers," and "Rosecliff" is another. I believe that this is one of the smaller mansions, but man oh man, it is no slouch when it comes to elegance. For an American house, it was unparalleled in design and opulence when it was built. The mansion was built as a summer "cottage" retreat between 1888 and 1892 for William K. Vanderbilt and his wife. The fifty-room mansion required a staff of 36 servants, including butlers, maids, coachmen, and footmen. And it was only used six weeks out of the year!
The dining room, featuring pink Numidian marble, imported from Africa.
This painting is on the ceiling of the front entrance way.
This is the Gothic room, designed to display Alva Vanderbilt's collection of Medieval and Renaissance decorative objects.with a cut stone fireplace with incredible detail, and cut stone in the ceiling.
The main entrance stairway in the front of the building is made of marble, but the light was harsh and I was unable to get a good photograph. This is the back stairway, used for servants. But look at the beautiful design and workmanship.
And this is another view of the front of the mansion. I have wanted to see some of the Newport mansions for years, and just seeing this one was really a thrill. We will have to come back and see some of the others. There are 11 buildings all together now open to the public as museums run by the Preservation Society of Newport County. It is amazing that all of these buildings have been preserved.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:53 PM
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Well, not this toll booth, at least not yet. We came across the Throg's Neck Bridge and I was stunned to see that the toll booths were GONE! We haven't crossed the bridge in a month or so, and there was some construction going on, but we had no idea what was coming. They have replaced the toll booths with E-ZPass transponders which allow drivers to go under the radio receivers at 45 MPH. And if you don't have E-ZPass, a camera will take a photo of your license plate as you drive away, and then New York State sends you a bill. I wonder how many will not pay the bill? But I will tell you this, there is NO traffic backup coming off the Throg's Neck Bridge! So most likely these toll booths are next on the chopping block!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:45 PM