Tuesday, January 31, 2017
I was coming home from an errand this morning, and when I crossed the railroad tracks on the way into Sea Cliff and I saw this scene where the tracks curve gently into the distance and disappear into the snow. It would be a better photograph, perhaps, if I was in the middle of the woods somewhere, rather than standing on a railroad crossing. But of course where we live in the world, with our industrial surroundings, is still a worthwhile source of photographs. It's just that this one won't ever end up on my Christmas card!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:16 PM
Monday, January 30, 2017
I pulled into a parking lot in Glen Cove and saw this tree, illuminated by the floodlights surrounding the parking lot. I thought the lighting gave such an eerie feeling to the tree. Then I noticed to the left of the tree, a thin crescent moon with the planet Venus above it. I thought that those celestial objects completed this unusual image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:36 PM
Sunday, January 29, 2017
I love some of the words used in the Catholic church. They are based in history, which is why they seem more complex than necessary to explain some simple things. A catechumen from the Greek is "one being instructed" a person receiving instruction in the principles of the Christian religion with a view to baptism. Each week at Mass, about half way through the service the people who are studying to join the church are brought to the altar and a blessing is said over them by the priest and the congregation, then they leave the service for instruction in a small group with their sponsors. I have watched this scene so often that today I decided I would record this sight which is so common, but moving, when you think about it.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Stan was came out to the house again so we could do some more videos for the college course he is putting together. We did a video of how to hold the camera for maximum steadiness when it is held both vertically and horizontally. I did a few still photographs as well as the video, and I really like this one. I like that he is mainly in shadow, and it is his hands that really the subject of the photograph. I also love the rich tones of this black & white image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:40 PM
Friday, January 27, 2017
Kathy is on a roll, so to speak... (excuse me while I crack myself up here...) These are cinnamon buns that she made. Every once in a while Kathy loves work with yeast dough, because it seems alive to her which it is. She will make bread, as she did about a week ago - you saw those photographs - or she will make something with sweet dough, like these cinnamon buns. Everything is always delicious, but there IS a down side. The first batch of cinnamon buns she made we ate in a day and a half! I mean, come ON! That's nuts! So then she made another batch, and fortunately, froze half of the buns to save us from ourselves.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:03 PM
Thursday, January 26, 2017
I had a lovely evening tonight. I went out to Huntington to Book Revue to hear a Newsday colleague from long ago do some readings from his new book "The Scorekeeper," and get my book signed. It is a collection of stories of his upbringing in Brooklyn, and his work as a reporter. Ed is a terrific storyteller and held everyone during his three readings. So someone asked him something about the most important story he did, and he answered that the most important thing he did in his life was when he started a drive for a union at Newsday with some other reporters! And the other person in this photo is Bruce Lambert, and he was a big part of the battle with Times Mirror. There was a great turnout of Newsday alumni and it was so nice to see them all and have a chance to catch up.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:37 PM
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
You are not going to believe this, but as I was driving down Roslyn Avenue, a quick flash of sunlight reflected off some of the objects in the window of this Antique store. So I turned the car around and went back with my camera. What I love is the sense of everything being old, and the sense of hazy light seen through the dust covered windows. Please click on this to see it in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:43 PM
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
You know, like "Shark Week..." I won't be showing any more rain photographs, but I couldn't think of a title for this post. I was out running errands, and then realized I need to get gas, so I took the scenic route to get there. That included coming down the hill to Sea Cliff Beach. It was getting dark, and raining and the first thing I saw were the reflections of the streetlights off the wet street. Bingo! Picture! Hey, this isn't half bad, is it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:34 PM
Monday, January 23, 2017
With the wind howling today, I decided late in the day to go to the park in Sea Cliff that overlooks Long Island Sound. I was not disappointed. The winds from out of the northeast were driving waves before it on to the northern shore of Sands Point, across the harbor from Sea Cliff. This scene is a long way away, and I needed a 400mm lens to bring everything close enough. In the distance, on the right is Execution Rocks lighthouse, nearly lost in the mist, its light flashing brightly.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:20 PM
Sunday, January 22, 2017
This photograph happened in an unusual way. Stan came out to the house to do some more videos for his teaching project, and I had set up a tungsten light in an umbrella to do the lighting. We were sitting around taking a break during the filming, and Grace jumped up on the radiator to look out the window. It was dusk, and the light outside the window was blue. If I was using a flash as light, the light on Grace would have been more blue. But I was using tungsten light, which is yellow compared to daylight. So Grace was yellow in color because of the light. When I removed the yellow color in the picture to make her fur white again, it just added more blue to the scene. I just love this brilliant blue, which you might even think of an accident. Well, that's how photographs are made sometimes.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:29 PM
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Disclaimer: These are NOT my photographs! Liz and Amy texted us the photograph of the two of them at the Women's March in Los Angeles. Then the selfie of their group was on their Facebook page, which I copied. The crowd estimates in Los Angeles ran from 500,000 to 750,000! How wonderful is that. We are so proud of Liz and Amy and Sarah and their friends. It was so uplifting to see the incredible turnout at the marches in New York and Chicago and Los Angeles, and around the world. Oh, and please don't beat me up - I know that our daughters are "women." Parents are allowed to call their daughters "our girls" aren't they?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:35 PM
Friday, January 20, 2017
Hey, how good do these loaves of bread look? Right, just stunning! This is "no knead bread" that is baked in this cast iron pot. The first picture is the first loaf that Kathy made and it looks just beautiful. When we cut into it, however, it was pretty dense and had only small air spaces within. So Kathy vowed to try again. It turns out that the flour was too old. Who knew that older flour would affect how the bread dough would rise. So now we come to the second loaf. Stunning, both inside and out! A great chewy crust and a much lighter inside, and absolutely delicious! Here's to not giving up.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:56 PM
Thursday, January 19, 2017
I was overjoyed when I woke this morning to see blue sky and the sun shining! It has been gray, overcast, and raining for far too long. So I was trying to imagine how to take a photograph to celebrate this day. I decided that I should point the camera at the sun itself and see if I would get a blaze of light that would feel like sunshine. Instead I got this surprise image. I am not exactly sure what caused it - but I am guessing it involved the sun's reflection off the CCD in the camera and then reflecting off the rear element of the lens. In any case, it was a wonderful surprise and an unexpected image.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:06 PM
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
After I photographed the boats yesterday, I continued on to the beach. It was a bit foggy out and I was hoping for something nice at the water. I stopped when I saw this. What got my attention were the two predominately different colors - a faint blue color for the water and sky, and the warm colors of the sand and the beach. It is a subtle image and that's not a bad thing.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:09 PM
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
I went out looking for photographs today, and stopped at a yacht service down by the water. I saw a classic sailing yacht among plastic covered motorboats and thought that would make a shot. But it didn't. And then I turned around and saw this! These boats are shrink wrapped for the winter which protects them and keeps them clean. The material is polyethylene and after it is stretched on the yacht, heat is applied with 240,000 BTU heat guns, which causes the sheeting to shrink about 25 percent, forming a tight coating.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:40 PM
Monday, January 16, 2017
I decided to drive down to Glen Cove today to look for a photograph for the blog. I went to Garvies Point and pulling into the parking lot, I spied these poles in the water right away. The fun part was walking around and finding a composition which was the most interesting. I love the different sizes and the varying distances which make each pole look different. These poles, by the way are for floating docks which will be put back in place in the spring.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
I didn't have much luck looking for photographs with the light snowfall we had the other day. So I went looking through the photographs I did a week ago when there was more snow. Because of the particular wind and weather conditions during the storm, these grasses down at the harbor are blown over and covered with ice. I love the different textures. in this photograph. But I am already hoping Spring will come soon, so it will be easier to find photographs...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:07 PM
Saturday, January 14, 2017
I have passed this church once every week for years, on my way to my astronomy meeting. It is the Old First Presbyterian Church in Huntington, NY, and it is 232 years old! I have even been up inside the steeple itself, photographing a story for the paper some years back. So I was surprised to pass the church last Wednesday night, and was stunned to see that it was shrouded in black! I decided to drive out there during daylight yesterday and photograph the church. They are restoring the 100 foot tall steeple, the first major restoration since 1957. This church was built right after the Revolutionary War and is on the National Register of Historic Places! I promise to photograph the finished steeple when it is done.
Friday, January 13, 2017
I had coffee with my friend Jessica this afternoon. I don't do enough portraits on the blog. I love doing portraits of people and I should work harder at shooting more of them. I met her about nine years ago when she was a sophomore in high school, when she came to an ASLI meeting, and said she wanted to build her own telescope, and grind and polish her own mirror! So we have been friends for a long time. She has since graduated from Stony Brook University, with three majors: Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering! We met to catch up, talking about life and astronomy. So here is the fun thing - I usually do a snapshot of her when we meet for coffee. I did that today, and then later on noticed the man at the next table watching us, so I took out my camera and did this photograph! This photograph may really be more about the guy in the background and the light on his face, than it is about Jess.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:28 PM
Thursday, January 12, 2017
These buildings in downtown Glen Cove have been empty for quite a while now. One of the signs on a boarded up building has a date of 2014 announcing a zoning hearing. They have been this way for so long, that I have forgotten when they were last occupied. Within the last year, temporary chain link fences have been put up, and I think they are getting close to demolishing all of these structures. You can see from the sign, what they are hoping that the new plaza will look like when it's done.
I had a lot of fun wandering around the site today looking for photographs - you know me and my love for structures in disrepair!
I love this shot, because an office in the center of the photo once held the Chamber of Commerce.
There is one building left that contains a business - an insurance agency. I have no idea how this person got into that office - with all the fences around, it is like making your way through a maze.
I am not quite sure why I have so much fun photographing architecture, but I was drawn to doing these photographs today, knowing that all of this will soon be gone
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:53 PM
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
My friend Stan will be teaching a college course in Pennsylvania this semester. Some of the teaching materials will be posted online, and so Stan wanted to make some video clips which will be available so the students can watch the materials whenever they want. So I set up this little studio in our dining room and we spent a good part of the day doing videos. Things like a review of different kinds of film cameras that were used before digital photography took over, and the different types of digital cameras that are available. His videos also described how lenses worked, and a description of "f/stops" and shutter speeds. The students will learn how to use their camera when operated in the manual mode.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:29 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
This is one of the scenes that I came across as I walked in the snowstorm the other day. What was interesting for me, is that we rarely see trees completely silhouetted. Usually they are seen against other trees, so their shape does not stand out. That would have been the case for this tree, had it not been snowing. What I did feel about this particular tree, was that it felt as if the tree was dancing, and that thought made me smile!
Monday, January 9, 2017
This is the second photograph I am posting involving walking around in a snowstorm. There may be more. Yesterday's photograph of a scene on the road was more a straight recording - a documentary photograph. Today's photograph is of more artistic bent. This is more than just a record. There is something about the curves and tonal changes, and differing textures that lifts this image above just being an ordinary record. It feels as if is has emotional content which lifts this image to another level.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM
Sunday, January 8, 2017
When it started snowing yesterday, I waited for about four hours, and then late in the day went for a walk. I headed down Laurel Avenue, looking for photographs all the way. I didn't get far before I saw this scene. I liked this shot, not because it was great art, but rather because it was a more documentary kind of photograph - that it showed what the snowfall looked like. What is interesting is that I have passed this scene literally hundreds and hundreds of times in the forty five years we have lived here, but I never saw it in this way before. I like the scene more now, looking at the image, than I did while taking the picture.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
OK, so how amazing is this! I went for a walk in the snow this afternoon, and photographed this tree and decorations a second time on my way down the street. It is NOT this photograph. It looked like yesterday's photograph, except it had snow in the background. So I came home, and waited for it to get darker. An hour later I walked down the street with camera and tripod, and this is what I found! Finally! Perfect! Third time's the charm!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:48 PM
Friday, January 6, 2017
I went for a walk a while ago late in the afternoon and saw these illuminated Christmas decorations on a tree in a yard down the street. So I took the photograph, but realized that the shot would be so much better if it was a bit darker out. Ideally the background would be darker, and more blue in color, and the balls would be brighter. But by the time I got back from my walk, it was completely dark. So this is the only shot I got. I meant to go back, but I kind of forgot. It's not a bad shot, though.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:10 PM
Thursday, January 5, 2017
As I wandered around today, I wasn't having much luck finding a photograph for the blog. Then I pulled into our driveway after it had gotten dark. I walked down to the mailbox to check for mail, and on the way back up the driveway, I glanced up at the Moon seen through the branches of the Japanese maple tree. And there was my shot! Well, after I went to the car trunk and got my tripod. It took a relatively long exposure to make this photograph.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
I was really paying attention today, knowing that I HAD to come up with a photograph - no excuses. It was almost 50 degrees so I decided to go for a bike ride late this afternoon. As I flashed by this golf course, I noticed the long shadows on the grass and thought it would make a photo. Only problem was I only had my iPhone with me, and I wished I had a camera with a zoom lens, so that I zoom in and emphasize the long shadows on the grass. I couldn't do that, but I like the feeling of this wide angle view of the scene. Please click on this image to enlarge it and you will see more details of the shadows on the lawn.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Well, back in the trenches. No more easy photographs from California for me. No sir, I have to go out on gray and rainy days and try and come up with something for the blog. I went to the post office today to mail a letter, and there is a funky auto repair garage next to the P.O. I have done at least one photo at the garage before. I saw this happy snowman in a chair in the front window, looking like he runs the place. It made me smile on a gray and rainy day.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:31 PM
Monday, January 2, 2017
These are photographs from November. I was on the North Fork, headed to an astronomy conference when I drove by this barn. Stopped me in my tracks! I got out of the car and started photographing when I saw a farmer in the distance, so I waved and walked over to where he was standing. I said I was stunned by this artwork in shingles. He said that there was a carpenter renting the house here and he started doing the circular shingle pattern on the bottom of the barn wall years ago. Then the carpenter moved away. The farmer and his dad decided that they wanted to have the pattern finished, and hired the carpenter back to finish the work.
It is stunning work, in unimaginable detail. I have never seen this kind of artistry in shingles. The carpenter cut various convex and concave semicircles in the ends of the shingles to come up with this amazing pattern! So get this - I asked his name so that I could send him some of the photographs, and I recognized the last name and said I knew someone with the same name! I told him I was from Sea Cliff, and, get this - he grew up in Sea Cliff! Is that crazy, or what!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:37 PM
Sunday, January 1, 2017
I was rummaging through some folders and found some things I shot and then forgot about. When we were in Rochester a while back, Amy was talking with Vince, and somehow he mentioned he had a riding lawnmower. "A riding lawmower?" said Amy. And then Vince offered to let her drive it. She said it really was a thrill, driving it around, mulching the leaves! Does she look like she is having fun, or what!