Friday, March 24, 2017
We had to get up at 4:30 AM this morning because Kathy was getting a routine procedure done and we needed to be at the hospital at 5:30 AM! Yikes! I waited with her for a while, then headed home to get some sleep before returning to drive her home. That's what put me on Sea Cliff Avenue at 7:30 AM. The sky had been overcast since first light but the sun broke through as I started into town. I love the dark gray sky with the orange light of the sun illuminating the buildings. Leaving my shadow in the foreground was intentional.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:52 PM
Thursday, March 23, 2017
I turned out the lights and headed for bed last night, and then I noticed that the light from the neighbor's front porch was shining into our living room. They have this really bright light right by their front door. It does seem unnecessary because there are no front steps at their house. The light is way too bright - it could be much dimmer, and it is annoying when I am doing stargazing in the side yard. When I am using my telescope I have to position it so that our tree blocks the light. Anyhow, light is strong enough to shine across the street and into our living room, as seen here, and it lights up the bookcase. Cool lighting effect, though.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:23 PM
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Tonight's presentation at our astronomy club was a talk by Dave, who runs the planetarium and who creates shows for the public. He had put together a completely new show and was giving us a preview of it. Part of the show was about our eyes and the electromagnetic spectrum, and the way we see light. He started with the Milky Way as we see it and then showed the same part of the sky seen in other wavelengths. For the technically inclined, this is the Milky Way seen in the 21cm line of hydrogen. Don't ask. It is just that the Milky Way looks so different seen in different wavelengths. The round device in the photograph is part of the projector system that puts the stars on the dome. Mainly it is kind of a cool picture, right?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:23 PM
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Once again I was desperate for a photograph for the blog today. This pitcher with Lavender has been sitting on a table in the back room, and I have thought several times of photographing it. So tonight I NEEDED to photograph it. So I set up a light in order to have control of how the subject would look under different lighting. I used a direct spotlight which leaves sharp shadows for the first three images. The last image was lit with the light bounced into a white umbrella, which gives a much softer illumination. So it is voting time again - which is your favorite?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:59 PM
Monday, March 20, 2017
This is not the greatest picture ever, but it is a historic moment in cat history. The cat on the stairs showed up today, and that's the first time we have seen him. Kathy noticed that he was just black and white in color, exactly like our cat Grace! So we realized that this is probably Grace's father. He has markings and colorings that are so similar to Grace. The mother kitty is under the stairs, and didn't run away when the new cat showed up.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Sunday, March 19, 2017
OK, it is time to reveal the mystery destination. We went to take a food course called "The Home Patisserie: Laminated Doughs." What? Well, it turns out that laminated dough starts out as a dough that is rolled out, and then a pound of butter is rolled out to a thickness of 1/4" and is placed on the dough, and then more dough is folded over it. Then that is rolled out and folded over and rolled out and folded over again. If you do the math, what you end up with is hundreds of layers, of dough and butter and dough and butter.
There are variations of the ingredients which make up different laminated doughs, and those doughs are used for different pastries. This photo, below is a pastry that is fairly obscure - it is called "Kouign Amann" seen before baking.
This is the Kouign Amann after baking. It's beautiful, isn't it? You should taste it, with all that butter in it!
And I forget what the pastry below is. The dough was rolled out, then folded back and forth around some fillings - chocolate, and an almond croissant filling. Then the long roll is sliced into these pieces that fit into cupcake tins. After baking, they looked like muffins, and they were awesome! It was an amazing class, that lasted for four hours, and it was chock full of information.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
I was out running a few errands this afternoon, and on the way home decided to drive by the harbor just to see how everything looked on a day of rain and drizzle. I was stunned to see this man and woman slowly riding their paddleboards in this cold and rain. They were traveling some distance as well. All I could think was that they would be in a really dangerous spot if one of them fell off their board. That water is cold, and they were a fair distance from shore. It didn't appear that they were wearing wet suits. Please click on this to enlarge the photo.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:20 PM
Friday, March 17, 2017
To get to this spectacular atrium, you take a subway to the World Trade Center stop, and then you walk through the Oculus, which I showed you yesterday, and then down a long corridor, and ride an escalator up one floor, and here you are. It is just a stunning thing to see. Out those windows is the Hudson River and the skyline of New Jersey. This place, by the way, is called Brookfield Place, and it consists of four towers comprising eight-million square feet of office, retail and public space located in the center of Battery Park City.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:05 PM
Thursday, March 16, 2017
We took a train into the city today, but I can't tell you what for, yet. Then we took the E train south to the World Trade Center station. When we got off the subway, we entered the Oculus, the most dramatic of the new buildings that are now part of the new World Trade Center site. Then we continued west through the Oculus and then down a long white hallway, almost as far as the Hudson river. What was cool, is that we were indoors the whole time. I have been in the Oculus before, but there were very few people in it at the time. For me the picture is all about the silhouettes of all the people coming and going within the structure.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:42 PM
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
There has been a lot of work on power lines in the neighborhood, starting about a mile away. They are putting in brand new power poles, and then brand new high voltage wires on top. Those wires are the 13,200 volt lines that the pigeons were sitting on in my photo from the other day. I spoke to one of the electricians, and he said that it was time for new wire and especially new insulation, so that there would be less chance of a short circuit on the high voltage lines if a branch fell across the lines.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
I am tired of cleaning up snow. I am tired of photographing snow. So I am going to give you all a treat, and post a REAL photograph. This is one photograph from a story I shot about LaGuardia Airport for the Sunday magazine back around 1987. It was a story on how the airport was too small, and the runways were too short and there were always delays because there were too many flights coming and going. The point was also made that pilots had little room for error when taking off and landing. You had to be at the top of your game here. Anyhow, I called LaGuardia tower on the phone and said I wanted to come take photographs from the air. I was flying a Cessna 172 and after talking to the tower controllers, I was directed to fly right over top of the airport, and was put in a holding pattern over the field, and I just flew around and around and took pictures looking down at the airport. It was really a cool thing to get to do, and I think that this is one of my great photos!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:43 PM
Monday, March 13, 2017
There is a rumor going around that we might get some snow on Tuesday. I am not much for paying attention to rumors, but just in case, I went out today and filled my gas can after topping off the gas tank in my snow blower. It is a beast - you can see how large it is. My logic was to buy the biggest one, because I had experience with a borrowed machine, which was much smaller, and when the snow was too deep, the machine would burrow underneath the snow, and it took forever to finish the driveway. Not with this baby! It eats snow just for fun! Watch me go!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:20 PM
Sunday, March 12, 2017
I walked around the neighborhood for some exercise and, of course brought a camera along with me. I found this old rusted iron gate around the corner. At one time there were some large houses on property that later on was divided up and more modern houses were added. Every once in a while you can find remnants of the larger estates. I think that this old gate and flagstone stairs behind it were once part of one of these estates. And you know me, I love things that old and rusty!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:55 PM
Saturday, March 11, 2017
I was stopped at a traffic light when I saw this, so I had only a short time in which to grab my toy camera an get this shot. Whew, only time for three frames. Why is this interesting to me? Because I know that the voltage between those three wires that the pigeons are resting on is something like 13,200 volts. The thing is that the pigeons are each sitting on one wire. In order to be electrocuted, they will have to touch both the wire they are sitting on, and the center wire. So the birds are safe, but still... At least now you know enough to do electrical wiring in your home... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:45 PM
Friday, March 10, 2017
"Spring has sprung, the grass is riz,
I wonder where the birdies is."
It's funny that I thought of that little ditty this morning - it always makes me smile when I think of it. I did a search today trying to figure out who the author was, and it seems that no one knows where it came from, but a number of people remembered that their parents would quote the ditty years and years ago when they were children. So, we awoke to snow this morning and I looked for some photographs around here. We took a walk around the neighborhood later in the afternoon, and the sun came out. As we walked up the driveway the snow covered branches of the Japanese maple were brilliant against a deep blue sky.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:02 PM
Thursday, March 9, 2017
I drove out to Huntington today to have lunch with a work colleague that I haven't seen in eight years! I chose Finnegan's because I wanted a burger and fries. Finnegan's has been there since forever. I parked in a big lot behind the restaurant, and then you get to the front by walking down this narrow alley. On this wall outside the restaurant there is a painted mural that also has been there forever. It is about thirty feet long - this is just a detail. There is a sign on the painting that it was first painted by Philip Jordan in 1978, and then apparently repainted by him and two others in 2012. This painting has been a landmark in the town for years.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:30 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
I am always on the lookout for industrial architecture, and tonight, once again, I was desperate for a shot when I saw this. It is a bit bleak but I thought that the light was interesting. It is the back wall of the planetarium building which I saw after our meeting was over. I have done more interesting, and more beautiful photographs...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:31 PM
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Monday, March 6, 2017
A new cat has recently showed up at our back door. It is a pretty looking cat, and I hope that it is some family's cat which is allowed outdoors, which our cats are not. I think that it is a "he" and he is coming around because mama cat is a "she" and she comes to eat usually once a day. So I think that she is the main attraction. Fortunately mama cat has been fixed. He stood off at a distance while she ate, and then when she walked away, he went in and finished the few leftover bits of cat food. I would have loved to have fed him more, but that would mean way too many cats at our door.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:09 PM
Sunday, March 5, 2017
I'm on a diet, and this is dinner. :-) Actually that's not true. Kathy made pasta for dinner and we had a salad first. While she was finishing her salad, I went to the kitchen and served myself this portion, and brought it into the dining room. She really laughed when she saw this! And that was the object of the exercise, of course. I love being silly. Oh, and for those of you, and I know you are out there, who pay attention to the niceties of table setting, yeah, I know the fork is on the wrong side! Didn't realize that until after we finished dinner.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
This post is kind of a goof. Because yesterday I posted the shoot of a Hyacinth emerging from the ground, and when I wrote the caption, I said it was a Hydrangea. Duh! The thing is, I photographed both plants yesterday, and they are only about a foot from each other. I thought yesterday's photo was more dramatic, but I like this one as well, so you get to see both. And both are named correctly, at least this time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:17 PM
Friday, March 3, 2017
When I get desperate for a photograph, I put the macro lens on my Nikon - it is a lens for doing close-ups - and I head out into the yard. I was not disappointed today. I had seen hints of green in the garden the other day. I was amazed to see how many plants have emerged. Of course is has been unseasonably warm for the past week. What really surprised me, when I got really close to this emerging Hyacinth, was how brilliant the green color was. Seeing this color is such a joy after January and February.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:23 PM
Thursday, March 2, 2017
On my trips to Manhattan, and my walks up and down Fifth Avenue, I have been taken with views of buildings as seen through trees. I am not sure why I am seeing these pictures this year, but I can't help myself. I think it has to do with seeing the structure of the trees without their leaves, with the added complexity of the buildings as background. What was fun was on this visit was to find a painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Paul Cezanne, titled "Trees and Houses near the Jas de Bouffan, 1885" My photographs are not unlike this painting in some ways. Crazy, huh?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:48 PM
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
This is what I see each day, when I am in the kitchen, and when Kathy is at work seeing clients. I don't think twice about it because it is so common. She keeps a sound machine running, so it is not possible for me to hear clients, or clients to hear me, unless I crash some pans together when making supper! Today I realized that this is a photograph, because it is a document of our lives at the present time. Sometimes it is hard to recognize the commonplace in life because it is so familiar. Being able to see that is what makes great documentary photographers.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:11 PM