Saturday, June 30, 2018
This is Jessica and I have photographed her and written about here before. We have known each other for about ten years now, when, as a high school sophomore, she showed up at our astronomy club and wanted to build a telescope and grind and polish a mirror. So I helped mentor her as she started on the project. She graduated from high school and went to the State University of New York at Stony Brook. After four years, she graduated with a triple major, believe it or not: physics, astronomy and mechanical engineering! It took her only one more year to get her masters! Then she went to work for a large science facility on Long Island, helping with engineering work for testing the detector for a giant astronomical telescope. When she started at Stony Brook, we would meet every now and then at a Dunkin' Donuts just down the street from her parent's house, when she was visiting them, and catch up on what was new. Well, she has just been accepted at the University of Arizona for her PhD studies! So this was our last Dunkin' meeting before she moves to Tucson, with her partner, and begins her studies. All of a sudden, a whole lot of years have gone by!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:38 PM
Friday, June 29, 2018
I first photographed this plant with my hundred year old 4x5 camera in black and white, shortly after Kathy brought it home from the plant store. It has since thrived and I have added a wooden trellis behind it to support it as it grows. It is just gorgeous to look at as we pass by it next to the garage every day. Oh, it is called Mandevilla. I know you will be impressed that I know this!
This is the same view of the plant that I did with the 4x5 in black and white. I just wanted you to see the whole plant when it was new. Oh, I titled this "Flower week" because I showed flowers yesterday and then again today. Well, not exactly a whole week...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:46 PM
Thursday, June 28, 2018
I drive by this house at least once a day. And like so many other experiences I have had, I can drive by places day after day, and then suddenly on one day I see something I have never noticed before. That was the case here today, when I realized that there was this garden of flowers which was completely overpowered by the brilliant green of the house! I thought that that was funny!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:15 PM
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
I have been painting the garage for a while now. I painted the white trim, and the windows with white primer, then I painted the whole side of the garage with gray primer. Now I have started all over again, with a finish coat of white for the trim, and then the glossy gray finish for the shingles. I still have a ways to go - painting those "muntins" in the diamond windows takes forever. I had never heard the term "muntin" before. I thought they were called "mullions." Turns out that mullions are only the vertical dividing elements in a window. Don't you love how much you can learn here? Don't the shingles look beautiful now that they are painted?
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
I noticed that there was a green covering on Scudder's pond as I drove to the store today. So on the way back from the store I stopped to see if I could find a photograph. What was interesting was that because the sky was clear, the blue of the sky was reflected in the open water which added the beautiful blue color to the photograph. The other interesting thing is that it is impossible to figure out the scale in this photograph. It looks just like some aerial photographs that I have done over the Great South Bay on the south shore. This could also look like a satellite photograph from space.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:07 PM
Monday, June 25, 2018
I went to Brooklyn for dinner with Antoine and three other people from the group that went to Big Bend National Park. This is Antoine at work at the stove. He was born and raised in Paris, France, and he knows how to cook as you might expect!
He cooked these two chickens in this cast iron pot, and basted them every half hour. When the chickens were done, he poured off the liquid, and reduced it in a pot on the stove. When we came into the kitchen, the aroma of the liquid being reduced was heavenly! Also on the menu was a dish made from yams, and another dish made from eggplant and tahini. A superb dinner, and worth the ride to Brooklyn.
This is the cast of characters, from left: Stan, Antoine, Preston, and Chirag. What an evening!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:28 PM
Sunday, June 24, 2018
The other day, I noticed a crack about six inches long curving up from the bottom of the windshield on the passenger's side. The next day, the crack had grown to about 18 inches long! Oh man, one more thing to take care of. These days, the glass company comes to the customer. So it was cool to see how the process works for changing a windshield. It is a very cool process to watch. An automobile windshield is a fairly heavy object, but they have a really well thought out process for helping the technician. There is a big suction cup device that fastens to the passenger side window and an arm extends out from that which supports a bar that comes from another suction cup on the window which you can see. All of that is for the purpose of holding up one end of the windshield in order for the technician can single-handedly position it carefully. Then there are three other suction cups that allow the technician to lift the windshield from two different places. I will spare you the explanation of the removal of the old windshield and the cleaning and the priming and gluing for the new windshield. It was very cool to see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:46 PM
Saturday, June 23, 2018
I rarely bother to photograph sunsets, but at our observing session the other night, while waiting for the light to fade, we watched the clouds turn a bright red and orange. I thought that was worth a shot. This looks more like Arizona, than Long Island. Fortunately the clouds were not solid, but came in bands, with spaces of clear sky in between, so we got to see the moon, and the planets.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:51 PM
Friday, June 22, 2018
This is a photograph taken at our club outreach program, called a "Moon Watch" at Old Westbury Gardens. We had 5 amateur astronomers with telescopes showing about 50 people the Moon, and Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. So many people were thrilled, looking through an astronomical telescope for the first time. There were so many expressions of amazement at seeing the craters on the moon up close. That's what makes doing these outreach sessions so rewarding.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:19 PM
Thursday, June 21, 2018
We had an astronomy outreach event tonight, at Old Westbury Gardens. 50 people showed up and we showed everyone the first-quarter moon, the planets Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. Everyone was thrilled to see these astronomical objects! On the way out of the grounds, you have to drive through the allee down to a beautiful wrought iron gate, to leave. When I saw this scene, I stopped my car, and took a few photographs. It seemed so spooky that it stopped me in my tracks, so to speak.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:23 PM
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
I have this photograph I took while visiting the Arsenal, at Central Park. I looked around for a plaque describing these figures. The only clue is that the word "excelsior" is on a banner at the bottom of the piece that the eagle is standing on. Excelsior is the motto of the State of New York. My question is, who is the woman on the left side. The woman on the right, of course, is "Justice." It is such an interesting sculpture, but no amount of googling will give me any information.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
I was going to my astronomy meeting last Wednesday night, when I saw this tree, illuminated by the last light of the sun. Not sure what kind of tree this (of course I wouldn't know!) but I thought it was beautiful in this light, and with the blue sky and high clouds behind it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:26 PM
Monday, June 18, 2018
This broken off branch was lying on the grass in the back yard, and I brought it out to the front of the garage, so I would remember to take it down with the garbage. As I drove into the driveway today, I noticed the branch against the garage door, and I liked the shape of it. So I got out of the car and photographed this scene. I can't begin to tell you why this touched me.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:37 PM
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Yesterday there was a gathering of old Newsday colleagues at a country club for a dinner, and a book signing by a former editor. It was a wonderful gathering and so nice to see a number of people I haven't seen in the last ten years. From left: Bob Keeler, Henry Moritsugu, who has worked at the paper for 51 years, and me. I went back to Newsday after the event with Henry to get a copy of a special section on the production and printing of the paper over the years. Then we took a walk through the city room.
The Sunday paper was pretty much put to bed, so there are not very many people in the city room.
I did find one friend I have known for a long time. This is Rich Loretoni, an art director for the paper. But we worked together years ago when he was in the art department of Parents' Magazine, where I did some freelance work.
They have this wonderful display in the hallway at Newsday of reporters and photographers at work on assignment. I was surprised to find this photo of me, at the lower left. It is Bob Keeler and I standing by the New York State electric chair at Green Haven Correctional Facility, taken years ago.
And I had completely forgotten about this photograph, also on display in the hall. I took this photograph in 1969 on Martha's Vinyard. It is a photograph of the Dike Bridge which goes to Chappaquiddick Island - this is the bridge that Ted Kennedy drove off of with his car, resulting in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. There are several Newsday reporters standing on the bridge, along with other spectators. It was sad, realizing that I would never again visit the place where I worked for 28 years. Newsday printed its last papers last Saturday night on the presses in the building, before shutting them down permanently. Newsday is now printed by the New York Times printing plant in Queens, NY. The lease is up on the Newsday building, and all of the staff will be moved to an ordinary office building, to save money, since they don't need that much space for the smaller staff.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:52 PM
Saturday, June 16, 2018
I was at an event this evening out where I used to work (more on that tomorrow...) and as I drove by Hempstead Harbor on the way home, I spotted the crescent moon and the planet Venus setting in the west. I did a closer view of this, and then this wide angle version, and I decided the closeness of the two was more obvious in the wide shot. There is something magical about seeing the moon when it is close to a planet like this.
Friday, June 15, 2018
This is the exhibit we went to the Met to see: “Heavenly Bodies,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s colossal, hotly debated and richly anointed exhibition on the interweaving of fashion and Roman Catholicism. It includes vestments from the Vatican. some of which have never before left Rome, and more than 150 examples of secular clothing from the last century. Photographs are not allowed of the Vatican garments. The secular clothing is clearly based on examples of religious clothing. Some of it is quite beautiful, as these dresses show. Some of the other pieces are, at the least, very strange. And of course, my question is: "What kind of events do you wear this clothing to?" If you want to know more, here is a link to the New York Times review of the show: nytimes.com/heavenly-bodies-met-costumes
This wedding dress is my favorite !
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:23 PM
Thursday, June 14, 2018
OK for the second day in a row, I must confess that Ann gave me the subject for my blog! She said "Did you see the muskets on the stairs coming in to the armory? Actually I hadn't because I didn't come in the front door - the signs that I followed had me enter the basement and take an elevator up to the gallery. So on the way out, I took note of these, AND, of course I had to stop and photograph them. I should have tapped on these to see what they are made of, but I am guessing that they are cast iron, which is what you would usually use for things like balusters. Very cool architectural detail for an armory!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:37 PM
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
I went to the city today to meet Stan and his wife Ann, to see a couple of exhibitions. The first one was at the gallery in the Armory in Central Park. It was a collection of photographs taken of Central Park back in 1978. There was a newspaper strike, and some of the photographers from the NY Times, who were out on strike, were hired by the NYC Parks Department to document the park, which was in poor condition, and also to show people enjoying the park in different ways. The photographs have never been seen before. When we were wandering around the gallery, Stan's wife Ann came over to me, and said: "There's a blog post for you over there..." They both know me so well! It was this carousel horse on display in a stairwell, not far from this Xerox machine! Kind of incongruous to see the two so close to each other. So it is a blog post! Thanks, Ann!
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
My sister Joan has always been a gardener, so when Kathy was up in Connecticut, she and Joan went to a nearby garden center so they could look at all the plants, just for fun. To keep from being bored, I took my toy camera off my belt, and walked around looking for photographs. Here's one! Don't be impressed that I am not asking all my gardening friends for the name of this plant. There was a tag on the plant!
Monday, June 11, 2018
When we went for a walk along the shore yesterday, we passed this bright orange truck that belonged to a couple of workmen at one of the houses we passed. Well, this home-made ornament on their truck sure stood out! I was blown away by the creativity displayed by the guy who built this. It is made up of a sprocket, and a chain, and a bunch of wrenches! It is just brilliant, and made me smile. It is welded to the hood of the truck, so it won't fall off as the truck drives down the highway.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:24 PM
Sunday, June 10, 2018
Our first stop today was to visit my three sisters at Joan's in Woodmont, Connecticut. Amy drove up from her college reunion in Fairfield. Joan and Kathy and I took a walk down to the shore while waiting for the others to show up. The Connecticut shoreline at this spot is so different than the beaches on Long Island! We have sandy beaches everywhere - sand delivered from New England by glacier. Here there are large areas of rock ledges that make up the shoreline. The rocks are quite beautiful and make for wonderful seascapes.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:11 PM
Saturday, June 9, 2018
We are in Connecticut, at my sister Joan's, after driving up after supper. The last time we were here, the house across the street had been torn down, and a new foundation was in place. I was stunned to see this structure going up. It is completely out of character with all the homes in the neighborhood. You can see a beautiful old house with two porches, one on the second floor to the right of the monster. A lot of the homes in the neighbor are classic, and were probably built in the 1930's and 1940's. So it is amazing that they have allowed a building like this. Guess the zoning laws are a bit lax.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:24 PM
Friday, June 8, 2018
We were driving back from the airport after picking up Amy, and we passed through the town of Roslyn. This is a historic village and there are so many beautifully restored homes here. When I saw these roses flash by I had to stop and take this photograph. I just thought this was amazing to see so many roses, pouring over the fence. Such beauty!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Amy is here! We picked her up at JFK early this morning - she came in on the red eye from Los Angeles. So we have been hanging out and I wanted to show her my drone. So we got it out and flew it in the side yard. She got to fly it and was amazed! I decided to use the drone to take a picture of Amy and I together. I am doing the flying, and she is holding the tablet that shows what the drone camera sees.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:27 PM
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
I took a break from the galeries at the Whitney, and went out on one of the balconies. It's fun to look down at the city from up on high. Here I am looking down at one of the other balconies, and the bright chairs where people can sit, when it is not raining. While I was contemplating this scene, four people walking on the High Line, below, walked into my picture and made it complete. Should have been a red umbrella instead of a black one!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:29 PM
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
There are decorations under the High Line at its termination at Gansevoort Street, right next to the Whitney Museum. I have Googled my brains out and I cannot find out any information about what this is all about. There were no signs explaining what this is all about. It is beautiful latticework, with colored electric lights, like you would have on your Christmas tree. It was overcast when I was there, so the lights were easily visible, which might not happen on a sunny day. Beautiful, but mysterious.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Monday, June 4, 2018
One of the exhibits at the Whitney was called "An Incomplete History of Protests." It included photographs of protests, and paintings and posters. And this: These uniforms on the floor are part of a proposed exhibit called "The Non War Memorial." It was envisioned that there would be up to 50,000 of these uniforms filled with sand, and installed in a field in Idaho, and then left to deteriorate from the weather. When this was proposed in 1970, 48,000 members of the U.S. Military had died in Vietnam, and there was no end in sight. Boy, that would have been a powerful thing to see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:10 PM
Sunday, June 3, 2018
One of the neat things about the Whitney Museum are the balconies and stairways outside each level of galleries. You can leave the gallery and go out on a balcony and get wonderful views of the city. And each balcony has at least one work of art on display as well. I first saw this scene from inside the building, and what grabbed me, believe it or not, was the water tank in the distance. Water tanks are such a fixture in Manhattan on the tops of tall buildings. They have been around forever. So I love the contrast between this work of art by Alexander Calder, on the left, and the wonderful craft work of the wooden water tank on the building in the distance.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:09 PM
Saturday, June 2, 2018
When I got off the elevator at the first gallery on the 5th floor of the Whitney, this is the first thing I saw. What got my attention was the shape of the person on the floor, sort of curled up in an egg shape. The gallery was full of students on the day I visited, and apparently they were making notes on some of the paintings they had spent time looking at. It was all about the shape!
Friday, June 1, 2018
I was standing on the platform at Jamaica, and there were people everywhere, reading and texting on their cell phones. Just out of the photo on the right, across the tracks on the other platform, there were three more people using their phones. So I was bored, and got out my small camera and took a few photographs of these people just for fun. I am not making any point with this photo - cell phones are everywhere and everyone is making good use of time spent standing around waiting for the train.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:45 PM