Thursday, February 28, 2019
I have photographed this memorial before, to a crash that killed a young man but did not even injure his girlfriend when the car he was driving crashed into a power pole, perhaps intentionally. I walk by this bicycle and I have photographed some mementos nailed to the new power pole. I noticed this statue of a saint was added to the "Ghost Bicycle" months ago. Today I was touched as I walked by and saw a young man cleaning up and raking leaves that had started to cover up the bicycle and the statue. I walked on and then turned around and headed home, and decided to speak to the young man on my way back. I said that it was really nice that he was taking such good care of this memorial, and I asked what had happened there (even though I pretty much knew.) He said that his friend crashed his car into the pole and I could see that he was emotional, so I said "thanks" and continued on. I wished I had said to him that he was a really good friend, but I didn't think of it in time.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:30 PM
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
I have been watching the weather forecast all week because I didn't want to have to cancel the astronomy meeting tonight. There was the possibility of snow tonight, but so far we have not seen any. Thinking of the snow, I thought of a photograph that I did a week or so ago - when I photographed the woman artist at work. This photo was taken from about 50 feet away from where the painter was working. I love the snow and the fog, and the fact that there is no color at all - everything is just gray and white.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:14 PM
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
The Sun was in such a position in the sky, that the light reflected from the window of the house to the East of us, into our living room window and it came across the room and illuminated the stairs. And sitting on the stairs was the stuffed cloth cat. There's a picture! So I started to take pictures of the fake kitty. Slowly, into the left side of the picture, comes Bebe, a real kitty, walking down the stairs! She walked to this spot and then sat down! Oh man, how lucky for my photo! Perfect!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:01 PM
Monday, February 25, 2019
I was out running errands today, and needed to go to the hardware store. But the street was full of police cars and fire trucks. I worked my way around back, and then saw this! Yikes! The wind was howling all day - some wind gusts up to 55 MPH. The second I saw this pole, I realized what had happened - the whole bottom of the power pole was rotted. It just split apart in pieces at the bottom and folded itself up. When I finally got in the hardware store, the people there said that it had only happened 20 minutes before I got there. They heard a loud "BOOM" and their lights flickered. A little excitement for the neighborhood.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:03 PM
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Kathy loves to bake, and I am continuously amazed at new things she decides to come up with! The latest masterpiece is cinnamon raisin bread! You cannot believe how good this is! We gave a loaf to Stan and Ann, and we received a thank you note from them saying that this was the best cinnamon raisin bread they had ever eaten! If you think this looks good, you should see a slice of it toasted, and covered with melted butter! Oh yummmmmm!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:06 PM
Saturday, February 23, 2019
I went to a gathering of Newsday colleagues and friends today, to celebrate the life of a great managing editor. He died back in January - this is the first paragraph of his obituary: "In an often hard-charging newsroom world, Newsday managing editor Robert F. Brandt excelled with brilliant editing, unflappable calm, even when catastrophic events erupted around the world, while always taking care of his colleagues." His funeral was in Maryland, and so some colleagues though we should have an "Irish Wake" and gather at a local bar and celebrate his life and his work. It was a wonderful day with tributes delivered by colleagues. For me, it was a powerful reminder of what it meant to work for a great newspaper for so many years.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:38 PM
Friday, February 22, 2019
I love walking around the streets of Manhattan! There are always so many things to see. I was on the way to the Whitney Museum to see a show - more on that later. I took the subway from Penn Station down to 14th Street and was headed south when I passed this store. One glance and I stopped in my tracks! It is a store that sells old "architectural treasures" and this one is certainly a conversation starter. I am guessing that this is Dionysus the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, given that he apparently has grapes in his hair. Don't you wish you had one of these for your lawn or front porch?
And this is the sign for the store, in case you are looking for "Olde Good Things."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:11 PM
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Yesterday, in the light snow, I drove out to Huntington to have lunch with two of my good friends that I worked with. As I drove through Cold Spring Harbor, I saw this scene of an artist making a painting. What struck me was that the only color in the scene was the painting! Since it was snowing lightly, the sky was gray, the water was gray, and the ground was colorless and the artist was dressed in black! Wow, what more could a photographer ask for! I spoke to the woman, to tell her how much I enjoyed seeing her painting in the snow, and she said, haltingly, that she did not speak English. So I don't know any more about her. Please click on the image to see it in greater detail.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
We went to Manhattan for a visit with our financial advisor, which we do about once a year. The company has a number of floors in a modern office building. We were on the 40th floor, and the view of Central Park looking north is always spectacular! Every time we go there, I take the same picture out the window because it is so beautiful! But THIS year I was stunned! A brand new building under construction cuts right through the view of Central Park. I couldn't believe it! Can they do this - build a new building that cuts off the view for an existing building? The building we were in is a building that has been there since I have been in New York!
Well, I guess the answer is that they can, in fact do this. But what a shock! And this is only the half of it. Look how high the building is altogether! What keeps this from blowing over in a strong wind? It is called the Central Park Tower, and when finished, it will be the tallest residential building in New York City.
Is this crazy? Would you want to have an apartment in this building and stay in it during a hurricane? I don't know, but maybe it would be fun to feel the building sway back and forth. I am not afraid of heights, but this just seems crazy. Oh, and it is probably expensive as well!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:07 PM
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
We went to fun city today and while walking along 53rd street to an appointment, we saw this sign. "Hoisting..." Hmmmmm... I wonder... So I looked up to see if I could see any hoisting.
Wow! It was dizzying to see the height of this building, and there at the top was a yellow crane with a pulley on it.
When I zoomed in on the crane I saw that the pulley was huge, and it creeped me out because of how large it was and how high up it was. I imagined the damage just the pulley it could do, falling from that height. I took a few photographs quickly and we got out of there!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:41 PM
Monday, February 18, 2019
I have been doing a lot of walks lately which is great. I would rather be riding my bike but it's too cold. The great thing is that on my walks I get to see and photograph things along the harbor. So the tide was out the other day, and I stopped and was taken by the patterns in the sand which were made by the water receding. I love the pattern of the the rivulets left in the sand, and the arrangement of the dark rocks.
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Grace's favorite place to take a nap is in the rocking chair in the living room. My favorite place is to sit in the easy chair which faces the rocking chair. When I came into the room, and sat down, she opened her eyes immediately and stared at me like this. You know why? Because from time to time, when I sit in my easy chair, I reach over and grab a low powered red laser pointer, and move it around the floor, and the cats LOVE to chase it! So, whenever I am in my chair there is always the chance that the laser will appear, and Grace does not want to miss that! So is this the cutest shot, or what! Be sure to click on the photograph to see it in more detail!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:50 PM
Saturday, February 16, 2019
During my walk past one of my favorite places at the harbor, I noticed this large driftwood log up on the rocks. It is unusual to see things on the rocks that have floated in, for some reason. So I decided that I would walk over there and climb down on the rocks and see if I could find a photo. Whatever I thought the photo was, it didn't seem to work. I was looking down on the driftwood and the photo just didn't seem to work. But when I got down low and shot upwards, I had a picture!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 4:35 PM
Friday, February 15, 2019
I was making dinner tonight, and decided to have some broccoli as my vegetable. So I cut a bunch of crowns off the broccoli head. They were still too large, so I sliced a bunch of them in half to make them more bite-sized. I happened to pick one up, and was really taken with how beautiful, and how delicate the structure was. So I stuck the half crown on a fork and held it with one hand, and I held my Nikon with a close-up lens in the other, and managed to get a sharp image!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:47 PM
Thursday, February 14, 2019
At last night's astronomy meeting, Steve, in the center of the photo, who is one of our members did a demonstration of something called "Electronic Assisted Astronomy." This involves connecting a small specialized camera to the back of a small telescope, and then connecting it to a computer and making 60 exposures over 10 minutes. What happens is that a celestial object like a faint galaxy, which appears to the human eye like a very faint gray fuzzy thing, suddenly shows color and is brighter on the computer screen. It's like magic, and it lets you do observing in the light-polluted skies of Long Island.
This is a photograph of the screen of Steve's computer, showing in the center of the sky image, a faint galaxy, NGC 2903 in the constellation Leo, the lion.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:26 PM
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Oh, a snow day. Looks benign. But man, oh man, it was not! It started out as snow yesterday at midday, and I went out twice and shoveled maybe 3/4" of snow each time. I wanted the snow gone because it was supposed to sleet and then rain. Well, it didn't matter - this morning when I woke the sleet and rain had frozen. Fortunately it was 40 degrees this morning and so things started to melt, which made shoveling easier. I love the long shadows, and the remains of the herb garden by the driveway.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:15 PM
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Another walk to the old power plant, on a day with not a breath of air. That's nice because the harbor was almost perfectly flat. That makes for different looking seascapes, which is fun. I loved that the sky and the water are the same tone and color, and I love the simplicity of almost an all gray picture with the horizon line running through it. When I saw the rock and the two birds, I thought that it was a focal point, and that makes a photograph, even though it is a minimalist composition.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:37 PM
Monday, February 11, 2019
I went down to Staples in Glen Cove to pick up something and as I drove by the library, I caught a glimpse of this statue of a soldier and the light on him made me stop. I have driven by this statue ever since I came to Long Island in 1966, but I realized that I never really stopped to look at it or photograph it.
It is a monument to soldiers from Glen Cove who died in the First World War. It is an absolutely beautiful statue, created by the sculptor J.P. Pollia who was well known for monuments and war memorials like this. He was an immigrant from Sicily who studied art in Boston Massachusetts and worked as a sculptor, and was director of the Modern School of Sculpture in Boston. It is hard to explain how beautiful this sculpture is - it is perfectly proportioned and beautifully detailed. And isn't he a handsome young man. Perhaps the reason I noticed him was because we recently saw the movie "And They Shall Not Grow Old" which is a documentary made from old movie footage from WWI. A very powerful movie. This statue was placed here in 1926.
This is a detail of the soldier's boots, showing as well the wrappings on his legs and the shoe laces. This same kind of detailing is present all over the statue. OK so here is the amazing thing... As I was researching the sculptor, I found a list of other statues, most in the northeast U.S. and was stunned to find that there is a different statue of another WW I soldier in Milford, Connecticut, my home town! And get this - I photographed that statue in November, 2017! How amazing is that! I thought that was a beautiful statue as well. If you are curious to see that photograph, go to the far upper left corner of this page and put "Milford" into the white search box and click the magnifying glass. It will be the first picture you see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:08 PM
Sunday, February 10, 2019
In the Gospel reading today, there was a huge crowd on the beach in the morning wanting to hear God's word. Jesus got into one of the boats -- it was Simon's -- and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch." Simon replied, "Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets."
Well, that brought to mind an experience I had back in 2000 when I was in Jinja, Uganda at the Local Fish Market. When I went to bed the night before I must have seen 30 lanterns shining in the dark out on Lake Victoria. The fishermen work all night long, and use lanterns attached to their boats to attract fish. In the morning, the reporter and I went to the Local Fish Market. I saw this two-man rowboat on the shore, and there were four fish in it. I thought it was beautiful, seeing the fish on the inside hull of the boat, painted a beautiful blue. Nearby I saw these two fishermen and spoke to them. They had been out all night long, and in the morning all they had to show for it was these four fish! I asked if I could photograph them with their catch, and they said "yes." I was in shock to learn how hard they had worked, and how little they had to show for it. I wished I could have done something for them, but as a journalist I was not allowed to pay anyone in order to photograph them. The writer, who had worked in Africa for over ten years said there was really nothing that we could do for them, other than to tell their story. Oh, the end of the Gospel story today, was that Simon went back out in his boat, with James and John, and caught so many fish that their nets started to rip and their boat nearly sank! But they had enough fish to feed everyone on the short.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:23 PM
Saturday, February 9, 2019
I started out on my walk the other day, when it was sunny out. A short distance down the street I saw the sunlight reflected of tar that had melted from the heat in the summer, and spread out on the shoulder of the road. It looked like molten silver or mercury. I thought it was interesting, so here you are!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:08 PM
Friday, February 8, 2019
When I was visiting Will and Barbara, I saw so many things to photograph in and around their house! Barbara has spent a lot of time in the antique business and she has wonderful taste. Walking up their front walk, I saw these two American flags on a lichen covered bench on the front lawn. You know me and how I love old things, and this grabbed me right away. I have never seen anything like these flags and they are wonderful!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:15 PM
Thursday, February 7, 2019
I realized that my post the other day introduced you to Will Hutchins, and I mentioned the group of us who spend the afternoon with he and his wife. So now the dramatis personae. At left is Rich, next to his wife Diane, former Newsday colleagues, then Barbara, Will's wife, and then Will, and Daniel, who is another colleague of ours. So this is such a nice record of a wonderful day, and I really love this as a really nice portrait of everyone.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:18 PM
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Our program tonight was "Book Night" where a number of members brought in books on astronomy or science, or history and gave a brief book review to those gathered. We sat in a circle which was nice because it led to a lot of back and forth discussion between reviewers and members. I am only showing about 1/4 of the circle, but I shot the picture because the giant moon globe in the background gives a sense of what our club is all about. We had a lot of books reviewed, many of which were new to much of the audience, which is the purpose of the whole exercise.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
One of the exhibits we saw on Saturday at the Cradle of Aviation Museum was this Lunar Excursion Module, known as the LEM. The LEMs were built on Long Island by the Grumman Corporation in Bethpage. During the Apollo Program, Grumman built 13 Lunar Modules, with six of those landing on the moon. The 13th and final Lunar Module was never flown and is on permanent loan from the Smithsonian Institution to the Cradle of Aviation Museum. These are astounding pieces of machinery, and the The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has called these LEMs National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmarks.
Thomas J. Kelly, who served as the engineering manager and eventually deputy program manager for the Lunar Module Program at Grumman recalled, there are six descent stages today sitting on the moon... with a 'Made in Bethpage, New York' nameplate on them. And that’s something that thousands of Grummanites take great pride in. This is is beautifully displayed in the dark and lit by spotlights, as if you were on the Moon with it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:38 PM
Monday, February 4, 2019
I had a most amazing day today! Two friends who I worked with at Newsday and who now live in Indiana were in town, and they invited me to a lunch with several of their friends. This is Will Hutchins and I met he and his wife at their home, in Glen Head, about two miles from where I live! Will Hutchins is an American actor who leapt to national fame in the lead of Sugarfoot playing the lead role of the young lawyer from the Oklahoma Territory, Tom Brewster. It aired on ABC from 1957 to 1961. He went on to have parts in all kinds of movies, over a long career including two Elvis Presley films! I had no idea that a film star lived so close to me! We all went to lunch and talked about old films and actors and directors and everything having two do with old Hollywood, all afternoon!
Will's wife Barbara has a collection of Hollywood still photos of Will during his career. I loved this publicity shot of him to promote "Sugarfoot," which would have been taken in 1957.
And this is another wonderful publicity shot from about the same time. What a handsome guy! And he and his wife are wonderful company and this gathering of friends made for an absolutely wonderful day.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:27 PM
Sunday, February 3, 2019
About 7 or 8 months ago, we noticed a mother and her two sons sitting behind us at church. Eventually I got to talk to them all, and found that Daniel was a really curious person. At some point I asked their mom if she though they would like to go to the Cradle of Aviation Museum sometime. She said "yes" and so yesterday we all went to the museum, my treat. The boys really enjoyed their time there, asking lots of questions which I tried to answer. They particularly loved the airplane cockpits on display around the museum, that people could sit in and manipulate the controls. They really loved being able to do that. We had a great day there, and it turned out that it was their Mom's birthday, and she said she enjoyed the museum, perhaps more than the boys did!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:20 PM
Saturday, February 2, 2019
It has been cold around here, of course, but I hadn't seen any sign of ice on the harbor. Until today. I guess that the water gets colder and colder, and then one day, seemingly overnight, the ice forms at once. I noticed the ice this morning and did a few photographs but nothing spectacular. But after being away most of the afternoon, I came back to this point, and the orange light of sunset added some color interest.
This was one of the shots from earlier in the day, with sea gulls on and around the ice.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:30 PM
Friday, February 1, 2019
Another photograph from one of my walks, before the cold snap hit. I was taken by the beauty of this rock, and then I noticed the circles in the water. There were small waves, and when a wave hit the rock, the wave was reflected back away from the rock, leaving circles in the water at both ends of the rock. Nature is very subtle sometimes, and so I am glad that I happened to notice this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:10 PM