Sunday, March 31, 2019
So this is amazing! The two men in this photograph are Matt, at left and Anthony at right. They are good friends and both ran with the three women in the photograph, in the half-marathon. That's because the women are "Guides" and run with the two men, because the men are blind! It is interesting that sometimes the guides use a piece of fabric which they both hold one end of. But for this race, the guides just run next to their runners, and talk to them about what is coming up. The guide on the left hand side is Anginelle, and she had never met Matt before the race. She had never been a guide before either but she signed up to volunteer which is a wonderful thing to do. What a joyous photograph this is! Look at the smiles on their faces!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:21 PM
Saturday, March 30, 2019
We went to a Half Marathon in Charlotte, North Carolina this morning because a family member was running in the event. It is called "The Craft Beer Half Marathon & 5 Miler." I thought it would be fun to get a nice photo of the person we came to see, so I started shooting some of the runners as they came by, just to get in practice for shooting quickly when the moment came. I was practicing focusing and following runners as they approached the finish line. Suddenly I saw this guy moving up fast, and passing the woman on the left. I got one glimpse of his blue reflective sunglasses, and knew this dude was SERIOUS about his running, so I started shooting, although I have no idea of who he is. He is in terrific shape as you can see, and he was MOVING. What I love about this photo is the contrast of this serious runner, and the young woman to the left in the photo with a smile on her face. There were actually two races on the same course today. The Half-Marathoners started at 8 AM and then there was a 5 mile race as well, which started 15 minutes later, and what is happening here is that the male runner who has run 13 miles is is passing this woman who is finishing the 5 mile run. The contrast in their expressions is what makes this shot!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:22 PM
Friday, March 29, 2019
We flew from JFK to Charlotte, North Carolina today. We are here visiting relatives on Kathy's side, who we have not seen in maybe 5 years. We got a good price on the flight, but because it was the cheapskate price, we couldn't choose our seats - they were assigned by the airline when we checked in. The good news is that we were across the aisle from each other. The bad news is I NEVER fly without sitting at a window seat, as you have seen on my blog, where I do photographs of the landscape we are flying over. Fortunately, it was less than a two hour flight, so I managed to survive without photographing the outside. But it felt as if I was riding in a tube in the sky, which I was! What I can't quite imagine is that an airplane is a magic carpet that gives us a completely different view of the world, and half the people in the cabin have closed their window shades so they can't even see the Earth below!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:26 PM
Thursday, March 28, 2019
This is the latest piece of handiwork out of the oven, by Kathy! These are cinnamon buns, and they look delicious, AND... They don't even have frosting on them yet! But I was really good. I haven't eaten one yet, and it is three days later. Can you believe that? Well, it's good that you can't because I lied! I have had one a night after dinner since she made them! Bad Ken. But they really are delicious and so soft, and better than anything Entenmann's has ever made! So I give thanks, and gobble down another one! :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:35 PM
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
This is Sam. The upside down kitty. Here he is lying on his back in the rocking chair in our living room. He spends as much of his life upside down as he does right side up! At bedtime he disappears upstairs. When I go upstairs and go into the empty bedroom to plug in my phone for charging, I turn on the light and he is lying on the bed. The minute the light goes on, he rolls over on his back, and waits for me to pet his stomach. He is in ecstasy while I am doing that - his eyes close and his front paws stretch out. He is as happy as a cat!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:15 PM
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
My friend Stan and I are always shooting pictures of buildings and scenes that we find in various places, and we call them "American Vernacular." We both kind of know what that means but then I decided to look up the term. "Architecture concerned with domestic and functional use rather than public or monumental buildings." So I guess that Kentucky Fried Chicken is what you can call functional use, huh? Anyhow, I really loved the light on this building, which is why I took this shot.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:34 PM
Monday, March 25, 2019
I ran out of things to shoot around here, so I am going back to some photographs that I took when I visited the Museum of Modern Art. This is a photograph from a video installation called "Reanimation" by the artist Joan Jonas. The projection screen behind the woman is a movie that appeared to be shot from a moving car, and it showed the landscape of snow covered hills and mountains going by. There was something about the young woman's stance that struck me, and that's why I took this picture.
Sunday, March 24, 2019
On our way to church each Sunday, we take back roads because it is the shortest route (and the most scenic). At one point, we have to get on a four lane highway, make a left turn, and go 200 feet before turning off on to the back roads again. So here is the problem - all these cyclists take the same route. When they get to this light, they block the whole road, which they are not supposed to do. Before the red light changes, they run the red light and start down the highway, which means we cannot pass them before they turn down the back road. Then we are stuck behind the group for the next mile, because they block the lane, and there isn't room to pass them. This is incredibly frustrating. I have gotten good at being calm about this, though.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:25 PM
Saturday, March 23, 2019
After having dinner with my sisters last night, we went to Neil's, and Tracy and Maureen came over to visit. We had a wonderful time just catching up. Late this morning we went to a diner to have lunch with more of the family at a diner. I wanted to do a nice portrait, but thought it would be too complicated, so I did this panorama of the table. A nice portrait in good light would have been a more flattering photograph of everyone.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:20 PM
Friday, March 22, 2019
We came up to Connecticut today to visit families. We drove to Wallingford, where our nieces live, but before meeting them, we had dinner with my three sisters. We hadn't seen them since last August. Wow, time flies. So we ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant and caught up with all the news. It was so nice to see them and spend time together.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:22 PM
Thursday, March 21, 2019
This is a "Couronne" which Kathy just made! It is stunning, isn't it! A couronne, or "crown" is a traditional French Christmas loaf. Kathy watches "The Great British Baking Show" and is hooked on it. Then she loves to make some of the recipes that the contestants make, and she is really good at it. This is the second couronne she has made - she wanted to make some changes to the recipe. They were both stunning as far as I am concerned. Isn't this beautiful! I wish you all could taste it!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:01 PM
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Kathy had a guy bang in to the back of her car when she was stopped in traffic. The crash didn't bend any metal, but the bumper needs to be replaced, so we went over to this auto body shop to get an estimate. While we were there we saw this car, and its owner. I am not a motor-head but I was stunned by how beautiful this car was. So I started asking the owner about the car. Get this - it is a 1967 Chevrolet Malibu. The owner bought it used as a teenager in 1968 for $1000! And he has owned the car since then, and done a lot of work on it. It is in mint condition!
Like putting in this engine! This is a serious chunk of hardware. The engine includes a nitrous oxide injection system. The first time he used it, it delivered so much torque, it broke the differential! So he replaced it with a stronger unit.
So while we were talking, I suddenly remembered there was something about a '67 Chevrolet Malibu - that was the first new car I ever owned! I didn't look like this - it was white with a black vinyl roof. Wow, this all takes me back! Maybe I will become a motor-head!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
I drove out to Sunken Meadow State Park the other day, to get a Stargazing Permit for several state parks on Long Island. The permit allows us to be in some of the parks after the parks close at sunset, in order for us to set up telescopes and view the night sky. It was an almost perfectly clear day, and as I approached the park, I was on higher ground and caught a glimpse of Long Island Sound through the trees as I descended. The sound was as brilliant blue as was the sky! What a day. After getting my permit, I walked out to the boardwalk which is nearly a mile long, and photographed the beach and water and the sky. Bluer than blue indeed!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:11 PM
Monday, March 18, 2019
Father Tony is the pastor of St. Brigids Church and he is loved by everyone! This is the 40th anniversary of his ordination, and it was celebrated at Mass this Sunday. The altar was filled with priests and deacons from each of the churches Father Tony had served in since being ordained. The love and the celebration and applause for him was something special to see.
After Mass there was a celebration in the parish center with coffee and cake, and of course, balloons!
Everyone wanted to photograph Father Tony when he was cutting the cake! What an amazing day it was!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:56 PM
Sunday, March 17, 2019
After church today there was a coffee hour, and while wandering around I saw this woman with her green hat. I had also noticed her green scarf as well - perfect for St. Patrick's Day. When I was editing this photo, I notice that there was a tag showing, on the scarf, and it says: "Handcrafted in Drogheda, Ireland" Perfect for St. Patrick's Day. So Happy St. Patrick's Day! Oh, and here is an Irish greeting: "Wishing you a pot o’ gold, and all the joy your heart can hold."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:17 PM
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Three years ago I saw an article in the paper about something called a "Pen Show" that was happening that weekend. They mentioned that they would have pen repair people at the show, and people who could "tune" pen nibs. I had an italic nib in one of my fountain pens that was not working properly, so I went and had my pen fixed. I missed the pen show last year, but this year I decided to go back. What was stunning was to see the number of mostly used pens on display! Maybe this gives you some idea - these pens are on display at just one dealer's table. It is fun to see pens, some going back to the 50's and 60's. This show is for hard core collectors!
This is one of the more famous people who do the nib repairs that I spoke of. He wasn't the person who repaired my pen two years ago, but I stopped to talk with him a couple of times today and learned so many interesting things about nibs and pens. What is interesting is that the most rewarding things today, were the conversations I had with individual vendors as I wandered through the show.
And THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the ugliest pen I have ever seen! It is made by a famous Italian pen maker, and it is called "Chaos." The designer of this pen, I am told, was Sylvester Stallone! Can you imagine carrying this around in your pocket? Can you imagine even trying to write with this? I cannot. The cost is $5,770, in case you want one.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:30 PM
Friday, March 15, 2019
It was 62 degrees today! I, of course, went for a bike ride! What a glorious day! On the way back home, I was pedaling up Laurel avenue when I spied these tiny white flowers growing along side the steps down at the abandoned house that I have photographed before. I was so surprised, given that it hasn't been all that warm recently. Maybe the flowers wake up and bloom with one day of 62 degree weather. Here's where I stick my neck out - the flowers are Snowdrops! I think!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:00 PM
Thursday, March 14, 2019
This is Ed, one of our more active members in the club. He is a great speaker and loves to put together talks for people just starting out in astronomy. Last night he gave a talk on choosing and using binoculars for astronomy. He had a lot of information on different kinds of binoculars and different sizes and what they cost, and how well they are suited for looking at the night sky.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:03 PM
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
A newspaper where I used to work, is doing a story on astronomy as a hobby, and they have been taking photographs at two astronomy clubs. One of them is our club. So we agreed at the last minute today to have four of our members show up with telescopes to do a portrait. I wasn't sure what kind of lighting the photographer would have, so I brought a 400 WS battery powered electronic flash unit and a big light bank, which makes for nice, soft lighting. I set up this portrait and then used my strobe light to illuminate the scene. I took this photograph before the reporter and photographer showed up. You can't do a portrait like this with a little hand-held flash unit. I can use this image for our website.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
I am back in business! The glitch was apparently with Blogspot, and I am thankful that everything is working again! I saw this scene in MoMA while in one of the galleries, and as I quickly lifted my camera to shoot, I saw that the photographer was nearly finished so I quickly mashed the shutter release to try and get the shot! Well, the shot is blurry and tilted. Both of those qualities can be used in photography to suggest energy or the transitory nature of life. There is something else I just read about but didn't know its name: "The Dutch Angle." The reason why it is called the “Dutch” angle is from a mispronunciation — it is actually the “Deutsch” angle. It is not related to the Dutch people or language. It means tilting the camera for dramatic effect. Actually I do like the sense of excitement that comes from the blur in the image. So having used blur and tilt, perhaps I have a work of art. Or not... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:53 AM
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Monday, March 11, 2019
This is the sculpture "Bird in Space" by Constantin Brancusi. It is amazing to see this sculpture in person, after knowing about it for maybe 50 years! I looked up what someone had to say about this: "In the Bird in Space, Brancuși concentrated not on the physical attributes of the bird, but instead on its movement. The bird's wings and feathers are eliminated, the swell of the body is elongated, and the head and beak are reduced to a slanted oval plane." So, get this story: In 1926 the artist shipped the bronze “Bird in Space” to New York for an exhibition. According to U.S. Customs officials, the sculpture failed to satisfy this country’s qualifications for a work of art. First of all, the sculpture did not literally resemble a bird, and, second, it appeared to be an industrially produced object! In 1928 the case was decided in the artist’s favor, largely because of how the work was made and the fact that - unlike mass-produced goods - it was indeed singular. Crazy, huh?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:37 PM
Sunday, March 10, 2019
What an interesting thing to find hanging in the Museum of Modern Art - a helicopter! It is such an astounding thing to see this hanging overhead in the main stairway! I have photographed it before, but not from this angle. When I came around a corner and saw it from this angle I flipped! What a cool angle to see this from. The helicopter is on display as part of an exhibit called "The Value of Good Design" and this Bell 47G certainly qualifies. It was manufactured in Buffalo, NY starting in 1946 and was produced until 1974. 5,600 of them were manufactured and many are still in use. It is a real classic aircraft.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:09 PM
Saturday, March 9, 2019
I stumbled across this scene when wandering from gallery to gallery at MoMA. It is unusual to see this kind of activity in progress, because usually they close the whole gallery while preparing for a new exhibit. But this wall was outside the gallery, so I could see it. I saw that there was a guard just inside the glass door of the gallery. So I backed up to get a wide view of the scene, and apparently the guard didn't see me right away. When he did see me shooting he came out waving his hands and said "No pictures" and pointed to a small sign that said "No pictures." It's funny because you can usually photograph in most exhibits. So I stopped, because I had already gotten my shot. I did talk to the woman who was doing the lettering on the wall. I had always wondered how they put the text on the wall. It is a complicated process with several layers of tissue and vinyl. I kept going back throughout the afternoon to watch the progress, and it was really interesting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:33 PM
Friday, March 8, 2019
I think I have spoken here before about my quest to understand the paintings of Mark Rothko. It started with me watching a DVD by Simon Schama who was swooning when he spoke of the power of Rothko's work. Since the paintings didn't move me much, I decided I needed to learn more about both the paintings and the artist. So, several years later, I have a better understanding of his work. I love this photograph because this woman at MoMA yesterday stood in front of the painting for a fairly long time, and I could identify with that. The name of this painting is: "No. 16, Red Brown Black."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:08 PM
Thursday, March 7, 2019
I went to the city today to see some exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art, before having a dinner with a friend of mine at a Thai Restaurant. What a day! I have so much fun in museums, especially at MoMA. The architecture leads to some interesting views - I was shooting from an upper floor balcony down to a lower level, when I saw this shot. I call this photograph "Standing Man and Chair." Interesting point of view.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:03 PM
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
I have another photograph from my trip to the Whitney a week ago. This is a very famous Warhol painting of Chairman Mao, done in 1972. He constructed this in an interesting way - he put splotches of paint in random spots on a surface and then transferred them to this silkscreen of Mao, which is a copy of the painting of Mao created by a Chinese artist that served as the frontispiece for “Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung,” known as the “Little Red Book.” I have no idea why this artwork is interesting, but the huge size of it makes quite an impression.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:35 PM
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
So how's this for something different! What the heck is this? Well, Kathy has an old Singer sewing machine, probably from the 1940's that her mother owned. It looks like a small table, until you want to use the machine, then you fold back the top, and pull up the machine and away you go! Well, the top needs refinishing. So I took the top off, sanded it down and put the first coat of varnish on it. Then today I sanded the varnish down with 320 grit sandpaper. 320 grit is very fine, and results in very fine dust. I was wiping the dust off with my hand, and then took a look at my hand and saw this! "Hmmm... that looks interesting, I think I will photograph my hand." And operating the camera to take this picture with only one hand, was a trick!
And just for the heck of it, I put my hand on a brand new sheet of 320 grit sandpaper. It is waterproof sandpaper so it is black in color. The dust from my hand transferred to the sandpaper. Look, I made something that looks as if it was made in 2nd grade!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:07 PM
Monday, March 4, 2019
It started snowing early in the evening yesterday, and by the time I was ready for bed, I took a look out the window and saw the Japanese maple loaded down with snow. It was very dark outside and I was too lazy to go get my tripod. So I set the ISO (film speed) to 25,600, which is a crazy number. Normal film speed is 400. Anyhow, I leaned up against the side of the porch and made a few exposures. It wasn't enough. So I turned on the outside back spotlights that shine on the garage, and the light reflecting off of the snow added some illumination to the maple tree, and this is the result.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:49 PM
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Two weeks ago Friday, I went to the Whitney Museum with Stan and Ann. I was invited to join a group of Ann's friends who are docents at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for a tour of the Warhol exhibit at the Whitney. We had a guide who is a PhD candidate who is working as an intern at the Whitney and she was so knowledgable about Warhol, and each of the works she talked about. It was an amazing tour! I am not really moved by Warhol's work, but she made the works more understandable. I love this photograph because the work is red and black in color, and the guide is all in black. It is almost as if she is a part of the painting. I forgot to add that the painting is a collaboration of Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, called "Third Eye."
This is another photograph from the tour. This is a partial view of a complete series of the 32 Warhol Campbell's soup can paintings. I knew that he had painted soup cans, but what I didn't know was that he painted a different variety of soup in each painting! When they were displayed in an exhibit in California for the very first time, you could buy one painting for $350. Recently ONE of Andy Warhol’s Small Campbell Soup Can paintings sold for $11,776,000 and set a world auction record for a painting from the Campbell Soup Can series. Yikes!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:26 PM
Saturday, March 2, 2019
At least I was ready, when I woke up today, to expect snow. I looked out several of the upstairs windows to try and see how much snow there was - there was about 5 or 6 inches. While I was looking down, I saw a completely different view of the Japanese Maple tree. I love seeing the delicacy of the branches against the snow, and that's something I would never see with dark branches against dark earth. Please click on the image to see all the nice detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:42 PM
Friday, March 1, 2019
I neglected to check the weather report last night, so I was surprised when I woke up this morning to find between 2 and 3 inches of snow on the ground! That was a surprise! So before doing any shoveling of the driveway and sidewalk, I went looking for photographs. I liked the look of these decorative grasses surrounded by snow, and with some snow on it. So here you go! Now I am back to checking the weather reports at night! Guess what? Snow tomorrow!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:00 PM