Sunday, June 30, 2019
You are going to love this story. It was exactly a week ago when I took the photo of the three cyclists at the traffic light, blocking my car. Well, imagine my surprise this morning when we passed a single cyclist a few hundred yards from the same traffic light. I looked in the rear view mirror as he caught up with us, and then stopped in line behind us! This is the first time this ever happened! That was so nice to have a thoughtful cyclist follow the rules! I like this photo for another reason - it takes a few moments to figure it out - it is not obvious at first glance, that I am photographing my rear view mirror, and also the view under the rear view mirror of a car passing on the road. I like this image which is abstract, in my estimation. If you click on the image to make it larger, it will help in understanding what is going on.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:14 PM
Saturday, June 29, 2019
I was sitting at the dining room table after dinner, and Grace was sitting on the windowsill. I started thinking, if I get out of my chair, and go lie on my back under the windowsill, will Grace stick her head over the edge and look down at me? So I got my iPhone and positioned myself under the window, on my back. And guess what? She was curious and wondered what I was doing, and she looked over the side! Bingo! My imagined picture became real. How cool is that?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:45 PM
Friday, June 28, 2019
I have photographed this scene so many times, pretty much right from this spot. On my walk the other day I saw these Cumulus clouds on the southern horizon, which was an unusual sight for me. I am sure it happens all the time, it's just that I haven't been there. So this photograph is really about the clouds. Oh, and also the jet aircraft just above the clouds, on its way to JFK.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:21 PM
Thursday, June 27, 2019
I arrived at the planetarium the other night for observing and discovered I was there WAY before dark. So I wandered around the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion looking for photographs. I saw this. In the foreground, in the shade, is the rose garden with a pool and beautiful statue, and the beautiful marble balustrade. In contrast to that is the huge powerhouse across the harbor with the four giant stacks, that produces electricity for Long Island. Some contrast.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:16 PM
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
The weather was hazy yesterday when I went for my walk. On the way back from the power plant, I saw these Canada Geese floating on the water, not doing much. I put a long telephoto lens on the camera - 400mm - and then I saw the anchored yacht in the haze, and there was my photograph. I really love how the yacht partially disappears into the haze.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:00 PM
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
I decided to go for another of my walks along the harbor today, to get some exercise. My total walk is 2.6 miles and since I seem to stop every 100 feet to take a picture, it takes me longer than if I left the camera home and walked at top speed. But I ain't leaving the camera home! So I came up with some nice photographs today. It is amazing and I am so lucky that I live in such a scenic place, that I can go for a walk and come back with a bunch of photographs. This is actually the last shot I took. I saw her by the water with her dog, and by the time I pointed the camera at her, she had changed her original position to this one, and in the next frame she was crouching down. So I only got one shot. But as they used to say in the business. "One is all you need!"
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:03 PM
Monday, June 24, 2019
This is Father Rony, who has been an Associate Pastor at our church for the past two years. He has now been given his own parish about five miles away from St. Brigid's. Father Rony is from Haiti and there are a large number of Hatian parishioners at our church. There are also a large number of Hispanics as well, so Father Rony learned Spanish, which is wonderful. He has such a joyous sense about him, and he smiles easily, and is such an enthusiastic person. We will miss him.
At his going away party on Sunday, there was time for everyone there to be photographed with Father Rony, and I loved the whole family felt this connection with him. I really love this picture!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:26 PM
Sunday, June 23, 2019
Every Sunday on the way to church, there is a 50/50 chance we will run into a group of cyclists. And this happens on a curvy two lane road, so once they are ahead of us, we are stuck. Sometimes we get to this light ahead of the cyclists. But what they do that is maddening, is to go around our car to get ahead of us. If they were to one side of us, when the light changed, we would be ahead of them and in the clear for the two lane road. But what they do is, if the light is still red, and there is no traffic they just ride through the light ahead of us, before it changes. Now there is no way we can get ahead of them for the narrow road ahead! Maddening! I hate cyclists! Oh wait, I am one!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:59 PM
Saturday, June 22, 2019
I was down by the water the other day, and had a telephoto lens on the camera - I was photographing boats and the sunset. Then I happened to notice this guy with his phone. I couldn't tell what he was doing, because he kept moving the phone around. I though maybe he was texting someone or using Facetime. But he kept lifting up one arm and adjusting how his hat was sitting on his head! So I realized that he was doing a selfie, for some reason. He probably got a nice shot because he was standing there in the late afternoon soft light while he was taking pictures. You can see what he is seeing, on the front of his cellphone.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:55 PM
Friday, June 21, 2019
I had to drive down to Hempstead today to take some small prints of the Milky Way to a children's Library. They will use them as incentives to get kids to read books about space this summer. On the way back home I passed this building which was being demolished. So I got out of the car with my camera to take a look around. Turns out that this is the Rhodes Elementary School. Or was. It was built in 1911. The school closed in 2004 and has sat empty since then. 108 years, and now it comes down. They sure aren't building school buildings like this anymore, with such wonderful architectural detailing.
They plan to build a modern new elementary school in its place, and that should reduce overcrowding in the school district.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:12 PM
Thursday, June 20, 2019
When we went to Old Westbury Gardens to do a public stargazing event, I was stunned when I looked up at the mansion! It was mostly covered up with scaffolding and fabric! I couldn't believe my eyes!
So I walked up to the house to see what was going on. There is a display of panels on the lawn explaining the restoration work underway. It seems that the roof, which is 115 years old, more or less, was in terrible shape, and now it is being completely replaced. Here's the cool thing - the original roof was covered with slate from a quarry in England, and they have gone back to the same quarry to get the replacement slate!
This detail shows the beautiful brickwork and marble of some structures on the roof.
I couldn't find a photograph of the front of the house, even though I have photographed it a number of times over the years. But I did find this black & white photo of mine of the back of the house. You can see it is a stunning building! It is called Westbury House and was the former home of John S. Phipps and his family. He was an heir to the Phipps family fortune and a shareholder of his father-in-law's Grace Shipping Lines. The house was completed in 1906 by the English designer, George A. Crawley and is a Charles II-style mansion. It is furnished with fine English antiques and decorative arts from the more than 50 years of the family's residence.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:39 PM
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
I was pulling into a parking spot behind the planetarium tonight, before my astronomy meeting, and I saw this. There is a woodpile there, made up of wood from trees cut down on the property. I think they use the firewood for the fireplaces in the Vanderbilt Mansion, for some of the programs they have for visitors. Anyhow, I was stunned by the condition of this section of a tree trunk. It looks as if it has been half eaten by some kind of worms. I think the photograph is also about the design of the elements within the frame.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:47 PM
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
The reason I first wanted to get an iPhone, other than to make phone calls, was because there was a really cool app called "Hipstamatic." It is a photographic application, and when you use it to take pictures with an iPhone, the pictures can look lots of different ways, but mainly they look like faded snapshots from the 1960's. I used it a lot in the beginning, but haven't used it for several years now. So I started experimenting with it today, and this is Grace sitting in the window.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Monday, June 17, 2019
The house is being painted. But... It is not our house. It is the house next door. So I don't have to paint it. That's good! I can just watch the painters at work from my window. They are doing a great job. Look how much scraping they have done, getting the old paint off. After they did that, they went over the shingles using nail guns, fastening down lose shingles. There are four or five small test areas painted with different colors of gray. I can't wait to see what color they finally choose. And I will, of course, show you the finished paint job.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:53 PM
Sunday, June 16, 2019
I had a great Father's Day today! It is so difficult sometimes to have Liz and Amy so far away, but today I got personal Father's wishes from Liz and Amy, thanks to the magic of Facetime, on our phones! Aren't they beautiful! It was so nice to talk to them, as if they were in the same room! It was a great Father's Day!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:35 PM
Saturday, June 15, 2019
I know you have all been waiting for another infrared photograph! i just know it! It has been more than two weeks since I last posted an image from that camera. I think this is a very subtle image - the only give away that this is IR is because the beach grasses are pure white - in a regular photograph they would be almost the same tone as the beach sand. This scene is on the property of a fuel tank farm, that is fenced off. Fuel barges are brought in from New York City to unload here, into large tanks, and then trucks load up and take the fuel to gas stations here on the island. I was able to get the lens to take this photograph through the chain link fence. Please click on this image to see it in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
Friday, June 14, 2019
I probably should have posted this photograph yesterday, since I took it while waiting for the train to the city, before I rode the subway where I photographed the woman listening to music. I thought that was a more interesting picture. But I do love the atmosphere in this photograph - the reflections of the rain on the train platform and the mist in the distance where the locomotive is coming from.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Thursday, June 13, 2019
I went to fun city today to meet my friend Stan and see two photographic exhibits - one in a gallery, and one at the International Center of Photography. We took a subway to get from uptown to downtown. I love riding the subway, because I love people watching. I was taken by this woman sitting across from me - she appeared to be in a trance, rather than sleeping. She had her earphones plugged into her iPad, which you can't see. But the main thing was, she seemed so peaceful and calm. I think that's why I wanted to photograph her - because of that sense of calm, in the midst of a noisy, screeching subway ride.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:29 PM
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
I went out to the garage the other morning and happened to notice these faded flowers in the driveway right by the garage door. I had locked the door, and when Kathy went to throw the flowers out, she couldn't get to the garbage can, so she just put them down on the macadam. I thought that even they were pretty much gone, they had a beauty to them which I found surprising. So I tried to photograph them in such a way that their beauty was obvious. I think the black background was a help in drawing attention to the flowers themselves.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:25 PM
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
I am doing some cleaning up and throwing out of stuff around here. I found two old 3.5" Hard Drives and decided to toss them out. But you never discard a hard drive that could be recovered by someone - who remembers what kind of stuff you had on a particular drive - purchases from merchants, online banking, personal emails, and so on. Best practice is to destroy the drive in such a way that it can't be read - so data can't be recovered. So I unscrewed the cover of this drive, and was going to smash the circular platter with a hammer. But then I looked at how beautiful the insides of this device are, and I decided to photograph it first. You are looking at the platter, which spins at either 5,400 or 7,200 RPM. There is an actuator arm over the platter and on the end of it is the read/write head. While the disk spins the arm moves back and forth, reading and writing data to the platter. Now you know how a hard drive works! You're welcome.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:42 PM
Monday, June 10, 2019
Kathy saw a note in the library bulletin that a beekeeper was coming to speak tonight, so we went over after dinner, not knowing what to expect. He was absolutely amazing and talked with such passion about the lives of bees and how their lives are lived, and how the hive works. You cannot believe what goes on in a beehive, with the queen bee, the drones and the female worker bees. It is an astounding story! He also talked about the terrible danger of pesticides to all the bees everywhere - without bees there will be no pollination, without pollination there will be no food. It was an amazing talk, and a sobering talk. I don't remember learning so much about a new subject in such a short amount of time. I spoke to him about coming out to his home and photographing him working with his bees. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:31 PM
Sunday, June 9, 2019
We went out for some ice cream and then drove down to the beach by the harbor to watch the sunset and eat our ice cream. I saw an interesting yacht at a mooring, so got my camera so I could take a photograph of it to send it to a friend who will know about the yacht. While I was standing there I saw this yacht under power move through the reflection of the sun on the water and thought, "Well, that's a nice shot." So here it is, just for all of you!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:58 PM
Saturday, June 8, 2019
We all arrived at Old Westbury Gardens about an hour before the visitors do so we can set up our telescopes. Driving in to the estate, you come down a long, straight driveway with a double row of trees on either side. These are the trees on just one side and you can see the driveway to the right. This is called an allee, which is a French term. Old Westbury Gardens is the former estate of John Shaffer Phipps, heir to a U.S. Steel Fortune. Work on the estate began in 1903. Westbury house, the mansion, contains 23 rooms, and the grounds and gardens cover 160 acres. The gardens are just stunning and worth a trip to this magnificent estate.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:15 PM
Friday, June 7, 2019
Tonight was a scheduled Moon Watch for our astronomy club. At first the weather looked like it would be clear, then as the afternoon progressed, it became more cloudy than forecast. Five of us went to the event with telescopes, and it didn't look good. Then it began to get darker and there was a beautiful sunset as the clouds began to thin. I took this photo of two of our members silhouetted against the sunset because it was a spectacular photo. The clouds continued to clear and we finally were able to show visitors a beautiful crescent moon.
Thursday, June 6, 2019
This is my good friend John, who has been one of my mentors in astronomy, and in telescope making. When I made my first telescope mirror, I could not have done it without John's help. So this is his new telescope and telescope mount. It was just delivered the other day. He has been waiting for this telescope for a while - twenty years to be exact! He ordered it twenty years ago, and it just arrived! How astounding is that! It is made by Roland Christen, the best telescope maker in the United States. His telescopes are in great demand and they have a long waiting time. I can't wait for a chance to look through this instrument when we finally get clear skies!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:10 PM
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
I came into the kitchen yesterday and saw a simple glass jar with three roses in it. Kathy had cut the roses from a bush in the garden and they looked beautiful just sitting on the counter in the kitchen. I immediately thought that it was worth a picture. I spent a few minutes trying slightly different views, and seeing if I wanted everything in the photograph to be sharp, or whether I wanted to do this, where only some of the Rose blossoms are in focus. Obviously, this is the one I liked the best. By softening the focus on the jar and the table top and the green leaves, the roses become the most important element in the photograph
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:08 PM
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
I went to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles today, to renew my driver's license. I was not looking forward to the experience. It turns out I was pleasantly surprised by my time there. There were employees available to answer questions, and everything is really well organized. Five minutes at the first window, and five minutes to wait for my picture to be taken. Then about forty minutes sitting on the benches while reading a book, waiting for my number to be called. And then maybe ten minutes at the window talking to a nice woman who dealt with all the paperwork, and then handed me my new temporary license! One hour and five minutes, and I was back out the door! So now I am good until 2027. I wonder if they will still let me drive at 85?
Monday, June 3, 2019
Sunday, June 2, 2019
This is just one of Kathy's recent baking masterpieces! It is a pie with blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries! I mean, come on! How am I supposed to lose weight when I know that there is a fresh baked pie right there in the kitchen? It is hopeless. And delicious! :-)
Saturday, June 1, 2019
This evening I drove over to the site where they are building those monster condominiums. There have been photographs of serious flooding during the recent rain storms. The road was impassible, and people trying to get to the private yacht at the end of the road were out of luck. They say they will be putting in a drainage system that will prevent flooding. And, apparently, they will be raising the level of the road as well. Man, that is some raising! This was so strange looking - it jumped out at me as I drove along the road, so I had to stop and photograph it.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:28 PM