Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Stan Honda and I left Sea Cliff this morning, enroute to Springfield, Vermont, home of the Stellafane Convention. Lots of traffic on Long Island, of course, but the skies really opened up when we were going through Wethersfield, Connecticut. We stopped there at a Panera for lunch, and when the rain stopped, we continued north. Then the clouds opened up with rain! Many of you will be thrilled to know that Stan was driving, so I had both hands available for the camera! I didn't have to deal with keeping the car on the road! Eventually the rain stopped, and we had dry roads through most of Massachusetts and Vermont
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:09 PM
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
This is a work by Louise Nevelson, another piece in the new "Epic Abstraction" exhibition at the Met. It is an astounding sculpture. This is how the Met described the piece: "This sculpture composed of more than one hundred seemingly disparate but interconnected objects absorbs and emanates her spirit and that of her adopted home. Her largest work, it took thirteen years to complete and was unveiled on her eightieth birthday. The charismatic Nevelson is the "Mrs. N" of the title, the monarch of this massive structure that is both environment and monument, recalling grand memorials and tombs as well as intimate, private spaces. Nevelson was captivated by the beauty she found in discarded materials and urban detritus, tenderly composing, layering, and painting her "found objects" until they shed their skin, reborn as art. Here, it is forgotten things found by chance that together make up the whole—perhaps a metaphor for the city, even for life." This is a view of the piece from the outside. It is a huge piece, 11.5 feet by 20 feet by 15 feet!
This is a photograph of the inside of Mrs. N's Palace, and it is as complex and as fascinating as the outside. I have never seen this piece on display before, so it was an amazing thing to come across. It stopped me in my tracks! Isn't this just astounding?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:16 PM
Monday, July 29, 2019
So this is the end result of all my travel out to the heart of Brooklyn. This the cast of characters. Most of the people here were the group who went to Big Bend National Park last year. So since then we have been getting together for dinner about every 6 months or so, either in a restaurant or at Antoine's house. It is always a wonderful evening of conversation about all kinds of subjects, including astronomy and photography and the meaning of life! Always a wonderful gathering.
Sunday, July 28, 2019
This is the Newkirk Avenue subway stop on the Q line out in Brooklyn. This is the stop we got off at to get to the group dinner at Antoine's house. As I was exiting the doors from the stairway, I saw all these brilliant colors on the stores along the platform. I have never seen another subway stop like this before, surrounded by stores! The colors were so brilliant, it reminded me of photographs that I have taken with Kodachrome back in years past. From the Paul Simon song called "Kodachrome" - "They give us those nice bright colors... makes you think all the world's a sunny day."
Here is another view of the platform and all the stores. There is another group of stores on the platform on the other side of the tracks.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:07 PM
Saturday, July 27, 2019
In all the years I have lived in New York, every subway I have ever ridden has been underground. They all run underground, right? Wrong. When taking the Q train to Brooklyn the other night, imagine my surprise to find us on the Manhattan Bridge, way up in the air, crossing the East River! What a surprise. So I saw the Brooklyn bridge in the distance and wanted to get a photo of it. Only problem is that the trusses on the bridge I was on were zooming past the window. I must have taken 20 photographs as fast as I could, and only this one didn't have a truss running through the middle of the picture!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:24 PM
Friday, July 26, 2019
"Are You Bored With Reality?" "Bored with Reality?" ME? You've got to be kidding! I took the train to Fun City late in the day yesterday, on my way to Brooklyn to have dinner with a bunch of photographer/astronomer friends. On the way from Penn Station on 32nd street to the subway at Greely Square, I passed by this advertisement on one of the buildings. There were three of these arches with one message next to each. I forget the other two. I figured their point is that if you are bored, you can buy something in their store, and you will no longer be bored. Makes sense to me!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:11 PM
Thursday, July 25, 2019
This is Ann and Stan at rest. It was exhausting to be on our feet for a couple of hours looking at the Moon exhibit, so when we got to the abstract art exhibit, we decided to rest for a bit. They sat on one bench and I sat on the other. I happened to look over and saw their arrangement, which I thought was an interesting shape. I think one of them had moved a bit, so I asked them to move back to where I originally saw them, then took this photograph. The painting in the background is another Mark Rothko, titled No. 21, done in 1940.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:13 PM
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
I have written here before about my quest to understand the work of the painter Mark Rothko. I am making advances in my study of his work, little by little. So when I saw this painting in the "Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera" exhibit I decided to rest a bit and while sitting, spend some time with this work, titled simply: "No. 16" painted in 1960. As I was sitting there I thought I should ask Stan to take a photograph of me studying, so I gave him my camera and he took this photograph. Now you know what I do when I go to a museum! (Photograph by Stan Honda).
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:04 PM
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
After the "Apollo's Muse" exhibit, we went over to some other galleries, and in this one there is the beginning of an exhibit called "Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera." One of the first paintings was this one by Jackson Pollock called "Autumn Rhythm, 1950." I am hooked on the paintings of Jackson Pollock and love spending time with them. While studying this one, a woman walked in front of it, turned around, facing away from the painting and proceeded to take a selfie of herself with the painting in the background. Wow... I guess that if you don't have a selfie, then you didn't see the painting! To each their own, I guess.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 4:46 PM
Monday, July 22, 2019
The main show that I went to see at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is called: "Apollo's Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography." It begins with early drawings of the Moon, and then moves on to early photographs of the moon. Then you come to this room which is stunning. It contains 71 huge framed lithographs of detailed photographs of the surface of the Moon. These photographs were done at the Observatoire de Paris by Moritz Loewy and Pierre Henri Puiseux and were published in 1896. Beginning in 1894, the astronomers spent every clear night photographing the moon through the Paris Observatory’s powerful refractor telescope. One the course of fourteen years, the partners produced more than six thousand glass negatives, choosing only the best for publication. From the negatives they created photogravures of unprecedented clarity and size, issued in twelve installments.
This is what one of the individual photographs looks like. One of these is stunning, and a room of 71 of them is almost beyond imagining!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:08 PM
Sunday, July 21, 2019
My traditional way of getting to the Met from Penn Station, is to take the subway from Herald Square up to 5th Avenue and 59th Street, and then I walk the 23 blocks to the Met. But it was raining on Thursday so I decided to take the relatively new 2nd Avenue Subway, which goes from Herald Square all the way to 86th Street. It is a bit of a walk from 2nd Avenue to the Met, but it is much shorter than my 23 block walk. Here's the thing. The platform for that subway is almost 100 feet underground! So you take one regular escalator, then get on this escalator which goes up forever! Look at the size of the woman in white, then look at the size of the person at the very top of the escalator. This is some long escalator! But it is brand new, and clean and beautiful.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:31 PM
Saturday, July 20, 2019
I was in the checkout line at the grocery store, and when I looked up I saw this tattoo on the back of the young woman in line ahead of me. I was stunned. I thought of trying to take a picture of her back, but realized I couldn't do that without being noticed. After I paid, I followed this woman and the young man she was with to their car. I said I was standing behind her in line, and saw the message and said it was very powerful. Then I asked her if I could photograph just the tattoo on her back. She was very nice, and said "sure." So I took three quick photographs, and then said that I thought she was very gutsy to have that tattoo, and she said "thank you." I can't begin to tell you how moved I am by her message.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:53 PM
Friday, July 19, 2019
I love riding the subway! There are always so many interesting people to watch! I was taken by this couple, both deep into whatever it was on their phones. I guess more interesting than just talking to each other. Who knows... Easy for me to be critical because I am not big on texting and I am not on Twitter or Instagram...
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Bright and early this morning I was off to Fun City in the rain, to see some exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I walked across the platform at the train station, I came up behind this guy, and was so puzzled because it seemed as if the top half of his body was inside a mushroom! When I came around to the front, I could see that there was an opening in the front. I cannot imagine when an umbrella like this is useful. If anyone knows, please tell us all.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:20 PM
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
There were forecasts for thunderstorms today. Most of the day was fine, but we had to take Bebe to the Vets late in the afternoon, and when I stopped at the Post Office on the way, I noticed this sky to the west. Whoo boy, looks as if weather is on the way! This storm passed to the south of us. But while I was at my astronomy meeting a line of storms came through and it was a hum dinger! Kathy reported lighting and crashes of thunder every few seconds that went on for a while. This sky is really pretty, isn't it, with all the shades of gray.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:21 PM
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
There are architectural gems all around Sea Cliff, and it is always fun to stumble across one. The funny thing is that I have driven by this place hundreds of times. But this time I was coming from our friend's house, back to my car which was parked on Sea Cliff Avenue, and I came face to face with this scene. My guess is that this has recently been painted, because I just don't remember this porch and doorway looking so pretty. But I could be wrong, of course. I like to think I always pay attention, but sometimes I sure do miss stuff!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:27 PM
Monday, July 15, 2019
Grace is one curious cat. So much more curious than either of the other two cats. When the weather is not cold, we open the inside door to the back room, and Grace spends hours looking through the glass storm door. Sometimes she sits like this, and sometimes she lies down. Today I had the hose and was watering Kathy's planter and the hanging plant by the back door, and the bushes to the left of the steps. Grace was patiently sitting there watching everything. And this is funny - if she is lying down watching, and I approach the door, she doesn't move until I turn the door handle, and she quickly gets up and turns back into the room. If I do that a second time, she may not resume her position at the back door, and I feel badly. So sometimes I use the front door so that I don't disturb her! And below, I have an updated photo that I took today, to show you how the plants that Kathy put in the planter have grown.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:15 PM
Sunday, July 14, 2019
A couple of weeks ago we drove out to a farm in Suffolk county that sold plants. Kathy had seen an advertisement for the place in the newspaper. So out we went. She was looking at plants and I was looking for photographs. She was admiring the planters that had already been put together with various plants, but thought that they were a bit expensive, so she bought a number of plants and then came home and put together her own planter, which now sits on the back steps! Nicely done, I thought. It is dark out now, or I would go out and photograph how it looks now, after all the plants have grown. She got her plants and I got my photographs I just need to edit them. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:17 PM
Saturday, July 13, 2019
Poor Bebe. We don't like the heat, and the cats really don't like the heat either - they just lay around all day. Even the air conditioning, when we have it on, it doesn't seem to make the cats more comfortable. Bebe suffers the worst of the three, and that's probably because she is older (like we are... :-) We feel badly that she is so uncomfortable.
Friday, July 12, 2019
I was on the way to the recycling center this morning and as I passed the baseball field, I caught a glimpse of this man reading the morning paper. What a nice place to sit and get the news. But my camera was in the trunk, so I couldn't stop, get the camera out, and photograph without anyone noticing. So I continued on to recycling, and while there took my camera out of the trunk, put the telephoto lens on it, and on the way back, as I passed the park, I slowly pulled over, and stopped, and made four pictures. I am glad he was still there.
Thursday, July 11, 2019
"Surprise?" What does surprise have to do with this photograph? Who will be surprised? I will tell you who - my friends Babs and Hutch, who are faithful readers of the blog, and who live nearby. I went over to their house the other day to help them with a new DVD player installation, and as I walked across their lawn toward the front door, I saw this and stopped in my tracks! I quickly took three photographs, before I knocked on their door, so they have no idea I took this! So this is fun - they will fall over when they see this tomorrow, which is really fun!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:29 PM
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Yesterday was the first quarter moon. This is best time to look at the moon because with the light raking across the surface of the moon at the "terminator" - the division between dark and light - the views of craters and mountains is spectacular! I took my telescope out and spent a fair amount of time cruising up and down the terminator looking at the amazing details of the landscape. It has been a while since I spent any time looking at the moon, and it was a wonderful experience!
This is a detail from the full view of the moon. You can see the craters in more detail. But a photograph cannot begin to show the beauty and detail of the moon, that you can see in person through the eyepiece of the telescope.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:48 PM
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Kathy has been baking bread again! There is no hope for my diet! This is a fresh sourdough loaf that Kathy has made from scratch. She made her own sourdough starter which can be difficult. She made another loaf the other day which we have been eating for breakfast. Not only will this taste really sour, but it is stunning to look at! When the loaf is ready to bake, at the last minute she uses a special razor blade knife to cut some very thin slices into the top of the loaf, and that is why there are darker areas. She also flours a special basket and lets the rising bread sit in that, and that's why the spiral pattern on the top.
So this is the remains of the sourdough "starter" in a large glass, covered with Saran wrap. The starter is the part of the mixture that makes the loaf rise, instead of using yeast, and it is also the thing that makes the loaf sour. Now that you have seen what a glass of starter looks like, you will probably not want to eat the bread! :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:43 PM
Monday, July 8, 2019
These Japanese Painted Ferns are in the front garden of a woman down the street. These are absolutely stunning, aren't they! I *think* I remember passing the garden while carrying only my infrared camera, and stopping to take a photograph of the ferns. And the infrared photograph was not very interesting because you couldn't see the contrast in the leaves, and I was kicking myself for only having the infrared camera. So on this day I had the color camera, and here is the result. I actually did a search to see if I had posted the uninteresting photo of the ferns - I thought I did a blog post, but can't seem to find it. Sigh...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:09 PM
Sunday, July 7, 2019
On one of my recent walks along the harbor I came across this feathered aviator. The first time I had seen a bird drying its wings like this was years ago in the Everglades. The birds I saw doing that were Anhingas. So these birds have poorly developed oil glands and its feathers are not as waterproof as those of other birds. Thus, if they wish to fly, after swimming in the water, they must do this to dry their wings. With their wings free of water, they weigh less, and are able to take flight. I think that this is not an Anhinga, because I don't believe that they come this far north. I am guessing it is some type of Cormorant. I hope that someone out there who reads this will be able to tell us more about this particular bird.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
Saturday, July 6, 2019
When we were walking from our car, parked on Sea Cliff avenue, to the house where we watched fireworks with our friends, I saw this scene, and it stopped me in my tracks! Is this American, or what! My friend Stan and I are always looking for "American Vernacular" images for each other. So I just decided to look up the word "vernacular" and was surprised at what I found. It is primarily a term used for language! But then there was this: "The term "vernacular" may also be applied metaphorically to any cultural product of the lower, common orders of society that is relatively uninfluenced by the ideas and ideals of the educated élite. "Vernacular architecture", for example, is a term applied to buildings designed in any style based on practical considerations and local traditions, in contrast to the "polite architecture" produced by professionally trained architects to nationally or internationally agreed aesthetic standards." So there you have it, and here it is!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:08 PM
Friday, July 5, 2019
Karen has two bird feeders in her garden next to her patio. There was a Blue Jay at the feeder and the twins were fascinated watching the bird eat. This is Grayson at the patio door, glued to the glass, watching the Jay. It's wonderful what kind of things four-year olds are fascinated with watching. When we were sitting around before lunch, while Jonathan was cooking the hot dogs and burgers, I decided to recite some A.A. Milne poems that I remember from back when I was a kid. My favorite is "Lines and Squares" about being sure to only walk on the squares on London streets, because there are bears who wait for "sillies who step on the lines of the street." They seemed a little bit interested. Perhaps in another year or so they will enjoy those poems more. What was also fun was that after I recited a poem or two, Betsey recited her favorite poem. Funny how these things from childhood stick with us!
Thursday, July 4, 2019
We had the usual Fourth of July itinerary. First we drove to Connecticut to have a picnic with my three sisters, and Jon and Lauren and their 4 year old twins, all of which was wonderful, except for getting stuck in traffic. Then we drove back home, and got some of Kathy's desserts out of the fridge and headed over to the yearly gathering at our friends the Gordon's. It is always such a nice group and gentle conversations, and then wonderful food and deserts. And then the fireworks, as seen from their back deck, looking down on the harbor. This year the sky was lighter when the show began, and so it is a more interesting photograph because of all the detail we can see with the light still in the sky. All in all, a wonderful holiday!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:34 PM
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
It was hazy and there had been a bit of rain, so the air was not clear - it contained a lot of water vapor. As I was walking along the shoreline of the harbor, looking northwest, I was taken by the colors. Because of the haze, there were no saturated colors. The clouds were faint and the color of the water was faint. So I took some photographs and when I got back home I realized that the picture was all about pastel colors. Something different for me. I love how delicate everything is.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:59 PM
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
On Saturdays I take stuff down to the recycling center - newspapers, magazines, glass, tin, and plastic. So this is the bin that everything goes into. I was surprised to find Spiderman hanging on the edge of the compactor, and it made me smile. I love that at least one of the employees has a sense of humor, enough to rescue Spiderman from the garbage and hang him up here for all to see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:10 PM
Monday, July 1, 2019
I have passed this home in Centerport so many times in all the years I have lived here, but never stopped to photograph it. I was on the way to our astronomy club picnic, and the light was just right, so I finally took some photographs of the building. THEN I looked up the history of this home! The Suydam Homestead is a vernacular farmhouse built in 1730. No other documented 18th century house survives in the vicinity, which historically was sparsely populated by seafaring people and farmers. The Homestead is unique because it is one of the few remaining 18th century houses on Long Island which was lived in continuously by one family and their descendants from the late 1700s until 1957. Records show that the Suydams were a representative Long Island working class family who supported themselves by farming, oystering, boat building and carpentry. They were active in school and church affairs, fought in national wars, and were solid citizens with a respected place in the community. Wow! How amazing is that! The look of the house is what caused me to stop. Whe I was framing the image I realized that there is hardly a straight line in this view, except for the door and windows.