Saturday, August 31, 2019
I am sorry I didn't get to the bank demolition site early yesterday. There were chunks of the bank vault lying around. There were big pieces of concrete with rebar (like the metal pieces here) sticking out of it. When I went back today, there were no concrete blocks left over, just this giant pile of rebar. I wish I had seen how they separated the rebar from the concrete blocks. It must have been really tedious work.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:01 PM
Friday, August 30, 2019
This is the site where a savings bank has been for a long time. Not sure it was here when I first moved here, but a long time. They put up some small amount of structural steel, next to the building, and then, wonder of wonders, just demolished the building! I guess they will have some kind of drive in to replace the entire bank. So this is the wide angle view. Now for the close up...
You can see this in the center of the photograph above. It is the bank vault! And it is BUILT! the whole building has come down, and this is left. I bet the walls of the vault are at least 18 inches thick! So they have saved this for last. I wanted to drive by yesterday to see how it was coming, but we were in a classroom all day doing the AAA "Driver Improvement Program" some distance away. When we came by, this was gone. I will try to go back over there, and see if there are any remnants that will have clues to how difficult the demolition was.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:13 PM
Thursday, August 29, 2019
So about a month ago, I awoke on a Saturday morning and when I got out of bed, I could not stand up straight because of excruciating pain! What the heck? I went to a doctor on that Monday, got a shot and some meds, but there wasn't much change. I did manage to go to Stellafane, with Stan driving and me bringing a "cane stool" because after standing for a minute or two, I needed to sit down so the pain would go away. I had an MRI and was prescribed physical therapy twice a week. Very very gradually the pain was reduced, little by little. It still hurts if I stand for two minutes, and I can't mow the lawn. I am hoping that I will be able to fly out to Yellowstone National Park, with Stan, where we meet our friend Rush. My fingers are crossed. On Wednesday I finally had a meeting with the Orthopedic doctor, and he showed me the MRI. Turns out I have a herniated disk. You can see it here - the disk is black in the image, and it is impinging on the nerves of the spine, which are white in the photo. It is kind of intersecting to see what "a slipped disk" looks like. The hope is that the herniated disk will be absorbed back away from the nerve. We'll see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:45 PM
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
I pass this house about once or twice a day. On this particular day it was overcast, and with no deep shadows I could see more detail which I might miss in bright sunlight. So I parked the car and walked over to shoot it. I think I was attracted to it because it was kind of overgrown. You know me and my love of ruins and abandoned places. That is not the case here - this is a beautiful Victorian home. The funny thing is, I think that a past owner meant to make some fancy entrance pillars, and put in the concrete blocks to create pillars, but they should have been coated with textured concrete for a more finished look.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:39 PM
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Kathy was driving Amy to the train station, where she was going to go to Manhattan to visit friends. As the car backed out of the driveway, Kathy stopped and Amy jumped out, told Kathy to jump out and she proceeded to take this selfie of the two of them in front of the famous Japanese maple tree! Fortunately I was there to document the whole thing. I love this photograph. They both look so great!
Monday, August 26, 2019
Whenever the girls are home, I always like to do a more formal portrait in addition to the candid photographs when everyone is around the house. This is kind of nice lighting. I took it in the late morning, in the back yard. The trick is that they are rim lit by the sun behind them, and they are front lit by the sunlight on the back of the house, which is behind me. It makes for beautiful lighting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:48 PM
Sunday, August 25, 2019
So here's a funny story... Stan was coming to pick me up for the drive to Stellafane last month. He knows how to get to our house - drive up Shore Road and then turn right on to Laurel Avenue, and drive uphill until you see the small white picket fence on the right. Only guess what? The fence was so overgrown with ferns and vines, that he almost couldn't see the fence! He finally saw a few white pickets through the vines, and knew it was our house. It was funny when he told me that story!
So today I decided it was time to make our house "findable" again for Stan! I got out the hedge trimmer and cut in front of the fence and behind it and under it. Then Kathy came out and helped rake and bag the clippings, and now you can see the whole fence. Shame on me for not trimming this a month ago!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:03 PM
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Well, they didn't finish the puzzle at night. When I came downstairs in the morning I found Amy was up before everyone, and she was hard at work on finishing the puzzle, with her first cup of coffee close at hand! Eventually Kathy and Liz and Sarah came down, and they finished the puzzle! Which is great, because I took Liz and Sarah to JFK an hour later! Boo Hoo, they are now back home... It was a great visit, though.
And for the curious, here is a photograph of the finished puzzle. I know I would never live it down if, after all these posts, I didn't show everyone what the puzzle looked like! It's really pretty, isn't it?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:13 PM
Friday, August 23, 2019
Last night I picked up Amy at the Long Island Expressway in the middle of a driving thunderstorm. She was coming in from East Hampton, on the Hampton Jitney. And you know why she was in East Hampton? She spent half the day interviewing Katie Couric! Amy said she was the nicest celebrity she ever interviewed! Anyhow Amy arrived home at about 9PM and after she had something to eat, she joined the Puzzle Team. They were all working like mad, trying to get the puzzle done before they had to leave this morning! Stay tuned!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:18 PM
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Sarah and Liz brought a jigsaw puzzle with them from California. Everyone in the family except me loves to do puzzles. It took over the dining room table, and sometimes they would all work on it together, and sometimes just one person would be standing there, hoping to find a spot for one or two pieces. They made a lot of headway tonight, and perhaps it will be finished at the end of the night. Of course I will have to take a picture of the finished puzzle!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:00 PM
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Actually it is Wednesday, but we went to Dunkin' anyhow. Our ritual is that on Tuesday mornings we go to Dunkin' for coffee and a donut. And since Liz and Sarah were staying with us, they were forced to accompany us! :-) Well, not against their will - they love the goodies Dunkin' has to offer! So, Yes, we had a fun time together at breakfast.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:16 PM
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
We had a humdinger of a thunderstorm yesterday afternoon. Man, it was really coming down. It is so much fun to watch, from the porch. The village took a shortcut years ago, before we lived here, and instead of running a drain pipe under the street, they have a 20" drain pipe from streets up above us, just dump all the water on to our street! So when there is a bit storm, we have rivers of water on both sides of the road. Look at all the water piling up around this car across the street!
And there is always beauty to the rainfall. This is a tired old Dogwood that still manages to have leaves on some of the branches while most of the rest of the tree looks dead. I thought that this was a lovely picture - kind of subtle, but lovely to look at. Please click on the photo to see it in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Monday, August 19, 2019
Yeaaaaaa! Liz and Sarah are here! Actually they have been here a couple of days, but I haven't had a chance to photograph them before today. I did a portrait in daylight which I will post in a day or so. Today they went to "Fun City" and had a great day and evening. So I was there to meet their train when they arrived home at 10:30. So nice to have them here, after such a long time!
Sunday, August 18, 2019
Bummer! I was driving over to the Post Office yesterday. I was doing maybe 15 MPH on a two-lane street in the village, and when I was in front of the firehouse, I suddenly noticed this car coming out of a one way street, headed at me from the left side! I held my breath and thought, "I think he may go behind me," and then I heard the crunch! Oh man! The guy got out of his car, and he kept saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I just didn't see you." While we were exchanging information, I thought I smelled alcohol on his breath! I moved a bit closer and it was definitely alcohol. Here's where I blew it - I should have called the police, but didn't even think of it! Fortunately the car is still drivable. It is just a royal pain to go through the repair process. Fortunately the damage didn't involve a crunched door or wheel which would really complicate the repair.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:24 PM
Saturday, August 17, 2019
Sam is on the left, and Grace is behind the cellar door. It's a kitty standoff! They always play these games with each other. One always tries to get the advantage, but then with the swipe of a paw, or a quick race around the house, the balance changes. Such are the joys of watching the kitty cats!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:57 PM
Friday, August 16, 2019
This is a photo of our side garden, such as it is. This year Kathy planted Dusty miller, with Begonias, and Black-eyed susans. I love the Dusty miller, which sets off the color. Of course our lawn is a mess, as it is every year. There is something wrong with the soil, that just fertilizer cannot cure. I started making compost tea which promotes the growth of microbes in the soil, but I didn't keep it going. I will add that to my list of things to do.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:07 PM
Thursday, August 15, 2019
This is one of the telescopes on display on the hill at Stellafane. This builder has made a number of these telescopes with exquisite woodworking skills, and then on top of that, he has hand carved some of the parts. I think he brings a new telescope that he has built each year. They are all unforgettable pieces of work.
This detail photograph of the The "Man in the Moon" is one of two bearings, one on each side of the tube, that allow the scope to point at different parts of the sky. This woodworking is just astounding. The scope is made by Normand Fullum, from Hudson, QC, Canada.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:29 PM
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Back in December of 2018 I first posted a photograph of this house, after it had been sold. It looked so forlorn at dusk, with no lights in the windows. and the wear and tear of nearly a century on it. So I have shown some early work on the renovations in an earlier post. But look at it now! Most of the siding has been removed, and plywood has replaced wood that was missing. All the windows have been replaced with modern one, and now they have added this blue insulation material on the outside. I'm guessing that it will be the base for whatever siding they put on the outside. Can't wait to see what happens next, and I, of course, will keep you in the loop!
If, like me, you can't recall all the details, here is the first photograph I took back in December, 2018.
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
A friend of mine sent me a copy of this cover of the RIT Reporter. I took this photograph in the studio at Rochester Institute of Technology, when I was a senior, and the photo editor of the student newspaper. I actually set up this photo with a 4x5 camera, and had someone else trip the shutter. Is there anyone in this photograph that you recognize? I was blown away when I saw this photo from fifty-six years ago!
Monday, August 12, 2019
I am doing some cleaning up. I have been posting kind of randomly from some of the places I have been. Then I post something that happens right away, and then I see what else I have shot and not yet posted. So this is another photograph from one of the exhibitions at Mass MoCA. The exhibition is called “Mind of the Mound, Critical Mass” and it is by an artist named Trenton Doyle Hancock, who lives and works in Houston, Texas. "This story of the Mounds and Vegans forms the core of the Moundverse— a vast creation myth containing these and other characters, all of whom spring from the mind and hands of the artist". It is an enormous exhibit. "Hancock began to develop a singular and systematic mythology, which has progressed over the years. Ultimately birthing his own creation myth— envisioned through paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, videos, and installation - this body of work has coalesced at MASS MoCA, reaching a critical mass decades in the making." This piece is called “Undom Endgle” - "The most powerful being in the Mountverse, Undom is the reincarnated soul of Mount #1 the Legend. She presides over the Everydaycare Canter, where the Souls of departed Mouns play eternal games". If you can't follow this, please don't feel badly - it is puzzling to me, but really interesting in how creative many of these objects in the exhibit are.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:15 PM
Sunday, August 11, 2019
This was the first thing I saw driving into Old Westbury Gardens for our observing session last week. I couldn't believe my eyes! A metal sculpture hanging between trees in the allee. These sculptures are just astoungind, and I asked our host what these were, and she said the information was on the Old Westbury Gardens website:
"For over half a century the life-sized public sculptures by Polish artist Jerzy “Jotka” Kędziora have expressed his firm conviction that “art must get out of museums and reach the people.” Old Westbury Gardens, in association with the Art & Balance Foundation of Poland, is pleased to present the gardens-wide exhibition, Balance in Nature, Sculptures by Jerzy Jotka Kędziora. This exhibit features works from a dozen or so years, including Kędziora’s world-acclaimed series of gravity-defying sculptures."
“Placed between the earth and sky, the sculptures direct the viewer’s sight and imagination to the higher strata of the surrounding spaces and dreams.” —Jerzy Jotka Kędziora.
Saturday, August 10, 2019
The other day I showed you the oncoming thunderstorm that caused us to cancel our Moon Watch at Old Westbury Gardens. Well, we went back last night because the forecast looked promising. There were clouds, but by the time darkness set in, they were slowly moving away. I took this photograph from about the same place as the thunderstorm sky, which was looking north. From the same place last night, I turned to look west and saw these clouds seeming to surround this tree on the lawn. The clouds look like something from an old master's painting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:36 PM
Friday, August 9, 2019
I have been having some back pain recently, so I looked up some exercises that I could do. I was lying on my back in the front hall, exercising and I was looking up. I realized that all these years we have lived here, I never saw this view of the room! I mean, why would I lie on my back on the floor normally. Anyhow, I realized that this would make an interesting picture while I was lying there. So here it is for you to contemplate!
Thursday, August 8, 2019
We had a Moon Watch scheduled at Old Westbury Gardens tonight. It was clear all day, and then at about 6 PM I noticed a line of thunderstorms over Pennsylvania approaching. I thought maybe they would move through before the start of our observing session. So I drove down to the site. Not long after I arrived, these clouds moved in. Yikes! We decided that we all needed to get out of there in a hurry. I didn't drive through any rain on the way home, but I was watching radar on my phone, an a huge storm came through to the west of us. It made a mess of the planes taking off and landing at JFK!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:02 PM
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
This is one exhibit called "Remote Viewing" in a large exhibition called "We Already Have What We Need." It is a video, and here is what those of us watching saw. There is this schoolhouse, with a green background behind it. While we were watching it, a giant excavator comes from behind the schoolhouse, and starts digging a large hole in front of the school. When the hole is done, the excavator disappears off screen. Then a mother and child enter from the left. Then the excavator comes back into the picture, and moves behind the schoolhouse. It then starts pushing the schoolhouse in to the hole that it dug! The entire building falls into the hole and disappears! The excavator then fills the hole back up. The video takes 14 minutes, and is riveting to watch, not knowing what is going to happen. I didn't understand what was going on until just now. I read the printed 12 page booklet about the exhibition. Get this: This was inspired by a true account of a white town burying it's black schoolhouse! This video "records the physical reenactment of this violent suppression of history." Wow! How much more powerful what I saw becomes when you know the story behind it!
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Here are three telescopes from the 1950's to 1960's on display up on the hill at Stellafane. They were beautifully restored by the fellow seated at the table to the left. He won a prize for the restoration. Behind those three telescopes, is a one-of-a-kind historic telescope called "The Porter Turret Telescope" build in 1930. It is designed so that the observers are inside the building, and can look at the stars in the middle of winter, without freezing to death. Very clever, those Yankees!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:35 PM
Monday, August 5, 2019
I'm really all over the place here. I showed you the visitor center, then up on Breezy Hill with telescopes, then the cowboy, then Mass MoCA, and now this is back at the visitor's center. I was taking photographs faster than I could post them! I love these two brilliant red chairs, especially with the yellow Day lillies in the background. Something about the red chairs brightens my day, but I have no idea why. Another of life's mysteries!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:53 PM
Sunday, August 4, 2019
The architecture at Mass MoCA is really something, and the light in the galleries is wonderful as well. That's because there are lots of windows in the rooms - they used natural light to illuminate the work areas. With the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the large windows, there is this wonderful pattern of sunlight on the beautiful wooden floors. This is why I love coming to this museum.
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Stan and I were sitting eating lunch when I noticed this man at the next table, with his straw Stetson and his guitar. I may have mentioned it before, but at Stellafane, I wear a straw Stetson to keep the sun off my face. So I thought about it for a few minutes, and then went over and asked him if I could take his portrait. He said "sure." So I took him over to a nearby building with rough wood walls, as a background. I am not sure exactly why he was there - I asked if he was interested in astronomy, and he said he wasn't. He lives nearby and said he just wanted to see what was going on here at Stellafane. So I spent about 5 or 10 minutes doing some different versions of this photograph. I gave him my email address and said that if he wanted copies, to send me an email and I would send along some of the photographs.
Friday, August 2, 2019
Stellafane! I'm here again! This is my 31st year in a row of attending this convention. We had a really busy day today. Stan and I drove down to Mass MoCA and spent the day looking at the exhibits, before driving back to "Breezy Hill" where the conference is held. First thing we did before dinner was to set up my scope so that it could "cool down" and be ready for observing in several hours. Stan took this photo of me with my scope, set up on the field, with a whole bunch of other scopes already set up in the background. After dinner there were some informal talks and then it got dark so we did a bit of observing. The skies were not perfectly clear, but there were enough objects to look at before it clouded up. Not a bad start to the weekend. (Photograph by Stan Honda)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:11 PM
Thursday, August 1, 2019
I always stop at the Vermont Welcome Center on the way to Stellafane. The building is built like an old barn, with post and beam construction, and it is just beautiful. On this trip, we noticed an attraction for kids outside the building. You could get behind either a cow or a rooster and have your photograph taken. There was no one around to take our photo together, so Stan and I had to take turns photographing each other. I know this is for kids, but it's OK for adults to act like kids, don't you think?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:45 PM