Thursday, October 31, 2019
Happy Halloween to everyone! I was a little late this year in carving our Jack O'Lantern, and I only finished it this afternoon. The interesting thing is that I always carve the same face on the Jack O'Lantern, year after after year. When I mentioned this to Liz today, her response was "Why mess with success!" I did go to the search function in the upper left corner of the blog and put in "pumpkin" and found one year that I did a jagged smile for a change. Funny, I didn't remember that!
I nearly forgot - Last year we bought this skeleton with red blinking eyes that talks. He hangs on the front door. You have to push a button and the jaw opens and closes, the eyes start blinking, and he says in a deep voice: "Welcome. Do not be afraid." And then he laughs a scary laugh. We love this thing!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:40 PM
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
So after photographing the side garden, I walked down the driveway and headed downhill, and only made it about 10 feet, before stopping to photograph this. This is the fern bank, which has become overgrown with weeds. Grape ivy is the worst offender, and there are others. I don't know what the tiny white flowers with the purple center are, but they caught my eye first. This seems to me like an abstract painting, with subtle differences in color and textures, all enhanced by being wet from the rain.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:41 PM
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
It was drizzling and foggy this afternoon, and I needed to get out for some exercise. So I grabbed my camera and headed out. My first stop was the garden next to the driveway. The Dusty miller has really grown since first planted, and the Begonias are still in bloom, and the decorative grasses are still around. I even think the wet leaves add a lot to this photograph. Please be sure to click on the picture to see it in greater detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:02 PM
Monday, October 28, 2019
This was another one of the exhibits on the floor of the exhibit hall. It was made up of multiple plastic mirrors facing each other, in a space that you walk into. Then there were white marker pens that people have used to write various things all over the mirrors. I have no idea what this is all about, but it was kind of disconcerting to enter into this space so I decided to take a picture of me surrounded by it all.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:59 PM
Sunday, October 27, 2019
At Photo Expo there are demonstrations everywhere. They can be about cameras, or lenses or lighting or posing. I think this demonstration was about lighting. The legs at the top of the photo are those of an assistant holding an electronic flash up above and behind the bride, which puts a backlight on her.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:47 PM
Saturday, October 26, 2019
Over on the west side of Manhattan, and south of the Javits center is a huge new development called "Hudson Yards." This is an artwork which is the centerpiece of the development, temporarily called "The Vessel." The elaborate honeycomb-like structure rises 16 stories and consists of 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings for visitors to climb. So you can visit it for free, but you need to get tickets online, or hope they have tickets available at the park on the day you visit. The sculpture has received acclaim and criticism. Fortune called Vessel "Manhattan's answer to the Eiffel Tower.” Elle Decor compared Vessel to an M. C. Escher drawing. The New York Times said the sculpture, while a "stairway to nowhere" in the utilitarian sense, served as an "exclamation point" to the northern terminus of the High Line Park. I need to get a ticket actually visit The Vessel, and photograph it, so stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:51 PM
Friday, October 25, 2019
In case you didn't believe me about the pack of photographers that gather around a model, here is a shot I did of a group at another model shoot. What's interesting is to see their concentration as they shoot. I probably look just as intense as them when I am shooting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:43 PM
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Well today was my day to go to Photo Expo in the Javits Center in NYC. This is their blurb to explain what it is: "PHOTOPLUS was founded in 1983, and is the largest photography and imaging event in North America. The ultimate experience for anyone with an interest in photo, video, and visual storytelling to get up-to-date with latest industry trends." I have been going to this event since 1983 and they have every imaginable piece of photo equipment - cameras, lenses, lighting, accessories, backgrounds, books and classes. One of the things that many companies do is they hire models - sometimes the more bizarre, the better. The models move around a small stage and pose for all the photographers (that would include me) who click away with their cameras. This model was amazing! In his costume, in his makeup, his energy, and in all his moves on the stage! He was absolutely first rate and the most interesting photographic subject I saw.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
This is the guest bedroom in Vince & Jo Anne's new condo. I woke early one morning and saw this sunlight on the bedroom wall and door, and some light spilling onto the open bathroom door. I think I am generally very sensitive to light, and the light on a subject, so when I saw this, I immediately grabbed my camera. Because that's what I do.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:56 PM
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
This is a spectacular oval window in the George Eastman House. In my earlier photograph of the stairway, you can see an oval opening at the top of the stairs. If you go to the second floor and look up this is what you see - a balustrade on the third floor, and above that a magnificent oval window. I wasn't sure what this kind of oval window was called. I thought it might be an "occulus" but when I looked that term up, the window needed to be round. So this is just an oval window, I guess. Anyhow, this is a beautiful thing to see.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:24 PM
Monday, October 21, 2019
Whenever I go to the George Eastman Museum, I always take time to wander around the gardens on both sides of the mansion. This is one of the water features in the terrace garden. Of course I have no idea of the names of these plants. but I was taken by their sharp, black shadows in the water. I think this photo may be about the shadows, seen against the varying shades of blue water.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:26 PM
Sunday, October 20, 2019
I am not going to tell you where this is, if you haven't guessed already. It is a nice picture of a lovely home. But there is something unusual about the photograph. Can you find it? Click on the image to see it in more detail, please.
Scroll down for the answer...
This is the answer. There is an elephant's trunk which you can see at the top of the stairway in the first picture. This is the whole elephant's head and trunk. It is a "trophy" that George Eastman shot in Africa. It is installed in the solarium at the George Eastman House, where George Eastman ate breakfast every morning while a student from the Eastman School of Music played the pipe organ for him.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:26 PM
Saturday, October 19, 2019
We had wonderful weather and light traffic for our trip back home today. This was a photograph that I stopped to take on our trip up. I was attracted by the the grain storage silos which are huge, modern silos, so I am thinking that this is not a single family farm. Also the cloudy skies above added to the interest in the scene, I thought.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:00 PM
Friday, October 18, 2019
I went to the George Eastman House today to see some of the exhibits. It is always a relaxing, enjoyable, and educational experience to spend time there. They had an exhibit of both cameras and some photographs relating to the Apollo 11 anniversary. After I left that gallery I was wandering down the hall, and saw this beautiful carved and painted moon, fastened to a box. There was no one around, so I had to find a museum employee who could take my picture, and he was very nice and agreed to take this photograph. So I am posting it for all of you to see, so that you can have a good laugh! It is interesting that the Metropolitan Museum of Art had that Moon exhibit I spoke of in a post a month or so ago, and they had hundreds of old photographs that were taken like this!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:42 PM
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Vince and Jo Anne moved into their new home in the early part of September, after living in their other house for 42 Years. Their other house was only 5 miles away from their new condo. It is a lovely home and all on one floor, and they won't have to use a snow blower or mow the lawn!
This is a view of some of the neighboring condos that gives a sense of the community. It is a lovely neighborhood and the buildings are beautifully designed. Note the overcast skies - hey, we're in Rochester, and they have a lot of overcast skies here!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:36 PM
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
I made my usual stop at the abandoned farmhouse, in Ovid, NY. Each time I stop I see more and more deterioration. The front door is now gone and the doorway is boarded up, I guess to keep curious people like me out! The roof is more and more collapsed each time. There used to be a front porch and now that has collapsed into rubble. It is hard to explain my fascination with the deterioration of this building but I have been photographing it for years now.
This is a detail of part of the second story. I had never photographed this part of the house before, but in seeing how the clapboards have fallen off the wooden sheathing underneath gives more of a sense of a house coming undone.
I was looking for some kind of close up to add variety to these photographs. I found this window with vines growing around it. Love that the vine on top of the window has turned red because of Fall.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
The four of us got up at 4:30 this morning and headed off to Strong Memorial Hospital. Vince had a scheduled surgery, and they sure do want to start early in the morning! Man, I am NEVER up at 4:30 in the morning. His surgery went really well and he is fine and he will come home tomorrow, thank heavens. As we were pulling into the front entrance of the hospital, I saw this scene and thought it was worth a shot for the blog. No sign of anyone stirring outside the entrance.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:33 PM
Monday, October 14, 2019
We drove from Sea Cliff to Rochester today, to visit Vince and JoAnne for a week. We had great weather for the trip, and I spent a lot of time looking out the window, trying to find a blog post that would show the colors of fall. The colors were not that brilliant in some places, and in other places at higher elevations it looked as if the colors had come and gone already. I did find this one scene as I was driving along. Not great, but the best I was able to find along the route.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:55 PM
Sunday, October 13, 2019
In forestry, windthrow or blowdown refers to trees uprooted or broken by wind. These winds are capable of opening large gaps in forests and in extreme cases causing blowdowns of whole stands from microbursts, tornadoes, cyclones or hurricanes. There are a lot of blow down areas of trees visible in parts of Yellowstone National Park. Sometimes, depending on the soil, the entire tree is uprooted, and at other times the tree trunk can be shattered. This is the root system of a tree that has been blown over. I have no idea of the type of tree, but what an amazing shape these twisted roots make.
Saturday, October 12, 2019
We had pulled off the main road into a parking area that overlooked a valley, where people were looking at some wildlife - birds, and some elk and we were hoping for a fox or two. I had wandered back toward the road, and suddenly saw people walking on a rise, and I got excited because of the silhouettes seen against the sky and I started shooting. After about a minute, I looked behind me and I saw Stan shooting in the same direction, and he had a dead tree between him and the people! Oh man, so I ran back where I could shoot through the tree as well. I got this shot, among others. A far more interesting photograph than just the people on the ridge! Thanks, Stan!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:35 PM
Friday, October 11, 2019
More photographs of the amazing Mammoth Hot Springs! These terraces were created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate - over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution. Algae living in the warm pools have tinted the travertine shades of brown, orange, red, and green. The thermal flows show much variability with some variations taking place over periods ranging from decades to days. A tourist I spoke to said that these terraces had water flowing over them as recent as 5 years ago!
This is a detail of some of the terraces, and the amazing formations with narrow strips of deposits frozen, so to speak, in stone. Be sure to click on these photos to see more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:14 PM
Thursday, October 10, 2019
I was trying to come up with a title for this shot of Rush watching Stan at work, taking a landscape photograph. Then suddenly it hit me "Adult Supervision." As if! Anyhow I thought it was a catchy title and would allow me to post these two photographer friends at work.
Stan recently got this amazing Nikon lens - it is a 500mm f/5.6 telephoto. It does an amazing job of bringing you really up close to wildlife, and the lens does not weigh a ton, as some of the other telephoto lenses do.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:34 PM
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
I was photographing some Bison and after they wandered away, I began to look around a bit, while looking through a telephoto lens, and I saw this scene. I am not sure what it was that caught my eye. It is a very subtle landscape, but I was drawn to this composition. It started with the tree, and then the deep reddish grasses in the foreground, and then the hint of red in the rocks in the distance. I kept thinking it was not a great shot, but I kept being drawn to it. So I will leave it up to all of you whether you think this is interesting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:21 PM
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
One morning we wanted to be at Grand Prismatic Spring before sunrise, so we got up early and headed south. The route from the campground to the spring runs along - get this - the Firehole River! Is that a great name? This river is warmer than normal rivers because many of the thermal features with hot water, empty into the river. So on cold mornings there is fog all around the river. Stan was driving, you will be glad to know, and so I got to photograph all along the route, and this is one of the photographs from the drive.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:20 PM
Monday, October 7, 2019
This the Old Faithful Inn, one of the grand old lodges of the "Golden Age" of rustic resort architecture, a style which is also known as National Park Service Rustic. It is one of the few log hotels still standing in the United States, and was the first of the great park lodges of the American west. Initial construction was carried out over the winter of 1903–1904, largely using locally obtained materials including lodgepole pine and rhyolite stone. When the Old Faithful Inn first opened in the spring of 1904, it boasted electric lights and steam heat. The structure is the largest log hotel in the world; possibly even the largest log building in the world.
It is an astounding building and the architecture is like nothing else you have ever seen. It was designed by a 29 year old architect - Robert Reamer, an architect for the Yellowstone Park Company., Reamer was hired by Harry W. Child, the president of the Yellowstone Park Company, who had met Reamer in San Diego through mutual acquaintances. Reamer designed the lobby and the initial phase of guest rooms, known as the Old House, which was built in 1903-1904, much of it in the long winter. The east wing was extended in 1913-14, and the west wing in 1927, creating a single structure almost 700 feet long.
A display on the second floor balcony explains that the wood for the Inn was cut in an area four miles south of the Inn. What is astounding is all the "elbows" they had to cut to construct the building. This photo shows just two of the elbows that it takes to make one joint.
And this is more of a detail showing showing several levels of beams above the third floor balcony. It is such a joy to visit this building and drink it all in!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:11 PM
Sunday, October 6, 2019
We were driving south from the Madison campground, down toward Old Faithful, when we saw cars pulled over to the side of the road. So we pulled over to see what was going on. In the distance were about a dozen Bison moving along in a line in the far distance. So we photographed them, and waited and then one of the Bison turned around and went off by his own, and we watched and waited. The result, after following him with our long lenses was this shot - it is one of my favorites from the trip! I watched as he walked from right to left, and keep shooting until I saw him between the two steam vents in the distance, and thought this was the perfect composition! I have been posting two shots a day, and now I have made up for the days I was gone, so from now on I will be doing only one post a day. Whew! That was a lot of work, doing two a day. Be sure and click on this so you can see it in greater detail. It's a beauty!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:49 PM
Saturday, October 5, 2019
This is Stan, at left, and Preston, down on one knee, shooting some photographs of the upper terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. They were both looking at the formations, and I took a photograph, and then Stan saw me and did this. I am not sure why - perhaps he was showing me where I could find a photographer.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:43 PM
Friday, October 4, 2019
This photograph is so different from anything else that I shot in Yellowstone, that I decided to use my favorite Monty Python tag line "And now for something completely different..." It makes me laugh every time I hear it. Sometimes the reasons I take a photograph are completely inexplicable. And this is one of those times. I was sitting in the car, changing a camera card and we were at the front end of a pull-off area, and this marker was just in front of our front bumper. I kept staring at it, and finally thought that it was a picture so I better get out of the car and shoot it! I think this photo is about color - the brilliant orange and blue, and I think it is also about the design of the space in the picture. But other than that, I haven't a clue.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:11 PM
The colors of the hot springs in Yellowstone are something to behold. This is a runoff area from Grand Prismatic Spring. What you are looking at is all covered with water - not very deep. On top of the hot water leaving the spring is something called a "microbial mat." The mats produce colors ranging from green to red; the amount of color in the microbial mats depends on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids and on the temperature of the runoff. In the summer, the mats tend to be orange and red, whereas in the winter the mats are usually dark green. It is just one more amazing thing - you see it, but you can't quite believe your eyes.
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Each campsite comes with a fire ring, and so after the first night, we decided to buy some firewood and have a campfire. I guess I volunteered to start and tend to the fire. Here's something interesting - you cannot cut any firewood in a national park, and you can't pick up any fallen tree branches. Everything stays where it belongs. So you go to the vendors in the campground and buy a box of pre cut firewood. From Idaho! You cannot bring your own firewood into the park because they are afraid of you bringing insects in the wood and having to deal with an infestation. So you buy a box or two for the evening's fire. I can't remember when I made my last campfire - probably 60 years ago. But my Boy Scout training kicked in and I had Rush's hatchet and went to work. I actually ended up with a decent fire, and it was lovely once it got dark to have the warm glow of the fire and the warmth at our campsite.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:57 PM
We had spent an hour or so watching the sun go down, and looking for wildlife overlooking a valley. When it was time to leave, I shifted into reverse, and just happened to check the video screen and saw this! Usually you see your driveway, or a parking lot somewhere. But this looked like a landscape photograph, with the colored lines showing the clearance when you back up. I was amazed to see this, and realized that it was some kind of photograph, so took out my toy camera and photographed the video screen. Strange, huh?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:52 PM
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Mammoth Hot Springs is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine. It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate - over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution. In a nearby part of the complex there are terraces, which are astounding to see. This section has no terraces, but the calcium carbonate has been deposited in a hill, and it has surrounded and killed trees which grew here. I love the contrast of the dead trees with the strange looking mountain of many colors. What an unearthly scene!
We were at Mammoth Hot Springs and I decided to do a photograph of the four of us with the self timer. This camera is relatively new to me, and some of the timer settings were unfamiliar. It turns out that I set the self timer to take 10 pictures when it went off, instead of using a 10 second delay. So we all stood there while the yellow blinking light counted down, and then I started walking away, thinking that the picture had been taken. Guess what, the end of the blinking light meant the camera was STARTING to take 10 pictures! So there is no photo of me with the group, just a sequence of me walking away! Hey, I am some crackerjack photographer, right?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:40 PM
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
This is a group of Elk at Mammoth Hot Springs. These animals own the place - they go where they want to go - in the street, and on the sidewalk, and on the grass. Park rangers keep their eyes on the group and keep park visitors at a safe distance. This image is a cropped version of the image below. Below, the Bull is shown with members of his harem. Adult elk usually stay in single-sex groups for most of the year. During the mating period known as the rut, mature bulls compete for the attention of the cow elk and will try to fend off rival bulls from their harem. Dominant bulls follow groups of cows during the rut, from August into early winter. A bull will defend his harem of 20 cows or more from competing bulls and predators. The ranger said that this particular bull had fended off a number of other males that had come around.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:20 PM
This is Crested Pool, one of the thermal features of Yellowstone. Isn't it stunning in its coloration? Crested Pool is a hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. The spring is 42 feet deep. It is named for the "crest" which surrounds the pool. Although it is considered a spring, Crested Pool sometimes erupts like a geyser. A study that was completed in 2011 found that at least 1283 geysers have erupted in Yellowstone. Of these, an average of 465 are active in a given year. Yellowstone contains at least 10,000 thermal features altogether. Half of the world's geysers and hydrothermal features are concentrated in Yellowstone. As beautiful as these features are, they are also dangerous. In 1970, a nine-year-old boy, accidentally fell into the spring and died. There is now a public safety achievement award given yearly to the individual or group that contributes the most in public safety.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:32 PM