Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

I thought that this photograph would be a nice New Years subject.  It is of two children playing in one of the fountains at the Getty Center.  Something about the innocence of children and the beginning of a new year.  What will life bring to this young boy and girl?  What will the New Year bring for us?  Only good things, I hope!  Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Looking Down

There are so many amazing things about the Getty.  One of them is that with all the different stairways to all the different levels of the Getty Center, there are so many places where you can look down from one level to another below.  For some reason on this visit, I spent time looking over the edges of stairs and from one level of the plaza down to another.  This is one of the photographs I found while looking over the edge while descending a stairway to the cafeteria.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Killer Bread!

One of the joys of being in Venice is that there is a bakery which has killer bread!  It is called Gjusta, and this is a loaf of their sourdough bread!  It is the best bread I have ever had!  I kid you not!  The day after we arrive, the next morning I walk over to the bakery and buy a Sourdough loaf and bring it home.  Then all I need is butter, and a fresh cup of coffee!

Saturday, December 28, 2019


I have "leftovers" from our California trip, and I am not talking about the turkey!  When in California I always end up taking more photographs than I can post.  So you are lucky - instead of me coming home and posting dead flowers in the garden, or more photographs of the harbor, I will be using up some of my leftovers.  Every year we drive up to Santa Monica and go to the 3rd Street Promenade, and Santa Monica Place, a huge upscale shopping center.  There are street performers on the promenade, and all kinds of places to eat.  It has become a holiday tradition.  These are lights and decorations on the 3rd Street Promenade.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Flying Home Above the Clouds

So this is a funny story.  In an email that Stan sent me, he said he was looking forward to the aerial photographs I would be taking on the way home from California.  I wrote back and said that I wouldn't be taking any photographs on the way home, because I had the middle seat.  He said "Why don't you ask the person who has the window seat if they want to switch?"  I said I couldn't do that, because the person in the window seat was Kathy!  I get the window seat westbound, and she gets it on the way home!  Well, it turns out that the TV screen wasn't working in front of her window seat, so she wanted to change places!  So I was definitely up for that, and I got my camera out and started looking for photographs.  Here's one that I really love - it is an amazingly subtle cloudscape.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Dad Project...

Amy decided that she wanted to convert an old stuffed chair into a rocking chair.  So she found some rocking chair "runners" which are the curved pieces, online, and ordered them.  She asked my help with the project while we were in California.  So we set about doing the project this afternoon.  Fortunately, the plan I had for drilling the holes from up under the runners, and meeting each of the legs precisely worked, out and now she has her rocking chair!  This is what dad's do!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Grandma's Christmas Dinner Rolls

Kathy and Liz were up early this morning, putting the turkey into the oven, and then I found them with a big bowl of dough that they had made yesterday, and left to rise.  They were cutting and rolling the dough into dinner rolls.  It turns out that the recipe came from Sarah's grandmother.  Sarah has not had these rolls in 20 years, and recently an aunt of hers sent her the recipe.  So that's what Kathy and Liz were doing.  Look how wonderful these rolls look, coming out of the oven!  And they were absolutely delicious!  What a treat for our Christmas Dinner!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas From California!

I remember my friend Chuck said he didn't think that there should be sand in Christmas!  I told him about 6 years ago that we were headed to California for Christmas with our girls, and his reply made me laugh out loud.  So as I mentioned a couple of days ago, I went walking on the beach. and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Santa Claus, herself, planning her trip for Christmas eve, using the maps on her phone!  I didn't want to be naughty by asking her how she managed to deliver so many gifts on one evening, because I didn't want a lump of coal in my stocking.  Merry Christmas to all and I hope you have a wonderful day, wherever you are!

Virtual Reality Experience!

Yesterday evening Liz and Amy & Sarah surprised us by driving us to a "mystery event" which they wouldn't tell us anything about.  It turns out it was a new kind of theater at Westfield, Century City. There are small rooms where six people at a time strap on electronic sensors for a virtual reality experience.  There are sensors for hands and feet, and a backpack of electronics, and then there is a VR headset.  It was an astounding thing to experience a world in 360 degrees all around us!  We walked through a huge undergound temple, and then narrow passageways, and stood on the edge of of a 5 story precipice that was so scary we didn't dare get too close to it even though we knew it was just an illusion!  The finale was a ride in a runaway ore car in a mine that launched us into space, but we were rescued by a seaplane!  Crazy, really!  What a an amazing experience!  Here Amy and Liz and Kathy are shown with some of the equipment they have to wear for the performance.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Conversation

This is a photograph from my first day in Venice, when I went to the beach to photograph the surfers.  When I got out of my car, the first thing I saw was these two women in a conversation on top of a sand dune.  I switched to my 400mm telephoto lens and photographed them from a long way away.  I love the woman on the left who was waving her arms around while she spoke.  It was because the women were silhouetted against the sky that I spotted them in the first place.  After about 10 minutes, I felt that I had a good photo, so I walked away.  They were still talking on the dune as I walked further down the beach toward the surfers.

The Salon

Tonight was the night of the Salon that Liz and Sarah put on each year.  The house was full of people, food was served buffet style, and then the evening's entertainment began.  It started as Liz and Sarah, and Amy as "The Christmas Trio" singing Christmas songs, acapella, and in beautiful harmony.  There were other performers as well, and then here, everyone, both children and adults were singing Christmas Carols.  It was an amazing evening, and such a joy to see all their friends gathered.  A wonderful way to celebrate the season.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Manet at the Getty Center

There is an amazing exhibit at the Getty Center of some of the later works of Édouard Manet. He was a provocateur and a dandy, the Impressionist generation's great painter of modern Paris. This first-ever exhibition to explore the last years of Manet's short life and career reveals a fresh and surprisingly intimate aspect of this celebrated artist's work. Stylish portraits, luscious still lifes, delicate pastels and watercolors, and vivid café and garden scenes convey Manet's elegant social world and reveal his growing fascination with fashion, flowers, and modern femininity.  It is getting rave reviews.  I spent the day at the Getty Center, and saw the exhibit and it is everything they say it is.  What is fascinating are some of the clever ways they have made note of the exhibit.  These are the stairs leading to the second floor galleries where the exhibit is, and I didn't really see what they had done, until I looked at the photograph I took!  This is brilliant - they made a huge enlargement of the face of one of his paintings, then cut that into strips, and glued them to the risers of the stairs!  Seen as a whole, you see the face in one of the paintings as you go up the stairs!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Let's Go Surfin' Now... Whoops!

I drove down to Venice Beach, and the pier today.  It was a day of blue sky and sunshine and temps just about 60 degrees.  I walked the beach for a while and was watching four surfers.  I didn't get any good photographs of them from the beach.  But when I went out on the pier, I was well above them and got some interesting images!  I love the first one, above!  Can you say "wipeout!"

The waves were not ideal today.  I learned a new surfing term:  They were "closing."  A wave "closes" when it breaks early, thus removing the chance that surfers have to get on the face of the wave to get a good ride.  It was really cool that some of the surfers were really close to the pier - I was able to get this shot, looking straight down on one of the surfers.

I like this shot as well.  I think that his surfboard created the spray that we see between us and the surfer. I think these are interesting photos but are most likely not great surfing photos, in terms of what the pros shoot.  It was wonderful to be out in the sunshine, and watching the waves come in from the Pacific and break as they neared shore, and the surfers trying to work them.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Our Amazing Earth

JFK to LAX today.  5 hours and 30 minutes, at Flight Level 310.  That is the technical information.  But these photographs which I shot out the airplane window, are all about the poetry and the beauty of the flight.  Our Earth is such an amazing place, as these photographs show, and most people don't get to see scenes like this.  This is an area of flat land, west of St. Louis, Missouri, where it has snowed just a bit, but not enough to cover areas with water.

This is an amazing scene in the North East corner of  New Mexico.  It looks at first like it was a volcano, but it is really a hill which appears to be made up mainly of sand, and there are some small trees growing on it.  Just an astounding shape to see from the air.

I call this one Shangri La.  It is snow covered mountains, seen through some thin clouds.  It is a magical scene for me.

This meandering river is the Missouri, as it heads north after going by Columbia, Missouri.  It is about 120 miles west of St. Louis.  It was an amazing trip, with photographs everywhere I looked.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Christmas in the Air

I have been driving by these two homes for the last several weeks, and realized that I needed to stop and record the sight.  We haven't put up any Christmas decorations, sad to say, with all the getting ready for out trip.  Maybe that's just as well - when we decorate our bush right by the front steps a ladder is involved!  Better that I stay off ladders for the time being. ..   :-)  I am doing fine, by the way.  It hurts if I start to sneeze or cough, or reach too far for something, but I am able to sleep comfortably all night, which is great.

Anyhow, what is interesting about these two homes, is that most of the houses on the street, have few or no decorations.  But these two houses stand out, and they are right next to each other! They are decorated to a fare-the-well, and I applaud all the energy these families expended to brighten Christmas in their neighborhood!

Monday, December 16, 2019

I Broke My Ladder Today

I broke my stepladder today.  "What?"  Yeah, I did.  "Man how did you break the ladder?"  I fell on it.  "What, you FELL on it?  How did you do that?"  I set the ladder in the garden near the bay window and was going to install a couple of new storm windows for the sides of the bay window.  "Yeah, so then what happened?"  Well, the soil in the garden was softer than I thought, and I was on maybe the third step, and the ladder started tipping to the right.  Before I could do anything, my feet were way off to the right, and I was falling straight down!  It happened so quickly!  Then I fell onto the leg of the ladder - the part that is bent.  I landed on the ladder with my chest!  Yikes!  It knocked the wind out of me!  It took a minute to regain my breath, and then I felt the pain in my ribs, on the left hand side.  Ouch!

Kathy said we should go to the Emergency Room just in case, because we are leaving for California in two days.  So we went there, and were there 2 1/2 hours, but there were a lot of people more in need of help than I.  They did a series of X-Rays, and the doctor came in and said it didn't appear that any ribs were broken, but she wanted the radiologist to check them and he wasn't around, so we came home.  I am taking Tylenol for the pain.  So here is the GOOD news - I had fallen on this ladder which was fiberglass and aluminum, and my weight bent the side of the ladder.  So the bending of the ladder essentially softened my fall  - if I had fallen on something solid like concrete blocks, I bet I would be nursing some broken ribs!  Whew!  Lucky me!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Photo Bombs

OK, this is a funny story!  We went to a party with friends who we have known for 40 years - all our kids went to grammar school together.  We have always gotten together around Christmas time, and this year it was at Genie and Buddy's.  So I was sitting there after we ate, and I watched Buddy and Genie's daughter, Carrie, go around the room and pose for a picture with different small groups of people.  She was having so much fun, posing as if she was doing a "photo bomb" where people jump into the back of people being photographed and show a funny expression.  So I watched Carrie do all this, and when she was done, I thought, "Hey, duh! That would make a good series for the blog!  I should have photographed that!"  So I asked her to do it all over again, and here are the results!  Funny, Huh?  I think so!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Another Day, Another Scene...

Back on December 5th I took a picture of this exact scene, and the light was completely different, with the orange late afternoon sun shining directly on the trees.  For this photograph, it was a misty rainy day, and it is amazing how different the scene looks!  Here is a link to the original  photograph  so you can compare it to this one.  Amazing, huh?

Friday, December 13, 2019

Golden Sunset

Today was all gray and rainy.  But when I took my walk yesterday it was clear and cold with a few cirrus clouds near the horizon.  As the sun got closer to the horizon its color became more orange.  So I lifted the camera to my eye, and zoomed into the sunset, and I loved seeing the viewfinder filled with orange light.  This doesn't seem like a real photograph - there's really no center of interest.  But I just love the color.  Maybe that's what the photograph is about.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Dusting

Yesterday morning we woke to about an inch of very light snow all over everything.  Because the snow was so light, it stuck to every little branch on every tree.  It was a winter wonderland!

This is a view out our bedroom window, looking toward our neighbor's house.  The house is invisible because every branch is covered in snow.  It looks like a winter jungle.

And this photograph is the most amazing.  It is our Japanese maple tree, which you remember, because I am always photographing it.  What's funny is I did my favorite photograph ever of this tree with my Infrared camera in the summer some years ago.  In that photograph the leaves and the lawn are white because of the Infrared photo.  And here is almost the same thing, only with snow.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Looking for Venus and Saturn

Stan came out for dinner and then we went to the meeting together because he wanted to hear the talk about orbital mechanics.  He mentioned that if we went down to the harbor before dinner, we might see Venus and Saturn together, setting in the west.  Man, it was cold and windy, but we toughed it out.  Stan was using a long lens, and I decided to do the wide-angle view, because I loved the streams of water draining down into the harbor.  If you click on this picture, you will be able to see Venus, in the upper left hand corner of the picture.  And slightly up and to the right is a much fainter Saturn.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

At the Barnes

One of the other things we did in Philadelphia, was to visit the Barnes Foundation, which is a museum containing the entire collection of mostly Impressionistic paintings collected by Albert C. Barnes, starting back in 1912.  On the way in to the museum, I stopped to see this sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly called the "Barnes Totem."  It is a huge sculpture of stainless steel.  The museum itself is really interesting because Albert Barnes had all his paintings on display in his mansion in a suburb of Philadelphia.  The paintings were all moved to this brand new museum filled with exact replicas of each room in his mansion, with the paintings in the exact position they were in, in his home.

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Cat Lamp

This photograph cracks me up!  "The Cat Lamp" indeed!  It makes me smile every time I look at it!  Grace loves to sit on the back of this chair, and I have photographed her there a number of times.  But for some reason, this time I was more to the right and realized that if I moved just so, the top of the lamp would come out of Grace's head!  So I crouched down, and the composition was perfect!  The Cat Lamp!  Enjoy a laugh with me!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Observing the Heavens from City Center

At the end of our day yesterday, before heading home, our group went to the rooftop observatory at the Franklin Institute to do some observing of the heavens with this 10" Zeiss refractor.  Of course in the center of Philadelphia, there is so much light illuminating the sky, there were only a few things to see.  We looked at Epsilon Lyrae, the "double double."  Those are two stars that, when you look at them under high power, turn out to be four stars - each one is a close double star!  It is wonderful sight through a telescope like this!  We also looked at some craters on the Moon under high power.  In the center foreground is Derrick Pitts, the Chief Astronomer and Planetarium Director who spent a lot of time with us, showed us some telescopes on display, and was so generous with his time.  It was an amazing day!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

"Museum of the Moon"

Today, I took a bus trip to Philadelphia with a bunch of other amateur astronomers from Long Island and New York City.  We went to the Franklin Institute which is a great science museum.  We started by spending time in the rotunda, looking at an artwork called "Museum of the Moon" created by Luke Jerran.  It is a 23 food diameter inflatable ball printed on the surface with NASA photographs of the moon, showing it in great detail.  It is illuminated from within, while the walls and ceiling of the rotunda are bathed in blue light.  It is an absolutely stunning thing to see in person.

I thought that showing the moon globe alone would be more impressive, but maybe this photo is more interesting, because it includes the statue of Benjamin Franklin which has always been in the rotunda at Franklin Institute.

Friday, December 6, 2019

I Took Another of My Walks Today...

I started out on my walk today, very late in the afternoon.  The sky was overcast, and the light was not that interesting, certainly compared to the brilliant light of the setting sun several days ago.  But I brought my camera, because you never know.  I didn't see a thing that looked worth a photograph in this light for most of my walk.  Then I thought, I will do a self-timer photograph of me walking!  Easy, right?  Well, not exactly...  I did about a dozen photographs.  The first one you can see above.  It was really hard, even with me counting in my head to ten seconds, which is the length of the timer.  I love this photograph, though!  It is so funny - the headless pedestrian!

But I kept at it, and eventually I got some photographs with me not as close to the camera that worked out.  So you can see all of me me in this photograph.  But my favorite is my headless photo! 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Late Afternoon Sun

Here is another photograph that I took yesterday when the sky was crystal clear, and the light from the sun, only minutes before it set, illuminated these trees at Scudder's Pond.  I just love how we can see the delicacy of the branches on all the trees at this time of year.  Oh, and the light is not bad either!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Yesterday I went for one of my walks late in the day.  As you remember, yesterday was absolutely clear and cold.  I was walking just before sunset, and with the clear air, as the sun was setting the light was still bright and it was a deep golden color that made everything it illuminated look spectacular.  Like this telephone pole.  I love how the raking sun illuminates the texture and reveals how rough the wood it.  I get the willies just looking at that wood - all I can think of are all the splinters you could get if you ran your hand over this pole!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Freezy Frog

When we woke this morning there was a thin, or not so thin, layer of snow on everything.  I happened to wander into the back yard, and saw our frog sitting on the brick wall of the little corner garden.  He looked SO cold!  It is funny how there was no snow on his eyes!  Then I remembered he is not a real frog - he is made from copper, and frogs are not warm blooded, right?  So I think he will be OK until Spring.  He's so cute, isn't he?

Monday, December 2, 2019

Icy Dusty miller

Today was mainly rain off and on, with a bit of snow early.  So this is a picture from yesterday, when sleet was falling for a while.  It is the Dusty miller and it is covered with ice.  It was really treacherous yesterday morning with ice and sleet everywhere - just standing in the driveway next to the garden I was afraid that I was going to go sliding down the driveway.  See what I do in order to bring you my photographs?

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Rain, Sleet, & Snow

After we got back from church today, we went to the store and then came home.  Then the sleet started, and some snow and then some rain.  Interesting that there were still some leaves still left on the Japanese maple tree which are now on the car, since it was parked under the tree.  It sure looks cold, doesn't it?  Vince and Jo Anne have decided to stay another day before driving home.  The ice and snow are forecast to be worse upstate.