Tuesday, February 18, 2020
We were invited on Sunday by our long tine friends, Nancy and Larry, to attend a brunch at their home, so that we could meet a new political candidate. This is Melanie D'Arrigo, and she is a Democrat running in a primary against Tom Suozzi, our current representative in Congress.
I had never heard of her before, so Kathy and I were interested in meeting her and seeing what she has to say. She spoke of how she will never accept donations from corporations, that health care is a human right, she will fight to transition to a green economy, and to create a fair tax system that doesn't just cater to the ultra-rich.
It was so impressive to hear her talk and to see her intelligence and feel her energy. In short, she is awesome! It was a pleasure to meet her.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:51 PM
Monday, February 17, 2020
We have a new family living next door - they are renting the house for six months. They are from California and have three young children. So in January, Kathy and I went over to introduce ourselves and welcome them to the neighborhood. Kathy bought a nice batch of freshly baked cookies and they were thrilled. End of story. Except the other day we found this cute homemade fabric bag with a bow on it, on our front doorstep. How cute is this! When we opened it up, we found three Valentine cookies that were baked by the children! How sweet is that! And the best thing might be the note that they sent with the cookies - if you click on this picture, I think you should be able to read the note. This made our day! Oh, and the cookies were delicious!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:57 PM
Sunday, February 16, 2020
I went for my walk today down along the harbor. The light was direct but soft, and the water was calm. I saw the waves and the light surrounding this rock, and the scene was magical! It appeared that the rock was glowing. Some photographs have a very special quality about them - they contain an "extra something" about them - something deeper, something more spiritual. This is one of them.
Saturday, February 15, 2020
While walking from one of the first exhibits that we saw, to a different exhibit, we passed this gallery and happened to look into the window. We were stunned to see all the small photographs covering all the walls of the gallery! I have never seen so many photographs in one place! I couldn't imagine what the subjects of the photographs were. Doors. The photographer Roy Colmer did a series "Doors, NYC (1975-76)" He would walk down a street and photograph every door on the street, and then mount all the small photographs in a long frame. He did this on hundreds of streets that he passed through. The finished monumental project included 3,000 photographs. OK, one more really interesting thing. Do you see the steel beam on the right side of the photo. Believe it or not, it is one of the supports for the High Line! There are four of these beams that go through the gallery! They obviously built the gallery under the High Line. The beams are really old, fastened together with rivets which is the old way to do it. They are beautiful all by themselves.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:49 PM
Friday, February 14, 2020
Kathy has been struggling recently with making the perfect sourdough loaf. Perhaps it is the Winter season or the weather. Who knows. Because she has had great success in the past, and I have posted photographs of those loaves of bread. Recently, it wouldn't rise enough or it wouldn't have a dark and crunchy crust. She tried so many things. Well, it turns out that Liz has a friend in Los Angeles who makes several loaves of this every week, and the other day, Liz sent us a photo of a loaf that Liz made, and it was just what Kathy was looking for. So, following the directions that Liz used, this is the first try that Kathy did, and it is out of this world!
So one of the secrets is, that the loaf is baked in a "Dutch Oven" and the secret is, at some point as the baking is nearly done, the loaf is removed from the Dutch Oven and baked all by itself! There were other issues of giving the bread a longer time to "proof" and also a rest period after the dough was deflated. I cannot tell you how great it is to have fresh bread like THIS! This is breakfast tomorrow!
Thursday, February 13, 2020
So this is probably my best photograph in a long time! When I looked in the viewfinder and saw this I got a tingle. I went to the Rubin Museum with Stan and Ann today. This is part of an exhibit called "Measure Your Existence" with exhibits by six artists. This artwork is titled "Untitled" (Placebo) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, first created in 1991. The explanation: “In this manifestation of "Untitled" (Placebo), silver-wrapped hard candies are arranged as a large carpet on the floor. Visitors can choose to take individual pieces of candy, making them active participants in the changing physical form of the work. As the pile dwindles, the Museum can replenish and regenerate the supply of candy as it sees fit. The work has an ideal weight of 1,000 to 1,200 pounds, and the candies can be configured in different ways each time it is exhibited. The gesture of taking a candy from the piece can be understood as a means of registering the transitory nature of each moment and the poetic boundaries between public and private, art and life.” The candy I took was lemon flavored.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:55 PM
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
I am a bit tired of overcast skies and rain. Gray, gray, gray... So I found this picture that I took several weeks ago. Look, blue sky! And the remains of sunshine. What more could I ask for? A reminder that some day the weather will get better.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
This is Grace, giving me "the look!" Look at her intensity! Why is she looking at me like this? I know perfectly well why... When I sit in my easy chair in the living room which I only do to read, she comes and sits like this looking at me. Want to know why? Because she is hoping I will reach over and get my red laser pointer, and run it around the floor of the living room and dining room so Grace, and Sam, and even BeBe can run around and chase it. They LOVE doing this. And the interesting thing is, they take turns, depending on if I quickly put the red dot in front of another cat, the others will wait until it is there turn. Cats are fun! :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:08 PM
Monday, February 10, 2020
You have seen so many photographs I have taken of the beach and the harbor, but I have not shot something like this before. As I was on my walk along the harbor I noticed all these rocks stretched along in a row. I don't remember noticing this before - I guess the tide had to be right, and the light had to be right as well. It was funny how all of a sudden I became aware of this scene. Nice design - the curving beach.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:16 PM
Sunday, February 9, 2020
I have been taking photographs of these two turn arrows down at the entrance to Tappan Beach. I have shot them from different directions, in differnent weather, and at different times of day, None of the pictures seemed to quite work, but I kept trying. Yesterday I tried shooting them late in the afternoon from all directions, in the late afternoon sun. When I got to this spot, there was my shadow in the middle! That's the shot! And here it is for you to enjoy.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:09 PM
Saturday, February 8, 2020
The cats are so funny! I walked into the back room and the cats immediately turned to look at me! They are so funny, right? Look at Sam, in the foreground, and the look he has on his face! You noticed the title on this blog? There is a story about where I first heard that phrase. I was doing an assignment at a high school in Queens some years ago. There was a young black student sitting on the steps in front of the school, and as I watched, another student stopped and looked at the sitting student. So the sitting student says "...you lookin' at?" So ever since that day, I love using that phrase just for fun!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:33 PM
Friday, February 7, 2020
I went down to a tool store in Hempstead, NY today. When I came out, the sky was a dark dark gray, and a church spire and a cupola with a clock were illuminated by the sun against the dark sky. I walked toward a spot to photograph that view, but then I saw this beautiful, historic church. Here is what the signs say: St. George’s Church, Episcopan-Anglican 1735. "George II by the grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, defender of the faith to all to whom these presents shall come. Greeting! Wherea’s we have been informed that Saint George’s church has been erected dedicated to Almighty God." Wow, this church has been around for a while, and it is just beautiful.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:39 PM
Thursday, February 6, 2020
With the rain and low clouds all the seagulls were grounded today. I haven't seen so many gulls in one place before. I used a long telephoto lens to take this picture, and what you are seeing behind the gulls is Hempstead Harbor and Long Island Sound, and in the far distance, New Rochelle, NY on the north side of the sound.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:30 PM
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
I walked into the living room after being downstairs in the basement working on something, and saw this scene! How cute is this! This is Bebe, the 20 year old cat, and she likes to be around Kathy as much as she can. This has happened before, if Kathy falls asleep while reading, then Bebe may curl up on Kathy's legs or stomach. But here she has gotten as close as possible, before falling asleep. Is this precious, or what!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:01 PM
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
So this photograph is from a long time ago! I had just graduated from R.I.T in May of 1964 and went to work for the Rochester Times Union on the photo staff. One day when I showed up to work, dressed appropriately as a photographer should, the reporter I was sent on assignment with, was dressed exactly the same! Someone suggested we have our picture taken. So the reporter borrowed a camera bag, and I borrowed Ivan Conklin's black rimmed eyeglasses, and we walked down the street next to the Gannett building! What a fun photograph to discover after all these years!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:46 PM
Monday, February 3, 2020
I am having fun with my 400mm telephoto lens on my afternoon walks! Of course, this was not on golden pond, this was Hempstead Harbor. It was perfect light with the sun near the horizon, which gave this golden color to the light reflecting on the water. As some Mallards were swimming by, I followed them as they swam into the light, which was actually a narrow band of reflection. So I followed them along as they trailed diamonds in the water, until I got this shot.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:50 PM
Sunday, February 2, 2020
This gas station, that doesn't sell any gas, has been here forever. I did the math, and he apparently opened in 1971, the year we bought our house in Sea Cliff. I moved here in November of 1966. This business has always been here, and there has always been a beat up, rusted out Chevrolet El Camino parked there. There might have been gas pumps here years and years ago, but I can't remember that long ago.
This is a good overall shot of the garage, and truthfully, I am not sure I would have ever wanted to bring my car here for service. But this certainly has been a Sea Cliff institution.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:36 PM
Saturday, February 1, 2020
Oh no, he's showing us another sunset! Yeah, well, but this is an absolutely beautiful one with all the colors in the sky and reflected in the water. There were a couple of cloud layers, and the lower clouds were out of the sun, but the higher clouds were still illuminated by the setting sun. I love that there are so many subtle colors in this photograph.
Friday, January 31, 2020
It had gotten dark, and I was walking up our hill after my 2 mile walk, when I noticed my shadow on the street as I walked under a street light. I was all bundled up in a down jacket and wearing one of my ski caps. I thought my shadow looked really creepy, so I decided to take a photograph, of course! At least this not another shot of the sky and water down at the harbor!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:50 PM
Thursday, January 30, 2020
The tree that just keeps on giving! I took my walk today much later than I usually do. The good news is that it stays light until much later. But when I finished my walk and came up the driveway, it was almost dark. But... Because we have two pathway lights illuminating the driveway for Kathy's clients, they also shine on the Maple tree. And this is the result. When I took the first shot, I was so surprised that the longer exposure showed some light in the sky which made the photograph a whole lot more interesting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:23 PM
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Look. Another accidental photograph! What? How did that happen? Well, I'll tell you. I got off the train from the city, and walked down the platform to the street to cross the tracks. My "toy" camera has auto-color balance and because I had been in a museum, it was set for tungsten light, which is the warm light from indoors. While I was waiting to cross the street, I decided to look at a picture I had taken, and when I turned on the camera, this was what I saw on the LCD on the back of the camera. I was outdoors at dusk when the light is very blue. So this is what the camera saw. I quickly snapped two pictures before the camera did the correct color balance and then these yellow poles and black pavement would look ordinary again.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:57 PM
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
So this is an interesting story and a strange scene. These are vines that have completely overgrown chain link fencing. It turns out that about 10 years ago some builder bought about 5 lots that were along Shore road, and prepared to build houses on them. Somehow there was some testing done after the lots were sold, and they discovered that the ground was polluted! There had been a plant about half a mile down the road that produced gas from burning coal in the absence of air. The remains of this process included nasty stuff like tar, clinkers from the coal, and ammonia. So the remains were apparently dumped where these 5 lots are located. So everything came to a halt, and the area was fenced off, and the vines began to grow. And this is the result.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:31 PM
Monday, January 27, 2020
I wasn't even chasing these birds! I was walking by the parking lot at Tappan Beach when a car moving through the lot put up this group of birds. I promise I was not harassing them! I had my camera ready, as I always do while I am taking my walk, so as they flew by, I managed to get this shot. Reminded me of the Alfred Hitchcock movie!
Sunday, January 26, 2020
I was on the way to the train station in the next town over, and I saw this as I went by. They are demolishing this water tower so they can build a new one. This one was built in the 1930's and sometimes in the winter it would leak, and then giant icicles would form, and then drop down with a sound like an explosion! The new tank is going to cost $6.5 million dollars, and take 8 or 9 months to complete the project.
What is amazing is how quickly the demolition is going. This is a photograph two days later, and a day after this there are only the legs of the tank sticking up into the sky.
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Did I mention rain? It rained today, not a heavy rain, but a steady rain for a good part of the day. I decided I needed to record this in some way. But instead of putting a closeup lens on the camera and going out under the tree to try and get a close view of some water drops, I dug out my 300mm f/2.8 telephoto lens and put it on my Nikon D300, which gave the equivalent of a 450mm lens. So I stood on the porch out of the rain, and looked at the trees through the lens to try and find a nice composition. I love this one because of the delicacy of the branches. And if you enlarge the photo by clicking on it, you will see streaks of raindrops as well.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:22 PM
Friday, January 24, 2020
My friend since college, Jim Wildey, would always say, as a joke: "Hey, what are friends for, but to use..." He would say that after I asked him if he could come by and help me put up some new sheetrock! Well, I learned the lesson well. Here is my friend Stan, and once again - twice in the same day - I asked him to do something for me that would result in a photograph. This is a Sol LeWitt wall drawing, "552D" in the atrium of the Morgan Library and Museum. It is a huge painting and I couldn't get it all in, but I thought it would be interesting if there was a human figure in there, for interest. Guess who I chose to walk in front of the painting several times...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Yeah, if you hang out with a photographer, you are liable to get photographed, whether you like it or not! Stan and Ann and I went to the Morgan Library today to see a wonderful exhibition of the photographs of Duane Michals. In addition to the photographs, they had on display this parabolic mirror that he used in one of his photographs. So I had Stan stand to one side of the mirror while I viewed the mirror from different positions, until I got this image - maybe the worst photo of him ever taken! But, hey we are friends, and that's what friends do!
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
I had my long telephoto zoom on the camera, and I was doing some closeups of a gull, sitting on a rock that was above water. I kept waiting for the gull's head to be in profile and I took several shots while he looked all around. All of a sudden he took flight, and I reflexively clicked the shutter, because that's what I do. When I pushed the button on the back of the camera to show me the image that I had shot, I couldn't believe my eyes - the gull with its wings at full spread! Like I said, "dumb luck."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 4:47 PM
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Today was the usual - a walk along the harbor for exercise, while carrying my camera in case I saw something interesting. While walking along I saw some color on a lower deck of clouds. As I walked the color became brighter. Wow, a sunset! It was then that I noticed a reflection of the sunset on the water. Wow, that's something different. I walked along until I saw the rock and realized that I needed that for the composition to be complete.
Monday, January 20, 2020
I shot a LOT of photographs at Stan's opening, and thought I had picked the best two images of Jennifer Choi, the violinist, for the blog. I was going through the overage today after posting the photographs and found THIS shot! This is the best photograph in my estimation, of all that I took! How did I miss this? I was talking to Stan and he sent me this email: "Ha, that always happens, you find something better a day later!" So that made me feel better. I love the graphics of this photo, the way the arms, the violin, and the bow are all at different angles which makes for a strong design.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:19 PM
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Saturday, January 18, 2020
As part of the celebration of Stan's opening at the gallery, Preston, a friend of Stan's who is the artistic & executive director of Tribeca New Music Festival, and who is also a composer, arranged for a performance of one of his violin pieces by Jennifer Choi, a leading New York new music violinist, as a centerpiece of the evening. and what a stunning performance it was! I was reminded that listening to music on a CD has almost no relation to hearing it in person! It was also wonderful to have a chance to photograph her performance. Here are two of my favorite photographs from the evening.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:21 PM
Friday, January 17, 2020
I went to Fun City tonight to attend the opening of Stan's gallery exhibit. He has a show called "Sun, Moon, Sky" which is a collection of some of his night sky photographs, mostly. His photographs have been taken in various places in the United States as well as in New York City. You can see some of the photographs on the wall in the background. Stan is holding a plant which was sent to him by his sister, in celebration of the exhibit. I thought it was a cute picture of Stan and his wife Ann, and the plant.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:03 PM
Thursday, January 16, 2020
All I did yesterday was rejoice in the return of the Sun, and so this morning I wake up to rain! I knew it! I should never have celebrated the Sun! It did stop raining after a couple of hours, then the clouds cleared and I rejoiced. Then the clouds moved back in and it was overcast for the rest of the day, until sunset. Never let the universe know what you are thinking... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:45 PM
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
As they were so fond of saying on Monty Python, "And now for something completely different!" So it was clear yesterday and the sun was out, and I was trying to come up with a way to make a landscape photograph with the sun in it interesting. So I did a normal photograph and it was boring. Then I wondered what would happen if I converted the picture to black & white. Not much better. Then I wondered how it would look if I reversed the image to a negative. Much more interesting, I thought. But there was just a black blob in the sky, so I added a white disk through the miracle of Photoshop, and I was finally happy. I have no idea what this all means, but it IS interesting, isn't it?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:43 PM
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
We have had so many days with overcast skies or rain, that I have almost forgotten what the sun looks like. So I was thrilled to watch this sunset, just as the disk of the sun disappeared into a cloud bank, just above the trees. You can also see the crepuscular rays very faintly shining up into the dark bank of clouds just above the sun.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:35 PM
Monday, January 13, 2020
I have talked in the past about trying to get a flock of seagulls in flight but that I had not been successful. Up until today. I saw a flock of seagulls on a sandbar the other day and I saw my chance. I slowly walked toward them while setting my camera. Then I started running toward them as fast as I could, and they all took off and headed for the water. I managed to get three frames before they dispersed. This is the best of the three. I was glad that it was warm out. I would feel badly if it was cold and the seagulls were trying to stay out of the wind by hunkering down. Then I would feel badly if I disturbed them by making them fly.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:11 PM
Sunday, January 12, 2020
We went to a local dinner theater performance tonight, invited by friends. The performers are all local. It was a reading of an abridged version of James Joyce's "The Dead" and all the actors were dressed up in costume. My favorite costume was this woman and her hat, who came over to talk to one of the guests at our table before the start of the reading.
The actors performed their readings walking around the room, carrying their scripts in notebooks. It was an amazing production, and very intimate in the small dining room of this restaurant.
Saturday, January 11, 2020
This is the Newsday building, in Melville, NY where I worked for 28 of my 41 years. It has been sold, and is being demolished so the new owner can build a giant warehouse. Quite a comedown for the property on which was published the Pulitzer prize winning newspaper that was the 6th largest in the United States at one time.
They have broken out some windows on the second floor, and the main entrance doors on the front, so they can dump materials from within the building outside - the steel pipes for the sprinkler system, aluminum, wiring and other materials. The building itself is still standing, so it is not as painful to look at as it would when they start the demolition of the structure itself. I, of course, will try and be there to record some of that.