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!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:29 PM
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.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:53 PM
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.
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.
Friday, January 10, 2020
On my walk today I happened to see this man walking on a second story roof, carrying a ladder. A man after my own heart! I wondered how he was going to get the ladder he was carrying down off the roof. So I stopped walking and just watched. I will confess that I was a bit worried. I mean, carrying one ladder while descending another? I didn't know that you could even do that. But now I do that it can be done, which is a good thing to know... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:06 PM
Thursday, January 9, 2020
Abut a week ago I took my walk on a warm winter afternoon. The warmth was caused by a warm front moving in, and that front comes with several layers of high clouds at different altitudes, which you can see in the photograph. The scene seemed peaceful and beautiful to me.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:26 PM
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
The other day, on my walk, I spent time looking at the water along my route. The light on the water was really interesting. There were thin high clouds that the sun was shining through, and the soft light on the water made the water look like silver and polished pewter. It had a beautiful quality to it that I don't remember seeing before. One of those magic moments.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:09 PM
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Yup. "Fat Boy" is what they are going to be calling me, if this keeps up! This is a Couronne that Kathy made just tonight! It is a coffee cake that is in the shape of a crown, and it has an almond paste filling. It this unbelievable or what! How can I not eat this? And it's too cold to ride my bike to burn off the calories, and I am still suffering from a cold. I am doomed to be "fat boy."
Posted by Ken Spencer at 5:14 PM
Monday, January 6, 2020
I went for my walk yesterday afternoon, and since it was overcast and the light was flat, I didn't bring my telephoto lens with me. When I got down to the harbor I couldn't believe my eyes! Here was a single-handed sailor going back and forth in the howling winds and waves in the harbor. The winds were 21 MPH, gusting to 32! He was a skilled sailor and kept control of the boat the whole time. It looked like he was having a lot of fun. But sailing in the cold like this? He's a better man than I!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:13 PM
Sunday, January 5, 2020
Would you like to buy this house and fix it up? You can't. It's in Venice, California, and it is worth 1.8 million dollars! And look at the condition it is in. It is not occupied, and it is about the size of a one-family house. The important thing is that part of the property that it is on, is a small parking lot, right across the street from Whole Foods. The employees who work at Whole Foods can park in the small parking lot. Sorry to ruin your dreams of a home in Venice, California.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:20 PM
Saturday, January 4, 2020
I discovered a really interesting thing when visiting the Getty this time. On an exterior wall off the beaten path, I discovered this incredible "thing" sticking out of the wall. It looked like some kind of marine growth with things that look like little worms all over it. It was unbelievable. This is a close in view. This special block sticks out about 6" from the rest of the wall.
I stepped back to show this view, which shows how the special block is installed in the wall. So what is this? It's Travertine. What kind of stone is travertine? Why are there fossils in it? Travertine is a product of the earth's water and carbon cycles. As carbon dioxide-rich rainwater percolates through soil and stone, it slowly dissolves tremendous quantities of limestone along underground fissures. Reemerging at the surface as a spring (now saturated with dissolved limestone), this water releases carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere—much like carbonated mineral water. Because of this "Perrier effect," the limestone can no longer remain in solution. It recrystallizes, typically as the water cascades over organic films made of bacteria, algae, and mosses. Minerals crystallizing on the ever-present bacteria in travertine deposits—like granular snow blanketing a miniature landscape—preserve organic growth forms, called "shrubs," and produce much of the rugged relief evident across the stone's surface. I know, this is way more than you wanted to know, but at least you have a clue how this amazing stone is formed.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:44 PM
Friday, January 3, 2020
When Liz would take the dogs for a walk, I would join her for the exercise and just to enjoy seeing the neighborhood more closely. So many people have gardens in Venice, and of course it is a tropical climate, so the plants grow by themselves! This is a beautiful Agave, and it is huge - I would say between 18" to 24" across. I see these plants a lot in California and they are just stunning when you come across one in a garden.
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Another of my "looking down" series from the Getty Center. Two women stopping to talk on one of the plazas. I think the photograph would not be as interesting if it were not for the late afternoon sunlight casting long shadows. Just a brief moment in an afternoon.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:27 PM
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
I was standing up on the Venice pier for probably an hour, sometimes looking west, and sometimes looking to the east. Much of the time I was just watching the waves, streaming in from offshore. I found it mesmerizing to watch the shapes of the leading edges of the waves as they broke closer to shore. I would look at the design of the curves of the waves in the background. That's how I happened to take this photograph - I watched the surfers head in to the water, but I was really concentrating on the shapes of the waves in the background. This photo is about the waves, not the surfers.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 4:44 PM