Saturday, July 7, 2012

Caldo freddo, try it if you go to Trapani

Do you know what "caldofreddo" is? Caldofreddo is a very particular ice cream prepared in the western part of Sicily. Literally in Italian these are two separate adjectives that mean hot (caldo) and cold (freddo), so it would be just like saying "hotcold".

Sicilian muffin

This delicious bread is called muffulettu it's usually is made during the fall near St. Mar tin's day when as the saying goes tutto il mosto diventa vino or all the juice becomes wine.  My friend at my favorite supermarket here, bakes them all yera long but only an Saturdays so naturally I avail myself of this pleasure.  The Sicilian word muffulettu must be related to the English word muffin. There  are many English-isms in Sicilian. For example, this wonderful language, just like  English lacks the superlative. In Italian the superlative of bello is bellissimo in english in order to state this concept one must say very beautiful. In Sicilian one must say veru beddu. Interesting linguistic similarities.
At any rate, aside from the language lesson, this soft bread is made with a dough that has wild fennel seeds mixed in. One dresses it with slices of Sicilian caciocalallo similar in a way to provolone, salted sardines and olive oil. It is a wonderful snack. Ricotta may be added but then no sardines.
BTW, what in the English speaking world is known as italics, in Italian it is known as inglesismi. Go figure.

Candid portraits / Leica M-4


This follows on the heels of the previous post that dealt with my favorite way to shoot people, that is the close and personal approach. Of course, this method is not suitable all the times. A more direct approach is needed, a longer lens may be required but not a super long one, and the subject doesn't know that he is being photographed. I could say he or she but I despise this butchery of English so fashionable these days. Enough with the language digression and back to photography. These photos taken at two different occasions, both with Tri-X and with the Leitz 90 mm Tele Elmarit F2.8, show the validity of this approach. I still do not like photo sniping. The Leica with it's lack of a return mirror and as a result a very quiet shutter was ideal in these situations. I would keep the exposure ready set so that focusing and composition were my only concerns. It sounds easy but it had it's moments.  I take umbrage at the so called  photographers who sort of hide with their long  auto focus zooms and attempt street photography. They are really cowards.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Important firmware update news

Nikon has updated the firmware of its D4 professional SLR to version 1.02, allowing more-vivid display of images shot in the Adobe RGB colour space, improving the stability of FTP upload connections and fixing various other minor issues. Meanwhile Sigma has released firmware updates for its SD1 and SD1 Merrill SLRs (versions 1.07 and 1.02 respectively), both of which promise to improve startup times, allow a dedicated flash to be used in manual mode with mirror lockup, and fix various bugs.

Go to the respective sites to start downloading.

Pesche turche

These gorgeous peaches are known here as Turkish Peaches, that is because they have a very deep color that appears to almost go black. The very deep purple eggplants are also called Turkish. I know that in our poisoned politically correct language and new age  world this is not acceptable. Here such innocuous names are still allowed because people re a little bit smarter and do not take such nonsense seriously. At any rate, these are truly delicious and they were just picked.

Happy Friday / Buon venerdi'

Candid portraits / Canon FT


There's nothing like a nice candid portrait one when people know you are shooting but will not pose for you. This can only take place after some engagement with the subject, that is making the subject comfortable by having a conversation. 

Of course in looking at the date of these photos I must wonder what happened to these people. Photography in it's ability to freeze a moment in time is rather uncanny.

The portrait of the old fisherman making "nasse" or traps was originally shot on Agfachrome but the colors faded so i converted it to back and white while the shot of the young lady was shot on Plus X. The lens was the Canon 50 mm F 1.4 FL, a superb optic.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Have a wonderul Thursday / Abbiate un bellissimo giovedi'

More from Baltimore



Shot with the E PL-2 and the 9-18mm Zuiko lens that due to the 2X crop factor gives a naximun wide angle of 18 degrees. Not too shabby, It;s also a very sharp lens.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July Fourth, 2012


This flag a facsimile of the one that flew here in Forth McHenry in Baltimore harbor during the war of 1812. It inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Sat Spangled Banner. It's a wonderful place to visit.
The fireworks are actually from Sicily. Here everyone loves America.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Have a beautiful Tuesday / Abbiate un bellissimo martedi'

Riserva naturale Lo Zingaro [pat 1]



Because of its "old" history the hand of man is always visible in Italy; ergo there are very few places that one could call wilderness. In the Abbruzzi region there's a national park resembling the American ones but much smaller in area. In Sicily where history dates even further, one cannot escape reminders that man was here. There are exceptions albeit in a smaller scale. One is la Riserva Naturale Lo Zingaro. these inlets used to be used by fisherman and very few people ever went there. Living in an island in the midst of the Mediterranean, Sicilians' attitute toward the sea is a complex one. Quasimodo, the Sicilian poet who won the Nobel price for literature in 1959 stated that Sicilians are islands living in an island. The historian Santi Corrente points out that traditionally Sicilians disliked the sea and shunned it because it was the source of all misfortunes. All 14 invasions came by sea. Up to the fifties, the sea was not valued as an aesthetic value and very few houses were close to the sea. Of course,  towns and cities on the sea abounded but even there the population used the sea only commercially. Things have changed and now anything remotely close to the sea has an astronomical value. Ergo we come to this riserva that tries to protect a piece of nature from speculation and over development. Of course Italians are masters at speculation.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gelsi neri / black mulberries

These are not your ordinary dark red mulberries seen in the states. Those are deemed wild and saccharine; instead we have berries with a tart but delicious flavor that are much bigger. Incredibly refreshing in the morning and must I  mention that they are very rich in antioxidants? Those poor free radicals do not stand a chance against these fruits. They sort of look like blackberries but they are not

Have a beautiful week / Vi auguriamo una bellissima settimana

Hello from Castellammare del Golfo



There's  no place like it and when I get bored reading and eating the great food, I just take a walk with the Olympus E PL-2 and all is solved. These photos of early afternoon were shot with the 9-18mm Zuiko, a  really wonderful lens.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Have a beautiful Sundayy / Abbiate una bellissima domenica

Simple portraits


The whole idea of a good portrait is simple but effective lighting. We are all trying to emulate window light from a Northern exposure if one lives in the Northern Hemisphere that is. In any case I abhor portraits with many lights. There's a key light, a hair light and so on. In nature these do not exist and in a portrait they create distractions. In order for the character of a subject to come out, the light must help no hinder the process, ergo I go for a simple umbrella and a reflector to light up the parts that are not getting the light. Simple but, I feel, very effective.

The two photos were shot with a Nikon F and the Nikkor 105 F 2.5 on Plus-X film.