Saturday, August 18, 2012

Have a tranquil Sundayy / Abbiate una domenica tranquilla

Lu scaru, my favorite place

Lu scaru di Pitrolu, the farmers market closest to my home, in Piazza Petrolo, is my favorite place in Castellammare. When I enter any  fruit store I fee like a child in a toy shop. Ergo, when I enter lu scaru, Sicilian for market, I get totally carried away, usually buying much more than I need. The freshness of the produce is guaranteed since farmers bring it early each morning.  Different shape baskets are used to keep track of whose produce is  being sold.  For example, the tomatoes in the photo are heart shaped, but others are round or square. Some produce is simply resold by the scaru's owner. Unlike American farmers markets where the prices are at a premium, here this is really the cheapest  and best place for produce. The unfortunate event this year is the generally poor shape of the late summer eggplants. It's been too hot and dry so they  are smaller and their outside skin shows some signs of "burning." They are delicious anyway  as Sicily produces the best eggplants in the planet.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Scopello, a tiny theme park of sorts

Scopello, once a sleepy town west of Castellammare and part of it's territory, was known for it's spectacular view of the sea and large  boulders or faraglioni  that rivaled those of Capri, for it's tonnara or tuna fishing fleet and for it's baglio, a medieval enclave with a main arched entrance and contiguous houses whose entrances all faced the inside. The lord would live in the  largest structure usually a multi storey edifice above the main archway.
Outside the baglio there's a public fountain and watering pool for animals whose water is renown for it's great taste. With  the passage of time the in area around the baglio a series of narrow streets
eventually grew and a small town was created. 
Up to about 30 or so years ago, Scopello  still offered a kind or authenticity or realness. Sadly it has all changed. The inside of the baglio teems withy  cafes, restaurants and gift shops; it's roads are littered tith tourist signs and ads for all sort of summer products and the small streets have become
quaint in an offensive artificial manner. There's even a supermarket.  It's not real anymore it is as "real" as as any tourist places in the world that try to re create something that never was. I find it very disappointing whenever I go there. It's sad that Italy is betting it's future on it's past but in the end the country is becoming sort of huge theme park.

Have a wonderful Saturday / Buon sabato a tutti

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Have a rosy week end / Vi auguriamo una fine di settimana rosea

When one photo is enough

Sometimes one photo is sufficient as a daily post. This one, if I may put my modesty aside, is such a photo. Shot in Tangiers a while back with a Leica M-4 and the 35mm Summicron F2, on T-Max 100 and developed on T-Max developer full strength. I just love the whole composition. And that dog, really nice.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Candid portraits

The art of the candid portrait is a simple one but one that requires the ability to capture the image at the so called decisive moment. The term has almost become cliche but it is very useful.  It requires the  eye to see the final image and the instinct to press the shutter at the right moment to get to the image that one has  pre-visualized. Not as easy as it sounds and this really separates the good from the great photos. I'm in no way stating that the photos posted are great, this is a judgement that only the beholder can make, I'm only using them as examples. All were taken with one flash on a bracket that places the light in the center of the field of vision but above the subject as to avoid shadows and  the nasty red eye effect.
Have a wonderful Thursday / Buon giovedi'

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Wednesday / Buon mercoledi

La fontana d'Aretusa

The Aretusa fountain in Ortigia, the original and oldest  part of Siracusa is a fresh water fed pool right next to the sea.  Papyrus grows there in abundance. It has fascinated for centuries. This is of Course the original Syracuse that once was more important than Rome and challenged Athens for supremacy in the Greek world. The decline of the Peloponnese dominance began when Athens, the most powerful Greek city state unsuccessfully waged war to Syracuse at around 440 BC. Syracuse victory and supremacy was short lived as after the Punic wars and with  the intrigues with Carthage that led to these, Sicily became the first Province of Rome. It was the beginning of a period of brutal and barbaric treatment at the  hands of the Romans who robbed, pillages and exploited the Island making it it's main source of grain. Being not a Hellenized  people these conquerors can be called barbarians using the Greek origins and usage of the term. The Romans still rule today but instead of barbarism, they use inefficiency,  political corruption and utter  administrative incompetence to detriment of Sicily and to a lesser extent, the rest of Italy. If you add the excessive intrusion of the Roman Church, you begin to appreciate the sorry mess that we Sicilians are in.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy Tuesday / buon martedi'

There's always Venice

It gets hard sometimes to post ever new images especially when I an vacation and really do not like to shoot too many pictures. I rather cook and eat great food. Ergo at times I must ask the visitor to be patient with me if some images have been posted. Nevertheless, I think that these are of some interest. They were all shot with the Canon 5D and the 24-105 Fl L. A great combination but one that it's too cumbersome as a travel kit. I prefer to go light and be as unobtrusive as I can,

Great news

If you ever had card failure, these cards should be a welcome relief.

Panasonic's New Cards are Designed to Take a Beating and keep on registering data safely.

Panasonic-lifeproof-SD.jpgWeatherproof, shockproof, and even stupid proof,  digital cameras  are now aimed at outdoorsy and sporty folks.  Now Panasonic is   making  a new line of ultra-tough memory cards for these cameras and for all cameras so we may all rest easier.
There are  two different series of these cards: the  the SDAB, which only offers capacities up to 32GB, but offers read/write speeds of up to 95/80MB/s, and  the SDUB, that reaches 64GB, but only a 90/45MB/s read/write speed. Both series of cards will be on sale in Japan starting September 8th. There's no word yet on a worldwide release date. Wellcome, we really need you.

Red plums

Just picked these up at the local farmers market. Never mind the sublime flavor, I just love their color. Just want to share them with you, photographically, that is.

Most streets lead to the sea

Here in Castellammare, most streets eventually lead down to the sea. Today this beautiful natural patrimony is appreciated and exploited for tourism and  general good living such as pleasure boats, fancy cafes and restaurants. It wasn't always so, however. The Sicilian, who according to Quasimodo, the poet who won the Nobel price for literature on 1959, and himself Sicilian, is an island inside an island,  and never looked at the sea with pleasure as it was the source of most tragedies. Putting aside the natural disasters caused by the sea to fishermen and others, the sea was the harbinger of invasions, pirates, and other deplorable events and outrages. As a result, a sort of ambivalence  and a sort of love hate relationship developed. Today of course the sea is seen as a great natural treasure and the source of wealth, although it is not yet fully protected environmentally as is should be, but things are improving along these lines.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Have a beautiful week / Abbiate una bellissima settimana


Once the sewer outlet for the town, Petrolo has become one of the nicest and fun places around. New bars are always opening and new lidos are on the beach part. Young people dance the night away on the beach.