Saturday, November 3, 2012

Places I remember from long ago

My old school house now a summer residence for tourists. There are many new schools now.

The villa or park where I played and looked at the marina

My cousins' old school house now  houses some municipal offices
The photos posted are very personal and are part of my fondest childhood memories. I had a very cere free and happy childhood at a time when life was easier on a child. We actually made our own toys and in the summer, my cousin and I would roam freely in the countryside looking for the earliest grapes that had ripened or the tastiest apricots,  peaches, nectarines, cactus pears,  figs or sorb apples among the multitude of, fruits that were available many in other people's properties. But everyone knew our grandfather so no one really objected. If I only had a camera then!  This idyll suddenly ended upon my departure for the states where I suddenly lost this happy state of childhood. But I do not complain as I love the  United States but I really dislike being away from Sicily.
Have a great Sunday

Panorama of Castellammare del Golfo

These shots are from inside the castle and provide an unusually high angle of view.

Travel Photography

As you can tell from my photos, you realize that I have traveled extensively. I began with carrying two cameras with multiple formats and over 100 rolls of film, both color slides, and Black and white in 135 and 120 formats and have now realized the wisdom of traveling light. As I peruse the many photo sites and blogs, the fora always are replete with questions as to what kind of equipment to take on trips. Most replies, probably from people who have never traveled, advice to take a full complement of lenses. The person asking usually lists all the equipment that he own [trying to impress] and his typical question usually goes like this: I will be going to Paris in July what camera and lenses should I take. If this is a Canon forum, the replies will usually go like this: Take the 1DS II with the 24-105 F4 L and your 70-200 F2.8 L and also take your 16-35 F2,8 L. And do not forget your 50mm F1.4 prime . This is a ridiculous reply ignores the fact that the weight of this combination is way more that is allowed as carry on these days. Such a combination, with another camera and flash equipment would be recommendable to a pro on assignment but is totally ridiculous for a tourist. Besides the fact that there are serious security concerns these days that did not exist in the past, taking all this equipment will spoil your vacation.
It will get in the way of having a good time. A lighter camera with only the 24-1-5 f4 L would make more sense but this also can create problems. This past April I took my Canon 5D to Italy with only the 24-105 f4 L. I found it too obtrusive and I hardly used it. Too big, too noticeable. The whole idea of a trip is to have a good time, to enjoy the feeling of a place and savor it's foods and other delicacies. Taking along all this equipment can only get in the way. Fumbling in your bag to change lenses and constantly changing lenses  gets tedious; not to mention that you must take all the equipment with you when you leave your hotel.
With so many great small cameras around who needs a large DSLR when one is on vacation.
In 2008, I took the G-9 In may and August to Italy, In 2009, I took the fabulous Panasonic LX-3 but my daughter commandeered it. I will take a Canon G-10 to Italy in late July. When I return, I will give it to one of my sons who needs it for his real estate business. I will travel light and have no worry about cameras. After all who needs to take photos when one can eat all that great food.
The past two years I have used exclusively the Olympus D PL-2 and I absolutely love it, It's kit lens is light and very good and the images are superb.

Congratulations to SONY

TIME Magazine has included the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 in its list of the 50 'best inventions' of 2012. TIME's Techlands blog called the RX100 a 'huge leap' in the trend towards smaller and more capable digital cameras, thanks to its 'innovative design and 1-in sensor'. The list of 50 inventions is organized by cost, from 'priceless' up to '2.5 billion' and also includes self-inflating tires, the Curiosity Mars rover, and LiquiGlide, a microscopic non-slip coating. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Have a great Sarurday

Shot of Castellammare though curtain from inside the castle

The castle, interiors

The castle from which Castellammare del Golfo gets his name is an Arab-Norman structure that dates back to the 11th century. It's the pride of the town but for centuries it was used for uses other than defense. At a point and really up to recently, it was privately owned as a mere property. I remember many years ago visiting it with my young daughter Jennifer and my ubcle had to borrow the key from a person who lined near by. This was in 1990, I believe, Well things have changed quite radically and the castle. lu casteddu, in our language or il castello in that foreign language, Italian. The castle has become the focal point of the town's rebirth as a tourist center and  has several interesting museums and exhibits but it's main attraction is that phenomenal spiral staircase made of stone. Admission is free and it's a must place to visit.

Pasta e fagioli

Yes indeed that staple of Italian winters. Just wonderful when cooked with the products we have in Sicily. BTW, my neighbor just brought me a bottle of freshly pressed olive oil. It give new meaning to the words extra virgin.

News from Epson

4X6 photos in 10 seconds. wow!

The New Epson  XP-850 Small-All In-One Printer

It was just a short time ago that  were amazed that we could print  decent photos at home, but today we expect a lot from our printers. The new XP-850 satisfies this need and puts out.

The XP-850 prints with Claria Photo HD six-color inks to give more accurate and more pleasant colors. It can print a 4x6 photo in 10 seconds and because of  a dedicated photo tray, direct CD/DVD printing and more. It almost makes coffee.

If you want to print from your smartphone or tablet you can do that too - wireless capabilities allow printing directly from your device with no need for messy cords. You  automatically photo correct    right from the printer.

The XP-850 will be out this month (November, 2012) at a price of $299 USD. Check out the Epson website for more details.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Have a bright new week

La Plaja beach in Castellammare in July

Lonely town

Once Castellammare had a population of about 24 thousand people but with emigration and low fertility rate, it has now about 15 thousand inhabitants. In the summer, the population reaches about 80 thousand and the place really rocks. But when  the great part of the tourists leave with only a handful of more adventurous remaining and with a large part of the population living in modern elevator apartments at the outskirts, the centro storico or the old part get really lonely at times. I live in this old area and really do enjoy the peace and quiet. Of course the tourists begin to come  again back like the swallows  every spring and the place gets crazy once more,

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Have a lovely Thursday

Castellammare del Golfo, last bridge connecting the old castle area to the tow. It's simply knonw as il ponte, the bridge.

Old archways

The older part of Castellammare, the one nearest to the castle, has many old archways. They can make nice shots.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween

We wish you a happy and healthy Halloween.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Have a colorful Tuesday

Quaint steets

As I await news of gloom and doom regarding the hurricane that is about to hit New York, I can only hope for the best. Taking the camera along my walks helps to calm me down. Here are some quaint streets of Castellammare. The place is all but empty of tourists now although this past Friday some were swimming in the sea. t is interesting to see tourists walk in shorts and short sleeves while the natives are wearing jackets and sweaters. After all it's the end of October and one must dress seasonally.

As we were just saying....

It's happening so fast it's incredible

Beamr app shares full-res iPhone images in magazine format

Send your favorite iPhone images in full-resolution with Beamr by using the same technology employed by JPEGmini to optimize JPEG compression.
We’re noticing a new trend in photography-related apps lately as app makers seem keen to help us share our images with one another in new and interesting ways.
Beamr is amongst the latest in this genre, uniquely packaging your iPhone and iPad images into a digital magazine-style format for sharing via links sent through email, Facebook or Twitter. But what’s truly interesting is that images are sent at full-resolution, up to 28 megapixels (or 10 megabytes) each.
Just released in the Apple App Store today for free, we’ve had a chance to play with Beamr over the past week. The concept is simple: select your images (from the Camera Roll only – that means no folders and lots and lots of scrolling if your Camera Roll library is extensive), select a cover image, edit the cover title and copy, then share your creation. Layout is automatic and can’t be modified; instead, the final layout is determined by the device used to view the magazine. The web link to your Beamr magazine includes a Download Photos button for full-size download of all images at once via zip file.
Choose images from your Camera Roll ...
select a cover image ...
edit the title and other copy ...
and share your digital magazine via email, Facebook or Twitter.
Cutesy magazine format aside, the technology behind Beamr is exciting. While most applications reduce resolution and file size during sharing or upload, Beamr uses the same technology as JPEGmini, designed to optimize JPEG compression. Both products were developed by Israeli technology company ICVT. The company's JPEGMini system analyzes each image to assess the maximum compression that can be applied to an image without loss of perceptible quality.
“It’s image science technology, but we wrapped it in a mass market format,” explained Beamr CTO Dror Gill when we recently interviewed him about the new app.
Gill estimates transmission speeds are three times faster than any other method, pointing out that this also saves on data usage and battery life.
And though transmitting files up to 28MP is impressive, Gill says the technology could accommodate up to 50MP files. Which has us hoping the company will consider further mobile applications geared more toward the professional photographer in the future.
 Need we say more?

Just as predicted.......

I have posted for some time now that photography as we know it id dying. I didn't realize that it's passing would be coming so soon. We were all surprised of the speed that digital supplanted film and now this. Progress, that's what it's called and  it's inexorable march cannot be stopped.

Canon Sees Reduced Sales Because of Increased Smartphone Usage

CanonvsSmartphone.gifIt's easy to see that smartphones are taking over as entry-level cameras. They may  or may not take the same photos that a good point-and-shoot can, but the ability to share instantly with friends and use Instagram filters gives them a great deal more appeal to many consumers. Combine that with the need to only carry one item, and the results are obvious.

Canon says that this change is impacting their sales and has just lowered its forecast for the year, now expecting a drop in both compact and DSLR models. In total, they've cut 6.4 percent from their estimated income. That is not a small or insignificant figure.

Canon also says that social unrest in China has caused  problems in terms of sales, reducing income from China notably. Stay tuned.



Merenda means an afternoon snack and what better merenda than one made with olive bread and salame ungherese, a very lean salami sold in Italy but probably unknown in Hungary the source of it's name  not unlike names like New York strip steak etc. Needless to say  this makes for a very tasty panino. Yes panino and not panini that is it's the plural. Salami is also wrong as it should really be salame or cannoli that should be cannolo..But the most egregious of all is concertos instead of concerti but I digress....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Have a perfect week

Nikon D-200

Lu finistruni

Stately balcony in a newly restored home

Balconies covered with jasmine  that blooms here practically all year long

Traditional balcony in the corso or main street

Balcony that is very useful
Lu finistruni, Silcilian for il balcone or the balcony, is an indispensable part of any home or apartment here, It is absolutely necessary and with the weather here very useful. The word actually means large window from the word finestra.  he word defenestrate, throwing someone out of a window comes from finestra, naturally.  These come in all shapes and forms as we shall note in these photos.

This baby rocks and look no silly pop up flash

Canon EOS 6D,  a First Look


Billes as  the smallest full-frame dSLR on the camera market, Canon's EOS 6D is a step up from the Canon 5D Mark II, but not quite at the level of the Canon 5D Mark III. The 6D dSLR utilizes Canon's DIGIC 5+ Image Processor and offers a 20.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor. In addition, the 6D offers a 3.0-inch, 1.04 million dot LCD display with a viewing angle of 170 degrees.

Very important these days, the Canon EOS 6D includes built-in Wi-Fi using a wireless transmitter within the camera. When connected to Wi-Fi, the 6D can transmit photos and video to social networking sites like Facebook or devices like smartphones and laptops. In addition, media can be transmitted between compatible PowerShot cameras. Another wireless function allows the camera to be controlled through an application on a tablet or smartphone, ideal for taking photos remotely. 

There are also GPS  built in  the 6D eliminating the need of  an add-on, external device. The built-in GPS receiver records longitude, latitude and elevation as well as EXIF data for geo-tagging while shooting. When photos are uploaded to social networks, the location data can be included to mark the spot where the photo was originally taken. The images can be uploaded to a site so the costumer may have the photos ASAP.

Regarding video recording, the 6D can record in both NTSC and PAL video modes at 1080p, 720p or standard resolution. ISO capabilities range from 100-25600 and the Canon Auto Focus system includes a newly-developed 11-point AF sensor. Moving away from Compact Flash, the Canon 6D is compatible with SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards as well as Ultra High Speed (UHS-I) cards.
And nicest of all it doesn't  have a silly pop up flash making it a more serious camera.


Olympus E PL-2
This is a seasonally appropriate minestra or thick soup and in this case it's a minestra di fave e burragini or fava beans and borrage soup. It's very simply yet tasty and hearty. Nice on a fall day.