Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Winter's blues, Saint Stephen's Day


Here in Castellammare del Golfo, Santo Stefano or  Saint Stephen's day is one of total rest.  After all one has to digest all the great food eaten on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day. The town is completely closed. All stores excluding the farmacia di turno, or the pharmacy whose turn it is to stay open, are shut down. It's very strange. This year this feeling of desolation was augmented by a gray and inclement day.  Things did pick up on Friday the 27th, however.
These photo were shot in Piazza Petrolo.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Nave a sweet New Year's Eve. All the best.

So, what else is new?

Digital Camera Sales Drop. Smartphones to Blame? Perhaps

According to Reuters, as reported in  the New York Times, compact digital camera sales are down by an incredible 40 percent. Some of better known brands such as Panasonic, Olympus and Fujiflim -- are actually losing money on their camera divisions. And the bad news continues. Sales for mirrorless cameras, which are mid-tier cameras halfway between compact point-and-shoots and mirrored DSLRS, are also so,so, making up only 10.5 percent of interchangeable lens camera sales in the US (and 11.2 percent in Europe): this despite doing quite well in Japan, where they make up 36 percent of ILC sales. We have bee saying that the end of the traditional camera is near but we are always surprised at the rate of change. As we have said many times prior to this announcement, the big cameras are really only to show off. We still believe that the "serious photographer, so to speak will ultimately embrace the mirrorless micro four thirds system as the new high end.  Technology  marches on and there's nothing anyone can do about it. We believe that "real photography" is actually dead and buried. It's just too easy to take a mediocre photo these days and as for the great ones they are so rare that we always wonder why anyone would bother making "photographs" at all. Why photograph, what does it all mean?
Perhaps taking up real good cooking is much better at least you can eat the results of your creativity.

A milestone of sorts

I just realized that the blog reached 100.000 page views. This is really sort of a milestone. When I began, a few years ago, the hits were few but slowly a loyal following developed. I could never imagine having so many visits. I want to thank all of you who take the time to visit this blog that is  really a labor of love. All the best and happy new year.

Parting shot

I have recently left my beloved Castellammare but will soon return. Cannot stay away. This night shot was made with the Lumix GX-1.
This is a very competent travel and all around camera that will not get in your way.

Have a happy week

May you bee as happy as these children.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Blades of grass

It's all in  the timing and the light. Much it actually takes place without any input by the photographer whose sole ability is seeing and capturing the moment. It'd really that easy. These two images were shot in Scopello, Sicily while I was photographing the obvious that  is the famous scogli or sea boulders, i noticed these grasses with the dying sun playing a magical game. I took the shots, only these two; I hope you like them.

This one can stand alone

One of my all time favorite photos. Shot in June of 1975 on Kodachrome 64 and scanned.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Little girl in white dress

This cute little girl was photographed  about 10 yearsago with a Fuji S2-Pro. She was the granddaughter of  a costumer whose event I was photographing. It shows how hard it is to get the right expression before self consciousness sets in.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Music in the park / Central Park in the seventies [Part 1]

Street musicians would gather in the park. Some good, others great, while some were so so. But it didn't matter. Being there and making the scene was all that mattered. The park today is full of people using their smart phones while being totally disconnected with the reality around them.What can I say. Here are some of the great ones.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Gates

Back in central park but 3 decades later, 2005, to be precise. Here are a few images from that great and massive work of art known as the gates but which I called the curtains since the pieces all looked like shower curtains. It warmed up a very cold winter and made central Park even more magical. I just loved it.
 Only in New York.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

In Sicily, Santa really comes on a cart

This traditional Sicilian  cart was going around  today giving children and adults candies compliments of the Tropical Bar, a great caffe' in Castellammare del Golfo. It made for interesting photos. Again, happy holidays to all. Thanks for visiting and all the best.


Merry Christmas

 I just love this image. the Santa is a  a NYC fireman and the girl a consumer at a day care center run by Catholic Charities, my client, in a facility in Astoria Queens. Santa would arrive on a fire truck and the children would get very excited.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sicilian citrus fruits

They are not only delicious, but their fragrance is absolutely heavenly. Just picked oranges and tangerines, Perfect for Christmas eve.

That magical poppy flower

Shot a few summers ago at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with my old Lumix LX-3 that my daughter commandeered, these images show the delicacy of

these extraordinary flowers.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Well it's not exactly the tree at Rockefeller Center, but to me it's wonderful

This is the tree across the municipal building in Castellammare del Golfo. What makes it special, it the fact that it has also pinned as decorations, notes that school children wrote. Many are delightful. Happy holidays from my beloved place

What great times / Central Park in the seventies [Part 1]

The early seventies were magical. Everyone was "making the scene." Very Pirandellian in the way everyone was into a sort of costume and hiding their real self. These, the first of a series shot in Central Park, in New York, show what Sunday afternoons were like in that wonderful place.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Can this woman take great photos, or what.

Dating from our yearly trip to New England of 2011, these were shot by my wife Marcy whose ability to see the light as it were amaze me. She took these in Stonington, Connecticut, with the Canon G-9.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Gioia a progress report

This very special cat, rescued from  certain death three years ago, turned out to have feline HIV. We have been caring for her with much love and she is very active and healthy but most of all loving.  I had posted a report on her some time ago, so I want to state that her progress is great and that we love her very much and get a great amount of love in return. Hang in there Gioia, we are all pulling for you.

Have a beautiful new week

Friday, December 20, 2013

East 28th street in he seventies

I had a photo studio at the corner of 26th Street and Lexington Ave across the hall from the Secret Life Studio, a massage parlor, a type of institution that flourished then. We actually shared the bathroom and I have fond memories. There I actually met Gay Talese, the writer, who was doing research on one of his books. A very interesting fellow.

I used to get off the IRT subway at Park and 28th and would walk to my place. The block of 28th between Park and Lexington was very colorful and I took many slides at many times. Here are a few that I recently uncovered. They date from 1973 and were digitally copied instead of scanned. The color held very well.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

La festa di San Gennaro di New York

The old baloon man

The watcher of the money  pinned on the statue

The watermelon seller

Waiting for the next player

Players trying to beat the house
The San Gennaro's feast has become an important rite that makes New York so special. A mix of religious and hip elements make this feast a must place to visit and enjoy. These photos date from 1972 and were shot on Ektachrome that kept the colors vibrant. Because the film was for outdoor use in the daytime, there was a very noticeable red shift and two had to be converted to black and white.
When I come across such "old" images that for me were taken just yesterday, besides thinking of my rather advanced age, i wonder what has happened to the subjects. The magic of photography is that it freezes a moment in time and makes the subjects immortal, so to speak. The camera was the Leica M-4 with the Summicron 35mm F2 and I used my Weston Master V selenium light meter for the exposures. All manual and yet the results are wonderful. Photography has really become too easy these days and it's not as fun. 
Please note that historically, San Gennaro probably never existed or if he did, the "saint" part is an exaggeration. At the last vatican Council, there was an attempt to sort of demote him but the Neapolitans, whose patron saint he is, made such a fuss that he was rehabilitated. The fact that it was implied that the pope could never put foot in Naples if he didn't desist may account for the change of heart on the part of the Holy father.
Each year the blood of San Gennaro, a holy relic, "miracuously" liquefies. Naturally, it is acclaimed as a  miracle.To give this more mystery it doesn't occur every year. When it doesn't liquefy, it's a sign of bad fortune. How little has changed since the times when the Romans believed in the omens of the gods.
Another necessary religious element is the money on the statue. This usage is as canonically important as BINGO.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Looks like a beauty

Fujifilm, just love the corporate name, has added a new lens to their very popular line of retro looking, small cameras, their X series. It's the XF 10-24mm F4. This constant aperture zoom is the equivalent of a 15 to 36 mm and is perfect for dramatic wide angle shots. Go to their website for more details.

Back to Erice

I keep finding nice images of Erice, that delightful medieval town above Trapani on the north western corner of Sicily. These three are of the Castello di Venere situated at the side of the mountain on which Erice lies. It is always hard to imagine how such a structure could have been erected years ago. These photos date from 2008. This past summer, the structure was surrounded scaffolding as it's being repaired after years of benign neglect. The camera was the Canon G-9, a very competent so called point and shoot.