Saturday, January 26, 2013

Venice, people shots

It's easy to get attracted by the great architecture of Venice but there's a trove of great photo ops by observing people. Here a re a few such photos. These were shots on various trips there.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Some take it too far

I actually agree. This is quite an annoying trend but it can also be a result of food becoming almost to pretty to eat,

Food Photography Being Banned from Some High-End Restaurants

Food!.jpg Whether it's a friend, family member or even yourself, we all know someone that's obsessed with taking pictures of the food they're about to eat. Most folks are content with a quick iPhone shot, but others, according to some high-end New York restaurants, take it too far.

People are using flashes, bringing Gorillapods and even standing on their chairs for the perfect shot, which interrupts the eating experiences of those around them. Considering that many of these restaurants charge over $150 per person and seat under 20, people expect a certain amount of ambience. "It's a disaster in terms of momentum, settling into the meal, the great conversation that develops," says chef David Bouley. "It's hard to build a memorable evening when flashes are flying every six minutes.

Erice, back streets

Erice, that wonderful hilltop town overlooking Trapani  smack at the north west corner of Sicily, is usually very hectic when one stays on the main streets. However, one is never far from the less frequented alleys where peace and quiet reign. Walking here is very peaceful and rewarding. These recent photos were shot with the E Pl-2.

Can't get enough of this place

I hope you can bare with me and don't get bored of the images of my beloved birthplace. I just love it.
This shot of the tourist marina with the castle in the background was just shot with the LX-7 pot on the vivid setting thus creating a more contrasty image, The time was shortly after sunset.

Risotto, local style

This very simple comfort and cucina povera  food is now called risotto but it differs much from the traditional Milanese risotti as it's very simple and has no meat or chicken broth. I cooked the cauliflower in olive oil,  peeled and  then crushed tomatoes, and garlic. Sea salt and black pepper  was added to taste. This is the classic affogato recipe that here in Castellammare we used to call brocculu pisciatu that means "pissed on cauliflower." Please do not ask why. I cooked the rice al dente and then added it to the cauliflower. It was served with local incanestrato, the Sicilan version of pecorino cheese that has a tangier, fuller taste. Simplicity in itself and great for a rainy wintry evening supper.

Stockphoto Alamy will allow mobile phone photos now

I have written about the changes in photography many times before. I thought these changes were at first sort of wild predictions but I am amazed as how fast the photo scene is changing.
Rescinding its previous blanket ban against all mobile photography, international stock photo agency Alamy has announced that it will now allow images taken on mobile devices in its Live News service. To be accepted into Live News, Alamy has stated that smartphone images must have news, sports or entertainment value. And in case you were wondering, 'Instagram-style filters' are not allowed. Click through for the full story on

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fooling around with high saturation

I rarely use the Photoshop tools that can change an image drastically. Being a "classical" photographer, I believe in taking the shot at the decisive moment. Any fixing up is done to improve the original image idea. But these are times when I like to "fool around" with judicious amounts of saturation or color balance to get something that wasn't envisioned at the time the shutter button was pressed. I do not do this often but it can give some interesting results. You be the judge.

Obviously these images were shot in Venice.

The angry sea

The sea has been rough due to the extreme winds. Here the waves can be seen goung over the sea barrier that protects the marina.

Pane con olive

This delicious olive bread is from a local wood fired bakery abd I bought in a supermarket. Wonderful. This is not becoming a food blog, All these photos are being shot hand hald with just
room light. The LX-7 has an uncanny ability to get the light balance right, All shot on auto white balance,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A touch of summer

These photos date from the summer of 2004 and were shot with the Olympus D-300, a very nice camera.

News fron Nikon

Frankly I do not like all this sharing and uploading. But it's the new reality.

Nikon Renames my Picturetown and Revamps the Service. The old name was really silly.

Nikon-Image-Space.jpgNikon's photo sharing site, formerly known as my Picturetown, has been revamped to have greater appeal to photographers. It's also been renamed to Nikon Image Space, which we'll definitely call a dramatic improvement.

Nikon Image Space gives you 2GB of free online storage for your photos and allows you to upgrade to 20GB for free after verifying that you're using a Nikon camera. The 20GB account also garners special privileges such as the ability to require a password for shared images.

The revamp of the site not only makes the presentation of photos more attractive, but offers faster processing, faster response times for editing images as well as faster uploads and downloads.

The new site launches on January 28th at

Winter scene

I realize that here in Sicily we are spoiled about the weather and everyone complaints. This January has been nasty but only rain and nor really very cold weather. The fields are all green and full of wild flowers, It's really beautiful.

Ready to eat

The finished artichoke dish. Delicious.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fisherman at the marina / Canon 30-D

Shot in early evening as this fisherman is about to go out. The place is Castellammare del Golfo in August of 2007.

Ricotta al forno

This is baked ricotta, a delicacy here and especially good at this rime of the year when the ricotta is at it's best. The ricotta here is naturally made from sheep's milk.

Micro four thirds keeps on growing

I must admit that I was very skeptical of the future what essentially  is a classic half frame system.  This was when more and more pixels seemed to be the rage. With the recent changes and improvements in phones and small cameras, this format looks very respectable. Of course there will always be medium format and full frame adherents as in the old film days when some shot with 8X10 view cameras, Nevertheless, in view of the phenomenal results I have achieved with my E PL-2, I can personally attest to the excellent quality that this format is capable of achieving.

Press Release:

Blackmagic Design Pty. Ltd., JK Imaging Ltd., PHOTRON LIMITED, SVS-VISTEK GmbH and ViewPLUS Inc. join the Micro Four Thirds System Standard Group

Olympus Imaging Corp. and Panasonic Corporation jointly announced the Micro Four Thirds System standard in 2008 and have since been working together to promote the standard. Now we are pleased to announce that five more companies have recently declared their support for the standard and will be introducing products compliant with the Micro Four Thirds System standard.
Blackmagic Design Pty. Ltd., one of the world's leading innovators and manufacturers of creative video technology; JK Imaging Ltd., new representative for the world-famous "KODAK" branded cameras; PHOTRON LIMITED, the world's leading manufacturer of high speed digital imaging systems; SVS-VISTEK GmbH, an innovative company that develops professional machine vision components and systems and ViewPLUS Inc., a developer of advanced imaging-related equipment. With the addition of exciting new products from these companies, the Micro Four Thirds lineup will become much more diverse, further increasing the potential of this advanced digital imaging system.
As the company responsible for initiating both the Four Thirds System and Micro Four Thirds System standards, Olympus Imaging Corp. will continue to develop and enhance the product lineup for both standards to meet the diverse needs of our customers.

Blackmagic Design Pty. Ltd. :

An Australian company established in 1984 that manufactures high quality electronic equipment for broadcast and video production.
Blackmagic Design Pty. Ltd. Website :

JK Imaging Ltd. :

An American company established in 2012, and the recently announced brand licensee for "KODAK" branded cameras, pico projectors and other digital imaging products.
JK Imaging Ltd. Website :


A Japanese company established in 1968 that provides manufacturing, sales and service of professional film and video equipment and photo- instrumentation.


A German company established in 2001 that develops, manufactures and distributes professional machine vision components and systems.
SVS-VISTEK GmbH Website :

ViewPLUS Inc. :

A Japanese company established in 1998 that provides video equipment and the solutions which link communication and image processing as well as sensing technology.
ViewPLUS Inc. Website :


These fabulous  Sicilian artichokes purchased at the farmers maker here will be cooked with garlic and parsley in a little water. Their tops that are very spiny and almost dangerous will be cut down and they will be stuffed with bread crumbs, olive oil, pieces of parsley and garlic with sea salt from near by Trapani and black pepper. I will post  a photo of the cooked ones.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Urban abstractions

There are photos everywhere if one sees them. Just walking around with my LX-7 here in my Castellammare. These are taken off old buildings that will soon be gone.

Is there a more magical place in New York?

 You tell me. As for myself, I believe that the Brooklyn Botanic Garden [these photos are shot in the Japanese Garden] is the most beautiful place in the whole city. It's just wonderful. These shots were taken with the Canon D-30 and the 16-35 F 2,8 L lens. Something to warm you up on a winter day.

Balcony / Panasonic LX-7

This is the house where aunt Terina Lived. It is now rented out to newly settled immigrants from North Africa.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wonderful Burano

No trip to Venice is complete without an excursion to Murano and Burano two wonderful islands that are easily reached with the Vaporetto service. While Murano is famous for it's glass making,  Burano is known for its colorful houses that have the most varied and bright colors.

These were shot with the Canon 5-D and the 24-105 F 4 L lens. A great optic but really too big and too conspicuous in calling attention to itself. I now favor smaller cameras when I travel.

Quiet town

This place is so quiet at this time of the year that at times one feels very lonely. But what can I do, The food is wonderful and so is the espresso and cappuccino. The countryside all green and full of flowers.