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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I love this city

Dig we must was the ancient motto of Con Edison.  And so I must dig and as I do, I come across interesting photos that thanks to my system of backing up are still around after countless changes in computer systems with their concomitant crashes and other delights. Remember the three B's: backup, backup, backup...Well you get the picture. When we take a photo these days we are left with only a string of ones and zeros that have no physical reality. So take care not to lose these strings otherwise there are no pictures.
This shot dates from 2005 and was shot with the Canon 10 D and the 16-5 Canon F4 L lens.

Greetings from a snowy New York City

My gorgeous Charlie enjoying the snow. At least he likes it; I surely don't. Nevertheless, I want to share this photo of my dog and send warm greetings to all my followers. Thanks for stopping by. man it's cold outside.

Good news for Micro Four Thirds fans

Based in Hong Kong,  lens maker SLR Magic has just announced an addition to its family of video-centric manual focus lenses. A fast primes for Micro Four Thirds. The 17mm T1.6 offers an angle of view equivalent to 34mm on full frame, and has geared focus and aperture rings. It will be available at the end of December 2013. This does not preclude use as a still camera lens and with the fast aperture t will go far in making those neat out of focus background possible.
The Micro Four Thirds keeps on getting better and more important all the time. It's my favorite system for light and unobtrusive cameras. That do not get in the way of the picture; they do not call attention to themselves of to the photographer.

Great shots from Marcy

My dear and lovely wife of countless years, Marcy, up for fast track canonization while still alive, is not only a rare person but a very talented one. She sort of keeps her photos secret and on her cards but whenever I find some I am amazed. Of course I am not surprised as I ahve always known that she takes wonderful photos and have always tried to encourage to keep on shooting. I have posted many of her images.
These were shot in Burano, an island near Venice  and on our last trip there in April of 2011. It's been too long and hopefully, this will be remedied this  coming spring.
I just love these images that are not the so called "serious" ones that have more pretense than content. These are just plain nice images that are not as simple as they appear with a cursory look. Just great and I am very proud. Look at the composition, slowly.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Available soon

Tamron has just announced the availability of the SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD tele - zoom that  will go on sale on December 19th in Japan, and  January 17th 2014 in the USA. The lens sports optical image stabilization and an Ultrasonic Silent Drive auto focus motor, and can be used with both full frame and APS-C SLRs. Initially it will be available  in Canon mount, with Nikon and Sony versions to follow. The irice is still up in the air. It looks like a nice lens and the range is really useful.

Thinking of flowers

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Have a delightful new week

Noto then and now

Noto in 1972, Kodachrome II scan

This superb town in Eastern Sicily has had it's ups and downs. Totally destroyed in a massive earthquake in 1600, it was rebuilt in the then fashionable Baroque style. As time passed, the area lost it's splendor and up to the mid seventies it was almost uninhibited. We passed through there in the summer of 1972 on our way to Siracusa and took very few photos. The place was spooky. We returned in the summer of 2011 to find one of the most vibrant places anywhere. Totally renovated to it's glorious style, it is now  one of  Sicily's premiere tourist attractions. A must visit. The restaurants are considered  among Italy's best.