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The Toscano Cigars

The Toscano cigar is the original Italian cigar, manufactured in Lucca and founded in 1818 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

The cigar is made with top fermented Kentucky tobacco with some of the top types are still rolled by hand.

My Gallery at Getty Images is here

20 Things to do in Venice – 15/20 Acqua Alta Bookshop

As you walk in the Acqua Alta bookshop you will be greeted by Luigi and one of his cats

Luigi and one of his Cats at Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice (Marco Secchi)

Walk in the labyrinth of interconnected rooms, and you will see the full-sized gondola in the middle of the shop, overflowing with books then along to bathtubs filled with books and sleeping cats you will find a doorway leading straight out onto a canal where the water level seems a precarious few centimeters away from spilling into the room. It happened to us to get there in a rainy day and the owner was moving all the books from the floor to bathtubs and shelves because of the danger of high water level!

Keep searching (for books and memorable shots) and you’ll find yourself in a tiny quiet courtyard which hosts a staircase made entirely from books. Climb up to the top for a lovely view onto the Venice canals.

You may feel literally overwhelmed by books. New and old, romance and science fiction, best sellers and b-series novels, you can find anything here if you are patient enough to search. It’s possible that you won’t be able to find any specific books given the bizarre nature of the piles, or you may don’t like the smell of humidity or second hand books, but you should include a visit to Acqua Alta into your Venice tour anyway.

Libreria Acqua Alta Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa (Campiello Del Tintor) | 5176 – Castello, 30122 Venice, Italy

————–

If you are looking for unusual, rare, incredibly interesting books about Venice a REAL must is 
Libreria Editrice Franco Filippi
Castello, Casselleria 5284
Venezia 30122
FRANCO IS A WONDERFUL GUY AND AN AMAZING LIBRARIAN AND EDITOR!

S Daniele Prosciutto

In the pre-Roman era, San Daniele del Friuli was an important Celtic settlement, thanks to its special position en route to Northeast Europe. The surrounding area contains the remains of various “castellieri”, the typical Celtic constructions used as watchtowers.
The Celts, a relatively non-migratory people, devoted to agriculture and with minimal warlike tendencies, were the first to use salt to preserve pork, of which they were major consumers. They built the foundations of the extraordinary rural culture which the Romans put to expert use later on.
In the era following that of the Celts, the oldest San Daniele settlement is Roman, from the 1st century AC: a villa positioned right on the summit of the hill.
The Romans were very familiar with ham: evidence of this can be found in the ancient merchants’ road to Rome, the present Via Panisperna, named after “panis” (bread) and “perna” (“perna sicca”: ham), and in a butcher’s memorial stone found in Aquileia (UD), which boasts a Prosciutto di San Daniele complete with trotter.

Fast forwards to the 1920 the first ham factories were established: the domestic cellar was transformed into the centre of a true autonomous production activity. At the end of the 40s, the ham factory had become an industry, and from the 60s its development resulted in some of the production companies contributing to the formation of the national and international prosciutto crudo market.

How to Rescue a Wet Camera

It has happened to me a couple of times covering bad weather in Scotland, to friends and colleagues, even a couple of days ago to one of my Venetian colleague.

Scotland, Saltcoats 23rd November 2006 Extreme weather condition with strong gales and rain are battering the West Coast of Scotland


NUJ recommended terms & conditions apply. Moral rights asserted under
Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988. Credit is required. No part of this
photo to be stored, reproduced, manipulated or transmitted by any means
without permission.

Sithean Photography
100 A High Street 
Cockenzie
East Lothian
EH32 0DQ
Email studio@sitheanphoto.com
Tel 0845 0506211
Fax 0845 2803228
 (Marco Secchi)

Your precious camera meets the water…either in the form of a big splash or heavy torrential rain.

I have managed to recovered my cameras at least 2 times and I have strictly used the following method

  • As soon as it happen switch off the camera, remove the battery, remove memory card, I would say this is the most important action.
  • Do NOT turn the camera on  ever….you may risk to short circuit important parts
  • As soon as you can, make sure there are no traces of moisture visible on the camera.
  • Find a container big enough to hold the camera and a couple of bags or more of rice (Yes RICE)
  • can be a Tupperware container, half fill it with  rice  and then place the dead camera body on top of the rice with the mirror facing down.
  • pour more rice on top of the camera until it is completely covered with about 1 inch of rice above the top of the camera body
  • placed a tightly fitted lid on the container and place it a dry cupboard for at least  one week.

After about a week of drying out in the hermetically sealed rice box you should be able to switch on the camera and scroll through all the menus..,.. if this is the case I would place the camera again in the rice for 4 or 5 days  or leave it near but not too close to a radiator.

 

 

Press photographers

newspapers (Tehr?n)

Newspapers (Tehr?n) (Photo credit: birdfarm)

Former fleet street legendary picture editor Ron Morgans has just posted a quote from the well respected legendary Editor Sir David English. Roy Greenslade take note:
Here’s what the late, great Sir David English, who created the modern Daily Mail, had to say about newspaper photographers.

” Press photographers are a strange breed. Moody, enthusiastic, temperamental, excitable, humorous, self-deprecating . They are in many ways the most interesting collection of people to be found on any national newspaper. More interesting frequently than the star bylined writers. More interesting than the gossip columnists with their fund of inside chatter. More interesting even than the showbiz kings with their stories of rubbing shoulders with the great and their `all life´s a cocktail party´ philosophy. Photographers are the shock troops of journalism. They cannot muse. They cannot pontificate. They cannot sit in the office and get their stories by telephone. Nor do they pick up their scoops over lunch. They have to be where the action is. They have to be there! ”

Veronese Exhibition National Gallery and in Venice S. Sebastiano Church

This year one of the most important exhibitions in London at the National Gallery will be a tribute to 1500 Italian  painter “Veronese”

Paolo Caliari was born in Verona – hence ‘Veronese’ – and moved to Venice in the early 1550s, where he became one of the leading painters of the 16th century.

He was trained in Verona by the local painter Antonio Badile, whose daughter he married in 1566. In Venice the colouring of Titian influenced him deeply. Tintoretto was also an influence, and an attraction to Mannerism shows in works such as ‘The Consecration of Saint Nicholas’. However, Veronese went on to develop his own more decorative style.

In 1573 the Inquisition took exception to some irreverent detail in a Last Supper by Veronese. In a fascinating exchange with the Inquisitors he defended the painter’s right to ‘take the same licence as poets and jesters take’. He eventually changed the title of the picture to ‘Supper in the House of Levi’, rather than change the picture itself.

Throughout the 1560s and 70s Veronese produced mythological pictures for an international clientele, including two paintings bought for Philip IV by Velázquez on one of his Italian visits.

Veronese ran a large workshop, assisted by his brother Benedetto and his sons Carlo and Gabriel. They carried on his studio after his death.

An hidden treasure of Venetian art in the heart of Dorsoduro, this otherwise humble neighbourhood church was embellished with floor-to-ceiling masterpieces by Paolo Veronese over three decades. Antonio Scarpignano’s relatively austere 1508–48 facade creates a sense of false modesty from the outside, because inside, the restored interior decor goes wild.

According to popular local legend, Veronese found sanctuary at San Sebastian in 1555 after fleeing murder charges in Verona, and his works in this church deliver lavish thanks to the parish and an especially brilliant poke in the eye of his accusers. Veronese’s virtuosity is everywhere here, from the horses rearing on the coffered ceiling to organ doors covered with his Presentation of the Virgin . In Veronese’s Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian near the altar, the bound saint defiantly stares down his tormentors amid a Venetian crowd of socialites, turbaned traders and Veronese’s signature frisky spaniel. St Sebastian was the fearless patron saint of Venice’s plague victims, and Veronese suggests that, though sticks and stones may break his bones, Venetian gossip couldn’t kill him.

Pay respects to Veronese, who chose to be buried here underneath his masterpieces – his memorial plaque is to the right of the organ.

 

15 things +1 (I try) to avoid in Street Photography

 

..I have specified I TRY  to avoid …. ….

  1. Using more than one lens per day for street photography.  I prefer a 35mm or occasionally a 50mm
  2. Checking the LCD screen after taking photos on the streets (Chimping)
  3. Letting criticism affect me negatively. Rather, I try to use it to empower me to find weaknesses in my work.
  4. Leaving the house without a camera
  5. Spending a lot of time looking at photos online ; rather I spend more time shooting
  6. Forgetting how lucky I am to be able to go out and take photos everyday
  7. Mixing my digital and film photos in a project
  8. Letting the number “likes” dictate whether a photo is good or not
  9. Taking a photo of someone on the streets without saying “thank you” or smiling at them
  10. Hesitating before taking a street photograph
  11. Shooting to please my critics
  12. Recommending lenses longer than 50mm for street photography
  13. Making excuses when a photo doesn’t work. It is shit end of the story
  14. Taking photos without emotion and without your heart
  15. Uploading photos online until letting it “marinate” for few weeks

+1.  Comparing myself to other photographers

 

66580019

Ponte degli Scalzi – Fismonger – Leica M2 35mm HP5+ 400 Asa

 

Fuji X100s for street photography

I am often asked what settings I use for street photography. First, let’s make sure you have everything you will need, extra batteries and extra memory cards. A fast memory card is essential when shooting raw. …do not forget your camera!

 (Marco Secchi)

Here are my settings for street shooting:
Auto ISO: 200-3200
Min. Shutter speed limit: 1/125
Focus AF-C mode

Drive Mode S or C: most of the time I am in s mode, c-mode if the situation really calls for it.
While in AF-C mode , always awake/never sleep doesn’t work, keep half pressing the shutter from time to time, especially when you spot a potential shot, make sure the camera is not asleep
Shutter priority at 1/250 or higher in regular light
Optical Hybrid finder vs EVF: depending on the scene, if it is a context or overview shot, OHVF works, however, I found the EVF preferable for precise positioning of the af point since there is no time to reframe/refocus.
Develop a solid grip on your camera, experiment, strap around the neck or wrist strap. Learn to change +- dial with out looking at your camera, the same goes for shutter speed, keep your eyes on the street.

Use your x100s a lot, that’s it!

Fuji X Custom Settings

Today arrived the new firmware for most of the Fuji X series cameras.  When you update all the custom settings are wiped out as well as cache memory and frame number

Here are more or less my latest  custom settings.

Name ISO Dynamic Range Film Simulation White Balance Colour Sharpness Highlight  Shadow  Noise 
Standard AUTO DR100 Provia (standard) Auto 0 0 0 0 0
Landscape Normal 200 DR100 Astia (soft) Auto -1 +1 -1 -2 0
Landscape  High Contrast 400 DR200 Astia (soft) Auto -1 +1 -1 -2 0
Portrait Neutral 200 DR100 Pro-Neg Standard Auto 0 0 0 0 0
Portrait Neutral Higher Contrast 400 DR200 Pro-Neg High Auto 0 +1 -1 -2 0
B&W Landscape 800 DR100 Mono+Red Auto 0 +1 0 0 0
B&W Portrait 800 DR100 Mono+Green Auto 0 +1 -1 -1 0

 

I have set them according to the subjects I tend to shot so I can change a whole group of settings with a push of the “Q” menu button and a quick turn of the dial.   Finer tweaks to color and highlight/shadow tone were done from experience of using the camera and the above are what I  eventually arrived at after some months of use.

I tend to play quite a bit with Highlight Tome, Sharpness and Shadow Tone so I change them often. For the ISO thee are times when I like to have in AUTO with Standard 200, Max 3200 and min shutter speed at Focal length I am using x1.8

While I like the more saturated colors and higher contrast in Astia (soft) for landscape generally, I found it tended to clip into the shadows too easily so I somewhat reduced the contrast there by making a -2 adjustment.

For portraits the Provia (standard) or Pro-Neg film simulations work well as they are rather neutral and subdued in colour, so render skin tones well.  The Pro-Neg Hi gives the same colours but more contrast.  I reduced the contrast at the shadow end as I found it was clipping to black too readily.

The dynamic range settings work really well and allow the camera to record more detail in highlights and shadows than in a normal exposure.  For the higher DR setting (DR200 is all I have needed) the camera needs to be set to ISO 400 but the sensor/processor is so effective that there is no discernible noise penalty.  It isn’t an HDR feature….my understanding is that it works like many other similar features and the camera basically underexposes the image then processes in an exposure and tone curve that avoids clipping at each end.

The Jpeg output is so good on this camera that I shoot Jpeg almost all the time, whereas I only shoot RAW on my Nikon DSLRs.  Images from the X-E1 print superbly and have amazing pixel level sharpness.  The camera seems to resolve beyond what its 16MP sensor should, probably due to the absence of the anti aliasing filter.  Strangely, when 100% images are viewed on a computer monitor, detail can look somewhat mushy due to the unusual colour filter layout of the X-Trans sensor, but images view nicely at normal sizes and print in a very natural way, giving what I would describe as an organic look to textures that look real enough to touch and bitingly sharp.

 

Nikon

I shoot all my breaking news and editorial work using a selection of D4, D3s, and D 700 with a wide array of prime lenses all exclusively Nikon F2.8 max. I do not need to say or write anything about these cameras and lenses.

While on news jobs I can be seen carrying a huge amount of gear for any situation I am a strong believer of “one camera and one lens”.

Nikon D4_HNC7753

Nikon D4 (Photo credit: cuong_hua99)

The proponent said that the best way to become more creative in your photography (and less addicted to G.A.S. — gear acquisition syndrome) it to stick often to one camera and one lens. It is one of the worst diseases when it comes to photographers. It causes us photographers to make excuses about our gear – rather than going out and making photographs with what we have. By prescribing to the “one camera and one lens” philosophy I got rid of most of the G.A.S. in my system. Sure, whenever a new camera or a new lens came out I got envious, but I still had an underlying philosophy to stick to.

My favorites are old film cameras and Fuji Mirrorless. Film helps me to relax and concentrate more on composition and creativity