Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pigeon Conspiracies

Today's adventure was a Photography Club field trip to Caltagirone. The goal was for everyone in the group to practice some of the things we've learned so far and then show them to the group at the next meeting.

The weather was strange again today. One minute it was raining and shivery cold, the next it was sunny and time to roll up the sleeves. Luckily we only had a few stray drops hit us in Caltagirone. Here are some of the best shots of the day. I wasn't really in the "artistic zone" today, but somehow I managed to get a few decent shots.

A Closeup of the Famous Caltagirone Steps

Les was trying to get our friends' daughter to growl like a lion at the camera. I love his expression!

Tiny Hands Holding Treasure

Les stole the camera

I think this was my favorite for the day

Somehow, for just a few moments, the steps were empty!

Tile detail on one of the steps

Our friend Andy, also a photo club member, getting the "perfect" shot

Les stole the camera...again. He's got a good eye though...

I nearly walked by this face without seeing him. He was just on the side of a wall in an alley.

Oh, and in case you are wondering about the pigeon conspiracy, they didn't want to let me take their picture. I'd frame a great shot and just as I was about to click the shutter they'd turn their backside towards me. I complained, and apparently some of my friends were having similar issues with the pigeons. Maybe because we didn't bring them crumbs? Who really knows what goes on (or doesn't go on) in the minds of pigeons.

Modica Chocolate Festival

Yesterday Les and I drove down to Modica for their annual chocolate festival. We spent several hours meandering around the town, tasting chocolates and admiring the old architecture. Chocolate from Modica is unique. I really loved the texture. The sugar is not fully dissolved so it has a bit of sugary crunch. I loved it! We bought three chocolate bars - one with ginger, another with green tea, and one with cinnamon. YUM!

A Chocolate Chef

This clock tower is perched high on a hillside above the town.

A Display in a Chocolate Shop Window

We stopped at the local museum. It was small, but I liked this sculpture. Very unique.

Modica, like many Sicilian towns was built into the hillsides. The "streets" were a maze of allies and tunnels like this that led up the hill.

This old church was so beautiful, even though it was in a state of disrepair. There were beautiful spring flowers growing out of every crack and crevice.

The main chocolate pavilion.

After we wandered we decided we needed some lunch. "Real Food". Something not sweet. :) We found a charming little restaurant in a back alley simply called "Food and Wine". My kind of place. Their menu utilized local ingredients but was a bit more creative than the standard Sicilian fare found on most menus here. I had ravioli filled with ricotta in a light sauce of champignon mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts. Les had gnocchetti (a gnocchi shaped pasta) with pesto and sausage. Both were absolutely delicious!

After lunch we were planning on heading back towards home. Good thing too. We stepped out of the restaurant into rain. So bizarre! If you notice in the pictures above (from before lunch) the sky was crystal clear! We quickly shoved my camera into the plastic bag that the chocolates we purchased were in and ran for the car...several blocks away.

It was so nice to get out and see someplace new. I didn't mind the chocolates either. ;)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dancing Poppies

Today is the day I had been waiting for. Rich blue sky, warm but not hot with a breeze, and minimal haze on the horizon. It was GORGEOUS! I called my friend Sheena to see if she wanted to go hunting for wild flowers and beautiful views with me. Fifteen minutes later we were on the road. I took a whole GB of pictures today. These are my favorites.

This pictures is why this post is called 'Dancing Poppies'. I wish there was a way to capture the movement that a field of poppies makes, dancing in the breeze.

See the bee?!?! I didn't even realize I'd caught him until I loaded the picture onto my computer and saw it on a (much) bigger screen!

What a wonderful way to spend a morning! Thanks for going with me, Sheena! I really enjoyed your company.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Shootin' the moon

I happened to glance out my kitchen window last night after I fed Pumpkin and noticed a spectacular full moon. I grabbed my camera, telephoto lens (75-300mm), and tripod and headed out into my driveway. My goal was to get pictures of the moon through the tree in my front yard. Here are the two best shots:

Exposure 1/15 sec at f 5.6, ISO 200, Focal Length 300mm

Exposure 3.2 sec at f/36, ISO 200, Focal Length 140mm

I was hoping to get the moon and tree a bit more in focus at the same time, but I wasn't having much luck making adjustments to my camera in the dark. I like the first one the best. What do you think?