Weston Made Me Do It:

It’s Christmas and I’m sitting here wondering what the next year will bring judging by what the last one did. Work being more than slow hasn’t been too encouraging and my camera has taken the vow of silence to boot. I keep thinking of all the places I traveled to and fantasizing about all the places I want to go to, mostly in hopes of finding new images and the thrill of finding them. Meanwhile I sit as my thoughts become more and more complicated as to what to do next.

I decided to go food shopping when I came upon them, big beautiful Poblano Peppers, sitting lustfully against each other. I had to have them, and so I did. At first I thought of a recipe I had experienced in California, a Southwestern dish that I could try, but for the moment I just left them sit for a couple of days in the fridge. Every time I opened it I thought about them…what to do what to do… then somewhere I heard Edward Weston… ( at least I like to think that ) and how when things were down he bought a pepper and photographed it multiple times by his window with very long exposures before he finally came to Pepper#33, a signature shot that I had the opportunity once to see the original. 

With that in mind I eagerly pulled out the poblanos and started to shoot and shoot ( thank God it’s not film ) until I came up with my final composition, pretty much what I had pre-visualized to start with…. keeping it simple in a complicated time….and maybe that’s the lesson here. Despite what’s happening, don’t complicate things by over thinking or worrying…just go simple. 

Thank you Edward…. 

Message from Florence, Italy

The high spot in Firenze, Italy is the Duomo. One can’t stop going back to it during the day both for its beauty and activity. It also serves as landmark in case you’re lost, just look for it and go from there.

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Around the backside a message was left, easier said than done.

Got Wood?

We all know him, along with a whole lot of other “wooden” people, except we know when this one is lying. Pinocchio, brought to life by Disney, was created by an Italian writer, Carlo Collodi, a journalist who presented his character very differently than Disney’s film. His book “The Adventures of Pinocchio” shows him not charming, but as a very bad boy, who ends up tragically, an ending I prefer.

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Street corner vendors in Florence sell them in many forms


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but this particular store is the mecca of Pinocchios, a place to return to and find the Geppetto who makes this great collection…..on my list…




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Love Locks

On many bridges in Italy, you’ll see locks…many locks. In fact so many that time to time the local authorities have to cut them off. In Paris, removed locks amounted to around 45 tons worth, accumulated over many years. Here in Florence, not so heavy…maybe the French have more lovers? They’re put there by people who profess their love via a padlock attached to the bridge, throwing the key into the river. From time to time they go in with it but that’s another story!

Here’s is this one:

Lover Locks

Love Locks

Locked together, a testament, a couple’s love forever spent.

Into the river their keys went, while time leaves behind their monument

to rust away and break the chain of some who lost while some remain.

Ralph Espina

Follow me this summer on my return to Firenze,Italia to continue my book

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Art in the Heart

If art isn’t in your blood when you visit Florence,Italy, it will be racing through your veins by the time you leave. You’ll find it everywhere you go from on its streets right down to on your table with the foods presented to you.

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Art is in the air and that’s what makes this city so inspiring for your soul.

It brings out an appreciation of beautiful things big and small. Just taking a casual walk will make you understand what “La Dolce Vita” really means.

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If you want to visit the museums the best way is with the Firenze Card.



Prosciutto has to be the national meat of Italy…at least to me. Who hasn’t had a thin slice over a cold wedge of cantaloupe, not to mention with tomato and mozzarella? Hopefully not you but if so what are you waiting for!

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So what is Prosciutto? It’s an air dried,cured salted ham, talking anywhere from 9-24 months to cure. Various regions in Italy produce it and each does it a little differently, according to taste. Less slat, sweeter ham. There are two types of processing, Crudo or Cotto which means dried or cooked. Crudo is the preferred and Italian Prosciutto especially the one from Parma is strictly regulated…and savored.

This man sells many pork items, but Prosciutto is his specialty and his place sits on a corner aisle at the Mercato in Florence, where he is happy to let you taste but not happy to have his picture taken. When I see him again on my trip this summer, perhaps I’ll get him to smile!

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Tasting Italy

How can you resist a work of art on your plate? Masterful in presentation as well as in your mouth, it expresses a pride of work and a joy in doing it even though this cost around 4 Euros!

If only this post had a scratch and taste, I could really convey the simple experience of flavor in an every day, “let’s stop for a snack” This is one of the best reasons I have for returning there…and believe it or not, we had this at the train station.

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