Thursday, April 26, 2018

Still Life with Swiss Francs and Wine Glass

One thing I noticed about the Swiss paper money is that they appear to be always crisp and newly printed.  I wonder if they replace their bill more often than other countries.  One theory I read is they do so in order to minimize forgery.  They also have the biggest five francs coins I've ever seen.

Taken in Lucerne, Switzerland.  Hanging out by the lake.  Life is good.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Shrimp Asparagus Selfie

Rose got this idea when we had Scallop Salad in Lucerne.  Combined with the Italian style plating in Baveno, she created this wonderful dish.  Shrimp over asparagus and garnished with parsley.  Simple.  But delicious.  Intended for two people.  Pair this with chilled Sauvignon Blanc.  Bon appetite.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Scallop Salad

Salad is universal.  The only variant is the dressing.  Like most people who takes food selfies, I had to document this one.  To my eyes, the plating is impeccable.  It's well thought of.  Notice how the dressing is in between the asparagus and the rest of the salad.  The Scallops are nicely tucked in.  A single piece of cut tomato is placed over the dressing, and the bean sprouts are added to finish it up.

Enjoying the nice day at the patio of Grand Hotel National in Lucerne.  Right across is the Lake Lucerne.  It would be our final days in Switzerland.  The next day we head to Zurich for our flight back to LAX.

Hope your day goes well.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Japanese Cooking Through a Glass of Pinot Gris

Waiting at Zurich Airport Bar for our flight back to LAX.  Not sure if he is Japanese.  The guy was making Sushi the whole time I was sitting by the counter.  The title I have here is misleading because technically he is not really cooking.  He was assembling the prepared ingredients for Sushi.  The half emptied wine glass created a nice reflection of the guy.

Hope your day is going well.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Taglierini Pasta With Mushroom Sauce

Coming from snowy Zermat, we stopped by Lago Majorie in Baveno, Italy.  It had been raining for days in Baveno so a nice comfort food was in order.  I had this Taglierini Pasta With Mushroom Sauce.  The Northern Italians know how to plate their dishes well.  It tastes good as it looks.  Coupled with a bottle of Chianti - ah, heavenly.  Bon Appetit.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Blue Hour in Lucerne

We are at the end of our stay in Switzerland.  Image taken during the Blue Hour in Lucerne.  The Lake people do drink the water from the lake.  Lake Lucerne is so clear that you can see the bottom at 10 feet.  They say that Swiss Alpine water is the cleanest in the world.  Maybe I was not used to clean water because I had stomach upset the whole time we were there.  
If you decide to shop in Switzerland, Lucerne is the place to go.  Switzerland is very expensive but Lucerne is the least expensive place to buy Swiss watches and knives and souvenirs.  

The Swiss speaks French; Swiss German; Italian and Romansh.  Lucerne is a predominantly German speaking city but has a mix of French and Italian.  For instance, the locals say "merci" (French) when they say thank you but say "wiedersehen" (German) for goodbye and "bon appetite" (Italian) for "enjoy your meal"- all in the same sentence.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Shoemaker at Bern

This industrious shoemaker kept working on the shoe like clockwork - almost the entire day.  I never saw him took a break.  The Swiss are known for being very hard working people, and their work ethic is impeccable, which is the influence of the Swiss Protestant Reformer Swingli, who began the reformation in Switzerland during the 1500s.

Taken at Bern, the de facto capital city of Switzerland.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Swiss Chickens

The Swiss Chickens can be a bit wacky.  That is why their eggs taste weird.  I had a bit of scrambled eggs for breakfast and I started talking Swiss German.  Cluck cluck cluck.  Still nobody understood me.  

Taken in Zermatt, in southern Switzerland’s Valais canton.  The town, at an elevation of around 1,600m, lies below the iconic, pyramid-shaped Matterhorn peak, which hid itself the whole time we were there. It's a mountain resort renowned for skiing, climbing, hiking, and old fashion Fondue.  In fact this was the only place we had Fondue, which was as the waiter claimed good for one person.  The one he served us appeared to be good for four people and some leftovers for a couple more days.  Maybe even a week.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

House on a Hill

Stans, Nidwalden in Switzerland.  Taken on the train on the way up to Stanserhorn Mountain.  It's early spring but there are still lots of snow on the mountain.  This is how imagined Switzerland would be.  The Swiss alps, the blue sky, the corny but happy music, the endless green rolling hills, the fuzzy sound of the Alpine Horn, the experience of dipping a week old bread on the Fondue.

The people in the villages are very friendly. (Contrast with the people down by the lake. )   But that seems to be across the board in most of our travels in Europe.

Hope your day goes well.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The World Turned Upside Down

Nothing more to say.  Just go with the flow.  The world has turned upside down.  But the song remains the same.

Friday, April 13, 2018


I fell on track so many times.  It came to a point that I didn't want to go on.  My fire was burning out.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Pale Laitiere

On one of our tours, many in our group wanted to shop in Morocco.  Many of them were women.  So our tour director took us to this Barberry perfume shop in Marrakech. We were given a presentation on their products.   Midway through the presentation, I realized I was trapped.  I pretended to go to the restroom and end up sauntering around the shop for an opportunity to perhaps take some photos.

I'm not sure what this is.  It's obviously used as an ingredient for perfume.  I googled Pale Laitiere but didn't get any good information.  Anybody who knows what these are, please let me know.

Hope your day is going well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spinach Pecan Salad

Back in 1870, Erich von Wolf, a German chemist, examined the amount of iron within Spinach, among many other green vegetables. ... So when Popeye was created, studio executives recommended he eat Spinach for his strength, due to its vaunted health properties.  In my case, I added Blueberries, which is rich in anti-oxidant.  Some Pecans, which aid in digestion and lower bad cholesterol.  And a bit of Blue Cheese, which is high in saturated fat that threatens ones cardiovascular health, just to balance the healthy effects of the other ingredients in the salad.  Cynicism inserted here in case you missed it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

In an Octopus' Garden in the Shade

I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade

He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus' garden in the shade - Octopus’s Garden, Richard Starkey

The idea of “Octopus’s Garden” came to Ringo Starr when he was on comedian Peter Sellers' boat in Sardinia in 1968. Starr ordered fish and chips, but the waiter mistakenly gave him squid, a first time for him, and he said of it, “It was okay. A bit rubbery. Tasted like chicken.” The captain went on to tell Starr about how octopuses travel along the seabed picking up stones and other shiny objects and create gardens with them.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Shrimp Salad

Shrimp can be a unique source of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory carotenoid nutrient astaxanthin. It is possible for a single 4-ounce serving of shrimp to contain 100% Selenium, 78% Vitamin B12, 52% protein, 14% Omega 3, and undetermined amount of Sodium Chloride and Cholesterol that can eventually be bad for people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Oh, but they are so good.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Once Upon a Swiss Time

The Protestant Reformation not only produced the doctrines of Sola Scripture, Sola Gratia and Sola Fide.  It also produced the world renowned Swiss Watches.  The Italians who held to the tenets of Protestant Christianity fled to Switzerland to escape the persecution of the Roman Church.  The great French Reformer John Calvin wanted the Italians to be useful.  As it turns out that most of these Italians were jewelers back in Italy.  So he told them to make watches, which became to be the best in the world.

Taken while in Lugano.  Almost on every block, one can find watches on the side of the building.  I thought they make for great photo op.

Hope your day is going well.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Blue Hour in Budapest

Shot from the Buda Castle Hill during the blue hour.

Traveling by the Buda Hill Funicular is a pleasant and a fairly cheap way to save your legs a hike when you want to get up to the Buda Castle Hill from the river level on Adam Clarke Square.  That was exactly what we did.  It was a great view going up.  Such as watching Rose's lens cap falling slow motion down the hill.  Getting lost around the vicinity of the castle.  Nearly panicking as it was already dark.  And we still couldn't find our way out.  We bumped into an out-of-duty cop who didn't speak English but understood our horror so he went with us to get down back on the streets.  We still didn't know where we were but we kept on walking.  Not even knowing which direction we were heading.  We stopped by a restaurant and asked for directions to our hotel.  The nice young lady pointed across the street where our hotel was.  

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Whispering soul

He is here to serve.  Ready to fight for his country.  Ready to die for the people.  Yet this country and the people loathe what he does.  The people burn their flag.  They whine and complain.  They desecrate the sanctity of life.  They are full of hate for what he stands for.  Life, liberty and the pursuit of wealth.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Reading The Onion

Ignoring the Italian coffee until it gets cold.  Just finished a couple of Palm Mall cigarettes.  The man is not reading a real newspaper but The Onion.  A satirical media that parodies current event news.  Behind him though is a real red onion.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Swordfish and Not So Kosher Easter Lunch

Swordfish, Asparagus, Bell Pepper and Shrimps.  All grilled.

Last Sunday, we celebrated Easter to commemorate the Lord's victory over death and sin.  Most Roman Catholics abstained from meat and sweets prior to Easter.  Fish was commonly eaten.  In our case, we had Swordfish at Easter.  But we also had Shrimps.  This would not have been kosher with the Jews.  But we are Gentiles.  So it's okay.


Monday, April 02, 2018

Test shot on the X100F

My Fuji X100F.  Another test shot using the macro light in combination with the 100mm Carl Zeiss Macro-Planar mounted on the Canon 5D mk ii. Hand held.  I'm impressed.  The room was lit with an incandescent bulb but somehow the macro light made the image on the bluish side.  I actually liked the blue tone so I enhanced the blues and added some greens in post production.  This was shot at f/5 and yet I was able to get  some blurs.

Hope your day is going well.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Random Thoughts Picasso Style

If Picasso were still alive, he would be richer.  I mean he is arguably more famous now than when he was alive.  Imagine all the royalties he would be receiving from appropriating his artwork.

The Picasso style ceramic caught my attention while I was sauntering through a tourist shop.   One of the great things of being a photographer who happens to use a smart phone camera is that it is handy and stealth.  Hence I was able to steal a shot that I really like using my smart phone.

Some people don't like Picasso.  I think primarily is they don't understand his art.  I think in order to appreciate Picasso one has to evaluate his worldview, his technique and how he conveyed his message based on his philosophy and through his skill.  Picasso was a materialist so he treated his human subjects as objects.  I think that fact alone tells a lot about his work.

Hope your day is going well.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Test shot on Zoom Hn4

I've been doing a bit of food selfies that I decided to resurrect my macro light.  Of course when I did, I didn't have food to take a picture of.  So I ended up testing the macro light on my hand held recorder. The macro light in combination with the Carl Zeiss Makro-Planer 100 mm mounted on the Canon 5D Mk ii has big potential.  The kit is very heavy so I had it mounted on a tripod.  I will be doing some more test shots using this combination.

Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Florentine Reflection

Our tour specialist pointed out that this was the most photogenic scenery in Florence.  As most gullible tourists would do, all of us in our tour group took out our smartphones and began to foolishly take photos of this framed reflection.

Hope your day is going well.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hungarian Garfield

Zucchini.  That was his name.  Adorable.  Friendly.  He is such a ham as you can see.   The town folks call him the Hungarian Garfield.   He followed us all over Szentedre, quiet quaint town in the outskirt of Budapest.  Maybe I'll see him again.

This is one photo that I didn't take but I couldn't resist posting it.  Rose being an animal lover took the photo with her iPhone 6.  Shot in low-fi jpeg.  But this one trumps all my other RAW images.  Goes to show that at times the best camera is the one that you currently have with you.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Chicken Salad Education


  • Micro greens
  • Chicken Salad with Pecans and Cranberries from Trader Joe's
  • Raw Spinach
  • Ranch Dressing

Mix micro greens with Chicken Salad.  Lay Spinach on plate.  Spread Ranch Dressing over Spinach.  Place mixed salad on top.  Serve and eat.

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Sikh artist in his own world

The world is a ghetto.  All men are but an abstraction.  I know that there is the one, unity and equality of all humankind, engaging in non-engagement, striving for socializing non-society for the benefit and prosperity of all.  The ideal man is one who establishes union with the  creator, knows his will, and carries out that will.  Or so I'm told.  That was how I was raised up.  The supreme purpose of human life is to reconnect with The Timeless One.  Whatever that means.  It doesn't matter.  Because I am in my own world.  

Saturday, March 24, 2018

St Peter of Alcantara

It is said that Peter had insomia and slept very little.  When he does sleep he always slept sitting up. Because he was awake most of the time when his brother friars were sleeping, he became the patron saint of the Insonmiacs.  No kidding.

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Roman Way

There are lots to be grateful to the Romans.  Arguably, the Romans invented modern roads.  They also invented the bicycle, the graffiti, and the Expresso machine.

Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Tourists

Woman:  Where now?

Man:  Okay, honey.  Well, we only have half a day left here in Prague.  We are still in the Old Town Square.  We still need to take a picture of the Astronomical Clock.   From here we can hit the St Vitus Cathedral to check out where the Czech lords are buried.  Then off to the Narodni Museum to view their historical collections. We might be able to squeeze lunch for 5 minutes.  We could just go for liquid diet - I heard that the Czech beer is pretty good.  Then we hop on the bus and get off at .... blah, blah ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Know Fear, No Fear

I watch horror movies because there are times that I can’t feel I am alive.  The shock and the horror validate my existence.  I know that sounds weird but it’s the truth.  I don’t expect anyone to understand.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Winter in Chino Hills

Living in Southern California has a lot of perks.  For instance where we live, one can surf in the ocean and sun bathe in the morning, and on the same day snow ski on the mountain during winter time.  It doesn't rain that much.  But when it does, it makes for gorgeous photo op afterwards.  Such as this one.  Taken with the iPhone 7 plus while on our morning walk.  It had just rained the night before.  And the rain created ice packs up on Mount Baldy.  Or is that another mountain?

Hope your day is going well.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Ceviche de Mango

Yesterday, Rose and I had lunch with our former office mates at this Peruvian Restaurant called Misky Misky in West Covina.  "Misky" is Peruvian Quechua for "delicious".  Hence "misky misky" mean doubly delicious.  The use of grammar reminds me of the Filipino language.  The adjective is usually spoken twice to describe a superlative.  But I digress.  The lunch we had was indeed delicious.  For starters, the four of us shared the Ceviche de Mango, which consists of the fish of the day, shrimp, mussels, squid with mango puree, red onions, and aji amarillo.  I have taken a food selfie of my portion of the appetizer.  

More food selfies to come.  Hope your day is going well.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Sausage Made from Free Range Chicken

Another utter  failure. The sausage  was advertised as made from a free range chicken. Stuffed with jalapeño.  I added Celery and sliced Spinach.  I thought it would taste good.  No it didn't.  Cooked when I was home alone last week.

Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Daisies in the Blue Hour

Shot with the iPhone 7 plus, Lightroom Mobile.
The blue hour is famous for its romantic connotations, particularly in the arts. A colloquial French saying characterises the blue hour as a time of confusion and mystery, since it is impossible to determine whether it is really night or day.  Are you feeling for French Fries?

Yeah, the blue hour capture looks cool.  But I will be honest.  I didn't shoot this during the blue hour.  It was shot at late morning.  In post-production, I was able to cast a dark blue tone on the entire image by pulling and pushing on the blue channel of the Curves Adjustment.  The yellow daisy harmonizes well with blue.  The two colors are in the opposite end of the  spectrum in the color wheel so the combination works nicely.  

This tiny bit of knowledge in post processing comes in handy.  I like to take photos anytime anywhere.  I could practically edit my images to look like it was shot at daytime or nighttime with no regards to the real time of the day.  To an extent.

Please don't tell anyone else of my secret.


Originally posted March 29, 2017.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Still Life with Tea Cups

Are these tea cups or coffee cups?  Back then growing up we never have porcelain cups.  We would re-use jars that originally contained granulated instant coffee for drinking.  Mostly it would be plain water from the tap.  We lived by the sea shore that our water would taste salty.  But that’s another story.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Our Blue Plate Special - Shrimp Avocado Salad

Okay, I have to admit that I didn't prepare this one.  It's one we ordered at the sky Cafe in Vienna.  I figured I could duplicate this.  Fried shrimps and slices of Avocado and some Lupins, Daisies and Dandelions.  I think those are what they are.  Doesn't matter.  If it looks good then people will always eat it.  Well, almost always.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bread and Water

The colors of the Italian flag.

Waiter:  Sir, are you ready for your fourth bottle of Chianti?

Juzno:  Yeah, I've been waiting for that.  Is it just me or are you really blurred?

Waiter:  No, sir.  It must be the effect of the water.  It does that to our customers all the time.

Juzno:  Oh, good.  I was worried that I had too much red wine.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Dumb Bakers in Bratislava

This tells me that one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to bake a wonderful cake.

Hope your day is going well.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Dr Shambles at Work

Dr Shambles.  A rather spooky kind of ashen skinned character.  He is seen carrying a doctor's kit bag.  Who knows what could be inside.  But mostly likely just brochures and flyers.  Yet he would like you to think that they are surgical tools for cutting and fishing human organs.  At times he tries to scare people on the street by stalking them like Mr Hyde or some old funeral bloke.

He is probably the hardest working man in York, England.  He would peddle his brochures around the city in the hope that people would watch his show Shambles.  Kind of reminds me of my music gigging days when I would print my own flyers to promote my show.  A lot of hard work.  I have handed out countless flyers but disappointingly only a handful would show up.  I was glad I wasn't doing that for a living but just as a passionate hobby.

Hope your day is going well.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Instagram No. 180219

I started with Instagram (IG) some time ago.  Maybe two years now.  I usually just upload randomly so I didn’t care if the soup image was our of place next to street images.  

IG is not as friendly as Flickr.  The sequence of the uploaded images can’t be reorder like in Flickr.  Most of the members upload a single genre (eg landscapes, streets, portraits) so the sequence of their images is more coherent.  A lot better images than in Flickr in my opinion.  Though not as good as 500px, which I think is not as interactive.  

My IG gallery is very eclectic unlike the one I have in Flickr, which is mostly portraits and streets.  I wanted a place where I could upload my other images regardless of genres.  So I decided to do this in IG.  

I don’t have as many followers as in Flickr probably because the genres are all over the place.

And yet perhaps, at the end of the day, the soup image may not be too out of place.  After vigorously shooting the streets, one does need a warm comfort food.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Pontormo Chianti

Is the table straight, and the bottle and glass of red wine tilted?  I suppose this is how one sees after too much wine consumption.

Taken with iPhone 7 plus on Portrait Mode at our favorite Italian Restaurant, the Vincenzo's Terrazza.    Rose was leaving for the Philippines for three weeks - so we decided to enjoy the food and ambience before she leaves.


Friday, March 02, 2018

Los Angeles Within

In the contrived solace of my mythic refuge
sheltered from breathing the foul ozone of the outdoor air, 
and withdrawn from the searing heat the day has gained,
my gadfly priggishness incessantly resounds its sullen voice.

Now intoxicated by caffeine, I begin to settle on a lazy chair.
My perception is obscured as I wathced the streams of tiny metal boxes flow along the brambly circuits of parched cement.
Framed unto a glass window, eclectic images are conveyed from the odious urban landscape,
an ugly bearing of the immanet reality of the burgeoning post-modernization.

These stark reflections of patterns trek in contant flux,
yet inchoate, ever becoming but never being.
Wherever they are going,they are apparently
not quite there.

Not Quite There,  © 1998 Rob Castro 


I like taking photos of statues.  They hardly move and most of all they don't complain.  I could sell their photos without a model release.  Statues are the best subjects.  

Taken at Orsanmichele church in Florence, belonging to the Benedictine Monastery.  A rather peculiar group of monks who is thought to have invented the a medicinal aromatic herbal beverage.  This piece of information has now been debunked but it makes for a great story.

Addendum:  There were more bits of pixels on the original image (below).  But I didn't like the perspective so I straightened the pillars using the Transform tool in Photoshop, which crops the image if the aspect ratio is maintained. This I think works better because I didn't like the right foot of the man sticking out in the bottom left hand corner.  It also seems to make the scene more intimate.  I like the transformed version as the shell cuts through the upper right hand corner, and the left hand pillar is straight.  This makes the geometry easier for the viewer to look at in my opinion.  I also like how the right hand of both men fits right at the center.  Further, the three hands form an imaginary straight line at the center. (Old Asian Art Tip:  Group of odd numbered objects can make the image more interesting.)  This would not have been noticeable with the original image.  My guess is that the sculptor did that on purpose.  The colors are almost monochromatic so rendering the image to B&W seems appropriate.  This is one image that I don't think blurring will make it any better.  

This is my long winded critique of my own work, which at times I tend to write about on some of my images.  Except sometimes I think the explanation can be boring to non-photographers.

Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Vienna Sunset

So I told you that Vienna's architecture is eclectic.  Depending on your taste, the blend of old versus new may not be your cup of tea.  Despite that, the city somehow maintains a certain warmth.  Such is the case during sunset.  Although the city is not famous for its sunset, it can be endearing - inspiring one to write a song (Strauss) or create art (Klimt) or discover a new way of analyzing the mind (Freud) or write poetry (Dr Zeuss) or simply concoct a brew (Starbucks).  Viennese Coffee, anyone?

Hope your day is going well.  

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Salmon Salad

I'm loving this food selfie genre.  I prepared this meal today for myself while Rose was having lunch with her Bible Study Group.  I think it can be considered a DASH diet - DASH which stands for Dietary approaches to stop hypertension.  The meat in the middle is baked Salmon sprinkled with Dill herb.  Underneath is a bed of Spinach and Bell Peppers with Ranch dressing.  Very easy to make.  And very photogenic.  The colors remind me of the Irish Flag.  Sláinte!

Hope your day is going well.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Willkommen . . . while waiting for Halloween

Stephen King was inspired by her.  Tim Burton wants  her to star in his next movie. Johnny Depp wants to date her. But all she wants to do is dance, dance.  All she wants to do.  All she wants to do is dance. . .  And make romance.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Chilling Out with Red Wine at Sky Cafe

Nothing is real.  And there is nothing to get hung about.  A supply of Pinot Noir forever.