April 9, 2011


On this day in 1865, At Appomattox Court House, Virginia, General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate Army to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in the parlor of William McClean's home. Grant allowed Rebel officers to keep their sidearms and permitted soldiers to keep their horses and mules. Though there were still Confederate armies in the field, the war was officially over. The four years of fighting had killed 360,000 Union troops and 260,000 Confederate troops.
No Light
The sale of hot chestnuts on the street is a popular trade in Italy. Unlike Ireland with it's late-night chippers and Chinese take-aways, the Italians seem to have a different take on fast food. It's worth mentioning also that you'll go a long way to find a 'public house' in the Irish sense of the word. In Italy, you can buy a beer to drink on the street, in a cafe or restaurant, but there are very few establishments devoted souly to the activity of 'drinking'. Maybe there's a link between the absence of pubs and the number of late night chip shops:-)

Photo: Taken in Rome. Very poor lighting conditions here, there were no street-lights. The light from the chestnut seller's stall looked all the more inviting and dramatic as a result. On holiday, I just use a single, light and compact lens which is slow compared to some of the others I use. The shot is hand held, so I first decided on a 1/60 shutter speed. With my aperture fully open at f/5, I was able to get the ISO to come in at 1000. The result however is a little softer than I'm used to getting and I struggled with focusing. That said, I was pleased with the atmosphere which reflected the scene accurately and sometimes that's simply good enough.