Monthly Archives: May 2012

Italy Day 6: Ravello

Start the day driving from Positano to Ravello for cooking class with world renowned Mamma Agata. Ravello just edges out Positano for favorite small place in Italy. Classy, laid back, naturally beautiful and less touristy than Positano and much less than Amalfi.

The cooking class like this trip is a once in a lifetime kind of experience. Mamma Agata and daughter Chiara exude that same warm genuine friendliness like my Grandmother Felicia had.

The food spectacular, the hospitality wonderful, the views priceless.

Observation about Italian food (not Mamma Agata’s but in general):

I’ve eaten lots of bread since I’ve been here and for some reason it’s rather blah. We should be very grateful for the special bakeries we have in Gloucester. I haven’t had bread anywhere in Italy that comes close to Virgilio’s, Sclafani’s or Alexandrea’s. Nowhere near as close. Our breads are nice and crusty on the outside soft in the inside and pack way more flavor than the Breads I’ve eaten here.

This isn’t the case for pizza dough or pastry. The pastry here are outrageous creations of art and the pizza dough is light and wonderful.

On coffee:
While espresso is nice and cappuccino is everywhere I miss a good ol cup of coffee from Lone Gull, Cape Ann Coffee and Pleasant Street like you read about. In a large paper cup-to go-to sip on over the course of a half hour or so.

We couldn’t ask for better weather and the Mrs itinerary has been spot on, with help from our friends Randy and Stephanie. Wouldn’t change a thing with the places we’ve stayed or eaten or length of visits for each.






Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament

On Monday, May 7, under a clear blue sky, more than 75 golfers took part in the Chamber’s 23rd annual golf tournament at Bass Rocks Golf Club. From the numerous sponsors to the array of golfers, the support was incredible and made for a successful event on Cape Ann. Because of this the Chamber will help to fund scholarships for local high school students through the Business Education Collaborative and give the leaders of tomorrow another opportunity to succeed.

New Moon this Weekend Sunday May 20

Kim just posted shots of the Super Moon fifteen days ago. Stumbling around in the dark to get that shot can be a trial but her shots make it worth it.

But there is another moon out there that doesn’t get as much glory as the full moon and that is the new moon. That’s when the moon is right on top of the sun so you cannot even see it. So how do you take a photo? The trick is to get out there before sunrise when the sliver of a fingernail moon rises before the sun. It can be just as cool as the full moon and since no one usually even notices it since it is pretty much impossible to see once the sun is up, it makes it that more special.

The details:

Thursday morning May 17 moonrise 3:18  AM 14% of moon left, sunrise at 5:17 AM

Friday morning May 18 moonrise 3:47 AM 8% of moon left, sunrise at 5:16 AM

Saturday morning moonrise 4:18 AM 4% of moon left, sunrise at 5:16 AM

On Sunday the new moon rises just after the sun so no way can you see it. Now here is the killer. The moon moves around quite a bit where it rises during the month. This weekend that little sliver will be rising right between the twin towers of Thacher if you set up out on Good Harbor Beach on the bridge end. Get out out there. Low tide is at 4:30 AM on Friday. You could get a nice shot across the wet sand to the towers. Too far inland or at the other end of GHB and the moon rises behind the headland.

Saturday morning with only 4% left will be tough to shoot. The sun will be up and you’ll have a very small window to photograph it. Friday morning may be epic. And if you get the shot on Thursday and Friday you will be warmed up for exactly where the moon will be on Saturday. Very few people ever see the sliver of moon the day before a new moon.

Rubber Duck Quick Tip: the minutes tick off and where is the damn moon? Just a wee bit of fog or moisture will obscure the faint fingernail as the twilight starts brightening the sky. I’ve often missed the moonrise then picked it up when it is five moon diameters above the horizon. If you roll out of bed and hear the fog horn just go back to bed.

For the super serious: bring a compass. The moon rises at 76, 70, then 66 degrees on Thur, Frid, Sat, respectively. For the non serious, that would be east.

For the super super serious, download The Photographers Ephemeris and map your location. It’s free.


Dylan Thomas once wrote, “Time passes. Listen. Time passes.”  

While this is true, it doesn’t have to be true for the thousands upon thousands of pixels that make up your most treasured memories. 

Whether they are five years old, or fifty years old; printed photographs are quite vulnerable to the elements. Not unlike other relics of a bygone non-digital era, photographs require just as much maintenance as your beloved vintage vinyl! 

When caring for your photos, I can offer you two powerful words of advice; preventative maintenance. Here are some useful tips to help you get started.

1. Paper and Plastic: While photo albums are a great way to preserve your memories, always remember to check the paper quality of the album before placing the photographs inside it. Acidity levels in the paper can destroy your photos over time; erasing the color and detail. When shopping for an album, look for “acid-free” or “archival-safe” labels on the album , stay away from “magnetic pages” and avoid using corrosive adhesives. Keep the same idea in mind when considering the plastic sleeves, common in most photo albums. While plastic sleeves are a great way to keep your photos “fresh”, if you’re not using “lignin free” plastic, your photos will erode over time, become stuck to the plastic more easily and may even develop a yellow or orange hue. If you choose to store your photos in a photo box, the same rules apply… make sure the box is acid-free!

2. Air Supply and Climate Control: Dry air is optimal for photo preservation. Too much humidity will damage untreated, non framed photos and cause mildew. The damage caused by mildew or mold is usually permanent because it grows by “digesting” the cellulose in the paper backing of the photo. At the very least, it will cause permanent staining. I know this sounds weird, but treat your photos as you would treat yourself. Do not store them in a cold, damp basement or a stuffy, hot attic (remember that heat rises and a high temperature accelerates deterioration). Store your photos in an environment that feels comfortable to your own skin. Extreme climate fluctuations are a photo’s worst enemy. 

3. The Flat Truth: Keep your photos flat. Do not roll them or fold them. Some people have a tendency of rolling up an awkwardly shaped or too-long photograph and then using a rubber-band to secure it. I cannot stress this enough… DO NOT ROLL YOUR PHOTOS. They will become exceedingly brittle over time, making the restorative process of “humidification” very difficult. Rubber-bands contain sulphur, which will degrade photographic emulsion.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Light can and will hurt your pictures! If you must hang your framed originals, try to hang them in subdued light and use an anti-UV frame, avoiding direct sunlight at all costs. If possible though, it is advisable to display copies and keep your originals in the dark. 

5. Hands Off: Do not handle your photos with bare hands. Always wear gloves, preferably of the cotton variety. Oils from your fingers, even after being meticulously washed, will replenish themselves and stick to the photographs. The acids in the oils will, over time, damage your pictures. (FYI… It is possible to permanently brand a fingerprint into a photograph, simply from handling it) I’d like to point out that you should also avoid using adhesives or fasteners such as rubber cement, pressure-sensitive tape or paper clips. Paper clips, especially, will scratch your photos very easily.

Are you cringing yet… thinking about all those old photos you inherited from your great grandmother and stuffed in an old shoebox from the 1970s, which now sits, collecting dust and who knows what else, up in the attic, wedged between a box of broken Christmas lights and a rusty trunk… containing even more photographs, just sort of rolled up, secured with rubber-bands or stacked in a chaotic heap of disorderly haste?! Fear not. 

While there are a number of DIY tricks for photographic restoration, (which I just may be so inclined to do another blog post about in the future), there are also professionals, like myself, out there who can help you bring your damaged photographs “back to life” with digital restoration. 

And who am I, exactly? My name is Vignette-Noelle Lammott and I am a recent transplant to the glorious community of Cape Ann, via Chicago. My business, which I launched this past October, is called Retrocognitive Restorations. Though I have been restoring photographs professionally for only a few years,  I have studied tarnished beauty, all of my life. An antique shop enthusiast, I surround myself with old things, and can often be found rummaging through dusty used bookstores or scouting around local flea markets and estate sales. I like to think of what I do as more than just retouching your old snaps, but rather, restoring your most treasured memories.

Email me to set up a free consultation. I offer several packages, depending on how many photographs you need done and whether they are true vintage or relatively recent. You can view some samples of these packages at my website And don’t forget to look me up on Facebook, for even more free advice on photocare as well as some stunning “before and afters”.

Vignette-Noelle Lammott
Owner at Retrocognitive Restorations

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