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The airlines go even lower – more economy class cutbacks.

Thought for the day….” Never reach out your hand unless you’re willing to extend an arm”

” Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”

Airlines again.   So often, things that originate in the USA slowly trickle their way to the rest of the world.  Already the major airlines in Europe are beginning to charge for check-in baggage, and at least one budget airline (Wizzair) is even charging for carry-on baggage.   Meals, which used to be included in airfares, are often becoming buy-on-board.    Lufthansa’s new Airbus A320neos will have LESS legroom than Ryanair.    Like Ryanair, Lufthansa is now charging for check in baggage, something that is now becoming standard amongst airlines.    Now the news is coming from the USA that United Airlines is going even further.   They are introducing a new even more economy ticket.   As well as not having the usual benefits (things like being able to pre-reserve a seat), passengers travelling on the cheapest tickets will now not be allowed to use the overhead luggage bins, and they will only be allowed to store small bags under their seats.   No doubt that this idea will spread from the USA, as airlines will see it as another way to devalue economy class even more.    And spare a thought for the cabin crews, who will now have to police who is putting baggage in the overhead luggage bins, surely a nightmare for them.    So economy passengers will be squeezed in even more (Lufthansa) then will not be able to pre-reserve seats, then will have to pay for previously free meals, will not earn air miles, and if the United Airlines move spreads, will be forbidden from putting bags in the overhead bins.

Years ago, people mocked Ryanair when it suggested making passengers pay to use the toilets onboard.  The way that things are going with the airlines, then those days might not be so far away.

Time for another portrait photo from the collection.   Originally a colour photo, the picture works so well in Black & White.   Great, neutral expression on the woman’s face, and perfect natural lighting.  The quality of the Fuji glass is clear in this photo.

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and another photo from the archives….

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Both from Bergen, buildings & bridges

Thought for the day…”It is better to walk alone than walk with a crowd going in the wrong direction”.

“You cannot hang out with negative people and expect a positive life”.

Winter is a great time to sit inside and sort out the thousands of photos.   In the last century, in the days of 35mm film, you were very careful before you took a photo because you only had 24 or 36 exposures on each film (38 if you were very lucky when you put the film in).    Now, with cameras that will take 8 or 10 photos a second, then sorting photos has become a mammoth task.   Before, you sent the film away for processing, and the shop did all the work for you, whereas now you have to download the photos, label them and file them yourself, as well as editing them.  One great advantage of the Fuji system is that the jpegs straight out of the camera are SO good, which means that much less editing is needed.    Still got FAR too many photos though, but at least I am spending much less time on editing now.    Two photos from the city centre in Bergen, Norway, both taken earlier this year with the Fuji X-T10 camera and standard 18-55mm kit lens.

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Pondering the moment, or a moment of reflection?

Thought for the day…” Failure is success if we learn from it”  (Malcolm Forbes).

“About the time we can make the ends meet, somebody moves the ends”

I am having a hard time trying to decide about video.    Often I carry with THREE cameras, the Fuji X-T10, a GoPro action camera and also a Panasonic video camera.   Not only does that take some managing (only two hands !) but it also needs organizing with chargers (all are different of course, nothing standard) and batteries (again, all different sizes, and all needing their own chargers).   So at the moment I am trying to decide if I should concentrate on still photography, or continue to try the occasional video as well.  Video editing takes a lot of time, and if it is 4K then a lot of computer time too.    Videos need you to use a tripod as well, which means more to carry and even more to set up.    One of the great advantages of the mirrorless camera system is their smaller size.    But I am wondering if I am losing all this by carrying 3 cameras, battery charges, tripod etc.    A good still picture is powerful, and says a lot.  Video is great if it is done properly, but the question at the moment is, are three cameras etc. too much to conveniently manage?.   And it would be nice to have a drone/quadcopter as well, although the recent law changes in Sweden effectively banning photography from drones might end that plan.   Photography should be an enjoyable hobby, but I do not want to start carrying so much equipment that it becomes more like a NatGeo filming trip.  Perhaps it is better to concentrate on still photography only??

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and another photo from the archives…fireworks over Bergen, Norway last year.

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Squeeze more in – more cuts in standards at the airlines.

Thought for the day…”The secret of getting ahead is getting started”

“Some people are like clouds.  When they go away, it is a brighter day”.

Back on one of my favourite topics..airlines.  I see in the news that British Airways (BA) have become the latest airline to increase the number of seats in its aircraft.  The Boeing 777 will go to 10-across seating (currently 9) and the total number of seats will go up from 280 to 332.  The Airbus A320 will have more seats, up from 168 today to 180, and the Airbus A321 will go from 205 today to a new high of 218 seats.    So BA has also chosen 10 across seating for the 777.  And to make matters even worse, they are removing 2 or 3 toilets from economy class as well.  More passengers but fewer toilets.   Since SWISS airlines also introduced 10-across seating on the 777s, then I have avoided them, as the reports online about airlines who use 10 across seating have been far from positive.    Not only are passengers being squeezed width-wise, but also leg-wise as well.   Lufthansa’s new Airbus aircraft will actually have LESS leg room than Ryanair, and again the intial reports from passengers have been negative. And more of the legacy airlines are introducing charges for food onboard (eg. BA from January) as well as charges for checked-in baggage.    All this begs the question, why pay more to fly with the legacy airlines when the service levels are less?

Today’s photo comes from northern Norway.  Honningsvag in wonderful autumn light…..

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and another photo from the archives….landing at Funchal, Madeira……

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Ebay email address – where is it?

Thought for the day…” Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement”.

“Success with negative attitude is called luck.  Success with positive attitude is called achievement”.

Have you ever tried to contact Customer ‘service’ at Ebay?   If so, then you will be as frustrated as I am.  Ebay makes it VERY difficult to contact them.    Yes, there is a ‘help & contact’ section, but this will merely lead you to suggested answers.   But try and find an email address for Ebay and you will get very annoyed.  They have made it deliberately difficult for you to contact them.    I merely wanted to contact Ebay to ask about a refund, but they do not publish an email address.  How crazy is that??   What reputable company does not want you to contact them???     Either way it has taught me a lesson.   If they are not prepared to publish and email address or put an online form for you to use, then they do not deserve trade.   It seems to be a trend with many companies now, making it very difficult or impossible for you to contact them by email.  They are happy enough to take your money, and make it very easy to pay, but when you want to contact them, that is a different matter.    Good customer service can actually be profitable for a company, whereas bad customer service actually drives customers away.     So why does Ebay make it so difficult to contact them by email???

One advantage of autumn is that it is a good time to go through the photo collection.  Here is one photo that I have converted to black & white….shadows from the railings on a bridge.

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and another photo from the archives…Afghani street traders….

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Oslo city centre – not pleasant

Thought for the day…”Postive anything is better than negative nothing”

“If your ship does not come in, then swim out to it”.

The Norwegian capital, Oslo, becomes even more unpleasant to walk around.   It seems that in the very centre of the city, that drug dealers can openly sell drugs, and drug users can wait around, apparently without the police doing anything.   As soon as you come out of the main train or bus stations then you see it.    The newspapers were reporting that the Norwegian police said that they had lost control of one area (Gronland), and the situation seems to be getting worse.    Go for a walk early morning and you may see used syringes on the ground.   Walk around after dark (not recommended) and you will see drug dealers openly selling.    It is very clear who the drug users are, but they seem to be immune to action.    Add to that the large number of begging gypsies in the city and Oslo has become an unpleasant and dirty place.  But why are the police not doing anything??  Surely the use of hard drugs must be illegal in Norway, but these people apparently get away with it, and openly too.   And all the begging gypsies apparently do not have any legal right to stay in Norway, so why are they allowed to remain?    What are the police doing about it?   I wonder.

Today’s photo comes from north Norway, and from the fishing village of Honningsvag.

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and another photo from the archives….the same photo as in the previous post, but this time converted to black & white.

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Down the alleys of Stockholm

Thought for the day…”It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old”

Am I missing the point?    Went into a local sports shop (part of a large international chain) and could not understand why a sports shop has escalators to go up and down between the different floors.   This is the same chain of sports shops which sells running machines and keep fit equipment, yet they have escalators between floors.  Am I missing the point?

Lovely photo of the alleys in the medieval part of Stockholm, Sweden.  This part of Stockholm (actually an island) is known as ‘Gamla Stan’, or Old Town, and dates from the 13th century.  In the 19th century the area was a slum, but from the 1970s the area was restored.   Fuji X-T10 camera & 18-55mm lens.

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and another photo from the archives….pondering the moment in Ethiopia…..

WORDPRESS ETHIOPIA Bahir Dar Tis Isat girl green dress 4 Oct 2011 (7)

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Curious marketing, or is it crazy marketing???

Thought for the day…”Success is when preparation meets opportunity”

“When life changes to become harder, change yourself to be stronger”.

I have received an email from Lonely Planet advertising some new books.  I am wondering if I am missing something here.   One of the book titles is ‘The Best Things in Life Are Free”, but there is a ‘buy now’ button.   Now that does not seem right to me, but perhaps I am wrong…..

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Almost as bad was the email sent to me by Amazon.  Having ordered some wine for a friend, the confirmation email from Amazon went on to suggest other items that I might be interested in purchasing.   On the list was….Andrex Toilet tissue!!   I cannot see that people ordering wine would be interested in ordering toilet tissue at the same time, but maybe I am wrong.    But who orders toilet paper online anyway???    Strange marketing.

Lovely sunrise at Floro, Norway on the 15th October for the photo today, captured with the Fuji X-T10 camera and standard 18-55mm lens.

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and another photo….modern architecture in Baku, Azerbaijan.

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Autumn in Norway – sunset in Bronnoysund

Thought for the day….”Life is the flower for which love is the honey”

“Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live”

Bronnoysund (Brønnøysund in Norwegian) is known as the coastal town in the middle of Norway.  About 5000 people live here, at around 65 degrees north.    As well as a local airport, it is also visited by the daily Hurtigruten coastal boat service, both northbound and southbound.   Three photos, taken in lovely evening light on 13th October.   Camera was the Fuji X-T10 with the 18-55mm kit lens.   Soon this lens will be joined by the new Fuji 100-400mm lens, which has just been ordered.  Not an easy decision to buy a lens that costs about 3 times as much as the camera, but quality costs, and the quality of the Fuji lenses is superb, so the ‘buy’ button was pressed.   Just have to collect it now……

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and another photo from the same town….

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Around the Bend – Challenge Wanaka

Thought for the day…” Follow your heart but take your brain with you”

“Success is when preparation meets opportunity”

Every year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand, the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition is held.   As usual, this consists of a swim of 3.8km followed by a 180km cycle and finally a marathon run of 42.2km.  The photos today show the final turn on the cycle leg.  At this point, the competitors will have already swum the 3.8km and will almost have completed the 180km cycle leg.  It is only a few hundred metres from the final turn to the transition area.   The 2016 race was won by Dougal Allan in a time of 8 hours, 31 minutes and 53 seconds for the total race.    His cycle section (180km) took him just 4 hours and 36 seconds (and 45 km/h is an impressive average speed on a cycle).   The next Challenge Wanaka race will be on the 18th February 2017.

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