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Two from the opposite ends of Norway

Thought for the day…..”If you cannot do great things then do small things in a great way”

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”.

So the crazy ‘security’ people in the good old USA have now decided that the humble Kindle e-book reader cannot be taken onboard flights from certain countries, nor a laptop, digital camera or tablet.   Yet people flying from some other countries CAN take the exact same items.    Just another sign of how stupid the USA has become.    And I am even more surprised that the travelling public in the USA is putting up with more and more of this nonsense.  Nothing to do with security, just a way for the Department of Homeland ‘Security’  to exercise even more control over people, without making flying any safer.    Even Australia is now making the use of the naked body scanners compulsory, with no opt-out option,  yet another intrusion into personal privacy and personal rights.     Based on these stupid, groundless ‘security’ procedures ( security scam would be another way to describe it)  then I will continue to avoid the USA, UK and Australia.    Airport procedures now are beyond reasonable.

A photo of the west Norwegian city of Bergen, taken from Mt. Floyen in perfect light.  Again great colours from the Fuji camera, taken as a jpeg.

and another photo….the fishing town of Vardo, Norway.    This is the easternmost town in Norway, and actually lies further East then Istanbul or Kiev !!  One of the town’s slogans is ‘Eternal light, Eternal Night’,  which is a reference to the 24 hours of constant daylight during summer, and the 24 hours of constant darkness during Winter.    The Russian border is only a few km away across the bay.

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RESPECT, FAIRNESS, CONSIDERATION

Full power for take off- Queenstown, New Zealand

Thought for the day….”Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.”

“You cannot start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”

Full power for this AirNewZealand departure from Queenstown (ZQN), New Zealand.  In the background are the Remarkables Mountains.   Not one of the World’s easiest airports to fly in or out of, due to the surrounding mountains, although they have recently started night flights due to the huge demand for tourist flights to the area.   One of the problems caused by the success of the airport is the severe congestion on the road from the airport to the town centre.   There is already talk about making a 4 lane highway from near the airport into the city centre, although the real problem is that there is not enough public transport.   The town planners’ answer is to build bigger and more roads, whereas the solution should be a public transport system.

and another photo from New Zealand….Nugget Point in the Catlins.   Named after the ‘nuggets’ off the actual point, there has been a lighthouse here since 1870.   The area is home to many fur seals, yellow-eyed penguins and also seabirds such as spoonbills and gannets.   The road to the Point is now being sealed, which will make access easy.

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS

Yellow Eyed Pengiuns of New Zealand

Thought for the day….”Prosperity tries the fortunate, adversity the great”

“The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”

Lucky to have got one of the first Fuji X-T20 cameras in New Zealand, and while many people are waiting for their orders, I have been trying out the new camera.    Great new sensor (now 25.4mp) and also the ability to take 4K video (looks superb).   It has been said that Fuji cameras make taking photos FUN again, and it seems to be true.   Nice to have physical controls and also the ability to customize a lot of the menus and buttons to what you want.      Having upgraded from the X-T10 then a lot of features on the X-T20 are similar,  which makes using it much easier.  Same batteries and same lens mount (X system) too, so again changing cameras was no big problem.    A couple of photos of the Yellow-Eyed penguins, found on the South Island of New Zealand.    For those who are interested, the photos were taken with the Fuji XF 100-400mm lens, hand held.   As the light was fading fast (the penguins come ashore around sunset) then a much higher ISO was used than is normal.

and another of the penguins, taken the same day….

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Buying local – the advantages

Thought for the day….”It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

There was a time in my younger days when I would spend hours looking for the cheapest price. Getting something for the cheapest price was the target, and an important one.  But gradually I have come around to looking at VALUE, rather than price.    I have just had delivery of my new camera.  I know that I could have ordered it online cheaper, but because my local photo shop (Photo & Video International, Christchurch, New Zealand) has given me such great service, then it was an automatic and easy decision to order from them.  True, I may have paid more for the camera, but when I need help or advice, the dealer will be there, and will be only too happy to help, even if there is no direct profit in it for him.   Not only that, but it makes trading much more friendly.    And it is good to know that when I need some extra bits, that he will supply them, even if there is little or no profit in it for the shop.    Previously I would have gone for the cheapest, but the value of personal customer service from a shop cannot be measured in money terms.     The best part is that at the end of the transaction, that both the buyer and the seller come away feeling satisfied and happy.   Too many negative experiences with online ‘shops’ located in far off places, who once they have sold you something, do not want to hear from you again.  Long live the friendly local shop !!!

And a couple more photos from the old camera…….

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and another photo from the archives….the Finnish capital of Helsinki

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION, FAIRNESS

The Southern Alps of New Zealand

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

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your entire life running up and down the field and never score”

Two photos from yesterday, taken on a flight around the Southern Alps on the South Island of New Zealand.   Unusually there was absolutely no wind over the mountains, meaning absolutely no turbulence, so I was able to fly closer to the mountains than normal.    The photos are screenshots from the video camera (the video will go up on Youtube later), and show Mt. Aspiring (3033m high) in the Mt. Aspiring National Park.  In the first photo, on the horizon left of the wing, you can see New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mt. Cook, which is now 3724m high.   To the right of Mt. Aspiring is the large Bonar Glacier.   Unfortunately there is a movement in New Zealand to rename many of the places and mountains with minority names, however the official names of the mountains are still Mt. Aspiring and also Mt. Cook.   So here is Mt. Aspiring below the wingtip….

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and another photo, again a screenshot from the video camera..The normal climbing route is up the long snow covered face (about 60 degrees) on the left, then along the ridge to the summit at 3033m.

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Triathlon in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand

Thought for the day….”Success with a negative attitude is called Luck.  Success with a positive attitude is called Achievement”

Next Saturday (18th February) is the day for the annual Challenge Wanaka triathlon.    This event is part of the worldwide Challenge triathlon circuit, and it has grown into a large competition.    The race comprises of a 3.8km swim  (the lake will be around 15 degrees), followed by a 180km cycle, and finally the 42.2km marathon run.   The fastest competitor will finish in around 8 hours 40 minutes.    Here are a few photos from previous years races….

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Overcrowded and full, New Zealand

Thought for the day..”There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”

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

New Zealand continues to be overrun with tourists.   Whilst the tourist board seems to think that ever increasing numbers of tourists are a wonderful thing, those people who are in New Zealand are now seeing the effects over too many tourists.   Accommodation is full in many places, cafes are packed out, roads are busier than they have ever been (=more accidents)  and the national parks and nature are suffering (and suffering is the word) from the onslaught.    And there is no end in sight.     Airlines are putting on more and more flights (particularly from China) and are upping frequencies.     Trying to get reservations for accommodation at the moment is a nightmare and the once quiet country is now far from quiet and unspoilt.

The number of tourists has now passed 3.42 million a year, (population of NZ is about 4.7 million), and is growing by over 10%.     So the overcrowding at the popular tourists sights is becoming serious.     This also means that the nature and wildlife is suffering too.    Imagine driving into Milford Sound (which is in a national park) and arriving before 0900 only to find that ALL parking was already full and that officials were telling arriving motorists to turn around and drive out again.

And the worst part…..there is no end in sight.   Quiet, peaceful and quaint it might once have been.   Not now.

Today’s photo comes from the Old Town in Bergen, Norway.    It started out as a quick snapshot in colour, and was converted to B&W.    Just lucky that there was somebody in the sunlight in the ideal position.   Another reason why it is good to always have the camera ready.

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and another photo from the archives…..sunset over Norway from an aircraft window…..

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Crazy security checks…..

Thought for the day…..”Actions and consquences are a packaged deal”

” Life is a one-time offer.   Use it well”.

Travel has just got easier for me.     The USA, as usual paranoid about security has introduced rules which stop TOURISTS like me from getting the ESTA electronic visas.    If you have visited any of the countries on the USA list, then you are now ineligible for the ESTA visa.   This also means that you cannot transit the USA.     The American government cannot get it into their heads that there are TOURISTS who visit countries like Iran, Iraq and Sudan to learn more about the culture and life there.   But paranoid American officials now consider TOURISTS like these as a security risk.   So it is an easy decision for me, no more visits to the USA.  I will take my TOURIST dollars/euros/dirhams somewhere else.

And now I see that Australia is also becoming much like the USA.   Now at international airports in Australia, they have made the body scanner machines compulsory.   Of course they are saying that there is no danger to the public, but officials also said the same thing with the original body scanner X-Ray machines, until it was discovered that there WERE health dangers with the scanners.   So when they tell me that there is no danger (officials also said the same thing after the Chernobyl nuclear accident) then I do not believe them.   So I will not be compulsorily irradiated because I am innocent.    So now I will be avoiding Australia as well, including in transit.   And apparently, Australia wants to start trials of facial recognition technology at gateway airports to avoid the need for passports.    How much more big-brother is coming???       So two countries on the off list (USA & Australia).   Makes planning the next trip easier.   Their loss, my money will go to other countries.    And is it not about time that these stupid rules about liquids are abolished???    Since when has a 200ml tube of tooth paste or shampoo been dangerous??

And why do they make the pilots go through security checks as well?   Are they afraid that the pilot might get control of the aircraft??   Has no airport official ever seen the STUPIDITY of making pilots (who have full control of the aircraft) go through a security check?   I watched one pilot at Brisbane airport recently having to remove his mobile phone from his pocket to go through security again.  Yet no official has ever questioned the logic of such a stupid procedure.

Having been attacked and robbed recently by a bandit with a bushknife (see the previous post) I was searching around for a new Fuji camera.  I was amazed to see on a website with sample images from a Fuji camera, and advertisement for stab-proof jackets (see the screenshot below).   Either my internet is being monitored, or it was an amazing coincidence….

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and a photo from the now-stolen camera…..again great sharpness and colours from Fuji…..

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What would you do if………?

Thought for the day….”The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”   Martin Luther King

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadows”

What would you do if you were on holiday and you were violently attacked and robbed?    An interesting question, and worth thinking about.   It just happened to me, and it is interesting to think about what happened, and what followed.   A few days ago I was in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.  As there was no flying that day, I took the chance to go for a walk in the villages.    PNG is dangerous, and I had read about the walks NOT to do, and opted to remain on a busy path between the villages.  I walked passed villagers every few hundred metres, so for a lot of the time I was always near other people.    A lovely summer day, cool up in the highlands so it was perfect for walking.  It was also great for me to see from ground level some of the areas in the hills that I had been flying over.   The villagers were friendly, and many of them stopped to talk, rural Papua New Guinea.     After a few hours I headed back to the main road, wanting to be back in the main town before it got too hot.     Even on the way back, I was passing many villagers heading to and from their homes in the hills.   Children playing in the yards, village people selling produce from small huts, and men and women walking back to their houses to rest.    All very quiet and peaceful.    As usual, I took lots of photos, especially early on when the light was perfect.

Almost back to the main road, and in good time too.    I crossed the final wooden bridge before the last stretch to the main road.    Walked up the hill the other side then started the descent towards the main road.     Suddenly behind me I heard a man shout.    I turned and then was attacked by a raskol (the local name for a bandit or criminal) who was using a bush knife (the blade was about 30-40cm long, with a long handle).    What was particularly surprising was that the bandit was so violent.  Normally when you are attacked then the advice is not to resist, but this time I had no chance to offer money, watch etc.   The bandit was intent on slicing me with the bushknife.   Using the daybag as a shield on my side, I deflected the slashes with my right arm.  Strangely enough, at the time I did not feel the cuts, and it was only afterwards that I saw all the blood.  It was a natural reaction for me to put my right arm up as defense.    Not that an arm is much resistance against a bush knife used by a violent bandit.    The bandit hacked the camera off me, then ran off.  For a moment, I thought about chasing him, but then thought that he was too violent and that he had already been trying to cut me up.  Despite being a fast and well-trained runner, I thought that it was better to let the camera disappear.

The bandit had been lucky.    About 100m before the attack there were people sitting and about the same distance in front of me there were 2 people as well.  So that is perhaps why he ran off when he got the camera.   He could have got more but the camera seemed to have satisfied him.

The attack was only about 700m from the police post on the main road.  After a visit to the local medical centre to get the right arm seen to, I visited the police station to report all the details.     One thing that I have learned about PNG is that many people are fearful of reprisals from the raskols, and fear attacks on their families.   So this means that even those people who saw the attacker will not describe him or reveal his name.    He will probably continue to do the same thing against others.  Violence is common in PNG, often involving neighbouring villages and groups.     Law and order has broken down, and in many areas, it is the locals who sort things out, sometimes violently.

A couple of photos from before the camera was stolen…

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And another photo, again from PNG,

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What is on his mind ? Thoughts and expressions…

Thought for the day….” When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘We’ then even illness becomes wellness”.

“Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something”.

People photos are always interesting, and here is another from the collection.   Despite being well known for fantastic colours, the Fuji X series of cameras also produces great Black & White pictures too.   BW really suits this portrait well, and the neutral expression on the man’s face was perfect.   A series of photos was taken to get one where he looked at the camera at the right moment.   The focus point was set on his eyes.  We can only speculate what was on his mind when the photo was taken……

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and a photo from 2015, Alesund in Norway.

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