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Archive for July, 2015

Hurtigruten sunset

Thought for the day…”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

“You do not stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing”.

A couple of sunset photos from the deck of the Hurtigruten coastal steamer boats.    These boats travel between Bergen on the west coast of Norway and Kirkenes at the top of Norway, next to the Russian border, a journey of 5.5 days each way.   11 ships travel the route, and call at 34 ports along the way, including a trip up the famous Geirangerfjord in summer.    Interestingly, Norwegian Television did a live TV sending of the whole 134 hour trip.   The photos today were taken near the middle of the trip, just north of the Lofoten islands, again with the Fuji X-E1.

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Rice terraces in China

Thought for the day…” Do not make excuses, make improvements”.

“Expecting and accepting are two sides of life.  Expecting can end in tears, but accepting will bring you cheers”.

A photo from the south west part of China for the photo today, from Yunnan province.   Around 45 million people live in this province, which borders Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.   The western part is mountainous, with the peaks reaching over 5000m.    Ethnic groups make up about 1/3 of the population, so local dialects and colourful local costumes are very much evident in the towns and markets here.    The hills in the west border the Tibet autonomous region, with deep valleys and hillside farming.   It is also very rich in minerals, so mining is very important, as is agriculture.    Seen here are some rich terraces not far from the border with Tibet.

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and another photo from Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands……

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Opposite sides of the world

Thought for the day…”  Some people are like clouds.  When they disappear, it is a beautiful day”.

“Life does not get easier, you just get stronger”.

Another photo from up in the Artic Circle, and again from Norway.   Today’s photo comes from the small Norwegian town of Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands.  These islands are known for their small mountains and islands.  Previously, fishing, especially for cod, was the main industry, but now tourism is becoming increasingly important.   The islands are situated at about 68 degrees north, so experience a long dark winter with up to 24 hours of darkness, as well as the midnight sun during summer.   Surprisingly, despite being within the Artic Circle, there is a type of coral found in the seas around Lofoten, and even a coral reef near the island of Rost.     The photo here was taken in the harbour at Svolvaer, the ‘capital’ of Lofoten.

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and another photo from the archives…..an aerial view of Mt. Aspiring, 3033m in New Zealand.

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Squeezed all ways

Thought for the day…”A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”.

” Those who do not learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them”.

I was sad to see that one of my favourite airlines, SWISS Airlines, is falling into the trap that some other airlines have already slipped into.    Swiss Airlines, who are normally very good, have announced details of their new cabin layout for the 777 W aircraft.    As one of those people who travel economy, I was sad to see that they are going to squeeze in 10 abreast economy seating (3+4+4).    Airlines such as Emirates had already done this, but now Swiss are going to as well.  Not only are economy class passengers squeezed for leg room, but now they are also going to be squeezed for shoulder space too.    Add to this the fact that Swiss (part of the Lufthansa group) also charge for selecting a seat in advance (25 euros approximately for each long haul flight), then the benefits of paying more for this airline disappear.    I have so far avoided airlines which squeeze 10 abreast seating on the 777, and it will certainly influence my choice of Swiss in future.   10 abreast is just not pleasant for a long haul flight, and a charge of about 25 euros to reserve a seat is just another nail in the coffin.

Two photos in black and white showing the city centre in Bergen, Norway.    As it was a dull day, then switching to BW was the answer..

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Sea Eagles in Norway

Thought for the day….”Those who do not learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them”

” Do not wait for the day of judgement, it takes place every day”.

Also known as the fish eagle, the sea eagle can grow up to 1 metre in length and have a wingspan of 2m.  The white tail feathers show that the birds are adult.  Some sea eagles have been measured at over 7.5kg in weight, with the largest populations being found in the Artic north, including around the Lofoten Islands (where these photos were taken).   Despite their name, the fish eagle also hunts small mammals but they are largely scavengers, and will often steal food from other birds.

The photos below were taken with the Fuji X-E1, hand held on a moving boat (!!) with a 50-230mm lens.

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North Norway duo.

Thought for the day…” The darkest night is often the bridge to the brightest tomorrow”.

“Life leaps like a geyser for those who drill through the rock of inertia”

Up to the Lofoten Islands in Norway for the photo today, and some typical Lofoten scenery.   These islands are situated at around 68 degrees north, and inside the Artic Circle.    Humans have lived in the islands for over 5500 years, despite the long, cold winters.  Fishing was traditionally the main industry here, mainly for cod.   The mountain peaks rise to over 1100m, whilst surprisingly, the sea here has a form of coral.   As Lofoten is above the Artic circle, then the sun does not set between 25th May and 17 July, meaning 24 hours of daylight.   It is also the home of the Lofoten Insomnia cycle race.

The photo was taken late evening, north of Svolvaer, Fuji X-E1 with the 18-55mm kit lens.

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And another photo from northern Norway, colourful houses by the sea…another triumph for the Fuji X-E1 camera.

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