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animals

KFC goes into space

Thought for the day…” Do not watch the clock, do what it does…keep going”

“You can’t expect to hit the jackpot if you don’t put a few nickels in the machine.”

Saw an interesting story in the news recently about KFC, who are going to send one of their ‘Zinger Burger’ chicken sandwiches into space, through a company called World View.    The project is partly being finance by KFC.   So it will be interesting to see the effects of zero gravity and no oxygen on the burger.   Of course, KFC will be posting the details on their webpages live.  Not that KFC are first with their idea,  previously a pie company has sent one of its meat pies into space to space to study the effects of space on it.   Interesting, that ‘launch’ took place from outside a pub in northern England !!

Today’s photo comes from 70 degrees north, in Finnmark province at the top of Norway.   The reindeer are easy to spot at this time of year, especially as they come near the towns lower down to feed on spring grass.   The photo was taken hand-held using the Fuji X-T20 and Fuji 100-400mm lens.

and another photo….a cross country train starts it trip from Penzance, Cornwall, England

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New Zealand Sea lions – the Fuji XF 100-400mm lens again

Thought for the day….” Do not watch the clock, do what it does, keep going”

” Success is when preparation meets opportunity”.

The Fuji XF 100-400mm lens.    Interesting how things have reversed.   Initially I returned the lens after one day, having decided that it was far too heavy (almost 1.4kg) and too big to carry around.    But after seeing so many brilliant pictures on the internet, and also needing a longer zoom, I purchased it again.    Once you have adjusted to the size of it (it is big !!) and have adapted your way of carrying it, then it starts to get better.    Initially I thought that I would only use it occasionally, but as it is such a great lens then I am finding that I use it much more often.   FAST at focusing and also fast at taking photos, but it is the photo quality which is outstanding.    I used to think that the Fuji 18-55mm  kit lens was fantastic, but now the XF 100-400mm lens has taken top place.   Not a cheap lens to buy but quality costs, and this lens certainly IS quality.   The 3 photos below of sea lions in New Zealand will show what this lens can do, although the images here are only low resolution copies for the internet.   The photos below were taken with the Fuji X-T20 and the XF 100-400mm lens, all taken as jpegs.

and another photo…..

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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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A Good News story

Thought for the day….”The telephone book is full of facts but it does not contain a single idea”

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for”

With all the bad news stories around at the moment, it is heartwarming to read a happy story.  The New Zealand newspapers recently featured a story about a cat in Auckland (which, incidentally,  is not the capital of New Zealand, merely the largest city).    The government electoral commission had sent a letter to this cat inviting it to enrol ready for the forthcoming elections.   Somehow it had not been noticed by the government department that this person was actually a cat.   But even better, the name of cat was ‘Chairman Meow’.   Wonderful name for a cat!!.

A photo from capital of Slovenia, Ljublana for the photo today….

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and another photo from the archives…a crowded ferry on Lake Malawi, Africa…..

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South to North…..Africa to Spitsbergen

Thought for the day….”  It costs nothing to dream, but are you prepared to pay the price to make it a reality?”

”  We learn the ropes of life by untying its knots”.

A photo of the largest land mammal for the photo today, and a scene from South Africa.   Elephants often live in herds of 20 or more, led by a dominant female called a matriarch.    They can live for up to 70 years, and curiously, cannot jump.    When they are born, they are blind, so rely totally on their mothers.  Adults will spend up to 16 hours a day feeding and need around 20 litres of water daily.   They sleep for only about 3 hours a day, and have 6 or 7 sets of teeth, unlike only 2 for humans.

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And another photo from the archives…..a storm approaches Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen

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The Power of the Internet

Thought for the day ” What the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end”

” You never know who is swimming naked until the tide goes out”   (Warren Buffett).

Having just written about the problems with Cyberphoto and the difficulties in getting money back from them, suddenly, after writing on the internet, the money was repaid.    Once again, the internet has shown that it is a powerful tool.

Today’s photos were both taken with the Panasonic FZ-150 camera.  The first photo is of leaf cutter ants in Colombia, and the second photo (out of the archives) shows a lake and mountain scene from Norway.   You have to look very closely at these photos to see that they were not taken with an expensive DSLR, just a normal ‘bridge’ camera.   Leaf-cutter ants form very complex societies and live in underground nests that be up to 30m wide and can go as deep as 6m.   The colony is divided into different castes based on size, with different castes carrying out different tasks.   The largest ants can be up to 16mm long.  They cultivate fungi in their nests, and collect leaves to feed the fungi.  Adult ants feed on the leaf sap, and also use the fungus to feed ant larvae.  Apart from humans, it is very unusual for any other creatures to cultivate their own food.   The ants also operate an efficient waste management system from their nests.

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and a photo from the archives…..early morning reflections in Haglebu, Norway………

web-version-2ALL PHOTOS ON THIS SITE ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

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Bath time in Thailand – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.   The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty”. (Winston Churchill).

” Do not limit you challenges.   Challenge your limits”.

Bath time for elephants in Thailand for today’s photo.  There are 2 sorts of elephants, African and Asian.  The elephants from Asia have smaller ears and also smaller tusks, and is also smaller than the African elephant.   Elephants also have the largest brain in the animal kingdom.  Interestingly, they have only 4 teeth which can be replaced 6 times during their life.  After the last tooth has come through, they cannot feed properly and die.    They can also run at up to 40 km/h and drink up to 80 litres of water a day.   They can also swim and are seen here in northern Thailand during their daily bath.

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And another photo from the archives…..carnival time in El Salvador……

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Head to head – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….’ Maybe it is better to bend a little than to break altogether”.

” Do not stay in the past, it will hurt in the future”.

Did you see the story in the news about the jacket that the chocolate manufacturer, Cadbury, has commissioned which react when the wearer consumes certain chocolate products?   Apparent, as the chocolate carrying-hand is raised to the mouth, LED lights in the jacket light up to show the mood of the consumer.     Did you know that 16 of the top 20 chocolate-consuming countries are in Europe?  Switzerland is number one, with an average annual consumption of around 11.3 kg/person.  Austria, Germany and Ireland are also high on the list.

Walking around the streets of Morocco, and found this shop selling different parts of animals.   Certain that I would not try any of these heads!  If heads are not your thing, then the same stall had everything from feet to other less appetising parts.   Perhaps it is good to be vegetarian sometimes!

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Another beautiful morning, Picton, New Zealand – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” It takes both sunshine and rain to make a rainbow”            ” The secret of getting ahead is getting started”

New Zealand is home to the longest place name in the world…

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwenuakitanatahu

It became independent from Great Britain in 1907, and unusually, has 2 national anthems.    Wellington, which is the capital (although Auckland is the largest city), is the southernmost capital city in the world.  New Zealand also has one of the highest numbers of golf courses per capita in the world.   You will not find any nuclear power stations or snakes in NZ, as NZ is snake and nuclear free.    And in the far south, you may find the tuatara, the world’s oldest reptile, which is largely unchanged for the last 200 million years.

Too many tourists rush through the New Zealand town of Picton, which is situated at the top of the South Island.   Many tourists only see it as the ferry port when they arrive on the 3 hour ferry trip from Wellington on the North Island.   But this small town of about 4000 residents is a great holiday base, offering watersports (sailing, fishing, kayakking, diving), cycling and also the famous nearby Great Walk, the Queen Charlotte Track.  And the famous Marlborough vineyards, including such famous wines as Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, are only a short drive away.  Some fine small cafes, wonderful fish & chips (a New Zealand tradition) and excellent accommodation make this an ideal stop on a tour around New Zealand.

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Face to face with a lion – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” The secret of success and a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings”.

”  Men stumble over pebbles, never over mountains”.

Did you know that an ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain?   Or did you know that the Hawaiian alphabet only has 12 letters?  Or that the word ‘dreamt’  is the only word to end in ‘mt’ ?   Or did you know that the word ‘stewardesses’  is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand?  Or that koalas sleep around 18 hours a day?   Or that the original name for Australia was New Holland?   And that the average human brain contains about 78% water?

A different sort of portrait for today’s photo and face to face with an African lion.  After tigers, lions are the second biggest members of the cat family, with an average male weighing 180kg (females 130kg).  They can sprint up to 80km/h but only for short periods,  Average lifespan is about 12 years.   They spend about 18 hours a day resting, and hunt mainly at night.   This one was seen in Zambia.

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