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Not a nuclear explosion, but sunset over the Baltic Sea

Thought for the day…”Well done is better than well said.”  (Benjamin Franklin).

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”

A wonderful story in the news at the moment from Washington, DC,  about ‘Steve’, the security robot who fell down some steps into a water fountain.  The high-tech robot was fitted with ultra-sonic sensors, infra-red sensors and HD video, yet still managed to fall down the steps and into the water below.   His makers, Knightscope,  have been providing updates on his ‘condition’ from ‘hospital’.   The security robot is quoted as thanking his human helpers for saving him, and he is also quoted as saying that he did not see the ‘No Swimming’ sign before entering the water.    Apparently the water has played havoc with his electronics (natually).  His condition was reported as ‘critical’.    So despite all the high technology, the ‘intelligent’ robot still managed to end up wet and useless.   And this is supposed to be the future !!

Not a nuclear explosion, but sunset over the Baltic Sea near Sweden for the photo today…

and another photo…Lake Hawea on the South Island of New Zealand, another Fuji X-T20 photo..

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Swiss mountain town bans photography

Thought for the day..”Public opinion is no more than this: what people think that other people think.”

“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.”  (George Patton)

What is the world coming to?    News on the internet is that the Swiss town of  Bergun in the Graubunden area has voted to ban photography in it’s area.    People taking photos will be fined CHF4 under the new bylaw.     Apparently, the local council has already taken down publicity photos from the internet.    So many places in the world are restricting photography, you have only to think of the USA where photographing public buildings is now likely to lead to trouble with the authorities,  and in many places in the world, taking photos near an airport is also likely to lead to problems.     It is amazing that the central government in Switzerland has allowed the town of Bergun to introduce the new photography ban.   It would certainly change my decision to visit any town if it had a photography ban.  What has happened to freedom?   And what is the town of Bergun so afraid of???    Surely any town should be please that people want to visit and take photographs.    And because Switzerland is usually a civilised country, then the photography ban is even more surprising.     Recently Sweden introduced a complete ban on filming from drones/quadcopters without special permission, and other countries are gradually introducing more restrictions as well.

Today’s photo is a scan of a slide taken many years ago, a local train from St. Ives passes the beach at Carbis Bay in Cornwall, England.

and another photo…..a scanned slide photo from the 1990s.   A Penzance to London train in the Glynn Valley near Bodmin Road in Cornwall, England.

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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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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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Norway this morning

Thought for the day…” Life is too important to be taken seriously” (Oscar Wilde)

“Life is like a 10 speed cycle.  Most of us have gears that we do not use”.

Another fantastic summer day in Norway….and one photo taken early this morning.  Taken today near the centre of Bergen.   Time to put on the sun cream again….

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and another photo from the archives..a 737 about to land in Funchal, Madeira…

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218 Million British Pounds gone on a new folly.

Thought for the day…”It always seems impossible until it is done”   (Nelson Mandela).

” Life is like photography.  You use negatives to develop”

One definition of a ‘folly’ is a building that is built mainly for decoration, but in a style to imitate something else (such as a castle or tower), and at such expense to have shown folly for the builder.     So when I read news about the new airport that has been built on St. Helena island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, then the word ‘folly’ springs to mind.    The news often features stories about the much-delayed new Berlin airport, which seems to be continually delayed and plagued by one problem after another, but the new St Helena airport is equally worthy.

This new airport (soon to receive its first commercial flight) has been built at a staggering cost, reportedly 218 MILLION British Pounds.    The fancy airport comes complete with control tower, restaurant, departure lounges and full security facilities, and a fire station complete with 3 expensive fire-engines.  Not bad at all, except for the fact that St Helena only has a population of about 4255 people.   Not only that, but the island only has 2 small hotels, which will be completely unable to cope with the numbers of tourists expected on the weekly flight to the island.     So the British government has spent 218 million British Pounds on an airport which will have almost no flights, an airport which will serve a population of about 4255 people and an airport which will overload the 2 hotels on the island.  So it is not only Berlin that gets it wrong with its airport.     Folly?    I think so.

Another great photo from the Fuji X-E1 camera…taken with the 55-230mm lens at the maximum 230mm….

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and another photo from the archives….autmn colours at Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

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Why I am glad that I am not 16 years old again

Thought for the day…”Always remember to take your vitamins.   Take Vitamin A for ACTION, take vitamin B for BELIEF, take vitamin C for CONFIDENCE, take vitamin D for DISCIPLINE, and take vitamin E for ENTHUSIASM”

Just had another birthday, and once again, I thought how glad that I am NOT 16 years old again.    Recently I went to a Countdown supermarket and was forced to use the self-service checkouts (normally I avoid them) as there were no staff working the ‘manned’ check-outs.    Whilst self-service check-outs might be profitable for the supermarket shareholders, the problem is that they are doing many people out of jobs.  The same thing has happened at airports (= less check-in staff working on the desks) and hotels which increasingly have automatic check in (= less receptionists).   Cruise ships are introducing robotic barmen capable of mixing and serving drinks (= less bar staff), petrol stations are increasingly becoming automatic (=less cashiers).  The list goes on, meaning less and less jobs.   All very good for shareholders, but not so good for the school leavers who are looking for jobs.    Often in supermarkets they try and steer me towards the self-service checkouts, but I try and choose a manned check-out.   One day, the trend might go the other way, when somebody realizes that the PERSONAL touch means so much.  Keep people employed !!

Great, punchy colours from the Fuji camera for the photo today….a colourful market scene……

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and another photo from the archives…a cruise ship visits Dubronik, Croatia….

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Coffee time in Finland

Thought for the day…”Value is more expensive than price”

“You may not know what is going to happen when you try, but if you do not try, nothing will happen”.

Two photos from opposite sides of the globe next, one from the Finnish capital of Helsinki and the second from the Central Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand.   Interestingly, the building in the first photo is now the City Hall for Helsinki, but was originally a hotel where the first moving pictures were shown in Finland by the Lumiere brothers in 1896.   Even in winter (when temperatures are frequently below -20 degrees centigrade) people will sit outside in the area around the harbour to drink excellent, strong Finnish coffee (kahvi in Finnish language).   Finland is number one in the world for coffee consumption per capita, something to do with the long, dark Artic nights.  But the coffee is excellent !!!   It works out to about 12kg of coffee for each person in Finland.   A survey in 2014 reported that 14% of men and 6% of women in Finland drank MORE than 10 cups of coffee a day.  They like their coffee !!

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And another photo from the archives….Lake Hawea, Otago, New Zealand

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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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Addiction

Thought for the day….” Shadows cannot see themselves in the mirror of the sun”

“There are many ways of going forward but only one way of standing still”.

Addiction is the ‘persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance’.   I recently observed a group of foreign tourists come into a popular local cafe.   The father sat at a table and immediately whipped out his mobile phone, and asked his wife to find out the password for the internet.   Then once they had got the password (and some coffee), they spent the entire time heads down engrossed in their mobile phones.   No awareness of where there were or what was going on, apart from their mobile phones, which were the centre of their attention.    No conversation between them or their children, just the mobile phones.     There is even a medical term now for this, internet addiction disorder, also known as problematic internet use (PIU).  One of the factors not helping this is the fact that we are rarely out of contact now, with internet access almost everywhere.     Even when we go on holiday and sit on a beach or climb a mountain, we often still have internet coverage.  We are never really out of touch.  Traditionally, holidays were times when you DID leave the everyday behind.   Holidays were times when you were AWAY and where you were uncontactable.    But for many people now, just a few minutes out of contact can cause panic symptons.     And it is sad to see people sitting in cafes and restaurants concentrating on their mobile phones, not on those who are with them.    Technological advance or a backward step  ???

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And another photo from the archives…the Stockholm marathon….

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