Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

European Union

Oslo to Copenhagen ferry

Thought for the day..”Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”

“It is not the strongest of the species which survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” Charles Darwin

Oslo harbour and the ferry which goes between Norway and the Danish capital, Copenhagen.   Prices onboard this boat have gone up a lot, and the journey time has also been increased, making the trip now more expensive and also slower. This boat was previously owned by Viking Line, and sailed from Sweden to Finland.   Whilst the ferry was previously a good option, with the high prices onboard and also with the improved road connections to Denmark, it is no longer a good option.  Quite why the company thought that slowing the trip down was a good idea is a mystery, as is the logic of increasing the prices onboard.  Just like the airlines, DFDS have started to charge for things (eg. internet onboard and the bus connections to/from the boat)  that used to be included in the ticket price.   It appears that nearly all the public seating onboard has also been removed, presumably to try and force people into the bars and restaurants onboard to spend more money.   Sad to see the decline in standards on these ferries now, and the need to pay extra for so many things.     The kayakkers had a great view of the ferry though……

and another photo…A dramatic sunrise over the hills of Pembroke, New Zealand.  Great cloud formations are not unusual on the South Island of New Zealand due to the prevailing winds crossing the Southern Alps, which often leads to banding and wave clouds.   Add that to the first sun of the day and the result is a great photo.

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Decluttering and moving on.

Thought for the day…”If you count all your assets you always show a profit.”

“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.”

Over the years it is easy to accumulate more and more stuff.   It is very easy to end up with boxes and boxes of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and a host of other possessions which were stored in the hope that they would be needed again in the future.    I am currently having a major decluttering session, so all the CDs and DVDs are being scanned, old photos sorted out and boxes of books thrown out.    It is surprising that so much of what was stored turns out to be just junk or things that are no longer important.   Whilst it might have been important years ago, now that I look back I find box loads of things that are not relevant or no longer mean anything.

There is a very easy solution to this….decluttering.    And declutter have I done….getting rid of so much stuff and am moving on.    A sort of mega Spring-cleaning exercise.

Here is a photo from the collection, originally a 35mm negative taken about 1990 in England.   The negative was scanned then destroyed, so now it is just a digital copy (but reduced here for the internet).   A British Rail HST125 at Penzance train station waiting to depart back to London Paddington.   A very unusual clear blue sky too !

and another photo from the archives – a steam train on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn BRB in Switzerland.

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The worm has turned (at least for today)

Thought for the day….”When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”

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

I recently flew with Lufthansa from Oslo via Frankfurt to Zurich.    Apart from the usual rush to get onboard and the usual problem to get space in the overhead luggage bins, the seats on the A320 seemed even closer than before.   But the real insult was the ‘meal’ that was served onboard.  This is what Lufthansa, one of the legacy airlines, served as the ‘meal’….

And not only that insult, but the coffee was served in micro size cups too (the watch is in the photos to give an idea of the small size) –

and the ‘dinner’ on the leg to Zurich was 20g, yes 20g of dry crackers.   Again, no refills of coffee offered, despite the small size.   I had paid an ADULT fare, yet was given these micro sized portions.   Can you believe 20g ??  Lufthansa have also been devaluing the air miles on flights too, so I wonder what is the point in paying extra to fly with the legacy carriers when the service has fallen this much???

BUT fast forward to my next trip to Zurich 3 weeks later.   I am lucky to be able to choose a lot of the time, so due to Lufthansa becoming less good, I chose the German Railways train instead.   What a breath of fresh air. No check in 1 hour before departure.   I could get onto the train carrying tubes of toothpaste, a Swiss army knife and liquids without anybody worrying.   The seats had lots of space.  I could take my own baggage (and be sure that it was going to travel with me on the same train).    The staff on the train were excellent, the coffee in the restaurant car good and in normal sized cups.    I had space to walk around, I had comfortable seats and there were films and TV programmes to watch on the DB entertainment channels.    Despite a much longer journey time, it seemed much faster than flying.  I arrived feeling good, relaxed and that I had enjoyed the journey.    We tend to forget that the train can be a great way to travel.    Just because air travel is fast does not mean that it is good, or that it is the only option.   The train down through Germany was so good that I am not considering using the train for many more future trips.    To quote a great British railwayman (Peter Parker) ..”this is the age of the train”.    Perhaps if airlines continue to pack people in and treat passengers as an inconvenience, then more and more people may discover the train.

No prizes for guessing where the photo below was taken…..yes, a souvenir shop !!   Typically Swiss.  Taken with the Fuji X-T20 camera together with the excellent 35mm F2 prime lens.

and another photo from the archives…..bright colours in Cape Verde Islands….

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Oslo airport OSL does it again

Thought for the day…”If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.”

“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”

Oslo airport does it again…makes it unpleasant for passengers.   On Saturday I had the misfortune to use Oslo OSL airport again.   Even with their big, new extension, it is still the same unpleasant place as before.    Despite have a big new space, there are still almost no seats for passengers waiting to check in (WHY??) and even though they have put in a big new duty free shop (which they conveniently funnel passengers through whether or not you want to buy), they still have not got it right for passengers.  Why do their departure gates have seats for about 30 people when the aircraft using them take 170 passengers or more?   And can the managers at OSL not count?   Why on Saturday were most of the security check-points CLOSED ?, resulting in a long queue of people trying to get through security.    The managers at OSL must know how many flights are scheduled to depart, yet they seem unable or unwilling to put enough staff on the security checkpoints.  Bad management?   Of course, if you pay money then you can go ‘Fast Track’ through security, but this is merely an admission that the normal waiting times at security are too long.    And whilst the airport managers may be happy to see more and more (expensive) shops at Oslo airport, they still have not put in enough facilities for passengers.   Try finding a water fountain or a working electrical socket.   Try finding something to do whilst you are waiting at OSL.   And the worst thing……we passengers are actually paying a lot of money to use OSL airport.   Because it has a monopoly position then it can take our money without providing good services.   Flying from Oslo is not something to look forward to, especially if you have to wait there.   Perhaps the train from Oslo is the answer…….

A photo of the SR.N4 hovercraft taken in 1997 in Dover, England, from a scanned slide in my collection.   At that time, the SRN4 was the largest hovercraft in the World.  Top speed was 154 km/h and they could cross the English Channel in as little as 22 minutes.  The noise and vibration inside them was unforgettable, and if you crossed the English Channel on a rough day, then the ride inside them was ‘interesting’ !!  But they were a thrilling way to travel over the waves.

and another photo from the archives…by the sea in Cuba.

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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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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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Black & White or colour….which is best ?????

Thought for the day…” Broken pencils are pointless”       “Jokes about German sausages are the wurst”

Lots of fun to go back through the photo collections and re-edit the photos….and also get rid of a lot of earlier attempts.   Two versions of the same photo today, from the Spanish island of Menorca.  All photos from the Fuji X series….with the standard 18-55mm kit lens.    See which you like the best.  Same photo but one is converted to B & W.     My vote goes to the black & white version….

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and another photo from the archives….the lake at Geilo, Norway in early autumn…

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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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Festive Times are here again

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

“Value is more expensive than price”

It is that time of year again.  It used to be called Christmas but now to keep everybody happy, they are referring to it as the ‘festive season’.    One ultra extreme local council in the UK decided a few years ago to refrain from using the word ‘Christmas’, resulting in Christmas trees being renamed as ‘horticultural elements of a festive nature”.  Political correctness !!!   I was about to buy some Christmas cards when I saw that even those are now being made in China, more jobs going overseas with no doubt, untold damage done to the Chinese environment where they make them.     Did you know that in the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ that if you add up all the gifts in the song then they total 364 gifts !!

Today’s photo is from rural Malaysian island….children playing.

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and another photo from the archives….having a hard day in Tallinn, Estonia…..

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Jack of all trades, master of none

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

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

Just been watching some people using a drone to capture photos, something else that I would like to try.   Recently I was using TWO cameras at the same time, one for stills and one for video.    Had I had an action camera then I would have probably used that as well.    And there is an idea in my head to try underwater photography too, and the wonderful macro photos that I see in the magazines have fired my imagination too.     But I am wondering now if I should SPECIALIZE, instead of trying so many areas.     Video is a different matter, needing tripods, more editing and also a lot more preparation, no doubt drone photography and underwater would not be so easy either.     So the question is, should I just concentrate on getting good still photos with one camera.   Jack of all trades and master of none????

And some street colour from the Slovenian capital of Ljublana for the photo today….

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and another photo from the archives….before the storm, Longyearbyen, Svalbard Spitsbergen.

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The megapixel race

Thought for the day…” Remember- you are unique.  Just like everyone else”.

“Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects, so keep taking it regularly”.

Just been reading the latest issue of Amateur Photographer magazine, and learning about the latest and greatest cameras that are being released, some of which now come with over 40 megapixels of resolution.    I read a very interesting letter on the dpreview.com forum (dpreview.com   is an excellent website for anyone interested in photography) from a man who was selling his Fuji camera.  He was very happy with the excellent quality photos that it produced and the very high resolution BUT he went on to say that all he ever did was to look at his pictures on the computer screen, so having so many pixels was wasted.   The camera produced fantastic quality pictures, but for HIS needs, it was too much.   I am sure that many people will sympathize with his views…do we really need upwards of 40mp resolution?   How many photos are we actually going to print or enlarge to a huge size?   And if we are just going to look at them on a computer screen then those extra pixels may indeed be wasted.    I will stick with my 16mp Fuji camera for now…the results are totally ok for my needs.   No need to upgrade to a 40mp camera…..I just do not need the extra pixels.    Sorry Canon, sorry Sony, I am just not interested !!

Today’s photo is reduced in quality for the internet…..but shows Furusund in the Swedish archipeligo at sunset..

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and another photo from the archives….a happy cyclist in the Challenge Wanaka Triathlon competition…..

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Street corner colour – Riga, Latvia

Thought for the day…”About the time that we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends”.

A bit of street life in the Latvian capital city of Riga for the photo today….and not much action judging by the photo.   About 640 000 people live in the this city, or about 1/3 of the entire population of Lativa.   Temperatures in the city in winter can fall to -20 or -25 degrees.  It became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, and interestingly, after independence around 290 000 people (about 14% today) were left with no citizenship of any country.  Latvia is also home to Europe’s widest waterfall, the 110m wide Ventas Rumba Falls.  Apparently, the studs on jeans were invented in Latvia, when the Latvian Jacob Davis joined with Levi Strauss.

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and another photo from the archives..the waterfalls at Iguazu, Brail…..

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Last light of the day….from above

Thought for the day…”I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, and three times to make sure” (Mae West).

“Sex is emotion in motion”  (Mae West).

Up in the air……Who is the biggest?  The largest airline in the world (in terms of revenue, profit and fleet size) is the American Airlines group.   In terms of passengers, Delta is the world’s biggest private airline, with around 129 million passengers a year.   Emirates Airlines (UAE) is government owned, but their revenue last year was around USD 24.2 BILLION.  It used to be fun at one time, but now the security checks, check-in procedures and overcrowded airports have certainly taken the gloss away.    I often wonder who actually votes for the airlines that ‘win’ the awards for the world’s best airlines, but Singapore Airlines get my vote…..as does Singapore Airport (SIN) for the world’s best airport.    Norway’s Oslo (OSL) airport certainly deserves an award, not for comfort or for convenience, but for the lack of facilities and unpleasant surroundings.    Every time that I fly into or out of OSL I am struck by what a DISGRACE it is for Norway.  It does not get any better either.

Work means that I fly more than I would like but occasionally there are some perks….like this sunset last month, seen from an aircraft window in Norway….

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and another photo from the archives…an unlucky weekend motorist (Ferrari) gets a ticket in Stockholm, Sweden….

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Holidaymakers heading home….time to fly

Thought for the day…” Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle”.

“Always remember that the future comes one day at a time”.

I often get asked what camera I am using to take the photos.    Previously, it was the Panasonic FZ150 but now I have upgraded to the Fuji X-E1.  Both cameras have their good points, but the quality of the jpeg images from the Fuji is so good.   Far less time spent with editing on the computer now, as the pictures straight from the camera are so good.    The kit lens (18-55mm) is brilliant, and it produces fantastically sharp images, helped by an APS-C sized sensor.    The negative thing about the camera is that it does not make good videos, hence the Panasonic is still in the bag for the times when a good video is needed.    But for still photos, the Fuji X-E1 is hard to beat.  Not perfect, but no camera is, but a great camera.  As many people have said, it MAKES you want to take more photos.   And it does !

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The Panasonic has only a smaller CMOS sensor, but does have a 24X zoom lens, and an LCD screen that can be moved.  Initially I thought that a tiltable screen was a gimmick, but after a time you appreciate just how useful it is.   Going back to the Panasonic after handling the Fuji, you realize just how cheap and plasticky it feels, but it can produce some good images (and videos), as the photos on the website show.  But more and more, the Fuji X-E1 is the camera that goes with me and the Panasonic is gradually being retired.  But it is the end result that counts, regardless of the camera that has been used.

Today’s photo is from Funchal, Madeira, and the now bankrupt Sterling Airways.

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and another photo from the archives…. happy children in Laos…..

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Colourful Copenhagen

Thought for the day…” Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if you remember to turn on the light”.

” A negative mind will never give you a positive life”.

Today’s photo comes from the Danish capital, Copenhagen.   Around 474 islands make up Denmark, but there are also the islands of the Faroes and Greenland, which also belong to Denmark (although are autonomous).  The highest point in Denmark is only 170m (Mollehoj).   Some Danes joke that summer in Denmark is different to winter in Denmark because the rain is warmer.     And did you know that the fairy tale books from the author Hans Christian Anderson have been translated into more languages than any other author? And more Danish trivia….Walt Disney, after visiting the amusement park Tivoli in Copenhagen, gained the inspiration to start his own park, Disneyland?  The famous Sydney opera house was designed by a Danish architech too.   And that famous children’s toy, LEGO comes from the Danish words ‘leg gott’  which means ‘play well’.     As an estimated 320 BILLION Lego bricks have been sold then it works out that every human being in the world owns/has owned 56 Lego bricks.   According to the Lego website, it would take around 40 billion lego bricks to make a column tall enough to reach the moon.   Not made of lego bricks are these colourful buildings in the city centre of Copenhagen…..

COPY Copenhagen full size

and another photo from the archives….arriving at Nadi, Fiji.  Early morning sunshine, but before it got too hot…..

LOW RES FIJI Nadi airport 29 Feb 2012 (3)

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Madeira, Funchal airport

Thought for the day…” Work for a cause, not for applause.   Live life to express, not to impress”

“Ham and eggs.  A day’s work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig”.

Two photos from Funchal airport, Madeira.   Blessed by a great year-round climate, Madeira is popular with tourists, many of whom travel from Scandinavia, Germany and the UK.  About 1 million tourists visit each year, including a large number of cruise ships.   About 265 000 people live on the islands, most of them on the main island of Madeira itself.  Mountains rise to 1862m on these volcanic islands.  The islands are part of Portugal, although are semi-autonomous.   Despite its small size, the airport has direct flights to a surprising number of cities.  The airport is also famous for aircraft spotting, due to the excellent viewing opportunities on the side of the single runway.    Infamous for the turbulent winds, watching a few arrivals normally produces a few interesting landings.  No problems on this calm day though, as TAP arrives from Portugal.

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And another photo from the archives…..a backpacker on the Annapurna circuit in Nepal talks to a local.

LOW-RES-Nepal-Annapurna

 

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Why do they do it?

Thought for the day…” Some days there will not be a song in hour heart.  Sing anyway”.

“Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss then you will end up among the stars”.

I have no sympathy or patience for the increasing numbers of people who are walking along pavements with their head down, concentrating on a mobile telephone, and oblivious to the outside world.    Now I refuse to move out of their way.  TMCnet.com is reporting that a poll of British doctors has shown that 37% of UK smartphone users have stumbled in the last 2 years.  The study also reported that 40% of Greek smartphone users damaged their phones in stumbling accidents over the last 2 years.    And sites such as youtube have videos showing mobile phone users walking off piers in the sea or into canals or fountains whilst texting. So why do people do it??   What is so important that it needs a text to be sent whilst walking???  Moan for the day.

A sunny day in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik for the photo today and a shot of the Costa Victoria cruise ship.  The ship carries up to 1928 passengers and a crew of 766, whilst about 42 000 people live in the city of Dubrovnik.

LOW-RES-Dubrovnikand another photo out of the archives….Gospel day in the Cook Islands….

WORDPRESS-Cook

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Helsinki duo – Two from Helsinki, Finland

Thought for the day…” The difference between genius and stupidity is…..genius has limits”

” The secret of getting ahead is getting started (Mark Twain).

Two photos today  from Helsinki, capital of Finland.   Helsinki is one of those cities that you have to discover, for there is a lot that is not obvious on arrival.   For one thing, Finland is number one on the world for coffee consumption per capita, and the coffee is good, strong and available everywhere. (Try ‘The Roastery’ on Alexanderkatu for some really good coffee). And to go with the great coffee….some Fazer chocolate (although Karl Fazer was actually originally from Germany).   It is also the only city in Finland to have trams and a subway (metro) and is said to have the world’s most northerly metro station.     The language is horribly difficult for a foreigner, in winter is is very cold (-25 is not uncommon) and also dark for most of the day, but to make up for this there are some excellent sports facilities, wonderful architecture, good eating places, and the feeling that you have left Europe behind and have crossed into Russia (like when you see the Russian Orthodox churches in Helsinki, with their onion domes).  Indeed, parts of Helsinki look so much like Russia that Helsinki used to be used instead of Russia when making films (such as ‘Gorky Park’) until the city council decided that it was not a good idea and stopped promoting it.    And if you explore the indoor markets, then you may find things like bear meat for sale as well as the more common reindeer and moose meat.  But perhaps give another tradional (but popular) Finnish sweet, salty liquorice, a miss.   The city has about 53% women (versus 47% men), and after Reykjavik, Iceland, is the world’s most northerly capital city.  More trivia….it was the first country in the world to give women the vote and also the first country to make broadband a legal right for citizens.

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and another photo out of the archives….taken just a couple of hundred metres from the previous photo, but months apart….a new photo converted into Black & White, then converted into Sepia to give it the old-fashioned look.

WORDPRESS FINLAND-Helsinki-Sepia-10-J

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