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Fuji

Money well spent, or not ???

Thought for the day…” Hope but never expect, Look forward but never wait”

“Obstacles are those frightful things that you see when you take your mind off your goal”  (Henry Ford)

The waterfront of the Norwegian capital, Oslo is changing fast.   Currently it is a mass of cranes and building sites.   A photo from yesterday taken in perfect weather and warm temperatures, showing just how much building is going on.  The white building on the right is the Opera House, which was completed in 2007, supposedly based on an iceberg shape.    The exterior is covered with Italian marble, Carrara marble.   This is an odd choice to use, as the architects had perhaps not read about the problems that this same type of marble had when it was used for the Finlandia concert hall in Helsinki.    Whilst Italian marble may be very suitable for use in the Mediterranean, it does not handle the extreme cold temperatures of Scandinavia well.    Much of the marble used in Helsinki on the Finlandia Hall had to be replaced, so it is interesting to see it used in Oslo, which has a similar climate.  Time will tell !   The cost of the Opera House in Oslo was over 4 BILLION Norwegian kronor, or over USD 700 million.   Would this money have been better spent on a new medical centre??

and another photo showing the whole building….

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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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Norway duo – the Fuji X-T10 camera at work

Thought for the day….”If we were meant to stay in one place then we would have roots instead of feet’

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die’  (Buddha)

The photo today comes from Svolvaer, the ‘capital’ of the Lofoten Islands in Norway.   About 4500 people live in this town which was built on cod fishing.  Nowadays, summer tourism is very important with about 200 000 tourists visiting each year.   It is served by ferries from Bodo on the mainland and also by a regional airport.  Day trips operate from here to the nearby Trollfjord and also Rafsundet.  Being Norway, everything is VERY VERY expensive, making a holiday here a costly trip.   When a Norwegian is asked to name something that is cheap in Norway, they usually struggle to think of ANYTHING that is cheap.   The words ‘cheap’  and ‘Norway’  do not go together.

and another photo…..the very small village of Urke in the Norwegian fjords.  Both of the photos today were taken as jpegs using the Fuji X-T10 camera.

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Spectacular start to the day – dawn in New Zealand.

Thought for the day….”Dreams do not work unless you do”

“Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise me”

Couple of sunrise photos from Pembroke, New Zealand.  Strong upper winds and lots of clouds, but the golden colours only lasted for about 5 minutes.  The term ‘sunrise’ is actually incorrect, as the sun does not rise at all.  It is the motion of the earth which makes it appear that the sun is rising.   In the days when Concorde was flying, it was possible to see 2 sunrises or 2 sunsets in the same day, as the aircraft flew ‘faster than the sun’.     Both the photos today were taken as jpegs using the Fuji X-T20.

and another photo of the same sunrise….

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National parks. What do they mean to you?

Thought for the day….” We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail”.

“Experience is what you get when you do not stop trying”

What does a national park mean to you?  Probably an area set up by the government to conserve or encourage nature for future generations, and an area where developments are not allowed.  The ‘conservation of wild nature for posterity’.     To quote from the New Zealand Department of Conservation (who administer the parks in NZ) “New Zealand’s national parks contain some of our most treasured wilderness areas.”   Note those last words most treasured wilderness areas.
Here is a photo of Mt. Aspiring, 3033m.

News is now spreading in New Zealand (NZ) that two companies have ALREADY been given permission to extract and bottle water from the Mt. Aspiring National Park.  One of these is going to be in the extremely beautiful Dart Valley, and the other towards the west coast, including an export facility next to a beach.  To make matters even worse, the permits were given without public consultation (why??).    A petition was started earlier this month to protest, but as permission has already been granted then probably it is far too late.     Of course, the Maoris are claiming that the water belongs to them under the Treaty of Waitangi, but they are trying to claim (wrongly) that the Treaty of Waitangi gave them rights to many things which the treaty never even mentioned.

Even under NZ law, the national parks should have been protected…..

“It is hereby declared that the provisions of this Act shall have

effect for the purpose of preserving in perpetuity as national parks, for their intrinsic worth and for the benefit, use, and enjoyment of the public, areas of New Zealand that contain scenery of such distinctive quality, ecological systems, or natural features so beautiful, unique, or scientifically important that their preservation is in the national interest.

— National Parks Act 1980, Part 1, section 4, subsection 1[5]”

Yet the consents were given by the government without public consultation.   HOW COULD THEY DO THIS IN A NATIONAL PARK   ?????   Just another sign of the way that things are going downhill in NZ.

To finish off the post, another photo….the lighthouse at Nugget Point, South Island, New Zealand

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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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End of the day…..sunset time

Thought for the day….” Some days you just have to create your own sunshine”.

“If opportunity does not knock then build a door”.

Is it my imagination or are the shops even more crazy this year than in previous years?  Just had ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Blue Monday’ and now the shops seem to be in overdrive for Christmas.    And yet it seems that each year that there is less actual Christmas spirit and just more and more Christmas panic.      Hard to concentrate on Christmas when the shops are starting it earlier and earlier each year.     As usual, it will be madness in the shops in the last couple of weeks.    Happy to see it over !!

Couple of photos to show just how good the Fuji jpegs are.     Slowly going through the masses of photos and I am trying to delete lots, but it is fun to see some of the better photos.     With the great colours from the standard Fuji jpegs, then I can save a lot of time in not editing RAW files.     Much easier to get a good jpeg that is just as I want it, instead of hours of editing RAW files.      Purists will argue that there is more detail in the RAW files, and that you can adjust them more, but for me, the Fuji jpegs are just right.    Have a look at two photos below and see what you think of the colours…….

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and another photo from the archives….. colours of the Caribbean (Antigua)

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Pondering the moment, or a moment of reflection?

Thought for the day…” Failure is success if we learn from it”  (Malcolm Forbes).

“About the time we can make the ends meet, somebody moves the ends”

I am having a hard time trying to decide about video.    Often I carry with THREE cameras, the Fuji X-T10, a GoPro action camera and also a Panasonic video camera.   Not only does that take some managing (only two hands !) but it also needs organizing with chargers (all are different of course, nothing standard) and batteries (again, all different sizes, and all needing their own chargers).   So at the moment I am trying to decide if I should concentrate on still photography, or continue to try the occasional video as well.  Video editing takes a lot of time, and if it is 4K then a lot of computer time too.    Videos need you to use a tripod as well, which means more to carry and even more to set up.    One of the great advantages of the mirrorless camera system is their smaller size.    But I am wondering if I am losing all this by carrying 3 cameras, battery charges, tripod etc.    A good still picture is powerful, and says a lot.  Video is great if it is done properly, but the question at the moment is, are three cameras etc. too much to conveniently manage?.   And it would be nice to have a drone/quadcopter as well, although the recent law changes in Sweden effectively banning photography from drones might end that plan.   Photography should be an enjoyable hobby, but I do not want to start carrying so much equipment that it becomes more like a NatGeo filming trip.  Perhaps it is better to concentrate on still photography only??

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and another photo from the archives…fireworks over Bergen, Norway last year.

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Squeeze more in – more cuts in standards at the airlines.

Thought for the day…”The secret of getting ahead is getting started”

“Some people are like clouds.  When they go away, it is a brighter day”.

Back on one of my favourite topics..airlines.  I see in the news that British Airways (BA) have become the latest airline to increase the number of seats in its aircraft.  The Boeing 777 will go to 10-across seating (currently 9) and the total number of seats will go up from 280 to 332.  The Airbus A320 will have more seats, up from 168 today to 180, and the Airbus A321 will go from 205 today to a new high of 218 seats.    So BA has also chosen 10 across seating for the 777.  And to make matters even worse, they are removing 2 or 3 toilets from economy class as well.  More passengers but fewer toilets.   Since SWISS airlines also introduced 10-across seating on the 777s, then I have avoided them, as the reports online about airlines who use 10 across seating have been far from positive.    Not only are passengers being squeezed width-wise, but also leg-wise as well.   Lufthansa’s new Airbus aircraft will actually have LESS leg room than Ryanair, and again the intial reports from passengers have been negative. And more of the legacy airlines are introducing charges for food onboard (eg. BA from January) as well as charges for checked-in baggage.    All this begs the question, why pay more to fly with the legacy airlines when the service levels are less?

Today’s photo comes from northern Norway.  Honningsvag in wonderful autumn light…..

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and another photo from the archives….landing at Funchal, Madeira……

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Around the Bend – Challenge Wanaka

Thought for the day…” Follow your heart but take your brain with you”

“Success is when preparation meets opportunity”

Every year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand, the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition is held.   As usual, this consists of a swim of 3.8km followed by a 180km cycle and finally a marathon run of 42.2km.  The photos today show the final turn on the cycle leg.  At this point, the competitors will have already swum the 3.8km and will almost have completed the 180km cycle leg.  It is only a few hundred metres from the final turn to the transition area.   The 2016 race was won by Dougal Allan in a time of 8 hours, 31 minutes and 53 seconds for the total race.    His cycle section (180km) took him just 4 hours and 36 seconds (and 45 km/h is an impressive average speed on a cycle).   The next Challenge Wanaka race will be on the 18th February 2017.

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