Jeritilley www.qualitysparesort.com

Nature

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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Warning about Kickstarter

Thought for the day…”Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

“A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body – the wishbone.”

Just a warning about the online crowd-funding scheme, Kickstarter.   There are some very interesting new projects advertised there, all seeking backing from people in order to enter production.    Lots of interesting categories, and some clever ideas there.    But here is a warning, because when things go wrong, then the Kickstarter staff are going to be no help at all.

I backed an online project for a solar recharger that I thought would be ideal for travelling.   Ordered the charger and my pledge was accepted, and my debit card was debited.  That was last year.  Fast forward to June 2017 and I have still not received the solar charger.  Messages to the company that is supposed to be producing the item were ignored, as was a message sent via Twitter, but the worst part is that KICKSTARTER would not refund my money, nor would they take any action against the company who is producing the solar charger.    It seems totally wrong to me that Kickstarter can advertise products and then forward your debit card details without taking responsibility when things go wrong.    Messages to Kickstarter’s so called customer ‘service’   have been a waste of time, as Kickstarter still refuse to take action in the matter.  They are refusing to accept any responsibility, despite advertising the product and also arranging payment for the product.

So I am now minus 84 euros, have spent a considerable amount of time chasing up the matter, and have still not received the solar charger.    And yet Kickstarter still refuse to take action.   The words ‘flogging a dead horse’  come to mind, as Kickstarter customer service has been a total waste of time and emails.   Once again, it seems that a company has your money then that is it.   So I am 84 euros poorer and without a solar charger.   Thanks to Kickstarter !!

My advice….avoid using the Kickstarter website.

Nice sunshine for the photo today, which comes from 71 degrees north, and shows the Finnmark coastline near Honningsvag.  Not far from here lies North Cape.   The midnight sun is visible here from May until September.

and another photo…again from the same part of the Finnmark coast near Honningsvag….

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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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New Zealand Oystercatcher bird – the Fuji XF 100-400mm lens

Thought for the day…” Turn your face to the sun and the shadow falls behind you”

“You cannot live a positive life with a negative mind”

When was the last time that you printed a photo???   Nowadays it seems to be the trend to take a photo with a mobile phone, then only share it via Facebook or Instagram.   The photo is only a temporary thing, shared then forgotten.    Previously photos were printed out, then passed around at meetings of friends.    Far easier to look at a printed photo instead of an image on a mobile phone or tablet.    Photos printed out mean more.    Much nice to look at a printed photo then a mobile phone screen.     And photos will be treasured more than an image on a mobile phone screen for only a few seconds.  Many of those images on a mobile phone will only last as long as the phone lasts, whereas photos that are printed out will last a long longer.   And printing photos is fun too !!

Today’s photo was taken with the Fuji X-T20 camera and the Fuji XF 100-400mm lens.  The quality of the lens is amazing, and with 5 stops of stabilisation, photos like this can be taken hand held.   The lens is big and heavy (almost 1.4kg)   but the quality of the photos speaks for itself.

and another photo….Lake Hawea on the South Island of New Zealand.   An early morning photo….

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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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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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Crazy security checks…..

Thought for the day…..”Actions and consquences are a packaged deal”

” Life is a one-time offer.   Use it well”.

Travel has just got easier for me.     The USA, as usual paranoid about security has introduced rules which stop TOURISTS like me from getting the ESTA electronic visas.    If you have visited any of the countries on the USA list, then you are now ineligible for the ESTA visa.   This also means that you cannot transit the USA.     The American government cannot get it into their heads that there are TOURISTS who visit countries like Iran, Iraq and Sudan to learn more about the culture and life there.   But paranoid American officials now consider TOURISTS like these as a security risk.   So it is an easy decision for me, no more visits to the USA.  I will take my TOURIST dollars/euros/dirhams somewhere else.

And now I see that Australia is also becoming much like the USA.   Now at international airports in Australia, they have made the body scanner machines compulsory.   Of course they are saying that there is no danger to the public, but officials also said the same thing with the original body scanner X-Ray machines, until it was discovered that there WERE health dangers with the scanners.   So when they tell me that there is no danger (officials also said the same thing after the Chernobyl nuclear accident) then I do not believe them.   So I will not be compulsorily irradiated because I am innocent.    So now I will be avoiding Australia as well, including in transit.   And apparently, Australia wants to start trials of facial recognition technology at gateway airports to avoid the need for passports.    How much more big-brother is coming???       So two countries on the off list (USA & Australia).   Makes planning the next trip easier.   Their loss, my money will go to other countries.    And is it not about time that these stupid rules about liquids are abolished???    Since when has a 200ml tube of tooth paste or shampoo been dangerous??

And why do they make the pilots go through security checks as well?   Are they afraid that the pilot might get control of the aircraft??   Has no airport official ever seen the STUPIDITY of making pilots (who have full control of the aircraft) go through a security check?   I watched one pilot at Brisbane airport recently having to remove his mobile phone from his pocket to go through security again.  Yet no official has ever questioned the logic of such a stupid procedure.

Having been attacked and robbed recently by a bandit with a bushknife (see the previous post) I was searching around for a new Fuji camera.  I was amazed to see on a website with sample images from a Fuji camera, and advertisement for stab-proof jackets (see the screenshot below).   Either my internet is being monitored, or it was an amazing coincidence….

fuji-x-t20-and-stab-proof-jacket-advert

and a photo from the now-stolen camera…..again great sharpness and colours from Fuji…..

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Thought for the day….”Learn to appreciate everything that you HAVE, before time makes you appreciate what you HAD”

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” (Henry Ford).

What a wonderful story in the news in the last few days….in Wigan, England before the annual ‘World Pie Eating championships’,  a meat pie was launched into space to see if the effects of space would make it easier to eat.    The pie was attached to a weather balloon, and reached almost 100 000 feet.    What is nice is that the launch site was outside a local pub in Wigan.   The makers of the pie were happy to see their pies tested in space, and the ‘experiment’ was monitored using a camera attached to the balloon.    During the World Pie Eating championships in 2007, the competition was almost ruined when a dog belonging to one of the competitors ate 20 pies and damaged another 10 pies before the competition started, thus leaving the competion short of pies.

The view from Floyen in Bergen, Norway for the photo today…

low-res-bergen-floyen

and another photo….again from Norway but this time Hjorundfjord.

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Dealing with morons

Thought for the day….” Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something”.

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but do not tell you what to see

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I love technology.  I really do.  I was keen to install the new mCash mobile phone app so that I could pay electronically using my mobile phone.   mCash is offered by a Norwegian bank, Sparebank1 so you would think that they would be ok with technology.  Wrong.   I ran into a problem from the start….despite having Sweden listed on the menus of the app, it would not send sms to a Swedish mobile number.    So of course I contacted the mCash helpline but they are claiming that they cannot send messages (sms) to a Swedish phone.   Despite asking them many times, they have been unable (or unwilling) to say why they cannot send a sms.  What is even more surprising is that the same morons who set the mCash system up actually put Sweden as an option on the menus.    And when you contact these people, who work in i.t (information technology) then you are left wondering how these morons actually got the job.   So the people working in I.T are unable to explain or fix the simple challenge.   I can send a sms to anywhere in the world, but the morons at mCash are either unwilling or incapable of doing this.  And they are employed to work in I.T.

And why does any app like this demand access to ALL my contacts on my phone, and why does a payment app demand control over things like the flashlight on my phone?   Very interesting to see the sort of permissions that apps like these demand.   Needless to say, the app has been uninstalled.   But I wonder how the morons at mCash keep their job.  And how did they get their jobs in the first place?

Two photos of a sunrise at Riverton, in the far south of New Zealand……both taken on the same morning

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low-res-riverton-sunrise-5

and another photo from the archives….a simple photo that tells a story….

LOWRES-Cuba

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Fuji X camera system thoughts

Thought for the day….”The hardest thing is to take less when you can get more”

“Talent does what it can, genius does what it must”

Having had many cameras over the years, including Pentax, Olympus, Sony, Canon and Panasonic, I am now in the happy position of having a camera that does what I want, and a camera that produces pictures of the quality that I want.   Looking back over the earlier attempts at photography, I can see just how much cameras and lenses have improved.   I am now in the happy position of NOT wanting to upgrade the camera.  The current camera, the Fuji X-T10 makes taking photos FUN.  It ‘only’ has 16mp, but the quality of those 16mp is enough for me.   I still read reviews of newer cameras in the magazines and online (www.dpreview.com is an excellent website), but is is now just for interest.   I have no desire to upgrade at the moment, and can now concentrate on actually taking photos and enjoying the fun of producing a good photo.  I am not interested in buying a camera that can take 20 pictures a second, nor do I feel a need for a 50mp sensor.     Another advantage of the Fuji X system is that the jpeg photos straight out of the camera are so good.  I have now stopped taking RAW files just because the jpegs are so good.   This means that I no longer have to spend hours processing RAW files on the computer.   I know that some people really enjoy this, but for me, less time on the computer is good.    I have read that Fuji cameras are made by photographers who are also engineers, whereas brand X cameras are made by engineers full stop.   This means that taking photos with the Fuji is instinctive, as well as being fun.   True, the cameras may look old fashioned with their dials, but most people agree that the cameras are much better to use.   And the most important thing, the X-T10 produces great photos !!

Today’s photo comes from Rafsundet in Norway, not far from the Lofoten Islands.   As usual, the size of the photo has been greatly reduced for the internet.  The quality of the full size image is great.

LOW-RES-Rafsundet

and another portrait photo, this time from Lake Malawi, Africa,

LOW-RES-boy

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