Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Nature

The positive side of coronavirus

Thought for the day…”Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.”

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Despite all the doom and gloom at the moment, there are some positive sides to coronavirus.   Staff in shops and cafes have become noticeably better recently, and are happy to serve you now.   Not only that but they have time to help and, with the lack of customers, are actually trying to help out.   Shops and cafes have become more polite, with people waiting patiently in spaced-out queues.    Cafes have started putting most items in plastic to prevent contamination, hand disinfectant is now common and for the time being, people are being very good at using disinfectants.  And another bonus, the enforced free time is giving some of us some a great opportunity to catch up on things that previously we never had time for.   So it is not all negative at the moment !!   Stay safe.

The southbound Oslo to Kiel ferry passing the coast of Norway at Drobak.

and another photo from the archives….sunrise captured with the Fuji X-T30

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An aerial view of Lake Wanaka in perfect weather

Thought for the day….”Life Always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow”.

A video instead of a photo today…the lakeside town of Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand.  A short (10 minute) drone video taken in perfect weather.  Starts over the town of Wanaka then along the lakeside at Glendu Bay and finally over Dublin Bay. New Zealand at its best.   Sit back and enjoy !

and another photo from the archives…an Autumn day in Glendu Bay, South Island, New Zealand (same place as featured in the video above).   The glaciers visible in the background are in the Mt. Aspiring National Park, with Mt. Aspiring (3033m) visible on the skyline to the right.   The mountains are part of the Southern Alps.

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Soon to be devloped – an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Though for the day…”Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.”

“To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.”  (J.B. Priestley).

A panoramic photo from Glendu Bay on the South Island of New Zealand near Pembroke.    This area is on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park, but sadly is being sold for development.  Already new roads are being put in and sections for houses laid out.    It is terrible that the local council is allowing an area of outstanding natural beauty to be developed.  As they say, “money talks”.     Sadly the politicians and officials in NZ have not learned from the mistakes that have been made in other places, and once this area is developed then it is gone forever.     Soon photos like this will be just a memory.   Progess??

And another photo from the archives, beautiful Wineglass Bay in Tasmania, Australia

RESPECT, CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS

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Norwegian coast at sunset by drone

Thought for the day…”Coffee is a hug in a mug”

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”

As always, it is a few bad people who spoil things for the rest of us.    Just been out with the new DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone but nowadays the word drone makes people think of spying and that they are ‘bad’.  Increasing restrictions on drone use are appearing all over the place, yet the responsible people who fly drones safely are being penalized for the actions of a few stupid idiots.     Very sad that every week further restrictions are being placed on responsible drone users.   The results from drones are amazing, and there is no need for more regulations.   Go after the idiots who fly near airports, but let normal, sensible people fly drones and take beautiful photos.

Beautiful evening sunlight over the coast of southern Norway, taken a couple of days ago with the Mavic 2 Pro drone.   Amazing calm conditions and great light for photos…..

and another photo from the archives…. carnival time and a happy woman……

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I got scammed – Twice !

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.”

Now I am old enough to know better, but sometimes I get caught.   What makes it even worse is that I got caught twice because of a lack of research on the internet.   The warning signs were there IF I had looked before I bought….

I often used websites that compare prices to find the cheapest price.    I am learning more and more that cheapest is not always best.    I used a couple of websites (kayak.de  and also skyscanner.com    to find some good deals on air tickets.  These websites present you with a list of online travel agents (OTAs) who deal with the actual selling of the air tickets (kayak and Skyscanner just list the agents and do not sell tickets themselves).     If you look online at sites such as Tripadvisor you will find pages and pages of reports of people who have had problems with the online travel agents.    I also fell into the trap, and got caught twice, which makes me feel even more foolish.     Lost a lot of money through these OTAs and now that I have had my fingers burned twice, and avoiding them like the plague.   If you have time, then have a look at Tripadvisor and see what people are writing about the OTAs.

The message is very clear…..book direct, whether it is for hotels or for flights.   Although the prices may look cheaper at first, the OTAs will find a way to make their money from you.    And as a lot of people have found, it is very easy to get scammed by the online travel agents, with the final price often being different to the first advertised price.      So now that I have lost money twice by trying to book via an OTA, now I am just booking direct for both flights and hotels.  Save yourself the problems !!

Clear skies and clean air for this photo from the Swiss town of Grindewald.

and another photo from the archives.

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Censorship by Booking.com

Thought for the day…”Chocolate is ground from the beans of happiness.”

“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.”

Free Speech.   Something that is very important, but something that is disappearing fast in Europe.   Political correctness has already gone far to far, but now the online travel agency (OTA)  Booking.com   is also at it.

I recently stayed in some accommodation in Zurich which I booked online via Booking.com         The property was not good (badly run, dirty and with poor facilities) with poor security.   Not only was the property not clean, but it appeared to have many problems, one of which was what appeared to be asylum seekers in the accommodation.   So after my stay, I wrote a TRUTHFUL review to help other people in deciding whether or not to book.    One of the things that I wrote in the review was that the property appeared to house asylum seekers.    I did not make any statements about the rights or wrongs of this, nor did I mention nationalities, skin colour or race.    No references were made to immigration policies or criminality, just a statement that there appeared to be asylum seekers housed in the property.

But Booking.com   refused to publish my review because I had used the words ‘asylum seekers’  which they said could cause offense to some some people.   I would argue that the words described (truthfully) a situation, and were just reporting what I had seen and experienced.   Despite emails to Booking.com   the review did not get published.     So it seems that Booking.com   also want to be politically correct, even if this means distorting the truth.

The result of this….I cancelled a lot of future bookings with Booking.com     and now try to book direct with hotels etc. where this is possible.  I am not going to have Booking.com   tell me what I can and cannot say in a review.   It also makes me think that the other reviews on their website may also have been edited too.    So if you are reading reviews there then be aware that the reviews may have been edited for suitability.    George Orwell’s   1984 is here, just a bit late.   Booking.com    is in the same group as Priceline.com    and Agoda.com

Today’s photo comes from Glendhu Bay on the South Island of New Zealand.    The valley in the photo was until recently one of the homes of the Canadian country-pop singer, Shania Twain.  Nearby is Mt. Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps.

and another photo from the archives….a SRN-4 hovercraft seen here in Boulogne in France.  These hovercraft had a top speed of 154 km/h and crossed the English Channel in as little as 22 minutes.  The record is held by the hovercraft in this photo, the Princess Anne.

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Oslo (Norway) Gardermoen airport – Still a disgrace for Norway

Thought for the day…”The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”

“Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.”

I have had the misfortune (and misfortune is the word) to travel through the enlarged Oslo airport.   It is still a national disgrace for Norway.   Despite earlier complaints, the airport managers in their infinite wisdom, have still ignored the needs of waiting passengers.   All very well to build a big new terminal, but the queues to check in and at security seem just as bad as ever.    Not only that, but those same airort managers have STILL not put in anywhere near enough seats for waiting passengers.   Before, their excuse was that they did not have enough space for seats (although apparently they did have enough space for stupid scultpures).  Now that the enlarged terminal is open (with more space), there are still not enough seats for waiting passengers.

And once you have negotiated the snake-like lines to go through the security controls, then you have another challenge to find enough seats whilst you wait for the flight.    If you want to find something to do while you wait, good luck, because there seems to be almost nothing for passengers to do (apart fro slow, restricted internet).   Good luck too if you want to charge your phone or computer…the search for a socket will keep you amused for some time before your flight.

So the recently enlarged Oslo airport is just as bad as before.  The queues are still there, the lack of seats is still the same, and the lack of things to do whilst waiting for your flight is just the same.    And the worst part…..we passengers are paying for the privilege of using these poor facilities.    A disgrace for Norway.

Plenty of space for these 2 people on the beach near Surat Bay, on the Catlins Coast of New Zealand..

and another photo from the archives….black and white lines and modern architecture…

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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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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…

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

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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.

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

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More depressing news from New Zealand

Thought for the day…”If things do not go right, go left”

“Success – keeping your mind awake and your desire asleep”

More depressing news from New Zealand….even more flights and even bigger aircraft.   As well as increased numbers of flights from the USA and also from China, Emirates airline has announced that it is putting a 4th Airbus A380 on the route to Auckland.    This will mean that there will be 4 A380s at Auckland at the same time in addition to another A380 from Singapore Airlines.  Whilst the tourist board in NZ may be congratulating themselves on record numbers of visitors, the country just cannot cope with ever-increasing numbers.   The country has a population of just over 4.6 million people, but now receives over 3.3 million tourists, many of whom want to see the same few places.   The last 2 summers have seen accommodation fully booked, and tourists having to sleep in cars due to the lack of accommodation.  Buses and flights have been fully booked, and it has even become necessary to reserve some mountain huts ahead.    Queenstown (known as the adventure capital of the world), with a population of around 22 000 people, is now receiving over 2 MILLION tourists a year.  You can imagine what the town centre is like there in high summer.   But the tourist board keeps encouraging more and more flights, thinking that more and more tourists are good for the economy.  Yet the very nature and beauty that these tourists are attracted to is fast becoming destroyed (there have been attempts to build a monorail in one of the national parks already).

Some of the popular walking tracks (such as the Abel Tasman coastal track and the Tongariro Crossing) are now so crowded that they are considering giving people starting times for the walks, in an attempt to spread the crowds out.    Clean and green New Zealand it once was.  Now it is crowded and busy NZ.   So the news that the airlines are putting on even more flights to cope with this demand is hardly surprising, yet nobody in government has had the courage to stand up and say that there is a limit to how many tourists that NZ can accept.   It seems that every month that a new record for tourist arrivals is being reached (China is the big growth area for incoming tourists), with no sign of it easing up.    So when those millions of tourists do finally arrive in NZ, then the fun and games trying to find accommodation, rental cars and domestic flights begins.    Those politicians who think that unlimited numbers of tourists are good for the NZ economy should take a trip (assuming that they can get a seat on a flight or bus) to Queenstown or Milford Sound in summer and see just what sort of effect the millions of tourists are having.    Start queueing now !!!

Early morning in Geilo, Norway for the photo today….great colours from the Fuji camera together with clear air helped make this such a good photo.  The early morning mist had almost burnt off when the photo was taken.

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and another photo from the archives…two tourists admire Lake Wanaka, Pembroke Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand. Two tourists managed to creep into this photo even !!

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Up In The Air – Two classics of aviation

Thought for the day….”Don’t look back, you are not going that way”

“If you are not meant to have midnight snacks then why is there a light in the fridge?”

A couple of photos from the recent Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow, held at Easter this year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand.   The first photo is the Supermarine Spitfire.    Designed by R.J. Mitchell, it came into service in 1938, and was in production throughout the second world war.   About 53 Spitfires are still in flying condition.   Over 20 300 Spifires were made, and they remained in service until 1961.    This particular aircraft carries a registration to commemorate the New Zealand pilot Alan Deere.

The second photo is the Messerschmidt Bf 109, which was used by the Luftwaffe in Germany during the second world war.   It entered service in 1937, with around 33 000 being made.   At least 10% were lost in take-off or landing accidents.

Both aircraft performed displays during the 2 days of the airshow.

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and another photo from the archives….an early test photo from the X-E1 camera………

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Does Size Matter?? Men with big……………..camera lenses !!!

Thought for the day….” Winners never quit, and quitters never win”.

“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes”   (Winston Churchill).

Time for an upgrade of my camera.  The Fuji X-E1 had been producing some fantastic pictures, so I was in no hurry to upgrade, especially as the gains and improvements with a new camera would be small.  But upgrade I did and now have the Fuji XT-10.     Apart from having a tilting screen (something that I thought was a gimmick before I actually got to find out that sometimes it is very useful), it has a few other new features that I am also finding useful too.   Features that I had not had previously such as wifi, remote control and geo-tagging are now available, as well as faster focussing and a viewfinder that is perhaps the clearest that I have ever used.  So although I was sad to part with the X-E1,  the new camera is already proving to be just as much fun as the older one.   It is said that Fujifilm cameras are made by photographers who are also engineers, whereas another famous brand (=brand X) is made by engineers, full stop.  Guess which cameras are more fun to use?    Having real dials and also menus that you can customize, and a fantastic viewfinder makes all the difference.   Photography is fun again !!!

Even if I enjoy taking photos,  I will probably (hopefully) not go to this extreme…..an aircraft spotter or very keen photographer seen at an airshow recently…..He was carrying not one but two BIG cameras.   The lens on the second camera must have weighed several kilos….

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and another photo from the archives…the lake at Haglebu, Norway…….

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Early morning trip to Milford Sound

Thought for the day…”He who angers you, conquers you”.

“We all have the ability.  The difference is how we use it”.

I have just had another flight (unfortunately) with Air New Zealand.    I say unfortunately because what was once a quality airline has turned into a money-grabbing budget airline which pretends to be a quality airline.     Do AirNZ really think that I am going to pay NZD 10 to choose my seat, when they have to give me a seat anyway?   Do AirNZ really think that I am going to PAY NZD10 to watch a movie onboard??   Whilst they might have put a credit card slot in the seatback for me to pay, it is going to remain unused.      And having tasted the food offering (laughing called ‘The Works” on the outward journey, then I am sure that I will not be paying for the small portion of food that was offered.   I moved on from eating child portions a long time ago but apparently AirNZ thinks that I still do eat child portions, even when I paid for an ADULT portion.   And a wait of over 1 hour and 20 minutes to get even a cup of coffee is not going to make me happy either, especially as it was the usual airline sized 1/2 cup.

But the saddest part is to think back to how AirNZ used to be.  Once they WERE good, and once it was a pleasure to fly with them.     Times change.

Milford Sound is one of the most popular fjords that tourists visit in New Zealand.     Here is an early morning photo from the road which leads into Milford Sound.  Unusually, the weather is great in the photo.   Milford Sound is infamous for getting over 7 metres of rain a year…..so days like this are rare.    This photo is taken just before the entrance to the famous Homer Tunnel, which leads down to Milford Sound.

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And another photo from the archives….Haglebu, Norway

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They deserve to go out of business……Norwegian Post

Thought for the day…” Make your life a mission, not an intermission”.

Customers can forgive a lot, IF they see that a company is trying.    Mistakes will be made, that is natural, and customers will generally forgive IF the company is seen to be trying to resolve the problem.   But not Posten.no   (Norway Post).   Not once, but TWICE they have messed up a delivery coming from New Zealand to Oslo.   They delivered the letter to the WRONG address, then sent it back to New Zealand for a second time.     But the worst thing is that they do not want to try to put matters right.   They will not even give out the email address of the customer manager.     Try emailing them…..and you will wait a long time for a pathetic reply.  Try asking them for compensation, and again you will wait and wait.   They really are hopeless.    They deserve to go out of business with staff like that working for them.    Bad enough that they messed up the delivery the first time, but to do it TWICE and then send the letter back to New Zealand AFTER I had emailed them to advise them of the problem is unforgiveable.   Guess who will be avoiding Norway Post in future??     I hope that bankruptcy comes soon.

The photo today is from rural Ethiopia……..not sure what they were looking at……..

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

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Early one morning……71 degrees north

Thought for the day…” The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”

For some reason, I have few photos of sunrise.    Not that sunrise is the correct term, because the sun does not rise at all, just that the Earth is turning.   Those who are into sundials will know about the equation of time, and the effects of refraction on the actual time of  ‘sunrise’.   Today’s photo was taken on 29th September at 71 degrees north in North Norway, just ahead of a storm.  Suprisingly, about 30 minutes after the photo was taken, the scene had changed to wind and rain, but for a few minutes around ‘sunrise’ the colours and clouds were great.  As usual, the Fuji X-E1 was the camera.

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and another photo from the archives…..the island of Madeira and the fishing village of Camara de Lobos..

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I get that peaceful, easy morning feeling

Thought for the day…” Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker? ”

” The cure for insomnia is to get more sleep”.                  ” If a book about failure does not sell, then is it a success”.

Not the words from one of the hits of the Eagles music group but a peaceful scene from Norway for the photo today.  One of the early photos from the Fuji X-E1 camera here, taken whilst I was still trying the camera out.   Early morning in the hills of Norway, with some light mist starting to appear over the lake and the first signs of autumn on the trees.   Did you know that in the Swedish and Norwegian languages, that there is no word for ‘please’.   It always sounds very strange (and impolite)  to a non-Scandinavian to simply demand things (eg. give me a coffee.) instead of saying please.    Finnish is another language which does not have a direct word for please (although it does have some polite ways to ask for things, such as  Saisinko (=can I have).     And perhaps because of the long, dark winter and cold winter nights, Norway is number 2 in the world for coffee consumption per capita, around 142 litres (or about 9.5kg of coffee beans) a year for each Norwegian citizen.  Finland still tops the list.

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and a photo from Brazil, with a storm approaching Sao Paulo airport……

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