Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

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Joys of travelling

Thought for the day…”Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus”

It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

The joys of travelling….exciting new places and destinations.  But it is not always fun.   One of my pet hates (one of many) is that hotels often do not have a list of TV channels.   Given that some hotels can have upwards of 100 channels, why can they not put a list in the room to save endless channel surfing trying to find the 5 or 6 interesting channels??    A simple card or print out listing the channels would be so good.   And linked to this pet hate are hotel TVs that as soon as start them are at maximum volume, hardly ideal for a hotel when guests are trying to sleep.

Next pet hate……Many hotels are no longer giving the small bottles of shampoo and conditioner or individual soap, preferring to have dispensers on the walls instead.   All very well IF the hotel refills them but so often just when you are in the shower you discover that the dispensers are empty.

And staying with hotels and pet hates…..the annoying habit that more and more hotels are only putting in one rubbish bin/trash can in the whole room and bathroom.  Saves them a little money, but is hardly good for the guest experience.

Another hate….modern hotels whose managers have decided that THEY know the temperature that guests want the rooms to be at, and have removed individual temperature controls in the rooms….I am seeing this more and more and it is also not good for the guest experience.

Topping the list of pet hates for hotels…..any hotel that has slow internet or has a poor internet signal in the room deserves to go out of business….no excuse for this in the 21st century.    Excuses such as “it is the number of guests in the hotel” or “it is the rainy weather” just get me irritated.  It is not rocket science to get fast, reliable internet in a hotel, but it seems to be a major problem for some hotels.

The list goes on….to be continued………

Today’s photo is of the lakefront in Pembroke, South Island, New Zealand, on a perfect Summer’s evening.  One man and his dog admire the view….

and another photo from the archives…..driving hazards on the roads of Scandinavia….these are a much bigger problem at night when they tend to freeze in the car headlights.   A male elk can be over 300 kg, so can cause a lot of damage to a car.

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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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Boats and planes, Morocco and Madeira

Thought for the day…” Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus”.

” Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.”

A photo of an Airbus A320 about to land at Funchal, Madeira for the photo today.  This aircraft was involved in an emergency descent on 8th July 2014 when on a flight from Lisbon to Amsterdam.  The aircraft declared an emergency and descended rapidly from FL380 (38 000 feet) down to 10 000 feet.   The passenger oxygen masks were deployed, but the aircraft landed without further problems.   This aircraft regularly does 5 flights during a single day, and is seen here at one of it’s regular airports, Funchal.     It was flying at around 130 knots (240 km/h) when the photo was taken. LOW-RES-TAPAnd another photo out of the archives…fishing boats in Essouria, Morocco.   Spot the figure on one of the boats….

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Flags of Convenience

Thought for the day….”A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”

There is an interesting story in the news in Norway at the moment about Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) overselling seats for the summer.   SAS has set up an Irish based division (SIAL)  and uses cheaper, Irish contracts to avoid Norwegian taxes.   But the plan seems to have backfired, as many staff have left the new Irish division because of lower pay and also having to work longer hours.    It is unfair that companies like SAS can use ‘flags of convenience’  to circumvent local procedures.   Same job, same aircraft and same routes, but different levels of salary for the same work, all because of flags of convenience. So SAS have been left in a position where they have sold many more seats than they have staff to operate because of a lack of staff.  I hope that all those passengers persue claims under the EU 261/2004 regulations.    The same thing happened in shipping previously, now it is spreading to other areas too.   Cheapest is not always best, and the same work should get the same pay.

Two colourful photos from Fiji for the photos today….

and another photo, a Fokker 100 aircraft seen here in Papua New Guinea, about to fly from Mount Hagen back to the capital Port Moresby.

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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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Words of Wisdom – a poem for some thought

Thought for the day…”The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone.”

“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

Something different today…a poem.   Cannot remember where I got it from, not my work of course, but the words are very good –

When as a child I slept and wept,
Time crept.
When as a youth I laughed and talked,
Time walked-
When I became a fullgrown man ,
Time ran.
An older as I daily grew,
Time flew.
Soon shall I find in travelling on:
Time gone.

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Winter is a great time to sort out the photos, so here is one from a time back, love the great Fuji colours in it.   A good photo needs good light, and the light was perfect for this photo, bright but not too strong.

and another photo from the archives….some market colour…

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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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Time to Delete…..

Thought for the day….”Life without liberty is like a body without spirit.”

“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.”

Autumn is a good time to get around to sorting the thousands of photos that are sitting on discs and hard drives.   Those of us over about 30 years old will remember that at one time, you only got 36 pictures (37 if you were lucky) on a roll of film, and even on a long holiday, you did not come back with thousands of photos.   But with digital cameras, it is far too easy to click away and end up with hundreds of photos.    I am looking back at my earlier photos and putting them through a test.   First question is “would I be proud to show this photo to somebody else? ”  and the second question “is this photo special to me?”    If the answer to both questions is NO then it is time to hit the delete button.   Rather like pruning trees after the summer, it will result in a leaner, cleaner and better photo collection.    Hit that delete button !

Classical buildings in the Frogner part of Oslo for the photo today, originally a colour photo that I have converted to Black & White.

wordpress Oslo buildingsand another photo, the lunchtime Wideroe Dash 8 Q300 aircraft arriving in Honningsvag, in North Norway.   This is only about 30km from the North Cape, which is claimed to be the top of Europe at over 71 degrees north.     That said, North Cape is actually on an island (Mageroya) so whether or not it is actually the northernmost point of Europe is debatable.  wordpress WideroeALL PHOTOS ON THIS SITE ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

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Uncovered…what lies beneath.

Thought for the day…”Hope is but the dream of those who wake.”

“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.”

Ever wondered what the inside of a jet engine looks like?   Here is a CFM56 engine uncovered.  More than 30 000 of these have been built, but it will set you back around USD 10 million for one. This one is an example from Air New Zealand, and was used in its 737 fleet.  At one time, AirNZ was a quality, full service airline (it even had the advertising slogan ‘Pride of the Pacific’  but nowadays it has changed into a budget airline which charges extra for add-ons, and also service levels onboard have fallen.   Sad to see a once great airline change so much.

But we customers are lucky to have a choice……I now avoid any flights on airlines that use 10 across seating on their 777s, and I am also checking the seating before making reservations…things like not booking on the newer Lufthansa A320NEO aircraft where they have put seats closer together (with even less legroom than Ryanair) and have removed one galley and toilet to squeeze in even more seats.    There is a limit, and some airlines have passed that limit for what is acceptable.  And if the airlines think that by making economy class uncomfortable that they will force me to upgrade to premium economy, then that is just not going to work….the answer is to choose another airline.    Their loss.

and another photo…Honningsvag in north Norway, high above the Artic Circle.

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Swiss mountain town bans photography

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

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

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

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

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

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Worse service on the airlines, and more to come

Thought for the day…”The envious man grows lean at the success of his neighbour.”

“Hope is such a bait, it covers any hook.”

It is amazing that so many people are still choosing to fly with airlines, as a new round of cuts in services are leaked in the press.  The Hong Kong based  Cathay Pacific Airlines has announced that it too will follow the trend and squeeze in 10 across seating on its Boeing 777 services (the aircraft was designed for 9 across, so the change to 10 across will mean even less shoulder room).  There is also talk about going to 11 across onboard the A380, with the same result, less shoulder room for passengers.  And following on from that announcement, it seems that the Lufthansa group will move towards a ‘buy on board’ system for food.   It is being trialed at the moment, and apparently SWISS airlines (part of the Lufthansa group) are also going to trial a buy on board system.    Here is an example of one of the ‘meals’ that was served on a Lufthansa flight not long ago…about 100g of cheese and bread.   No plate, no meat and no other food.

So even before they start charging for food onboard, then they had almost cut out the included ‘meals’.  Earlier there was the news that British Airways were going to reduce the seating pitch onboard, meaning that their passengers would have LESS leg room than those on Ryanair.    And Lufthansa have also followed the trend by squeezing in more passengers on their new Airbus A320 NEO aircraft.   They have also removed one of the toilets (to fit in more seats) and made the remaining toilet even smaller.   Less leg room, less shoulder room and now even less food onboard.     The airlines mileage/frequent flyer programmes have been devalued so much that they are now virtually worthless, so the question is, is there any point now to choose one of the original airlines over the budget alternatives? Seems not.   You often have to pay for checked-in baggage, advance seat selection and a higher basic ticket price on thee traditional airlines anyway.    So why choose them?????

In most other businesses, giving a poorer service would usually drive people away, but it seems that the airlines are an exception.   Poorer service now, but still increasing numbers of people wanting to fly.  One thing is sure, the airlines that have increased the seating to 10 across on their 777s will not be seeing me onboard.   The limit has been passed.  Economy class has become a test of endurance, and is far from a pleasure now.

Staying with the theme of aviation, a photo that is now history, an AirNewZealand 747, seen here at Brisbane airport in Australia in 2004

and another photo from the archives….a local man in Southern Oman….

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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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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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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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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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The airlines go even lower – more economy class cutbacks.

Thought for the day….” Never reach out your hand unless you’re willing to extend an arm”

” Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”

Airlines again.   So often, things that originate in the USA slowly trickle their way to the rest of the world.  Already the major airlines in Europe are beginning to charge for check-in baggage, and at least one budget airline (Wizzair) is even charging for carry-on baggage.   Meals, which used to be included in airfares, are often becoming buy-on-board.    Lufthansa’s new Airbus A320neos will have LESS legroom than Ryanair.    Like Ryanair, Lufthansa is now charging for check in baggage, something that is now becoming standard amongst airlines.    Now the news is coming from the USA that United Airlines is going even further.   They are introducing a new even more economy ticket.   As well as not having the usual benefits (things like being able to pre-reserve a seat), passengers travelling on the cheapest tickets will now not be allowed to use the overhead luggage bins, and they will only be allowed to store small bags under their seats.   No doubt that this idea will spread from the USA, as airlines will see it as another way to devalue economy class even more.    And spare a thought for the cabin crews, who will now have to police who is putting baggage in the overhead luggage bins, surely a nightmare for them.    So economy passengers will be squeezed in even more (Lufthansa) then will not be able to pre-reserve seats, then will have to pay for previously free meals, will not earn air miles, and if the United Airlines move spreads, will be forbidden from putting bags in the overhead bins.

Years ago, people mocked Ryanair when it suggested making passengers pay to use the toilets onboard.  The way that things are going with the airlines, then those days might not be so far away.

Time for another portrait photo from the collection.   Originally a colour photo, the picture works so well in Black & White.   Great, neutral expression on the woman’s face, and perfect natural lighting.  The quality of the Fuji glass is clear in this photo.

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and another photo from the archives….

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Ebay email address – where is it?

Thought for the day…” Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement”.

“Success with negative attitude is called luck.  Success with positive attitude is called achievement”.

Have you ever tried to contact Customer ‘service’ at Ebay?   If so, then you will be as frustrated as I am.  Ebay makes it VERY difficult to contact them.    Yes, there is a ‘help & contact’ section, but this will merely lead you to suggested answers.   But try and find an email address for Ebay and you will get very annoyed.  They have made it deliberately difficult for you to contact them.    I merely wanted to contact Ebay to ask about a refund, but they do not publish an email address.  How crazy is that??   What reputable company does not want you to contact them???     Either way it has taught me a lesson.   If they are not prepared to publish and email address or put an online form for you to use, then they do not deserve trade.   It seems to be a trend with many companies now, making it very difficult or impossible for you to contact them by email.  They are happy enough to take your money, and make it very easy to pay, but when you want to contact them, that is a different matter.    Good customer service can actually be profitable for a company, whereas bad customer service actually drives customers away.     So why does Ebay make it so difficult to contact them by email???

One advantage of autumn is that it is a good time to go through the photo collection.  Here is one photo that I have converted to black & white….shadows from the railings on a bridge.

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and another photo from the archives…Afghani street traders….

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How can they call this a meal?

Thought for the day….”Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on when others have let go”

“Life is not a rehersal, it is the real thing”.

I get to fly a lot, and one of the things that I am noticing more and more are the cutbacks on the airlines.    I used to be a shareholder in Lufthansa, but I am happy that I am no longer one.   Today’s photo is of the ‘meal’ served on a recent Lufthansa flight.    It did come with tea or coffee though, although the small size of this ‘meal’ is quite incredible.   I wonder how Lufthansa can advertise this as a meal?    Not even served on a tray, and only half a sandwich.  Two pieces of bread and a piece of cheese.  That was the ‘meal’.    And, as usual, the coffee came in small cups (paper) which they only half fill.  Why??   Things like this, and the fact that the Lufthansa group are now charging for choosing a seat or checking in a bag, are just going to drive me to the budget airlines.    Before, there was an advantage to choosing one of the ‘legacy’ airlines.  Not now.    The news that seating onboard the new Lufthansa A321’s will be even closer than on Ryanair, and that the extra seats in the back of the aircraft will be windowless,  will also make people choose the cheaper airlines.  No point in paying more for less.    Certainly, the ‘meal’ from Lufthansa would not encourage me to pay extra again.   Luckily, we have a choice…….

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and another photo from the archives…..time for a snooze in Tallinn, Estonia.

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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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Paradise in photos – The Seychelles

Thought for the day…”Success comes in cans, not in can’ts”

“Failure is the tuition that you pay for sucess”

About 85 000 people live in the island nation of the Seychelles, which is situated about 1500km off the eastern African coast and north of Madagascar.    Around  115 islands make up the country, which have been controlled at times by both France and Britain.   The islands have also been used by pirates, and it is said that the treasure of Le Vasseur, a notorious pirate, is buried there somewhere.     Victoria, the capital, on the main island of Mahe,  claims to be the smallest capital in the world, although it is the outer islands where the real beauty is.     Island hopping is easy there, either on the local fast ferries or the domestic flights in Twin Otter aircraft.    Due to the restrictions on the number of tourists, it is not (yet) overrun or overcrowed, just peaceful and beautiful.    A couple of photos are worth a thousand words……..Both photos taken with the Fuji X-E1 camera.

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And another photo from the Seychelles….

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Sunrise in New Zealand

Thought for the day……” You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you need”

“You never fail until you stop trying”

Three photos from the same spot showing the sunrise in Riverton, South Island of New Zealand. Riverton lies at 46 degrees south, and has a population of about 1431 people, although this has been decreasing and the number of empty houses increasing.   Originally a whaling town, it later changed to a logging town, helped by the arrival of the railway.   Surfers often visit the town due to the surfing at nearby Colac Bay.   Riverton is on almost the same latitude as Punta Arenas in Chile.   Just after taking the third photo, it was time to put the camera away and head back for the first coffee of the day, always the best one !

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Contrasts – One world but different sides

Thought for the day….”To live an extraordinary life, you must resist an ordinary approach”

“Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving”  (Einstein).

Two photos to show contrast today….the first photo is from New Caledonia and the second photo from Dhaka, Bangladesh.   One big advantage of the Fuji X camera system is that the photos straight out of the camera (jpeg) are so good.     I have stopped taking RAW photos now, as the jpeg pictures are great.   Much faster to just shoot in jpeg now, and it also means  much less time spent on the computer processing photos (which is great !!).   Purists will argue that a RAW photo has more detail, but it takes a lot of determination to sit at the computer for many hours converting RAW files.    The fun for me is in taking the photos, not in spending hours at the computer trying to get them right.  I still end up with far too many photos but that is digital photography.    Back in the days of 35mm film, when you only had 36 pictures on a roll (38 if you were lucky), then you really had to think before you pressed the shutter.   Not now, with the memory card easily holding 3000 photos and a camera which will take 6 photos a second.

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compare the beauty of the photo above with the chaos in the photo below ……same planet but……

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