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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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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION, FAIRNESS.

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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Two from the opposite ends of Norway

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

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”.

So the crazy ‘security’ people in the good old USA have now decided that the humble Kindle e-book reader cannot be taken onboard flights from certain countries, nor a laptop, digital camera or tablet.   Yet people flying from some other countries CAN take the exact same items.    Just another sign of how stupid the USA has become.    And I am even more surprised that the travelling public in the USA is putting up with more and more of this nonsense.  Nothing to do with security, just a way for the Department of Homeland ‘Security’  to exercise even more control over people, without making flying any safer.    Even Australia is now making the use of the naked body scanners compulsory, with no opt-out option,  yet another intrusion into personal privacy and personal rights.     Based on these stupid, groundless ‘security’ procedures ( security scam would be another way to describe it)  then I will continue to avoid the USA, UK and Australia.    Airport procedures now are beyond reasonable.

A photo of the west Norwegian city of Bergen, taken from Mt. Floyen in perfect light.  Again great colours from the Fuji camera, taken as a jpeg.

and another photo….the fishing town of Vardo, Norway.    This is the easternmost town in Norway, and actually lies further East then Istanbul or Kiev !!  One of the town’s slogans is ‘Eternal light, Eternal Night’,  which is a reference to the 24 hours of constant daylight during summer, and the 24 hours of constant darkness during Winter.    The Russian border is only a few km away across the bay.

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Full power for take off- Queenstown, New Zealand

Thought for the day….”Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.”

“You cannot start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”

Full power for this AirNewZealand departure from Queenstown (ZQN), New Zealand.  In the background are the Remarkables Mountains.   Not one of the World’s easiest airports to fly in or out of, due to the surrounding mountains, although they have recently started night flights due to the huge demand for tourist flights to the area.   One of the problems caused by the success of the airport is the severe congestion on the road from the airport to the town centre.   There is already talk about making a 4 lane highway from near the airport into the city centre, although the real problem is that there is not enough public transport.   The town planners’ answer is to build bigger and more roads, whereas the solution should be a public transport system.

and another photo from New Zealand….Nugget Point in the Catlins.   Named after the ‘nuggets’ off the actual point, there has been a lighthouse here since 1870.   The area is home to many fur seals, yellow-eyed penguins and also seabirds such as spoonbills and gannets.   The road to the Point is now being sealed, which will make access easy.

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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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Buying local – the advantages

Thought for the day….”It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”

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

There was a time in my younger days when I would spend hours looking for the cheapest price. Getting something for the cheapest price was the target, and an important one.  But gradually I have come around to looking at VALUE, rather than price.    I have just had delivery of my new camera.  I know that I could have ordered it online cheaper, but because my local photo shop (Photo & Video International, Christchurch, New Zealand) has given me such great service, then it was an automatic and easy decision to order from them.  True, I may have paid more for the camera, but when I need help or advice, the dealer will be there, and will be only too happy to help, even if there is no direct profit in it for him.   Not only that, but it makes trading much more friendly.    And it is good to know that when I need some extra bits, that he will supply them, even if there is little or no profit in it for the shop.    Previously I would have gone for the cheapest, but the value of personal customer service from a shop cannot be measured in money terms.     The best part is that at the end of the transaction, that both the buyer and the seller come away feeling satisfied and happy.   Too many negative experiences with online ‘shops’ located in far off places, who once they have sold you something, do not want to hear from you again.  Long live the friendly local shop !!!

And a couple more photos from the old camera…….

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and another photo from the archives….the Finnish capital of Helsinki

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The Southern Alps of New Zealand

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

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

Two photos from yesterday, taken on a flight around the Southern Alps on the South Island of New Zealand.   Unusually there was absolutely no wind over the mountains, meaning absolutely no turbulence, so I was able to fly closer to the mountains than normal.    The photos are screenshots from the video camera (the video will go up on Youtube later), and show Mt. Aspiring (3033m high) in the Mt. Aspiring National Park.  In the first photo, on the horizon left of the wing, you can see New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mt. Cook, which is now 3724m high.   To the right of Mt. Aspiring is the large Bonar Glacier.   Unfortunately there is a movement in New Zealand to rename many of the places and mountains with minority names, however the official names of the mountains are still Mt. Aspiring and also Mt. Cook.   So here is Mt. Aspiring below the wingtip….

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and another photo, again a screenshot from the video camera..The normal climbing route is up the long snow covered face (about 60 degrees) on the left, then along the ridge to the summit at 3033m.

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Triathlon in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand

Thought for the day….”Success with a negative attitude is called Luck.  Success with a positive attitude is called Achievement”

Next Saturday (18th February) is the day for the annual Challenge Wanaka triathlon.    This event is part of the worldwide Challenge triathlon circuit, and it has grown into a large competition.    The race comprises of a 3.8km swim  (the lake will be around 15 degrees), followed by a 180km cycle, and finally the 42.2km marathon run.   The fastest competitor will finish in around 8 hours 40 minutes.    Here are a few photos from previous years races….

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Overcrowded and full, New Zealand

Thought for the day..”There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”

“Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live.”

New Zealand continues to be overrun with tourists.   Whilst the tourist board seems to think that ever increasing numbers of tourists are a wonderful thing, those people who are in New Zealand are now seeing the effects over too many tourists.   Accommodation is full in many places, cafes are packed out, roads are busier than they have ever been (=more accidents)  and the national parks and nature are suffering (and suffering is the word) from the onslaught.    And there is no end in sight.     Airlines are putting on more and more flights (particularly from China) and are upping frequencies.     Trying to get reservations for accommodation at the moment is a nightmare and the once quiet country is now far from quiet and unspoilt.

The number of tourists has now passed 3.42 million a year, (population of NZ is about 4.7 million), and is growing by over 10%.     So the overcrowding at the popular tourists sights is becoming serious.     This also means that the nature and wildlife is suffering too.    Imagine driving into Milford Sound (which is in a national park) and arriving before 0900 only to find that ALL parking was already full and that officials were telling arriving motorists to turn around and drive out again.

And the worst part…..there is no end in sight.   Quiet, peaceful and quaint it might once have been.   Not now.

Today’s photo comes from the Old Town in Bergen, Norway.    It started out as a quick snapshot in colour, and was converted to B&W.    Just lucky that there was somebody in the sunlight in the ideal position.   Another reason why it is good to always have the camera ready.

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and another photo from the archives…..sunset over Norway from an aircraft window…..

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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….

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

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