Last night there was a lunar eclipse that resulted in a red tinted moon. There was some cloud cover so not ideal but it provided an opportunity to exercise the new tripod (wow is it light, love carbon fibre) and the ancient Tamron 500mm mirror lens. I think the mirror lens has gone the way of the dodo but it still provides a small form factor telephoto lens. The f/8 aperture isn’t anything to write home about but at night it’s hardly an issue. The following image was taken just after the total eclipse had finished.
Blurb photo book of the Land of the Ice Bears cruise
I usually use Picpress to create photo books but they don’t provide a way to share a preview of the book online so I’ve created one for the Land of the Ice Bears cruise using Blurb. It has the added bonus of creating an iPad version but I lose the lie flat binding. Anyway I’ve created the book and now just need to wait for my physical copy to arrive to see how it really turned out. Meanwhile I continue going through the images to create a book for Greenland.
Blurb also provide some code to access the preview so I’ve embedded that here to see how that works 🙂
Visited Riga on the National Geographic Expeditions Baltic Cruise. What a charming place without the crowds that would be present if it was better known (Hi Brugge 🙂
The tour started with a walk through the Art Nouveau district.
Then we got to experience a folk dance performance by the Dzintarinš children’s folk dance troupe. A great group of kids who obviously enjoy what they do.
I spend the afternoon just wandering around, quite an enjoyable way to spend a pleasant autumn day.
Sunrise on Sydney Harbour
Thanks to Mark Williams taking some very impressive photos of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge early one morning from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair I decided to go have a look during the week of the APAN meeting in Sydney. Glen Turner and I took a taxi over there before dawn and waited for the sun to rise. I am still amazed by the D3’s ability to take hand held photographs in next to zero light.
I returned from the beauty of Oman to the hotels and shops of Dubai. These guys don’t do things by half. A ski slope at Mall of the Emirates and the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa. The problem with Burj Khalifa is getting far enough away from it to get it all into shot 🙂
It hadn’t been opened as yet when I was there so I was restricted to walking around it and gazing up rather than looking out from it (although I did fly past it on the helitour from Burj al Arab so I got some perspective).
I need to look for another chance to drop by Dubai and do the tour to the observation deck (and maybe even stay in the hotel).
The public holidays over Christmas and New Year provides a nice little break and this year I decided to do something with them by heading to Dubai and Muscat. Spent a few stress free days in Muscat lazing around the hotel but took a 4WD tour out into the Hajar mountains. Turned out to be just me and the driver taking the wadi road to Wadi Bani Awf and then up the mountain road and over to Nizwa. Amazingly beautiful countryside and I now wish I had organised more tours out into it.
Photo Books and Calendars
On my return from the Faroe Islands and Iceland, and after seeing Ren Provo’s Indian photo book, I decided to give one a go. My first problem though was I wanted to include place names in their native Faroese or Icelandic and that presents a problem to most systems that only accept text in US-ASCII. Both have the letter “eth” (Ð) and Icelandic also has the letter “thorn” (Þ). Fortunately PicPress in Australia supports multi-lingual text (not sure about Asian scripts but certainly accented latin characters and eth and thorn) so that made the decision for me. It was more expensive than using Shutterfly (like Ren) but I got the text I wanted and the output was quite nice. One thing I didn’t like was their requirement to leave packages at your door should you not be in (and I wasn’t).
There are lots of sites that also produce Calendars and although I haven’t produced any as yet I’ve created a couple at RedBubble http://www.redbubble.com/people/mprior/calendars/4039336-4-f-royar and http://www.redbubble.com/people/mprior/calendars/4043568-1–sland and will see how they turn out once I can be home when they are delivered.
Faroe Islands and Iceland
In August I took a 3 week holiday in the North Atlantic. Firstly I went to the Faroe Islands (Føroyar) and spend a week on their inter island buses visiting Tórshavn (the capital), Klaksvík (in the northern islands), Runavík and Sørvágur (plus some villages along the way). It has spectacular scenery and crazy sheep, that must know how to abseil 🙂
Definitely a place to visit if you want to escape the tourists and enjoy the countryside.
The second major stop was Reykjavík in Iceland, where I was joined for a couple of days by Hollie and Paul. More spectacular scenery and more tourists. We did the “standard” Golden Circle tour, although we travelled in style in a SUV rather than a coach and that allowed us to vary the tour and most importantly go at our own pace. After Hollie and Paul returned to their family holiday I went out to the Westman Island (Vestmannaeyjar) and finally caught up with some Puffins on the wing (although they were no longer nesting so you couldn’t get close).
As part of the Adelaide Festival they are lighting up the heritage buildings on North Terrace each night. They cycle through a number of patterns/designs on each building. The camera in my V3xx mobile phone did a reasonable job but I’ll be back on Thursday night with a real camera 🙂