March 13, 2005

It's about time!

I really need to make an appology. I haven't updated my weblog since December (as you surely will have noticed). Unfortunately with the holidays taking 2 weeks, and after that work picking up rapidly, I haven't had much time to do any blogging whatsoever. Today I have a very lazy day, so I thought it was time to create a new post.
Work is very stressful, and will be for another 2 or 3 weeks. the A380 is about to take off at the end of the month and I need to make sure teh paperwork convinces the top level engineers and the authorities the aircraft is actually fit for flight.

Last x-mas I spend in Holland, visiting my family and friends. After reading the news every day in the morning over a cup of coffee (strong, black, 2 sugar ^_^), I was expecting I wouldn't enjoy being back in the country. However, nothing could have been further from the truth. Having been away for a whole year, I realised again how much better things are in good old Holland. Things are so much easier to obtain, people are friendlier. You actually get customer service when you go shoppinG! I forgot about that completely. Normally in Bristol I enter a shop, look around (the shops being so small and so lacking of stock I often spend no more than 5 minutes in them).
I remember going to a huge book store called Donner in Rotterdam. They have soo much. They have all the Brittish magazines, PLUS many american magazines, German magazines, sometimes even french!!! I decided to pick up some of the newer magazines on digital photography. When I left I remembered there were two major dutch photography magazines and at the time I left they merged as they pretty much covered the same subjects in a very similar style. I picked up this magazine, remembering how it lacked in advertisement and was cramped with actual articles! And guess what... It still is... As I said I also picked up some of the newer magazins on digital photography. I expected something similar as the british magazines, but again, it was filled with actually useful information! Ofcourse there are advertisements in there, how else would they be able to publish??? There was one magazine, fairly small, but about the best info I had ever seen! It is called 'Digitales' and is, obviously, about digital photography. It appears about 4 or 5 times per month, and it seems to be published by a photography school. It has a fairly lengthy section on equipment listing, which for me they can do without. Unless I happened to have picked the one, I think they should stick by publishing such a list once per year, after photokina in germany. Other than that it actually had very useful information in it. And lot sof it! Despite it's A5 size, it is a fairly bulky magazine, and it saved me from 4 hours of boredom on Schiphol Airport while I was waiting to check in.

I also got my best x-mas present ever (though I paid for it myself): a 70-200mm f2.8 USM IS L zoom lens from Canon. What a gem!!! needless to say I tried it out. Having Tina over from Taiwan I had to play tourist in my own country, which also meant lots of photo opportunities. I made many many pics, of which I will only show you some...

I think this photo came out pretty well. I was visiting a friend of mine and while he and his wife were out of the room, I made this close up shot of these tea lights.

This was a fairly common view during the holidays. We went to a couple of Zoo's This photo was made in Diergaarde Blijdorp, a fairly victorian-style zoo. there were a surprisingly amount of animals outside though! We had been to Arnhems Burgers zoo, which is many times bigger and more enjoyable for both viewer and animal than Rotterdam's Blijdorp. But in Arnhem most animals were hybernating or were in the stables. The weather was better when we went to Rotterdam too. Most animals displayed as much energy as this Tiger.

Actually I'm not too sure if this is an austridge I photographed in Rotterdam or its smaller cousin in Arnhem. Both animals are very arrogant and cocky! You don't want to stand near these 'birds'.

Playing a tourist, obviously I needed to visit the Euro Tower in Rotterdam. The whole day had been splendid with miles of visibility. We were a bit hesitant to go because it would be dark by the time we would get there. We decided to do it despite the freezing cold. And we were rewarded by a beautiful nightly sight of city lights. Tina was becoming an icecream as the wind was blowing rather hard and being used to 20 degrees at night, she really was suffering. Luckily the tower went all the way up, which is done by an enclosed elevator, and the sight was amazing. I took an interesting 360 dgree shot of the town, but that one is so unconventional I suggest you look it up in my album on flickr.

Believe it or not, but this little gritter was classified as a prarie dog... If they called it a guinea pig I would have believed it as well...

Komodo Dragon. Blijdorp had quite a few of those, big ones too! Don't want an argument with this guy...

Blijdorp is known for its collection of reptiles

What's a zoo without baboons...

Pretty colors...

where did I go again...?
Hmm, where did I go again?

When do I leave...
Can you believe it? The trains actually have nicer signs than teh aircraft do! Please not this is not standard practise in Holland...

A quick stop at the observation terras. Quick in this case means 2 hours... Had a lot of time to kill...

Well, guess that is enough for the first post in the new year...