Photography all at sea

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So, either the GPS was completely wrong, I’m a stronger swimmer than I let on to be, or I was travelling on the car ferry between Rosslare and Fishguard.

Yes, we’re just back from Wales after a marvellous holiday. The weather wasn’t always that great (it’s exactly the same as Irish weather), but the people were friendly, the food was (mostly) great and the scenery was stunning. You might see a photo or two appear on my photoblog in the near future!


Reykjavik Time Lapse

A short time lapse video I shot from the temporary Polldaddy HQ in Reykjavik, Iceland. I shot it with my Android phone over the course of about an hour. My battery hit 9% remaining charge by the end of it! I’ve never seen the weather change so fast or so often as it does here in Reykjavik.

Do not adjust your volume, there is no sound!

Krista posted a timelapse video from the same window!

Automattic Photos Travel

The Blue Lagoon


Swimming in it is quite the experience!

Travel When-in-Ireland

Thoughts on returning from Killarney

Random thoughts that have occurred to me this Sunday evening after spending the weekend in Killarney, Co. Kerry in the south-west of Ireland.

  • Too much driving to the Black Valley. It’s not recommended that you drive through the Gap of Dunloe, but I’d like to see any heavily pregnant woman walk those hills!
  • Ross Castle is so close to Killarney yet I never knew about it until I saw Brid’s photo at the camera club.
  • The Randles Court Hotel is excellent.
  • I need to dump stuff to DVD to make way for 3GB of RAW files, bracketing shots suck space.
  • It’s great to be away for a few days, but it’s wonderful to get home too.
  • Waterproof nappies for the baby might be useful next year. Do they work?
  • Most Kerry people we met and all the foreign workers and hotel staff were very nice.
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney is huge and impressive. It’s like nothing I’ve seen before with bold, bare rocks decorating the columns and walls. I was self-conscious about the click of my camera until I noticed a couple brought their dog into this holy place and stood in front of the alter in admiration, with dog standing behind them.
  • Supervalu hotel breaks are great!
  • And finally, the proverbial honey glazing on a great weekend: Only 100 spam comments moderated. Over 5,000 caught by Akismet.

Turkmenbashi the great has died

Wow, I just saw on the news that Saparmurat Niyazov, or as he calls himself, Beyik Turkmenbashi died last night of a heart attack. His country, Turkmenistan was ruled by this eccentric man for 24 years and was featured in an article in the Sunday Times Magazine last weekend! I was planning on blogging the article but it is really weird that he died just as I was about to. One could become paranoid.

Turkmenbashi was a strange man, maybe even a little loopy and crazy. He banned make-up because he said Turkmen women were beautiful enough, dogs were banned in the capital city he was building in desert and he even built an ice rink in a desert where the temperture can reach 50C.

He reinvented the calendar and ordered his people to gnaw bones. He is gilding the desert in gold and marble, and the driving test is a questionnaire on his philosophy of life. Waldemar Januszczak infiltrates the world according to the leader of Turkmenistan

In 2002, he decided his country needed a new calendar. So he invented one. January was renamed after himself: Turkmenbashi. April was changed to his mother’s name, Gurbansoltan. And September became Ruhnama, the title of the large pink philosophy book he wrote, the one you have to answer questions on to pass your driving test.

The Ruhnama, or Book of the Spirit, explains the thinking behind all this. The president took 10 years to write the national book, and everyone taking any sort of exam, from schoolkids to prime ministers, is required to answer questions on it. You can’t miss the Ruhnama. It’s lollypop pink and lime green. To my eyes it looks as if it should contain a collection of Telletubby stories rather than the collected thoughts of the world’s most eccentric dictator.


Do the Bungee Jump

Have you ever looked out on a sheer drop and asked yourself, “What would it be like to fall all the way down?” Have you ever stood on the edge, looked forward towards the distant hills and leapt off into space?

I have. In 2002 I jumped although not particularly willingly as it’s a crazy thing to do! Reading over my post from that time I still remember the fear that numbed me, how I looked straight ahead when the crane had raised me up to it’s fullest height of 50m and then the surprise when time stopped still as I dived off the platform.

For a few moments Matt Munday shared that experience as he dived off the Verzasca dam in Switzerland to recreate the jump scene from Golden Eye!

Look over the other side, however, and you’ll find it’s 721ft straight down onto a cold, hard knuckle of jagged rocks — the frightening equivalent of jumping from a 70-storey building.

Doing a bungee jump is the craziest and most stupid thing I’ve ever done but don’t worry Life Assurance people, I have no intention of doing it again!

Would you like to see what my bungee jump at Star Beach in Crete was like? Here’s a movie made by a girl who brought a video camera with her. Look at those distant hills over the resort. That’s the last sight I saw before I jumped! (do not ajust your volume, there is no sound unfortunately)

This BASE jumper does some crazy jumps. Be prepared to suffer vertigo watching this!


Lucky I got home on Tuesday

This morning 24 suspected terrorists were arrested in the UK as part of an investigation into attempts to takes bombs on board planes in hand luggage. The resulting disruption and restrictions almost made more news than the fact that firebombs with many hundreds of souls on-board could have been launched down on top of US cities!

I'm just glad I got home on Tuesday and I missed all this. It makes me wonder how much the authorities knew in advance – just after leaving Matt in SFO I walked up to the xray machine, unbundled the laptop and my bags and was then asked to step into a machine which blew little puffs of air into my clothes and under my shirt. It obviously sampled the chemicals on me. Lucky they didn't do it at the end of a 9 hour flight, 4 hour wait and 1 hour flight home!

On a brighter note, my luggage made it's way through security fine. I left my sandals in the bag, but took all the wires for the various chargers and devices out and carried them with me. Be warned, their machines are so sensitive that sandals with up to year old fertilizer on them and wires could be construed as a bomb!

Chris offers some advice for those travelling with camera kit. You won't be allowed bring it on board, so buy secure cases specifically for your equipment. He quotes Dan Chung:

I'd been thinking for a while about ordering a case that allows me to check my equipment in the hold if I have to. A solution used by many pros is the Pelican case. … One photographic dealer I contacted said he had already received seven orders by 9.30am this morning.

Always a man to get a conversation going, Damien asks if privacy advocates have any case to make if snooping on telephone and Internet traffic averted a major terrorist attack today?


My First Earthquake!

Wow, the house just shook! Toni found some info on it, and I got it from Andy. Magnitude 4.4 apparently, but 42 miles away.

Podz mentioned it too. What did you do when you felt it? Did you run to the door, duck, take cover? No, we blogged it!

2020 Edit: Mark has since moved his blog and his post can be found here.


Weather? It's scorchio in Lanzarote!

Writing here from a very hot Lanzarote! We’ll be back in Ireland on Saturday but it’s been a blast! Dining out every night, relaxing, seeing the sights such as El Golfo, Cuevo De Los Verde and more..
Wait ´til you see the photos next week!

Travel Web – cheap flights and travel search engine

I’m not looking for cheap flights anywhere now, but when I am, I may very well use It labels itself as, “not a travel agency, it’s a search engine that’s free to use.”