Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Nude photo of the first lady of France

The first Lady for France
[Warning: Fully image below]
I am not sure whether the French President should feel proud or upset about this photo?

Carla Bruni doesn't look bad but it wont help his popularity stakes in France (except maybe in the young male demographic) as it isn't exactly becoming of a first lady to be photographed Nude, no matter how tasteful.

A nude portrait of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife Carla Bruni will go under the hammer in New York next month, according to auctioneers Christie's.

The 32.5 x 22.5cm gelatine silver black and white photograph was taken in 1993, when Bruni was one of the world's top fashion models, and is being sold by art collector Gert Elfering.

It is expected to fetch $US3000 to $US4000 when it is sold in New York on April 10, according to the Christie's website.

Sarkozy married Bruni, 40, in February after a whirlwind romance that began shortly after his divorce from his second wife Cecilia.

Their relationship has coincided with a sharp fall in Sarkozy's approval ratings which have tumbled as voters judged that the president's glitzy lifestyle jarred with his responsibilities and status as head of state.


Travel tips from the Amazing Race

As the majority of my photos up until recently have been travel shots, I thought I would share these travel tips that I found from Phil Keoghan who is the host of The Great Race.

In summary they are:

1. Face your fear.
2. Don't panic.
3. Pack for one week.
4. Have a plan before you clear customs.
5. Stick to backpacks, not messenger bags.
6. Avoid checking bags.
7. Never share a taxi with a stranger (especially at the airport).
8. There is no simple, over-the-counter solution for jet lag.
9. Never wear shorts.
10. Schedules are subject to interpretation.
11. If you must, panhandle from fellow travelers.
12. Always act the guest.

Apart from #9, I pretty much follow follow these rules.

Number 6 is also quite hard when carrying my camera gear. I did a weekend trip to Ireland to just carry on and my camera plus lens made up over half my bag.

While not pan handling, I also agree with #11. We arrived in Cuba and left our lonely planet (with all our travel plans) on the plane. I staked out reception of the hotel and asked every traveler who was leaving with a pack on if they were going to the airport and if they had a Lonely Planet guide they would no longer need.

Travel tips article

Thursday, 20 March 2008

The people of Cuba

Cuba doesn't have the sights of Egypt or Paris, but it does have an intreging group of citizens.

From the old lady with the GIANT cigar trying to get money for photos from the tourists:

Or the old man whos job it is to put the glasses on the statue of John Lennon when the tourists turn up (a security measure after they had 3 pairs stolen:

To the local farmer, who uses his Ox as a means of travel (they still use Ox to plough their fields and to pull wagons)

To the proud old man who had a bronze statue depicting him in his "good old days" and literally forced me to take his photo (and didn't even want, let alone ask, for money):

Classic American cars

Another thing Cuba is famous for is their cars - namely their old classic american cars.

Any car enthusiast would be filled with joy at the selection of cars but heartache at the condition of them. The big American V8 that use to file the engine bays are now small, noisy, powerless Lada engines. The paintwork is original (and flaking), the interiors are original (and cracked) and where something has broke, it has been fixed with what ever is available.

Still they are quite a sight as they slowly rumble down the streets of Habana.

Classic Blue Car, Vinales
Classic American car, Camaguey

Che - the man of the people

The most famous person in Cuba is without question Fidel Castro, but in Cuba, Fidel is not worshiped or revered as you would think. Instead it is Che - Ernesto "Che" Guevara - who is their local hero. A man not even from Cuba, but who took on the fight for all Cubans. Everywhere you go, not just the tourist locations, there are monuments, posters and pictures of Che - the man of the people.

Che Picture, Havana
Che Guevara statue Che Guevara picture

Cuba Photos

Last year we travelled around Cuba for 2 weeks. It is an amazing country. So much recent history and culture. The people are amazingly proud people despite adversity. Their life is so basis yet they are content, knowing they will be provided first class education and health care, they have little or no crime (except a huge black economy based around tourism).

Click on the montage below to go to my photo set on cuba:

Cuba 2007

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Broadband - the difference between the UK and NZ

I have recenlty returned to New Zealand from the UK. One major area of difference is the cost of braodband. In teh UK, braodband is cheap, over here it is expense. Look at the package BskyB is offering in the UK:

Its current offers in Britain include a 100-channel pay-TV bundle that includes a British Telecom phone line, free evening and weekend national toll calls and a fixed-line broadband connection with a 40 gigabyte traffic cap for £37 (NZ$93) a month.

I pay more than that in NZ, and I dont get pay TV, my datacap is only 10 gigabytes and the speed of the broadband is about 1/2 (and for upload about 1/8).

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

5 Things to ask yourself before you trip the shutter

Below is a link to a good article on the five things to think about before you trip the shutter.

The five things are:

1. Is my Shutter Speed correct to capture my subject properly?
2. Is my selected Focal Length or my Positioning optimal to capture my subject?
3. Have I chosen the proper Depth of Field to best highlight my subject?
4. Is my subject in Focus?
5. Have I checked the Edges of my frame to minimize distracting elements?

More details on each point in the article below

Five things to ask yourself

It is not always easy to get all these things right. I didn't have time to check my edges before pushing the shutter release. Sometimes it is more important to get the shot.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

What the pro photographers use.

Interesting video by a female fashion photographer. The first one goes through the equipment in her bag which I found really interesting.

Her equipment is:

Canon 1Dn MarkII x2
28-70 2.8
17-40 4.0
50 1.4
70-200 2.8

Not a bad selection lens and is pretty much my dream selection (it has nothing to do with the fact that they are the premium zoom lens, with the exception of the 17-40)

The second one talks more about the industry, in particular female fasion photographers

Part 1

Part 2

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Silent Protest

I was in the city today while a protest was coming down Queen Street. Quite different to most street protests, there was no chanting, singing or any noise at all. It was a silent protest (to the extent about a quarter had even put tape across their mouth).

The reason for the protest was the new Electoral Finance Act which basically puts limits on peoples freedom of speech when it comes to political parties. I try and stay away from politics to I will let the pictures do the talking.

Silent Protest Silent Protest
Silent Protest