Travel Photography

Before you go: Practice with your camera. Take the extra time to be sure you know how to use all the modes, attach all the accessories, and` load the film or digital media. Shoot pictures in the same lighting, and time of day that you anticipate will be like your vacation photo sessions. If you use a film camera, make sure to have your test roll developed and ask the lab about the appearance of the negatives and if problems were apparent with your film. With a digital camera, have a few shots printed at the lab. This will help you understand how the aspect ratio of your camera should be compensated for when printing to a standard sized print.


The law and photography: Before you travel abroad, ask your travel agent for information about what you can, and what you can not photograph while at your vacation destination. Laws vary from country to country. In some countries any photography without consent is considered a crime. When going to museums or art shows, ask if photography is allowed. When photographing people, always use the common sense approach of “would a reasonable person think I was intruding on privacy”? When in doubt, always ask for permission.

Tell a story with your pictures: As you look over your itinerary, anticipate how you will record your trip. Start at home with everyone packing or waiting at the airport with the destination sign in the background. Take fun photographs of your travel companions between the big stops eating, playing, or just relaxing.

Take an extra camera: Pack a camera that is easy to carry and takes good pictures. You will be able to enjoy your trip and still capture those great moments. A small digital camera with at least three megapixels will provide good snap shots and are easy to carry.

Use your flash: Make sure you understand how to set your flash modes. Use a fill flash while photographing people outdoors. The flash will fill in the shadows and compliment the quality of your people pictures.

Don’t use your flash: The flash of most cameras is eight to twelve feet. When shooting any further the flash is ineffective. Often at large sporting events held at night, you will notice flashes firing in the stands. The only thing these photographers are accomplishing is exposing heads that are directly in front of them. The chance of a good photograph is very poor.

Remember you! Don’t miss yourself in the pictures! Make sure your companions take photographs of you! Ask someone to take pictures of your whole group. Those are the pictures that every one in your group will want when you share your pictures.

Museums in Australia

There are thousands of museums all over Australia, ranging from the grand and famous to the small and quirky. Whatever your interests, you’re virtually guaranteed to find a museum that will capture your attention and imagination – you could easily spend an entire tour of the country solely visiting museums, and there’d still be plenty left unseen by the time you’d finished!

The National Museum of Australia is a good place to start, as one of the country’s major museums. Established in Canberra in 1980, the building itself was the first of its kind. Its post-modern architecture comprises several individual buildings that are pieced together in the style of a jigsaw puzzle; a break away from the traditional museum design, the structure is a reflection of the diversity of the collection within. Perhaps most remarkable is the giant loop situated at the entrance, which is actually the most visible part of the Urulu line. Inside, the museum is an excellent and all-encompassing exploration of the history of Australia and its people, and has quickly gained an international reputation as an innovative and important museum. With five permanent galleries and vast collections profiling 50,000 years of heritage, it is well worth a visit for anyone who wishes to gain some insight into Australian history and culture.

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney‘s Darling Harbour is another venue that is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. Its collection totals almost 400,000 objects, contained in dozens of exhibitions (including 22 permanent ones). The Powerhouse Museum is renowned for its educational values, and its focus on modern technology and interactive features like touch screen computers makes it a great place to take the kids, who’ll love the exhibits and displays on space exploration and science themes. The museum is part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, which also incorporates the Powerhouse Discovery Centre and Sydney Observatory.

The main museum for the state of Western Australia is the Western Australia Museum in Northbridge, Perth, where visitors with an interest in Australian wildlife will enjoy the environmental focus (including a detailed look at Australian mammals, marine life, and aborigines, to name a few). In the southeast, there are literally hundreds of museums in Victoria, ranging from historic homes to science centres. The Melbourne Museum and the Melbourne Planetarium are both excellent, and worth a visit – or for something different, check out Old Melbourne Gaol, where you can see the former ‘home’ of some of Australia‘s most notorious historical characters and even have your own personal “arrest and trial” experience if you wish!

Wherever you go in Australia, you’ll find plenty of museums to choose from, on a wide variety of themes. It’s one of the best ways to experience and learn about the rich and vibrant culture and history of this fascinating country.

Retirement in Malaysia – Too Good to be True?

Malaysia is yet another place where you could choose to retire and follow a lifestyle that is almost too good to be true. If you are fed up with bad weather, worried about the rising cost of living and worried about security, you could say it’s time for a change of scene. So even if you have strong links to the place where you have lived many years of your life, maybe it’s time to take the plunge and see what’s out there for the taking.

Malaysia will offer you the best of a tropical climate, with beautiful scenery around you and a friendly local population. After the gloomy weather conditions you’ve been accustomed to back home, here is your chance to bask in the sunshine without a care in the world.

This is one place where you can really live, as you want to and decide whether you’d rather live in a city, a mountain resort or a seaside. It’s a place where you can afford to retire early and live comfortably, yet spend less. Doesn’t that sound a little too perfect? Even so, it’s true, you know.

Malaysia offers a program to all foreign residents who would like to settle down in the country over the long term or even retire there. There are several advantages to this program. One of these is a 10-year Visit Pass and Multiple Entry Visa, which must be renewed every ten years. This is a provision, which will ultimately allow you to come and go as you please for life.

You can also own businesses in Malaysia and invest freely. This by itself is almost like having a second passport. Among other things, if you were to buy a new car or import one, you could do so without paying any tax on it.

In Malaysia, you can enjoy the simple pleasures of an equable climate and a low cost of living. Taking the cost of a burger as an example, it is far cheaper than what you would end up paying for the same thing in the US for example.

Malaysia is also located outside the so-called Ring of Fire, so there is no danger of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Take a look at basic living conditions and amenities available to you – about 66,000 kms of excellent roads, made up of different kinds of highways; fixed line communications even for remote areas; extensive health care facilities, including public and private hospitals that are equipped to perform complex surgical procedures at reasonable prices; wonderful sights such as the Petronas Towers, the Genting Highlands, the Niah Caves and Mount Kinabalu, to name just a few which will take your breath away.

With a good infrastructure, pleasant weather, a cost of living that is one of the lowest in the region coupled with one of the highest standards of living in the area, you have to admit that what you have is nothing short of a winning combination.

Malaysia is also politically stable and safe, a country, which by law treats everyone equally. This is a carryover from the British system of justice, which also offers an independent and stable judicial framework.

Looking at the lighter side of life, with regard to food, entertainment, recreation and shopping, let’s cut a long story short – Malaysia has something for everyone. The country also has well developed educational systems with good international schools where the medium of instruction is English. You’ll also find private colleges and major educational institutions from around the world.

There is a wide range of different kinds of residential accommodation here – apartments, condominiums, bungalows, semi-detached and terraced houses. Some of these apartments are located in picturesque settings – near theme parks, on beaches or near jungles. Foreigners are also entitled to take loans of 60% or more from local banks.

Well, how does it sound so far? Whoever said you can’t have everything didn’t know about this place, did they?

USE YOUR HEAD (AND PROTECT IT!)

Bicycle racing is a fun, exciting and very challenging sport. Crashes are rare, but they do happen. One of the most important parts of your cycling equipment is your helmet. Protecting your head and your brain is a very serious subject and although a bit scary to talk about, it’s important to be sure that we are all prepared to maximize our safety while training and racing.

Of course prevention of a crash is important and that of course is our primary goal. The next step is making sure you have a good helmet that fits you properly. A helmet should not be more than 2 years old. Regulations change over time as do manufacturing techniques. The materials used to absorb the impact of a fall degenerate over time so it is important to replace an old helmet. Also, you should replace your helmet after a crash if there is any sign of impact on the helmet.

Helmet fit is critical. I can’t tell you how often I see people riding bikes with helmets improperly fit. An improperly fit helmet is equivalent to not wearing a helmet. It is not enough to just hang your helmet off the back of your head and think its going to help you when you fall. Here are the important steps to be sure your helmet fits properly.

Size: The size of your helmet should be such that when placed on your head, without the straps, you should not be able to shake it off. If you can shake it off, it’s too big. If it doesn’t fit down over your head, it’s too small.

Straps: The straps of modern helmets have become easier to adjust, but most seem to still struggle with them. The straps should keep your helmet securely on your head and positioned properly, above your eye brows, but now so far back that your forehead is exposed. The chin strap should be snug, not chokingly snug, but snug enough to keep it in place when you need it.

Okay. So you’ve got your helmet securely in place and an accident happens and you go down. If you are knocked out or the person you are with is knocked out, it is a serious situation. Loss of consciousness, heavy or irregular breathing, the inability to talk or answer questions or loss of memory all signify an injury to the brain and warrant immediate medical attention. If someone falls hard enough to knock them out there is always the potential for a spinal cord injury, so be sure to keep the head and neck immobilized and call for an ambulance.

After a concussion, the rider should be evaluated at an emergency room and brought there by an ambulance. A doctor must evaluate the rider and often x-rays and a CT-Scan will be performed to be sure there is no bleeding into the brain.

The rider’s return to riding after a concussion always requires the close supervision of a physician, ideally a Sports Medicine Physician, with expertise in concussions. The risk of return to riding/racing too soon can be catastrophic and should never be taken lightly.

The moral of the story; ride safely, ALWAYS wear a properly fitted helmet, and seek immediate medical attention should you crash and get a concussion, returning to riding only under the supervision of a qualified physician.