Tuesday, April 17, 2018

California Coastal Cruise

We just got back from a 7-day cruise of the California Coast, on the "Ruby Princess:"

We had a very good trip in spite of the rain that followed us throughout the cruise. I am in the middle of post-processing the photos.

The reason that we are planning a yearly cruise-vacation, for the next few years, is that we are getting up there in age and we cannot  do that much anymore.

It would be nice to go to one city for a week or so like Boston, Paris, Barcelona, etc, on our own, but that would involve a lot of walking. In addition, we can only do a 4-5 hours tour/per day. Which means going back to the hotel for the rest of the day. On a cruise there is a lot of activities, including shows, after we get back to the ship. Not to mention, that all the food is included - no need to search for restaurants.

We believe that cruises are the best vacations for senior citizens. In my youth, many but many years ago, I would not had dreamed of going on cruises.

The rain was not that bad and there were no thunder storms; I got very creative with my photos. :) The San Francisco photos were taken inside the tour bus through the windshield.  Therefore, they are not that sharp.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Barcelona Football Club

I am a diehard Barcelona (Barça) football team (soccer) fanatic; Barça is in my blood.  The Greatest team in the planet has fallen into hard times - very hard times. The present board headed by its president,  Josep María Bartomeu, are a bunch of clowns. They belong in a circus and not deciding the future of our team.

They lost the services of Neymar Jr., a once-in-a-generation soccer player.  PSG, the Parisian team, owned by the Qatar Government with its unlimited source of oil money, bought the player outright, because his release clause was only €222 millions.  In comparison, Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid great has a release clause of €1 billion. It was this board that set Neymar's release clause. Neymar was a member of the famous MSN, the greatest offensive triad in history comprised by Messi, Suarez, and Neymar. They are just memories now.

Messi, Barça's greatest player ever and the best in the world, is not yet signed.  He can become an unrestricted free-agent. If he walks, the loss for Barcelona will be more than gigantic. Besides being a player that Argentina produces once in a generation, he is almost irreplaceable.  It will take Barça years to find a replacement. But that is not the worse than can happen.  The loss of revenues, into the billions over the next 5 years, due to the loss of Messi, will make it that much harder. If there is no extra money coming in, to be able to sign a suitable replacement is almost impossible.

That is not all.  We have signed players that are not that good and forewent of others that are excellent.  For example, Robert Fernández, the sporting director or head scout, did not want to shell out €4.5 millions for Marco Asensio; Real Madrid did and his present release clause is set at €500 millions. Asensio destroyed us in the last two games. He is a Catalan that wanted desperately to play for Barça.

Barcelona Rulling Board
I have another example,  We are trying to get the winger Dembélé from a German team.  They are asking €130 millions for him.  We could have gotten him, last year, for €15 millions. I can go on, but I won't. The transfer money of Neymar has literally thrown the market into the stratosphere. It seems we are playing with monopoly money.

This board has promised us countless number of players like Coutinho, Dembélé, Seri, and many others. According to them, they are coming - it is a matter of hours. Hours have tuned into days, days into weeks, and weeks into months and no sign of any of them, except for Paulinho, a marginal player that will not make anyone forget Neymar.

These clowns are not good enough to perform for Cirque du Soleil let alone run a historical institution like Barcelona. They remind me of the "Three Stooges" with apologies to Larry, Moe, and Curly for defaming their names and reputation. To say that I am upset it is an understatement!

Larry, Moe, and Curly

Friday, July 21, 2017

My Recent Vacations

In September 2015, I went to Washington DC for 2-weeks. It is my favorite city in the world.  The following are my Washington DC Photos. There is so much to see in that city that two weeks is not near enough. It is not just Washington itself, but also its surrounding States like Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, which are the "epicenter" of our history as a nation not only for the birth of the US but also the Civil War.

On January 2017, I went on a  Caribbean 7-day cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida.  I had a very good experience on the "Norwegian Epic:"

The following are my Western Caribbean Photos. Georgetown, capital city of Grand Cayman, is one of the most important "fiscal paradise" city in the world.  The people enjoy a higher standard of living, but nothing for the amount of money that enters Grand Cayman.  As usual, the "haves" enjoy a substantial living compared to the "have-nots."

In September 2017, I went on a 7-day cruise on the "Norwegian Jewel" to Alaska:

In March 10, 2018, I went on a 7-day cruise, on the "Ruby Princess," of the California coastline + Ensenada, Mexico:

"Ruby Princess"

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Vacation Plans

The following are our planned future vacations that we have reserved through 2020. We plan to go on a cruise at least once a year.  For October 15, 2018, a 8-day cruise of the Southern Caribbean on the "Norwegian Jade," from Miami:

"Norwegian Jade"

For December 2, 2019, I reserved the 15-day cruise to the Panama Canal from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale on the "Emerald Princess:"

"Emerald Princess"

For November 2020, a 7-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera, from Los Angeles to Los Angeles on the "Carnival Panorama:"

"Carnival Panaroma"

Monday, September 5, 2016

After Pre-Ordering the X-T2, What's Next

I am basically done with my equipment purchases for the foreseeable future, with the exception of my wishlist, which is very short at this time. My priority is to travel.  In January 2017, I'm going on a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean:

The reason I'm choosing cruises is because I cannot longer live out of suitcases with land tours. And for September 2017, Alaska:

And for 2019 (more Mayan ruins)

I am open for 2018.  I have decided to travel once a year.  That is the reason I cancelled the Baltic and Alaska cruises.  Europe is just too expensive, at this time. I'm looking at a 10-day cruise of the Mexican Riviera, out of Los Angeles (no airfare,) or a 7-day cruise of the Eastern or Southern Caribbean, or a 7-day cruise of Alaska,  My wife wants to travel to Eastern Europe with a at least a 5-day stay in Prague.  I do not know.  We'll see.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Fujifilm X-T2

After much deliberation and going back-and-forth, I finally pre-ordered the Fuji X-T2. My Problem is that I do love the X-T10, which I will sell now. This is something I could not do and still have problems doing. However, the T2 is the camera for me.The main thing that I have to keep in mind is that the T2 is my complementary camera to the Leica Q (My main Camera.) In other words, it does what the Q cannot do. In addition, it is my travel camera and I expect to travel a lot. It is a no-brainer and I have no idea why I had such a hard time making up my mind. I will have to get the Metal Body Grip  and 2 extra batteries.

Fujifilm NP-W126S Li-Ion Battery Pack
The Nikon D750 has been relegated to my fourth camera position. I will sell all the D750 lenses with the exception of the Macro and Night Photography lenses. Having gotten used to light cameras, the D750 is just too heavy to carry around.  In addition, the Leica Q and the T2 are my main cameras.  The D5500 is my IR camera. The D750 will not be used except for table-Top/Macro and Night Photography.  I only need the 4 macro lenses. The main reason I'm keeping the Macro/Table-Top system is because I'm getting older and it is becoming harder and harder to go out for shoots.  Therefore, if I cannot go outside for a shoot, I'll bring the shoot inside.
Fuji 55-200

The funny thing is hat I was not even thinking about the T2. I was watching a program on HGTV on Tiny House Hunters and thinking wouldn't it be great to get one of those houses to take them to different places as a vacation house. The problem is that it is expensive to transport them to different places (~$2,500.) All in the sudden it hit on me: "Why I am  not getting the T2?" It did not make any sense not to pre-orders the camera.

The nexus between the tiny house and the T2 is not that far fetched or completely unrelated.  I viewed the tiny house as a weekend house that I could move to a different location like once a year.  In other words, a kind of traveling weekend house. I view the T2 as my travel camera.  I will not get a tiny house - just daydreaming - but yes to my travel camera.

Fuji 100-400
In 2018, I'm planing to take a 7-day cruise to Alaska and I would need a long lens for the wildlife. Therefore, I'm thinking of re-acquiring the 55-200  or even getting the 100-400 (150-600 in FF format.) The problem with the latter is its size and weight ~ 3 lbs. I won't think about it; it will come to me. I should get enough money after selling a bunch of my equipment

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fujifilm X-T10

Fuji X-T10

A funny thing happened to me when I put my Fufifilm X-T10 up for sale. I decided to keep it.  I love the T10; I just couldn't sell it. The reason I was selling the T10 was because I pre-ordered he Fuji X-T2. Therefore, I cancelled the pre-order.  The only reason I was buying the T2 was because it came with two-card slot. Since it was going to be my travel camera, I needed to use the second slot to backup the first one. However, I just purchased the Dell Inspiron 11.6" and 2-in-One Windows lap-top/tablet ($399.) It comes with 4GB Ram, quad-core, and a 500 GB internal drive. I also purchased a 1TB external drive - 2 1/2" ($60.)

1TB External Drive
When I travel, which is going to be once per year, at most,  I will take the T10, the Dell, and the external drive  to upload my photos that I took that day.  This is something I never wanted to do, but changed my mind. I needed to upgrade my i-Pad, the Dell was my best option. In addition, I will not re-use the SD card. I'm also getting more 32GB 1000X cards.  In other words, I will go with less capacity cards instead of 128GB ones.  If one goes bad, it will not be a catastrophe.

The only photo software I uploaded to the Dell 11.6 is Adobe Bridge CC.  That is all I need.  Bridge is much more than photo software; it is a file management software, which I'll use for the Dell.

When I purchased the Leica Q ($4,250) and the X-T2 ($1,600) I came up $400 short after selling a bunch of equipment. Since I cancelled the pre-order of the X-T2, I came up $1,100 ahead. I'm doing well. However, I will upgrade to the T20, when it comes out.
Dell Inspiron 11 Laptop/Tablet