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9" x 12"

Arches 140#CP

 

Poppies in the field, or in this case, our visit to a Hillsborough Garden, seem so fitting on Memorial Day. Today we honor the men and women of our armed services, especially those who have passed. My father served in WW II, my husband in the US Navy, my son-in-law and the men of his family still serve in the National Guard - for these, and so many others, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank them - for keeping our country safe, strong, and free.

 

THANK YOU ............

  

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May we be safe. May we be whole.

May the earth be safe. May the earth be whole.

May all people everywhere be safe and whole.

May all creatures everywhere be safe and whole.

May we feel a deep connection to the earth and to each other.

May the earth feel honored and loved by us.

 

Thank you for the kind words and emails on the passing of my Uncle... your kindness touched my heart.

 

click if you'd like to view on black

 

© All rights reserved.

   

Fly free little bird, stay safe and return to us.

I made this from two photos as a farewell card for our daughter leaving today for 6 months travel. Kiwis (the people) often travel for the great OE (overseas experience). Some come back and some stay. We are hoping she will be of the returning variety :)

A young girl collects arsenic free safe drinking water from community deep bore pump in Rajput Colony in Bahoodipur Kureshina Union of Rahim Yar Khan District in Punjab province.Since arsenic is detected in water source in the village, UNICEF installed 387 feet deep bore or submersible pump, however, community pays for electricity, as well for maintenance. Villages use other water source like shallow hand pump, or canal water for other purpose, but for drinking and cooking purpose, everyone in the village collect arsenic-free water from the tank.

  

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3. Select Platform and Anti Ban Mode then click “CONNECT”, Popup Success alert click “OK”

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HOW TO USE:

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2. Enter your Username/ID or Email Address (you don’t need to enter your password)

3. Select Platform and Anti Ban Mode then click “CONNECT”, Popup Success alert click “OK”

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Happy Wednesday - Radiating boundless love towards the entire world. Getting sleep when and where we can.

Abyss and Raven.

  

See my baby's version here

 

This sweet scene was taking at ✈ : Free Fun Photography

________________________

 

I knew I loved you then

But you'd never know

'Cause I played it cool when I was scared of letting go

I knew I needed you

But I never showed

But I wanna stay with you

Until we're grey and old

Just say you won't let go

Just say you won't let go

 

I wake you up with some breakfast in bed

I'll bring you coffee

With a kiss on your head

And I'll take the kids to school

Wave them goodbye

And I'll thank my lucky stars for that night

 

When you looked over your shoulder

For a minute, I forget that I'm older

I wanna dance with you right now, oh

And you look as beautiful as ever

And I swear that every day you get better

You make me feel this way somehow

 

Thank you all for your faves, comments and support ~Abyss~

________________________

:headphones: : The Tunes

웃 : Custom Pose made by my babydoll Raven Spires

:dress: : Raven Spires

:camera: : Abyss Spires

♂ : CATWA HEAD Daniel

♂ : [SIGNATURE] Gianni - Mesh Bod

:syringe: : Juna: Kema tattoo

:syringe: : Juna: Khraft tattoo

:movie_camera: : LUMIPRO 2017

✈ : Free Fun Photography

________________________

A place for SL photographers to exchange ideas and network. Group members may rezz photo props. Photography, Windlight, Poses, Couples, Dancing, Exploring

A little bit out of inspiration these days, so maybe I'm taking a break from flickr what the uploading concerns. I will try to visit your photos every day, and from time to time you will see some of mine. I don't know yet. So keep posting those magnificent shots, and hey...if you miss me... just mail me :-)

See you!

XXX

  

You see I can't stay away from here that long :-)

 

Listen to this great Belgian artist: Ozark Henry - Free haven (excellent choice for this photo):

www.goear.com/listen.php?v=9dd8490

It is Memorial Day today in the USA. In honor of the occasion, here is a view of the Pacific Theatre section of the United States World War II Memorial on the mall in Washington, DC. At the back left can be seen the Washington Monument – dedicated to the memory of the first commander-in-chief of American forces and later the first President. Next to this can be seen the US flag, and below it the POW-MIA flag, in remembrance of all those who were prisoners of war or missing in action while fighting for their country. I wish you all the best on this Memorial Day, and I join with you in honoring and showing respect for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in order to try to make the world a better, freer, safer, and ultimately more peaceful place – in every nation and corner of the earth.

  

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Destination: FFP Sim

 

Song: Unconditionally

 

Oh no, did I get too close?

Oh, did I almost see what's really on the inside?

All your insecurities

All the dirty laundry

Never made me blink one time

 

Unconditional, unconditionally

I will love you unconditionally

There is no fear now

Let go and just be free

I will love you unconditionally

 

Come just as you are to me

Don't need apologies

Know that you are worthy

I'll take your bad days with your good

Walk through the storm I would

I do it all because I love you, I love you

  

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“You can waste whole lifetime

Trying to be

What you think is expected of you

But you'll never be free.”

 

- Mark Pistel & Phillip M. Steir

 

To absent friends … stay safe, be well and go in peace

 

Soundtrack : www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRTXnAxlxTc

GONE FISHING – CHRIS REA

 

What will I do the next time when someone deserts me

will I be like I was yesterday

now so far already in the distant past

will I weep silently in the dark

for myself or for the loss of you

and then move swiftly on,

my sails adjusted; pressed aft against my mast

or will I dwell on life's misfortunes

as I used to do so long ago

perhaps you had good reason

to let me fall so suddenly and yes, you were so brutal

perhaps it was to protect me

perhaps it was to spare me; save me from it all

still it wounds and blood seeps from the cuts

and spills onto the rough-hewn wooden floor

seeps through the gaps into the darkness of the earth

It is not for me to reason why

people choose to come and go;

that is the way of life and then we die

some stop to teach me all the wisdom that they know

some stop to learn from me before they too must go

everything is transient this much is what we know

life, love, good fortune and bad luck

it is futile to try to duck or to cling on to a boomerang

just because of fear of letting go lest it won't come back

that is why I mostly leave an open door

rarely do I shut the door and throw away the key

but even then all is not always lost

as long as words we say are less not more

and if a lesson's learned or taught and we are true to core

then maybe some day you will curve your swerve right back to me

Until then our paths remain divided as you chose

to carry on without me, but like a rose

that blooms so beautifully in Spring and through the Summer

then sheds it's soft and velvet petals to enrich the earth

lays dormant and decaying throughout Winter

until it will come into bloom again at it's rebirth

stronger and more beautiful than the Fall

the ending led once more to new beginnings

and like the sweetest briar rose

and the phoenix from the ashes

I will begin once more to rise above it all.

 

- AP - Copyright :copyright: remains with and is the intellectual property of the author

 

Copyright :copyright: protected image please do not reproduce without permission

 

My artwork is a compilation of 2 of my photographs.

Pic by Tanechka Gossipgirl

 

Cary Brothers - "Free Like You Make Me"

 

Tell me a story

Tell me the violence

And were there noises?

And were there sirens?

It'll be ok

And I'll make it right

 

'Cause I know what's coming

And I know why

Because tonight is far too

Perfect for your pain

Because the secrets

That you told

To me

 

I'll take your place when the world ends

And you take mine

I'll break us out of this

Jail and get you high

'Cause when it all ends,

I want you to be free

Free like you make me

 

What were the feelings

There in the silence?

And were you safe or

Was it defiance?

It'll be ok

And I'll make you smile

 

Cause I know what's coming

I saw the signs

Because yopur eyes in this

Moment can't contain

All of the secrets

That you told

To me

 

I'll take your place when the world ends

And you take mine

I'll break us out of this

Jail and get you high

'Cause when it all ends,

I want you to be free

Free like you make me

 

And I understand your way

Please Darlin'

Don't you ever change

And I'm understanding

That you're the one for me

 

I'll take your place when the world ends

And you take mine

I'll break us out of this

Jail and get you high

'Cause when it all ends,

I want you to be free

Free like you make me

 

From driving in Europe I saw plenty of street kids living in shacks on rubbish tips. I wanted to recreate the memory. We took a windswept Leona in contrasty light with and a look of indifference and wrapped in a shawl. I then took another image of an old shed and blended the two images. The monotone helped with the mood.

The shed would actually be a bit off a luxury to the kids I saw but I’m sure you get the mood of the memory.

  

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43/365

 

Like the weight's gone off my shoulders

From the top of the world and I can finally breathe

And do you feel like me? Have you been through what I've been through?

Cus from the top of the world where you can finally see,

it's safe to just let go..

 

Valencia - Free

 

The rest of my 365 Project

You're safe from pain in the dream domain, A soul set free to fly. A round trip journey in your head, Master of illusion, can you realize your dream's alive, you can be the guide....

********************

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhat-xUQ6dw

When Attila King of the Huns invaded Italy, and the Empire of the West being weakened, did destroy the same, the said Henetians cam out of Histria, now called Frioli,...and other Italians came from adjoining parts, into certain Ilands compassed with marshes, that they might be safe from those Barbarians; and about the yeere of our Lord, 421, began to build a City, which proving a safe retreat from the tyranny then continually oppressing Italy, in process of time by civill Arts grew incredibly.

[from the records of Fynes Moryson, English traveller, 1617]

 

Venice

textures are my own

The sun sets right at the end of an old pier. What luck!... or was it?

 

Free wallpaper for over 100 of my images in 6 different screen sizes is now available!

  

---------------------------------------------------------

Settings etc.:

---------------------------------------------------------

 

Feb. 5, 2009: I just noticed that this picture was displayed in a Flickr blog about 100 million geotagged photos!

 

blog.flickr.net/en/2009/02/05/100000000-geotagged-photos-...

or

code.flickr.com/blog/2009/02/04/100000000-geotagged-photo...

  

30-second exposure @F22

LEE soft ND grad 0.9 angled 9:30am-3:30pm

I used Lee 150x100mm soft ND grads with a Cokin z-pro holder.

Canon 5D

Canon 17-40L

ISO 50

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop

 

A few days before I made this image, I noticed how the sun would soon be moving over each day until it was setting right behind this old eroded pier as the summer solstice approached. So I knew to return to make a long exposure at sunset. It is good to arrive at a location with an open mind because you never know what to expect. I set aside my expectations and observe what elements attract the eye. In the RAW file, this image had an overwhelming amount of color, so I had to de-saturate the sky in order to get back the details, which had become lost in blobs of bright orange.

 

In October of 2005, Hurricane Wilma scored a direct hit on this island with category 5 winds gusting over 200 miles per hour. Many beaches were stripped of their sand, revealing old features not seen in many years, like this old pier on the north side of the island. I was told that before the hurricane, these pilings were under many feet of sand and that the beach used to extend well past the last post seen here.

 

On the first day of my trip, the sun had set to the left of end of the pier, but I knew that over the next few days, the sun would move a little to the right each day. (In landscape photography it pays to know how the natural world works, just as a bird photographer must know the habits of the birds to get the best shots.) On the last day of my trip, the sun set right at the end of the pier. I was ready and had an image in my head of what I hoped I could capture. Fortunately the sun dropped below the clouds at the last minute and became visible right as the sun set. I had taken photographs on the previous evenings just in case this evening turned out to be cloudy just to be on the safe side.

 

So, I was lucky to be on vacation during this time, but the rest was planning!

  

FREE AT LAST - by Sylvie Benice

 

the living is not easy for any woman or for any man

 

but those of us in North America have it good if you compare

 

us to the other countries in the world - countries that have it much worse

 

famine and drought in Africa - combined with horrible politics

 

let the thousands die and thousands more to remain sick

 

existing, not living is their curse - which when put into perspective

 

makes it hard to find - peace of mind - about the nature of man

 

we are so violent - more violent than beasts - and we have mistreated each other

 

since the time God made us exist - God tried to make us perfect

 

but we failed - by killing each other - we kill our brother

 

everybody had their own point of view - blames the others for what they do

 

but we all are not innocent - for by doing nothing - they have our consent

 

to bomb, rape and pillage - all for some worthy cause - and war is hell

 

a hell that never stops - nobody learns - that there are no victories in war

 

it is all about - evening the score - the strong oppress the weak

 

until the tables are turned - and then then the underdog becomes the terrorist

 

life is still nasty and brutish - but not often short

 

we have succeeded to keep the suffering alive - because we think that is what God wants

 

in North America - we are living so long - dementia so prevalent

 

shows you when you play God - you make mistakes and you cannot repent

 

in other countries, babies die fast, girls are sold into marriage at an age

 

which we would call statutory rape, the evening news brings this to our attention

 

but with so much junk to watch, they lose their impact, another person dies

 

under horrible circumstances, we sigh and change the channel

 

in our inner cities people starve, live out of garbage cans, this is a disgrace

 

by telling the world how we have helped them - brought democracy

 

brought food and guns, let the people speak - but we are a poor role model

 

for other countries - if you count the violence and the rape

 

as for myself i do not watch the news, avoid reading the papers

 

for reading them causes me so much distress

 

just knowing others are suffering causes me unhappiness

 

i look forward to the day - when the Lord will give me peace

 

and I can be free from this evil world with its evil people

 

not that i am innocent - a sinner for sure i am - but i look forward

 

to the freedom of being detached from my sick body

 

which has brought me continued suffering and no repast

 

then i can say - THANK YOU LORD - I AM FREE AT LAST

   

how you crept in and stole my heart, you devil! Never will I be free of your claws my terrible Love. xoxo

Hate seeing such amazing creatures in captivity, however I can't help thinking that because of the shit humans in the world, Captivity is the safer option for them.

Last year I had a lot of Red Mason Bees (Osmia bicornis) nesting in cardboard tubes with paper liners. I removed the cocoons from a number of the tubes and have kept them safe in the hope of witnessing the bees emerging.

 

The process started this week. I missed the first few emergees but then captured a few (including this one); both stills and movie. It took several minutes for this male to struggle free. As soon as he was out he had a quick "wash and brush-up" and then flew off.

I hope everyone has had a safe new year with wonderful celebrations, as I just came back from a 2 week break with some family down the coast, and I'm feeling quite refreshed.

 

My laptop and tripod have decided they don't want to work anymore, and so I've decided to try and push my print sales a lot more than I have ever in the past to try and make up the rest of the money to buy my laptop before the school year starts; the first 10 people to order an 8x8 print will receive a free 6x6 as a gift. I appreciate any help you can give.

 

| Formspring | Tumblr | Facebook Page | Twitter | Blog |

 

  

We just launched PHLEARN, our FREE, daily photography and Photoshop instruction show! Check it out for FREE content :) www.phlearn.com

 

Strobist: WhiteLightning X1600 cam right into 86' para @f/5.6 Whitelightning x800 cam left into strip box gridded @f/6.3 power via vagabonds, fired via PWII

 

Model: Leah Powell

Hair: Mandy Richardson

Assistants: Ed Frazier, Avery Carlton

Makeup: Avery Carlton

Photo: Aaron Nace

 

Sometimes you need someone to protect you. Who better than a 10 ft cat.

This was a fun shoot we did in an abandoned barn. Let's just say that Leah was much more cooperative than Spartacus :D

 

I was invited to a rather "free" halloween party, so a friend suggested I go as "peter pan".... wearing only a pan. It was cold, so I also added a "robe", and warm hat. The trickiest part was how to wear the pan... so i created a rope "g-string"! Not the most comfortable, but definitely a fun costume! :)

 

Opdate: 7-7-2013, I finally wrote the blog about this night...

enterwithanopenmindorclosedeyes.blogspot.com/2013/07/clot...

Thank you to those who have served our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe and free. We remember and honor you today.

Now amazing Capture One pro 10 is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 9.4 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One pro 10 for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One, the greatest company in Photography ever.

 

I think both Capture One 10 Pro and DXO 11 produce a bit better color than LR CC or LR6 for Sony, Canon,Olympus, or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon but even for Canon CR2 files, LR6 and CC are not good enough, never produce the amazing amount details that Capture One 10 or DXO 11 does.

 

Seriously C Oen 10 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 10 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I upgraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 11 Pro version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

  

UPdate : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

  

UPDATE2:Another serious issue all the camera makers will have to face but I did not really realize before is that all ILC cameras are big to most of NORMAL non-photographer people, and they are very intimidating to most of NORMAL people(I mean regardless of mount type or sensor type).

I never realized it before but while walking around down town Fukuoka with one of my long time friends here forced me to understand it. A friend of mine told me that he thinks all interchangeable lens cameras are huge and intimidating to most of average people regardless of sensor size or format, it's just simply annoying!

I guess a big lens scares or annoys people more than a big body......I never saw it his way but I got his point and I decided to carry my tiny Canon G5X when I just walk around the city area with other people. If I am alone shooting something, then I usually carry my big camera, and I think it does not matter it's a m43, a FF, an APS-C, it is all big to most of NORMAL people, anyway.

Then why not just go all the way up to FF or MFDB, or at least APS-C?

 

So maybe the one really doomed is not Nikon F or Pentax K or Sony A but m43?

Nikon and Pentax have historically had very enthusiastic and even fanatic core shooters and they are usually too old to adapt themselves fast to new EVF based gear even if they understand it is the more logical thing for them as they are aged. So D-SLRs may survive as antique cameras, but m43 or Nikon One?

 

UPDATE3: Nikon has just announced a new sensor fab development with Toshiba and it seems like their new sensor design uses very similar AF tech to the DP AF of the Canon EOS M5 sensor without losing almost no amount of light getting into the sensor.

 

Canon also patented a few new curved sensor designs with Toshiba. Toshiba seems to work as a special sensor designer for many companies rather than producing it themselves now.

 

And it found out that the Sony's old curved sensor patent is no longer effective, and it was originally a Toshiba patent.

So if Sony really lost the patent to Toshiba , then Sony would have a big problem since Sony would not be able to use the curved sensor tech for their FF camera lines that helps them to design smaller and sharper lenses for the FE system.

  

UPDATE4: Now, I've just confirmed that Nikon DL series actual shipment date would be next January 17th as planned in last Nikon conference at Nikon D5600 launch. But it may delay even further to next CP+ show in Yokohama Japan(in Feb 2017).

 

So it is already promised to be a failed product line before the actual launch. I think Nikon is really stupid, I mean I don't think phones or mirrorless killing Nikon but itself, it obtuse marketing killing it.

   

It was cold and very dark gloomy , a very bad day.

 

Now amazing Capture One pro 10 is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 9.4 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One pro 10 for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One, the greatest company in Photography ever.

 

I think both Capture One 10 Pro and DXO 11 produce a bit better color than LR CC or LR6 for Sony, Canon,Olympus, or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon but even for Canon CR2 files, LR6 and CC are not good enough, never produce the amazing amount details that Capture One 10 or DXO 11 does.

 

Seriously C Oen 10 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 10 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I upgraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 11 Pro version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

  

UPdate : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

  

UPDATE2: Nikon has just announced a new sensor fab development with Toshiba and it seems like their new sensor design uses very similar AF tech to the DP AF of the Canon EOS M5 sensor without losing almost no amount of light getting into the sensor.

 

Canon also patented a few new curved sensor designs with Toshiba. Toshiba seems to work as a special sensor designer for many companies rather than producing it themselves now.

 

And it found out that the Sony's old curved sensor patent is no longer effective, and it was originally a Toshiba patent.

So if Sony really lost the patent to Toshiba , then Sony would have a big problem since Sony would not be able to use the curved sensor tech for their FF camera lines that helps them to design smaller and sharper lenses for the FE system.

  

UPDATE3: Now, I've just confirmed that Nikon DL series actual shipment date would be next January 17th as planned in last Nikon conference at Nikon D5600 launch. But it may delay even further to next CP+ show in Yokohama Japan(in Feb 2017).

 

So it is already promised to be a failed product line before the actual launch. I think Nikon is really stupid, I mean I don't think phones or mirrorless killing Nikon but itself, it obtuse marketing killing it.

  

UPDATE 4: as I said A7M3 will not come until next year..........

However, Sony will announce FS8 or FS7MK2 at Inter Bee 2016......not at Photo Plus NY. So SAR was wrong again.

The FS7 successor will have APS-C sized sensor multi aspect sensor for super 35 output. It has the new processor Sony calls "Front side LSI", which was recently introduced in A99MK2 and A6500. And all of those may just be well specified but never work well as promised by Sony or many moronic Sony shill sites..........

 

UPDATE5: Many people including myself thought Nikon is dying, if not already dead by now, but in reality Nikon still sells many many more units than Sony and Nikon is now working on new type of sensor design and they may collaborate with Pentax and Olympus to set up a new sensor company. If this plays out well, then Sony will be the loser since they will have no one to sell their mediocre so-called Fullframe sensors any more. And as a result their highend camera prices will go up significantly.

And now Sony has just announced they've just decided to spin off their imaging division and now it is an independent business under Sony corp's supervision, just like their sensor group.....

This means now Sony imaging is not a part of Sony but their subsidiary, and therefore, to Sony device group, the imaging group is just a customer,nothing special, in fact,considering its size of market share in relation to that of Nikon, Sony imaging group is a lower class customer to the device group.

So there is no more reason for Sony device technology to keep the best sensor for in-house use. In fact now Sony device tech must compete with the new sensor company Nikon Olympus Ricoh have just established here and some European sensor designers such as CMOSIS, who makes the Leica SL sensor and M sensor.

And do not forget there is always Canon if Sony does not sell anything to Nikon.........Canon will start selling it and there will be Panasonic and Tower Jazz also........so Nikon will not have any problem choosing sensor suppliers any more.

Sony must sell their best sensors to Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax , or Sony will lose them, Sony cannot choose customers any more.

If Sony is smart, it will not compete with Nikon or Olympus in camera market. After all, Nikon is the biggest customer of Sony.......but Sony also buys steppers from Nikon anyway. So Sony is not dominating the sensor market, or controlling Nikon as many Sony fanboys think..........and the just announced Spun-off of their imaging division makes Sony camera business less trust-worthy........... Sony thinks every business as a short term investment and runs it to make it temporarily profitable and then spins it off.

After that? of course sells it to anyone willing to buy it.........like Sony did with the Vaio PC business, TV business, etc,etc.

That is why no one really trust Sony in the long run, we long term Sony users just use its cameras but always know it is a back-up plan or step-gap solution......

After all no serious camera buyers are as obtuse as many spec-chasers and review sites think they are. None one buys into a big expensive camera system just for an amazing set of features in a body or two...................there are many many more important aspects to a system camera than just a set of great features...

 

Now even Tamron has sensor division in house and actually they designed the best sensor in the CMOS history and announced it recently. So sensor is becoming a large part of commodity kit. Now any one has the knowledge can design it.

  

UPDATE6: Now my first 2 copies of FE16-35mm f4 suddenly died and I just bought my 3rd copy of it.........and sadly found it terrible this time.

It is obvious buying any Sony Zeiss FE lens is like picking up an extremely difficult to win lottery ticket..........it might be great but most of times you get mediocre copies of it.

My first 16-35mm f4 was excellent , the second one was even better-almost outstanding, then this third one is literally lousy. I am returning it and get a new copy but I am not expecting to get a better one, I guess I was extremely lucky with my first two copies of this lens........I guess I will force the dealer to exchange my FE16-35mm f4 for the Voiklander 15mm f4.

 

Sony QC is just terrible, and it is not worth any premium over other cheap off-brand lens maker like Samyang, Tamron and Sigma. In fact, Sony is even worse than Tamron and much worse than Sigma Art series with respect to QC. I have had 4 Tamron VC lenses in EF and F mount and they performed fairly consistent....

I really miss Tamron 90mm macro, now I guess a brand name means nothing when it comes to QC and general after sales support. In fact, Tamron and Voiklander provided me the best service of any lens maker I have ever dealt with. It is extremely frustrating every time I spend more than 110000 yen or 1075 USD, I still have to worry about terrible sample variations.

I think we have to appreciate Roger Cicala's excellent site. He is the only one guy testing more than 5 copies of any given lens. All other reviewers just merely test one copy of each lens.........useless.

         

Today i was snowbound on the A14 northbound for over 7 hours. I thought that the lone tree might make an interesting shot :)

Our Prayer~

 

I pray you'll be our eyes, and watch us where we go.

And help us to be wise in times when we don't know

Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way

Lead us to the place, guide us with your grace

To a place where we'll be safe

 

La luce che tu hai

I pray we'll find your light

nel cuore rester

and hold it in our hearts.

a ricordarci che

When stars go out each night,

eterna stella sei

 

The light you have

I pray we'll find your light

will be in the heart

and hold it in our hearts.

to remember us that

When stars go out each night,

you are eternal star

Nella mia preghiera

Let this be our prayer

quanta fede c'

when shadows fill our day

 

How much faith there's

Let this be our prayer

in my prayer

when shadows fill our day

Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace

Give us faith so we'll be safe

 

Sognamo un mondo senza pi violenza

un mondo di giustizia e di speranza

Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino

Simbolo di pace, di fraternit

 

We dream a world without violence

a world of justice and faith.

Everyone gives the hand to his neighbours

Symbol of peace, of fraternity

La forza che ci d

We ask that life be kind

il desiderio che

and watch us from above

ognuno trovi amor

We hope each soul will find

intorno e dentro s

another soul to love

 

The force his gives us

We ask that life be kind

is wish that

and watch us from above

everyone finds love

We hope each soul will find

around and inside

another soul to love

Let this be our prayer

Let this be our prayer, just like every child

 

Need to find a place, guide us with your grace

Give us faith so we'll be safe

Need to find a place, guide us with your grace

Give us faith so we'll be safe

 

la fede che

hai acceso in noi,

sento che ci salver

 

It's the faith

you light in us

I feel it will save us~

 

by Andrea Brocelli & Celine Dion

 

If you have a minute, Enjoy this beautiful song and concert by same~

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmscFwj22vg&feature=related

 

EXPLORE 12-03-08 #483 Thanks

Explore, relax, row a boat, dance, make love. Safe. Totally free. This parcel is just a part our 3-sim estate. All three sims are open to you. See eotia.org for more information.

 

maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Crow/174/153/26

They are the most effective than Baygon. Safe and absolutely free.

May this photograph reflect some peace and tranqulity in your life

during this Labor Day weekend. To those who have loved ones

overseas serving our country to keep it free, this photograph is for you.

May we remember those who gave their lives before us as well.

  

Sailing at Hilo Bay thinking of C&K's 35th concert reunion

In Hawaii tonight.

~C&K Sailing~

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksuPnjQYfLk

 

Aloha,

Moana :)

The recent attacks on Paris have had a profound effect, however, not in the way that those responsible had intended.

Newly elected president Henri Lapierre has shown no sign of giving in. In fact, the troop presence in West Africa has been at its highest point since the colonial era. The citizens are scared, but the government has bumped up security to just shy of the point of martial law. Large or heavily trafficked buildings have heavily armed soldiers guarding it and some have installed top notch security systems, such as keypad locks and biometric scanners. Roads and highways have armed checkpoints and the Champs-Elysee has snipers lining the rooftops. It will be very difficult to make an attack now.

 

MTTCR Industries Corporate HQ

Paris, France

 

"2-1, we have Mr. Aucoin here coming inside."

 

"Roger that. Keep lookout."

 

"Roger sir, 2-4 out.

Jean, this is an easy job. High pay, low risk. I mean, what are the odds that this building will get attacked?"

 

"Don't say that man, it could come back and bite us."

 

"Shit, don't tell me you're the superstitious type. I will tell you right now that this place, hell, this city is completely safe and secure. Nothing's going to happen."

 

"If you say so. If you say so..."

 

For Modern Conflict--

 

Wow. A build. It's certainly been a while.

This was the first weekend in a long time that I've had any free time, so I took advantage of it and finished up the build I was working on. Not my best, but I like the look of it.

I'll try to do a build every month, if that.

If you fave, please comment, I appreciate the feedback.

It's so much fun to find these! Am I the only one in love with these cute little libraries? This one was found in the beautiful Garden District in New Orleans, LA. You can learn more about the Little Free Library movement here: littlefreelibrary.org.

 

Hoping everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

...Amendment II, United States Constitution

For 52 in 2017 Group, Week #22

Subject: Words / Text

---------------------------------------------------

Explored - Highest position: 259 on Monday, June 5, 2017. Thanks for all your views, comments and Fav's.

---------------------------------------------------

Photographed at the Free Expression Tunnel at NC State campus, Raleigh, North Carolina. Having fun with my fisheye lens to capture as much graffiti as possible and showing the light on either end of the tunnel. Kind of surreal and crazy with all that ever changing graffiti.

 

The below photo is the tunnel that connects the campus giving the students safe passage under a railroad track above.

  

First off, if this seems complicated, it's because IT IS. The makers of geektool never promised otherwise (for now). Hopefully these notes will enlighten you a bit.

 

Fonts: Helvetica Neue; light and ultralight

  

The codes:

  

This is the most difficult part to get right. My advice is to follow this guy's guide: www.macthemes.net/forum/viewtopic.php?id=16801674&p=1

 

WEATHER ICON

 

file://localhost/tmp/weather.png

 

Refresh rate: 600

*Shows image from the "fetcher" shell*

 

*****************************************************

 

WEATHER CONDITIONS (must be personalised)

 

curl --silent "http://weather.yahooapis.com/forecastrss?p=CAXX0236&u=c" | grep -E '(Current Conditions:|C<BR)' | tail -n1 | sed -e 's///' -e 's/ C$/˚C/'

 

Refresh Rate: 600

  

Simply replace

 

CAXX0236&u=c

 

with your own city's address

  

***The final letter c in "CAXX0236&u=c" refers to celsius, so replacing it to the letter"f" makes it fahrenheit

 

HOW TO:

- go to : weather.yahoo.com/

- find your city's weather page by searching it

- click on the rss feed button (it's orange and says RSS...)

- the last part of the webpage's address is what you need to replace my own code above

 

*****************************************************

 

WEATHER IMAGE FETCHER (must be personalized)

 

create an empty shell with this code:

 

curl --silent -o /tmp/weather.html ca.weather.yahoo.com/canada/quebec/longueuil-4388/;

 

Refresh rate: 600

*Fetches image from yahoo server and store it locally.*

  

Simply replace

 

ca.weather.yahoo.com/canada/quebec/longueuil-4388/

 

with your own city's address

  

HOW TO:

- go to : weather.yahoo.com/

- find your city's weather page by searching it

- the last part of the webpage's address is what you need to replace my own code above

 

*****************************************************

 

DATE

 

date "+%a, %B %d"

 

Refresh rate: 1000

 

*****************************************************

 

TIME

 

date "+%l:%M"

 

Refresh rate: 20

 

*****************************************************

 

UPTIME

 

uptime | sed 's/.* up /Uptime: /' | sed s/,.*//;

 

Refresh rate: 60

*There is a better uptime code but I can't find it right now so I'll post it on my next geektools desktop.*

  

**********************************************************************************************************

 

This Geektool desktop was inspired and based on Ian Smith's creations: ianmichaelsmith.carbonmade.com/

and by Randall Creasey take on it: www.flickr.com/photos/25212804@N07/5375969123

 

**********************************************************************************************************

 

The menu bar was changed to black thanks to: lifehacker.com/#!5280456/hide-your-mac-menu-bar-and-dock-...

An alternate would be:www.winjade.net/board/index.php?showtopic=11720

 

OR

the non-hacking required way (easy): www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9G1CV3wcRU

using Nocture (free): code.google.com/p/blacktree-nocturne/downloads/list

 

**********************************************************************************************************

 

I've also made the menu bar auto-hide (somewhat hit&miss depending on the app) thanks to magic menu: www.cynosurex.com/Software/MagicMenu/

**don't use with apps that need to connect to your keychain as magic menu breaks the link, you can go back on this though.

 

**********************************************************************************************************

 

Desktop: fiftyfootshadows.net/2010/12/28/white-sands-pack/

Geektool files & Hack: dl.dropbox.com/u/6718818/desert_desktop.zip

Tutorial Ian Michael Smith: lifehacker.com/5731409/the-sands-of-time-desktop

Inspired by Ian Michael Smith: www.flickr.com/photos/40156273@N06/

... just because I'm Kurdish ...

 

Iraqi Kurdistan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  

Capital

(and largest city) Erbil

36°11′N 44°00′E / 36.183, 44

Official languages Kurdish[1]

Government Parliamentary democracy

- President Massoud Barzani

- Prime Minister Nechervan Idris Barzani

- Deputy Prime Minister Omer Fattah Hussain

Formation of Autonomous Region

- Autonomy accord agreement signed March 11, 1970

- Autonomy accord collapsed March, 1974

- Gained de facto independence October, 1991

- The TAL recognized the autonomy of the KRG as full sovereignty. January 30, 2005

Area

- Total 80,000 km2 (117th)

30,888 sq mi

Population

- 2008 estimate 7,000,000 (108th)

- Density 40/km2 (166th)

15/sq mi

GDP (PPP) 2007 estimate

- Total 27 billion (not ranked)

- Per capita $5,500 (not ranked)

HDI (As of 2006) n/a (n/a) (not ranked)

Currency Iraqi Dinar is the offical currency, American Dollar widely accepted in all business transactions (IQD)

Time zone (UTC+3)

- Summer (DST) (UTC+4)

Internet TLD Various

Calling code 964

Iraqi Kurdistan Region (Kurdish: هه رێمى كوردستان عێراق, Herêmi Kurdistan Iraq, Arabic:إقليم كردستان العراق , Iqlĩm Kurdistãn al-‘Irāq , also Southern Kurdistan and in Kurdish: باشووری کوردستان ) is an autonomous,[2] federally recognized political, ethnic and economic region of Iraq. It borders Iran to the east, Turkey to the north, and Syria to the west and the rest of Iraq to the South. Its capital is the city of Erbil, known in Kurdish as Hewlêr.

 

Etymology

The name Kurdistan literally means Land of the Kurds. The term Kurd in turn is derived from the Latin word Cordueni, i.e. the of the ancient Kingdom of Corduene, which became a Roman province in 66 BC.

 

In the Iraqi Constitution, it is referred to as Kurdistan Region.[3]. The regional government refers to it as Kurdistan-Iraq (or simply Kurdistan region) but avoids using Iraqi Kurdistan.[4] The full name of the local government is "Kurdistan Regional Government" (abbrev: KRG.)

 

Kurds also refer to the region as Kurdistana Başûr (South Kurdistan) or Başûrî Kurdistan (Southern Kurdistan or South of Kurdistan) referring to its geographical location within the whole of the greater Kurdistan region.

 

During the Baath Party administration in the '70s and '80s, the region was called "Kurdish Autonomous Region".

  

[edit] History

 

[edit] Ottoman Period

Main articles: Ottoman Empire, Mamluk rule in Iraq, Mesopotamian campaign, and Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire

The area today known as Iraqi Kurdistan was formerly ruled by three principalities of Baban, Badinan and Soran. In 1831, the direct Ottoman rule was imposed and lasted until World War I, during which the Ottomans sided with Germany and the Central Powers.

  

[edit] British Mandate

During World War I the British and French divided Western Asia in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The Treaty of Sèvres, which was ratified in the Treaty of Lausanne, led to the advent of modern Western Asia and Republic of Turkey. The League of Nations granted France mandates over Syria and Lebanon and granted the United Kingdom mandates over Iraq and Palestine (which then consisted of two autonomous regions: Palestine and Transjordan). Parts of the Ottoman Empire on the Arabian Peninsula became parts of what are today Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

  

[edit] Kurdish revolts

On December 1, 1918, during a meeting in Sulaymaniyah with Colonel Arnold Wilson, the Acting Civil Commissioner for Mesopotamia, Kurdish leaders called for British support for a united and independent Kurdistan under British protection. Between 1919 and 1922, Shaikh Mahmud Barzanji, an influential Kurdish leader based in Sulaymaniyah, formed a Kurdish government and led two revolts against the British rule. It took the British authorities two years to put down his uprisings. The first revolt began on May 22, 1919 with the arrest of British officials in Sulaymaniyah and it quickly spread to Mosul and Erbil. The British employed aerial bombardments, artillery, ground combat, and on one occasion, chemical gas, in an attempt to quell the uprising.[5] Then the British exiled Mahmoud to India. In July 1920, 62 tribal leaders of the region, called for the independence of Kurdistan under a British mandate. The objection of the British to Kurdish self-rule sprang from the fear that success of an independent Kurdish area would tempt the two Arab areas of Baghdad and Basra to follow suit, hence endangering the direct British control over all Mesopotamia. In 1922, Britain restored Shaikh Mahmoud to power, hoping that he would organize the Kurds to act as a buffer against the Turks, who had territorial claims over Mosul and Kirkuk. Shaikh Mahmoud declared a Kurdish Kingdom with himself as King, though later he agreed to limited autonomy within the new state of Iraq. In 1930, following the announcement of the admission of Iraq to the League of Nations, Shaikh Mahmoud started a third uprising which was suppressed with British air and ground forces.[6][7]

 

By 1927, the Barzani clan had become vocal supporters of Kurdish rights in Iraq. In 1929, the Barzani demanded the formation of a Kurdish province in northern Iraq. Emboldened by these demands, in 1931 Kurdish notables petitioned the League of Nations to set up an independent Kurdish government. Under pressure from the Iraqi government and the British, the most influential leader of the clan, Mustafa Barzani was forced into exile in Iran in 1945. Later he moved to the Soviet Union after the collapse of the Republic of Mahabad in 1946.[8]

  

[edit] Barzani Revolts 1960-1975 and their Aftermath

After the military coup by Abdul Karim Qasim in 1958, Barzani was able to return from exile and set up his own political party, Kurdistan Democratic Party, which was granted legal status in 1960. Soon afterwards, Qasim incited the Baradost and Zebari tribes against Barzani. In June 1961, Barzani led his first revolt against the Iraqi government with the aim of securing Kurdish autonomy. Due to the disarray in the Iraqi Army after the 1958 coup, Qasim's government was not able to subdue the insurrection. This stalemate irritated powerful factions within the military and is said to be one of the main reasons behind the Baathist coup against Qasim in February 1963. Abdul Salam Arif declared a ceasefire in February 1964 which provoked a split among Kurdish urban radicals on one hand and traditional forces led by Barzani on the other. Barzani agreed to the ceasefire and fired the radicals from the party. Despite this, the government in Baghdad tried once more to defeat Barzani's movement by force. This campaign failed in 1966, when Barzani forces defeated the Iraqi Army near Rawanduz. After this, Arif announced a 12-point peace program in June 1966, which was not implemented due to the overthrow of Arif in a 1968 coup by the Baath Party. The Baath government started a campaign to end the Kurdish insurrection, which stalled in 1969. This can be partly attributed to the internal power struggle in Baghdad and also tensions with Iran. Moreover, the Soviets pressured the Iraqis to come to terms with Barzani. A peace plan was announced in March 1970 and provided for broader Kurdish autonomy. The plan also gave Kurds representation in government bodies, to be implemented in four years.[9] Despite this, the Iraqi government embarked on an Arabization program in the oil rich regions of Kirkuk and Khanaqin in the same period.[10] In the following years, Baghdad government overcame its internal divisions and concluded a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union in April 1972 and ended its isolation within the Arab world. On the other hand, Kurds remained dependent on the Iranian military support and could do little to strengthen their forces.

  

[edit] The Algiers Agreement

In 1974, Iraqi government began a new offensive against the Kurds and pushed them close to the border with Iran. Iraq informed Tehran that it was willing to satisfy other Iranian demands in return for an end to its aid to the Kurds. With mediation by Algerian President Houari Boumédiènne, Iran and Iraq reached a comprehensive settlement in March 1975 known as the Algiers Pact. The agreement left the Kurds helpless and Tehran cut supplies to the Kurdish movement. Barzani fled to Iran with many of his supporters. Others surrendered en masse and the rebellion ended after a few days. As a result Iraqi government extended its control over the northern region after 15 years and in order to secure its influence, started an Arabization program by moving Arabs to the oil fields in Kurdistan, particularly the ones around Kirkuk.[11] The repressive measures carried out by the government against the Kurds after the Algiers agreement led to renewed clashes between the Iraqi Army and Kurdish guerrillas in 1977. In 1978 and 1979, 600 Kurdish villages were burned down and around 200,000 Kurds were deported to the other parts of the country.[12]

  

[edit] Iran–Iraq War and Anfal Campaign

During the Iran–Iraq War, the Iraqi government again implemented anti-Kurdish policies and a de facto civil war broke out. Iraq was widely-condemned by the international community, but was never seriously punished for oppressive measures, including the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds, which resulted in thousands of deaths. (See Halabja poison gas attack.)

 

The Al-Anfal Campaign constituted a systematic genocide of the Kurdish people in Iraq. From March 29, 1987 until April 23, 1989, Iraqi army under the command of Ali Hassan al-Majid carried out a genocidal campaign against the Kurds, characterized by the following human rights violations: The widespread use of chemical weapons, the wholesale destruction of some 2,000 villages, and slaughter of around 50,000 rural Kurds, by the most conservative estimates. The large Kurdish town of Qala Dizeh (population 70,000) was completely destroyed by the Iraqi army. The campaign also included Arabization of Kirkuk, a program to drive Kurds out of the oil-rich city and replace them with Arab settlers from central and southern Iraq.[13] Kurdish sources report the number of dead to be greater than 182,000.[14]

  

[edit] After the Persian Gulf War

The Kurdistan Region was originally established in 1970 as the Kurdish Autonomous Region following the agreement of an Autonomy Accord between the government of Iraq and leaders of the Iraqi Kurdish community. A Legislative Assembly was established in the city of Erbil with theoretical authority over the Kurdish-populated governorates of Erbil, Dahuk and As Sulaymaniyah. In practice, however, the assembly created in 1970 was under the control of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein until the 1991 uprising against his rule following the end of the Persian Gulf War. Concern for safety of Kurdish refugees was reflected in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 which gave birth to a safe haven, in which U.S. and British air power protected a Kurdish zone inside Iraq.[15] (see Operation Provide Comfort). While the no-fly zone covered Dahuk and Erbil, it left out Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk. Then following several bloody clashes between Iraqi forces and Kurdish troops, an uneasy and shaky balance of power was reached, and the Iraqi government withdrew its military and other personnel from the region in October 1991. At the same time, Iraq imposed an economic blockade over the region, reducing its oil and food supplies.[16] The region thus gained de facto independence, being ruled by the two principal Kurdish parties – the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan – outside the control of Baghdad. The region has its own flag and national anthem.

 

Elections held in June 1992 produced an inconclusive outcome, with the assembly divided almost equally between the two main parties and their allies. During this period, the Kurds were subjected to a double embargo: one imposed by the United Nations on Iraq and one imposed by Saddam Hussein on their region. The severe economic hardships caused by the embargoes, fueled tensions between the two dominant political parties: Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) over control of trade routes and resources.[17] This led to internecine and intra-Kurdish conflict and warfare between 1994 and 1996. After 1996, 13% of the Iraqi oil sales were allocated for Iraqi Kurdistan and this led to a relative prosperity in the region.[18] Direct United States mediation led the two parties to a formal ceasefire in Washington Agreement in September 1998. It is also argued that the Oil for Food Program from 1997 onward had an important effect on cessation of hostilities.[19] Kurdish parties joined forces against the Iraqi government in the Operation Iraqi Freedom in Spring 2003. The Kurdish military forces known as peshmerga played a key role in the overthrow of the former Iraqi government.[20]

 

KDP and PUK have united to form an alliance with several smaller parties, and the Kurdish alliance has 53 deputies in the new Baghdad parliament, while the Kurdish Islamic Union has 5. PUK-leader Jalal Talabani has been elected President of the new Iraqi administration, while KDP leader Massoud Barzani is President of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

  

[edit] Politics

Main article: Kurdistan Regional Government

 

President George W. Bush talks to reporters as he welcomes Massoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, to the Oval Office at the White House, Tuesday, Oct 25, 2005.Since 1992, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been based in Erbil. The KRG has a parliament, elected by popular vote, called the Iraqi Kurdistan National Assembly, and a cabinet composed of the KDP, the PUK and their allies (Iraqi Communist Party, the Socialist Party of Kurdistan etc.). Nechervan Idris Barzani has been prime minister of the KRG since 1999.

 

After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq Kurdish politicians were represented in the Iraqi governing council. On January 30, 2005 three elections were held in the region: 1) for Transitional National Assembly of Iraq 2) for Iraqi Kurdistan National Assembly and 3) for provincial councils.[21] The Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period recognized the autonomy of the Kurdistan Regional Government during the interim between "full sovereignty" and the adoption of a permanent constitution.

 

The Kurdistan Regional Government currently has constitutionally recognised authority over the provinces of Erbil, Dahuk, and As Sulaymaniyah, as well as de facto authority over half of Kirkuk (at-Ta'mim) province and parts of Diyala, Salah ad-Din and Ninawa provinces.

  

[edit] Economy

The Kurdistan region's economy is dominated by the oil industry, agriculture and tourism[22]. Due to relative peace in the region it has a more developed economy in comparison to other parts of Iraq.

 

Prior to the removal of Saddam Hussein, the Kurdistan Regional Government received approximately 13% of the revenues from Iraq's Oil-for-Food Program. By the time of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the program had disbursed $8.35 billion to the KRG. Iraqi Kurdistan's food security allowed for substantially more of the funds to be spent on development projects than in the rest of Iraq. By the program's end in 2003 $4 billion of the KRG's oil-for-food funds remained unspent.

 

Following the removal of Saddam Hussein's administration and the subsequent violence, the three provinces fully under the Kurdistan Regional Government's control were the only three in Iraq to be ranked "secure" by the US military. The relative security and stability of the region has allowed the KRG to sign a number of investment contracts with foreign companies. In 2006 the first new oil well since the invasion of Iraq was drilled in the Kurdistan region by the Norwegian energy company DNO. Initial indications are that the oil field contains at least 100 million barrels (16,000,000 m3) of oil and will be pumping 5,000 bpd by early 2007. The KRG has signed exploration agreements with two other oil companies, Canada's Western Oil Sands and the UK's Sterling Energy.

 

The stability of the Kurdistan region has allowed it to achieve a higher level of development than other regions in Iraq. In 2004 the per capita income was 25% higher than in the rest of Iraq. Two international airports at Erbil (see Erbil International Airport and Sulaymaniyah (see Sulaimaniyah International Airport) both operate flights to Middle Eastern and European destinations. The government continues to receive a portion of the revenue from Iraq's oil exports, and the government will soon implement a unified foreign investment law. The KRG also has plans to build a media city in Erbil and free trade zones near the borders of Turkey and Iran.

 

The region still gets a cut from Iraqi-Turkish trade, plus subsidies from the United States[citation needed] and Israel[citation needed].

 

Since 2003, the stronger economy of Kurdistan has attracted around 20,000 workers from other parts of Iraq.[23] According to Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, since 2003 the number of millionaires in the Kurdish city of Silêmani has increased from 12 to 2000, reflecting the financial and economic growth of the region.[24]

  

[edit] Geography

 

A popular waterfall near Erbil.The Iraqi Kurdistan is largely mountainous, with the highest point being a 3,611 m (11,847 ft) point known locally as Cheekah Dar (black tent). There are many rivers flowing and running through mountains of the region making it distinguished by its fertile lands, plentiful water, picturesque nature.

 

The mountainous nature of Kurdistan, the difference of temperatures in its various parts, and its wealth of waters, make Kurdistan a land of agriculture and tourism. In addition to various minerals, oil in particular, which for a long time was being extracted via pipeline only in Kurdistan through Iraq.

 

The largest lake in the region is Lake Dukan.

 

The term "Northern Iraq" is a bit of a geographical ambiguity in usage. "North" typically refers to the Kurdistan Region. "Center" and "South" or "Center-South" when individually referring to the other areas of Iraq or the rest of the country that is not the Kurdistan Region. Most media sources continually refer to "North" and "Northern Iraq" as anywhere north of Baghdad.

  

[edit] Governorates

Iraqi Kurdistan is divided among seven governorates of which currently three are under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government. These governorates are called in Kurdish parêzge. Particularly in Iraqi government documents, the term governorate is preferred:

  

Autonomous Region KurdistanThe governorates wholly under the Kurdistan Regional Government are:

1. As Sulaymaniyah (Slêmanî)

2. Erbil (Hewlêr)

3. Dahuk (Duhok)

Main article: Kirkuk status referendum, 2008

The governorates claimed totally or in part by the Kurdistan Regional Government are:

4. Kirkuk (Kerkûk) - (all)

5. Diyala - Kifri Khanaqin and Baladrooz districts

6. Ninawa - Akra, Shekhan, Al-Shikhan, Al-Hamdaniya, Tel Kaif, Tall Afar and Sinjar districts

7. Salah ad Din - Tooz district

8. Wasit - Badrah district

A referendum was scheduled to be held on 15 November 2007 to determine whether these governorates, or parts of them, will be included in the Kurdish Regional Government. The referendum is intended to cover all districts of Kirkuk Governorate, the Khanaquin and Kifri districts of Diyala Governorate, the Touz-Khur-Mati district of Salah ad Din Governorate, and the Akra and Shekan districts of Ninewa Governorate. This referendum has been postponed, first to 31 December 2007, and subsequently for up to a further six months. Kurds insist that the referendum be held as soon as possible.

  

[edit] Demographics

 

Ethnic and religious distribution of Iraq.The population is about 5-6 million. 95% of these are Kurdish Muslims who are Sunnis. There are also significant numbers of Yazidis, Kakeyís, Jews and Christians. Kurds comprise the ethnic majority in the region (about 95%) while the Turkmen, Assyrians, Armenians and Arabs who reside particularly in the western part of the area make up the rest.

  

[edit] Culture

Main article: Kurdish culture

 

A Kurdish woman makes breadKurdish culture is a group of distinctive cultural traits practiced by Kurdish people. The Kurdish culture is a legacy from the various ancient peoples who shaped modern Kurds and their society, but primarily of two layers of indigenous (Hurrian), and of the ancient Iranic (Medes).

 

Among their neighbours, the Kurdish culture is closest to Iranian culture . For example they celebrate Newroz as the new year day, which is celebrated on March 21. It is the first day of the month of Xakelêwe in Kurdish calendar and the first day of spring.[25]

  

[edit] Music

Main article: Kurdish music

Traditionally, there are three types of Kurdish classical performers - storytellers (çîrokbêj), minstrels (stranbêj) and bards (dengbêj). There was no specific music related to the Kurdish princely courts, and instead, music performed in night gatherings (şevbihêrk) is considered classical. Several musical forms are found in this genre. Many songs are epic in nature, such as the popular lawiks which are heroic ballads recounting the tales of Kurdish heroes of the past like Saladin. Heyrans are love ballads usually expressing the melancholy of separation and unfulfilled love. Lawje is a form of religious music and Payizoks are songs performed specifically in autumn. Love songs, dance music, wedding and other celebratory songs (dîlok/narînk), erotic poetry and work songs are also popular.

  

[edit] Military

Main article: Peshmerga

Peshmerga is the term used by Kurds to refer to armed Kurdish fighters, they have been labelled by some as freedom fighters. Literally meaning "those who face death" (pêş front + merg death e is) the peshmerga forces of Kurdistan have been around since the advent of the Kurdish independence movement in the early 1920s, following the collapse of the Ottoman and Qajar empires which had jointly ruled over the area known today as Kurdistan.

 

Peshmerga forces also played a significant role with coalition troops in the war against the Ba'ath government in Northern Iraq.

 

The bay Juskevika on the island I'm from - shot one year ago today.

 

My album of images from Bømlo island here.

 

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Just Sharing I hope y'all have a wonderful and blessed weekend. I will be back Sunday or Monday. Sonja This is for you!!! Thanks for bring YOU!!!! Much Love Xoxo

.....While I kept my feet here on the safe grounds, my boys Urbandecay and Shafner climbed there way to the top of this 600'+ beast with only a free ladder not caged wich was a complete nerve raking experience but the mission was a success to say the least..........

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