Here, there and everywhere

My mind is all over the place. Firstly I thank all of you who have sent me birthday wishes. Fifty six it is today. One of the pleasures of social media is the ease with which one can send a quick message. I was especially warmed by an e mail received from the gentleman I mentioned a day or so ago, Jim, the other half of the 13′ tall tennis double at university. (I am slightly less than half of the total, he a little more). We correspond rarely and lost touch for years. Yet I still regard him as one of my closest friends. Mrs. Ha does not understand that. Jim’s wife, I discovered, is being treated for cancer. Prognosis unclear. This came hot on the heels of yesterday’s similar news from another dear friend. I don’t deal well with these events. Inevitably I feel a sense of injustice that good people have to go through such ordeals. That is how I feel today.

And on the subject of social media there was an interesting piece yesterday on Crossing Wall Street.  Facebook is hemorrhaging users it is headlined. If you don’t go over to the link here is the thrust:

In the last month, the world’s largest social network has lost 6m US visitors, a 4% fall, according to analysis firm SocialBakers. In the UK, 1.4m fewer users checked in last month, a fall of 4.5%. The declines are sustained. In the last six months, Facebook has lost nearly 9m monthly visitors in the US and 2m in the UK.

I won’t desert FB entirely. I have too many friends and contacts there. But I am now migrating much of photography content to Google +. I think they serve different purposes but if you want to use one of the formats to showcase what you can do and get decent quality images, then Google + is the way forward. I can customise my target audience much more and the forums seem better quality on the whole, perhaps simply because the images are so much better presented. I am still finding my way around. Both pose privacy issues so I see no greater threat in Google + than in FB. I also dislike intensely the constant tinkering that FB engages in, the instability of the mobile platform and the in your face ‘suggestions’ that FB pushes. You can purge them on a laptop but not as far as I am aware on mobile devices. Reports of FB’s death are probably greatly exaggerated but it is in need of something to recapture the imagination. Whatever you think of Google its innovation is startlingly good and I just don’t see that in FB. Brian Gilmartin, whom I respect, has a different view and that’s what makes a market:

We don’t typically buy a stock in front of an earnings report, but FB has been consolidating now for 3 full months. We have been adding to the stock in small increments since it fell below $28 – $29, and all the way down to $25.

We think FB is an early-stage growth company. The valuation is spicy for sure, so be careful out there.

Did I go out today? Well yes and I declare an early winner in the quiz. Bob Thompson was right. The man is flying a kite. At my ‘bird spot’ there were about a dozen people flying their kites. And they are very serious. The kites do remarkable stunts and seem to be jousting.  It is a social occasion too and one man had a van parked with all the kite paraphernalia you can think of,  just in case someone needs running repairs. When they want the kites to really go fast they use the slides strapped onto their jeans. That way they can feed out the line at an incredible pace. Let’s go fly a kite, anyone?




There were very few birds today. The tide was far too high. This is probably the nearest tide chart for where I was and I am not yet familiar enough with the tides levels needed for good bird photography. I suspect I want about 1.7-1.8m max. You can see there was also a small surge over and above the predicted tide.

From the HK Observatory website.

From the HK Observatory website.



So this is my only bird image today – Tattlers Rock:



Two more monochrome’s to finish off, both with my trusty SX50 HS.




And so ends the first post of my 57th year. Thank you all for staying with me.

23 thoughts on “Here, there and everywhere

  1. I quite detest FB, far too messy and convoluted for me, but when I left for a while I discovered I no longer had any idea about what was happening in the lives of our family members. I have had to start dropping friends from the news feed – I was being overwhelmed by posts of no interest and still missing what was happening to family members. But if G+ is more complex!!!! I think I am a member of it but haven’t tried to find our what goes on. I just used to like Google as a great email package and of course search engine. Oh for the simpler days.
    WP had been a great medium. I have found so many interesting blogs to follow and the bits of correspondence have been delightful.
    By the way I love the reel runners the kite flyers wear on their legs. Reel men wear their reels on their legs.

    • Rod, you could try using Social Fixer to clean up FB. I have installed. It is free – the guy asks for a donation but it is not compulsory. I gave $5. It can be used to configure FB as you want to see it more or less and filters out a huge amount of junk. Well worth a look.

  2. Hi there. Just mosied over at the suggestion of Yvonne of Peoplepetsandlife.

    She was right….great pics.

    As for FB, I am apparently one of the few people left in the world who doesn’t have an account. I’m ok with that. 🙂

    • Thank you Lunar Euphoria. It was kind of you to visit. I’ve been over to your blog too. Fascinating. I will visit again.

  3. Have to say I don’t miss FB at all. I noticed you were on G+. I joined some years ago, but few of the people I knew on FB took to it. I am of course, under a totally different alias 🙂

    I like the path image. Looks rather like one I took of Elephanta Island off Mumbai (except it was Bombay back then).

    Shame about your health news about friends. Luckily I have few friends, so therefore receive little news either good or bad. A university friend died in his late 30s and it was so much of a shock that I actually didn’t feel anything. Quite bizarre. I never found out what he died from, so as no-one told me, I didn’t ask.

    • Which is the path image? You mean Marina Bay in Singapore? You seem to have a whole range of aliases! Who are you hiding from?

      • My path image. Not really the same but someone walking out and water so near enough for me to call it similar 😀 Bottom pic on the post.
        Everyone. The world. Myself. No, not that one, I’m ok with me knowing who I am. It’s probably about trying to create some privacy in the midst of glaring publicity on the internet. I’ll send you a G+ invitation if you want for your entertainment. Not that I have visited there for months.

      • I love piers. We have a few in the area and they are immensely relaxing. Perhaps it is just the sea. I went down to ours after the Typhoon 10 last year and it was still pretty choppy. I and a couple of other mad gweilos walked out and took photos. Paths are ok too but piers win. I didn’t know you could send G+ invites. I thought you just added to circles. I am still finding my way around. I’m a bit of a struggler with technology.

  4. Oh, I am late with getting around to reading my most favored spot on WP. You are probably in bed by now. Again happy birthday and I sincerely wish you many, many more.

    It is always distressing news to learn of someone’s health issues. It is grevious news- no doubt about that.

    Anyway, all we can do is live life to the fullest within our limits and go on our merry way. And try to eat healthy and stay as fit as possible.

    So that guy is/was a kite flier in yesterday’s quiz/caption. I’d never have guessed.

    Do the Chinese wear the face protected to keep out pollution, germs, or what?

    • Good morning (HK time) Yvonne. Masks are quite common since SARS and especially now with H7N9 looming horribly large. They stop your germs getting into the air and stop you inhaling others germs. They cannot be 100% effective but they are a help and doubtless provide a comfort factor. Or they may just be hiding their face!

      • Thanks for the answer, Andrew. I wondered about the germ thing. I don’t think I would be brave enough to go anywhere much but I suppose out in the open air is better than a grocery store but maybe not.

        Do you and Mrs Ha get your yearly vaccinations for what ever flu bug happens to be going around?

        The problem is that the pharmaceutical companys here try to create a vaccine each year but they have nothing to really go by other than to shoot for the viruses that have been most common and that have wrecked the most havoc.

        Frankly I am scared to death of the flu and the vaccines. I take my shots in half doses. Get 1/4ml and go back for the other 1/4 ml about 5-7 days later. If I take the full dose I have always gotten a good case of flu and been sicker than a junk yard dog. : -)

      • I have rarely bothered with flu jabs, Yvonne. As I understand it they are always backward looking – dealing with last year’s mutation. They offer some protection but not a great deal. I did do it a couple of years when the company did a free programme but as I rarely suffer I don’t know whether it helped or not. I may think differently if I find myself becoming more susceptible.

      • I think ‘flu jabs are a waste of time, money and effort. They have to manufacture the jabs so far in advance of the ‘flu season that, as Yvonne says, they are basically just guessing what might come around in which year. All my darling public health medical colleagues told me this which made me laugh. On the one hand they tell everyone to go and get a ‘flu jab, and on the other they know fine well it isn’t remotely evidence-based. Got to love medicine.

  5. Happy belated Birthday Andrew! I guess it’s not hard to figure out the year a person was born when their email name ends in a double digit ie andrew57, bmckay0258….no I wasn’t born in 258

    • Barry, you are very astute. Not many people realise that the 57 comes from 1957. It could be Heinz varieties. It is still May 1st here so not late at all. I have just driven the girls home, all the cake has gone and the dog is sleeping. The end of a perfect day.

  6. A BIG Happy Birthday from Art and Betsy. Our fond memories of the Vavilov trip have been enhanced by knowing you and Mrs. Ha.

  7. Ah, you have drawn to within a decade of me. There is always the possibility you will catch up, but let’s not dwell on the facility which would allow that. Despite the lack of bird photos it still seems to have been a nice day for you, young man. 🙂

    I tried G+ for a short time, but did not get the hang of it. Seems a little complex compared to FB. But, like you, I am finding FB a bit too pushy and quirky. And the latest “upgrade” has been a big step backwards as far as I am concerned.

    It is difficult to learn of friends developing the health problems of aging. Aside from reminding us of our own mortality, it creates a sense of loss when we lose or potentially lose important parts of our lives…whether it be the person or their own close member of their circle. And, no, it is indeed not fair when bad things happen to good people. I hope your friend’s wife fends off the cancer and they continue on with a nice life.

    • G+ is more complicated Steve but I think it is worth persevering. I screwed up a couple of times but I think I have cracked the basic art of posting now!

      I will never catch you up and I am happy to learn from your extra decade of experience.

      • I shall give it another try and maybe it’ll get through my skull. I know it is considered a much better alternative for photographers.

        The first lesson from that extra decade is there is a lot to learn from you younger folks. 🙂

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