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Fes el Bali, June 2010

Fes el Bali, June 2010

Fes el Bali

This month’s calendar image is Morocco’s Imperial city of Fez, or more specifically Fes el Bali, the old walled medina of Fez. The shot was taken from the Merenid Tombs overlooking the old medina. Fez is one of my favourite cities for losing myself in. It is one of those cities where around every corner there seems to be something new to explore.

The medieval capital of Morocco and a great city of high Islamic civilization Fez is Morocco’s third largest city. It is one of the country’s four “imperial cities,” the others being Rabat, Marrakech and Meknes.The sprawling maze of Fes el Bali  is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has the honour of being the best-preserved old city in the Arab world.No cars or trucks can enter the narrow streets and transports of goods through the Medina is provided by donkeys, carriages, and motorbikes.

The city, founded on the banks of the Fez River by Idris I in 789, was populated by Muslims, Moriscos (Moors of Spanish or Portuguese descent) and Jews. It was a scientific and religious center where both Muslims and Christians from Europe came to study. The University of Al-Karaouine, founded in AD 859, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world.

Fez was a major trading post of the Barbary Coast of North Africa and was at the end of a north-south gold trading route from Timbuktu in Mali. It was a prime manufacturing location for leather goods and its tanneries are today still use techniques used in the middle ages.

For more images of Fez and Morocco click here

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Posted by Richard in What's going on, 5 comments
Dust storm, fire, earthquakes and a #1 world ranking

Dust storm, fire, earthquakes and a #1 world ranking

What a weird time it has been here of late in Australia. In the last 24hrs the Australia has experienced a massive dust storm, bushfires, 2 earthquakes, hail the size of cricket balls, a windstorm and a tornado. Not only that but just last week Australia ranked as world number one as worlds worst polluter per person. Dust storm blowing through the streets of Dee Why

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Australia

Australia

The city lights illuminates Sydney's Circular Quay  So here I am back in Australia. Well, I have actually been back here for a while now. Its been an interesting trip back home despite the fact that I haven’t really gone anywhere since I have been back. Its been raining a lot since I have been back this year which is great. If there was ever a country that actually needs rain it is Australia. The water reservoirs have been sitting on low for many years now and that country has been under constant water restrictions. The recent rainfall has bolstered the water supply a little. However if there was ever a country that suffers from mismanagement of its water supplies it has to be Australia. As soon as the level of the dams had risen slightly so too were the water restrictions eased.  The levels in the dams were dangerously low, to the point where some of the capital cities  had less than a years supply of drinking water left. The people here have become so used to living under water restrictions that surely it makes sense to leave the restrictions in place until the water levels have risen to a safe and comfortable point and there can be no danger in the immediate future.  Trees sit exposed by the low water levels in the Hume Dam brought on by years of drought.  Snowy Mountains, Australia.Above you can see a photo from the Hume Dam situated in the Snowy Mountain region. The trees that you see were a sunken forest covered by water when they built the dam and now exposed by the drought.

One thing I do love about being in Sydney is the easy access to its surrounding waterways and the natural beauty. It seems that you never have far to travel in order to get away from the crowds and the hustle and bustle. To the west you have the Blue Mountains, to the south the Royal National Park and in the North is Pittwater and Ku-ring-ai Chase National park. Even closer within 10-15kms you have spots such as Middle Head, North Head and Garigal National Park. Its something I find that a lot of the great cities in Europe lack. I guess that’s the trade off for not having all the castles and great cathedrals like The European cities have. Curl Curl Headland, Sydney, Australia

I have been tossing around a lot of ideas and making a lot of plans for future although nothing is definite yet. I am hoping to get a quick visit in to New Zealand while I am here. Its somewhere that I have always wanted to go but just never seem to get there. My circumstances might dictate that I have to actually get there this year which will be great even if it is only for a few days.

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Out with the old…….but to where?

Out with the old…….but to where?

Finally, I have got a new computer. It has been a long slow painful wait for it to arrive but arrive it did and now I am trying to get myself back on track again. Not being a computer expert I am not quite sure what happened to my old one. I’m guessing the warranty had run out It’s usually around this time that everything starts to go wrong. It started with  the keyboard falling apart, first the left click button and then the letter ‘o’  just ceased to work anymore.  Then my processors didn’t seem overly happy to be working,  taking around about 10 minutes  to open up a photo never mind trying to edit it. To top it all off the drivers that ran the graphics started playing up and kept crashing my screen. I am sure there is someone out there who will read this and go “oh that sounds like a classic case of blah blah blah and all he really needed to do was blah blah blah and all would be right again.”

So far the only problem that I find with my new computer is the keys. After using a European keyboard for so long I tend to keep mixing up the Y and the Z button. All in all though i am enjoying my new toy. IMG_2180

You should expect to see lots of new photos on my website soon as I make a desperate attempt to catch up now that I have fallen so far behind. It’s really quite amazing how many little shortcuts and passwords are on your computer that you suddenly miss.

On an interesting note my local councils in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney have decided to stop collecting E-waste such as computers television and so on. This is an environmental initiative in order to stop the leaching of chemicals from resistors and chips as they break down in the land-fill areas. The councils believe that if they stop collecting the e-waste then the onus will fall upon the producers to stop creating said chips and resistors and replace them with environmental friendly ones instead. Although it seems like their hearts are in the right place there seems to me to be a few flaws in the councils plan. The companies that produce the computers and such are not based in my local. Sure there is a few offices nearby but the head are all in some other country and no doubt, at this early stage of the initiative, completely oblivious to the councils attempt at strong-arming them into action. The councils have offered no replacement for the collection of e-waste which means instead of being collected and stored together things will now just be dumped in bush, by the side of the road, wherever people can get rid of things.  Surely if you remove a service like rubbish removal then it should be replaced with a solution and not just a statement to say “we are not going to collect it anymore”  fullstop.

It is possible to recycle a large amount of E-waste. Granted not all. When then instead of refusing to collect it not set up a recycling plant or initiate a plan whereby it will be sent to be recycled. I think that instead of fixing the problem they have just washed their hands of the whole thing and that the best that we could hope for is that consumerism and wanton waste of such product would go decrease.

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Heli-skiing Steep Faces in St Moritz

Heli-skiing Steep Faces in St Moritz

Mattias Haunholder, Switzerland.

Mattias Haunholder throwing down some big turns near St. Moritz in Switzerland.

Last weekend was spent down in St Moritz skiing around Corvatsch and heli-skiing on the border with Italy.  The mountains down this way are beautiful soaring peaks with long steep faces.  I was graciously invited to go on the trip in order to shoot with big mountain skiers Martin “McFly” Winkler and Matthias Haunholder.  Martin and Matthias certainly stepped up and put in some great lines. The snow stuck beautifully to the faces allowing them to ski some steep lines.

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Spring Ski Sessions

Spring Ski Sessions

Spring time has arrived in St Anton which means its back-country kicker time. The weather has been warm and our generous snow-pack from the season is disappearing rapidly. The warm slushy conditions has made for some great kicker sessions. The kickers have been built up around St. Christoph Am Arlberg. It’s a great slope for building on. It catches the afternoon sun and has some great views down the valley and over the town below.

The next few days are supposed to hold a bit of rain which means some downtime from the mountain and a chance to catch up with a few projects which I have had planned for sometime now. 

Posted by Richard in Skiing, Snowboarding, What's going on, 0 comments