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Gold has taken the world of investors by storm, investors have become uncertain about the stock and bond markets and even the paper gold markets, many investors, including governments have started to rally behind physical gold as a measure of protection against come what may ‘financial breakdowns’ that seep into economies systemically or otherwise.

The biggest emerging economies of the world such as Russia, China and India have started to stockpile gold, and these actions by these powerful economy could spell the end of the ‘dollars reign’ as with sufficient gold to back up currencies, the dollar which has a ‘questionable’ value attached to it and the gold reserves of America that has been shrouded in secrecy has driven investors to increase their ‘gold portfolios’ substantially. Statistics indicate that as of 2014 gold buying has significantly outpaced gold selling. For example the amount of gold being purchased by gold buyers in Melbourne and other major cities around the world such as New York, London, Singapore and New Delhi has increased by almost 30 % in only just one year and these figures are expected to continue for as long as gold prices remain within a 5 % margin of what it is priced at currently.

The fact that the demand for gold has increased and the prices of gold continue on a downward trend has stirred the market into ‘buying mode’ as investors expect gold prices to increase soon. However based on contradicting reports, the current downtrend of gold prices is due to the reduction of gold purchases from China, and the recent slowdown of their economy, which has been averted, however prices are continuing on their downward trend and according to most market speculators due the feds keeping interest rates low to encourage investments while in the meantime China has just released their tally on gold holdings although not many believe that they are the actual figures and that the actual figures could possibly much higher than the 1,658 metric tons that it announced. Market expectations was that the Chinese reserve would be higher than 3000 metric tons as rumours about the Yuan ousting the Dollar as trade reserve currency continues to dominate the financial markets.

The revelation by the Chinese on their gold holdings have created more questions than answers surrounding the total holdings as ‘there is no logic’ in understating the gold reserves as far as most financial consultants are concerned. However, there is a very good reason for the Chinese to do so as a sudden increase might spook the markets and cause a panic sell as investors try to scramble for gold, which would increase the prices of gold and disrupt the current buying spree that they are on. The current global markets are on very thin ice and any major disruptions or even news for that matter might stir the hornets’ nest causing the recently recovered Chinese stock market to take another dive which could prove to be disastrous on both ends. Investors and other financial capital holders around the world are on high alert and would not think twice to dump stocks or cash for gold related investments, which would cause the current gold prices to rise rapidly, too rapidly that the BRIC countries would find it counter-productive to keep buying gold and increasing their reserves.

These financial strategies by the emerging economies coupled with a troubled Middle East and the EU fracture could escalate and cause another major financial crash that could set economies back by more than a decade. Thus, the decision by the Chinese is actually a good move for all parties as it keeps the market calm.

When I started planning my travelling I knew that I was going to be visiting some amazing place on my trip so one of the first things I did (which I now realise was a mistake) was to buy a Canon 70D camera, so expensive and I had no idea how to use it.

I went to Thailand first and although I had an amazing time visiting islands such as Koh Samet and Koh Chang, I liked Koh Samet so much that I stayed there for three months I was really disappointed with my photos.

I read lots of articles online which really helped and I bought a photography course from Udemy too, but it's hard to keep up the motivation when you're learning by yourself.

I really wanted to join a photography workshop in my next location which would be Australia but the prices that I saw online were so expensive and there was no way that I could afford it.

One of the girls I met on my travels told me about a photography course which she took at Web Courses Bangkok so I decided to give it a try. It did cost 9000 baht for the 12 hour course (which is about 350 Australian dollars) which was still quite a large sum out of my budget but it meant that I could spend 2 weeks in Bangkok, one of the most famous cities in the world, learn a new skill and make new friends.

The teacher Willem, was amazing and really gave all of us a strong understanding of how to use the camera and make our photos actually look the way we wanted them to look.

I am so happy I did that course while I was in Thailand, if you want to learn photography then I definitely recommend that you check it out - http://www.webcoursesbangkok.com/course/photography-course-in-bangkok

So, now that I had my photography skills I didn't need to learn how to take photos in Australia but I could actually concentrate on visiting some of the best places possible and taking as many amazing photos as possible.

The next thing which I needed to sort out before I headed to Australia, was transport - the country is so big. Because the flight from Bangkok to Sydney is so long (9 hours actual flying time) I decided to fly with the most comfortable airline which I could afford and that was Emirates.

I still had no idea what I was going to do for transport when I arrived in Sydney but I was definitely in luck as 9 hours is a long time and I was befriended by some members of an international ladies club from Thailand who were flying to Australia for a two week trip and invited me to join them as they had arranged to hire a coach for the duration of their trip and with 24 seats and only 18 passengers there was plenty of room left over.

The coach was so modern and comfortable and Eric the driver from Transport Network took us everywhere we wanted to go for the whole four days that I stayed with them. I totally recommend coach charter as a way of travelling around Australia if you are going as a group and have the budget for it, not everyone will be as lucky as I was - it was a great experience. Thank you to all of the friends that I made, when my travel blog is published I will be sending you all the link to take a look at it so you can see where your part fitted into the journey.

Paper cutting is a technique to cut paper into various shapes by using scissor. In china, Paper-cutting is not just cutting the paper into pieces and throwing into the bin, it's one of the oldest and the most popular folk arts, which is widely used as decoration on walls, windows, doors, ceilings, lamps and so on. As a kind of Chinese traditional arts, its creation and development have close relationship with rural folklore and the Solar Terms, such as paper cutting for window decoration, door decoration and lamp decoration in Spring festival and lanterns festival. In northern countries, people placard colored paper cuttings on the white coverings of door, windows to create the festival atmosphere. Marriage paper cutting is put on the walls, furniture and other equipments in the bridal chamber. Chinese paper cuttings are rich in content. The auspicious designs stand for good luck and avoid evil ghosts, for example, child, cucurbit and lotus stand for a family with many children and grandchildren. Domestic birds, livestock, fruit, fish and worms are the main themes expressed by farmers. Due to the different areas, various kinds of paper cutting styles are formed. Shaanxi window paper cuttings are simple, bold and unconstrained; paper cuttings of Hebei and Shanxi province are colored and gorgeous, especially the figures in dramas; paper cuttings in Nanjing of Jiangsu province are delicate and bold.

Paper-cutting originated from ancient activities of worshipping ancestors and gods, and is a traditional Chinese culture. According to the present archaeological records, it originated from 6th century; however people believed that its history could be traced as early as the Warring States Period, long before the paper was invented. At that time, people used thin materials, like leaves, silver foil, silk and even leather, to carve hollowed patterns for beauty. Later, when paper was invented, people realized that this material was easy to cut, store and discard.

Famous Folk Paper Cutting

Yangzhou paper cutting has won the reputation as the representative of Southern paper cutting in China with its fluent shape, elegant composition, exaggerated image and creative technique. Wei town is regarded as the hometown of paper cutting. Firstly, Craftswomen cut the paper into delicate patterns and then dye the paper cutting bright color. Wei town is regarded as the hometown of paper cutting. Firstly, Craftswomen cut the paper into delicate patterns and then dye the paper cutting bright color. The main content of Wei town paper cutting is dramatis personae, flowers, grasses, fishes, worms, beasts and other auspicious objects which are full of pleasant, healthy feeling and the desire for happiness.

Methods of cutting paper

There are two methods of manufacture: one uses scissors, the other uses knives. In the scissor method, several pieces of paper — up to eight — are fastened together. Knife cuttings are fashioned by putting several layers of paper on a relatively soft foundation consisting of a mixture of tallow and ashes.

 

Many climbing enthusiasts will already have a bucket load of butt shots, so look for better angles than below. A side view of a climber is often overlooked but has merit. One of the best options is to set up a fixed rope on another route. With a set of ascenders you could even take advantage of two or three diferent positions during a photo shoot.

Once you have settled in a steady position you will be ready to capture emotion on the climber's face and also some dramatic background. The most dramatic viewpoint is from above and the best way to shoot it is to lead the climb yourself. If you need more camera gear haul it up in a Pelican box with plenty of inside foam padding and then pull up your rope so it's out of the shot. A good zoom lens should enable you to shoot variations without constantly changing position. You will get so many facial expressions from above because climbers, constantly looking for footholds, rarely look up. Try to persuade your climbing friends to wear photo-friendly coloured clothing and perhaps a red helmet, so they don't get lost in the background. One simple piece of equipment will give viewers the impression you, as photographer, are hanging in space. It is the camera pole, which can be held away from the face or even lowered over an overhang. Great care is needed to ensure every piece of equipment is well secured. You don't want it falling on anyone.

Follow a few simple rules and you will get the most from your photo shoots on the mountain slopes. You can't take good photos if you are cold, so dress warmly and wear a hat. Fingerless gloves are better than none when handling the camera. You should not wear the camera dangling from your neck by its strap or under your jacket when skiing or snowboarding - if you fell, the camera could injure you. Snow, ice, water and cameras don't mix so keep your electronics dry in a good quality bag and try to avoid falls. A hip pack integrated with a daypack is a nice stable way to carry it. Be particularly careful to check all bag zips are in good condition and secured. You don't want to see your gear plummeting into depths of snow when you are riding the chair lifts. Battery life will always be shorter in cold conditions, so always carry a fully charged spare in a pocket close to your body to keep it warmer. It will then perform better. Murphy's Law says that the most outstanding photo opportunity will present itself at the moment that your battery runs out of power.

Watch out for other mountain users. Skiers and snowboarders move very fast and collisions can hurt. It is better not to stop under the crest of a hill or in fact anywhere where people coming from higher up the mountain cannot see you. It spoils the fun if you get injured or indeed injure someone else. If you absolutely must stop in a precarious spot to take a picture remove your skis or snowboard and stand them up in the snow to give other riders a clear indication of your whereabouts. 'lhat's got the rules out of the way, so let's look at technique. Shoot when the winter sun is low in the sky and use a UV filter to protect your lens and reduce blue discolouration in spectacular mountain scenes. Use slow shutter speeds (1/125th second) for landscape shots and fast shutter speeds (1/1000th second) to freeze the action. Most skiers wear bright colours which look great against the white backdrop.

Snow is highly reflective and tends to fool most cameras' metering systems. The camera will read from many different parts of your picture area and when they are all white and bright it thinks to itself "wow that's bright" and reduces exposure value, making the shot too dark. This is easily resolved by simply adjusting your exposure compensation setting to plus 1 stop. Keep reviewing your images to check exposure and don't forget to change the setting back to normal once you have finished on the mountain.

You may be able to capture some good action if you persuade your friends to build a jump and then photograph them as they do crazy tricks. Snow boarders are good at this so they may be keen for a photo shoot. Lying down in the snow and shooting as they go overhead makes everything look more dramatic.

Some fill flash can be useful to put in detail but don't overdo it. Tuning its power down by up to one stop looks natural and it's hard to tell that flash has been used. If you have enthusiasm, dog-headed determination, work well with people and have an eye for a good picture, your patience will eventually be rewarded with a truly fantastic image.

Sunrises are more meaningful to photograph than sunsets, not in any technical sense, but because you don’t have daylight in which to anticipate where the sun will be on the horizon, and to see what mist or cloud cover there is. Ask around to find the best spots to watch the sun come up, and find out when it arrives - sometimes the time is listed in local papers. The rewards for getting up early can be great. At this time of day there is often a different kind of light, a beautifully quiet and soft quality with none of the flame and fire associated with sunsets. This morning light can also invade city and harbourside streets — the sea will be calmer than in the evenings - when everyone is asleep, bringing picture opportunities.

The rules for sunsets apply similarly to sunrises, but if you are on any elevated spot, or in a wide open space, such as a desert or steppes, a wide angle will show the full extent of the flooding colour and light. A long lens, on the other hand, will show the shimmering outlines of the sun, which emerges like a living being, changing it colours and shape by the second. The action will happen quick- ly: and you will need to fire off rapid numbers of shots to get the best results.There are many famous high spots to visit to witness the sun's arrival, casting the shadow of the hill or mountain and exploding like a rainbow ripple around the horizon. Some, like Mount Fuji, can be crowded. Since ancient times the rising sun has been celebrated, making places such as Machu Pic- chu and Adanfs Peak particularly magical at this time of day.

For more photography retouching tips visit http://www.quickretouch.com.au/

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