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27. January 2011 09:43
by Rene Pallesen
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Madame butterfly - again

27. January 2011 09:43 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

madame butterfly again


This Tuesday Kim and I went to the Opera to see Madame butterfly with one on Kims friends. I have already seen Madame butterfly some years ago so this was a bit of a repeat for me.

It was the same stage setup as last time, most of the cast were the same as well, but despite that it was an really good experience. It is a good story despite the tragic ending...and yes the american sailor is both a dog and a coward.



Kim was sitting next to me crying for much of the performance...so sad!!!



31. December 2010 10:43
by Rene Pallesen
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New Caledonia - New Years Eve

31. December 2010 10:43 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

new caledonia new years eve


When we arrived to New Caledonia we started to find a good place/party to celebrate New Years eve.

As far as we could tell it sounded like the hotel we were staying at was the place to be, but when we tried to book we were told that it was fully booked and that we were number twenty-six on the waiting list. Fortunately we received confirmation a couple of days later that we now had a confirmed booking at the party.

On new years eve we were greeted by musicians playing local music and girls putting a Lei around our necks. Kim and I was going to bring Aiden along to the party (fortunately there was other kids there as well).


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Aiden wasn't sure what to think of the Lei...I think he would prefer not to have one as it tickled.

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There was about 3-400 guests at the party and the food was absolutely fantastic. It was a buffet of 25-30 dishes of mainly seafood ranging from fresh oysters (still moving in their shell), lobster salads, sushi to fresh Sashimi cut straight from a massive tuna.

This was followed by entertainment from dancers and musicians.

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After the entertainment the dance floor was open and pretty much everyone (including Kim and I) was dancing. Aiden got his first dance with mummy (all the other guest were laughing).


At midnight everyone celebrated the new year with a toast.

After midnight we headed up to our hotel room to see if there was any fireworks (there was a little so Aiden got to experience his first fireworks).


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29. December 2010 09:37
by Rene Pallesen
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New Caledonia - The Cultural Centre

29. December 2010 09:37 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

new caledonia the cultural centre


One day we went to the cultural centre in Noumea. This is a short drive on the outskirts of the city (Noumea the capital isn't much more than a little suburb consisting of only 76,000 people).

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I have seen photos of this place and I also vaguely remember seeing it in a movie or two without ever realising where it is. The architecture of the Cultural centre is absolutely stunning. It cost France more that 50 million Euros to build the centre and it has got a unique local style that fits in very well with the surroundings.

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The centre is surrounded by some gardens huts, and as you walk around there is various art work and totem poles symbolising various aspects of the Kanak culture.

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There is also the story of the creation...amazing how similar it is to Darwinism. Maybe Darwin heard these stories on some of his travels and based his story "Origin of the Species" on some of these.


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One thing that is a real pity is the usage of the cultural centre. We happened to walk in through the back entrance and discovered that half the building (which is actually quite large) s totally empty. The other half is displaying modern indigenous art where most of the artwork is from the Torres Strait, Vanuatu or Fiji. There is hardly any display of any local artwork and your certainly don't get an insight into the local Kanak culture as intended. The result is that it is not getting a lot of visitors.

What Kim and I was expecting was a display of what the local life was before the colonisation through to how the colonisation changed the way of living. They could have a display of local clothing, tools and weapons before colonisation and tell show how people lived of the land. They could also have 'actors' telling the local dream stories.

The modern display old be showing how the french settlers and the local Kanks are trying to mend their historical legacy and leave peacefully together.


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28. December 2010 08:33
by Rene Pallesen
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New Caledonia - The Aquarium

28. December 2010 08:33 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

new caledonia the aquarium


One of the days we walked to the Aquarium in Noumea (just down the street from the hotel). We didn't expect too much, but we were very pleasantly surprised.

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Although the aquarium isn't all that big it is extremely well set up with a very interesting display of everything from mangrove plants and fish (including the missing link ones with legs that made Darwin conclude that life must have started in the oceans) to huge displays with corals, sharks and barracudas.

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It was Aiden's first time in an aquarium and we could tell that he had a good time (even though it was extelemy hot in there) looking at all those colourful objects (U.F.O's) swimming around.

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Here some more photos from the visit...enjoy:

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27. December 2010 10:10
by Rene Pallesen
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New Caledonia Beaches and Islands

27. December 2010 10:10 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

new caledonia beaches and islands


The water was really nice and warm in New Caledonia, my guess is that it would have been close to 30 degrees close to the shore and in protected bays and probably around 27 elsewhere.

Although we were staying at the beach we decided to have a look around the island to see what other beaches were in the area.

In the first day we drove to Kuendu Bay which is about ten minutes from the city centre and is a really nice little protected bay mainly used by locals. The water here was really calm so this was a good opportunity to give Aiden his first swimming lesson.

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As you can tell he wasn't completely at ease initially, but after a couple of minutes he started enjoying it.


Aiden also really enjoyed lying on the beach in the shade of a tree and talk to mummy.

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On one of the following days we drove up the north coast to a place called Poe Beach and by this time he was a lot more into it (maybe because he was wearing pants this time).

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Just after we left this beach we found an ever more beautiful stretch just a couple of minutes away, but less protected by the reef.

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This area was absolutely stunning with the pine trees that are so unique to New Caledonia.

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On another day we took the boat to one of the islands of the coast (Ilot Maitre) and spend the whole day there.


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I wasn't feeling 100% this day. Before we went away the whole of Kims family came down with a 24 hour bug...I think I got the same bug and ended up sleeping most of the afternoon under a tree in the shade (fortunately I was ok again next day).

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I also got a chance to take some more beach photos of the family, here one of Aiden and Mummy.

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And I spent a couple of minutes taking some sexy model photos of Kim on the beach down from our hotel. I wish we'd had more time to do some more photos, but it was hard to get her to do it in the first place (and once we did it I was hurrying up so much that a lot of them got fumbled up unfortunately).


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...and of cause when we didn't go to the beach there was also the massive pool at the hotel.

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26. December 2010 01:59
by Rene Pallesen
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New Calidonia 2010/2011

26. December 2010 01:59 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

new calidonia 2010 2011


This Christmas Kim and I decided to take Aiden on his first overseas holiday. Our offices are closed over Christmas and New Years so it is a good time for us to travel.

We decided to go to New Calidonia in the Pacific Ocean as it was easy and reasonably priced. It is a small group of islands about 2000km from Sydney (2.5 hours flight) and is part of Frances overseas territories (this may change in the next couple of years when they vote for independence).

On the first night we went to a seafood place and had a good night out the three of us.


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Especially Aiden enjoyed his new surroundings.

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We stayed at Anse Vata beach in Noumea which was conveniently located in the tourist area (Although it was far from overrun with tourists).

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It was really hot there, 34-38 degrees every day so it was nice to stay near the coast. The locals living inland would spend the nights on the beach in the water cooling down.

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In the evening we would try out the local restaurants. Food was generally quite expensive and of very inconsistent quality. The far best we had was a place called 'Le Roof' which is a restaurant placed in the water. I had the best rib eye I've had this year and as a desert we had the best chocolate fondant we've ever had...very nice.

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While there we rented a car so that we could explore the island better while bringing Aiden with us (the island is 400km long).It was beautiful with all the flame trees...brough back a lot of memories from when I lived in Kenya.

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Aiden coped surprisingly well with the heat, the sun and the water. It has actually helped a lot on his ezema which is almost gone on his legs now. He didn't complain at all and in the car he would just fall asleep once the aircon was turned on and we started driving.

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One day we went out to one of the islands on a day trip and spend the day there in the shade at one of the restaurants and on the beach with Aiden (Only day where I wasn't feeling 100% as I'd picked up a 24h bug from the family before we left and had a bit of fever).


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It was nice going on a trip as a family with a little one. It was a bit harder to get about to take photos and especially to be really creative, but I did get a couple of chances and we did do a photoshoot on the beach one evening with some of the flash gear I'd brought.


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This will be followed by some more post about some of our experiences accompanied by more photos.

21. December 2010 10:05
by Rene Pallesen
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Karen's family photos

21. December 2010 10:05 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

karen s family photos


Every year one of Kims friends gets someone to take some family photos. Kim told her that this year I could do some for her instead of paying for it...I needed the practice (which is true).

When they arrived at around 4pm Aiden was still asleep so we decided to do some photos in the studio first. I was soooo.. relieved because the sun was out and it would have been really difficult to do outdoor shots in the harsh sunlight.





Karens daughters are quite photogenic so it was easy to get some great photos. I rekon the oldest could get modelling jobs if she wanted.


By the time Aiden woke up and we had finished the inside shoot it was 6pm and we drove down to La Perouse. It was really windy and the sun was still strong. After moving around a bit we eventually settled for the beach where it was slightly less windy and had better light.







I took more than 400 photos on this day and most of them are pretty good. It was pretty exhausting...especially the youngest daughter was really tired by the end of the day.


The photos above are just a couple of the ones I took. I haven't had time to process the others yet so I may make a second blog post later. I took some photos of Karen as well as some where the family is together, but I think Karen would like me to do a bit of work on them first.


I also found that it would have been really hard if I hadn't had Kim there to keep a look out for how the hair was looking, positioning and constant feedback on the photos. She is actually a pretty good assistant even though she doesn't know much about the photography side.


I also realised that I need more practice with taking photos outide in constantly changing conditions, so if anyone if willing to be a 'Model-for-the-day' then let myself or Kim know...it is a win-win, you get some (hopefully great) photos and I get some practice!

21. December 2010 09:55
by Rene Pallesen
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Merry Christmas 2010

21. December 2010 09:55 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

merry christmas 2010


Merry Christmas everyone!

2010 will be out little boys first Christmas and he is already getting into the Christmas Spirit. He is still trying to figure out what it means to be Santas Little helper.



We can't wait to see him open his presents....it may be a challenge for him to rip the wrapping paper.

This is our official 2010 Christmas family photo....new tradition for the next couple of years.

6. December 2010 05:05
by Rene Pallesen
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Caterpillars in our Garden

6. December 2010 05:05 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

caterpillars in the garden


There are so many different insects and critters in our garden and they are not all spiders. Every time I do a bit or gardening I get surprised by some of the diversity out there.

I really don't mind as long as they stay out of the house, which they do...most of the time. Most of the insects are too fast to photograph, but yesterday I did spot a couple of caterpillars that were slow enough for me to pull out my macro lens and a flash.







They are actually really hard taking photos of. At that close distance there is a really shallow depth of field and the caterpillars actually move quite fast so it is impossible to use a tripod.


This means that the photos are taken handheld and that I am just holding the flash next to the camera triggered wirelessly.

3. December 2010 07:50
by Rene Pallesen
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Aiden's first visit to the hospital

3. December 2010 07:50 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

aiden s first visit to the hospital


Today was Aidens first visit to the hospitals Emergency Room.

When I got home from work this afternoon Kim said that Aiden had been unsettled all afternoon. He would be crying/screaming when we were holding him and initially I thought he was hot (it was a warm day). I took him to the shower to see if that would calm him down...it did a little bit.

Afterwards we had him on the bed and we noticed that he wasn't moving his left arm and leaving it limb down his side and when we touched it he started screaming...so off we went to the hospital.

We were lucky that they could take us almost right away to have a doctor examine him. He made the same observation that there was something wrong with his arm and ordered some X-Rays. The X-rays didn't show any fractures or anything (pheeeww...) so they gave him some pain killers. Aiden was so brave having his Xrays taken and being at the doctors. Once the pain killers kicked in he started moving his arm a little.



We were waiting for quite a while for the doctor to come back and when he did Aiden had started moving his arm more. The doctor re-examined the arm and twisted the elbox and bit and said "oh...I felt it pop". Aiden started screaming again, but the doctor said that the arm now should be ok and that he would come back in 10-15 minuted to check.

Surely enough Aiden was a very happy boy when he came back and we think his arm now if back to normal...he had just pulled his elbow.

Apparently it is quite normal for kids. The doctor said that he gets about two cases like that every day.

Thank you Doctor!
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