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Showing posts with label Gorgeous. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorgeous. Show all posts

Tugela Ferry - Msinga - Muden Adventure

The Kwazulu-Natal Department of Public Works has undertaken a school sanitation project to construct new toilet blocks for male and female, grade R learners and teachers in the Umzinyathi District Municipality located within the Kwazulu-Natal province.

Various schools were identified within the Muden, Tugela Ferry and Msinga areas for geotechnical investigation studies. The Ramgoolam Group together with Naidu Consulting Engineers have requested Geotechnical Solutions (Pty) Ltd to carry out geotechnical investigation studies for selected schools.

Here is our Adventure...




Tugela Ferry is a town on the northern bank of the Tugela River, in central KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. During the apartheid era it formed part of the KwaZulu homeland, and at present it is included in the Umzinyathi District Municipality....

Schools included:



GeoSolutions List of Learner Schools
Emachunwini - Holwane - Mzomusha - Ntshishili - Sibumba - Nomaqulu - Bethulo - Pano - KusaKusa - Zizi - Osuthu - Mabedlana - Nomahaye - Makhankana  - Mfunzi - Zimiseleni - Mhlangezulu - Mhlumba - Kwavulamehlo - Gayisani - Phumela - Mpikayizekanye - Fabeni - Ngongolo - Mabizela - Nkamba - Mbondweni - Mfenebude - Umbonje - St Benards Julwayo - Mashunka - Ntokozweni - Themane - Nyoniyezwe - Kwazenzele - Emkhuphula - Mathinta - Mpompolwana - Bhekabantu




The Stories were endless and the little learners provided us with tons of comfort and warmth. Clean Drinking Water remains a problem as most schools and learners have none. The delivery of water is totally reliant on water trucks which seem to speed past the schools with little consideration for the children.





Emkhuphula Learners with the most stories... There are Zero to No Maths and Science Teachers.






The areas are deep rural and forgotten by the big city politicians....
The schools and areas are lacking electricity, water, roads and sanitation...


Our Geotechnical Solutions Crew...


Geotechnical Investigations - Compaction Testing - Mod AASHTO - Soil Grading Analysis - Atterberg Limits - DCP Testing - Concrete Cube Crushing - Concrete Strength Testing - Block Strength Testing - Water Quality Testing...



More Adventure Videos... GeoSolutions Adventure Videos


Watch the Northern Lights in Stunning 4K High Resolution Video

Come along with us on a virtual experience, Aurora Chasing in 4K Ultra High Def!

Despite being under the weather (in all senses, it was well below zero and we were quite sick with the flu), Marketa, Angus and I ventured out to capture the Northern Lights with our newest tool, the Atomos Shogun 4K external recorder. We combined this with a Sony a7S and a DJI Ronin for a look at what's it like to "Chase the Lights."




The Atomos did great and while the Ronin usually does a good job it seemed quite jittery on this night. I'm in contact with support and hope to find a resolution to this but it's done that the last few times I've taken it out in temps colder than 10ºF. Keep in mind it is very windy, I'm stumbling around in knee deep snow and it's about 0ºF so considering, it still held up rather well. This is a sample of how the Ronin should and usually does behave. http://youtu.be/1bb5qGmtG_M As of 1/14/15 I'm still waiting to hear back from DJI.

It seems we have a few things to work out both with the Ronin and the Shogun but are very excited for this amazing trio once we get things rolling smoothly.

If you'd like to be out there having your portraits taken in front of these magnificent Northern Lights, join us for a night under the Aurora. http://www.ronnmurrayphoto.com/Northe... This video intended to show what's its like to actually be out beneath these amazing Auroras we witness almost nightly. Please explore this channel, and our website for the more polished videos.





Gear list
Sony a7S
Rokinon 24mm f/1.4
DJI Ronin Gimbal Stabilizer
Atomos Shogun 4K Monitor and Recorder

Video filmed in the Murphy Dome area near Fairbanks, Alaska on Friday night, January 2nd in the late night and early morning hours.

Music Licensed at MusicBed.com
Song: "A Closing Statement" by Dexter Britain


London at Night


London is a city that has seen considerable change in the last 20 years. Of course, many of the capital’s most notable buildings such as St. Paul’s and the Palace of Westminster have been around for centuries, but two decades ago there was no London Eye (completed in 2000), no Gherkin (completed in 2003) and no Shard (completed in 2012)… not even a Millennium Dome, of course.

A great time to see the city’s changing skyline is at night so, armed with my DSLR and some warm clothing I headed down to London to spend a few days unearthing some of London’s most iconic views after dark. But of course I wanted to enjoy some of the best bars and restaurants that London offers while I was there, so I connected my American Express card to my TripAdvisor account and sought out recommendations through its network of exclusive ‘Amex Traveller’ reviews, which you can access along with some great ‘top 10’ content for major world cities and a range of offers.

Cheval Three Quays

Whilst on assignment, I stayed at a beautifully appointed two bedroom serviced corner apartment at Cheval Three Quays. This has to be one of the best views from any accommodation in London. Below to my left, I had the Tower of London and to my right a view of the Shard and, to the far right in the distance, I could see the top of the London Eye. But straight ahead of me was the highlight – a superb view of the Tower Bridge.



With two outside balconies to choose from, I could have simply sat and watched all night as boats drifted up and down the River Thames. Instead, though, I was had a quest ahead of me… to find other great views that were a match for this one!

Vertigo 42 Champagne Bar

Dusk is a magical time to observe the city transform from day to night, and a great location to see this happen is at Vertigo 42, on the 42nd floor of Tower 42. You’ll have to take two lifts to get there, changing on the 23rd floor, as well as climb just one flight of stairs, but this bar is well worth the visit for the views alone. You can get a close-up view of the Gherkin which is only a stone’s throw away as well as an amazing panorama of the heart of the city.



To help you with your orientation, the words ‘tower’, ‘bank’, ‘big ben’, ‘eye’, ‘st pauls’, ‘bt tower, ‘wembley’, ‘barbican’, etc. are etched in the glass table that surrounds the bar. Whilst you settle down and get your bearings, it would be rude not to choose from the unique collection of Champagnes, wines and cocktails. They even have a tapas menu should you be feeling a little peckish.



Tate Modern

Tate Modern is pretty much directly opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of London’s most iconic buildings. Entry to the gallery is free and if you head for Level 3, you will find a balcony offering a wonderful view across the River Thames. Note that the gallery closes at 6pm most days so if you want to see this view at night, you will need to be prompt. Alternatively, visit on a Friday or Saturday when the opening hours are extended until 10pm.



If you’re out of luck, then the view from nearby Millennium Bridge isn’t a bad alternative.



London Eye

For stunning views of the city – day or night – the London Eye is a must. A single revolution takes around 20-30 minutes but the time seems to fly by as there is so much to look at and take in.



Please note that you are not allowed to take tripods, multiple lenses or long lenses on to the capsules so taking good photographs, particularly at night when there can be lots of reflections coming back off the glass, can be a little challenging. (If you do happen to have a tripod, don’t worry… there is the means to hand it in for safekeeping and then claim it back after the ride.)



Make sure you also visit the 4D experience either before or after your ride as it is included in your ticket. This is a groundbreaking three minute 3D film with spectacular in-theatre effects including wind, bubbles and mist which add a breathtaking fourth dimension.

Paramount

I’d heard great reports about the views at Paramount and it didn’t disappoint. Located at the top of Centre Point, on the 32nd floor, you are in for a real treat here. There is a viewing gallery on the uppermost 33rd floor, accessed by a single flight of stairs. This offers truly 360-degree panoramas (you can walk right the ay around) with near-floor-to-ceiling windows and occasional clusters of low seating where you can relax and quite literally drihnk in the views.







Speak to the very friendly and approachable Marco, the head barman at Paramount, who’s responsible for about 80% of the cocktails on the menu. And they each have a story… pictured is the Femme Fatale – which he told me is “everything he looks for in a woman” – but on the menu is described as “Mysterious and seductive whose charms ensnare, this base of Bowmore 12 year old boasts a higher proportion of sherry-matured malt in its make-up which together with St Germain Elderflower cordial, lemon juice and egg white, and garnished with an edible flower makes a tantalising temptress.”



Westminster Bridge

Of course, you don’t have to scale tall buildings to enjoy some of the best views of London. If you don’t really have a head for heights, the views from Westminster Bridge at night – whichever direction you choose to look – rival those from some of London’s highest landmarks. From here there’s a great view of the National Theatre lit up in different colours, the London Eye and the chain of lights along the South Bank.



OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar & Brasserie

At the top of London’s famous OXO Tower is a restaurant, bar and brasserie. Formerly a power station for the Post Office, the building was saved from demolition in the 1970s and 1980s, you can now dine in this 8th floor restaurant and from there enjoy access to a long terrace overlooking the banks of the Thames.



Whist you enjoy the views, the restaurant offers a fine dining experience with beautifully presented, modern, seasonal British dishes with an innovative twist. For a special treat, try the roast Chateaubriand for two, with beef fat chips, béarnaise sauce, baby spinach and bacon salad.

Radio Rooftop Bar

Located on the 10th floor of the ME London hotel is the lovely Radio Rooftop Bar and is another bar with superb views of the city. From a fairly expansive terrace, the panorama takes in Tower Bridge, the Shard, London Bridge, Saint Paul’s, Tate Modern, Somerset House, Southbank, the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and the Theatre District of Covent Garden.



As well as the drinks and wide selection of cocktails, there’s a choice of international tapas (try the calamari or the goats cheese crostini) and a friendly, unpretentious atmosphere.

Palace of Westminster

Finally, one of the most iconic views in the world. If you aren’t one for heights, the view from the opposite bank to the Palace of Westminster is a sight to behold at night, with the glow of the Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower (more commonly referred to as Big Ben) reflected in the Thames.






Alternatively, venture on to the bridge, armed with a tripod, and see what you can capture as the vehicles trundle by.



Enjoy these views, and do let me know what you consider to be the best views in London. Don’t forget to visitwww.americanexpress.co.uk/tripadvisor if you have an American Express card and would like to find out more about the content and offers.


 on Dec 29, 2014                                        A Luxury Travel Blog

10 Extraordinary Native American Cultural Sites

Chaco Culture National Historical Park (New Mexico) preserves structures of Ancestral Puebloans. 
Credit: NPS.





In honour of Native American Heritage Month, we take a look at a few noteworthy Native American cultural sites on public lands.

Native American Heritage Month offers all Americans the opportunity to recognize and honour tribes who understood the value of wilderness long before European Americans ever laid eyes on bison or redwoods—or, indeed, decided to call certain places  “wilderness.”


A number of the national monuments, parks and other sites we cherish contain major historical and cultural resources connected to these tribes. In many cases, the land that surrounds them might not have remained in good condition without the Antiquities Act, a law passed in 1906 that allowed presidents to protect natural and cultural sites as national monuments. The Antiquities Act was first signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt and has been used on a bipartisan basis by 16 presidents since then (including President Barack Obama). It is likely that some of these special places would have been obscured by development—or demolished entirely—without this law and the strong movement to preserve public lands it exemplifies.


In addition to providing magnificent spots for outdoor recreation, that deserve a closer look in November. These places preserve traces of Native American culture that are hundreds (or even thousands) of years old.



Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)


Credit: Terry Feuerborn, flickr.


Mesa Verde was the first national park designated with the express purpose of preserving "the works of man"—in this case the remnants of 6th-12th century Ancestral Puebloans, as exemplified by more than 4,000 known archeological sites, including some of the most notable and well-preserved in the U.S. The park’s signature attractions are some 600 ancient dwellings carved into rock alcoves, stumbled upon by a pair of cowboys—who called it “Cliff Palace”—in the late 19th century. At that point, Mesa Verde had been vacant for hundreds of years. Experts think the last Puebloan residents of the area were forced out when a booming population eventually exhausted natural resources and was torn apart by internal strife. Since 1906, the park has been preserved for the enjoyment and education of all Americans (though oil and gas development in the area pose a threat to the landscape). Tours of the site offer details on these lives, and trails provide opportunities for hiking and snowshoeing. The 360-degree panoramic view at Park Point is one of the most breath-taking in the country.

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (Arizona)


Credit: Rory D, flickr.


The 14th century “great house” around which this monument is centred was once part of a chain of settlements along the Gila River and is considered one of the largest prehistoric structures ever built in North America. Prized as a trace of ancient Sonoran Desert dwellers who developed wide-scale irrigation farming and a large trade network before leaving the area around the year 1450, the Casa Grande was originally protected as our country’s first archaeological reserve, in 1892. The building, whose exact purpose remains unknown, gained national monument status from President Woodrow Wilson in 1918. Today, several Native American groups claim an ancestral link to the builders and occupants of the monument’s eponymous structure.

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (New Mexico)


Credit: Lisa Phillips (BLM New Mexico), flickr.


The campaign that led a stretch of picturesque land near Las Cruces, New Mexico, to be designated a national monument by President Obama in 2014 was a major initiative of The Wilderness Society—but it was led in part by local tribal leaders, a fitting testament to the significance of this place to Native Americans. The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo tribe asked that the area be protected in part to preserve an expanse of ancient petroglyphs, and the Fort Sill Apache tribe, considered modern-day successors to the Apache that originally inhabited parts of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region, requested that they be accepted as partners in managing the monument for future generations. The mountain ranges and rugged plains here contain traces of civilizations hundreds of years old (and in some cases much older); the Paleo-Indian peoples who once roamed the Potrillo grasslands hunted now-extinct game like giant ground sloths thousands of years before Christopher Columbus was born. Stretches of land protected by the monument contain some of the earliest known prehistoric habitation sites in southern New Mexico, among many significant historical and archaeological resources.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park (New Mexico)


Credit: Damon Taylor, flickr.






Unfortunately, oil and gas development currently threatens the beauty and tranquillity of this park and adjacent land—and it would be a true shame to lose it. Between 850 and 1250 CE, Chaco Canyon, in what is now northwest New Mexico, was a major center of Ancestral Puebloan culture. Today, the surrounding area is protected to preserve the history of those people, including majestic public and ceremonial buildings that are among America’s most significant intact examples of pre-Columbian culture. These multi-story “Great Houses” were truly monumental undertakings, sometimes involving decades of construction, and many were connected by a system of roads to other buildings in the region. It is thought that this area was once a unique gathering place for different clans to meet—a center for trade and cultural exchange that remains a hallowed landmark today.


In 2013, the park received International Dark Sky designation for being one of the best places in the United States to stargaze (due to its distance from artificial light pollution).

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (Colorado)


Credit: Eszter Hargittai, flickr.


This sprawling, landscape-scale monument in southwest Colorado contains thousands of known archaeological sites that have yielded invaluable historical information on Ancestral Puebloan (sometimes referred to as “Anasazi”) and other indigenous cultures. A nearby museum contains millions of items chronicling those peoples as well as historic Ute and Navajo populations (the protected area is considered to have ancestral links to dozens of modern-day tribal nations). Three original villages within the monument have been prepared for visitors and outfitted with interpretive signage, making it an essential destination for anyone with an abiding interest in Native American culture (though a huge number of dwellings, shrines, petroglyphs and other artefacts remain unlabelled).

Aztec Ruins National Monument (New Mexico)


Credit: Ellen Green, flickr.






Aztec Ruins National Monument was protected as a national monument in 1923 and named a World Heritage site in 1987 (as part of Chaco Culture National Historical Park) for its well-preserved examples of Pueblo architecture—the same features that still draw tourists from around the country. So why is it called “Aztec Ruins”? Early white explorers initially mistakenly identified the buildings on-site as traces of the Mexican Aztec culture, rather than the work of (even older) indigenous peoples, and it still bears the original, ill-gotten title. Despite this, the monument is an important place for Ancestral Puebloans, its ancient “great houses” and associated “kivas”—ceremonial chambers—serving testament to the legacy of its old inhabitants.


Artefacts discovered in the ruins have included food remnants, clothing, tools and jewellery, offering a glimpse at the way Ancestral Puebloans used natural resources and traded with other peoples.

Effigy Mounds National Monument (Iowa)


The “Marching Bear” mounds, whose size and intricacy can only be fully appreciated from overhead. Credit: NPS.


The only national monument in Iowa, Effigy Mounds was protected by President Harry Truman in 1949 in order to preserve its namesake series of sacred hillocks, constructed by a culture that inhabited land along the upper Mississippi River, stretching east to Lake Michigan (what is now parts of Iowa, southeast Minnesota, southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois). Numbering more than 200, the mounds were built over thousands of years in a variety of shapes ranging from simple cones to bison and birds. Though the exact function of the mounds as a whole remains unknown, some are burial sites, and experts think that others may have acted as territorial markers. Whatever the mounds’ purpose, more than 15 modern-day tribes, ranging from Minnesota to Oklahoma, are considered to be culturally associated with them. The largest and best-preserved chain of mounds, the evocatively-named “Marching Bears,” can only be fully appreciated from overhead.

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (Ohio)


Credit: HOCU-NPS.


This park protects five different archaeological sites containing artefacts of the broadly-defined Hopewell culture, chiefly earthworks and ancient mounds. The people who flourished in this area practiced a wide array of spiritual, political and social customs, but are considered to be related precisely due to the elements this park preserves: their similar construction of earthen-walled enclosures and mounds, with the former often appearing as squares, circles and other geometrically-precise shapes. A variety of archaeological figures have devoted their careers to finding out more about the Hopewell culture.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (New Mexico)


Credit: NPS.


Surrounded by the Gila National Forest (and at the edge of the Gila Wilderness), this monument, protected by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, is named for its most striking feature—the ruins of interlinked cave dwellings built in five cliff alcoves by the Mogollon peoples who lived in the area in the late 13th- and early 14th century. While the monument covers comparatively little physical ground, it offers a wealth of things for visitors to do once they’ve finished exploring these rare traces of ancient Puebloan culture: activities in the broader area include hiking, bird-watching, camping, fishing and horseback riding.

Ocmulgee National Monument (Georgia)


Credit: J. Stephen Conn, flickr.


Ocmulgee National Monument contains North America’s only intact “spiral mound,” a 20-foot-tall hillock built by indigenous tribes for purposes that remain unclear. This is just one of the monument’s pieces of major earthwork traced back to South Appalachian Mississippian settlements. The monument, containing seven mounds in all and a collection of more than one million artefacts, was protected along the Ocmulgee River by act of Congress in 1934.

- See more at: Wilderness.org