Bank of England: We’ll Keep Your Loot

Let’s just call it “gold custody services.”

MOD Women

While Michelle Flournoy has apparently taken her name out of the running for U.S. Defense Secretary, it’s worth noting that there are currently five female Defense Ministers in NATO: Italy’s Roberta Pinotti, Albania’s Mimi Kodheli, Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen, Norway’s Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide and Jeanine Hennis-Plasshaert of the Netherlands. That’s a record.

There are also female Defense Ministers in South Africa, Montenegro, Ecuador, Kenya, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Guinea-Bissau.

Wednesday HDR: Time to Go Shopping



This week, here are a couple of HDR shots I like a lot, both from the busy, busy morning market in Hoi An, Vietnam. The very photogenic fish market, just outside this produce market, is enough to entice a photographer out of bed before the sun comes up. Then you walk inside, and there's another whole world of things to shoot. 

Each photo combines three exposures from a single RAW shot, which were then tonemapped in Photomatix. Then in Photoshop, the backgrounds were desaturated just a little bit and given a little Gaussian blur, and in the bottom photo, the bright sun in the top left rear needed some toning down. We put a little lighting effect around each of the two women. Click each photo for a much larger version. And see nearly 400 photos in the Vietnam Gallery, and 200+ HDRs in the HDR Gallery at

The Most Overserved Route in the World

Any guesses? Cute may not be the exact best word, so maybe we'll call it an amusing story: According to the Cranky Flyer, "It’s a route that former President Bush might call the Axis of Evil Express." And just to make it a little bit better, it stops in Damascus.

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