Goodbye 2010 – Happy New Year!

And so another year draws to a close. Is it just me or do the years just seem to be getting faster and faster or is it just a by product of getting older? It’s been a busy year, a year filled with hard work, change and new beginnings. What does 2011 hold, not sure but one thing I do know, is it’s what you make of it – so make it a good one!

As usual, Boston.com‘s Big Picture are busy putting together a great post filled with photos from around the globe as people welcome 2011 – keep an eye on the post as it will be constantly updated as and when new photos are made available.

To you, your family and friends – Happy New Year – make 2011 the one!

Fireworks explode above Singapore's financial district at the stroke of midnight to mark the New Year celebrations Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Big Picture: End of the World Cup

And so, last night brought the 2010 FIFA World Cup to a close – not (in my opinion) as exciting a game as the 3rd and 4th place between Germany and Uruguay – but for all the Spanish supporters a nail-bighting finish. Spain narrowly took the hopes and dreams away from the Dutch team in the last 3 minutes of extra time, finally giving themselves a world cup win.

Personally I found the game very scrappy and dirty, from both teams (well, the 13 yellow cards explain it all) but at the end of it all Spain just played a better game.

The closing ceremony was partly impressive, although, apart from the very nice special effects displayed the singing portion wasn’t that moving. There was a nice fireworks display at the end, one photo of which you can see in the series following the link below.

The World Cup has definitely brought us, as South African together and I can honestly say it’s made me feel more patriotic, not just as a South African, but as an African. Maybe in 2014 an African team can make it further than Ghana did this year.

As usual, the team at Boston.com‘s Big Picture has put together another great array of photographs for you. Enjoy.

After a month of matches, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament is over, with Spain claiming its first ever trophy, the Netherlands placing second, and Germany taking third place. 32 teams came to South Africa last month, and the eyes of the world were upon them as television and online viewership broke records, and in many places productivity dropped sharply when matches were being played. Collected here are photos from the second half of the tournament (see earlier entries: 123), the action on the fields, and the reactions of those following the games in both South Africa and their home countries, as we bid farewell to the 2010 World Cup. (44 photos total) – source Big Picture


Spain's Andres Iniesta lifts the World Cup trophy after their final match victory over Netherlands at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg July 11, 2010. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Big Picture: Halfway in – 2010 World Cup

I’ve posted a number of blog posts on various photographs from Boston.com‘s Big Picture photo gallery – and I guess it’s just fitting that I share these.

The World Cup is in full swing in South Africa and so far it has been regarded by FIFA as perfect – let’s hope we can live up to their expectations and keep the standard that high for the remainder of the tournament.

Nearly halfway through the month-long 2010 World Cup Tournament in South Africa, over a dozen teams have been eliminated from the original group of 32, with the Round of 16 beginning tomorrow, June 26th. Television and web viewership has been setting records all over the world as supporters tune in to watch the events in South Africa and react along with the fans and players in the stadiums as they celebrate their wins and suffer through losses. Collected here are recent photos from the 2010 World Cup, as some of the players and their supporters have been experiencing it – in South Africa and around the globe. (43 photos total)

Serbia's Milan Jovanovic (center) scores past Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (right) and Arne Friedrich during a Group D match at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth June 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

Big Picture: Dogs and Sleds

I’ve unfortunately not been able to keep up with the past few posts of Boston.com‘s Big Picture series but today’s one caught my eye. I love the pictures of these sled dogs, they always look so amazing. Reminds me of Eight Below (which had my eldest daughter in such tears we’ve not watched it again with her).

Dogsleds are in the news lately, as several races have recently taken place around the Northern Hemisphere, and as transportation choices for both a meeting of the G-7 and the start of the 2010 U.S. census. Mushers brought representatives to Iqaluit, a small village in Nunavut Territory, chosen to host a recent G-7 meeting, in part so Canada could assert sovereignty over its part of the Arctic. The 2010 U.S. Census, as per tradition, kicked off its count on January 25th in a rural part of Alaska in the small village of Noorvik, as census takers arrived by dogsled. And recent dogsled races include Le Grand Odyssee, the Sedivackuv Long, Pirena, the Aviemore Husky Sled Dog Rally and many more smaller regional competitions. Collected here are a handful of recent photos of sleds, dogs, and their humans. (30 photos total) – source Boston.com

A sled dog waits in the snow before this weekend's sled dog Rally in Aviemore, Scotland January 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Russell Cheyne)

Big Picture: Harbin Ice and Snow Sculptures

The annual Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture festival started on the 5th of January and again Boston.com‘s Big Picture have an amazing set of photographs taken at the event. You can feel the coolness of the ice and the warmth of the lights through these pictures.

In frigid northeastern China, in the city of Harbin is hosting its 26th annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Massive buildings built of ice from the frozen surface of the nearby Songhua River, large scale snow sculptures, ice slides, festival food and drinks can be found in several parks in the city. At night, visitors who endure the bitter cold will see the lights switched on, illuminating the sculptures from both inside and outside. This year’s festival opened yesterday, January 5th, and will remain open until some time in February. Collected here are several photos from just before the festival, and of the opening night. (31 photos total)

Ice structures large and small light up a park in Harbin, China during its 26th annual Ice Festival on January 5, 2010. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Entering 2010 with a bang!

While we spent new year’s eve with family quietly at home, others, around the world, celebrated the end of one year and the beginning of a new one. And in typical Boston.com Big Picture fashion they’ve put together another great collection of photos from around the world – enjoy!

People all around the world gathered in groups large and small last night to usher out the previous year, and welcome the arrival of 2010. Under a rare New Year’s Eve Blue Moon, crowds watched fireworks, cheered, made resolutions, and counted down to midnight. 2010 is the year of the Tiger in the Chinese zodiac, signifying a year of bravery and courage. Collected here are some photographs of people across the earth as they welcomed the new year in many different ways. (38 photos total) – source Boston.com

Fireworks from the Space Needle light up downtown Seattle, Washington to bring in the new year, as seen from Kerry Park, Friday, Jan. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Cliff DesPeaux)

Big Picture: 2009 in pictures

As another year draws to a close – I can’t believe there’s a little over two weeks left of 2009 – Boston.com brings us a three-part post of their choice of photographs representing the year that was, 2009.

Even though there have been some amazing moments, around the world, during 2009 looking back at the three pages worth of pictures from 2009, one can’t help wonder – what will 2010 hold – will we see a similar array of photos next year, or will they be happier ones?

On that note – please be warned that some of the photos in the three Big Picture posts contain images which may offend sensitive viewers/readers.

The year 2009 is now coming to a close, and it’s time to take a look back over the past 12 months through photographs. Historic elections were held in Iran, India and the United States, some wars wound down while others escalated, China turned 60, and the Berlin Wall was remembered 20 years after it came down. Each photo tells its own tale, weaving together into the larger story of 2009. This is a multi-entry story, 120 photographs over three days. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. – source Boston.com

Fireworks illuminate the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin November 9, 2009, during celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)

Big Picture: Armageddon in Australia

It seems Armageddon has hit Australia today – well not exactly but if you look at the photos it does seem that way. Sydney seems to have taken the brunt of a severe sand storm across Australia. And as usual Boston.com‘s Big Picture has some great photographs of today’s event.

A huge outback dust storm – 500 km (310 mi) wide by 1,000 km (620 mi) long – swept across eastern Australia and blanketed Sydney on Wednesday, September 23rd, disrupting flights and ground transportation and forcing people indoors for shelter from the hazardous air, gale-force winds, and in some places hailstorms. Those few who ventured outside, especially at dawn, were greeted by a Martian sky, familiar landmarks blotted out by the heavy red dust blowing by. Collected here are a few photos of the worst dust storm Sydney has seen in 70 years, three of which you can click to see a before/after fade effect. (26 photos total)

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The Sydney Harbour Bridge is seen on September 23, 2009. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Big Picture: Remembering September 11th

Yesterday was Friday, September the 11th. Prior to 2001, this was just another day. Some people celebrated their birthdays on this day. Just like a good friend of ours with whom we shared a great evening and dinner last night to celebrate his birthday, on September the 11th.

As I said, before 2001 this was, for most, just another day of the 365 days we go through from one year to the next. But on that fateful day of September the 11th back in 2001 the world changed. Not just the world but the world of many people’s lives and those of the families they left behind.

It was a day I won’t forget, as many others, even though I didn’t lose anyone close to me or someone I knew. It’s amazing how a traumatic experience can go either one of two ways. You either build up a mental block about the event and never conciously recall the event or any details thereof, or you remember the details vividly, like it just happened.

I still remember I was working at home, in London, and I happened to have Sky News on  and there was a sudden panic in the news room with breaking news and it turned to footage of one of the World Trade centre towers billowing with smoke. Then there was replayed footage of a passenger airliner crashing right into one of the towers.

Without skipping a beat Boston.com’s Big Picture reminds us with striking photographs of that fateful day. Take a look and remember with me.

Eight years after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, we remember and here, take a look back, and a look at the present. This year’s remembrance is emphasizing volunteerism and service, honoring the private citizens that volunteered after the attacks and encouraging the observance of the anniversary to be a day of service. Construction at Ground Zero, the site of the former twin towers, is years behind because of construction delays, design disputes and litigation involving developers, state and local officials and insurance companies. At this point, One World Trade Center (formerly the Freedom Tower), the 120-story anchor building on the site, is scheduled for a 2013 completion. (38 photos total) – source Boston.com Big Picture

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The south tower of New York's World Trade Center collapses Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Big Picture: Flights of fancy

Whenever possible, I always enjoy going to airshows to see various aircraft taking part in various exercises. It’s always a thrilling experience to see, hear and feel the aircraft zooming above and infront of you. Enjoy the collection recently released by Boston.com’s Big Picture.

Just over 100 years since the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight, flying machines are now commonplace, used for transport, freight, warfare, rescue and pleasure just for starters. Aerospace technology is still the realm of both big business and entrepreneurs – Moscow recently hosted an airshow in which contracts totaling $10 billion were signed, and Virgin Galactic is still working toward a private spaceliner business. Collected here are recent photographs of various flying machines in action or on display around the world. (40 photos total) – source Boston.com

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A MiG-35 jet performs a low pass during the MAKS-2009 international air show in Zhukovsky, Russia on August 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)