Flag Pictures – How to Take Outstanding Photos of Flags With Digital Cameras

Every country has its own flag as a symbol of the nation and the common interest of the population. So our flag is something we share and respect. We need good pictures of flags in many circumstances. For printing, for celebrations, for …

Learn to take better pictures of flags by following these simple photo tips.

1. Show the flag in the environment

A flag isn’t just a sort of clip-art. The flag is living because of its surroundings. If we want to take impressive flag pictures we need to catch the flag in the environment. It can just be the blowing wind, or the blue sky with a few clouds behind. Or the flag shown as a central point for a gathering of people or enjoyment.

2. Let the wind blow

A flag hanging lazy down from a flagpole isn’t a real flag. The flag becomes alive when the wind is blowing. Take a lot of pictures of the flag in the wind with your digital camera. Each extra picture doesn’t cost you a cent, and we need to be quite patient to catch the right moment when the flag is at its most beautiful position, also related to the light.

3. Get the light behind the flag

If you can take the flag pictures with the light behind the flag so the light is shining through the cloth of the flag, the flag will look much more interesting in a kind of transparent mood.

4. Avoid distracting elements reaching into the frame of the flag

The flag in itself should stand out clearly from the background and from other elements in the picture. At least that will give the most impressive flag picture in most situations.

5. Let people show their appreciation of the flag in the picture

When possible compose flag pictures in such a way that people are interacting with or showing their appreciation of the flag.

6. Decide if the flag is the main object or an additional object in the picture

The symbolic nature of national flags means that an addition of a flag to any picture can add much more than just the small area of the picture it is occupying. Lets say you are taking pictures of a group of people in another country or a building. And just by including a small flag will signal where in the world you are taking the picture.

7. Make use of the colours’ of the flag

The best result for pictures isn’t when you include a lot of colors in the same picture. It is much better to mach colours’ to each other. If you can add an element of the same color of parts of the flag it will enhance the flag and create a more coherent picture.

8. Many similar flags can be very impressive.

Pictures with several or many flags of the same kind can be very impressive on pictures. Especially, if you follow some of the photo tips above.

Every time you go to a new country or meet a new flag you will benefit from taking an impressive picture of the flag. Exactly because of the symbolic nature of flags such pictures will serve you in many applications, like in photo shows, in PowerPoint presentation, and may be in celebrations.

In my country small country Denmark in Scandinavia we use our old red flag with the white cross not only as a national symbol, but in fact much more as a symbol of celebration and good mood and atmosphere. With every birthday – whatever it is children or up to the oldest people – the red and white flag will be raised and used to celebrate the person with the birthday. Are friends receiving their friends arriving in the airport they will bring small Danish flags to celebrate the arrival.

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Stop Orders: An Essential Tool For Your Trade Arsenal

It would be quite hard, especially for the regular investor who has a regular forty hours per week job, to trade and profit from the markets if there were no stop orders available to him. This type of order will enable you to place an order in your home broker, or have it placed by your broker, that will define beforehand where you want to get out in case things do wary. It doesn’t matter whether you are on the buy or on the sell side.

Buy stop order

This type of order serves many functions and you will be using it constantly, so it is a good idea to take your time and find out what is this all about. You have probably heard of this before, but in a nutshell, a buy stop order will make you define beforehand under which circumstances you will want to buy a certain stock. So, you define the quantity, the limit date, you maximum price and when the order should be place in the market.

So suppose you want to buy a certain stock that you have seen it the day before whilst doing your studies, but you only want to buy if it breaks yesterday’s high. That can be achievable by using a buy stop order that will mainly be saying to your broker «Ok, if the stock pass this point that I have set, then I want you to put a buy limit or market order». That is it, simple as that.

Conclusion

Buy stop orders are a useful tool and you can use them for either when you want to buy your preferred stock since you believe it will move to higher grounds or, you can buy it back to limit your loss if you were short on that particular stock.

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Kottayam – The Land of Latex & Letters

Kottayam is located in central Kerala in India. The town is an important trading center of spices and predominantly known for its commercial crop rubber. Rubber trees are extensively cultivated in central Kerala, especially in vast areas of Kottayam District, in plantations, both large and small. It is also known as the base of important print media majors. It has also emerged as the pioneering centre of modern education in Kerala with the city becoming India’s first municipality to achieve over 100% literacy in 1989. The city of Kottayam is also called as «Akshara Nagari» which means the «City of Letters» considering its contribution to print media and literature. In keeping with its education, it also became the first tobacco free district in India.

Kottayam is bordered by Pathanamthitta district on the south, Alappuzha district on the west, Ernakulam district on the north and Idukki district on the east.

Etymology:

It is believed that the name Kottayam originated from the Malayalam words ‘Kotta’ meaning fort and ‘akam’ meaning ‘inside’, giving the word meaning ‘interior of the fort’.

Geography:

Kottayam town is located in central Kerala at a location of 9°35′N 76°31′E9.58°N 76.52°E. It has an average elevation of 3 meters (9 feet) from sea level. It is situated in the basin of the Meenachil River that is formed by the confluence of several streams in the Western Ghats in Idukki district. The river flows through Kottayam district and joins the Vembanad Lake. Kerala geographically is divided into Highlands, Midlands and Lowlands based on altitude with Kottayam falling within the Midlands. The general soil type is alluvial soil. The vegetation is mainly tropical evergreen and moist deciduous type.

The climate in this District is moderate and pleasant. Kottayam’s proximity to the equator results in little seasonal temperature variation, with moderate to high levels of humidity. Annual temperatures range between 20 to 35 °C (68-95 °F) From June through September, the south-west monsoon brings in heavy rains as Kottayam lies on the wind-facing side of the Western Ghats. From October to December, Kottayam receives light rain from the northwest monsoon, as it lies on the leeward side. Average annual rainfall is 315 cm.

Brief History:

Kottayam was ruled by the Rajas of the independent little kingdom of Thekkumkoor who ruled from Thazhathangadi till the mid-18th century. Marthanda Varma, the hero king of Travancore annexed Thekkumkoor and surrounding areas of Kottayam to the Kingdom of Travancore. During the British rule of India, Kottayam continued to be ruled by the Princely State of Travancore.

The Travancore State under royal rule consisted of two revenue divisions viz., the southern and northern divisions, under the administrative control of a ‘Diwan Peshkar’. Later in 1868 two more divisions Quilon (Kollam) and Kottayam were constituted. A fifth division, Devikulam existed for a short period but was then added to Kottayam. At the time of the integration of the State of Travancore and Cochin in 1949, these revenue divisions were renamed as districts and the Diwan Peshkars were replaced the more British «District Collectors». Thus Kottayam district came into being in July 1949. Later it became a part of the Kerala state and the headquarters of the district bearing the same name when the state was formed in 1957.

Economy:

Kottayam as already mentioned is a major trading center of natural rubber in India. The Rubber Board, a body set up by the Government of India for the development of rubber industry, is located at Kottayam. A number of small and medium sized enterprises in and around the town are engaged in the processing of rubber latex and manufacturing of rubber products. Besides rubber, Kottayam is a trading place of other commercial crops like spices cultivated widely in the surrounding areas. The Plantation Corporation of Kerala also has its headquarters at Kottayam.

Religion:

Kerala has a history of being a magnet for traders’ predominantly from the Arab world as well as Europe. They not only brought along business opportunities but their culture and more importantly their religions along. Considering that the Hindu religion had been practiced here for ages, the negative practices of it were implemented in its harshness too-this included the feudal system supported by the caste system. Some of the religious beliefs that «offered» equality and a sense of self esteem was a welcome change for many suffering communities. One of the enticements of new religions was the opportunity to attain «nirvana» without social barriers. Christianity is supposed to have reached the shores of Kerala way back in the first century. According to unconfirmed beliefs, St. Thomas, the apostle of Jesus Christ was also reputed to have landed in Kerala to spread the good words of the lord.

Reflecting the religious make-up of the population, a large number of Hindu temples and Christian churches along with Mosques dot the townscape. Apart from the native Hindu population, Kottayam in particular has a large no. of Christians along with substantial no. of Muslims too.

Christianity- Kottayam is a major center of Syrian Christians of Kerala. Followers of Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Jacobite Church, Knanaya, Marthoma Church, St. Thomas Evangelical Church, CSI Church, Pentecostal Churches, and Brethren form major Christian sects.

The St. Mary’s Church, or the Valia Palli or the Big Church, built in 1550 by Knanaya Syrian Jacobite Christians who emigrated from West Asia, is considered as the first Christian church in Kottayam town. This church is famous for its two granite crosses known as Persian crosses. There are rare antique carvings and mural paintings behind the main altar and on the ceiling.

There is another St. Mary’s Church known as Cheria Palli or the Little Church, belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Church was built in 1579 by the Raja of Thekkumkoor for his Christian subjects. These churches feature temple architectural influences. The interior murals, painted using vegetable dyes, depict Biblical themes.

The Syro-Malabar rite of the Roman Catholic Church has an archeparchy based in Kottayam. Some of the important Catholic churches in Kottayam include Lourdes Forane Church, Good Shepherd Church, Vimalagiri Cathedral and Christhuraja Cathedral. The previous Pope John Paul II visited Kottayam, during his visit to India in 1986. He announced the beatification of Father Kuriakose of Chavara and Sister Alphonsa, who hails from Kottayam. The mortal remains of Saint Alphonsa, who was elevated to sainthood in 12 October 2008, are kept in a chapel next to St. Mary’s Church, Bharananganam. It is a popular Christian pilgrimage center.

Islam-The most prominent among mosques seem to be the Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid, situated in the banks of river Meenachil. It is reputed to be one of the oldest mosques in India and according to legends is more than 1000 years old. It is famous for its architectural beauty, and rich wood carvings. This mosque was constructed by the followers of the Islamic prophet Muhammad during one of their first voyages to Kerala.

Hinduism- The native religion has a significant influence in the socio-cultural fabric of Kottayam. One of the most important temples is the Thirunakkara Mahadeva Kshetram, at the heart of the town. It is dedicated to the destroyer among the Hindu trinity- Shiva and is built in the typical Kerala style of temple architecture, with interior murals depicting themes from the Hindu epics. It was built at the beginning of the 16th century by the then Raja of Thekkumkoor. The annual temple festival is a grand affair and culminates with the Aarattu ceremony that attracts large number of devotees.

Despite the presence of various religions and a large no. of each faith, in keeping with its reputation for peace, various sections of Christianity, Muslim and Hinduism co-exist harmoniously.

Tourism:

It has been a major contribution to the economy of Kottayam. Many tourism related businesses thrive in the town. Kumarakom, one of the most famous tourist destinations in Kerala, is only 14 km from the town. Wagamon is another prominent place worth a visit, and borders the districts of Kottayam and Idukki. Kottayam has a vast network of rivers, backwaters, hill stations & ancient religious places. Just a few prominent places have been highlighted here:

Places to visit:

Vembanad Lake: It is a great water-body which is part of Kerala’s famous interconnected Kerala Backwaters that run virtually the length of the state. Vembanad Lake is 52 miles (84 km) in length and 9 miles (14 km) in width. Traditional cargo boats called Kettuvallams have been modified into luxurious cruise boats and house boats for the convenience of the tourists. These boats gracefully move around the back waters, enabling its passengers to enjoy the beauty of the Vembanad Lake in a relaxed pace.

Pathiramanal: Translated as the midnight sands, Pathiramanal is a small yet beautiful island located within the Vembanad Lake that is accessible only by boat.

Kumarakom: Located on the Coast of Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a village made picture perfect by mangroves and coconut groves, lush green paddy fields, gushing waters snaking through the dense forests. Kumarakom bird sanctuary is home to migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. Local birds like the water fowl, cuckoo, owl and water hen and other common varieties like the woodpecker, sky lark, crane and parrot can also be spotted here. Approximately 91 species of local and 50 species of migratory birds are found here making it a bird watchers paradise. The best time to watch local birds is June-August and the best time for migratory birds is November-February. House Boats and motorboats are available on hire for bird watching cruises in the Lake.

Vagamon: is a hill station in the Kottayam-Idukki district.

Other attractions close by:

o Thekkady Periyar Tiger Reserve – 104 kilometers away, located in the Idukki District.

o Peerumed- Roughly 75 Kms away, located in Idukki district

o Munnar- The famous hill station, about 80 km away

o Vaikom- Located about 50 km from Kottayam.

o Kottayam is also a gateway to the pilgrim centers like Sabarimala, Mannanam, Vaikom, Ettumanoor Siva temple, Thirunakkara, Bharananganam, Erumeli and famous Manarcaud church. Kottayam town is linked by rail to other prominent cities in Kerala and also linked to the waterways for scenic travel.

During the months of August and September, the rivers in and near Kottayam transform into race tracks. The serene backwaters come alive during the popular malayali festival of Onam when the spectacular water regatta -the snake boat races. Oarsmen, at least a hundred in each boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full-throated singing. Thazhathangadi boat race in Kummanam is over a century old. Boat races are conducted at Kavanar and Kottathodu rivers in Kumarakom. These vallam kalis have about 50 boats participating, including Chundan, Churulan, Iruttukuthi(ody) veppu, and canoes.

Bottomline, Kottayam is a beautiful part of the gorgeous Kerala. Visit it to believe it.

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The English Premier League Promotion and Relegation System

The concept of promotion and relegation in English soccer is a difficult one for most American sports fans to grasp immediately. In major American sport leagues, if for instance the Washington Nationals have an awful year where they only win 40 games, they'll be right back next year playing the likes of the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. That is not the case in the English soccer 'pyramid', where the different levels of soccer are directly connected through a series of promotions and relegations.

To talk specifically about the English Premier League, at the end of each season the bottom three teams are relegated down to the next tier of English soccer, which is called the Championship. The EPL is a 20-team league, so each team plays the other 19 teams twice. At the end of that 38 game schedule, the teams in places 18, 19 and 20 are automatically sent down to the Championship for the next season. That means a team like Portsmouth, who is likely to be relegated this 2009-2010 season, could go from playing Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea one season to playing Watford, Bristol City and Blackpool the next. That's quite a huge difference and it's one of the main reasons why the relegation battle is often more compelling than the battle for the Premier League Champion. These teams are in some cases fighting for the survival of their club as well, as the Premier League television compensation is vastly superior to that of the Championship.

Promotion from the Championship is quite similar in concept. In the 24-team Championship, each team plays the others twice, and at the end of those 46 games, the top two teams are automatically promoted to the Premier League. Teams in places 3-6 then contest a playoff where the winner is awarded the third promotion place to the Premier League. So it's simply three teams relegated and three teams promoted each season. With some slight variation, this type of promotion and relegation exists throughout the entire English soccer pyramid, many levels below the Premier League. It really adds to the allure of the sport that a team can literally rise from a local club to one day play against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Premier League.

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Soccer Betting – The "Asian Handicap"

A draw, or tied score, is a frequent outcome in soccer. In the 2008-2009 season, almost a quarter of all Premier League matches resulted in a draw. Because such an outcome is so common, traditional betting usually involves betting within the context of three different outcomes: a win for one team, a draw, or a win for the other team. The «Asian handicap» is a means of changing this by «handicapping» the underdog by a certain percentage, meaning that a draw becomes impossible.

Most handicaps are made at intervals of one half or one quarter, meaning that there has to be a winner since it is impossible to score a half or quarter goal. The purpose is to make the odds as close to 50-50 as possible and eliminating the draw as a possible outcome. Because the odds are almost half when a handicap is applied, the payout is usually even money, or very close to it.

The primary benefit is encouraging punters to bet on matches where there is a clear favorite. For example, if Manchester United (winner of the Premier League in the 2008-2009 season) were to play West Bromwich (the bottom team of the Premier League during the same season), few punters would be interested in betting. This is because Manchester United is a much better team and the odds are strongly in their favor.

However, if West Bromwich was given a handicap of +2.5, it would mean that they would be effectively starting with a lead of 2.5 goals. This means Manchester United would have to score three goals more than West Bromwich to be the winner as far as the bet is concerned. If West Bromwich scored one goal, then Manchester would have to score four to win. Handicapping obviously changes the odds significantly.

An interesting aspect of handicapping is the push. If an even number is used for the handicap, and the actual score plus the handicap equals a draw, then this is a push. For example, if in the example given above West Bromwich was given a handicap of 2 and failed to score any goals, and Manchester United only scored two goals, this would be a push. The result of a push is that all the punters receive their original wagers returned as there was no winner.

The «Asian Handicap» adds an additional element to soccer betting that can be both fun and profitable. This form of betting can be helpful for those punters that have a personal favorite that they intend to bet on, but are not confident that their favorite will win a particular match.

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The Rivalry Between Liverpool and Manchester United

One of the fiercest rivalries in English football, and even in World football, is the rivalry between Liverpool football club and Manchester United football club.

There is no love lost between the fans, players or managers of the two giants of club football.

A Tale of Two Cities

The origins of this rivalry point towards the rivalries of the two cities since industrial times. Liverpool and Manchester were challenging for supremacy of the north west of England. Manchester was renowned for it’s excellent manufacturing capabilities, whilst Liverpool had long been a major city due to it’s port.

However, once the Manchester Ship Canal was built, ships were able to bypass Liverpool to carry goods directly to Manchester. The loss in jobs in Liverpool no doubt strengthened the hostilities between the two cities.

On the Pitch

The first match between the clubs was on 12 October 1895 which Liverpool won 7-1. There have been 152 league matches. Manchester United have won 58, Liverpool 51 and there have been 43 draws.

If anything the off field rivalries between the cities have been deepened by the great successes of the two clubs. Both clubs have had periods of dominance of English soccer and each of these periods has increased the rivalry between the clubs.

During the 1970’s and 80’s, Liverpool dominated English Football and to some extent European Football, winning 11 league titles and 4 European Cups.

The 1990’s onwards have belonged to Manchester United who also won 11 league titles as well as 2 European Cups.

Significantly in 2009, Manchester United equalled Liverpool’s long standing record of having won 18 League titles overall. The team that came second was…Liverpool. The competition between the two teams reached fever pitch during this season. No more proof of this was required than the ‘War of Words’ between the two club managers, Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez. The pair traded verbal blows as the season was heading to a thrilling climax.

Is this rivalry good or bad?

Well, in one sense the intensity of the rivalry spills over into deep hatred and irrational loathing not only from the fans, but from the players and managers too. Sometimes the personal insults that are thrown at each other seem to be going too far.

In another sense, however, you get the sense that it is this rivalry that really creates the massive amount of motivation to succeed. Both clubs are determined to be more successful than the other and this seeps through from the fans to the players to the manager to every person connected with the clubs. It could be argued that neither club would have been as successful as they have been without this fierce rivalry.

What of the future?

With both clubs on 18 league titles, the 2009/10 league season promises to be the most bitterly contested ever as neither team will want to live with the stigma of falling behind in the reckoning.

You can have your say on who is the greatest and also see what others think at the Football Duel.

As another season beckons, hold on to your seats and watch the next chapter of this fascinating rivalry unfold!

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