22 May 2016

Extreme wheels


 The recent blog story on the Cayman and wheels reminded me of a Hummer I saw on the street in Stuttgart in 2012. It had what must have been the ultimate in extreme wheels and tyres. This combo would not last a day on our roads here in NSW Australia or quite a few other places. The ride even on smooth German roads must be appalling. I am curious as to who owned it. As it was Stuttgart it could easily have been an automotive stylist-Mercedes or Porsche.
The odd thing is that apart from making a very strong "look at me" statement the wheels look pig ugly and would not look out of place on a horsedrawn wagon. All very odd.

18 May 2016

You know you are getting really old when.....


...your 9 year old grandaughter tells you that she really enjoys learning coding and that she wants to be an app developer when she grows up. I just hope she never asks me to help her with her coding homework.


16 May 2016

Nope

It rhymes with dope but that's too polite.
I am off to California tomorrow.It's the Californian primaries coming up. I'll make sure that I am nowhere near Trump if he's out campaigning.The whole Trump phenomenon terrifies me.The man is a neo-Nazi,a mysoginist,a rascist, a lying bully and yet he is gathering so much support. Just imagine if Trump were to become president of the US and with Putin an equally deranged sociopath running Russian and the appalling autocratic,narcisstic Xi running China we would have the three most powerful countries in the world run by men who are totally mentally unsuitable for the task.Terrifying.

13 May 2016

Let down and confused.




For years I have regarded National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry as one of the greatest living photographers. His photo of the Afghan girl -above- is one of the most recognised photos ever,up there with Annie Liebowitz's photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in bed and her photo of a nude and very pregnant Demi Moore.
Steve McCurry's work has been a major source of inspiration for my own photography and I have regarded him as a master craftsman who has produced many superb photos due to a combination of a wonderful eye,excellent technique,luck and patience.
But now a scandal has broken out. It seems as if Photoshop also plays a role in some of his photos. And not just a minor role.
Most photographers nowadays use Lightroom and/or Photoshop to adjust and optimise their photos-me included-but it does seem as if Steve McCurry has gone further than optimisation and has manipulated key elements of some of his photos-he has added and removed people and objects.
You can read the full story and see examples on Steve McCurry
To me his statement sounds evasive. Blaming the poor hapless technician for sloppy work totally misses the point. The issue surely is whether the lab technician should have been Photoshopping the photo in that way at all. McCurry can argue that he should be free to do what he wants with his own photos for his own use but where they are presented and published as photojournalism -as many of them are-then different rules apply. To me, and I am sure many others, the appeal of all of McCurry's photos is their apparent authenticity-the capturing of a scene or a person as he saw it at the instant the photo was taken.
To find out that the some of the scenes are not authentic is very disappointing. To me it is a breach of faith-verging on dishonesty.
Will the scandal damage McCurry's towering reputation? Time will tell but it's certainly left me feeling let down and confused but I guess that's the norm nowadays-too many let downs and too much confusion.
It's also prompted me to ask myself whether maybe I should not be trying to take better photos but instead just be learning to be better at using Photoshop.

The Rolling Road and Instagram

I have opened an Instagram account -@therollingroad to access a wider audience.This is up and running and is gaining momentum. If you already have an Instagram account check it out.If not opening an account is easy and it is free.

10 May 2016

On the Cayman and wheels .

Scott,an Aussie based in Dearborn,has just taken delivery of a Porsche Cayman. Over the years Scott's had a few Porsches on different continents including most recently a battered 944 - but he's been working towards this Cayman for some time.
As he is an automotive stylist you'd expect him to go for the biggest wheels - car stylists always doodle cars with enormous wheels- but he's chosen the 19" wheels because of the potholed roads around Dearborn.
The car looks gorgeous particularly in the dark blue and Scott has picked up a thing or two about photographing cars over the years. The photos were taken on an iPhone 5S.

I'd love a Cayman - particularly a GTS. I think of the Cayman as today's embodiment of the original ethos of the 911 whereas today's 911 is a bloated,overweight machine which may go like a scalded cat but it is just too big and the driving experience has been dumbed down and softened. I'd take a Cayman anyday over a current 911.
For years Porsche has held back on producing higher performance versions of the Cayman and supporting the Cayman in racing presumably out of a concern that the Cayman would cannibalise 911 sales. This stance is now softening and we have the GT4 and GTS versions and Caymans racing. There was a Cayman competing in the recent Bathurst 12 hour GT race here in Australia.

On the subject of wheels and tyres I reckon that I am seeing fewer cars with extreme wheel and tyre combinations around locally. Maybe the facts that on the increasingly under- maintained local roads the extreme wheels and tyres give an awful ride and instances of wheel damage are quite frequent are forcing drivers to go for smaller wheels and higher profile tyres.
Whilst some new high profile tyres were being fittted to one of my cars a few weeks back I asked the tyre shop owner how the fancy big custom wheels he sold stood up to local conditions. He explained that wheel damage was frequent -both bent rims and even fractured spokes  -and so owners who fitted the wheels and paired them with very low profile tyres inflated the tyres to 40-45psi (2.75-3.10 bar) to provide a harder cushion against road shocks to try and avoid wheel damage. The result was a bone jarring ride and odd handling - particularly in the wet. The price of fashion. A bit like extreme high heel shoes.




6 May 2016

Heads and Tails - more Rennsport

More photos from Rennsport 2016 in Australia.I was just about to clear out the unused junk photos from the weekend from the hard drive when I noticed a few more which are worth putting up.
I try and capture the atmosphere of the event in my motor sport photography nowadays. Jesse Alexander is probably,almost certainly,the greatest motor sport photographer. Looking at his period black and white shots you can almost feel that you are there. Many years ago I bought a second hand book of his detail photos-tyres in a pit-a toolbox-a spectator's lunch -driver's gear etc. It was a small volume in black and white. I remember that it was a quite expensive purchase but somewhere along the way I lost it and I have not been able to find or even get getails of another copy but it has provided me with inspiration ever since.









2 May 2016

Rennsport ramblings



Loading the car at dawn

A really great weekend at Rennsport Australia. Thanks to Porsche Australia and the team who put it together and in particular Alex Webster -organiser and competitor.
It wasn't Rennsport US and never can be but by Aussie standards it was big and very well attended on both days. And we had US Porsche outlaw personality Magnus Walker as a special guest. I really don't get the Magnus Walker phenomenon but each to his own. We even had Mark Webber but sadly only in cardboard cut out form. Perhaps next time Alex we can have a cardboard cut out of Magnus and a flesh and blood Mark?
The weather played games but came good both days. Saturday was a damp start but it soon cleared up to a hot and fine day.Sunday was a very wet start but again it cleared to a fine day and only a couple of the track events were on a damp track. 
The drive down early sunday morning was not fun in a big storm. I had my doubts about pushing on. In an early 911 on a motorway in a heavy storm is not a place you would choose to be.
I drove back and forth-a 220km round trip- both days to compete in the Show and Shine with my 2.2 911. So many great cars in the Show and Shine many of which I had not seen before.
For me the car of the show was Alex Webster's early 911 which looks as if it is a concours entry and which went so well in the Group S races with Alex at the wheel.
It was a really friendly,good natured event. It's at events like this that I realise how many local car enthusiast people I know and I really enjoyed catching up with so many of them. I even spotted some Carrera Cup people having fun. Well they were smiling but perhaps it was just wind.
With so many phones,cameras and tablets clicking away the event was recorded from every angle. If you want to see photos of the cars the local Porsche enthusiast swoon sites will be full of them as will Instagram.
My photos are really vignettes of the two days-just tastes of the atmosphere.I hope that you enjoy them.





























Yes this is the sartorially challenged Magnus Walker-right. I cannot see him getting into Singapore for Rennsport Singapore if they ever hold one.




29 Apr 2016

Mind the Gap


Whilst in Albany in SW Western Australia two weeks ago I visited the Gap near the old whaling station.See Postcards from WA  below.
The Gap is where the sea pounds into a large chasm/gap in the rocks.Even on a calm day such as when I visited the sea was roaring below. Apparently on a stormy day the waves crash into the Gap so fiercely that spray rises upto the top of the cliffs. Until three weeks ago the only way to see into the Gap was to climb right to the edge of the chasm. Not surprisingly many people have died there through accidents or suicide.
Now the WA National Parks have built a viewing platform which projects out over the Gap so that you can stand on it and peer down into the sea. The photo above was taken from the edge of the platform.
I was very fortunate that the platform had only opened the previous week. It is a spectacular engineering feat as it is anchored into fractured rocks and is apparently able to take the weight of 5 full sized elephants. Note to overseas readers whilst we do have exotic fauna in Australia elephants are not amongst them so there is no real prospect of this claim being tested.
The floor of the platform is a steel grid -not spooky and scratchable glass. Walking onto it feels normal. The good news is that there is absolutely no charge for going onto the platform-and they have not littered the surrounding area with security fencing and warning notices. It is all very tasteful and if you want to take the very considerable risk and climb out to the edge of the Gap then you can still do so.
When I went onto the platform my camera battery died and it was some walk back to the car so the only shot I managed to take was the one above. The photo of the platform below I have lifted from the Albany tourism website -see AMAZING ALBANY