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31 Dec 2010

THE STUFF OF DREAMS

I am not into boats so it is surprising that one of my best days in 2010 -- out of many great days -- was with friends on their beautiful wooden boat on Lago di Trasimeno which forms part of the border between Tuscany and Umbria in Italy .
The boat was built in Leeds,UK,by Marine Classics and although it was ordered with a 260hp V8 Mercruiser the lake was declared a conservation area and maximum power restricted to 40hp before construction started. So a quick redesign turned it into a semi displacement hull powered by a 40hp Lombardini diesel !
None of this mattered on a scorching hot day as we crossed the mirror smooth lake for a great lunch at a waterside restaurant on a small island .I could have been in a vintage Riva powered by a V8 .It doesn't get much better than that.
Thanks John and Jackie .


30 Dec 2010

29 Dec 2010

LOST IN TRANSLATION -SHANGHAI

                   
                                  

LOST IN TRANSLATION -TOKYO

                                             

27 Dec 2010

AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX -1980


Austrian Grand Prix ,Osterreichring ,Zeltweg ,1980 .
I was fortunate to get a helicopter flight over this wonderful circuit as the cars were assembling on the grid for the start.
Compare this beautiful,challenging and picturesque circuit with the characterless circuits used for grand prix in the Middle and Far East nowadays.There is absolutely no comparison .

26 Dec 2010

ON THE LIMIT


My hands on the wheel in my 1971 Porsche 911T cruising on the speed limit on the Pacific Highway, northern NSW, Australia .

23 Dec 2010

WHAT BIG EYES YOU HAVE

    WRC Red Bull Citroen Racing C4 at Rally of Australia ,Northern Rivers, NSW    September 2009

22 Dec 2010

SEEN ON THE STREET NYC

 Two very different symbols of the US separated by a few metres physically and 80 years in time . The  fire hydrant on the side of a westside apartment building -proudly cast in the USA and polished regularly by the building's maintenance staff . The window sticker is on a beaten up old Honda parked right nearby.

THEY GLOW IN THE DARK


The brake discs of a Toyota GT1 glow in the dark as it brakes entering the Esses du Tetre Rouge during the 1998 Le Mans 24 hour race .

20 Dec 2010

IT'S THE PITS


Hot , humid Saturday afternoon ,Sept 12th 1981 . A break in the practice session for the Italian the F1 Grand Prix at Monza Autodrome ,Italy . A pit pass and one spare cassette of Kodachrome in my pocket . Happiness defined . So different to a grand prix today .

ABARTH-CARRERA PORSCHE


      Abarth-Carrera Porsche- late afternoon- Sears Point Raceway ,California .

SCREAMER


A Mazda 767C on the pit straight at the 1989 Le Mans . The 4 rotor Wankel engined car made a very loud, distinctive sound . A Mazda finished 7th in 1989 and won in 1991  .

19 Dec 2010

RIVETS

   
Douglas DC3 Dakota . Cooktown Airport,FNQ ,Australia.

PARKING


Right upto the 1980's Citroen 2CVs were very common on French roads ,particularly in the country ,and then they disappeared very rapidly .I spotted this one in St Germain in Paris in July.It certainly sports more than a few Parisien parking "love taps" but then look at how it is parked - c'est magnifique!

16 Dec 2010

IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD


The daily 10.00 am Cathay Pacific flight from New York to Hong Kong flies a great circle route in daylight . Up the east coast of the US and Canada over Greenland skirting the Arctic ice and then down over Russia , Mongolia and China and into Hong Kong . On the 1st October this year it was a cloudless day for the first 8  hours . The view from the window was extraordinary . This shot taken at 37000 ft shows the edge of Greenland . The aircraft flew for hours over total wilderness . Not a sign of human activity . It is indeed a wonderful world .And a big thank you Cathay Pacific for having such clean , scratch free windows .

15 Dec 2010

TOM WALKINSHAW

Tom Walkinshaw died on 12th December at the age of 64 .
Tom was a tough, dour Scotsman and he sometimes pushed the envelope particularly in his business dealings later in his career.He could best be described as a controversial figure.
 I dealt with Tom on a number of occasions and I always found him fair and good to deal with .
I have pulled a few images from my collection as a tribute to Tom . The first shows Tom exiting from his XKS and Win Percy climbing in at a pit stop during the 1985 Bathurst 1000 race which another Walkinshaw XJS, driven by John Goss and Armin Hahne won .The second image shows Tom in an XJS in full flight  at Zolder competing in a round of the ETCC .
 And as a postscript  a picture of a Group C TWR Jaguar passing the pits at Le Mans .
Thanks Tom you gave us some really great racing and racing cars.

13 Dec 2010

MORE TAILS......AND NOSES

Tails at Porsche Club NSW Concourse , Clontarf , Sydney 2009 . Noses at Wine Country Classic , Sears Point Raceway ,Sanoma ,California June 2005 .

JELLYMOULD RACER



I have always had a soft spot for small cars -the original Mini , the Citroen 2 CV , the Fiat 500 and the Renault 4CV --  marketed as the Renault 750 in English speaking markets . I particularly like the 4CV because I am a Francophile and it has a friendly "jellymould" shape . You don't often see them outside France although a few weeks ago I saw a pristine RHD example just down the road from home in NSW .
At the Le Mans Classic in July this year there was this magnificent cabriolet 4CV on display .Probably the work of a specialist coachbuilder it is very pretty but if I was going to spend serious money to build a cabriolet a 4CV would not have been my base vehicle but someone 50 years ago thought that it was a good idea and each to his own .
Also spotted were these wonderful period accessory trim pieces on the side air intakes on one 4CV .
In the early 50's Renault 4CVs were regular competitors in the Le Mans 24 hour race competing in the 500-750cc class and also the Index of Performance - a special category devised by the Le Mans organisers to ensure that a French car always won a prize . Indeed in 1951 Messrs Landon and Briat won the 500-750 cc class in their 4CV . Imagine doing 24 hours in that tiny car and literally buzzing down the Mulsanne Straight flat out in the dark at 110-120kmh with two tiny rear lights and massive Jaguars , Astons, Cunninghams et al bearing down on you at twice your speed . One touch and the 4 CV would have been in orbit .The speed differential must have been terrifying .They would have driven the whole race with one eye on the track ahead and the other on the rear view mirror .

10 Dec 2010

TIMES HAVE CHANGED....


This is an interesting photo on a number of levels . Firstly it was taken by me at a club meeting at Goodwood Circuit in the UK in 1960 . I was 14 at the time and I travelled there with a school friend by public transport from N Surrey . The journey took us over 3 hours by public transport in each direction and involved a complex journey . We were keen -- and it was only a club meeting . Secondly it was one of the first films I developed myself . The film was hung up to dry in our garden shed -- hence the specks of dirt embedded in the emulsion . It was taken on a very basic Halina 35X 35mm camera on Ilford FP3 film .
Finally the most interesting part is the photo itself . It shows a Le Mans start where at the fall of the flag the competitors run across the track and climb it into their cars . The Le Mans 24 hour race abandoned this procedure in 1970 on safety grounds as it meant that drivers neglected to put on their safety harnesses before roaring off . No such worries for these drivers . The cars did not have seat belts yet alone safety harnesses . Also check out the "race gear" worn by the drivers . Cork motorcycle type helmets and bare arms and pants/trousers tucked into their socks .Times certainly have changed .

8 Dec 2010

RED TAILS IN THE SUNRISE


Always carry a camera . I was in transit at Zurich Airport early on a beautiful morning last July when I saw this line up of red tails from the window of the gate lounge .OK -it's not cool and it's chocolate box material but what do you expect from a photo taken in Switzerland ?

7 Dec 2010

VALE- KODACHROME 1935-2009

If you have any unexposed and in date Kodachrome film shoot it fast because at the end of December Dwayne's Photo of Parsons, Kansas , USA , the last Kodachrome processing laboratory in the world will stop processing the film . Kodak made the last Kodachrome film last year . So the shutter has clicked for the last time on one of photography's iconic products .Kodachrome was launched in 1935 and in the following 74 years it was the colour film of choice for generations of keen amateurs and professional photographers - still and movie .
Kodachrome was exceptionally sharp and was renowned for its vivid colours -- "Kodachrome " colours . Paul Simon even sang a song about it . It was also very stable . In my photo archive the old colour negatives and Ektachrome/Fujichrome slides are fading and discolouring but the Kodachromes retain their original brilliance . Who knows but given the lack of attention to archiving today's electronic images maybe in two hundred year's time all that will remain of today's images will be Kodachrome slides ?
 Despite its considerable strengths Kodachrome had some real weaknesses . It was slow . Originally only the equivalent of today's 10 ISO it speeded up to 25 for its peak years and was later available as 64 and a high speed 200 which was a lesser performer .
It was also very expensive . A 36 exposure 35mm cassette cost the equivalent of a sizeable memory card today .
Processing was a complex task and it could only be processed by Kodak's own laboratories originally although later independent laboratories came on stream although these were mainly in the USA . So processing the film involved posting the film in a little wrapper and then waiting patiently for a week or longer - often a lot longer if the lab was overseas- for the little box of slides to return by mail . Worse still the slides sometimes went astray in the post or were mixed up in the lab . Kodak in the UK had a small staff locating and redirecting incorrect slides . Imagine the angst caused by finding that the eagerly anticipated "once in a lifetime" shots of the last Tasmanian tiger had inadvertantly been switched for Auntie Beth's slides of her Caribbean cruise! Not a situation today's digital photographers face .
Another major weakness was also that the film had very little latitude in terms of exposure . Correctly exposed images were beautiful however even a little under or overexposure resulted in very dark/black or very washed out slides .



Because primarily of the expense I shot a limited amount of Kodachrome over the years . Some of the images which best display its qualities are these shots of the Australian Unipart Racing Formula 5000 McLaren Leyland taken by me in 1978 . Scanning them in was a breeze as they are as bright and clear as the day the little box of slides dropped through my letterbox.
If anyone reading this has any similarly representative Kodachrome images they wish to share please contact me via the comments and I will publish them.

6 Dec 2010

VINGT QUATRE HEURES DU MANS



It's only 7 months to the 2011 Le Mans 24 hour race . If you are a motor sport enthusiast and you have never been to the Le Mans 24 hours add it to your bucket list and make sure you go- once-or more . It is something very special .There is literally no other race like it . These images are of the 2009 race .

ANZAC BRIDGE , SYDNEY


It has to be early on a Sunday morning to catch the Anzac Bridge this empty nowadays.

2 Dec 2010

TOKYO SUBWAY


J'AIME PARIS-1





There are thousands of reasons to love Paris . Just turn a corner and there is something different .A burnt out scooter abandoned unloved . A beautifully preserved restaurant . A quirky microcar on one of the most famous boulevards .A stunning panorama .