29 Nov 2011


Now that the F1 season is finally over and the last race , the Brazilian GP , was the usual high speed procession-although it was won by an Australian- here's an antidote to the F1 blues . Jack Brabham drifting his Repco Brabham Tasman series car back in 1967.Real car control -- no fancy aids -- just three pedals - the accelerator being most useful for this piece of artistry- -a steering wheel and a gearlever and of course no wings and all the other nonsense which has turned modern F1 cars into cruise missiles with wheels .Pure magic . I'm glad that I was around to see cars being driven like this . Sorry Mark .

27 Nov 2011


I'm not at all into model cars but the German model manufacturer ,CMC, has just introduced a  model of the 1957 Ferrari race transporter -see
Owning the model would be more convenient and a lot cheaper than owning the real thing as the genuine article is a bit large for most garages.It has been totally restored and is now privately owned .It was at the 2010 Le Mans Classic where I photographed it .Also I've found a superb vintage photo of it in the paddock at Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix in 1960(?).
Apart from the garage problem to really enjoy your Ferrari transporter you need a few classic Ferraris to fill it which will really strain the budget .

25 Nov 2011


It's still raining so I have been searching the old files and doing some scanning ( my least favourite task) and I just came across this 1980's Ektachrome of the Seine .Then there were  working barges moored in the centre of the city .
These old Ektachromes really do have a lovely aging patina but it is a passing phase -soon they will be too far gone .

23 Nov 2011


It's pouring with rain here today and really quite cool . A marked contrast to the blistering heat of just a few days ago . So this afternoon we went to see BIll Cunningham New York .See It is a great documentary about a quite amazing man . Bill Cunningham is an 82 year old photographer who has two weekly spreads in the New York Times . He is a very active 82 year old who lives for fashion and photography . He is totally eccentric . He rides around New York on a bike and lives an extraordinarily spartan lifestyle and yet he mixes with the very rich and famous .and he seems to be perpetually laughing or smiling . He has a very positive attitude to life.

From a photographic point of view the amazing thing is that he uses a battered old manual Nikon SLR shooting colour negative film which he takes down to the local convenience store to get processed. He uses only one fixed lens( focal length not apparent but I suspect 35mm) and yet he shoots incredibly rapidly mainly on the streets of New York .Let's make that clear -- no autofocus -film - no power wind -- no program or auto exposure control . Here we have an 82 year old man getting dozens of photos every week into one of the world's greatest newspapers and he probably does not even know or care what a pixel is . He is a street photographer extraordinaire and his story is certainly one in the eye for all the internet "experts" who condemn the latest Panon GDX100 because it does not have a 24 megapixel sensor and its autofocus is slightly slower than the speed of light .

There is a sequence of Bill at the Chanel show in Paris during fashion week and there he is in a battered old jacket in the front row of this very prestigous event alongside photographers loaded with all the latest heavyweight digital camera gear and he is shooting away with his old Nikon handholding a very basic electronic flash unit .It is a salutory lesson for all photographers who somehow think that the latest and greatest gear is the key to great photographs or even those of us suffering from just a mild dose of GAS ( gear acquisition syndrome).
Anyway in a salute to Bill Cunningham here's a street photo of mine from Paris showing Parisiens enjoying lunch in Montmartre in June this year. Not taken with an old Nikon on film but the camera doesn't matter .I hope that you like it .

21 Nov 2011


Rob Scheeren from HD Images has photoshopped the 356 /Cavaco image -see earlier post-and eliminated the two modern cars . This is the result.

20 Nov 2011


I couldn't make the Porsche Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca ,California,last month.By all accounts I missed a fabulous event.Next time .
Friend,Justin, made the trip ,with his newly acquired Canon G12 ,and came back with photos which show both the fabulous cars and the fabulous weather.
I'm jealous but Le Mans was fantastic ....

18 Nov 2011


Here's a closer shot of that beautiful 356 Continental featured in the Porsche Shop below.Lots of great details,16" wheels -- very narrow tyres , wind deflector ,the aux lamps ,the elegant mirror and the Continental side badge.

15 Nov 2011


Two days -two Porsche shops .Monday- Autowerks in Charmhaven a taxi run for Brett so that he could pick up his 68 swb 911 after yet more work . Today,Tuesday, in Sydney at Cavacos- just a social visit to say "hi "to Carlos as I was passing. And there was this absolutely beautiful lhd 356 Continental in the shop .The first that I had ever seen .Cavacos looks just like a classic garage -- I've tried to crop it to leave out the two moderns but it unbalances the shot. .Canon G9 photos.

14 Nov 2011


The photo on the new header above was taken on an classic car rally in March 2006 somewhere between Gundagai and Cootamundra in SW NSW , Australia.We had made an enforced stop to allow the navigator to check his calculations-again. It was taken on a Leica Digilux 1 and is a Photoshop panorama stitch of 3 images .The white smoke in the distance on the rh side was either a grass fire or stubble being burnt off -- probably the latter.


12 Nov 2011


                                                       You can almost smell the oil.Leica X1 photo.

10 Nov 2011


 From my archives .Taken at Brands Hatch in the late 60's. Lotus guru,Roger Putnam ,reckons that they are Lotus 44 Formula 2 cars .Can anyone identify the team ?
I love the casualness of it all .Parts and tools all over the place and the spectators wandering freely . So different to today .

Roger sent me the photo below with an explanation as follows

"Here I am in  a Lotus 51 of Formula Ford fame, a development of the Lotus 22 Formula Junior car.

It is of interest because the guy on the left is Firmin Dauwe, the Belgian National Motorcycle Champion in the '50's who changed to cars and famously won the Paris 1000 kms at Montlehry in 1966 in a Lotus Elan against all the big beasts of the day - Cobras, 275LM's etc. It was a streaming wet race and the Elan outhandled all the other cars. Firmin's co-driver was a fellow Belgian, Jean Blaton, who raced under the 'nom de course' of Berlys so that his parents didn't know he was racing. It's in fact Firman's 'Herbert Johnson Gentleman's Racing Helmet' that I'm wearing. Stirling Moss raced in the same model helmet. Blaton was later injured in a semi-works Ferrari he was sharing with Willie Mairesse at Le Mans."

9 Nov 2011


Whilst in the US recently I dropped my Canon G9 in a car park  .Although it fell face down it showed no sign of physical damage and I thought that my luck had held but it was not to be .It was not operating so I was faced with a dilemma -do I repair or replace?.It would be easy to just buy a G12 but there is something very appealing about the feel of the G9 which has ,I believe, been somewhat diluted in the G12. Many of the recent photos on this blog were taken with a Canon G7 or the Canon G9 . 
Between 1968 and 2007 I was a dedicated Leica user although during that time I also used an Olympus OM2 SLR and in the later years a Canon EOS 5 SLR .I dabbled in digital early on thanks to winning a very early Kodak digital camera in 2001 in a photo competition .I followed this up with a Leica Digilux 1- an early Leica/Panasonic digital camera -in 2003 but I was still using both my Leica M6 and Canon EOS 5 film cameras with their bag full of lenses for much of my photograph.

When the Canon G7 was announced in 2006 I decided to go digital ,downscale and never to carry a  heavy bag load of camera equipment around ever again so I purchased a new G7 and last year I bought a G9 -off ebay for $350 .

I sold my Leica M6 outfit in 2008 as I was not using it . I do some regrets about selling it as it was so beautiful but I know that I would have probably never used it again.
  Both Canons have proved to be great cameras --metal body- very robust ( well unless you drop them onto concrete)-- totally reliable -compact -a useful zoom range--with an optical viewfinder( very important to me ) and capable of turning out good images .
I love those Canons  and they have both served me very well --I have taken thousands of  photos with them.However if you are not concerned about the optical viewfinder and you need an even smaller camera than the G series friends have been getting great results --some of which have appeared on the blog--from the Canon S90 and the later S95 .In terms of performance/size/price both the S and G series cameras from Canon are outstanding  .

For me there are only really two issues with the Canons and the first is an issue common with almost all compact cameras is that they have very small sensors  and subsequently very short focal length lenses .The amount of data collected by these small sensors nowadays is extraordinary but in the end the sensors are a limitation on image quality as you can see when you compare a large photo taken on a large sensor DSLR camera with an image taken on a compact camera .This is true particularly on high speed settings in low light conditions where the sensors generate a lot of "noise" although  the G12 and the S90/95 apparently perform better than the G9 in those conditions.
The second issue is that the short focal length lenses fitted to compact cameras give great depth of field which is fine when you want everything in the photo to be sharp from foreground to distant horizon but not good when you don't .
Compact cameras are great but they are limiting if you are looking for absolute outstanding image quality and more photographic control particularly on depth of field but as with most things in life you don't get something for nothing and I'm over big camera bags .
To tackle the outstanding image quality issue I bought a Leica X1 earlier this year . My struggles with this camera have been documented earlier  see but it does produce extraordinary quality images. However for all round capability ,in particular having by not having a zoom lens, it does not come close to the Canons .
Luckily the G9 was fixed for a reasonable cost (A$160)so it lives to carry on taking  photos.

7 Nov 2011


Friend Patrick popped down to Paris from Brussels for the weekend ( lucky boy) and sent me this evocative autumnal Seine shot taken on his Canon S90.This prompted me to dig in the archives to find these Paris shots taken by me in the mid 80's on a Leica M4P .

6 Nov 2011


A beautiful warm morning .Good turnout for a  run up to Kulnara . Not too much traffic . Countryside looked great up the Yarramalong Valley .I managed to get a good ,clean and very fast run up the challenging and very bumpy Bumble Hill - and downhill on the way back .Some beautifully turned out cars . Love the viper green Targa and the 356 .I gave the 2.7 an outing .The aircon was appreciated on the way home .
Thanks for all who turned out . Most enjoyable.

3 Nov 2011


I could not resist posting this . Taken early morning in Paris back in June .The restaurant owner was putting out the garbage bin and his dog was anxiously waiting for him to return.Leica X1photo.


        Seen in the camp site ,Le Mans 2011. Don't get it? Say the name a couple of times and think bikes--motorbikes.

2 Nov 2011


If you drive an early, pre 1973, Porsche wearing a pair of Piloti driving shoes is  very cool and I understand that most wearers claim that they are worth at least another 5kw . I am not sure about the "old Jaguar driver" courdroy pants though-- they probably more than negate any horsepower gains from the shoes.