19 May 2012


 Whenever I go for my early morning exercise walk I see a hardy group go ocean swimming from Terrigal Beach at dawn.Mostly they are seniors .Apparently there are those who swim nearly very day of the year , come rain or shine,and it takes a heavy sea to stop them.In the last few weeks it has been very cold at dawn ( well very cold by Terrigal standards) although  the sea is still unusually warm and they still turn out. There is one man who has been taking his bracing swim in the dark every morning for 40 years. They seem to have no fear of early morning sharks feeding and they swim a fair distance.Good on them.
We are having the driest May since 1850 after a very wet and cool summer . It has not rained for over 21 days and the days are gloriously warm after cold nights.It needs to rain soon as our water tanks are running low and the garden is gasping
Photograph taken earlier this week on a loan Fuji X100.
I am not about to become an X100 fanboy like so many others.Too many options, functions and too many buttons for me and after having had real Leicas for so many years I find the faux Leica retro styling just too "twee".


The Rolling Road is about to hit the road to Gemany and France for a few weeks .If the technology cooperates I will try to post from time to time as I go but please excuse the inevitable breaks.


  Steve McCurry has taken one of the most iconic photos ever see Afghan girl.
He has had hundreds of photos published in National Geographic and other publications and has published a number of books  books of his photos.He was chosen by Kodak to shoot the last roll of Kodachrome ever produced see KODACHROME
I've just been looking at  current set of photos--called Solitude and Silence on his blog site SteveMcCurry Blog
They are superb.And read the wonderful quotes between the images.
He is a superb photographer.

17 May 2012


 Literally a face lift .Some cynics would say that it is now better looking than the original .


I did not take this photo but I wish I had- although the chances of finding me in a church during a service are very remote.It was taken by friend,Patrick Wheeler, last Sunday,Mother's Day,in a Russian Orthodox church in the Ardennes,Belgium.Patrick believes that the picture shows the priest accompanying his mother.
The composition and the light are great and it was taken on a little Canon S90.
I copied the colour image he sent me and converted it into monochrome and then cropped it in Lightroom.Patrick is not keen on the monochrome but I believe that it makes the photo.
If you read most of the numerous photo blogs and websites currently and in particular the usually banal forums and comment columns accompanying them you could easily form the impression that unless you owned one of this year's hot new cameras and are taking multi megapixel images then really there is no point in taking photographs.This photo proves yet again that it's the photographer not the gear that counts.On this subject see the thoughtful post by Kirk Tuck on his Visual Arts blog seePick up your camera and head out the door

15 May 2012


No -it's not a misspelling -Monochrom without the "e" is German for monochrome and that is the nomenclature of the latest Leica camera- the Leica M Monochrom which was announced last week.It costs $8000 -$1000 more than the M9 on which it is based and yet it only takes monochrome -( black and white) images -no colour. That's right $1000 more than the already incredibly expensive M9 .And that is just for the camera body-no lens .
 Leica have obviously been to the Porsche school of pricing where stripped down versions of the 911 without aircon and sound system and rear seats etc cost more than the standard car .
The M Monochrom proves that the Germans do have a sense of humour because this and the price of their new $7000 50mm lens (yes $7000 for a lens) are a big joke.

Reports say that the images produced by the M are superb and the well respected Luminous Landscape website is very enthusiastic about it .But the M9 takes superb images and this I am sure equally applies to the black and white images it produces .With most digital cameras,above the basic level,you usually have the option of taking black and white images and in any case nowadays most black and white images are colour originals converted by post processing software such as Photoshop,Silver Efex and Lightroom.

I love Leica gear-I've owned a lot of it over 44 years .My Leica X1 compact produces beautiful images but pricing like Leica have just announced will put the brand totally out of reach of all but a tiny number of very rich buyers .My feeling is that the M Monochrom will  prove to be a commercial white elephant spurned not because it is not a clever idea and a great camera but because Leica have been too greedy in their pricing-way too greedy.They are out with the pixies.

As my personal contribution to some balance in the monochrome world a shot from Paris in monochrome and its colour original .Taken on a Canon G7 in colour and converted in Lightroom.At today's pricing on ebay you can buy 53 Canon G7's for the price of just one M Monochrom body.If you threw in one of the new lenses with the M for the price of this colour blind camera with a fixed lens you'd be able to buy over 100 G7's -and they'd all have zoom lenses and shoot colour as well .Not really a fair and valid comparison-bit like comparing a well used MX5 with a new Porsche Boxster S- but food for thought nonetheless.

12 May 2012


THE VENUE   Ron Goodman's Exclusive Bodyworks.Granville,NSW,Australia.
THE DATE      Saturday May 12th 2012.
THE EVENT   Unveiling Ron's latest spectacular Outlaw 356 race
THECROWD  356 and early 911A-listers with a few early 911 B-listers - incl me
THE MUSIC    A low hum of appreciative comments

THE BUZZ      356,356,356 inside and early 911 on the street.
THE FOOD     Traditional Aussie tucker By Ron Goodman Catering.
THE VIBE       What a great way to spend a Saturday morning.Thanks Ron.

10 May 2012


Back in the late 80's and through the 90's I was a regular traveller between Sydney and London.In June 1989 I was on one of the first flights of the then newly introduced Singapore Airlines 747 400 flying from London to Singapore over Russian airspace when the captain came for a walk through the cabin and had a chat with me and he invited me upto the flight deck something which would never happen nowadays and may never happen again in my lifetime thanks to 911.
I took my Leica M6 and a 28mm lens and a cassette of Kodak Ektapress 1600 colour negative film and grabbed a few photos whilst I was there .I would have liked the shot to have had much greater depth of field but as I only had available the very low flight deck lights I focussed just on the control panel and opened the lens up to f2.8 and exposed it at 1/10th of a sec hand held as I braced myself against the cockpit door .That's the captain on the left .
The flight crew were pretty edgy about flying through Russian airspace -a route which had only just started--this was still the cold war era-because as they explained that some of the air traffic controllers did not speak English and some were perhaps asleep on the job as they could not be roused- it was the middle of the night.Back in 1983 the Russians had shot down a Korean Airlines 747 which had accidentally strayed into Soviet airspace The grand circle route took us up over Sweden and Finland and then right down over Russia and into Singapore.
I had the film push processed to ISO 3200 when I was back in Sydney.It is very grainy but stands as a unique photo of a sadly departed era.

8 May 2012


A friend has just purchased a new cream Mini diesel which she is very excited about .It reminds me of my first car,purchased in 1968,which was a Austin Mini Traveller(a Mini station wagon - basically a Mini van with windows and bits of wood screwed on the outside) in Old English White-a sort of cream .It was a mere 850cc and it was tiny and it was slow and it was well used when I bought it in 1968.I came across this doppelganger(apart from the LHD)totally restored example at the Great British Car Welcome at St Saturnin at Le Mans 2011.If you are visiting the Le Mans 24 hour race next month you have to go to St Saturnin a few kms to the N of Le Mans on the Friday before the race. It is literally a French village fair for old cars and it is just wonderful.
Looking at the Mini Traveller today I just cannot believe we travelled long distances in such a tiny car.Times and expectations have changed .

6 May 2012


Beautiful autumn weekend weather here.Went buying plants at a nursery sale on Saturday and came across this wonderful dog waiting patiently.A heavy crop from a Leica X1 DNG(RAW) image processed in Lightroom.It may be a pretty weird camera but the lens and sensor are just sensational.Now if only the rest of it was as good.......

5 May 2012


                            Dawn surfer -Terrigal Beach,NSW,Australia,Saturday May 5th,
                           Canon G9 photo

3 May 2012


Regular followers of this blog will know that I have been a passionate advocate of compact cameras and minimal gear . In fact in the last few months I have been selling off all my Canon film gear including the lenses because I knew that I would never be using them again .And I sold most of my Leica gear back in 2008.
Today I flipped and went out and bought myself a great big heavy camera and a couple of very heavy lenses . Even worse it is a film camera.
What's happened ? Well I've always had a yearning to own a Hasselblad - see recent post. And friend Roger over in the UK prompted by my post went and found himself a tidy 'Blad for a good price a couple of days ago.This really set me thinking and searching the internet I found that I could buy a very nice 'Blad here in Sydney for very little money . So I gave into temptation and bought the outfit. This is a real camera with lenses which feel as if they were forged in a German steelworks .It is not a pathetic little computer in a tiny black plastic box masquarading as a camera.This is photography on an industrial scale . And it is that slow to operate that it calls for a really contemplative approach to taking a picture .A totally different sort of photography to digital image capturing.
Now I have to find some film-- via the internet- and hopefully soon I will be able to feature some photos taken with a Swedish camera through German lenses on film.
Watch this space.

2 May 2012


Just playing around I quickly converted the photo of the Home Comfort Hotel in St Elmo from the previous post to a "vintage" shot using Lightroom and Snapseed.So many tools so little time.


Some Kodachromes from a wonderful Land Rover trip in Colorado back in 1993. These show the then virtually abandoned silver mining town of St Elmo and the Tin Cup Pass .Researching it today it seems it is much more accessible which probably means that St Elmo is no longer so abandoned .Maybe the Home Comfort Hotel is now an eco resort. Photos on a Leica M6-28mm lens- on Kodachrome -using a polarising filter .

1 May 2012


I'm not usually into posting links to You Tube videos and you may well already have seen this one but if not it really is worth a look .It is extremely well done .The logistics of organising amateurs over a considerable distance for one 10 minute,unbroken take must have been enormous.It is bright,happy,original and above all else clever.
Take a look at One Long Take


One event I'd love to do is the Tour Auto .All I need is the right car and the money.Any wealthy patrons/sponsors out there ? It will go to a really good cause-me having a good time.And I'll put your logo on the car.

Anyway for a great account and some great photos see TOUR AUTO 2012

This account seems to have everything--France-fantastic classic cars-many Porsches-classic racetracks-great food and a dashing driver.
Maybe she needs a co-driver for next year's event ? No -- well how about someone to carry your bags or just check the oil Gabriele?