29 Oct 2015

More Chromefest

More photos from Chromefest 2015.
See bottom photos.How about the patina on those trucks? Not so long ago any qualifying rusty barn or paddock find would have been restored to a better than new condition. Now it's all about the patina. Craig-bottom two photos-explained that his truck had spent 60 years in a paddock way out in the outback and in the very dry air the rust had developed as a beautiful patina across the whole body.The truck cab had been dropped onto a more modern chassis and running gear and hey presto a running and very usable patinated truck.
Now there are preservation classes at the world's most prestigous concours at Pebble Beach,USA, and all those owners who over the years have spent millions totally overrestoring old wrecks are crying into their beer.The days of overrestoration are over now it is "sympathetic light restoration" or "leave it as found".

25 Oct 2015

Chromefest -2015.Hot rods and rock and roll.

It was the annual Chromefest at The Entrance,NSW this weekend. The event gets bigger every year. The weather was great -hot but not too hot. Brilliant sunshine is not the photographer's friend but I should not complain.This year 1950s/60s fashions were everywhere - dressing the part seems to be really gaining momentum.
As The Entrance is only 25 mins drive from home I went on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Photographing just the hot rods can be boring and so same/same and the people interest me much more. It's easy to take a lot of junk photos at these events.  As always I used my technique of asking with a smile whether I could take a photograph and I did not get a single refusal. Such nice people. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. A fun way to spend a weekend.
My take on hot rods and rock and roll downunder.Photos LeicaX1 and XVario.More photos to follow.

22 Oct 2015

A French photo

It has to be France.The buildings with all those shutters and the 2CV.Taken in the old part of Le Mans.There used to be 2CVs everywhere.Now most have gone.The tin worm is at work on this one and it too will be gone in a few more years.Rust never sleeps.France without 2CVs.Unthinkable.

20 Oct 2015


I recently I came across this photo taken three years ago of dusk falling over Manhattan.Taken with the Leica X1 from the roof of a hotel on Broadway.

New York City must rank second only to Paris in terms of the most photographed city in the world and as a tourist it is difficult to avoid taking the cliche shots. Elevated views of Manhattan are invairably taken from tourist helicopters,the observation decks of the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Centre and more recently the Hi-Line Walkway.This shot is from a more unusual viewpoint. From up here the roofs look cluttered and in many cases the water tanks look about to fall apart but also there are a few interesting gardens and roof terraces.

This is a photo I totally overlooked at the time when I returned from the overseas trip. The first time I really looked at it properly was last week. It makes a good case for not being too hasty when junking photos from a trip.

Racer's heaven

I watched the most exciting motor race I have ever seen in my life last Sunday.The Australian Moto GP at Phillip Island.Words cannot describe it.It was everything modern F1 is not. If you get a chance watch a video of it. Extraordinary.

17 Oct 2015

Racing mutterings

I watched the horrific crash during qualifying for last weekend's Bathurst 1000- see BATHURST CRASH -and saw how effective the safety features were. Yes,the driver,Chaz Mostert,received serious injuries-a badly broken leg and wrist-but it could have been much worse.The car and the driver protection features performed well and the catch fencing stopped the car going over the wall which would have been much more serious. It also protected the marshal's post although one marshal suffered some injuries.
Motor sport safety has been transformed in the last 50 years. In my archives I found this photo I took of Swiss driver Jo Siffert at the 1968 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. Siffert was driving a private entry-Rob Walker's Lotus 49 and he won the race by 4 seconds from Chris Amon in a Ferrari. Rob Walker was the heir to the Johnny Walker whisky fortune and he was a very succesful private team owner. Stirling Moss drove for him in Lotus and Cooper open wheelers and also in a Ferrari 250 GTO.
In those times drivers were not just F1 drivers they drove sports cars,F1 cars and often touring cars.Siffert was primarily a sports car driver and he was often a Porsche driver.Today's F1 drivers are almost always restrained to F1 at least until they retire from F1 although Force India F1 team driver Nico Hulkenberg is a recent rare exception as he was one of the drivers in this year's Le Mans 24 hour winning Porsche 919.
Next year the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa will coincide with the Le Mans 24 hour race.Cynics may suggest that Bernie Ecclestone has done this to ensure that no F1 drivers can compete at Le Mans.Even more cynical people may suggest that this move is designed to undermine the spectator numbers at the Spa race thereby hastening its demise so that it can be replaced by a grand prix on some fly blown sandpit circuit in a kingdom where no one is interested in any form of racing except camel racing.Or maybe Bernie is angling to give an F1 GP to North Korea.He likes states with strong/autocratic leaders (Vlad Putin is a good mate) although executing-by anti aircraft gun- your uncle/defence minister for falling asleep during one of your speeches maybe a bit too strong even for Bernie. Personally I am sure that there good reasons for this clash of dates as Bernie always has the interests of the sport and the enthusiasts at heart and personal financial considerations almost never influence his decisions.

The 1968 British Grand Prix  was the last time a private entry won a F1 Grand Prix.Lots of points of interest in the photo. Firstly the ungainly wings on the car. Really crude and soon banned in this configuration.No attention was paid to crash performance in the design of the F1 cars at that time. Today's F1 cars have to meet rigorous crash performance standards which is why so often driver's literally walk away from major accidents.
The lack of sponsorship and advertising on the car. The marshal's and photographers standing trackside with minimal protection. The lack of catch fencing. I took the photo leaning over the very rudimentary picket fence. If a car had cartwheeled at this point it would have easily gone straight into the crowd.
The Guards brand cigarette advertising hoarding.The advertisement for BOAC VC10-BOAC has morphed into BA -British Airways-- and the Vickers VC10 airliner is long gone
Jo Siffert has gone-killed in an accident at Brands Hatch two years later. Rob Walker is gone but Lotus is still here although the F1 team is no longer owned by the Lotus car company. Chris Amon is still with us -retired in his native New Zealand.

One thing has not changed.I took this photo on a Leica 3A camera fitted with a 50mm f2.8 Elmar lens. I still have that camera and I still use Leica cameras but of course they are now digital. Now the photo would be in colour but in 1968 colour films were very slow and very expensive so I used black and white which I processed myself.Below is a photo of the Leica-it was already 30 years old when I took the photo at Brands Hatch.I have not put a film through it for many years but I am amazed at how difficult it is to load and use.Times have changed.

15 Oct 2015

Walking the dogs

Walking the dogs on Terrigal beachfront at 6.20 this morning.Another glorious day coming up.

14 Oct 2015

Over the hills and far away

Did a 292 km roundtrip fast drive today on combination of great but rough minor roads,main roads and motorway in convoy with Craig in his 2.4S 911.
I took my 1977 2.7 because the very slight miss which had been cured some weeks ago has returned.I suspect another fouled plug. Even after today's hard driving it has not totally cleared. Accessing the plugs is not easy so another trip to the Porsche whisperer will have to be on the schedule. I am a little concerned that there maybe some undiagnosed issue causing the plug fouling but the car is not smoking or showing any other adverse symptoms so maybe it is just a coincidence that it has happened twice recently.
When Craig and I did a backroads drive a few weeks ago I took my 1971 2.2 and I was able to stay with him despite my car being down on power compared to his. However I really struggled to stay with him today on the many winding sections. The 2.7 is heavier than the 2.2 (aircon,impact bumpers,galvanised body,sound system etc) and the CIS fuel injection does not have the immediate throttle response of the Webers. Pulling out of corners the 2.2 just gains revs immediately like an electric motor. The 2.7 is not as responsive. The brakes on the 2.2 are also sharper whereas on the 2.7 you feel that they are stopping a heavier car. On the plus side the fuel economy on the 2.7 is so much better than the 2.2.With on and off the throttle driving the 2.2 gulps fuel.
We stopped for lunch at Enzos  in the Hunter Valley where this photo was taken.The cars were cooling down in the shade.

12 Oct 2015

Rennsport overload

Rennsport Reunion has just been held at Laguna Seca in California.If you are a Porsche fan you will know all about Rennsport.If you are not by way of explanation it is a massive gathering of racing and other Porsches held every 4 years on either the east or west coast of the US. It is the premier event for Porsche enthusiasts worldwide.
As always a large contingent went from Australia -a few to race and most to spectate and soak up the atmosphere.
I did not go.Two trips to the US already this year combined with the sad state of the A$ against the US$ meant that I stayed at home.
There is no shortage of photos of the event all over the many Porsche sites on the web and the Instagram servers must be groaning from Porsche photo overload. Pelican Parts ,a major Porsche parts seller in the US, has posted 2500 Rennsport photos on their site.Gulp. A little editing would have gone down well there. Even the most dedicated Porsche fan must be suffering from Rennsport Reunion photograph overload by now .
Anyway friend Justin went and he has shared some of his Rennsport photos with me. Fortunately they are less numerous and I have picked just a few for a less Porsche view of the Reunion. Even the dog seems to be saying-"not another damn Porsche,please".
One photos - the first one -is a standout shot for me. Beautiful light and a delightful setting and atmosphere. Definitely the best Rennsport photo I have seen.Thanks Justin.

Justin uses a Canon G12 for his photos.The Canon G cameras are great little cameras.When I was looking for a high spec travel camera in 2006 I bought  a Canon G7 which served me well and I bought a G9 a few years later.Canon are upto the G16 now and there are also GX models with bigger sensors which by all accounts are very good indeed.

10 Oct 2015


Otto,taken on the Leica X1. Apart from some cropping it is exactly as the jpeg file came out of the camera with no processing.
But that's not really relevant. I just love the photo and in particular its soft and natural colour rendition.
The odd thing is that it seems that so many people do not like the soft natural look on their photos.In the recent post Scott's photos of Africa have the same soft look but nowadays many people expect a more saturated,contrasty and "sharper" look.
If you go into a electronics store's TV sales area where there are banks of big screen TVs turned on you can see that most of them have very strong saturated colours and many have extreme sharpness -almost as if a knife had been run along the edge of objects on the screen.
Apparently many TVs actually have a "store" setting which gives the high saturation/high edge sharpness look for store display.
I used to get this same edgy sharpness with black and white film using a high definition developer which gave this edge effect.And you can,of course,add it to your photos in photo editing software by overcooking the sharpness tool.
I am told that some brands of camera have different jpeg image processing software for the Chinese market so that the photos have more pronounced edge sharpness and a richer red/orange/yellow colour palette.Presumably this is because their Chinese buyers expect their photos to have the same characteristics as their TVs and phones/tablets.
This is not a new phenomenon.Kodachrome gave the world a very strong saturated look to colour slides and we all,me included,loved it so perhaps what we are seeing with the saturated edgy look is just Kodachrome updated.

8 Oct 2015

Cars and bikes

It was the monthly drive down to catch up with Porsche groupees and other car and bike enthusiasts at the Pie in the Sky Cowan yesterday. Not many attendees -it must have been the inclement weather after the 5 day heatwave. But some interesting stuff anyway. The Yamaha bike is an 1984 XJ750 -the world's first series production bike with fuel injection. It also has a digital instrument pack another first at the time. Only 2200 were ever made and only for the Japanese market. Bit of an odd looking bike with its Battlestar Galactica styling but rarer than rocking horse droppings.

The weird colour car beside me in the mirror shot is actually a Porsche Boxster.Hard to believe but someone actually ordered the car in that colour.
For the photos I was playing with a Minolta f1.7 50mm lens on the Sony a7 as a change from the Leica toys. The Minolta lens I picked up on eBay for A$50. It is in VGC and is pretty sharp and gives great colour. It's manual focus but it's easy to use - particularly wide open as most of these shots were.