30 Dec 2012

More Porsche stuff

Some more of my personal Porsche photos from across the world. Various cameras ,various places.

28 Dec 2012


The right time of year for a post on champagne.But you could say that about anytime of the year.
I did not realise until this year when I went to the region for the first time that there are literally dozens of champagne producers in the champagne region of N E France and that it is such a big area .I thought of it as being a few prestigous vineyards crammed together but it is anything but although they certainly pack the vines in.Travelling down from Reims on our way to Le Mans this year Patrick and I came across a very small producer ,Dominique Boulard ,in the tiny village of La Neuville aux Larris, south of Reims. We wanted to buy some champagne as a gift for our Le Mans host family and the proprietor and his son in law were insistent that we sampled some before buying although it was only 9.30 in the morning.How could we say "no' - such a pity that we had a long drive ahead of us so we could not do an "in depth" tasting.
The Boulard family have been producing champagne since 1792.They are a very small producer -- about 40000 bottles pa. As well as doing some sampling I went down into their cave -- a small cellar carved out of the chalk below the building-- where the bottles are aged.
Pure magic.
Back when the French Grand Prix was held at the fantastic Reims circuit- see Reims-Gueux and photo below -the driver who set the fastest lap in practice( now called qualifying) won 100 bottles of champagne as did the winner of the race.Take the fastest lap in practice and win the race and the team could have a fantastic party.
It could not be a bigger contrast between Monsieur Boulard's tiny operation and Epernay to the south where we saw the other end of the scale- the grand and very wealthy champagne houses.La Belle France.
Cheers .Leica X1 photos.

Leica X1 photos July 2012.

25 Dec 2012

Season's greetings

Season's Greetings to all .I hope that you are enjoying a nice bottle of Alsace Riesling from Riquewihr in Alsace Lorraine,France.Or perhaps a smooth Clair Valley Riesling from South Australia.Wherever you are I wish you and your family a peaceful holiday.
I hope that you have enjoyed this eclectic blog in 2012 and that in a small way it has encouraged you to take photos and to appreciate that a small,compact camera you have with you is infinitely more useful for taking photos than a bag full of big cameras and lenses left in the hotel room or back in a cupboard at home.
 Photo,Riquewihr, June 2012 on a Leica X1.

22 Dec 2012

Team Yellow Porsche

Going back ten years I was an enthusiastic competitor in local hillclimbs with my Porsche . My favourite venue was Huntley near Dapto where the Woollongong Sporting Car Club puts on great events in a lovely setting . The hill is short but challenging and the atmosphere is laid back and very friendly.Just how amateur motor sport should be .Some photos from the archives of me competing at a meeting in 2005 in my 2.7.Sadly now we have moved north it is too far away to drive there just for the day.It would mean seven hours on the road there and back right across the centre of Sydney for perhaps at best 8 mins on the hill .Even I have limits.And I have sold the track wheels and tyres -- they are now a Hasselblad outfit.
Leica Digilux 1 photos.

And continuing the yellow Porsche theme Lloyd Hughes below in his one yellow Carrera RS -now sadly sold this year due to his advancing years-competing at a meeting at Huntley in 2007.Lloyd bought this car new in 1972 and used this most desired of Porsche models as his daily driver upto 2002 when it underwent a mild restoration and drove it to and competed in hillclimbs/races and supersprints over many years.It has been featured in a number of magazine articles over the years and was a used as the maker intended - not locked in a garage.

19 Dec 2012

On the road to Mandalay

I am off to Myanmar today to spend the holiday sailing down the Irrawaddy and literally on the road to Mandalay .There is no internet -or mobile phone access in Myanmar so I will not be posting photos as I travel .As always I will be travelling light in terms of photogear and I will be taking just my compact Leica X1 with  one memory card,a spare battery and the Canon G9 as a backup.I hope to return with some interesting images of this amazing country which has been isolated and closed for so long.
TRR has been set on autopilot so if it all works new posts on the usual range of subjects should keep appearing every few days until I return in the first week of January.Happy holidays.

16 Dec 2012

Le Mans 24 years on

I just came across the top photo of a works Rothmans Porsche 962 driven by Al Holbert,Vern Schuppan and John Watson I took at the 1985 Le Mans 24 hour race and it prompted me to reflect on how much has changed since then.
  • Porsche -either 962s or 956s took the first 5 places in the race.In the 2012 race Porsches did not even feature in the winners of the GT categories yet alone the overall results.
  • The works cars were sponsored by a tobacco company. Tobacco sponsorship has long gone from motor racing (perhaps not in China though?)
  • I took this photo from the infield at the Ford Chicane .I had no special passes.I just smiled at a friendly gendarme who was standing by a gate on the infield and then just walked upto the barrier right beside the track.Impossible today.
  • I took the photo on an Olympus OM2 camera with a standard 50mm lens on fast colour negative (print) film -which has aged badly in the intervening 27 years probably because the mini lab where it was processed did not wash it thoroughly.I used colour negative film because it was faster than slide film and had more latitude.
  • The bottom photo was taken on a Canon G7 digital camera which is about half the size and weight of the Olympus OM2 film camera body and features a built in zoom lens.
  • The photo shows one of the dominating Audi R15 turbodiesels in the 2009 race and was taken through the safety mesh from the spectator enclosure in the outside of the track on the approach to Tetre Rouge.No walking right upto the track for me in 2009 and yet despite being taken through the safety mesh fencing on a compact camera it is a much better photo.The sad part is that it does not show a Porsche contending for a win.

 Two photos taken 24 years apart and so different in so many respects.If you had told me in 1985 that within 24 years a turbodiesel Audi would win Le Mans and that I would be taking very acceptable photos of it with a little camera with a built in zoom lens which did not use film but which stored thousands of photos on a little card the size of a postage stamp and which was reusable hundreds/thousands of times and that I would edit the photos on a little computer on my desk and publish them on a medium which is accessible to billions of people in every corner of the planet I would have thought that you had spent way too long enjoying the hospitality in the Paddock Club.

12 Dec 2012

More Digilux 1

The Rolling Road has been blogging for nearly two years and during that time out of all the stories and photos two posts are by far the most popular in terms of visitors-every day at least a dozen people view a story on RM Williams boots -don't ask me why but it must have something to do with the way search engines work and close behind that is the post on the Vintage Digilux 1.Maybe there is little else on the internet on this vintage digital camera .
Not only is the Digilux post visited very frequently-as many as ten visits every day is normal- but it has generated more emails to me than any other story and I know of three readers who have bought a Digilux 1 as a result of this post -- which is extraordinary.If you believed the internet forums on the Digilux 1 you would believe that it is a crude,outdated device unworthy of serious consideration .It may well be many of these  but it does take very good photos and at the end of the day that is what cameras are supposed to do.The fact that some do handstands and sing songs along the way is not relevant.

So here below are some more Digilux 1 photos.The first three are infra red photos taken recently be me in a local national park.I use an infra red filter on the Leica lens hood/filter ring and shoot the images as colour TIFF files which I convert into black and white in Lightroom 4.The Digilux has an odd,  very useful and rare characteristic which allows it to shoot infra red whereas most recent digital cameras have a filter on the sensor which blocks infra red.

I have had Lighroom on my computer for nearly three years .I thought that LR 3 was great but I upgraded to Lightroom 4 early this year and it really is a great tool and well worth the price of the upgrade.There have been big improvements in the processing "engine" and I have been amazed at what it can.

The superb shot of the sunflowers was taken at an undisclosed location by Roger Putnam -the first owner of my Digilux 1- as was the photo of Ludlow Castle in the UK.

The final group were taken at the Le Mans 24 hour races of 2004 and 2006.

If you want to join the exclusive group of Digilux 1 fans and acquire one of these unusual cameras they seem to be regularly advertised on eBay or can be found in enthusiast camera shops-if you can find one-from time to time .But prices do seem to be creeping up.Word may be out.

8 Dec 2012

A sense of perspective

I stopped reading forums on the internet many months ago and I stopped looking at tumblrs about 6 months ago .When they first came out I thought tumblrs were great -- all those cool photos gathered together in this clever,convenient format- but the novelty rapidly wore off and now I see them as a total waste of time.I decided that the compilers of the tumblrs are really passive gatherers using other people's creativity where they really should be out taking their own photos.
I notice in the readership metrics on my blog that quite a few photos from The Rolling Road appear in tumblrs.This is perhaps flattering but also somewhat irritating.They should take their own photos.

I find that most -but not all-forums are utter drivel,particularly photographic forums.They are filled with comments ,often unfriendly or critical comments, from highly opinionated and ignorant people or people who just have to say something when they should be out taking photos or kicking a ball with their children or taking the dog for a walk.
This aggressive negativity( trolls are even worse) has even spread to the comments after interesting posts on well respected blogs.In recent months one well known photography blogger has resorted to imploring that comments are sensible.Fat chance.

Reading most of the photo forums you would get the impression that if you do not have the absolute latest piece of camera gear there is no hope of you taking a decent photo.
To put things into perspective the photo below was taken in the rain at Le Mans last year on my Canon G9 which I bought off eBay for $350 .A camera which is now a 6/7 year old design and which fits -just -into my pocket.I'd be hard pressed to do better even with the latest wondertoy.
Regular readers of TRR will wonder why I did not use my Leica X1.Well it was raining hard and if a camera was going to get wet I preferred it to be the really cheap one.
Canon G9 photo -jpeg file .

4 Dec 2012

La Belle France

Just planning a trip to France next year which inspired me to dig into the library and find some France photos .Leica Digilux 1 and X1 photos 2006-2012.

1 Dec 2012

Vintage Hasselblad/Modern film

A real change of pace and subject here.A switch to seriously slow photography mode with some local shots taken recently with the vintage Hasselblad and some vintage lenses on Kodak Portra 400 colour negative film.It does have a Porsche connection.I sold a set of Porsche wheels and track tyres and used the proceeds to buy the Hasselblad gear.Fast wheels into slow gear so to speak.
The first shows an oyster farmer's derelict boat on the shore of Brisbane Waters on the Central Coast of NSW taken with a vintage Zeiss 50mm Distagon.Vintage lenses like this one are no match for today's superb computer designed,high tech glass,high tech coated,colour corrected wonders yet they do give a wonderful vintage look.
I distinctly recollect the time I spent setting up the camera on the tripod, measuring the light with the lightmeter and pressing the release for this photo.More satisfying than a quick digital photo.And taking square photos is still a novelty.
The second photo I love.It was taken in a coastal national park just 15 mins drive from home and it just says "Australian bush" to me -a tangle of gum trees ,spikey plants and grasses and dead wood.The last two photos were taken in the same location.The second photo was taken with a vintage 80mm Zeiss Planar lens and the last two with a more modern 150mm Zeiss Sonnar lens using an extension tube.
Hasselblad lenses each have a built in Compur shutter so trains of gears and springs have to jump to attention and play their part when you press the shutter release.Despite their age mine seem to all be working correctly as the images are perfectly exposed or maybe the film has a lot of exposure latitude.
Kodak may be bankrupt but their Portra film is just wonderful-let's hope they continue to make it for as long as I want to buy it.

28 Nov 2012

French Le Mans Racing Blue

French cars have won the Le Mans 24 hours outright on many occasions -the last being in 2009 with Peugeot -but a French speciality in the 1950's and 60's was competing in and winning the low capacity classes and the Index of Performance -- a class which took into account fuel usage and distance travelled and which used a complex formula to determine an, invairably French,class winner.
The blue cars competing in these minor classes were very simple vehicles with fibreglass or aluminium bodywork over a simple space frame-- from small specialist French manufacturers such as DB -usually powered by two cylinder air cooled engines of under 750cc.
Imagine buzzing down the Mulsanne Straight in the middle of the night in one of these flimsy cars in the rain with plumes of spray behind you flat out at 120 kms an hour with just two tiny rear lights and Mike Hawthorn in a works D-type Jaguar or Karl Kling in an Mercedes bearing down on you at over 240 kms an hour.And in those days even the front running cars had very poor headlights .It was a receipe for disaster.Even in the last two years with no small slow cars competing and the speed differentials much smaller there have been three massive accidents due to faster cars clipping slower cars .
Many of the small French cars from the earlier era survive -surprisingly- and compete at the Le Mans Classic.I consider their pilotes very brave men and the cars are a really fascinating part of Le Man's history.And the cars are French racing blue with no sponsorship decals.
Leica X1 photos from July 2012.