28 Feb 2012


An "awesome" 911S is very close to being finished at Autowerks in Charmhaven,NSW .It has been a very long gestation -- probably close to three years .The bill does not bear thinking about .This car seems to have everything .It does look as if no expense has been spared .See photos of motor on TOO GOOD TO RUN.
Not mine -sadly- but hopefully there will be a full set of photos to show in coming weeks when it steps out into the daylight.

What is it about silver and early long nose 911s? Silver seems to make them look even more appealing. I know about viper green and tangerine but silver somehow seems special . See my car below .Whenever I park it on the street people come and talk to me about it and to say how gorgeous it looks .On the other hand I am tired of all the modern cars in silver (yes I know I have one of those as well ) particularly Porsches -all models. It seems to be the default car colour here in Australia .

27 Feb 2012


My three granddaughters live in Montreal --about as far from Terrigal, Australia as you can get .When they do come on their annual 2 week visit we desperately hope for fine weather and we have a wonderful time .They arrived last Friday morning .So far the weather has been kind .Jet lag meant they were up with the beautiful orange/pink dawn on Sunday .I captured Scarlett at 6.00 am - on the Leica X-1.You can't hesitate with these shots -- the models only hold the pose for a few seconds .

25 Feb 2012


 Bokeh is a Japanese word referring to the quality, amount and shape of blur in a photograph .Bokeh has been around since the invention of photography but the application of the Japanese word to describe it (outside Japan) is recent .Now the term bokeh is appearing everywhere in photography forums and websites as a new generation of photographers bought up on digital cameras with small sensors and slow/small aperture lenses capturing images which are pinsharp from foreground to infinity suddenly discover it .The latest fast lenses and bigger sensor cameras are making the generation of bokeh easier and it has become very fashionable. And if you can't stretch to a fast lens/big sensor camera there is even a software program which allows you to artificially add contrived and not totally convincing bokeh to your images.
Just a little bokeh in this image -a line of puppets waiting patiently in a line in a backstreet workshop ,Ubud, Bali ,Indonesia.Leica M6, 90 mm lens on Fuji Reala film.

22 Feb 2012


Friend Roger Putnam sent me this interesting photo from his personal archives . Roger is standing on the left . It shows  British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher,being shown the latest formula 1 Lotus by Lotus chief Colin Chapman in 1982 .If Margaret Thatcher had known at the time that Colin Chapman was (allegedly) involved with John DeLorean in defrauding the British Government of millions of pounds she definitely would not have been sitting there.

The DeLorean car project was largely bankrolled by the British government to the tune of over $100m in a desperate attempt to alleviate chronic unemployment in Belfast in Ulster ( N Ireland) --see previous post .
The DeLorean DMC-12 car was a total dud despite the involvement of Lotus in the engineering -its only real legacy is its key role in the film Back to the Future.John DeLorean, the mastermind behind the project, was arrested on drug trafficking charges when he was attempting to sell drugs to raise money to save the company,the DeLorean company went bankrupt ,the workers in Belfast were back unemployed and very disappointed , the British taxpayers lost a mountain of money, the Lotus chairman at the time, Fred Bushell,was later convicted and sent to jail for his involvement in the fraud and the stress killed Colin Chapman who died of a heart attack late in1982 before he was charged with any wrongdoing.

A very messy affair all round and a sad end to a brilliant career for Chapman .And a strange and uncharacteristic lapse of judgement by Margaret Thatcher in becoming involved in what was obviously a very bad idea putting lots of public money into a start up car company making an unproven product  but the troubles in Ulster at the time were very serious and anything which could alleviate unemployment would have been seen as worth a try.

I was in a small group who had lunch with Margaret Thatcher in Sydney in 1994 four years after she had been deposed as British PM . She was still bitter about her ousting and she was very dogmatic and domineering through the lunch .A very weird and unforgettable experience.Meryll Streep has her down to the smallest gesture in The Iron Lady -- well worth seeing .

20 Feb 2012


Whilst undertaking my great slide clean out ( see Leica 3A post below) I came across a set of interesting slides taken by me in Londonderry in Northern Ireland in April 1968 which I had completey forgotten about.Londonderry is usually referred to as Derry and the pictures are interesting on a number of levels  Firstly they show an extraordinarily bleak place -- which it most definitely was. Unemployment was very high and it was probably the poorest place in the United Kingdom at the time--it may well still be .Note the lack of cars in the photos and the dress of the people , the huddles of idle men and the old men with their sticks.What must it have been like for the children in the photos growing up in a place like this -particularly with what lay ahead-see below?

Secondly some of the photos ,particularly the first two have an almost painting like quality due to a combination of the subjects, the diffused light and the low saturation of the film used .For me they resemble the paintings of the British painter,L S Lowry .I have attached an image of a typical Lowry painting below .I have not done any post processing to these images except to remove some fungus in the sky on one which had grown on the slide as it was mounted between glass.

Thirdly April 1968 was only six months before the events of "bloody sunday:" in Derry which threw N Ireland into a savage, 30 year civil war.Against this knowledge it does look particularly bleak and perhaps foreboding.

Finally I wonder at my nerve as a 22 year old student standing on these streets with my "fancy" Leica and taking photos .And shooting was not an instant action as I had to take a lightmeter reading first. I must have looked very out of place but I cannot remember being conscious of it at the time .

 The photos were taken with my Leica 3A on Kodak Ektachrome film which was ISO 64. I used the Elmar 50mm F2.8 lens -- it was the only lens I had .
I am fortunate that fungus has only attacked one of the slides . Glass mounting of slides -where the film is sandwiched between two very thin sheets of glass -seemed like a good idea at the time as it was supposed to stop film damage but it provides an ideal environment for fungus growth particularly here on the eastern coast of Australia.

Fever by LS Lowry


"Super rich" is driving to the local historic races in your Ferrari 275 GTB - and then leaving it casually on the driveway behind the pit garages and not worrying about it -Eastern Creek Raceway ,NSW,Australia.Canon G9 .


Bugatti racers ,and particularly French Bugatti racers ,are an eccentric crew and some of them are not into restoration .They love their cars to be as found or aged with the patina unmolested .This radiator badge is on an amazingly, original car which was actually competing on the track at the Le Mans Classic in 2008 and 2010 and I am sure it will be there again this year.

Overrestored is now very "out" and patina is "in "--even at the Pebble Beach Concours where there is now a class reserved for unrestored cars . What a shame that so many original and gracefully aged cars have been grossly over restored over the years to just win prizes at Pebble Beach .Are you listening Ralph Lauren?

17 Feb 2012


I have just had a serious clear out of old slides .Not just a few hundred slides but thousands of slides as well as hundreds of negatives. I should have thrown them out years ago.In fact I should not have kept most of them in the first place but in the film days it was difficult to just throw out slides--they had cost so much it seemed like wasting money despite the fact that they were junk.Even today many photographers keep junk digital images although they have cost nothing.Anyway I have bitten on the bullet and they are in the garbage bin out on the street as I type this so there is no turning back .

Whilst doing the clear out I found a few gems including these shots taken when I went on an expedition to arctic Norway whilst at university in 1967.
They were taken on my Leica 3A .The colour shots were taken on Kodachrome 2 (ISO 25) supplied by an expedition sponsor ,Kodak .The black and whites were taken on Kodak Tri-X .

The photos may seem quaint and pedestrian by today's standards but photographic styles have evolved (and I have hopefully become a better photographer) in the intervening 45 years .Also the equipment was a constraint.You had to take a  hand held lightmeter reading and Kodachrome was very slow and had very little latitude so getting the exposure correct was absolutely critical.

My favourite is the fishing boats following us on the coastal steamer into harbour late in the afternoon travelling up the Norwegian coast .It is so still that the exhaust haze from the trawler is hanging in the air behind the boat . Back in 1967 oil had not yet been found in the North Sea and Norway was a very small country reliant on the fishing industry.Late one day we went line fishing inside the Arctic Circle with some locals and we just pulled hundreds of cod out of the sea -it was amazing .Now they are all but gone. Different times .

The second colour photo shows the pilot boat pulling away after it had transferred the pilot to our ship as we approached Bergen.The appeal of this photo for me is the beautiful, little wooden boat .Today I am sure it would be a modern steel boat painted a dayglo colour and with "PILOT" down the side and bristling with equipment.

The fact that these slides are so well preserved is because they were taken on beautiful,stable Kodachrome -see Kodachrome

The B&W shots were taken In the Beiardalen Valley in far north Norway . Until a road was cut through the mountains in 1967 this valley was only accessible from the sea and a population of a few hundred people  farmed the beautiful ,harsh terrain .It was ,and proably still is, like another world .One of the photos shows hay drying on racks .The farmers kept the animals in barns through the harsh and long winters and the summer's dried hay is the food supply for winter.I would love to see it today .

My Leica 3A

16 Feb 2012


The March edition of UK Octane magazine has a story about Richard Charlesworth who is the VIP Manager for Bentley cars responsible for contact with their VIP customers. I am sure that Richard is a nice man but personally I find all the VIP talk more than a bit pretentious nowadays when the majority of the cars sold by Bentley along with their former stablemate Rolls Royce go to the nouveau riche and trolls .
In the article he is quoted as saying "we're not too keen on outlandishness....".
Well I am sure he would not be visiting the owner of this Bentley seen on the eastside in NYC. How about those very low profile tyres and those cheap alloys and the red calipers ? One can hazard a guess at the occupation of the driver ...he's not an interior designer I'm sure. I hope that he knows a good dentist because those tyres on New York's potholes will soon loosen his fillings.

15 Feb 2012


 Faded Glory -Penang .Malaysia.


Wall mural , Gunning ,NSW, Australia .Gunning claims to be the centre of the world's best Merino sheep rearing country.The nearby cafe serves lamburgers.

14 Feb 2012


The posting of my article on Steve Huff's site FROM 3A to X-1 has generated a lot of interest including a request asking to see some of my photos taken with my Leica M6 film camera .The photos below were taken on the M6 in Laos in 2006 and are some of the last photos I took with that beautiful camera before I sold it and switched 100% to digital .Photos on Fuji Velvia slide film .

12 Feb 2012


Took the 2.2  to St Albans down the Wiseman's Ferry Road on Thursday to meet a friend for lunch.It's 240 kms for the round trip from Terrigal including four river crossings by ferry .It's one of my favourite Porsche driving roads with 200 kms of switchbacks,fast bends, slow bends, steep ascents,steep descents,farmland,bush and national parks and usually very little traffic .It's not a good place to have an accident -where is- and to drive it quickly you need to be really concentrating and to get stuck into it .

When I left Terrigal it was a beautiful day and at the bottom of Mangrove Mountain it was still fine as the shot above shows.
When I reached Spencer a storm had appeared and the skies opened up and it was torrential for the next two hours.The demisting system leaves a bit to be desired especially after you have waited for the ferry with the engine switched off .
By the time I drove home the rain had stopped but the road was drying but was still damp and very greasy in patches particularly under trees.I kept up a fair pace but I did feel the tail slip sliding away a fair bit and I had my work cut out to catch one slide when I entered one bend just a little too quickly .An early 911 driven quickly on a winding,damp road .Good for sharpening the reflexes .

Leica X-1 photos.

10 Feb 2012


                                  I spotted this car for sale at the end of a farm track beside a backroad in rural Wisconsin,USA .last year.Not a house in sight.Just fields of corn and the yellow car.
I so often drive past these photo opportunities because stopping can be a hassle but this time we were alone on the road and just dawdling along .I reckon that it was worth the effort.Leica X-1 photo .

8 Feb 2012


                                Photographed out the back at Autowerks ,Charmhaven, NSW last week . Leica X-1.

7 Feb 2012


Born in the USA . Car on display at the 2011 Shannon's Classic at Eastern Creek Raceway , NSW .August 2011.I used to think that cars like this were ridiculous . Now I think that they are gorgeous .We all mellow.But I wouldn't trade my Porsche for one.Canon G9 photo.

5 Feb 2012


Two photos from Roger Putnam . Both taken at the Fuji circuit, Japan during a round of the world sports car championship(WSCC) in 1988.
The first shows an action packed pit stop by the TWR Jaguar team.

The second shows team driver John Nielsen's T shirt .Different times.

The WSCC was a great series which collapsed in 1993 when costs escalated and some of the key players , particularly Peugeot and Mercedes, went off to run in F1.The good news is that there is a World Endurance Championship ( WEC) for sports cars restarting this year.

3 Feb 2012


Some things just look better in black and white.


1 Feb 2012