30 Apr 2012


Bread stall ,Marché Edgar Quinet ,Montparnasse,Paris,June 2011.Leica X1.

29 Apr 2012


Just spent some time yesterday checking out the spare tyre and tools etc on both cars .I read recently that only 10% of classic Porsches have a tool kit and even then most of those are not complete .Not sure how the author arrived at this statistic -he probably just made it up-but it is probably in the ball park.Tool kits just disappear over the years and replacing them now is well nigh on impossible.Complete tool kits rarely come up for sale anywhere and even single tools are hard to find.
My 1971 2.2 did not even have a tool roll when I found it.I now have a tool roll for it but still no tools .On the other hand my 1977 2.7 has the original spacesaver tyre which still holds pressure as well as the original compressor, the handbook and service record,jack and a nearly complete tool kit .It is actually complete but one large spanner(18/19) and the interchangeable screwdriver handle are not original.Anyone out there able to help?

27 Apr 2012


See the earlier post on Digital Infra Red photography DIGITAL INFRA RED. Modern digital cameras are not suited to infra red photography as the sensors have very low IR sensitivity but the early Leica Digilux 1 digital camera takes surprisingly good infra red images-- if used under ideal circumstances .The sensor in the Digilux is very slow anyway by current standards so with the deep red (almost black) infra red filter on the front of the lens it really struggles in anything other than really bright light and produces very "noisy" images .

I took it out on a short local walk today and came back with these infra red land and seascapes.I find them quite appealing --in their place.
Really I should have used a tripod and set the camera on the lowest ISO setting but it was just a spur of the moment decision to try out the infra red filter which "surfaced" during my mega clean out a couple of weeks back so they were all hand held on the highest( 400) ISO setting.

 Colour TIFF files converted to black and white JPEGs in Adobe Lightroom .The Digilux 1 does not have any facility for taking black and white images.

26 Apr 2012


With the recent release of the Avengers movie a quick flashback to the original Avengers for those old enough to remember it. This is Emma Peel's S3 Lotus Elan . How about the fit on the driver's  door? Pure Lotus.Photo from the Putnam archive.

25 Apr 2012


Dawn service on the Esplanade,Terrigal,NSW Anzac Day 25th April 2012.

24 Apr 2012


"Just because I'm 12 years old doesn't mean that I can't pretend I'm a kitten and hide in the laundry basket ".
"Anyway don't you know that for us cats 12 is the new 6 ?"

23 Apr 2012


This hibiscus bush in my front garden is the scene of the most terrifying experience of my life.Last saturday morning I was doing some weeding pulling grass out from the bottom of the bush .I was wearing stout gardening gloves.I must have touched a medium sized ( more than half a metre) eastern brown snake which was hiding at the base of the bush .It which slithered out right past my gloved hand and off into the neighbouring grass -left of picture.
The eastern brown snake is considered to be the second most venomous snake in the world . See Eastern Brown Snake .I was extraordinarily lucky it did not bite me-I was wearing a short sleeved shirt and had bare arms.
I was shaking like a leaf afterwards and I smelt of fear.I ran and found a spade but the snake had gone .Gardening will never be the same again.
A few weeks ago I found a very small snake coming under the front door and as the grandchildren were with me I did not kill it on the spot instead I moved it with a spade .I suspect the two snakes were related .

22 Apr 2012


We've all seen the "Dream Garage" books .There are now dozens of different versions available -and, yes ,I did buy an early one .You can find them on those trestle table discount book sales in the middle of the aisles in suburban shopping malls.
The dream garages portrayed in those books fall into two categories .The first are real enthusiasts' garages-wonderful spaces done by people who live and breath their cars/motorcycles .
The second category are the wanker's garages created by people detemined to show that there is an inverse relationship between taste and wealth. You know the sort of thing -the front garden lawn is really the floor of a lift which takes the Ferraris - yes, they're invariably Ferraris- down to the underground basement where there is a vast minimalist space full of cars and art (and maybe a swimming pool/gym) and a Ducati hanging on a wall .Some of the cars are painted in a colour which exactly matches the dominant colour in the giant Andy Warhol painting which is on one of the other walls.
Anyway Rob who created his Porsche shed in deepest Northern NSW,Australia is 100% in the first category. Rob is the ultimate Porsche enthusiast who has an eye watering collection of Porsches -- new and old ,a massive collection of Porsche models and collectibles and a serious slot car track all housed in a tin shed on his property.It's a veritable shrine to Porsche.
The slot track alone is very impressive although going by the small number of spectators in the stand ( see pic below) he seems to have modelled it on a Middle Eastern Formula One race .
Just take it all in .I thought that my two Porsche garage was pretty neat but Rob's shed is on a totally different scale.
Photos by Rob.

21 Apr 2012


So this weekend's Bahrain F1 Grand Prix is going ahead.Disgusting.I did not expect anything different from the appalling Bernie Ecclestone. Why should something as piffling as serious human rights abuses get in the way of making the next few million dollars anyway? But I did expect better from Jean Todt ,the head of the FIA .I once sat next to Jean Todt at a sumptuous Peugeot dinner at the Palace of Versailles. He seemed a very pleasant ,reasonable guy but that was a long time ago.All those years at Ferrari must have made him very politically astute and hardened him.
Shame on all the F1 teams for turning up and particularly Australian Mark Webber who previously took a strong line about not racing in Bahrain.
Shame on you all and shame on the US for tolerating the Bahrain regime's abuses because it is a strategic US naval base .That's what's called hypocrisy Hillary.
What next ? The Syrian Grand Prix -" sorry about the small crowds but we shot the population".Or maybe the North Korean Grand Prix ?Huge crowds of very emaciated spectators ordered to attend many of whom won't haven't seen a car yet alone a racing car before.

20 Apr 2012


Further to the post below Roger Putnam just emailed me the following-

I saw the piece on the blog about square format. I still have three Rollei TLR's but I sold the 'baby' to Mike Beasley - Jaguar's Manufacturing Director as I think the two 127 films I put through it were the first time it was used. When I bought it, it still had the paper tape across the mechanism inside telling you to read the instructions (in German). Mike has probably the finest collection of cameras - of all types - in private hands in the UK. It includes a 'Nul serie' Leica in a museum somewhere and all sorts of rare 19th century field cameras, plate cameras etc all in unbelievable condition. When he saw me using the 'baby' at Browns Lane and I said it had never been used before he offered to buy it and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I'd got the camera when I was collecting Rolleis in part-ex against a really crappy grey 'T'. I still have two black 'T's and a 3.4F but I'm trying to find a really nice Blad 500 CM with a standard and wide-angle lens. I'll probably part-ex one of the 'T's against it. I've never owned a Blad.

19 Apr 2012


The rise of Instagram with its retro look photo editing has started to make square photos more prevalent .It's rather odd that square photos are so rare.I guess our computer monitors and TVs are landscape format ,35mm cameras were landscape--most of the time- and digital cameras just carried the landscape format forward.
I have read that we see the world in landscape format but I am not so sure about that .Maybe we see a square world and mentally crop it to landscape. Of course with digital ( and film) cameras you can always crop the photos to square but now with digital the camera manufacturers could easily build in a square mask which could be turned on to allow us to compose and take square photos when we wanted.

Historically square photos were associated with rollfilm cameras and in particular Hasselblads and Rolleiflexes .Both were/are iconic premium brands -in the upper crust of cameras alongside Leica .Rolleis are wonderful examples of,precision ,miniature Geman engineering.Hasselblads are Swedish and are equally high precision .I always lusted after a'blad but never got round to buying one .

The photos below look like period shots but they were taken by Roger Putnam at Jaguar's Brown Lane HQ in 1997 on a baby Rolleiflex TLR ( twin lens reflex) camera which produced 4cm X 4cm negatives on 127 film.I believe Roger still has this camera.As they get old the complex chain of gears and little springs in their Compur leaf shutters can slow down or stop functioning .Fixing them is possible but not cheap and is becoming increasingly difficult as the old camera repair experts retire or move onto the great camera workshop in the sky.

The first photo shows the ex-Steve McQueen XKS--JAG 1.
In the second the long nose D Type in the foreground is the ex works Mike Hawthorn car with two XKS's behind it.

The Jaguar plant and HQ was bang in the middle of a typical English Midlands housing estate-the houses are visible in the background on the second photo. In the end the houses won .The plant has gone now. 

The baby Rolleiflex

17 Apr 2012


I've just had the mother of all clear outs -books,magazines,photos,papers,clothes and assorted "stuff" has gone -some of it to the garbage and a lot to the Salvos.
I threw out an old book on panorama photography which made me reflect .When it was written panorama photography was a craft involving specialist cameras,big tripods and deep wallets .I always wanted to do it but never thought that it would be accessible to me.
Now it is so easy thanks to stitching software.Three panoramas -- all hand held on a Canon G7 and stitched with Photoshop Elements.

Wellington,New Zealand
Cesky Krumlov,Czech Republic


The news that the creators of the app,Instagram,have sold their company (which only employs 12 and which does not make any money but which has tens of millions of users) to Facebook for US$1billion is truly extraordinary.The whole business of photo taking ,manipulating and sharing is evolving so rapidly .
Have you wondered how many photos are being taken worldwide every day? Read
How many photos? for the answer.

16 Apr 2012


                         There is more to see at Le Mans than just the cars .Roll on July and the Le Mans Classic .Photos from the 24 hours and the Classic.

15 Apr 2012


There are a quite a few things I am not looking forward to as I get older . One is not being able to drive.That will be a real bummer .And nearly as bad will be not being able to jump on a plane and fly off to Europe and spend days wandering around Paris or whatever .
Anyway this year is going to be great for trips including two to France and Patrick ,who is fortunate to live in Brussels and who does not have to worry about sitting on planes to visit France,has just sent me some pictures from his trip last weekend to Normandy/Brittany to get me salivating .
How about the wonderful scallop and leek crepe ? Or the elderly backpacker heading off with a baguette tied onto the top of her backpack ? Only in France.I can hardly wait .

13 Apr 2012


Our daughter,Lisa, lives in Montreal and she has just blogged the following.

As the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic approaches this week there has been a lot of coverage on the radio and tv here in Canada.

I had to chuckle when I heard this story: Some Twitter users thought the Titanic disaster was just a film plot.  Tweet goes along the lines "gobsmacked. Just found out Titanic sinking was for real". 
I reckon that there is only one thing dumber than thinking that the Titanic disaster was just a film plot and that is admitting,publicly, that you thought it was just a film plot .

11 Apr 2012


 The last of my images from the 1981 Italian Grand Prix at Monza .It was such a pity that I had only one 36 roll of Kodachrome with me but the opportunity to go to the race was given to me late on the preceeding Thursday afternoon .Next morning I was on a BA plane ( a BAC 111-a British airliner- those were the days ) from Birmingham to Milan .When I arrived in Milan they were having a city wide general strike so I could not get downtown to a camera shop as my hotel was out near the track. I made it to the track early on the Saturday morning and it took a some time to get all the accreditation sorted.Lots of arm waving and shouting but eventually I had all the magic passes.By then I was more anxious to see the action than worry about getting more film.
Anyway more atmospheric shots -- including the very pretty and very fast winning Renaults of Alain Prost ( #15) and Rene Arnoux (#16), the Williams team with their drivers Alan Jones (#2) and Carlos Reutemann(#3)and a  young  Frank Williams.Nelson Piquet's Brabham Ford(#5) of Bernie Ecclestone's team -- and Elio de Angelis' Lotus Ford in the very distinctive John Player Special livery.Is that the other Lotus team driver Nigel Mansell striding along behind the car?And the Maclaren team cars and Jacques Laffite's Ligier Matra.
All photos on my Olympus OM2 with either a 28 or 50 mm lens .