31 Mar 2013

Paris Panorama

I took this photo of the Champs Elysees from the viewing platform on the top of the Arc De Triomphe in Paris on the 13th July 2008 when I was doing the tourist thing with friends.A day of very remarkable coincidences as it happened.I just rediscovered the image this week.It was taken with a modest Canon G7 and is surprisingly sharp and detailed.It does show some distortion but I have not corrected this in the processing as that would mean losing the edges of the frame.

I converted the original jpeg file to black and white using Nix SilverEFX software which I have just purchased as part of the Nik Creative Collection being offered at a big discount by Google- the new owners of Nik.I have had a lot of fun playing with the software over the last couple of days but I am trying very hard to not give into the temptation to start using creative filters and effects more than absolutely necessary as I could end up with many of my photos looking like all the other art filtered photos which are all over the web.You can do many of the effects in Nik Creative with Adobe Lightroom 4 (except the HDR which is really excellent in the Nik collection) but Nik Creative lets you do them much more easily.

If you own Adobe Photoshop,Lightroom  or Apple Aperture and want to purchase the Nik Creative Collection for $149 go to Nik Creative and strike whilst the 70% discount applies.It only works as a plug -in for these programs so you cannot use it as a standalone application.
The original of this shot was taken in colour but I reckon that it works so much better in B&W.

About The Rolling Road

In the last few months The Rolling Road has been added to the reading lists of quite a few Porsche and car enthusiast sites and whilst this is really driving up the traffic to this blog I do not want TRR to be seen as just a Porsche site.As its title suggests it is a rolling road and I just post what interests me - Porsches,travel and photography and cats and often just stuff.
I know that many are now looking at the blog on smartphones and the size of the photos is not tailored to this medium.This is unfortunate but really photos cannot be truly appreciated as thumbnails so I will continue to post them as if they are being viewed on a big screen.
If you are new to the site my philosophy on photography nowadays is very straightforward.I have owned masses of top end gear over many years but it has all gone with one exception.Nowadays I opt for simple, compact cameras - predominantly I use a Leica X1.I do this because compact cameras are very portable and I believe that gear=clutter=weight=impediment to photography.Cameras are for taking photographs not weight lifting.
However I do own a vintage Hasselblad medium format film camera outfit and this is just an indulgence for playing with.It is heavy,cumbersome but it is a wonderful piece of optical and mechanical engineering which is wonderful to use as long as you do not have to carry it far.
If you have come to TRR via a car enthusiast site please keep viewing there may not be Porsche/car stuff today but there soon will be and in the meantime I hope that you enjoy whatever follows this.

29 Mar 2013

A holiday photo

A photo to remind TRR followers in the northern hemisphere of the long hazy days of summer which are ahead .Taken south of Epernay in France in July last year whilst en route to Le Mans.Leica X1 photo.
Happy holidays to all TRR followers.

Sweet Porsche music

This one is for the Porschephiles.Went upto Autowerks yesterday to organise a few things to be done on my 2.2 and took the opportunity to see Craig's amazing car which is getting tanatalisingly close to being finished after a very long build.The 2.3 engine was featured earlier on TRR but now it is in the car and running after the MFI fuel pump was sent to the US to be rebuilt to RSR spec.The fan and surround have been ceramic coated and the finish of the engine bay and the engine is concours standard.
Craig is intending to run the car at the Australian Rennsport at the end of May .If it were mine I would not think about letting it near a race track -- it is just so superb and so valuable.
A story on the car is going to appear in a US magazine and I have been asked to do some photos for it so I will put some on TRR at that time.
It's a pity that I did not take my video camera with me yesterday as Simon started the engine for me and the sound is pure magic and that was at low revs.I can't wait to hear it on full song.

28 Mar 2013

The Wall of Death - revisited

The Wall of Death at the Le Mans Classic last year was a big favourite of friend Patrick and myself.I have just revisited the photos I took there and I have given them a vintage look.The action shot was a fluke.If you wanted to take a close up of a very rapidly moving subject under very low red light -the  structure has a red canvas roof-you would not choose a Leica X1 but that is all I had so I set the camera at 1/500th at f2.8 at ISO 3200 and manually set the focus on a point about metre in front of me and just pushed the shutter when the rider got there.I only took a handful of action shots as I wanted to concentrate on enjoying the show but this one conveys some of the atmosphere although I have had to do a fair amount of rescue work on it as it was very underexposed.

Personal space

We all need personal space and when you are an old lady like Phoebe it's more important than ever even if it means standing right up on your back legs and with your front paws sliding open a door on a vintage Japanese chest and climbing in.Leica X1 photo.

25 Mar 2013

Malaysian GP fiasco

After the German Car Day -below-I arrived home in plenty of time to watch the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix live.What an appalling race but perhaps not surprising given that I have it on good authority that Sebastian Vettel went on a refresher course at Michael Schumacher's School of Bad Sportsmanship over the Christmas break.Mark Webber in the lead cruising to a win,saving the car and tyres a per team orders given over the radio.Sebastian Vettel ,his team "mate" in second place given the same orders and so he charges after Webber,passes him in an extraordinarily dangerous move a few laps from the end and wins.
Vettel gets out of his car in the pits and behaves like the 'orrible little petulant little s..t that he is.Webber showed amazing restraint in not decking him on the podium.
Of course Vettel will not be sanctioned by the team for this disgraceful and dangerous behaviour.Sadly he will be indulged like a spoilt child -as Schumacher was for years- and he will be encouraged by this to be even more obnoxious-if that is possible-- in the future.You would never have seen the great drivers of the past behaving like this but that is the times we live in.Perhaps SV updated his Facebook page yesterday evening- "drove a great race and enhanced my position as the biggest s..t in F1 after Bernie E and if I keep this up I'll soon surpass him."

Hot Porsches

Went to the German Car Day in Sydney yesterday.The decision to take the airconditioned 2.7 was the right one as it was as hot as forecast.
Big turnout of interesting Porsches from the Porsche Club -some I have not seen before .Although the day was organised by the local Mercedes Benz Club the Porsches outnumbered the Benzs.Nice crowd and a very nice venue although the long drive home was hot.

Some snippets from the day .
Firstly Andy Purvis' delectable 924 Carrera GT.Imported from the UK where it had been a race car.The interior had  been in storage for years and is like new. The car is stunning although I am sure that Andy was wondering at the wisdom of the black paint job on the way home.

Two different takes on patina .Jason Gunawan's beautiful very low mileage and totally original 1971 911S and Michael Cassimaty's extraordinary "patina special" 356 . How Michael drives the car sitting on that seat I do not know.

Next  someone who is definitely single and if he keeps wearing that T-shirt he's going to stay that way for a long time.

And as a final photo the specification board on a black very standard looking roadgoing Audi 4 RS .Extraordinary and I have only one question-why?

22 Mar 2013

What's going on ?

In the northern hemisphere climate change sceptics are having a field day as Europe and  N America experience unseasonably cold conditions.They should come down here to the southern hemisphere where the N Island of New Zealand is experiencing a severe drought
(almost unknown in wet ,cool NZ) and Australia has had the hottest summer on record and it is still very hot with temps here in NSW forecast to be well into the 30's (over 94ºF) over the weekend.

The completely barmy climate change denier,British Lord Monckton,(below)has been visiting Australia on a private speaking tour funded by loony right wingers associated with the mining industry.I hope that he enjoyed the hot weather.

Patrick sent me the first two great photos below of very wintry scenes in Brussels and Namur ,Belgium last week and daughter,Lisa sent the third picture down of her garden in Montreal yesterday.

It's not only the humans who are feeling the effects of this prolonged hot humid weather down here.Himalayans just want to be cool -- and who can blame them with coats as thick as theirs.Zoe sought the cool of a shoe cupboard this morning.

I am not really into car display days preferring to drive my cars not polish them but back in November there was Porsche breakfast prior to a German Car Day up in Newcastle about 75kms north of here and I took my 1971 2.2.Unfortunately it turned into an impossibly hot day and the journey home was hell although the traffic was light.Old Porsches are hot enough but a 38ºc day in an old Porsche is something else and I nearly needed a saline drip by the time I got home and the car was getting very "fussy" and the oil temperature gauge was slowly climbing.

Now this coming Sunday there is a big German Car Day in Earlwood down in Sydney and I spent a lot of time this week cleaning and polishing the 2.2 so that I could join the Porsche club display .I learnt last night that the temperature is forecast to be 34ºC on Sunday.No way am I taking the 2.2 right across Sydney in that heat.In traffic it will become very hot and bothered and inevitably it will lose the idle.Not fun.So I spent this aftenoon scraping  the dead bugs from last week's run off the 2.7 and polishing it so that I can go in airconditioned comfort and equally importantly the fuel injection on the 2.7 is better behaved than the Webers on the 2.2 when it gets very hot.A disappointment as the 2.2 is such a great looking (and driving) car but I am very fortunate to have the choice.
The 2.7 has factory aircon and after a complete rebuild of the system 4 years ago it works very well.Pity that the 2.7 is a 3 metre car -- ie best viewed from 3 metres distance where all the chips and dents are not so visible.But it is very original.And a great colour.And it drives very well.
The scene this afternoon is below

20 Mar 2013

An X1 Terrigal Morning

One of the best things about living by the sea is my 40 minute early morning walk which I try to do every day.I rarely take a camera with me because the scene is all too familiar and it is supposed to be exercise but one morning last week I saw the wonderful light and took my X1 and caught this scene on Terrigal Beach with a sea fog just lifting.The heads of a couple of the (all year round) early morning swimmers can just be seen in the waves in the right of the picture.
From time to time I experience GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) symptoms and I have thoughts of again buying a top end digital camera system which would allow me the option of using different lenses .But the reality is that I have already been there and sold that gear for a simpler style of photography and when I see the "look" of this Leica shot I tell myself to forget it-the X1 is just so convenient in terms of size and the results are superb-just look at that sky.Maybe I miss a few shots through not having the"right" lens but having the camera with me makes up for it.Also just having a fixed lens and simple controls really concentrates the mind on getting the picture.A DNG file unmanipulated and uncropped and converted to a jpeg in Lightroom 4.

More St Patrick's Day Porsche

Rob's photos of last Sunday's Porsche run are so good and have proved so popular in terms of visitors to the blog that I have had to post some more.For those who have seen them elsewhere my apologies but TRR has a broad audience nowadays.

18 Mar 2013

Porsche St Patrick's Day -part 2

Some great photos from Rob Scheeren of yesterday's Classic Run up over Mangrove Mountain and back to Moorota via Wiseman's Ferry.The guys on the Hawkesbury River ferry were quite excited about having a ferry full of Porsches.Which is surprising as they have quite a few classic car runs coming through.Pity about the Holden in the front row that slunk on first.The paint on the back of my car ( yellow front row) is not really that faded is it?

17 Mar 2013

A Porsche St Patrick's day

Classic 911 Register run this morning was great.Big turnout including a few 356s and the 550 replica with 914 running gear as well as a few early 911s ,lots of big bumper cars and a 993 .Great driving roads which were largely traffic free ,great scenery and beautiful weather and a great time was apparently had by all .

I've given up taking record photos and "me too" photos on these events.Anyway I was pretty busy talking Porsche but I managed a few photos which I have converted into B&W.I know people have mixed feelings about B&W for these cars but scroll down this blog and see the early 550 pics I have recently posted and you will,hopefully,see where I am coming from.Leica X1 photos.

16 Mar 2013

Another Norfolk Island Porsche

It seems that the early 911 featured in the earlier post is not the only Porsche to make it to tiny,isolated Norfolk Island way out in the Pacific.
After reading the story of Craig Duthie's car Graham Ellison has sent me the following story and photos.

Helen and I were married in November 2005.

And we spent our honeymoon on Norfolk Island .The fellow who ran the Island jewellery shop had a 964 Targa and naturally
I asked where on the island (with its 50kph limit and just 35kms of roads) could he drive it as the good doctor Porsche intended .
He said that after he finished work he would drive to the only significant
hill on the island which was in a park with one road up and down.

After checking the road was deserted the throttle was well and truly opened for a quick trip up the hill......

I seem to recall that before the Porsche he said his chosen form of
conveyance was a Jaguar which presumably did not provide the same thrills.

Note the 911 Norfolk Island (NI) number plate.No problem getting a specific Porsche model number plate there.
Given that this story just arrived I should not lead with my chin and say that I'm sure that the 964 is/was the most modern Porsche on Norfolk Island but really I cannot see anyone driving around in a Carrera 4S or Boxster but after this story you never know.If you know more on any later NI Porsches email me or comment below.
When I go to a zoo I always feel sorry for the lions,tigers and cheetahs penned in and silly though it sounds I feel the same way about a Porsche on a tiny island.

15 Mar 2013

8 years on

The Rolling Road has frequently lamented the rise of indiscriminate snapping where smartphone and digital camera users and now even tablet users take photos everywhere all the time.
To me these "snappers" are often missing the very event they came to see.You see them everywhere particularly in magnificent buildings such as Strasbourg Cathedral.Tourists who have spent thousands of dollars to come and take in these magnificent sights (and sites) and then spend their whole visit peering at an LCD screen snapping away.And what do they do with the photos?
I am not alone in this lament - I see it being mentioned on other photo sites as well.
That it has reached plague proportions is shown by the two images below.Both are from St Peters Square as new Popes were proclaimed.The first is from 2005 when Benedict was announced and the second was yesterday.What a difference 8 years makes .And what a waste waiting all those hours to see the new Pope but then only to see him on a little LCD.
Photos sourced from NBC who originally sourced them from AP.

13 Mar 2013

More 550

More photos from the Carrera Panamerica 550 photo cache from Roger Putnam showing works Porsche driver Czech Jerry Juhan .
He played for the Czech National Ice Hockey team before the war, was in their national cycling team and started his competition career in a BMW 328. His brother Frankie was the Czech National 500cc motorbike champion before the war. He was the Jaguar importer in Guatemala in the late '50's and raced a D Type in Cuba. He stopped racing at Reims when he had a premonition of impending doom half way down the main straight, stopped the Porsche and parked it and walked back to the pits.Probably a very sensible decision as Reims was an extremely fast and dangerous track which had claimed a number of driver's lives.See Reims

What would I give to have a  550 in my garage today? It would take serious money and yet some lucky owners race them at the Le Mans Classic and other historic events .And they race them hard.See bottom picture from 2010 Le Mans Classic.

10 Mar 2013

Benelli 4V Sprint

Friend Patrick went to the Antwerp Classic Car Show last weekend and this pretty little Benelli motorcycle caught his eye.I have not been able to find out much about it beyond the fact that it is 50cc as most of the references are in Italian.I would hazard a guess that it is a retail cafe racer version of a Benelli 50cc racing bike from the 1960's.
There was a 50cc racing class in the 60's including would you believe Isle of Man 50cc TT races.The Japanese manufacturers -Honda and Suzuki in particular- were emerging as major players in the motor cycle markets in Europe and the US and they used the 50cc class as a laboratory for their engineering.
They produced engines revving upto 20,000 rpm and producing amazing power for their size.Some were producing over 320bhp per litre at a time when F1 engines were only producing 100-150 bhp per litre.
The 50cc engines were twins with DOHC and 4 valves per cylinder and Honda apparently had a 4cylinder 50cc engine under development when the governing body changed the rules and the manufacturers walked away.
I was really fascinated by these bikes at the time and remember eagerly reading and re-reading the English Motor Cycle magazine's TT issue ( I can't remember the year) with great cutaways of the Honda 50cc engine.
I was so taken with the Hondas that I bought a new Honda bike when they really were really an untried brand in the UK and  my friends were riding BSAs and Triumphs or heaven forbid Vespa scooters.They initially thought that I was crazy but it was well priced,quick,reliable,economical and it did not leak oil .
See Honda 50cc and Suzuki 50cc for some interesting background and photos on these extraordinary racing bikes.