30 Dec 2013

Not the right call

Just imagine you had decided to attempt to do 200mph (320kph) on a dried salt lake in a car.What car would you choose? Well if you had won Lotto or were an English Premier League soccer player you would choose a Bugatti Veyron or perhaps a Porsche 918 or a Ferrari La Ferrari.But if these were out of your league what then? Well I'm sure that way down on your list of possibles would be the Honda Insight Hybrid.But that is what Brian Gillespie chose and it was definitely not the right call as the video shows.The Insight flew but not as Brian intended.
Brian apparently survived which is more than can be said for the Honda.
I don't usually post Youtube videos and this is not the start of a trend but this one appealed to me because it is just well bizarre.

29 Dec 2013

Time out over

Multiculturism in action.Marrackville,Sydney Dec 24th 2013

TRR is back.Thanks for all the feedback encouraging me to continue with the blog .I had not appreciated how widely read the blog is.

After taking the comments on board and mulling over the alternatives I have decided that the blog will continue as before.I have tried to change the template design slightly and to adopt a good suggestion to increase the font size but sadly there is a longstanding technical problem within Blogger which is stopping changes being applied to existing blog designs and in typical Google style they have no apparent interest in fixing the issue despite the many anguished users.There is a long fix from a frustrated user set out in one post but as this involves tinkering with the HTML code I do not feel confident in trying it as I fear that I could inadvertantly wipe both the template and the whole blog history.

I have decided against the temptation to buy a big camera outfit and change my photography style.My compact camera style particularly with the Leica X1 has served me very well for the past three years and now is not the time to change back to a big heavy camera outfit.I even went and handled some new cameras-more on this in another post- but came away underwhelmed.However I have decided to do more with my Hasselblad so there will be more film photography in the future.When I have used the Blad the results have been interesting but the bulk of the outfit and its lack of portability and my inertia have meant that over the past 12 months I have not used it much.
So I will now keep up the content of the blog and that means more photography and more travelling in 2014.

But before 2014 a quick reflection on 2013.For me personally it was a great year with the birth of a grandson and my daughter and family moving back to Australia after 5 years in Montreal.No more long distance hauls across the globe to visit the grandaughters.
Apart from these very significant family events the highlight of the year was the travel to Myanmar at the start of the year.I took so many great photos in Myanmar.The famous American photographer Ansel Adams once remarked that if he took 12 good photos in a year then it was a good year.He had obviously never travelled to Myanmar and in particular on a boat down the Arawaddy River.
There were disappointments in 2013.The much anticipated Australian Porsche Rennsport event in May was underwhelming.It was good but it could easily have been so much better.Too much emphasis on racing and not enough on the displays.
I also did not use my Porsches as much as I would have liked.I aim to change that in 2014.
On a more serious note local and world events were a disappointment to me and I do feel a growing sense of despair that reasonable,moderate people and views are losing out generally.You can even see that in forums and comments published on many blogs.I wrote some articles for a very well known US photography blog and was shocked by the ferocity and totally unnecessary nastiness of many of the anonymous comments on those stories.Civility is a dying art form as is debate or even respect for other people's points of view.Needless to say I will not be writing any more articles for that blog-regardless of the size of the readership.
This is obviously not a problem confined to blogs you can see it everywhere in daily life but particularly in politics and the media.Pursuing this depressing train of thought could take the blog to places I do not really want it to go so I will leave it at that and return to familiar ground.

From the photos posted on TRR in 2013 here is my pick of my favourites.After I had chosen them I realised that they were in fact a very representative cross section of my personal 2013 with the exception of the photos of Hanoi from 2005 and the Japanese factory both found in the files.

10 Dec 2013

Time for Time out

                                                                   Avoca Beach,Central Coast ,NSW,Australia.December 2013.

The Rolling Road has been posting photos and stories for 3 years.So far 659 posts have appeared and nearly 1000 photos and there have been hundreds of thousands of page views from all over the world.Which is great.I am glad that so many have enjoyed this modest blog.But it's time for a break.Time out to regroup and get some fresh material-and to think about the format of the blog going forward into 2014.Should it just meander on or should it try and become something different?Should I continue with my compact fixed lens camera photography or should I go back to a bag full of gear and a more adventerous style?Should the blog continue with its eclectic mix of subjects or become purely photography?
Or should it become something entirely different?
Keep an eye out -TRR should be back soon after the holiday and hopefully by then I will have decided which direction to take it.Wherever you are - enjoy the holidays and thanks for visiting TRR.

Floral loo

Flowery public toilet ,Northland,North Island ,New Zealand .Leica X1

9 Dec 2013

A perfect smile.

A happy man.Proving that a full set of teeth are not obligatory for a perfect smile despite what the orthodentists say.In a village in Myanmar.2013.

8 Dec 2013


On the TV news this evening I saw that  large areas of the US have had major snow and ice storms in the last 24 hours and this follows the very severe storms across Europe a few days earlier.As The Rolling Road has many readers in the US and Europe I though that I would show what it was like downunder at a local beach at 10.20 this morning.The first photo shows the short path from the road across the dunes to North Avoca Beach and the second shows what the beach looked like when I got there.Yes there are two people in the far distance and yes it was warm/hot but not scorching.Nice,eh? Well,gorgeous is probably a better description.
And for the English readers as well as the weather I should mention the cricket.
Leica X1 photos.

6 Dec 2013

Mark's next move

Well the 2013 F1 season is over and Mark Webber has driven his last F1 race.I cannot see him ever making a comeback and nor should he.He had a pretty succesful F1 career although the last few years must have been pretty painfull being in the same team as the obnoxious Vettel.
I am sure that Mark and his partner Ann have already been down to the charity clothing bin and dumped all his Red Bull promotional gear.
Now he can take a break and then start testing the new Porsche LMP1 sports racing car ready for the big one-Le Mans 2014.
Here again is a shot from my archives from the last time he raced at Le Mans.It is a Mercedes CLR in 1999.This is not Weber's car as his "flew'-literally- in practice and was severely damaged so he did not start.A second Mercedes flew in the evening of the race and the driver ,Peter Dumbreck, was very lucky to walk away from the very spectacular crash.Mercedes immediately withdrew the last remaining car - driven by Schneider/Lagorce and Lamy pictured here a short time before the withdrawal.
The 1999 race was odd.Porsche did not enter and BMW ,Mercedes and Toyota were the main contenders.The BMW entries (2 cars) were built by Williams and although they won the race BMW did not apparently make anything of the victory.It was a sort of quiet excursion and did not seem to be any part of a plan or strategy.I saw the car the following weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed ( those were the days-Le Mans one weekend,FOS the next )and even there it was a strange presentation.
For the photographers this photo was taken on high speed Ektachrome slide film which as you can see was very harsh and grainy on my Canon EOS 5 on a f2.8 70-200mm lens with a 2x converter.That was a fantastic lens which I only sold last year.Those were the days when I was prepared to travel with a big heavy backpack full of camera gear.

A line in the sand

Terrigal Beach ,NSW,Australia. 6.15 am today .Canon G9 photo

5 Dec 2013

Maserati monochrome

Apologies but I seem to be having a run of motor photos but I could not resist putting this one up as a counterpoint to the complex Cayenne motors below.A nice ,simple 8 cylinder Maserati motor with two beautiful side draught Weber carbs.Mechanical art.The car it is in has an unpainted bare metal body.

4 Dec 2013

Cayenne woes

The Porsche Cayenne has been on sale for over ten years.Prices of used Cayennes ,particularly early ones ,are looking very tempting.But these are very expensive vehicles to maintain and when there is a problem it can be big dollars.Cripplingly big dollars.
Up at the local Porsche specialist currently there are two older Cayennes which have suffered major engine failures.One dropped a valve which did catastrophic damage to the engine, the other blew a head gasket.The dropped valve vehicle was getting a transplanted engine from a crashed Cayenne.The other engine was being repaired.Both big dollar jobs.
I would never consider buying a used recent model Porsche.They are too complex and too prone to major problems and Porsche's parts pricing is ridiculous.
Seeing the engines out of the cars made me realise how massive and complex the V8 Porsche motors are.The amount of ancillariy equipment hanging on them and the complexity of the fuel injection and related systems overwhelms the engine blocks which are not small anyway. What a contrast to the Coventry Climax F1 motor in the previous story.

That disc jammed in the seat in the LH port is what is left of the valve disc .The rest of the valve has gone elsewhere to cause more damage.Result one cactus V8 motor and one big hole in the owner's bank balance.I bet he wished he'd bought a new Range Rover Evoque for the same money as he paid for the used Cayenne.

3 Dec 2013

Back to small motors

The last race under the 2.4 litre formula one regulations has been run and for 2014 the cars will be running 1.6 litre V6 turbos with energy recovery systems.The last time F1 had small (1.5 litre) turbo engines it was an amazing era with astonishing power outputs being achieved particularly by the "grenade" qualifying engines.This new era will not be the same as power outputs will be restricted.Don't want people having too much fun do we?Anyway we have to be environmentally responsible-as if real motor racing can ever be environmentally responsible.Don't get me started about formula e - the new electric racing formula.The grass grows very quickly around here and watching it can be quite exciting.
Formula one has had small displacement engines before that - back in the sixties it was 1.5 litres naturally aspirated.This era produced some fantastic racing and beautiful cars in both formula 1 and the junior formula 2 as well as the Coventry Climax engine seen in this photo.It is a thing of beauty.A miniature masterpiece.Based originally on a firepump engine used in the second world war.Elegant and by today's standards very simple.And very succesful in its time.It was from an era when mechanics (they were still mechanics then) could work on the engines in the pits with normal tools.No plugging in laptops or data links back to a bunker in Oxfordshire's rolling hills.No putting a sick engine into a crate and sending back to a hermetically sealed workshop to be taken apart by whitecoated technicians.
 Photo on Canon G7 -the predecessor to the G9-from a jpeg file.

2 Dec 2013

Hurry-Christmas is coming

Only 23 days to Christmas.The great rush is on.I just went to the local post office and it was a milling throng of people.The local shopping centre is already packed from morning to evening.Parking is impossible.Anyone would think that Australia is about to run out of food -or drink.
I took a camera with me on my early morning walk this morning.I found a couple of locals letting all this nonsense pass them by whereas a very junior canine was in a rush on a mission.Don't worry he's not wandering the streets alone -his owner and lead are already round the corner.Sad to say if I had the Leica I would have missed this shot as it is not that fast on the draw.Canon G9 photos.

1 Dec 2013

Otto and camera woes

Camera sales are on the skids.At the bottom end of the market smartphones rule the roost so point and shoot camera sales have collapsed.At the top end sales of DSLR are also collapsing.The lack of real genuine improvements as opposed to useless gimmicks and window dressing and the sheer bulk of the gear has turned buyers off.Here in Australia camera retailers are literally piled high with heavily discounted DSLRs from Nikon and Canon.And now Canon are offering cashbacks across their range.Bit like selling cars .Even the new m4/3 and so called mirrorless high end cameras are not selling in the numbers the manufacturers would like except for the new wonder camera the fullframe Sony A7 but soon the novelty will pass on that one.

None of this matters to either me or my grandson Otto.He is still too young to worry about cameras and maybe by the time he is old enough to own one new cameras will have disappeared totally.I picked up my now positively antique small sensor Canon G9 and took this photo of him last week.The metadata says it was taken at ISO 200 which is about the max you can go on the G9 without the sensor noise becoming evident and even then I suppressed some noise in the processing.The jpeg file was processed in Lightroom and converted to black and white in SilverEFX.
If you are looking for a nice compact versatile and very competent camera for very little money pick up a G9 on eBay.It's a gem.
Now since blithely posting that last sentence I have been checking out G9 prices on EBay and they are far from little money.Quite the reverse.Seems like I am not the only one who appreciates the G9.