29 Dec 2014

The Pick of 2014

Over 250 photos have appeared on the blog during 2014 so selecting a year end "pick of" selection is not easy.I have selected photos taken by me which for me best evoke the atmosphere of a place or event.
The selection includes photos of the Le Mans Classic,China,Hong Kong,France and in particular Paris,Germany,Austria and Australia.
I really like photographing people and 65% of the photos I have selected contain people.Any selection I make has to include photos of Porsches and of course cats although in this case it is not one of my cats which makes the cut.Most of the photos were taken with the Leica X1.

27 Dec 2014

Two tracks

Two tracks.Just a few kilometres apart. First up-a walking track in the local Wyrrabalong National Park through thick gum trees (eucalypts) photographed a few weeks ago after a long period without rain.The dry gum tree leaves are thick on the ground and the trees themselves look very dry.The ground is dusty and the grass and scrub are parched.Ideal conditions for a fierce bushfire.
The photo was taken on the Hasselblad 500 film camera using a 80mm Zeiss Planar lens on Kodak Tri-X film l.I scanned the negative on an Epson flat bed scanner and made absolutely no correction to it apart from a small adjustment to the exposure and the warm toning.It is as close to an analogue or film photo as I can make it.Although it is not a colour photo it may as well be because that is what this scene looked like-brown and dry.

Second track through the dunes to Avoca Beach last week.Pure Australian summer.Saturated colours and the smell and sound of the sea.Leica X1.

It's the silly season.

Seen in Terrigal this morning.It must be a girl's car-surely?
Hot pink wheels and a rather clever badge embellishment.Leica X1.

26 Dec 2014

Early morning light -Friday Dec 26th

Absolutely beautiful weather for xmas day - apart from the big electrical storm in the evening that is and even better today Boxing Day although we may yet get an electrical storm in the evening again.The Esplanade at Terrigal early this morning in beautiful light.Leica X1 photo

22 Dec 2014

Seasons Greetings

Seasons greetings and best wishes to all the followers and readers of The Rolling Road.To those in the northern hemisphere in the grip of winter I hope that this photo taken just last Sunday of Avoca Beach on the Central Coast of NSW,Australia - a few hundred metres from The Rolling Road World HQ- brings a little warmth and sunshine into your day.

20 Dec 2014

Before GPS

At the turn of the 20th century France was just starting to become mobile.There were very few cars and motorcycles and a rapidly growing number of bicycles.The roads were poor but people were starting to venture out from their towns and villages on the roads.Pneumatic tyres were critical to the new bicycles,cars and motorcycles but early tyre technology combined with the very poor roads meant that punctures and shredded tyres were commonplace so tyres were big business and there were dozens of manufacturers fighting for a share of the rapidly expanding market.
Michelin were amongst those manufacturers and they were the most innovative in promoting their brand.They were brand building a long time before the term was even coined.They published maps,tourist guide books and restaurant /hotel guides.Michelin became the premier restaurant reviewer in France and then Europe.
I have a collection of Michelin maps.They are jewels.When planning a journey in France,even in the age of GPS,nothing beats sitting down with a Michelin map and looking at the route and picking the most scenic roads and interesting villages as delineated on the local Michelin map.You can still buy current paper Michelin maps -(but for how long?)-and vintage maps can be found by the boxload in s/h bookstores and flea markets all over France.They are worth collecting.
One of Michelin's most succesful brand building exercises was putting Michelin branded directional markers besides French roads.This started in the 1920s and they were welcomed as a major benefit to cyclists and motorists.Many of them remain although many more have been lost as roads have been rebuilt and people have liberated the markers for their gardens.I photographed this one in Azay Le Rideau in the Loire back in July.I suspect that it was once down at street level and has been moved up the building to preserve it.
The most enduring and succesful Michelin symbol is of course the Michelin man-Bibendum.He was introduced right at the turn of the 20th century and has remained a Michelin icon ever since.The photograph below shows the author with the Michelin man at Le Mans in 2009.The Michelin man is the one on the left.

17 Dec 2014

Thoughts on the Le Mans Classic 2014

It's that time of the year when the magazines,well those that are still going,and the TV channels are assembling their lists of the year's best of whatever.Well I am not in a position to nominate a best historic motor sport event of 2014 because I only went to three and two were here in Australia and were very low key and the other was the Le Mans Classic.
This year was my fourth Classic and despite some awful weather it was by far the best.I am already looking forward to the 2016 classic and to those motor racing fans who have not yet got the Classic on their bucket list -it should be.So far the Le Mans Classic has not  embraced all the VIP premium "platinum club" exclusive hospitality nonsense which has gained a foothold at other events.At this year's event there were the first signs of it but I hope that the Le Mans organising club,the AOC, keeps the event as a big accesible festival for real enthusiasts.
If you are over the massive crowds at Goodwood take a look at the photo of the scene at this year's LMC in one of the paddocks on Friday.Sheer viewing pleasure.Leica X1 photo

16 Dec 2014


I'm not a dog person but I would make an exception for this one seen yesterday at the town called The Entrance on the Central Coast-it's actually called The Entrance because it is where a big coastal lake flows into the sea.
I first spotted him being lifted out of a back of an SUV in the car park and then later I saw him rubbing noses with his owner outside a cafe so I went up to ask if I could photograph them.Sadly the light was all wrong-very harsh and bright and from the wrong direction but having a chat with the owner revealed that Chester is a retired guide dog although he is only 5 years old.Apparently his blind handler had sadly died a year ago and the Guide Dogs organisation had taken Chester back but had decided for some reason that he should be early retired as a guide dog so here he was with a new owner.
Yesterday morning he had been playing in the surf for some time and was looking forward to sharing a kebab with his owner-a regular ritual.He had the most gentle temperament.If only more dogs were like Chester.
Not great photos but I felt that Chester was worth a mention and a couple of photos regardless.Leica X1 photos

15 Dec 2014

My Bench

I tidied one of the benches in my garage/workshop this morning.Yes,I know but you should have seen it before I tidied it.
As you can see I have a lot of motor sport memorobilia and it covers most of the walls.The sad part is that over the years I have lost/thrown away more than I have saved.
This photo was taken with a 20mm Canon EOS lens on a Sony a7 using a Metabones adaptor.It was taken using the available light at ISO 3200 and was handheld at 1/60th sec.The old Canon EOS L lens is a really nice lens.It's a leftover from when I had a big Canon EOS SLR outfit.

13 Dec 2014

Avoca Beach NSW Australia 13th Dec 2014

Photo taken by me this afternoon with a Sony a7 using a Zeiss Sonnar 150mm Hasselblad lens and a Chinese adaptor.
I sat on the rocks and shot 48 photos and this the only one which really worked.I immediately deleted the other 47.There's no point in keeping junk.

11 Dec 2014


I recently came across this photo in my files.I am pretty certain that it shows the assembly/scrutineering area in the paddock at Brands Hatch circuit in the UK and I took it in 1964 or 1965 or maybe 1966.It was a club race meeting and what looks like an interesting collection of cars is assembling for a race.At the front is the Ferrari 250GT and there is a Lotus 11 and a Healey Silverstone and a car which is probably an early Cobra.It could have been a scratch race or a handicap race which were very popular in those days.
It was obviously a warm or even hot summer's day as sleeves are rolled up and some men have even removed their ties.Very casual for the 1960s.

I googled YN4 and was able to find out much more than I expected.The owner of YN4, the very English sounding Maurice Bingham-Baring, was a very keen Ferrari enthusiast who over the years owned a number of Ferraris one of which,a 250GT Lusso,is by coincidence currently being offered for sale by a UK dealer.It seems that he transferred his cherished number onto each new Ferrari and he insisted that all his Ferraris were red .One time he came to collect a new Ferrari and found that it was not red and the dealer repainted it at no cost to him.He must have been a very good customer.

I can't be certain that Maurice B-B is in the driver's seat in this photo but as he was apparently such an enthusiast it seems very likely.He is wearing a race harness but otherwise the car looks standard-although I am not so sure that the racing fuel filler cap is standard equipment.I am sure that he would have driven the car to the track -raced it- and then driven it home again.I cannot even remember the meeting yet alone the race but it must have been interesting to see the Ferrari mixing it with the other cars.Happy days.

The photo was taken on an Olympus half frame camera and the film was processed by me -in not very sterile conditions going by the number of dust spots on the negative.

10 Dec 2014

The $120m grumpy cat.

I was amazed to read in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday that a grumpy cat was the highest earning "artist" in the USA last year and that it had earned $120 million -yes that's right $120 million-in two years from product endorsements,guest appearances,etc.Gwyneth Paltrow, who I do not believe is at all grumpy ,apparently "only" earned $22m last year and she is one of the top earners.
Now I don't want to sound churlish but really $120m for a cat which had the misfortune, or should that be fortune,to be born with a mild form of dwarfism.When you think about all the people and causes desperate for money it is a very sad reflection on our times.
Anyway in the spirit of the season I am making available for product endorsements etc one of my cats,Zoe,a 14 year old one-eyed Himalayan-pictured above.If anyone wants to use her she is prepared to give all her appearance fees to the UNHCR appeal for Syrian refugees.
Photo taken by me with a Sony a7 using a F2.8 90mm Zeiss Sonnar lens.

9 Dec 2014

A real barn find

By coincidence just 24 hours after writing the previous story I read about a true barn find.Not just a barn find but an extraordinary barn find.This one is not a fantasy.See  BARN FIND

8 Dec 2014

A private collection.

About 8 years ago a link to a website was being passed around.The website purported to show an amazing collection of neglected but very interesting cars discovered in a large shed in Portugal by a surprised beneficiary of a will.The facts were much less colourful than the web story but this did not stop the link being dug out and passed around every few years and a new bunch of viewers saying  "amazing "and eagerly passing it onto their friends.I have not seen it lately so maybe it has run its course.

The collection in the photos below is real.It has not been discovered but is the personal private collection of an Italian collector,Mario Righini, and it is kept in a castle in Italy.The photo shows part of this very large collection of literally hundreds of amazing cars.
The second photo is the first independently Enzo Ferrari designed racing car-ACC 815- which is in the collection.He could not call it a Ferrari as he was still under contract to Alfa Romeo at the time.This particular car competed in the 1940 Brescia Grand Prix driven by Alberto Ascari.
Photos thanks to Graham Lawrence who was fortunate to visit this jewel of a collection.

7 Dec 2014


A clean break from motor racing for this post. I do try to vary the content of the blog.
Clarence Boudreau from Canada sent me the clever top photo taken on a 2003 vintage Leica D-Lux 1 which shoots 3.2 mp files.Very Canadian and very well spotted.Thanks Clarence.
The second photo was taken by me in June using my hotel room window as a frame.Taken in Villach,Austria.Leica X1 photo.
There are photos everywhere.You just have to see them.

5 Dec 2014

Tasman Revival Meeting 2014-Part 3

The final tranche of photos from last weekend's historic racing at SMP.Loads of chassis frames and old tech.Wonderful.

3 Dec 2014

Tasman Revival Meeting 2014- Part 2

This is the second batch of photos from last Sunday's historic race meeting at Sydney Motorsport Park.For me the appeal of historic racing is that I identify with the cars and I can access the pits and paddock area to soak up the atmosphere and photograph the cars and the people up close and personal-something you just cannot do in top level motor sport nowadays.I like racing cars to have spaceframe chassis,engines you can see and fitted with carburetors or early fuel injection,steering wheels without buttons and lights,simple dashboards and gears shifted by the driver using a lever.Modern racing cars are technological marvels but to me they lack the appeal of the cars of the earlier eras.
I used to have the gear to shoot track action photos but it is long gone and anyway nowadays I much prefer to shoot atmospheric behind the scenes shots.Again all photos taken with the Leica X Vario.