30 May 2016


I came across this montage in my photo archives. It would make a nice print to mount and put on a kitchen wall and it is a big enough file to make a sizeable print. The original photos were all taken in the Tokyo Fish Market by me using my Canon G7 in 2008 before I acquired the Leica X1. The Canon G7 and the G9 were in their day brilliant little cameras and very big sellers.They are compact with robust metal bodies,nice accessible controls,an optical viewfinder and a surprisingly good lens but of course now the sensor and in camera processing software are superseeded technology although still capable of turning out surprisingly good results.
The later G12 is a particularly good edition of the line and now they are upto the G16. You don't read much about it and the other new G series cameras which are apparently very good but not "cool" and fashionable. They really are worth considering if you are in the market for that class of camera.
I do not know which piece of software I used to create the montage but I cannot find it on my computer today. I suspect it was the original Picasa editing program developed by Picasa which was discontinued when Google bought Picasa a few years ago. Why do Google buy great little photo software developers such as Picasa and Nik for substantial sums and then do nothing with them? Is it a simple case of it seemed like a good idea at the time?

26 May 2016


Concentration-grandson,Otto,playing with his model racing car transporter.
I used rangefinder Leica cameras for 40 years ending up with an M6 for the last 20 years upto 2008. Rangefinder cameras are manually focussed and the focussing is done by aligning two images in the viewfinder as you turn the focus ring on the lens. It can be very accurate and quick but needs skill and a lot of practice to do accurately every time. Apart from the fact that the M6 was not digital one of the reasons I sold it was the fact that I found very accurate focussing with the rangefinder was becoming increasingly difficult due to my weakening eye sight.
However I did like to use wide aperture lenses wide open to give a very narrow depth of field and to accurately focus on one point.
Using the Sony a7 with a vintage F1.8 50mm Minolta lens wide open manual focussing using the electronic focus peaking system is very easy and accurate. In this case I focussed just on Otto's nearest eyelashes. A lot easier and more accurate than it would be for me with a Leica rangefinder nowadays and strangely more satisfying than relying on autofocus. Nice IQ from the vintage Minolta lens-A$50 from EBay-and nice colour rendition.Sony RAW file processed in LR.

22 May 2016

Extreme wheels

 The recent blog story on the Cayman and wheels reminded me of a Hummer I saw on the street in Stuttgart in 2012. It had what must have been the ultimate in extreme wheels and tyres. This combo would not last a day on our roads here in NSW Australia or quite a few other places. The ride even on smooth German roads must be appalling. I am curious as to who owned it. As it was Stuttgart it could easily have been an automotive stylist-Mercedes or Porsche.
The odd thing is that apart from making a very strong "look at me" statement the wheels look pig ugly and would not look out of place on a horsedrawn wagon. All very odd.

18 May 2016

You know you are getting really old when.....

...your 9 year old grandaughter tells you that she really enjoys learning coding and that she wants to be an app developer when she grows up. I just hope she never asks me to help her with her coding homework.

16 May 2016


It rhymes with dope but that's too polite.
I am off to California tomorrow.It's the Californian primaries coming up. I'll make sure that I am nowhere near Trump if he's out campaigning.The whole Trump phenomenon terrifies me.The man is a neo-Nazi,a mysoginist,a rascist, a lying bully and yet he is gathering so much support. Just imagine if Trump were to become president of the US and with Putin an equally deranged sociopath running Russian and the appalling autocratic,narcisstic Xi running China we would have the three most powerful countries in the world run by men who are totally mentally unsuitable for the task.Terrifying.

13 May 2016

Let down and confused.

For years I have regarded National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry as one of the greatest living photographers. His photo of the Afghan girl -above- is one of the most recognised photos ever,up there with Annie Liebowitz's photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in bed and her photo of a nude and very pregnant Demi Moore.
Steve McCurry's work has been a major source of inspiration for my own photography and I have regarded him as a master craftsman who has produced many superb photos due to a combination of a wonderful eye,excellent technique,luck and patience.
But now a scandal has broken out. It seems as if Photoshop also plays a role in some of his photos. And not just a minor role.
Most photographers nowadays use Lightroom and/or Photoshop to adjust and optimise their photos-me included-but it does seem as if Steve McCurry has gone further than optimisation and has manipulated key elements of some of his photos-he has added and removed people and objects.
You can read the full story and see examples on Steve McCurry
To me his statement sounds evasive. Blaming the poor hapless technician for sloppy work totally misses the point. The issue surely is whether the lab technician should have been Photoshopping the photo in that way at all. McCurry can argue that he should be free to do what he wants with his own photos for his own use but where they are presented and published as photojournalism -as many of them are-then different rules apply. To me, and I am sure many others, the appeal of all of McCurry's photos is their apparent authenticity-the capturing of a scene or a person as he saw it at the instant the photo was taken.
To find out that the some of the scenes are not authentic is very disappointing. To me it is a breach of faith-verging on dishonesty.
Will the scandal damage McCurry's towering reputation? Time will tell but it's certainly left me feeling let down and confused but I guess that's the norm nowadays-too many let downs and too much confusion.
It's also prompted me to ask myself whether maybe I should not be trying to take better photos but instead just be learning to be better at using Photoshop.

The Rolling Road and Instagram

I have opened an Instagram account -@therollingroad to access a wider audience.This is up and running and is gaining momentum. If you already have an Instagram account check it out.If not opening an account is easy and it is free.

10 May 2016

On the Cayman and wheels .

Scott,an Aussie based in Dearborn,has just taken delivery of a Porsche Cayman. Over the years Scott's had a few Porsches on different continents including most recently a battered 944 - but he's been working towards this Cayman for some time.
As he is an automotive stylist you'd expect him to go for the biggest wheels - car stylists always doodle cars with enormous wheels- but he's chosen the 19" wheels because of the potholed roads around Dearborn.
The car looks gorgeous particularly in the dark blue and Scott has picked up a thing or two about photographing cars over the years. The photos were taken on an iPhone 5S.

I'd love a Cayman - particularly a GTS. I think of the Cayman as today's embodiment of the original ethos of the 911 whereas today's 911 is a bloated,overweight machine which may go like a scalded cat but it is just too big and the driving experience has been dumbed down and softened. I'd take a Cayman anyday over a current 911.
For years Porsche has held back on producing higher performance versions of the Cayman and supporting the Cayman in racing presumably out of a concern that the Cayman would cannibalise 911 sales. This stance is now softening and we have the GT4 and GTS versions and Caymans racing. There was a Cayman competing in the recent Bathurst 12 hour GT race here in Australia.

On the subject of wheels and tyres I reckon that I am seeing fewer cars with extreme wheel and tyre combinations around locally. Maybe the facts that on the increasingly under- maintained local roads the extreme wheels and tyres give an awful ride and instances of wheel damage are quite frequent are forcing drivers to go for smaller wheels and higher profile tyres.
Whilst some new high profile tyres were being fittted to one of my cars a few weeks back I asked the tyre shop owner how the fancy big custom wheels he sold stood up to local conditions. He explained that wheel damage was frequent -both bent rims and even fractured spokes  -and so owners who fitted the wheels and paired them with very low profile tyres inflated the tyres to 40-45psi (2.75-3.10 bar) to provide a harder cushion against road shocks to try and avoid wheel damage. The result was a bone jarring ride and odd handling - particularly in the wet. The price of fashion. A bit like extreme high heel shoes.

6 May 2016

Heads and Tails - more Rennsport

More photos from Rennsport 2016 in Australia.I was just about to clear out the unused junk photos from the weekend from the hard drive when I noticed a few more which are worth putting up.
I try and capture the atmosphere of the event in my motor sport photography nowadays. Jesse Alexander is probably,almost certainly,the greatest motor sport photographer. Looking at his period black and white shots you can almost feel that you are there. Many years ago I bought a second hand book of his detail photos-tyres in a pit-a toolbox-a spectator's lunch -driver's gear etc. It was a small volume in black and white. I remember that it was a quite expensive purchase but somewhere along the way I lost it and I have not been able to find or even get getails of another copy but it has provided me with inspiration ever since.

2 May 2016

Rennsport ramblings

Loading the car at dawn

A really great weekend at Rennsport Australia. Thanks to Porsche Australia and the team who put it together and in particular Alex Webster -organiser and competitor.
It wasn't Rennsport US and never can be but by Aussie standards it was big and very well attended on both days. And we had US Porsche outlaw personality Magnus Walker as a special guest. I really don't get the Magnus Walker phenomenon but each to his own. We even had Mark Webber but sadly only in cardboard cut out form. Perhaps next time Alex we can have a cardboard cut out of Magnus and a flesh and blood Mark?
The weather played games but came good both days. Saturday was a damp start but it soon cleared up to a hot and fine day.Sunday was a very wet start but again it cleared to a fine day and only a couple of the track events were on a damp track. 
The drive down early sunday morning was not fun in a big storm. I had my doubts about pushing on. In an early 911 on a motorway in a heavy storm is not a place you would choose to be.
I drove back and forth-a 220km round trip- both days to compete in the Show and Shine with my 2.2 911. So many great cars in the Show and Shine many of which I had not seen before.
For me the car of the show was Alex Webster's early 911 which looks as if it is a concours entry and which went so well in the Group S races with Alex at the wheel.
It was a really friendly,good natured event. It's at events like this that I realise how many local car enthusiast people I know and I really enjoyed catching up with so many of them. I even spotted some Carrera Cup people having fun. Well they were smiling but perhaps it was just wind.
With so many phones,cameras and tablets clicking away the event was recorded from every angle. If you want to see photos of the cars the local Porsche enthusiast swoon sites will be full of them as will Instagram.
My photos are really vignettes of the two days-just tastes of the atmosphere.I hope that you enjoy them.

Yes this is the sartorially challenged Magnus Walker-right. I cannot see him getting into Singapore for Rennsport Singapore if they ever hold one.