30 Sep 2017

Stunning line up

I took this photo of a stunning line up of Porsche sports cars at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles last year. I presume that the cars were on loan from their very lucky owners.
If you have an opportunity visit the Petersen Museum. It is a "must see" for any car enthusiast.
Sadly we won't ever be seeing line ups like this incorporating the latest WEC/Le Mans winning 919s. Porsche have stated categorically that they will never be sold because :-
  • The cars incorporate intellectual property which Porsche are very keen to protect. Much of the technology in the recent cars is unique and Porsche invested heavily to develop it.
  • The cars are so complex that only a team of works engineers and technicians with expert knowledge can maintain them or even start them.
  • The electric storage system can easily electrocute someone without the specialised equipment and knowledge. Not a hypothetical statement. Sadly a F1 engineer was killed a couple of years ago whilst working on a F1 car's KERS system
  • Porsche would not make parts available.
So we have passed a turning point-today's competition cars will never be seen in private hands. So even if you won the jackpot in the lottery you will have to go without a 919 in your collection. Enjoy the ones we can see and hear running.

27 Sep 2017

Surely not non-alcoholic beer?

I am on warfarin medication-a blood thinner -for hopefully just three months-whilst my new heart valve beds in. I cannot just pop a pill every day. I have to maintain a certain INR ratio which is the level of thinness of the blood and this requires me to have my INR ratio checked twice a week at the doctors and the warfarin dosage to be adjusted. All a right drag but hopefully only for 2 more months.
Sadly as I have found out already alcohol really affects warfarin so it's no alcohol for me for 2 months.
Fortunately I have found a reasonable substitute for the short term. As part of their Oktoberfest promotion Aldi locally have on sale German Paulaner non-alcoholic hefe weissbier at only A$2.49 for a 750cl bottle. For non-alcoholic beer it's pretty good. Certainly much better than any others I have tasted in the past. It will have to do to early december.

25 Sep 2017

Spring in Australia

Terrigal beach-11.00am today-25th September. Temperature 29ºC. It's the school mid term holiday which accounts for all the children on the beach. Over the weekend NSW experienced the hottest September daytime temperatures since records began. To compound matters it has not rained here in Terrigal for many weeks. Inland it is many months and the farmers are in despair as they have now lost the winter crop.
As the editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald said a few weeks ago it is unthinkable that there are still climate change deniers out there. Sadly here in Australia we have more than our fair share of them. Over 60% of the members of the governing Liberal National coalition party are climate change deniers. Unless we change our ways we are heading for serious trouble on the climate front.

23 Sep 2017

Those were the days my friends

It only seems like yesterday but it was 8 years ago this month that I was competing in the wonderful Speed on Tweed event in Murwillumbah in the northern rivers region of NSW. Sadly that was the last year of Speed on Tweed. The previous year there had been a fatality involving an Austin 7 driver and the insurance cost for the event had become prohibitive. Additionally the driving force behind the event,Roger Ealand,had moved on so Speed on Tweed was no more which was very sad because the street circuit was superb as was the atmosphere. It was just a wonderful weekend and the weather was beautiful too.
I drove up in my 2.2 911T sharing the driving with John Marosszeky. We stayed in a pub right in the centre of town and our room was up a set of stairs about 5 metres from the bar where a local band played very loudly on saturday night. It was not luxury motor sport but it was fun.
I ran in the Masters regularity speed event. No trophy for me but a great drive and the car ran faultlessly.That's how amateur motor sport used to be. Drive your car to the event on road tyres. Slap on the numbers. Do the event on road tyres. Take off the numbers and drive home. Not a motorhome in sight -and we did have grid girls-see below.
The value of early 911's has gone up so much in the intervening years that I  would not be game to risk my car and enter Speed on Tweed today if it was still going. Friend Craig who bent his early 911 at Sydney Motorsport Park a few months ago would probably share my reservations now.
Photos above of me in action taken by John Marosszeky on my Canon G7. Who needs a Leica or a long lens? Thanks John-great photos.
Photo below of my car in the paddock surrounded by the local Castrol grid girls. Not at all PC I know-please don't complain. Photo by me.

20 Sep 2017

A barn find Lamborghini

Just when I was thinking that every barn and shed in every paddock/field  had been searched new barn finds turn up. Recently a very rare alloy body Ferrari Daytona was found neglected in a shed in Japan see  BARN FIND and just two years ago an amazing collection of cars was found in outhouses at a French chateau see   Chateau find.
Driven by a spirit of optimism whenever I have a chance I take a peak inside every accessible barn and shed when I am travelling. I live in hope of finding a long forgotten Bugatti 35 or maybe a missing Ferrari 250GTO.
Many years ago I came across what had been a shed find. A beautiful prewar MG in mint condition being sold by a country garage in Dorset ,England.The sad back story to this car was that it had belonged to their son, a fighter pilot, who had been killed in the second world war and his distraught parents had left his car in their garage undisturbed for 20 years.The car was for sale for £25 -yes twenty five pounds-but it was 1969 and that was what I was earning per week back then so buying it was out of the question.
I made my own barn find of a Lamborghini three years ago in a barn in a small village near Carcassonne in south west France. I was on an early morning walk and I took a peek inside a barn and there it was-a Lamborghini. Such a pity that it was only a tractor.

18 Sep 2017

Another beautiful day

Terrigal Beach 6.10 am today. The days are getting longer and the temperature is beginning to climb and there is the feeling of summer in the air. My early morning walks are well and truly back on schedule and a few photos are beginning to flow again.
I have a confession to make on this one. I used some mild HDR in the processing-something I do very rarely. The shadows were too deep and the highlights a little too bright on the straight file. I did not touch the saturation-it really was that golden.
The beautiful morning certainly brought out the walkers,runners and exercise classes -even the unicycle rider. The Esplanade was almost crowded.

16 Sep 2017

Charging time

Seen in Paris yesterday by my European correspondent, David Young. An electric Renault Twizzy parked in a no parking zone being recharged with the charging lead coming down from the balcony of a first floor apartment. Ingenious but is it legal? Renault Twizzy does not fall under the regulations for a car, rather it is apparently considered as a sort of 4-wheel motorbike so maybe it is.  

14 Sep 2017

Hold the gas.

If you are into photography you soon realise that there are two schools of photographers. The first school is into photography to take photos. They are interested in camera gear but only as a means of taking photographs.This group is a very small group in the photographer universe. The second group are the so called "gearheads" and they dominate the photographer universe. They are into camera gear and many suffer from "gas"-gear acquisition syndrome.
If you write a photography blog and you write about camera gear the readers come flocking. Write solely about photos or devote your blog to great photography and you will have a much smaller following.
A great little,free,online photography magazine from NZ devoted to Australian/NZ photography has just folded after 5 years because it can no longer attract enough readers and advertisers who are only interested in photographs.Their lament is that if they turned it into a gear/gas magazine they would be thriving-but that's not what they want to do.
You can even see this phenomenon in the best photography blog-Macfilos.See-MACFILOS
When Macfilos editor Mike Evans posts a camera gear story-particularly about Fuji cameras -his readership goes up significantly.
Mike walks a fine line trying to balance the content of his site between gear stories and more interesting general interest stories. Macfilos is not a commercial site so whilst he appreciates having good readership numbers he is not driven to maximise them.
The sad part is that so many enthusiasts devote so much time and money reading about the latest gear and looking for the latest camera which will magically open the Pandora's box of brilliant photography for them when they could be taking good photos with modest gear or the gear they already own.
You often read that such and such a new camera is "ideal for street photography".
The above "street" photo was taken 12 years ago in Malaysia with a Leica Digilux1-a very odd camera with a very underwhelming specification. See specs at  Digilux 1 It may have a very modest pixel count and a sensor with very limited sensitivity by today's standards but it still was capable of taking good photos. See also Three days in China
Great gear is great but it is not the whole story by any means.If you want to take a good photograph it’s about the moment and the light. It has nothing to do with your equipment .

10 Sep 2017

By the sea

I'm now feeling well enough to go down to Terrigal -by car-and then walk the esplanade early morning. Last week the mornings have been beautiful but really cold by our standards. Nonetheless I have managed to take some photos.
Now over the next few months I need to work on my fitness so that I can walk down the hill-the easy part-and back up as well as doing the esplanade walk.
It's good to have a camera in my hand again and even better to come back with some photos.
It was also very touching that so many people came upto me asking after my health and telling me that they had missed seeing me. I had not appreciated that me and my camera were a local landmark.
I particularly like the photo of the man with his unicycle.At the time I was regretting not taking a shot of him riding the bike but I am happy with the static shot. It was taken with the Leica Q and I like the colour rendition.
 At that time of the morning just a few minutes can make a huge difference to how light it is and the colour temperature of that light. The guy working out on the beach was shot about 10 minutes later than the unicycle man - not on the same day-and the light has changed significantly.

9 Sep 2017

Made in the USA

Made in the USA. A patriotic display to warm Donald's heart. Seen in a milliner's window in New Orleans.May 2017.

6 Sep 2017

Under cover

The two Porsches have not turned a wheel since early July whilst I have been in hospital and recovering. I'm still not well enough to drive them so yesterday friend Warren came around to give them a run.
The 2.2 was very reluctant to start but we did eventually get it to fire before the batteries threw the towel in.
The 2.7 fired on the second turn of the key and much to my surprise there was almost no oil smoke on start up. After such a long lay off I was anticipating that quite a quantity of oil had got down the worn valve guides and into the cylinders.
Anyway they both ran well or so my test driver reports so I am lookig forward to taking them out in a few weeks.

4 Sep 2017


Vicksburg,USA May 2017. Down by the old docks. A typical scene of industrial decay and abandonment. Sadly it could be one of thousands of such scenes in the US.
Once this was full of wagons, trucks and cargo and teeming with workers. They have all gone and they will never come back despite the promises of false prophets. The world has changed-permanently.

1 Sep 2017

Chicago-early morning

Whilst I was in Chicago back in May-before my enforced hospitalisation-I did my usual early morning walks despite the bitterly cold wind blowing off the lake.
This view is looking east towards the lake.It would have been better if I had waited until the car had fully turned the corner before I pressed the shutter release but nonetheless I like it for the golden light which transforms the streetscape.
Leica Q photo.