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18 Aug 2019

A man and his passion


I took my 2.7 911 down to Sydney Motorsport Park today to display it at the Shannons Classic display day. There was an enormous entry of literally thousands of cars from Austin 7s and Goggomobiles to Ferrari Testa Rossas. As usually happens I caught up with many people I knew including David Berthon-motoring journalist and broadcaster- pictured above -who was there with his magnificent Rolls Royce Silver Ghost which was entered in the Concours.
The Rolls Royce won the Best Car of the Show award and also  the veterean class. David's delighted with the result-as he should be.






11 Aug 2019

Light and shade.


Light and shade. Paperbark trees on the shore of Smiths Lake, Myall Lakes National Park, NSW, Australia. Leica Q photo.

5 Aug 2019

Glory and Honour Department Store



Spotted in the Chinatown market complex in Singapore. The Glory and Honour Department Store. Where did they get the "Glory and Honour" from and it's far from being a department store. It's great to find things like this. The homogenisation, globalisation and harmonisation of the world is taking away the local colour everywhere.

30 Jul 2019

All change in Singapore


I first visited Singapore in 1974 on a business trip. I took a little Olympus Pen half frame camera which was loaded with Kodachrome. I have had a search but cannot find the slides which is a pity. I know that they are somewhere. So many photos, so little system.They would show a very different city to the one I visited two weeks ago.  I was a timid photographer back then so the slides don't show the cargo being unloaded from junks and lighters on a quay right in the heart of the city or the coolies pulling carts overloaded with goods and the shophouses-shop downstairs,house upstairs-the streets full of bicycles, British cars and the ancient Leyland buses putting out clouds of diesel fumes. Nor did I photograph the expats -predominantly British- who were still very visible running the trading houses, banks and other institutions back then. They all went back "home" long ago.
Today Singapore is a model, modern city/state  - just don't mention democracy, free speech or the death penalty.
Some enclaves of old Singapore remain preserved -saved from the wrecking ball-often at the last minute. Land reclamation around the mouth of the river has changed the shape of the city. The Merlion statue, the national symbol, still stands on the quay but all around it has changed and whilst I was a solitary tourist photographing it on a Sunday morning in 1974 on my recent visit there were crowds of tourists from all around the world taking photographs.




22 Jul 2019

Gardens by the Bay-Singapore

The two conservatories- Cloud Forest on left. Flower Dome on right.

Singapore's leading tourist attraction is deservedly the spectacular Gardens by the Bay built on reclaimed land in Marina Bay.

The best description of the Gardens is on their website-www.gardensbythebay.com.sg



"A national garden and premier horticultural attraction for local and international visitors, Gardens by the Bay is a showpiece of horticulture and garden artistry that presents the plant kingdom in a whole new way, entertaining while educating visitors with plants seldom seen in this part of the world, ranging from species in cool, temperate climates to tropical forests and habitats.
 Bay South, the largest of the three gardens, opened in 2012. With its award-winning cooled conservatories and iconic Supertrees, Bay South has placed Singapore squarely on the international map and is a source of national pride. Within Flower Dome, the ever-changing floral displays including crowd favourites such as Tulipmania, Orchid Extravaganza and Blossom Beats bring the beauty and diversity of the plant kingdom to life for all to enjoy.  

Bay East, the second largest, offers a tranquil respite from the bustling city and a stunning view of the Singapore skyline even as it unfolds over the next century. This green space is open to the public and has immense potential for future development as a waterfront garden.
Bay Central is the garden which will serve as a link between Bay South to Bay East when developed, with a 3km waterfront promenade boasting stunning views of the city."

We visited the gardens on our first day in Singapore and as it was very hot and humid we only ventured into the two amazing conservatory domes-Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome-see photo above taken through tinted glass from the Singapore Flyer-the world's largest observation wheel.
Hopefully on a future visit we will be able to see more of the outside gardens and if it is not too hot venture on the Skywalk around the mushroom shaped structires on far right of photo above.




Inside Flower Dome

19 Jul 2019

Faces of Singapore

Chef's smoko
Just back this morning from a 5 night stay in Singapore for my birthday. It was great. It's been about 4 years since I spent time in the city of Singapore as opposed to transiting through the world's most amazing airport -Changi. Singapore changes continuously and it seems even more affluent each time I visit. It's not difficult to see why the book and the excellent film "Crazy Rich Asians " were set in Singapore.
The only low spot was the flight on British Airways. Mediocre does not begin to describe it. Definitely not the world's favourite airline today.
Of course I took a camera and came back with a few photos of smiling Singaporeans. I spotted the two happy chefs having a smoking break down a back alley in Chinatown.
The little girl below was posing for her parents on one of the wall murals also in Chinatown.



The happy selfie shooters posed for me in the shop at the Gardens by the Bay-now Singapore's biggest tourist attraction and rightly so.
Finally below this very happy group are the door staff at the Capital Kempinski Hotel. They really seemed to enjoy their work.


All photo taken with my Leica Q which seemed to get heavier every day in the heat and humidity.

6 Jul 2019

Over the hills and far away...

Morning stop north of Dungog.


The last three days I have been on the now annual, classic Porsche group road trip into northern New South Wales. This is the fourth running of the road trip. I have been on three-missing one in 2017 due to being in hospital . This year the unofficial "club" has expanded to 5- all with very similar early 70's longnose 911s.
The company was, as always, great. The roads were generally superb and so empty. Surely some of the best driving roads in Australia?
All the cars behaved themselves. Mine had a new clutch, new rear shockers and new seat belts for the trip and was going better than it has ever done since I owned it. Thank you Simon and the team at Autowerks.
The weather was not fully cooperative - rain squalls, low cloud and patches of sunshine, particularly over the Great Dividing Range, but we all drove safely and quickly on some very slippery mountain roads and lived to tell the tale and drink some excellent Pinot Noir on the last evening.

Peas out of a pod. Lunch stop Buladelah

Justin, interloper from Victoria.

Following Ash on the road north from Bellingen

Coffee stop at very cold Ebor in the middle of nowhere. L to R Craig,Colin,Justin and Ash.

Having a silver car is not compulsory

Frosty the snowman

My car at home among the gum trees

A great colour choice Justin.

From the front Craig's,Colin's,Justin's, mine and Ash's

A very wet Long Flat at the bottom of the mountain.


27 Jun 2019

The Reichstag


After the reunification of Germany in 1990 Berlin was reinstated as the capital city of Gemany. Subsequently the old federal parliament building, the Reichstag, which had stood as a disused shell since the end of World War 2 was reconstructed to a design by the British architect, Sir Norman Foster.
The high point, literally, of his reconstruction is the glass and steel dome perched on the roof of the old building. It is a very brave design, up there with the Louvre's glass pyramid, in terms of architectural bravery.
It's easy to take a cheesy, standard tourist photo of the Reichstag and the dome. I opted for an internal view with, luckily, the German flag fluttering in the wind outside.

The thinker


The thinker? The daydreamer more likely. Beautiful Phoebe, now our only cat, staring into space.

26 Jun 2019

The Royal Pissoir


Whilst taking an early morning walk in the old city, close to the Royal Palace, in Stockholm last month I came across this structure. My first thought when I saw it from a distance was that it was a sentry box but as I came close I saw that it is a Swedish Pissoir-a urinal. Not at all what I would expect to find near the Palace in Stockholm or indeed anywhere in Stockholm. Paris definitely, but not Stockholm. Anyway there it was and yes, it is fully functioning.

25 Jun 2019

The cat with pink ears


Well. not really-that's just the sun. Photographed at a farmhouse near Minas De Santa Domingos in central Portugal last year. This photo has just been selected by the Leica Fotografie International for inclusion in the LFI Gallery.

23 Jun 2019

Beyond Stockholm








One of the many delights of Stockholm is that the surrounding islands are so accessible by ferry. During our recent visit we took one of the vintage steam ferries to the island of Vaxholm for the day. The trip was delightful with frequent stops at small jetties to drop and pick up passengers. Most of the dwellings on the near islands are summer houses which apparently cost Sydney real estate prices. Above are some of the scenery we passed that day and the ferry boat which took us. It all looks so typically Swedish.

20 Jun 2019

A sad time


Whilst we were on our way home from Berlin two weeks ago we received the very sad news at Doha Airport that out wonderful little cat, Zoe, had died at the Terrigal Vetinerary Hospital. It was not a shock as she was 19 and had been diagnosed with diabetes 8 months previously. She really had done very well to live to such an old age for a pure bred cat and also to live with the diabetes for so long. Nonetheless it was still sad news and we would have liked to have said goodbye.
We really miss her. She was so cute and mischievous and always hanging around us in the house. The photo above was taken on the 31st March this year.



18 Jun 2019

More from the flea market.


More from the Mauerpark flea market in Berlin. A stall selling reproduction East German communist era hats incl Red Army hats. Not sure why anyone would want one unless they were going to a fancy dress party.

17 Jun 2019

Psst, wanna a smelly old camera?


This decidedly grumpy man was manning his table in the wonderful Mauerpark flea market in Berlin on a Sunday morning last month. I usually find that flea markets are disappointing -full of stalls selling junk but the Mauerpark market is well worth visiting as whilst there is plenty of junk there's plenty interesting stuff as well.
The market is really popular with both locals and tourists and you can find anything from craft beer to vintage Marklin model trains and smelly old cameras.
There were three sellers of old cameras on the Sunday I was there. Most of the cameras are East German models-Prakticas, Exaktas and Exas. You would be pretty brave to buy one. Old cameras do not age well unless looked after. Rubber and cloth focal plane shutter blinds are particularly prone to rotting and fungus loves old lenses. Going by his demeanor this guy was not finding many takers for his doubtful offerings.

Vintage Marklin model trains


13 Jun 2019

100% Stockholm


I had been to Sweden a few times many years ago but had never visited Stockholm until last month. What a glorious city. I could almost live there if it wasn't for the climate and the prices but maybe I should not jump to snap judgements-five days in a superb hotel harbourside right opposite the Royal Palace has perhaps given me an unduly positive view of the city.
Anyway here is a 100% Stockholm photo. A cyclist riding down the quayside on the cobbles, passing a vintage steam ferry, across from the Royal Palace. And in a massive enlargement of the photo you can see a sentry with his blue uniform in a sentry box in front of the Palace.

9 Jun 2019

A hole in the wall.


A hole in the wall -taken along one of the still standing stretches of the Berlin Wall. In this case the stretch beside the very sobering Topography Des Terrors exhibition on the horrors of the Nazi regime in Germany and across Europe.
Germany, to its credit, has fully confronted its Nazi era history. You need a very strong constitution to view this exhibition in its entirety.
The photo was taken through the front window from the top deck of a bus.
The cyclist is one of the tens of thousands of Berliners who cycle as their main mode of transport every day. The fact that the city is flat encourages cycling but also Berlin motorists have a very understanding attitude towards cyclists unlike Sydney where the government and many branches of the media have an openly hostile attitude towards cyclists.

5 Jun 2019

Back up and running again

After a great but exhausting three week trip to Copenhagen, Stockholm and Berlin I am back and ready to revive the Rolling Road. In the last 12 months the blog and its format have become tired I am evaluating moving it to another platform and updating its look and feel .
In the interim I will continue to post stories here and I will start with one of the photos I from the trip. I took just my now vintage Leica X1 because it is small and easy to carry. That was a wise decision. I managed to test the camera's crash resistance by dropping it from a reasonable height onto a wooden hotel floor. It landed baseplate first and much to my surprise and delight appears to have suffered no damage.
As a tourist visiting capital cities which are full of tourists and tourist sights it is difficult to avoid taking generic tourist photos and to take original photos . I tried hard but I fear that I was not always succesful.
The first photo is of the Little Mermaid statue on the waterfront in Copenhagen. This the ultimate tourist shot -in this case taken from a boat. The Little Mermaid is, as you can see, correctly described as little. I first saw it when visiting Copenhagen in 1973 and I could not understand what all the fuss was about. I am even more bemused today. People come out by the coachload to see that ? I designate the Copenhagen Little Mermaid as the world's most overrated tourist sight. Sorry, Copenhageners you have a beautiful city but lay off the Little Mermaid.


9 May 2019

Coastline


A photo taken 7 years ago near Binalong Bay, north of St Helens on the east coast of Tasmania. This was taken as a colour photo with my Leica X1 but earlier this week I decided to convert it into black and white and to submit it to the Leica Fotografie online Gallery. It has been accepted as one of their Coastline shots.
Converting it into black and white in Silver Efex Pro4 software  changes the mood of the photo. The colour original below shows a calm scene on a rather flat summer's day. The black and white version is more atmospheric with clouds which have a hint of being threatening. Having said that I much prefer the original colour version. To me the black and white is somewhat contrived-it is a scene I did not see.


7 May 2019

Sunrise


In the last four weeks we have had some really spectacular sunrises along the east coast of Australia due to a combination of the time of year and high levels of dust in the atmosphere. With the big dry continuing inland there is a lot of dust being picked up by the prevailing wind and taken east. Recently I have not been as diligent as I used to be in carrying a camera on my early morning walk so I have missed photographing the most spectacular displays but today I picked up the X1 and headed down into Terrigal as quickly as I could walk as the sun rose. The big problem with these sunrises is that they don't linger. In ten minutes they have faded away.
Today's sunrise was not as spectacular as many recently but it was still worth a quick photo.
Photo -sunrise over Terrigal Haven at 6.06am today. Leica X1 1/8th sec at f2.8. Camera resting on a fence.

3 May 2019

Far from the Madding Crowd


Cellito Beach,Barrington Coast,NSW this week. Pristine, squeeky, near white sand. Beautiful, clean blue water and not a soul in sight.

2 May 2019

A beach mystey


Taking a walk on a nearly deserted Blueys Beach on Barrington Coast NSW early this morning I came across this pair of good sandshoes on the sand. There was no sign of their possible owner. What were they doing there? Had the owner gone for a swim and drowned? Or taken them off whilst walking on the beach and had forgottem that they had left them there? I will never know.