Translate

20 Oct 2017

Seven days in FNQ

We were supposed to spend most of September touring southern Portugal but my illness and subsequent operation put paid to that plan so we took a 7 day trip at the earliest opportunity to a less distant destination- Cairns in Far North Queeensland (FNQ) -for seven days in mid October
I last visited Cairns on holiday over 30 years ago and although I have been there on business a few times I really had not appreciated how much it has changed. Today it is tourist central but it still very much retains its Australian tropical city character.
If I was surprised at how much Cairns had changed nothing prepared me for the change in Port Douglas to the north. I spent time in Port Douglas in 1992. In the intervening 25 years it has changed out of all recognition.
As well as spending time in Cairns and Port Douglas we drove up to the Atherton Tablelands as well as travelling up to Kuranda on the spectacular Skyrail cable car and down on the Kuranda scenic railway- one of the great railway engineering feats of Australia.
On the drive up onto the tablelands I took the Gilles Highway up from Gordonvale. This must be one of the most spectaular and challenging driving roads in Australia. It is steep,winding and long and the surface is excellent. In other words a superb Porsche driving road. Sadly I was in an Avis Mitsubishi ASX SUV-a perfectly acceptable rental car but a poor substitute for a Porsche. Cairns is so far north there is little chance of many Porsche drivers making the journey there from the southern states which is a pity because in addition to the Gilles Highway there is the spectacular Captain Cook Highway from Cairns to Port Douglas. The tyranny of distance.
Whilst on the Atherton Tablelands I drove out to the small settlement of Herberton where there is a very quirky camera museum. I'll put up a story on this find later but suffice to say for now that Herberton is one of the last places you would expect to find such an interesting collection.
We were so lucky with the weather.Queensland along with much of the eastern side of the continent has been in drought for some time.The drought broke with a vengeance in S Queensland the week we were in Cairns but the heavy rain and flooding stayed to the south and we only experienced rain late on our last afternoon and the morning we were flying out.
As I was attempting to travel light I took just my much loved Leica X1 with me. I left the "tourist" photos to Val -who is now a Leica convert-and just took a few photos which to me convey the character of FNQ. Fellow photographers may be interested to know that I took only jpegs and in total including the photos in the camera museum I took just 41 pictures 11 of which are below.

Dawn patrol ,Cairns Esplanade. Even at 6.00am the Esplanade was crowded with serious exercisers and early morning walkers

Dawn, Cairns Esplanade.
Mango wine seller,Kuranda village. I did not try a sample.To me wine can only be made from grapes.Business was slow for this friendly lady the day we were there.
Port Douglas. The setting for Port Douglas is spectacular.
Port Douglas waterway.
Four Mile Beach,Port Douglas.
Swagman bushpoet Port Douglas markets. He looked like a swagman even down to his filthy swag (bedding roll) and he recited bush poetry but was he the real thing? I don't know.
Part of main street Herberton. Atherton Tablelands. Although it is a straight shot I believe it conveys the feel of a typical back country settlement.
Sugar cane mill,Mossman, N of Port Douglas. The narrow gauge cane railway runs across the main street in Mossman.  The cane railway lines criss cross the cane fields and main roads and you have to be alert for the cane trains in the May to Nov harvest season. Now the engines are diesels but they were steam once.
The Lagoon, Cairns waterfront.
Cairns Airport- waiting for our Virgin flight back to Sydney.




17 Oct 2017

Ha,ha

                                   Seen on the back of a 3 litre Porsche

16 Oct 2017

Classic British

Photographed at the the Pie in the Sky Cowan last year.Different takes on classic British. The Bristol is rarer than rocking horse droppings in Australia. This one has a fold back canvas sunroof.
I had a drive in a very similar MG to this one once.The steering was pretty horrid and the car wandered.It also tramlined. People raced them and still do. Brave people.

15 Oct 2017

Live firearms-in Las Vegas

I photographed this guy last year on the strip in Las Vegas hustling for customers for a live firearms range. Looks like Koreans were in his sights. I wonder how business has been the last week. Probably better than ever knowing seeing how people usually react to these gun massacres.
I just do not understand the gun obsession in the US. I have never touched a gun yet alone fired a gun and I have no wish to do so.

10 Oct 2017

Colourful Myanmar







I went to Myanmar 5 years ago soon after the sanctions were lifted and the country was opening up to the world. It was a superb trip travelling down the Irrawaddy on a small river boat stopping at riverside villages on the way. The country is desparately poor but the people were delightful and it was so colourful. I have wanted to return and when Pandaw the company we travelled with back in 2012 ( see PANDAW ) announced an boat expedition across the Irrawaddy Delta-an area not so far explored by tourists-I jumped at the opportunity. So I am off to Myanmar next March -camera in hand to capture more Myanmar colour.
However I do have major reservations.The recent expulsion of the Rohingya people,the burning of Rohingya villages and the indifferent attitude of Aung San Suu Kyi to what the UN have described as ethnic cleansing has made me question whether we should be going to Myanmar. Regrettably we have already paid a substantial deposit and made bookings so cancelling at this point would be costly and at the end of the day our two person protest would count for nothing except perhaps to ease our consciences. 
The photos above were all taken with my Leica X1 in river bank villages down the Irrawaddy river. All taken as jpeg files.

8 Oct 2017

......and it rained


It was the Bathurst 1000 today. I am not a fan of Australian Supercar racing - taxi racing-but Bathurst is such a special and demanding track I am tempted to turn on the TV to watch snatches of it every year.
It has not rained across most of NSW for over 2 months. Not a drop. The practice days were glorious and sunny but as luck would have it today at Bathurst it poured down and most of the race was wet. It only started to dry out in the last hour. With a wet track surface there were cars running off all round the circuit. And when the rain did stop and there was rush onto dry weather slick tyres any excursion off the narrow dry racing line was courting disaster.
There was a huge crowd of spectators and I am sure that many of them would not have come prepared for the deluge after such a long dry period.

Photo above of slicks taken at this year's Bathurst  12 hour GT race when it was scorching hot and totally dry.

5 Oct 2017

Want a lick?



I saw a story on TV yesterday about a St Bernard dog in the US with America's longest dog tongue-all 8 inches of it.
By coincidence I had just taken this shot of another tongue -ready to lick any adoring fan. Not 8 inches but still a tongue to be proud of.
Photo taken with the Leica Q at f1.7.

1 Oct 2017

Dawn patrol


The clocks went forward one hour on Saturday night so that  we are now on summertime. This means that for a few weeks the light at 6.30am will be really good.
I was down at the beach at 6.30am on sunday and took a few shots with the Leica Q.
The top one is of a guy who puts himself through a pretty hard workout most mornings.This is a big crop from the Leica Q full frame file. That camera is amazing.
The second shot is of a group of early morning swimmers from the Terrigal surf club. Although the daytime temperature is warming up apparently the sea is still quite cool hence the wetsuits.


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.