30 Dec 2011


I don't have much patience with most photography related blogs/websites and the army of instant, highly opinionated "experts" on the internet but one I really do appreciate is by globetrotting , highly acclaimed Danish photographer ,Thorsten Overgaard .See THORSTEN OVERGAARD .
He takes superb photos,mainly portraits of famous people, and then writes about how he made them . He is a big Leica fan and I appreciate the fact that he still often uses a Digilux 2 camera which most "experts" would dismiss as an outdated clunker.
Reading his blog recently prompted me to take down from my museum shelf the Leica Digilux 1 I purchased s/h from my Leica/Lotus/Jaguar expert and friend Roger Putnam back in 2004 .
 Now the Digilux 1 was introduced in 2002 and is a big,weird, clunky camera with ugly retro styling and appalling control layout .
The period 2002 to 2007 was the period of really rapid advances in digital camera technology so even when I bought the Digilux 1 in 2004 it was seriously out of date in terms of sensor sensitivity etc and by 2006 I felt that I should trade up to the then newly released Canon G7 so I moved it to my museum shelf where it has stayed neglected for the past 5 years.
By today's standards the Digilux 1 is a total anachronism -the highest ISO is 200 and the sensor gets really noisy at ISO above100 .It shoots JPEGS and TIFF-no RAW as such and the shutter release delay is very long and it is only 4 mp--less than a modest smartphone nowadays.
But it has a  Leica F2.0 Summicron zoom lens equivalent to 33mm to 100 mm and a viewfinder and a manual focussing ring around the lens .And it takes beautiful photos with that mellow,clear "Leica" look.
I spent a few hours trying to get any one of the spare three batteries for the camera to accept a charge and succeeded eventually with just one of them. Then to my surprise when I put it into the camera it booted up .I took the two photos ,of Julia and Phoebe-the Himalayan ,with it over the holiday weekend.The AWB seems to be a little askew so I had to do a white balance adjustment in LR but otherwise these are straight TIFF files out of the camera .Just remember this is a 9 year old 4 mp camera .

When I was actively using the Digilux 1 I took it on a number of trips overseas although at that time I still thought of my Leica M6 as my main camera . One trip was to Shanghai in 2004 and below are four photos from that trip . SD cards were still very small capacity at that time ( the camera came with a tiny 64 mp card) so I shot small JPEG files to ensure that I had enough memory for the trip .

 Now that I have revived the Digilux 1 I may be tempted to use it from time to time and as I do so I will reflect on whether many of the digital camera "advances" of the last 9 years are in fact just marketing gimmicks designed to tempt the vast army of pixel peepers anxious to have the latest and greatest .

28 Dec 2011


Way back in 1982 I was fortunate to make the most amazing journey on the "Orient Express" from Istanbul ,Turkey to Interlaken ,Switzerland via Venice . It was not today's glossy, premium "retro" train but one off special journey put on by a Swiss train enthusiast who had access to a set of the original "Wagons- Lits" carriages as used in the authentic Orient Express .
Most of the journey steam locos pulled the train and the passage through a very grim and austere "Iron Curtain" Eastern Europe was surreal .The sleeper carriages were heated at night by coal fired stoves manually stoked all night and the only concession to modern conveniences was a shower car .The amazing meals were cooked by a chef and a couple of assistants from Maxims in Paris in a tiny kitchen at the end of the dining car .
I have recently found my photos of this extraordinary trip.Sadly most of the negatives have seriously deteoriated and stained as I used Ilford XP1 chromogenic film for the black and white shots and colour negative film for the colour and the washing by the processing lab must have been inadequate .So it is a somewhat limited record of a unique journey.

26 Dec 2011


After 3 weeks of miserable ,wet ,unseasonal weather the switch was thrown to "normal" for Christmas Eve ,Christmas Day and Boxing Day and it was perfect --warm but not too hot and crystal clear, blue sky with just a few puffy clouds.Above photo taken at 11.35am Christmas Day ,Terrigal Beach , NSW . Australia .

22 Dec 2011


                              An Australian Christmas snow scene .Season's Greetings to all Rolling Road readers  .

18 Dec 2011


There is a shop in Montparnasse in Paris which sells aviation memorabilia including the beautiful model airliners which used to grace airline offices when airlines had offices and not call centres and websites. This model Ford Trimotor caught my eye. Luckily the shop was closed so I was not tempted .Taken through the shop window June 2011.


Friend Patrick had to sell both his aircooled toys-the 1971 911T Sportomatic and his BMW bike -when he moved from the US to Belgium a few years back . A lack of off street parking and the high cost of classic 911s in Europe has prevented him getting another early 911 but he has just bought a R80R BMW which he is drooling over .It has been used as a daily "driver" for many years and needs a bit of cosmetic work and a good service but it looks a pretty neat machine for racing between cafes in Brussels. Its not an early 911 but under the circumstances I'm sure for Patrick it's a passable substitute.

16 Dec 2011


Chimping is a colloquial term used in digital photography (especially when using a digital single lens reflex camera) to describe the habit of checking every photo on the camera LCD display immediately after capture.
Some photographers use the term in a derogatory sense to describe the actions of amateur photographers, but the act of reviewing images on-camera is not necessarily frowned upon by professional or experienced photographers.Source Wikipedia.
Now chimping does not necessarily mean that you also delete unwanted images at the same time but for many chimpers it does and this is where the problem lies in chimping .
I don't chimp for three reasons - to save battery life ,because the LCD on the X1 is not bright enough to chimp and most importantly I like to view my images  on a big screen before I decide whether to delete them .If you chimp and delete you may well delete a usable image which you do not appreciate at a quick glance at the LCD.
The two images below both taken in Paris in June could well have been deleted at the time they were taken if I had chimped them . Of course some may well say that they should have been deleted .........

13 Dec 2011


 The Rolling Road blog is one year old .There is now a sizeable, regular stream of visitors to the blog every day.Over the past year 25% of visitors to the blog have come from Australia,17% from the US and 8% from the UK .
The most visited item in the year was the post on the Leica X1 X1 post closely followed, surprisingly, by the post on RM Williams boots R M Williams Boots post.

Here are some personal favourites from the many images I have posted over the year.All taken by me except the atmospheric Paris cafe shot by friend ,Patrick Wheeler.


12 Dec 2011


After his "surprise" class win with his 911 Targa in the Show and Shine class of the Porsche Club NSW Treffen back in October friend Warren is taking his car detailing to a new level . With the engine and transmission out for a new clutch to be fitted this week he has taken the opportunity to paint the normally hidden sheet metal from the engine surrounds .This is serious stuff Warren .

And I could not resist the opportunity to take a quick headshot of Mr Detailer despite his protests .

11 Dec 2011


I took the 1971 911 for its annual registration safety check last Wednesday and it failed. A rear light was not working. It had been working when I did a check on the previous Monday so I was annoyed and perplexed .

I brought the car home and spent a good 2 hours checking every possible cause of the problem -connectors , fuses , globes,contacts - all the usual suspects .To no avail .Digging deep into the wiring of a 40 year old car is not for the feint hearted .There are remnants of the wiring for long gone sound and security systems as well as rewiring for a changed electronic ignition module and an inertia switch.I even found a spade terminal dangling in the engine bay with no obvious partner and when I applied power to it one of the reversing lights came on but the reversing lights were operating normally anyway. Best not to wonder about things like that for too long.

In the end I gave up looking and after a struggle to reconnect one of the connectors ( thank you Warren for literally giving me a hand) I "hotwired" the rogue light or as I would prefer to put it I did a "workaround" - a new lead off the connector for the non working light connector to the connector for the working light - a few cable ties and it looked pretty neat and it passed the rego check the next day . I would still like to find the cause of the problem though .

9 Dec 2011


Taken from Cromarty Hill,Forresters Beach, NSW at 11.30 am today looking south over Forresters,Wamberal and Terrigal beaches. A Leica X1 photo.

6 Dec 2011


I just came across two photos I took at the Le Mans 24 hours from an almost identical position --one in 1988 and the other at the 2009 race.
The safety related changes to the track layout over the years have been really significant and have contained race speeds .
Note the lack of catch fences in the 1988 photo . Alan McNish in his Audi had his high speed accident at exactly this point this year and the catch fencing prevented debris hitting the packed spectator enclosure .If a similar accident had happened in 1988 it would have been a very different story .

4 Dec 2011


The weather forecast for the weekend was not good but until Sunday afternoon when the clouds and rain rolled in it was fine and sunny which was great for the big surf club carnival on Terrigal beach .This shot is for all the blog readers in the northern hemisphere.Eat your hearts out .

1 Dec 2011


As a sequel to the Ferrari transporter story below I have just seen the price of the model Ferrari transporter-$900 ! Sacre bleu.
Anyway Porsche 356 racers have more modest transporters as shown by these shots of 356s leaving race meetings .The first from Sears Point Raceway,California and the second from Speed on Tweed ,Murwillumbah , NSW Australia.

29 Nov 2011


Now that the F1 season is finally over and the last race , the Brazilian GP , was the usual high speed procession-although it was won by an Australian- here's an antidote to the F1 blues . Jack Brabham drifting his Repco Brabham Tasman series car back in 1967.Real car control -- no fancy aids -- just three pedals - the accelerator being most useful for this piece of artistry- -a steering wheel and a gearlever and of course no wings and all the other nonsense which has turned modern F1 cars into cruise missiles with wheels .Pure magic . I'm glad that I was around to see cars being driven like this . Sorry Mark .

27 Nov 2011


I'm not at all into model cars but the German model manufacturer ,CMC, has just introduced a  model of the 1957 Ferrari race transporter -see
Owning the model would be more convenient and a lot cheaper than owning the real thing as the genuine article is a bit large for most garages.It has been totally restored and is now privately owned .It was at the 2010 Le Mans Classic where I photographed it .Also I've found a superb vintage photo of it in the paddock at Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix in 1960(?).
Apart from the garage problem to really enjoy your Ferrari transporter you need a few classic Ferraris to fill it which will really strain the budget .

25 Nov 2011


It's still raining so I have been searching the old files and doing some scanning ( my least favourite task) and I just came across this 1980's Ektachrome of the Seine .Then there were  working barges moored in the centre of the city .
These old Ektachromes really do have a lovely aging patina but it is a passing phase -soon they will be too far gone .