31 Aug 2013

Dawn Saturday Aug 31st

Here in New South Wales,Australia we have just experienced our warmest winter on record.Yesterday here in Terrigal ,on the coast,it was 31ºC-10º above average.A good summer temperature.And it has not rained properly for 4 weeks.The rainwater tanks are empty.It is worrying.We could be in for a horrific bushfire season over summer.They have been doing hazard reduction burning in the local national parks in preparation and there is a smell of burnt gumtrees in the air.
It looks as if Australians ,who go to the polls in a general election next weekend ,are about to vote in as prime minister a man who once said that "global warming is crap".Oh dear.
Anyway I was up at dawn this morning on the last day of winter and saw the keen fishermen lining up to put their boats in at the Terrigal boat ramp whilst the pelicans watched and an old dog enjoyed a good run on the beach.Leica X1 photo.

30 Aug 2013

No more Porsche golden days

A comment was made to me the other day that perhaps the new Porsche LMP1 sports racing car-see LMP1 below- will be sold to private teams and Porsche will again dominate the grids at Le Mans and sports car events just like the 956/962 did through the Porsche racing's golden days of the1980s-when they won the 24 hour race 7 times in the decade.Sadly it isn't going to happen.I'm sure Porsche won't be selling the car to privateers because it will be very costly,very complex and most importantly full of IP - intellectual property- aka trade secrets- which Porsche will not want others to access.
In the 956/962 era Porsche operated what today would be called a"open source" approach to the cars they sold to private teams.You could take them apart,modify them,improve them or whatever.There were no secrets.A private team could buy a 962 straight from the factory - employ some good drivers- and be confident of being competitive even standing a chance at winning Le Mans.It was a golden era and lots of succesful teams ran the 956/962s.It was the ultimate "turnkey racer".Sadly those days are gone.There may be private teams running the new car after a year or so-just as there are private teams running the Audi racers at Le Mans and elsewhere but the teams will be close friends of the factory and the cars will remain Porsche property under the control of the factory.
Anyway a couple of pictures of 962s being run by privateers in the 1980s-the Jagermeister car at the 1989 Spa WEC round and a Japanese entered 962 late in the race at Le Mans in 1989.Golden days.Both Leica M6 photos by me.

28 Aug 2013

More Gedinne Moto TT Classic 2013

The first set of photos from last weekend's classic motorcycle racing at Gedinne in Belgium have been really popular so here are some more of Patrick's photos of this amazing event.Enjoy.

27 Aug 2013

Unbelievable-Gedinne Moto TT Classic 2013

Patrick from Belgium sent me these wonderful photos of last weekend's Gedinne Moto TT Classic in Belgium.I find it difficult to believe that this event is taking place today and that this photos are not from some wonderful event 40 years ago before motor sport was taken over by lawyers and risk management experts and sponsors and PR spin doctors.There is no way you could even think about this set up in Australia today.I competed in a local hillclimb three years ago and the driver's briefing-for a little hillclimb -took 30 mins.Petty rules, disclaimers everywhere,ridiculous restrictions and an aggressive attitude ruled the day.It was my last competitive event.Life is too short for that nonsense.How wonderful to see that some events still are relaxed and accessible and fun.
No need for long lenses at this event-just stand on the edge of the track. Photos from a little Sony RX100.Thanks Patrick .

26 Aug 2013

China redux 2

Some more early digital photos from that trip to China years ago.The first set have been well received so I have pulled up the rest.Taken on aLeica Digilux 1 camera which was a joint Panasonic/Leica product.By today's standards it is a pretty odd device but produced photos which had character although they are "noisy" and oversharpened.It shoots jpeg and/or tiff files -sadly I shot these as jpegs to save memory as the memory cards were still very small capacity at that time and they were also very expensive.It also does infra red very well.I still have it but the batteries are dead and despite my best efforts I cannot revive any of them so it's time to look on eBay for a replacement.
Of course these photos would be so much better-but perhaps not so period- if they had been taken on a modern disgital camera and I just wish that I had more memory cards on that trip because I could have taken so many more photos-there were plenty of opportunities although it was only a short trip.Today it is almost unthinkable that my shooting could be restricted by a lack of memory space but the early days of digital were similar to shooting with film in that respect.

25 Aug 2013

No Smoding

Lost in translation,street market,Shanghai,China,2004.Leica Digilux1

24 Aug 2013

China redux

Off to a niece's wedding in Hong Kong in April next year and planning to go into China afterwards which prompted me to dig into the archives to find some photos of China from a previous trip 9 years ago.It has changed so much and is still is changing so rapidly I am sure that many of the places below have long gone.But maybe the wedding dresses are still hanging out to dry at the wedding dress hire shop on a main road in Shanghai ? Leica Digilux 1 photos.

An even more ridiculous Lotus FF

Desperate people do desperate things and faced with an unsold inventory of 300 (!) Lotus Formula Ford single seaters in 1970 the Lotus sales director came up with this publicity stunt horror.What was he thinking? Enough said.

23 Aug 2013

LM24 2014

I have made up my mind.I am going to the Le Mans 24 hour race in 2014.The chance to see Porsche versus Audi versus Toyota for outright honours is just something I cannot pass up.The Classic is great but the 24 hours is the real deal.
Porsche have not yet released details of the LMP1 car which will contest the race yet but it is known that it is a hybrid and the money is on it using the Williams developed KERS system with a flywheel spinning in a vacuum storing recovered energy which is used to generate electrical power in short bursts for motors on the front wheels with the rear wheels powered by a conventional petrol V8 probably turbocharged.But Porsche may surprise us yet so that spec is nothing more than speculation.A set of photos of the car have been released by Porsche one is below.

What I do know is that it will not have the aura or the sound of a 917.There will never be another race car like the 917.If you hanker after seeing the 917 in action-below-more than the LMP1 car try and go to the Le Mans Classic 4 weeks later.Photos by Peter de Rousset-Hall and me.

22 Aug 2013

People working

Mike Johnson the principal of the TOP blogsite referred to in the post below sprang a competition on his readers two weeks ago.The theme was working "People Working" and as he gave no notice and an imminent closing date entries really had to be at hand in your files.He was offering very generous cash prizes ($1000 first prize) and he attracted over 900 entries at short notice.The results have not yet been announced but here is my entry and I'm hoping.
This genial bookbinder has been binding books and applying the block lettering using traditional techniques at a bench in the window of a small shop on the prestigious Rue du Cherche-Midi in Paris for 23 years.He is a friendly,softly spoken man who does not speak any English and he explained to me that that there is still just enough work for him even in the ebook/internet age.Photo taken in July 2011.I hope that he is still there.
And in response to those who have emailed me after the previous post to say that they would like to see me continue to put the camera details for the photos as it encourages users of compact cameras you have persuaded me and I will continue to show the camera details.This was taken on my Leica X1.