29 Nov 2013

Pit and paddock

 The pits have provided me with most of my motor racing photo opportunities and I enjoy the atmosphere of the pits and the paddock as much as anything else in motor racing.Sadly the opportunities to access the pits or even the paddock at most top and medium level race meetings are very limited nowadays.Even at the recent Porsche Rennsport Australia some the Porsche Carrera Cup teams erected sight screens to prevent spectators looking into their pits.What precious nonsense.Some of those teams are so far up themselves that they can see daylight.
Anyway one pit and one paddock shot from less restricted times.Both photos by the author.

Time for a quiet smoke and an opportunity to collect a few thoughts.Historics,pits Eastern Creek Raceway ,Sydney .

A camera carrying enthusiast at the 1981 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. .Is anyone prepared to make a guess at the nationality or profession of the young lady ( both known) and can anyone recognise the camera she is using  (not known).Answers and guesses in the comments below thanks.
Footnote - thanks for the input the camera is a Yashica Minster 3 .

More Vietnam

This is the last of the Vietnam 2005 "lost"slides.Young H'mong woman in paddy fields north of Sapa.Note the rice paddy fields being tilled by water buffalo power.The next morning I saw this same woman 15kms away at the market in Sapa and I am sure that she walked there.Again Leica M6 and Fuji Velvia film.

28 Nov 2013

Hill tribes

Three more photos from that rediscovered 2005 Vietnam slide collection.I travelled by train overnight from Hanoi upto Sapa very close to the Chinese border and then travelled out to some of the remote hill tribes.These H'mong people have had and continue to have a very difficult existence.They live in extreme poverty but they have a quiet dignity.
Leica M6 photos on Fuji Velvia.

26 Nov 2013

The calligrapher

 Another photo from that recently discovered Vietnam 2005 film.A calligrapher in his shop beside the lake in central Hanoi.Taken on a Leica M6 on Fuji Velvia film with I believe a 28mm lens.It would be nice if the detail on the page of the book was not burnt out but it's not there.It was beyond the dynamic range of the film.On the Leica X1 on a raw/dng file it would be there for sure.

23 Nov 2013

Wet morning in Hanoi-lament for my Leica M6

Last weekend I found a whole set of slides taken by me in Vietnam in 2005 which I had previously not even looked at yet alone scanned in.At the time when I returned from the trip I was frantically busy with work and this film was just put aside.
 I particularly like this shot of the morning rush in a wet Hanoi taken on Fuji Velvia film on my Leica M6 with a 50mm- or perhaps a 35mm Summicron lens .It really has that Leica look .There are many days now when I wish that I had not sold that Leica outfit.
Fuji Velvia 50 was -well it still is- a beautiful film.It is slow but gives great saturated colour although it is very sensitive to exposure and if you don't nail the exposure just right it is unforgiving.It had one benefit over Kodachrome its natural competitor in that it could be processed in E-6 chemistry which most colour labs offered and some still do.

20 Nov 2013

Racing at Killarney 1974 and other stuff

Way back in 1974 I went to Cape Town,South Africa on business trip for a few weeks and one Saturday afternoon drove out to the local race circuit-Killarney.There I photographed this rare sight-a Jaguar XJ6 racing -with Table Mountain neatly placed in the distance.I cannot remember any details of the races I saw that day except that it was club racing.
At that time South Africa had very high duties and restrictions on importing fully built up cars so most cars were either manufactured in South Africa or assembled from CKD (completely knocked down ) kits.This XJ6 would have been locally assembled.

Leyland South Africa which I was visiting loaned me an Austin Apache to use for my stay.The Apache was a locally manufactured version of the British Austin 1300 with an extended bonnet and boot made from Triumph Toledo sheetmetal.It sounds appalling -and it was.It really was an ugly car. It was also made in Spain and sold under the name Austin Victoria(!).

Photos from Wikipedia.

The example I drove had an AP automatic gearbox made by Automotive Products of Leamington Spa in the UK .It was quite advanced in that it was 4 speed and very compact as like the manual gearbox it had to fit into the sump of the tranverse engined Mini and the Austin/Morris 1100/1300 .However as launched it had an achilles heel in that it had no "P" position.If you parked on a slope/hill you were totally reliant on the handbrake to stop the car rolling.The A series engine was pretty puny in terms of power and when coupled to an automatic driving the Apache hard around Cape Town was a slow and noisy experience.
The AP gearbox did get a "P" position later on and I believe that it lived on right upto 1990.

The photo was taken on Ektachrome slide film on a little Olympus Pen half frame camera which took 72 photos on what was normally a 36 exposure 35mm film.The camera was very capable as you can see from the quality of this scan from a tiny transparency.The problem with half frame was that you held the camera the wrong way round.The camera was held upright for horizontal shots and horizontally for upright shots.Both confusing and inconvenient.

I clearly remember that I arrived in Cape Town on a Saturday morning and after I settled into the hotel I was down in the local shopping strip visiting a bank to cash some travellers cheques when I saw a bus pulling away from a bus stop.It had two doors one labelled-"whites only" and the other "coloureds only".Now I obviously knew about apartheid at the time but to see what it meant in reality really hit me hard.

18 Nov 2013


It's been pissing down for about three days here.We have gone from drought to floods.After some of the driest months on record now we are having the wettest November for 16 years.Yesterday was big German car show in Newcastle.It was cancelled but I was silly enough to drive upto Newcastle anyway in my 1977 911 to the Porsche breakfast which went ahead.The driving conditions were appalling particularly on the 75km drive back.The roads were flooded in places and were very slippery after the months of dry weather.Not a comfortable place to be in an early 911.

It surprises me that so many drivers just do not appreciate how slippery wet roads are.This was brought home to me literally with a bang this morning when a "P" plater ran into the back of my car (not the 911) at walking pace at a local roundabout.Just a scratch on my back bumper but it could have been a lot worse.

I did not take any photos of the conditions but I did find this old shot of downtown Milwaukee on a wet July afternoon which reminded me of today. It was taken from the window of my room in the Hilton Hotel -a particularly dull hotel-on my Leica Digilux1 back in 2006.I often visited Milwaukee on business -it's usually an ok place in summer (well just)-but after one visit in mid January I said never again in winter.I know it's a dreary photo but it suits the subject.

And as a counterpoint and to add some sunshine to what have been three very wet days another Digilux 1 photo of a field of sunflowers in somewhere in Italy.

17 Nov 2013

Big Red

This is what happens on a very wet afternoon.Leica X1 photo processed in Nix Color EFX.

16 Nov 2013

On Porsche wheels and an old spacesaver

My 1977 911 is very original and complete -- down to the handbook,service records and an almost complete-just one spanner missing-tool kit and it has the original spacesaver tyre and the original compressor in its plastic case.The tyre has been used in the past as it is quite worn.

When I bought the car in 2001 I inflated the spacesaver and all seemed well.I have not had to use it since but yesterday I thought that I would just check it out.It still inflates and holds pressure although the valve leaks very slowly.The tyre cap seems to stop that but it's not something you would want to test out on the open road.All seems well with the tyre itself with no obvious cracks in the sidewalls but I would not be game to drive on a 36 year old tyre particularly one which folds itself up like a piece of origami as the spacesaver does when you deflate it.
There is not room for a full sized tyre in the wheel well although you can put one into the luggage area - and then not carry much else.Spacesavers of that size are no longer manufactured so I have put in a can of tyre weld and I will keep hoping for the best.

Talking Porsche wheels Matt Hart who used to have a very nice early 911 which he supersprinted very quickly has now bought 3.2 SC which he has fitted with Martini decals and it was at the recent PCNSW concours.Matt has fitted some Group 4 wheels from the UK which are a change from the usual default Fuchs wheels and which look good in combination with the paint colour, the decals and the bonnet mounted auxiliary lights.Nice  car Matt.

9 Nov 2013

Bücker Jungmeister on Kodachrome

Some photos for the classic plane enthusiasts.A Bücker Jungmeister - the Luftwaffe's primary pre WW2 trainer aircraft- photographed at an airfield close to the Austrian/Hungarian border in 1971 or 72 by Roger Putnam on Kodachrome film on a Canon rangefinder camera.
What a superb looking plane-and what a contrast to the style of the Tiger Moth the RAF's contemporary trainer.The Austrian red and white colour scheme certainly suits this Jungmeister.
The plane is Austrian registered.Thanks to Google Images a photo of what is believed to be the same aircraft, now Swiss registered, taken in 2011 has been found however as I don't have permission to use it and it is clearly watermarked I have not included it.
The slides are in remarkably good shape although they do have a blue/purple cast -one in particular.This was sometimes a characteristic of Kodachrome 64 when used in dull, cloudy conditions but also it can also occur when the slides are scanned.
Roger had driven across Europe from the UK in the twin cam Lotus Europa which is just visible in the last shot.
The plane is great but how about that wonderful yellow and orange multi window split screen VW Kombi?The colour scheme is a classic.What would that Kombi be worth if it was around today ?

7 Nov 2013

Vintage Lotus

How's this for a classic shot from 1979?
A Lotus duo-Mike Kimberley ,Managing Director (R) and Roger Putnam Sales Manager(L) standing beside a Lotus Eclat with a snow covered Mount Fuji in the background.Selling British cars in Japan at that time- indeed at any time -was/is a very tough gig but if anyone was going to convince the Japanese that Lotus was the Best of British surely it was these two very British gentlemen in their tweeds and brown ties.
A well preserved and remarkably clean slide-I suspect on Ektachrome film- from Roger Putnam's apparently bottomless archive.Taken by the Japanese Lotus importer on Roger's then newly acquired Canon AE1-a real technological wonder at the time.The camera angle and the inclusion of all that sky makes an old photo like this special.Now we would straighten the horizon in editing software although even Photoshop or Lightroom could not recover Roger's feet.
And talking of Mt Fuji if you haven't yet seen the amazing video of the winged jetman flying over Mt Fuji yesterday here's the link Jetman

5 Nov 2013

A thing of beauty

Not all Ferraris are red or yellow- or nowadays black -and not all Ferraris you see on the street are brash and vulgar and being driven by people of the same description.Rarely,very rarely,you see a beautiful, classic,tasteful specimen like this one parked casually on the street.In this case on a square in Brussels last year.It looked superb.

4 Nov 2013

As good as it gets

The "official" photo of  my 2.7 911 at the recent Porsche Club NSW Concours.I am posting this only because this car will probably never be this clean and unmarked again.
I do not enjoy cleaning/detailing cars.I start enthusiastically but I soon weary of it.As the car had been in for paint revitalisation a few months ago I did make a really big effort to get the car upto a better standard than my usual for the concours -I even tyre blacked the tyres-but it still did not feature in any results.
Upto now the car has no stone chips on the repainted mirrors,bonnet and bumpers but I intend to drive it as usual and suffer the chips.Otherwise ownership seems pointless.

3 Nov 2013

The beachcomber

Often early on saturday and sunday mornings in summer I see a couple of beachcombers combing the beach with their metal detectors and sieve/buckets and trowels.When I stop and watch them they only seem to ever find small pieces of metallic foil-cigarette packet remnants  or sweet wrappers.Even if they do find some small change surely it cannot be worth the effort?
Perhaps they are hoping to find some lost jewellery or maybe a Rolex.Seems an odd pursuit to me for what must be very slim pickings.Each to his own I guess.This very serious beachcomber was on the beach at Terrigal,NSW, Central Coast this morning.

1 Nov 2013

Vintage 356 photos

Some great vintage Australian Porsche 356 photos courtesy of Justin Reed from the collection of the late Brian Reed,Justin's father.
I do not have technical details of the photos as I only have seen them as electronic files but they look like Ektachrome slides - with possibly a couple of Kodachromes but I am only guessing.They are very well preserved apart from dust spots.
It's wonderful to see these old photos.Nowadays similar collections are turning up from many sources.Sadly we may well be the last generation to have access to "hard copy" or physical photos.Today 99% of the photos being taken are being taken,stored and transmitted digitally and most will be lost to future generations which will will leave a major gap in ftheir understanding/knowledge of us and our lives.

I have thousands of slides and I have made photobooks of family and other valuable photos so I will leave physical photos behind but so many people's memories are being consigned to the ether and will not be found in the future.
Justin is fortunate in that his father ,a very keen and early Porsche enthusiast,documented his Porsche passion so well.

My favourites of these photos are the 356 at Sydney Airport alongside the Qantas Boeing 707.In those days Qantas was the totally dominant airline flying internationally from Australia.Such a contrast to today .I did some of my early international travel on Boeing 707s and when we emigrated to Australia in April 1977 we flew in on a Cathay Pacific Boeing 707 so I have soft spot for the plane.The 707 was the first mainstream succesful jet airliner and it spawned the whole family of fabulously succesful Boeing airliners.Parts of it live on in today's airliners in that the nose profile has carried through to the incredibly succesful 737.

My second favourite of the photos is the red 356 alongside the VW Kombi sevice van.I assume that this is Brian Reed's red 356 which is still in the Reed family.This was motor sport in a more relaxed age.No OH&S assesment officials and indemnity forms and all the painful nonsense which has spoilt it for so many -incl me.Then it was just fun.

The number of 356s lined up at Warwick Farm racecourse,and race circuit, outside Sydney is surprising as the 356 was a very expensive car locally at the time due to the high ex factory price compounded by high local duties and taxes.Not much has changed there as Australian Porsche retail prices are still amongst the highest in the world.Duties and taxes have come down but Porsche's fat local margins are a constant.

Some great photos from a golden era.Thanks Justin for sharing them.