29 Jan 2016

Chiens de Paris

Wet evening walkies-putting your left foot/paw forward.

Bulldog cafe.


I am sitting at the computer trying to get my head around going to France this year.I missed out on my French fix in 2015 and I need another dose but that long flight is looking less and less appealling as I get older and the airlines cram in more seats. I've done the flight hundreds of times over the years but it seems to be getting longer. So I thought I would flick through some photos from my last trip to try and activate my enthusiasm and I came upon these four.
Dogs are as Parisien as the Eifel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. All Leica X1 photos and all 100% Paris.Guaranteed.
Maybe I should spend two weeks in Paris just shooting dog photos and then publish a book of them. Dream on John. Sadly I am thirty years too late for that. Now I'd just have to post them on my Instagram account and people could look at them for free on their little phone screens. I see that one of my favourite photographers Thorsten Overgaard has succumbed to the lure of Instagram. I feel that his photos are wasted on little screens.

28 Jan 2016

Gotta love the French

This gem is in today's Sydney Morning Herald-syndicated from the Washington Post.

"Iranian President Hassan Rouhani commenced an eventfful trip to Europe this week. As part of his visit to Rome,Rouhani toured the famed Capitoline Museum with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday.The building is home to numerous prized works of antiquity some of which appear to show human figures in the nude.
Given the sensibilities of the theocratic Iranian regime,Italian authorities decided to conceal some of the perhaps offending artworks during Rouhani's visit. Ply boxes and panels were placed around the objects to obscure them from the Iranian presxident's vision,or at least photo-ops.
In accordance with protocols governing visits by Muslim dignitaries,alcohol was not served at a dinner hosted in Rouhani's honour. As noted last year by the Washington Post,the Iranians apparently did not receive similar dispensation during an earlier visit to France,whose government baulked at the notion of hosting an official dinner without wine."

What an absolute load of nonsense covering up the statues.Presumably Rouhani is a grown man and has seen a naked human before -even if only a glimpse of himself in a bathroom mirror.This sort of pandering is ridiculous. The Italians belittle themselves by doing it and all power to the French for keeping wine on the menu.

27 Jan 2016

Slim volume

Photo taken in Borders New York City 2011. Borders has gone but the lovely Sarah is still with us and having seen the recent TV news of her on stage with Donald Trump she still seems to be able to talk gibberish for long periods and get raptuous applause at the end. It's terrifying to think that Donald Trump could be President of the US and Sarah Palin could be VP. Sarah Palin just a hearbeat away from the keys for launching a nuclear attack-unthinkable.
If Trump becomes US President and Palin VP and I lived in N America,China,Russia or Europe I would seriously be thinking about investing in a home nuclear bunker. We should be safe down here in Australia but with those two one could never be certain. Go Bernie.

26 Jan 2016

Australia Day 2016

Happy Australia Day to all Australian blog readers. For overseas readers Australia Day is Australia's national day and commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of European settlers in Sydney Harbour on 26th January 1788 and the founding of the colony of New South Wales.
The weather co-operated fully today.You could not ask for better.Hot but not too hot and a beautiful blue sky with a few puffy clouds.Typical Australia.
Photo taken from the balcony bar at Shelley Beach Surf Life Saving Club, NSW midday today.

23 Jan 2016

Making hay whilst the sun shines

Comedian and Porsche collector Jerry Seinfeld is selling some cars from his fabulous Porsche collection. See  SEINFELD SALE.
He is quoted as saying  “I’ve never bought a car as an investment,”I don’t really even think of myself as a collector. I just love cars. And I still love these cars. But it’s time to send some of them back into the world, for someone else to enjoy, as I have.”
He may not have bought them as an investment but they will certainly turnout to be very good investments as classic Porsche values have skyrocketed in the last 3 years.
The sad part is that at the end of the day whatever Jerry says about sending them back into the world they will almost certainly end up in a private collection and most likely they will be rarely driven.
The escalating values of many classic cars-particularly Ferraris- is resulting in cars being bought purely as investments by people who know nothing - and care less-about the history of the cars. Indeed there are now car vaults in Switzerland and Luxembourg where investors are storing their cars in the same way that valuable paintings bought as investments are stored and there are investment funds investing in classic cars purely as investments.All very sad and distressing to real enthusiasts.
In the latest Excellence -the US Porsche magazine -there is a very good article imploring drivers of valuable Porsches to keep driving them.A view which I totally endorse and which I intend to follow with one of my cars in the next few days if this stinking hot weather and high humidity would go away. 

Photo taken January 2016 Morpeth NSW.

19 Jan 2016


I will never know why my grandfather took my brother and I to see motor racing at London's Crystal Palace circuit in 1956.I had never expressed any interest in motor racing and we lived some distance from the circuit. My grandfather also had absolutely no interest in motor sport as far as I know. Indeed he could not drive and he definitely could not afford a car. In fact I would not be surprised to learn that at that time he had never even been in a car.
So whilst mystery surrounds why we were peering through a fence at a field of 500cc Formula 1 cars that morning in 1956 what I do know is that the outing triggered a sequence of events which defined my life. Let me explain.
I came away from Crystal Palace that day totally hooked. Three hours turned me into a motor sport junkie -at ten years of age.
The next week I visited the local newsagent on the way home from school. We walked to and from school in those days. No helicopter mum at the school gate in a black SUV and school buses had not been invented. It was long walk so we were fit. In the newsagent I fingered a magazine with a green cover-Motor Sport- price one shilling and sixpence. I saved my pocket money. I went without my favourite sherbet lemons and sherbet flying saucers and bought the magazine. It was a revelation to me-like opening a door to a magic kingdom. I still have a copy of that issue-not the original copy though. Today it looks dull with its few small black and white photos and pages of dense small type. In 1956 it was wonderful. I read it from cover to cover-many times. I have been reading Motor Sport ever since and have been a subscriber for over 40 years.
One section of the magazine totally entranced me-the very long column from the Continental Correspondent,Denis Jenkinson,who was known as Jenks and who signed his writing DSJ.
Now by 1956 Jenks was a legend. He was navigator for Stirling Moss in his victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia. They covered the 1000 miles at an average speed of 100mph in their Mercedes on closed public roads. Not only was the drive heroic but Jenks' story of the drive has become known as one of the classics of motor sport journalism. Jenks was very brave man- he had been sidecar passenger for Eric Oliver when Oliver won the 1949 world motorcycle sidecar world championship. Motorcycle racing sidecar passngers are brave verging on barking mad.
Jenks was totally eccentric. He was very short with a flowing beard. He looked like a robust garden gnome. His personal life was very odd. He lived in a tiny cottage in a dark wood in Hampshire in the UK. The cottage did not have mains electricity,mains water or mains sewage. The rooms were filled with pieces of disassembled cars and motorcycles. Not surprisingly he did not have a wife and although he apparently he did have a number of girlfriends the relationships never lasted. No surprises there.
But in 1956 I did not know of or care about DSJ's domestic foibles because each European summer he crisscrossed continental Europe following the motor racing and sending back detailed accounts of the races as well as a very entertaining account of his travels. And what travels they were. The era of the autoroutes/autobahns and autostradas was very much in its infancy so his travels in his company car-a Porsche 356 -were on the then main and minor roads with stops in facinating but often basic hotels in towns and villages which were still unspoilt. It was a magical time.
In 1956 Porsche was barely known in the UK but Jenks' travels and his enthusiasm for his 356 did much to raise the brand's profile in the UK. I became an instant Porsche enthusiast although at that point I had never even seen a Porsche. I soon went out and bought myself two 356s. Both the same colour of beige and sadly both only Dinky Toys.
Jenks' passion for Porsches resulted in a very readable book titled "A Passion for Porsches" first published in 1983 and republished more recently.
Jenks took his own photos using a Rolleiflex camera. His first basic test for any car he was asked to road test was whether the glovebox could take his faithful Rollei. The 356 passed the test.
Jenks was good friends with Jesse Alexander-a wealthy American who had moved across to Europe with his wife and child -his domestic arrangemants were more normal than Jenks'- to see if he could make a living from motor sport photography. On Jenks' recommendation he bought a 356 for his travels and so he also developed a passion for Porsches. Jesse Alexander went on to more than make a living out of his photography he became probably the best motor sport photographer ever. He has published many books of his photos-some are still available -and his photos are classics from an era of motor sport which was very special.
I saw and talked to Jenks at a few races over the years-that was before the Bernie era when mere mortals like me who were not FOB - friends of Bernie-could get access to the pits and paddock. I last saw him at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 1996 just a few months before he died. He was sitting alone in some shade and was very frail but as we chatted he still enthused about motor racing. It is perhaps just as well that he passed away when he did because I am sure that he would be appalled at the charade which calls itself formula one today.
As I gently chatted with him that day nearly 20 years ago I explained to him how his writing had resulted in me being a lifelong motor sport enthusiast and had also resulted in my working in the motor industry for nearly 50 years and had fired my enthusiasm for Porsches. He seemed genuinely pleased to hear my story. Thanks Jenks without you I would not be writing this story today.
Story by The Rolling Road-JohnS. Originally published in Porsche Power issue 4 2015

17 Jan 2016

Carol-a review

I went to see the movie Carol today.It's a superb movie.See it if you can.
10 reasons to see it .
  1. Cate Blanchett is brilliant 
  2. Rooney Mara is brilliant
  3. The directing is superb
  4. The cinematography is outstanding
  5. The evocation of 1950s America is almost uncanny in particular the New York street scenes and the small town motels
  6. The musical score is great
  7. The many American cars featured almost make it worth going to see them alone
  8. The story is very straightforward but nonetheless gripping
  9. It reminds you how many people smoked in the 50s and when hamburgers cost 40 cents
  10. A Canon Leica copy plays a role in the story 
 Yes,I liked it.Really a "must see".

16 Jan 2016

Vale Clarence Bordreau

Clarence Bordreau was a talented musician,violin repairer and amateur photographer who lived near Sidney,on beautiful Vancouver Island,Canada.
I never met or spoke to Clarence but he found me via this blog and we corresponded by email frequently about Leicas and photography. His photos and commentary have appeared on The Rolling Road quite a few times.
Yesterday I emailed him. The email bounced. I tried to log onto his business website-Victoria Violin Repairs-and received an error message. Fearing the worst I Googled his name and sadly the funeral notice came up in the searches. Clarence had died aged just 63. I  found out from the funeral notice that a great photo he had sent me a couple of years ago which I had put on the blog which he had titled"a Good Listener" -above-was in fact a clever self portrait.
So very sad that we won't be corresponding anymore and such a pity we never met.
Some of Clarence's photos which have appeared on the blog of his beautiful local area and home.

15 Jan 2016

A scorcher

Terrigal Lagoon,NSW,yesterday at 6.00 am. The start of a scorching day. In Terrigal the temperature reached 41ºC (106 ºF). I had the misfortune to be in the Sydney CBD in the day. It was like being in a furnace.
Late afternoon a cool change swept through bringing strong winds and heavy rain overnight.This morning at 11.00 am the temperature was 18ºC.

13 Jan 2016

Guitar man

Peter Enderby is an accomplished land/seascape photographer,woodworker and musician. When he is not out hiking in the bush taking photos he works away in his cool - that's as opposed to hot- man cave under his house spending the days perfecting his ink jet photo prints,playing his collection of guitars and making things. His walks into the bush to find photographic locations nearly bought him undone 15 months ago when he broke his ankle in a very isolated spot where there was no mobile phone signal and he had to drag himself for 3 kms in acute pain back to the track where he had parked his car. He then had to drive himself to the nearest hospital's emergency department.
Over the last few months he has diligently hand crafted an electric guitar from a piece of recycled Oregon timber,the neck of an old Yamaha guitar purchased from a pawn shop and various bits and pieces. It is not quite finished but it looks good and Peter is really delighted with the sound. He reckons that it it makes a better sound than his most prized Fender and to my cloth ears it sounds pretty good. Here's Peter playing the woody and the guitar alongside another piece of the recycled Oregon.

Examples of Peter's excellent sea and landscapes can be found on his website at LANDSCAPES
Photos above taken yesterday with the Sony a7 and the 28mm Zeiss Biogon lens.The top photo was taken at 1/80th second at f2.8 at ISO 6400 in Peter's dim man cave.Ten years ago I was taking colour photos on ISO 50 Velvia colour slide film.That's progress.

12 Jan 2016

Nice Zeiss

I have a couple of beautiful Contax G mount Zeiss lenses. The Contax G series film cameras were made in Japan by Kyocera and were in their day competitors to the Leica M6 and M7 film cameras see CONTAX G SERIES    
The Contax G series cameras had autofocus and titanium bodies.They were beautiful cameras -I have one but sadly it is faulty and parts are no longer available.
The G series Zeiss lenses are very good-particularly the 45mm Planar which is reckoned to be one of the sharpest lenses ever made. I do not own a 45mm Planar but I do own a 28mm Biogon and a 90mm Sonnar-both of which are also very highly regarded. Both my lenses are mint and are complete with the original caps and the highly sought after titanium lens hoods.
The Zeiss Contax lenses are great performers and are not difficult to find as hundreds of thousands of Contax G series cameras were sold - particularly in Japan. However do not expect to find them at bargain basement prices.
I bought two adapters to use the Contax lenses on the Sony a7.The adapter is difficult to fit onto the lens so I bought two so to avoid having to move them from lens to lens. If you do not click them right in and get them into exactly the correct registration the lens will fall out of the adapter after you have mounted it onto the camera - not recommended treatment for a prime piece of glass.
A company called Techart makes an adapter which allows you to use the Contax lenses on the Sony a7 with autofocus. However the adapter costs nearly $400 and has had mixed reviews.
The 90mm f2.8 Sonnar is great to use wide open and being longer and wider aperture -a much wider aperture- than the lens on my Leica X Vario gives a totally different effect and colour rendition. Here are two photos taken with the 90mm Sonnar .The first is one of my grandaughters,Scarlett.The second is of a sleepy lady,Phoebe.

10 Jan 2016

Black and white streets

We had three days of awful weather last week which confined me indoors and as well as trying to sort out my computer woes I did some serious cleaning out of my photo files. Whilst doing this I had a look at some photos I took in the US last year and decided that they would be good candidates for conversion to black and white.
I rarely do black and white nowadays as I much prefer colour but these rather gritty photos make a contrast to all the colourful,happy local and Indian photos I have put up on the blog recently.
I'm not claiming that they are anything profound-just different. All taken with the ideal camera for keeping a low profile-the X1- and converted into black and white using SilverEFX.

7 Jan 2016

Less than a month to go....

A reminder to Aussie motor sport enthusiasts that it is less than one month to the 2016 Bathurst 12 hour GT race.This must be by far the best motor sport event in Australia with international and local drivers in GT cars on arguably one of the best and most challenging race circuits in the world. Make the effort -it'll be worth it.Just don't forget your hat,sunscreen and fly repellent.
Here's this years entry list ENTRY LIST .
And here's some race and practice photos from last year's 12 hour.

4 Jan 2016


Two photos taken on my Sony a7 using a vintage 200mm Minolta lens which I bought off a Japanese seller on eBay for $12.
I was the only bidder.The postage cost $18.I used an $11 adapter to fit the lens onto the Sony-also purchased off eBay.
These vintage Minolta lenses were very well made and are worth seeking out for this sort of use.
Worry warts tell stories of Chinese cheap adapters having swarf on them and being machined off centre.I have quite a few cheap adapters and have never had any issues with them and definitely no swarf.Sounds like a story put about by retailers of expensive brand name adapters which are probably machined in the same Chinese factory anyway.
Firstly a parrot which was perching on the pool fence a couple of weeks ago.It sat there long enough for me to go upstairs,attach a long lens to a camera,come down,slide open the flyscreen door,manually focus the lens and take the one photo.The kookaburra,photographed two days ago,did exactly the same thing.It just waited long enough for the one shot.Very considerate.
There are dozens of parrots and kookaburras locally.Kookaburras are a member of the kingfisher family and they have a demonic and very distinctive call which sounds just like a laugh.They have incredible eyesight.They sit on a high vantage point waiting for a lizard to show itself and then dive down down and take it before the lizard has time to think.