27 Mar 2015

Just working on bikes



Two more photos taken in the pit garages at the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed which work well in black and white.The shot of the BSA in particular seems to have a dimension in black and white which it lacks in colour.
Ever since I had my first Meccano set -a long time ago-I have been fascinated by mechanical things - particularly when they are taken apart.I have been known to go to a historic car racing meeting and not watch a single lap of racing as I spent the whole time looking at the entrails of racing cars and talking to people.
Photos taken with the X Vario and processed in LR5 and Silver Efex.

25 Mar 2015

Rossa



Regular readers of TRR will know that I went to Mount Panorama a few weeks ago with some heavy camera gear to take action shots of the 12 hour GT race.I got my shots but I wasn't really satisfied with them.They were in the main a little too ordinary.Years ago I decided that shooting motor sport action without really long lenses is never satisfactory and even if you have the right gear you may well end up with just another set of vanilla action shots.You have to do something different to make your shots stand out from the zillions of competent/very competent action shots on the internet.Peter de Roussett-Hall's photos (see post below) are differentiated by their closeness to the action and their razor sharpness.

I went to the Barry Sheene FOS last weekend with just my Leica X Vario which only has a 28-70mm equivalent zoom lens so I had no intention of taking any action shots.But one of the joys of classic motorcycling race meetings is that there are not hordes of officials ordering you around.
I found myself leaning on the rail trackside on the pit straight and I decided to try and get some shots which conveyed speed so I shot the bikes hurtling into the first corner using a 1/60th second shutter speed and panning.

Panning is not easy -it needs plenty of practice and luck is also an ingredient in my experience.You have to set the focus to manual and focus on the spot where you intend to press the shutter release.Autofocus will not work.You have to pan at exactly the right speed starting the swing of the pan well in advance of the spot you want to shoot and holding the subject in exactly the right position in the viewfinder until you press the shutter release and then you have carry the swing through like a golf swing after the shutter has fired.
To give the right impression of speed you have to use a slow shutter speed but just the right shutter speed -too fast and you end up with a rather woolly shot-too slow and you end up with a very woolly shot.
Anyway out of about 30 attempts this is the only one which worked to my satisfaction.In all the others the bikes were too blurred because I had either panned too quickly or too slowly. I am pleased with it,I can almost hear him blipping the throttle as he changes down for the corner ahead, and fortunately it is a red Ducati.

22 Mar 2015

The Racer


I went to the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed classic motorcycle races at Sydney Motorsport Park yesterday.Unlike last year-see Barry Sheene FOS-the weather was heavily overcast and rain threatened most of the day.It was not good light for photography.Overcast is OK if it there is a little sunlight to add sparkle.Yesterday definitely lacked sparkle which was a pity as we have had weeks of great weather.

I did manage a few photos worth putting on the blog including this one.I am ambivalent about black and white but I think that it really works for this shot.The shot was not set up or posed.I took it on the run -street photography but not on a street.The Racer was working on his bike between races in a pit garage.It was very gloomy and the X Vario had to go to ISO 6400 to expose this so there was a fair bit of noise on the photo.The fact that you can now take passable photos at these very high ISOs is amazing.Not so many years ago ISO 400 was considered a fast film.
The photo really sums up the ambience of classic motorcycle racing for me.There is a very friendly,laid back atmosphere.It is totally amateur -everyone works on their bike-no support companies and poo faced technicians holding laptops -and many of the racers are well let's say "vintage".
I am going to give this photo a run in a couple of competitions.For those interested it was processed in Lightroom 5 and converted into black and white in Silver Efex Pro 2 using a customised preset I have created.

20 Mar 2015

Classic photos

The Rolling Road has featured Peter de Rousset-Hall's motor sport photography previously.Peter uses serious heavy photographic artillery for his photography-top of the range full frame Canon DSLRs and big lenses- often primes.He is also a very skilled operator of that gear.The results speak for themselves.They are great examples of the genre.Thanks for sharing them Peter and whilst on one hand I think that they are great I am also aware that they put my efforts at the same genre in the shade.


Bentley in the wet at Brands Hatch
Aston racing in the wet at Silverstone

Beautiful Ferrari at Goodwood Revival and look at the vintage harvester and steam traction engine in the background.Indeed Glorious Goodwood.A superb photo.






18 Mar 2015

Seal Rocks




I've just been up the Mid North Coast of NSW visiting friends for a couple of days.A 600km round trip.Today we walked out to the lighthouse at Sugarloaf Point at Seal Rocks in the Myall Lakes National Park- a spectacular location.Nearby is a huge blowhole (top photo). The view from the lighthouse over the lakes to the north and over the surf beaches to the south (second photo) is worth the climb.The lighthouse, built in 1876, although it is stubby because it is perched on top of the cliffs, is a beautiful example of Australian colonial architecture.In the photo you can also see the hazardous Seal Rocks.

16 Mar 2015

Australian Grand Prix-reflections

Well the Australian Grand Prix played out exactly as predicted-see previous post.It was a procession and the two Mercedes dominated from start to finish.Yawn.Sebastien Vettel was third in a Ferrari which must have been a relief to him and Ferrari as they both had a horror season in 2014.The Red Bull cars were way off the pace.Local Aussie hero Daniel Ricciardo was lapped by the two Mercedes.The McLaren Hondas were even slower.Jensen Button's fastest lap was 5 seconds slower than the winner's,Lewis Hamilton.As a motor race it was a disaster.For many of the teams it was worse than that.
But Bernie Ecclestone doesn't care a fig and neither does CVC his private equity partners.They collected the race licence fee-rumoured to be more than A$15m- from the Victorian state government .The total cost to the Victorian state government of staging this year's race is reported as A$60m.Think what that could do -renovate a few schools or build a new wing on a hospital.
BE and the folk from CVC probably sipped vintage Krug whilst thinking "thank you mugs"as they trousered the fee and probably did not even bother to watch the race.Way too boring and not as exciting as counting their money.
There are a few old men the world would be better off without-Ecclestone,Blatter,Mugabe and Murdoch spring to mind.
The organisers claimed a record attendance for the race but they are not a reliable source.They are always on the front foot trying to justify the economic benefits of the race so their figures are always suss.The fact that Ricciardo was expected to be amongst the front runners definetely helped the attendance as did the very pleasant weather.
Anyway a photo taken by me at the 1981 Italian Grand Prix at Monza on the Saturday before the race on pit lane.The Ferrari mechanics working on their V6 turbo -same configuration as this year-but no sealed engines and silly rules.Spanners to the fore for those guys and no closed garages and security guards- more a case of "come and have a look fans".Yes things were better then-a lot better.




15 Mar 2015

Australian Grand Prix-thoughts

It's the Australian Grand Prix this afternoon.I am not going to be there.I watched qualifying on TV yesterday.I was underwhelmed.
It's easy to hark back to the good old days but I am convinced that they were better for F1.
The cars now all look the same because of the rules and the safety requirements.They all use the same engine configurations.The new cost reduction measures have really crimped engine development.Teams can only develp the engines during the closed season.The spec is then frozen for the next season.Mercedes started the era of the new rules last year with the most powerful engine and this allowed them to totally dominate the season.They have apparently found more power over the closed season and the other manufacturers partic Renault have not caught up.So we have the prospect of Mercedes totally dominating again this year and the fact that they are in the first two grid positions for today's race is ominous.
One has to feel some sympathy for Honda who have only come back into F1 this year.Their engine is obviously not on the pace but they cannot even touch it for the rest of the season.Not a good state of affairs.
If the Mercedes domination continues it will be very bad for F1 and I just cannot see the other manufacturers accepting a set of rules which effectively locks in the Mercedes advantage for the next few years.

A great photo below from John C who has a knack of getting himself into the best positions wherever he goes.Taken by leaning over the armco at Monaco it shows the then reigning world champion,Alan Jones. in his Williams turning onto the main straight at the 1980 Monaco Grand Prix.Those were really the days.The cars were varied,the engines were varied-V12,V8,V6 turbos,straight 4 turbos.and they all made a sensational noise unlike today's cars.

Final thought for the day if the team's really are serious about cutting costs maybe they should cut down on the number of technicians they take to races.During qualifying yesterday in most teams the technicians were tripping over themselves there were so many of them.


11 Mar 2015

Bathurst 12 hours 2016

The dates for the 2016 Bathurst 12 hour GT race have been finalised.The race is on February 7th with qualifying and support races on the 5th and 6th.It's in my diary.
This year's event was a success and support for GT racing in Australia and elsewhere is growing rapidly.Hopefully the V8 Supercar administrators will not play silly,childish games again next year and we will see a full line up of Bathurst expert local drivers for the 12 hour race.That would help keep deployment of the safety car in check.

There is talk that the Bathurst Race could be part of the Blancpain World GT Series for 2016.Here's hoping.
You can see details of the 2015 Blancpain GT Series at Blancpain GT

In the meantime two more of my photos from this year's race.Both taken with the Sony a7 and a Zeiss 150mm lens.



Too connected?



There are very few electric cars here in Australia.I saw a Tesla once but that's it.There are plenty of hybrids but pure electric cars are very rare. I have no knowledge of their functionality so when David Young -who divides his time between Paris and Sydney,lucky man- sent me this photo of an electric Smart plugged in on the street in Paris I asked myself whether it is possible to drive off with the car still plugged in.
It would be very easy to do particularly when the car is parked on the "wrong" side as in the photo.The driver approaches from the front and is looking at his keys as he gets in and completely forgets about the charging lead.Is there an override or warning buzzer to stop him driving away whilst still connected?
I once drove our SUV away from the family's camping tent whilst the SUV's battery was still hooked up to a light in the tent.It pulled half the tent down before I realised what was happening.
On the same theme now when I have my cars on a trickle charger in the garage I leave the charger's box on the driving seat to remind me.Perhaps the Smart driver uses the same trick.

The twin effect?



Granddaughters,identical twins Poppy and Scarlett,both lost the same tooth yesterday-coincidence/chance or an inexplicable twin effect?
iPhone photo.


10 Mar 2015

The long,long winter

video

It's been a long,cold winter in the US and Canada and it seems it still isn't over yet.
A video taken on an iPhone from the flight deck of a Qantas 747 landing at JFK New York Thursday last week.Forwarded to me by David Nicholls,who was sitting in the rh front seat.

"One of the Cabin Crew was in the jump seat, he took the pictures with his iPhone.
The cloud base was 800ft, light snow was falling and the temp was 4C.
When we left LA, we were prepared for a diversion to Pittsburg if we couldn't land in NY, so we had plenty of fuel. When weather conditions are better in NY, the Air Traffic Controllers are quite frantic, and become impatient with aircraft who don't immediately follow their instructions. It is one of the busiest airports in the world. But when we arrived on Thursday afternoon, it was quite the opposite, many flights had been cancelled because of the bad weather, and we were almost on our own. "Good afternoon Qantas, turn right onto 220, pilot discretion descend to 5000" And "Thanks Qantas, have a nice day".  
We don't normally see everything covered in snow and ice when we come out of the cloud at low level, but the whole approach and landing procedure was quite normal."

Thanks David sharing for an interesting story and video.I am sure that the passengers appreciated landing in NY rather than Pittsburg.

7 Mar 2015

12ENV


 The current Corvette is a great looking car.I particularly like it in red or yellow.I saw a couple in both colours on the roads in Hawaii.I also saw this one with a carbon fibre look vinyl wrap.The number plate sums up the owner's philosophy.It's not to my personal taste but it is very well done.
I am amazed how well the vinyl wraps go on.When I was competing with my cars in hillclimbs and sprints I used to drive them to the events and affix the vinyl competition numbers in the paddock.I really struggled to get rid of the air bubbles from the numbers using a credit card as a straight edge.
Not a sign of an air bubble on 12ENV.The wrap looks like the real bodywork.
The strange swirling effect on top of the wings is on the photo not the car and is called a moire effect.Photographic trivia.
At the other end of the spectrum I was surprised by how many of the latest Fiat 500s there are on the roads in Hawaii.They are being sold by Chrysler- Jeep dealers.How things have changed.

6 Mar 2015

Last postcards from Hawaii

The third and final set of my postcards from Hawaii including some spectacular scenery.
The lady golfer is my favourite from this set but sadly a little camera shake crept into this one.I also like the man sitting on Waikiki at 7.15 am with his little walled off area.He probably lives in a gated community.He gave me a death stare after he turned around and saw me with my camera pointing at him.For my head on portraits I always ask consent but not for shots like this one.
The cop on the other hand could not have been more friendly or co-operative.
I wish that the boy with the dog had raised his head a couple of centimetres so that more of his eye is visible but he was very shy.





















5 Mar 2015

Celebrity dog?


                           Spotted in Terrigal.A celebrity dog trying to avoid the puparrazzi? Or was it just a very sunny day?