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21 Jul 2017

Rolling Road not rolling.

Sadly I am in Sydney's excellent Royal North Shore Hospital seriously unwell. The blog will have to go on the backburner until I am recovered.

12 Jul 2017

Away from it all

More reflecting on warmer days to come.Shot from the air over Cable Beach about 10kms north of Broome WA two years ago. A quiet fishing spot. It would be hot down there but probably good fishing. 

7 Jul 2017

American Beer- a good news story


I had some great beer on my recent US roadtrip. Beer in the US used to be a disaster story. Every bit as bad as beer in Australia. Everywhere you went it was the same big brewery product offer. And underpinning it all was the "king of beers" Budweiser-the original beer with no flavour. There is only one beer worse than Budweiser and that is Budweiser Light.You might as well drink mineral water.
I used to visit Milwaukee frequently and this was once the biggest brewing city in the US-famous for beer and Harley-Davidson and once home to Pabst,Schlitz,Miller and Blatz breweries.
By the time I was visiting Milwaukee its glory days as a brew city were well behind it.  Old breweries stood vacant and Miller -soon to be owned by South African Brewing-was dominant. Their signature beer-Miller Draught-is an insipid brown liquid almost devoid of taste. How it came to be revered I will never understand. A victory for marketing if there was ever one.
Over the past 20 years craft breweries have exploded in the US. It seems as if every small town has its own craft brewery or two. Even Milwaukee now has literally dozens of craft breweries.
The beers being produced by these craft breweries are excellent-full of flavour. Wonderful pale ales and Indian pale ales dominate but there is plenty of choice of styles and the US is no longer a beer desert. Fortunately Australia is following the same route although we have some considerable way to go before craft beer achieves the market penetration it has in the US. There are still plenty of Australians drinking the mass produced tasteless brews and the big brewers are using all the tools available to them to slow down the penetration of craft beer into pubs.
There are now 290 craft breweries in Australia and there are two within 20 minutes driving distance of my home on the Central Coast. Sydney and Melbourne are thick with them. Long may it continue.

4 Jul 2017

Fourth of July

As it is the fourth of July I thought that I should post an American photo and I have chosen this shot of the Grand Canyon taken by me from a helicopter last year.
Considering it was shot through perspex it is surprisingly sharp and distortion free although a white "shadow" is visible on the rh side. With work I could remove that.

To all my American readers enjoy the fourth.

Leica X Vario photo.

2 Jul 2017

Kimberley sunset



Another shot from the Kimberleys trip two years ago. Sunset from high ground looking down to the Chamberlain River. Spectacular country and spectacular colours. Leica X Vario photo.

1 Jul 2017

Sailing


I am feeling somewhat better and the beautiful crystal clear day and the massive sea enticed me to pick up a camera and take some photos at N Avoca this morning. Despite  the very heavy swell this small sailing boat was apparently intent on heading north and taking full advantage of the southerly wind whilst it could.Not for me.
Leica XV photo.

29 Jun 2017

Reflections

It's deepest winter here in Terrigal.The mercury is just scraping into lower double figures (ºC). That's a cold snap by our local standards. To compound the wintery feeling I have not been feeling at all well for sometime. I certainly have not felt motivated to pick up a camera. So my thoughts are inevitably turning to warmer days and warmer places to come.
For starters in mid August we are heading into remotest region of the Kimberley in Western Australia (WA)-the Top End. To a location which is only accessible by air. It certainly will be warmer and I am sure there will be plenty of photo ops.
My last trip into WA two years ago was wonderful. I just found this unusual shot  of reflections in the Chamberlain River taken on that trip.
It was taken with the Leica X Vario. The colours look oversaturated but that is how they are in the top end. Amazing colour. Even the sky is a shade of blue you almost cannot believe.

25 Jun 2017

A Proposal in Paris

I don't hear from my friend European friend Patrick as often as I used to. He is way too busy in IT security for the finance industry nowadays and we have not gone to Le Mans together since 2014.
So it was great to receive this wonderful little photostory--shot on his Sony RX100-outside St Sulpice in Paris a couple of weeks ago whilst he was on a business trip to that still beautiful city
The sequence of photos is self explanatory. Black limo deposits presumably unsuspecting girl kerbside.She follows the trail of rose petals to boyfriend waiting with a bottle of champagne. A few curious onlookers watch expectantly. The question is popped-we have to assume that the answer is yes.Smiles and kisses all round.Only in Paris.
Well spotted Patrick,well shot and thanks for sharing.
Footnote-Patrick thought that Leonard Cohen's Anthem is great postscript to this story.You can see it here ANTHEM


23 Jun 2017

Remembering Bruce McLaren

I went to the movies yesterday evening to see "McLaren".The documentary about the rise and sad demise of Bruce McLaren. The movie is excellent.Very engaging and well put together. It is on limited release in Australia currently and a friend has recently seen it on a Qatar Airways flight so look out for it.
The story is very sad. Bruce McLaren was an extraordinarily talented driver and engineer but above all else he was a very nice guy,
I was very fortunate to have seen him racing quite a few times at Crystal Palace and Brands Hatch in the UK. I took the above shot of Bruce with his sports car in the paddock- checkout the grass-at Brands Hatch in 1967 when he was racing in the Guards Trophy. He appears to be in an animated conversation with Dan Gurney in the checked shirt.
I left the movie with so many "what ifs" . What if Denis Hulme had been testing the car that fateful day at Goodwood? What if they had demolished the marshal's post as planned and so on.
But such thoughts are really wasted. Fate dealt its hand. A good film,albeit a sad one.
Photo taken with an Olympus half frame camera .

18 Jun 2017

I've been to Gracelands,Gracelands.

The final part of my recent southern American roadtrip-see earlier posts below took me to Memphis,the start of the Delta region and then upto Chicago and the flight home.
Memphis is a great old city and there is plenty to see for two days . It was once a major cotton trading port with the world's biggest cotton exchange. Now the biggest industry must be tourism as the blue rinse set pour out to the great Gracelands tourist facility in their thousands every day. You cannot wander round at will. It is highly regimented -you are shepherded here and there like a giant kindy class.The Elvis mansion is worth seeing and it is more tasteful than I had anticipated but it is expensive. Even a very simple chicken roll-chopped chicken and mayo-in a hot dog roll-cost over US$9 in the cafe. I was expecting to buy a fried peanut butter,banana and jelly sandwich the king's favourite food but I was disappointed. The Elvis estate are certainly milking the legend as hard as they can but who can blame them. You only get one Elvis in your lifetime.
The place to stay in Memphis is the Peabody Hotel. It a heritage building,exceptionally well run and it has the amazing duck spectacle see Peabody Ducks
As well as Graceland and the Peabody ducks there is the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel -the location where Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968.This is a fascinating museum and the exhibits are very well presented.
Beale St is blues central and another must see. One from left field is the Memphis Cotton Museum. I know it sounds dry but it is in fact very interesting and it is located in the original totally preserved cotton exchange.Those were the days when Memphis was really rich.
Throughout the delta region on a weekend locals set up roadside barbecues selling to passers by. Driving north from Memphis to Chicago we pulled into Charlston, Miss, for fuel and came across Amp in his serious barbecue rig beside the road. He was most generous and as well as allowing me to take photos insisted on me trying from his beef selection. It was delicious.Thanks Amp.

The Peabody ducks
Beale St

Beale St



Lansky's Beale St-taylors to the king.
Graceland

The king

Graceland visitor liason hostess. She checks that you don't leave Graceland with any money in your wallet but she does it with a charming smile

The Mississippi
Lorraine Motel-National Civil Rights Museum. The balcony to Room 306 was where he was standing when fatally shot .
Amp in his serious barbecue trailer


Amp's pick up truck

16 Jun 2017

Rarer than rocking horse droppings

Ron Goodman's team had this rare as rocking horse droppings Chevrolet Corvair rampside truck at last weekend's historic racing at SMSP. Like the Corvair car it is rear engined. In the truck the engine is under the floor of the load area.
This one has been imported from the US and looks very original and apparently complete.
On the steering wheel rim there is a sturdy knob as you see on cars modified for disabled drivers. Is the steering so low geared that you need assistance to turn the wheel quickly?
The Corvair truck was only produced in small numbers-the pickup version with a conventional tailgate was the most popular. The sideloading/rampside model was very rare with only 3213 being produced in total in the two years of production 1961 and 1962. By GM standards these number are miniscule.