18 Sep 2017

Another beautiful day

Terrigal Beach 6.10 am today. The days are getting longer and the temperature is beginning to climb and there is the feeling of summer in the air. My early morning walks are well and truly back on schedule and a few photos are beginning to flow again.
I have a confession to make on this one. I used some mild HDR in the processing-something I do very rarely. The shadows were too deep and the highlights a little too bright on the straight file. I did not touch the saturation-it really was that golden.
The beautiful morning certainly brought out the walkers,runners and exercise classes -even the unicycle rider. The Esplanade was almost crowded.

16 Sep 2017

Charging time

Seen in Paris yesterday by my European correspondent, David Young. An electric Renault Twizy parked in a no parking zone being recharged with the charging lead coming down from the balcony of a first floor apartment. Ingenious but is it legal? Renault Twizy does not fall under the regulations for a car, rather it is apparently considered as a sort of 4-wheel motorbike so maybe it is.  

14 Sep 2017

Hold the gas.

If you are into photography you soon realise that there are two schools of photographers. The first school is into photography to take photos. They are interested in camera gear but only as a means of taking photographs.This group is a very small group in the photographer universe. The second group are the so called "gearheads" and they dominate the photographer universe. They are into camera gear and many suffer from "gas"-gear acquisition syndrome.
If you write a photography blog and you write about camera gear the readers come flocking. Write solely about photos or devote your blog to great photography and you will have a much smaller following.
A great little,free,online photography magazine from NZ devoted to Australian/NZ photography has just folded after 5 years because it can no longer attract enough readers and advertisers who are only interested in photographs.Their lament is that if they turned it into a gear/gas magazine they would be thriving-but that's not what they want to do.
You can even see this phenomenon in the best photography blog-Macfilos.See-MACFILOS
When Macfilos editor Mike Evans posts a camera gear story-particularly about Fuji cameras -his readership goes up significantly.
Mike walks a fine line trying to balance the content of his site between gear stories and more interesting general interest stories. Macfilos is not a commercial site so whilst he appreciates having good readership numbers he is not driven to maximise them.
The sad part is that so many enthusiasts devote so much time and money reading about the latest gear and looking for the latest camera which will magically open the Pandora's box of brilliant photography for them when they could be taking good photos with modest gear or the gear they already own.
You often read that such and such a new camera is "ideal for street photography".
The above "street" photo was taken 12 years ago in Malaysia with a Leica Digilux1-a very odd camera with a very underwhelming specification. See specs at  Digilux 1 It may have a very modest pixel count and a sensor with very limited sensitivity by today's standards but it still was capable of taking good photos. See also Three days in China
Great gear is great but it is not the whole story by any means.If you want to take a good photograph it’s about the moment and the light. It has nothing to do with your equipment .

10 Sep 2017

By the sea

I'm now feeling well enough to go down to Terrigal -by car-and then walk the esplanade early morning. Last week the mornings have been beautiful but really cold by our standards. Nonetheless I have managed to take some photos.
Now over the next few months I need to work on my fitness so that I can walk down the hill-the easy part-and back up as well as doing the esplanade walk.
It's good to have a camera in my hand again and even better to come back with some photos.
It was also very touching that so many people came upto me asking after my health and telling me that they had missed seeing me. I had not appreciated that me and my camera were a local landmark.
I particularly like the photo of the man with his unicycle.At the time I was regretting not taking a shot of him riding the bike but I am happy with the static shot. It was taken with the Leica Q and I like the colour rendition.
 At that time of the morning just a few minutes can make a huge difference to how light it is and the colour temperature of that light. The guy working out on the beach was shot about 10 minutes later than the unicycle man - not on the same day-and the light has changed significantly.

9 Sep 2017

Made in the USA

Made in the USA. A patriotic display to warm Donald's heart. Seen in a milliner's window in New Orleans.May 2017.

6 Sep 2017

Under cover

The two Porsches have not turned a wheel since early July whilst I have been in hospital and recovering. I'm still not well enough to drive them so yesterday friend Warren came around to give them a run.
The 2.2 was very reluctant to start but we did eventually get it to fire before the batteries threw the towel in.
The 2.7 fired on the second turn of the key and much to my surprise there was almost no oil smoke on start up. After such a long lay off I was anticipating that quite a quantity of oil had got down the worn valve guides and into the cylinders.
Anyway they both ran well or so my test driver reports so I am lookig forward to taking them out in a few weeks.

4 Sep 2017


Vicksburg,USA May 2017. Down by the old docks. A typical scene of industrial decay and abandonment. Sadly it could be one of thousands of such scenes in the US.
Once this was full of wagons, trucks and cargo and teeming with workers. They have all gone and they will never come back despite the promises of false prophets. The world has changed-permanently.

1 Sep 2017

Chicago-early morning

Whilst I was in Chicago back in May-before my enforced hospitalisation-I did my usual early morning walks despite the bitterly cold wind blowing off the lake.
This view is looking east towards the lake.It would have been better if I had waited until the car had fully turned the corner before I pressed the shutter release but nonetheless I like it for the golden light which transforms the streetscape.
Leica Q photo.       

30 Aug 2017

Looking for a white horse.

Somewhere years ago I read that a white horse is one of the most difficult things to photograph well because you too often end up losing the detail in the white-whether you are taking the photo in colour or black and white. Ever since I read this I have been looking in vain for white horses to photograph so that I can challenge myself.
Driving down the Lakes Way in the Myall Lakes National Park back in July I spotted these two white horses in a field so I turned around and drove up the farm track towards them. As soon as I got out of the car they sauntered off . They were having none of it.
So I had to settle of this rather pleasant rural photo lit by weak winter sunshine.

In winter the Lake's way is a beautiful drive on a usually empty road. In summer it is full of  tourist vehicles. There are long straight stretches with a 100kmh speed limit.The temptation to go 120/130 on these stretches is great and on this trip I was just setting myself up for a fast run when far in the distance I spotted a car coming towards me. It was a Highway Patrol car.I would have been a sitting duck. My lucky day even if the white horses got away.

28 Aug 2017

Street market-literally

As I am stuck recuperating and I cannot drive nor walk any distance I cannot get out and take photos so I am sifting through my back catalogue looking for interesting photos with a story.
I took this one with the Leica X1 in Guilin,China, very early in the morning.These girls come in from the surrounding countryside and sell vegetales literally on the street.This was taken as they were setting up. They must get hours earlier in the dark to get onto their pitch.Most come by bike or pushing a cart. It's a very tough life.
The big advantage of the little X1 in these situations is that the camera is barely visible so you can shoot without making yourself the centre of attention.

In the background you can see the very distinctive karst scenery of the region.

25 Aug 2017

A drive into the mountains.

This photo was taken in the mountains high above Giulin in S China. The attraction of the area is the spectacular rice terraces which cover the mountains-see photo below.
The drive up into the mountains was not for the faint hearted-we did it in a small mini van. One of those Suzuki devices with the crash resistance of a wet paper bag. Fortunately our driver was cautious but most on the road that day were not.  I have never seen such dangerous driving and so many accidents in one day (or even in one year). The road is narrow,winding and steep.Trucks and buses freely overtake on blind bends without hesitation. Head on collisions are avoided every few minutes by sheer luck but not always as we saw where a minivan was hanging on the edge of a cliff. Close your eyes.
It was a long,slow and harrowing drive. When we reached the top of the mountain it was pouring rain. There were no western tourists,except us,but it was big attraction for many locals arriving by the busload. We walked down muddy tracks to a small village nestled in the terraces where we had a surprisingly good lunch in a restaurant in an old house. It was one of those strange lunches-the opposite of a group tour lunch-where two of you sit in a completely empty restaurant with a guide who has very limited conversational skills and every so often an old lady appears with another plate of food from a back room. She puts in down and retreats silently. At the end of the meal the guide summons us to leave apparently without paying the old lady.
The rain had intensified when we walked back from lunch to the bus park and water was overflowing from the terraces onto the already very muddy path.The glorious rice terraces were lost in low cloud but then almost miraculously the sun broke through for just a few minutes before the rain sets in again. It was definitely not good weather for photography. I had just my X1. No decisions to be made. No zoom lens-just my personal two foot zoom -my feet. I photographed this hill tribe lady selling her tourist knick knacks and having her noodle lunch apparenly oblivious to the rain. With the benefit of hindsight I should have bent down and shot it from a lower angle but perhaps the pouring rain made me act quickly. Anyway it is a colourful shot with a story attached.