Friday, December 25, 2009

Boxing Day Nitro Funny Cars Are Coming!!

Well, we're about half way through the drag racing season here in Perth, which means only one thing. The Nitro Funny Cars are coming! At 6pm tomorrow, the four fuel floppers of Ricky Steffans, Fergie Donaldson, Damien Harris and Mark Sheehan will hit the track for the first of two meetings this season.

Mark Sheehan is a well known name to many WA race fans, holding both the ET and speed records in Top Alcohol Altered. This team is well and truly capable of running a 4 second pass if the conditions are right.

West Australian Damien Harris campaigned a Top Alcohol Funny Car before getting the call up to drive Paul Shackleton's Queensland based Nitro Funny Car. Harris is the only Australian Funny Car driver to dip into the 4 second zone so far, having run a 4.98 second pass at Willowbank in June, and the team will no doubt be looking to back that up with another 4 second pass on the other side of the country.

Allan and Cheryl Greene's (now red) Greene Machine was driven by famous WA driver Allan Dobson for many years before he decided to move across to a regular Top Fuel drive with Santo Rapisarda Racing. Dobson helped to train Fergie Donaldson to take over driving duties in the Greene Machine, and late last season Fergie was awarded his Nitro Funny Car drivers license. This is Fergies first race meeting, and this team is certainly one to watch.

Rod and Ash Bailey's Queensland operation is another team well known to West Australian race fans, as the loyal Nitro Funny Car racers were well known for keeping the sport alive (along with the Greene's) during it's darkest days, when there were only 3 cars regularly racing. The Greene Machine and Bailey's Chemical Warfare were regular competitors for many years, and the Baileys would usually bring another car as well, driven by Ricky Monserrat for many years, and lately by Ricky Steffans. Steffans stepped back from driving Funny Cars after the Boxing Day round in 2008, to concentrate on wife Christine's Supercharged Outlaw career, however business commitments for Ash Bailey mean that Ricky has been called back to active duty, stepping into Chemical Warfare for this meeting, as well as 2 meetings at Willowbank in the new year. (Ricky Steffan's Nitro Freak is pictured below)

Gates open at the Perth Motorplex at 11am tomorrow, and the first Nitro Funny Car pass is set for 6pm.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Top Fuel @ Perth Motorplex - Day 2

Congratulations to Martin Stamatis on winning the first of 2 rounds of ANDRA Pro Series Top Fuel Drag Racing at the Perth Motorplex this season. Stamatis dedicated his win to West Australian racer and engine builder Bob St Lawrence.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Top Fuel @ Perth Motorplex

Tonight was the opening night of the first of 2 ANDRA Pro Series rounds for Top Fuel at the Perth Motorplex this season. Phil Read grabbed the Top Qualifiers spot with a 4.69 followed by a 4.68.

Racing continues tomorrow, and more information can be found at the Perth Motorplex website

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Armadale Auto Parts Open Day

AAP Open Day, originally uploaded by High Octane Photos.
Armadale Auto Parts held their annual open day today, and one vehicle that certainly grabbed my attention (and that of many others) was this Excelsior motorcycle. I'll be the first to admit that I know very little about this bike, but I'm certainly very impressed with the restoration on this example.

The full selection of photographs will be on High Octane Photos shortly.

2009 Golden States at Perth Motorplex

The Golden States championships are a drag racing meeting at the Perth Motorplex featuring rounds of the ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer and Top Bike championships. Over 2 days, around 250 drag racing teams hit the black stuff.

Jay Upton returned to form in Top Bike, running 3 passes below the national ET record over the course of the weekend and winning the final.

In Top Doorslammer, Maurice Fabietti debuted a new paint scheme promoting the new Holden Trade Club program and stunned the crowd by top qualifying with a 5.84 second pass. During elimnations, Ben Bray fronted up to the first pass against John Zappia and the pair ran one of the closest ever passes in the class with Zappia losing on the holeshot with a 5.83 second pass against Bray's 5.88 seconds. The final saw Robin Judd taking a 5.87 second win over Maurice Fabietti after Fabietti shut down on the start line.

You can check out all the
photos from Qualifying on Friday here, and all the photos from the Eliminations on Saturday here.

2009 Perth Motorplex Pro Stock Round

The Perth leg of the ANDRA Pro Series Pro Stock Championship was held at Perth Motorplex on October 31st. This was the first time that Pro Stock had visited the Motorplex venue, and saw some of the quickest passes in the categories history, with John Barbagallo resetting the national ET record and Aaron Tremayne taking the win over Lee Bektash in the final with the pair also laying down the quickest paired pass for the category.

You can check out all the photos from the 2009 Perth Motorplex Season Opener, featuring the ANDRA Pro Series Australian Pro Stock Championship plus all the local categories
over at HighOctanePhotos.com.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

2009 Perth Motorplex Pro Stock Test'n'Tune

The Perth Motorplex hosted a midweek Test'n'Tune event on October 28th. The main reason for running this event was to allow the Pro Stock teams visiting for their round of the ANDRA Pro Series National Championship to get some track time before the event. In addition to the visiting drivers, a number of local teams were in attendance to complete licensing procedures and test their vehicles.

You can check out all the
photos from the Pro Stock Test'n'Tune over at HighOctanePhotos.com.

My JZA70 Supra at Lesmurdie

I thought I'd revisit this shot from August 2008, as it was only a couple of weeks after taking this photo, that the Supra dropped the exhaust wheel off the rear turbocharger somewhere along Ankatell Road, on the way home from the Motorplex.

Now over a year later, with many distractions along the way, the Supra has been back on the road for a couple of short stints, but is still not sorted, and is back off the road with a starter motor problem.

Whenever I see this photo, I'm reminded to do some more work on the car, and also how much I want to respray the car so that the whole thing looks as good as the rear bumper does in this shot.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Golden Gate Bridge on Canvas

How cool is this? I love having one of my own photos, of a world famous landmark, hanging in my lounge room. And now that I've got it, I have a thirst for more canvas prints to put on the walls around here.

The main reason I haven't done it until now, is that a lot of my favourite photos were photos I'd take of racers at the Motorplex, and if I were to get a canvas of one of them to hang on the wall, it'd feel like I was playing favourites.

Stacked TeleConverter Experiment

For some time now, I've been pondering the concept of 'stacking', with regards to teleconverters for camera lenses. Recently I had the opportunity to borrow a 2x converter to supplement my 1.4x converter, and make this experiment possible.

Other people who had done similar experiments (usually bird photographers shooting smaller targets at longer distances) had reported that the loss of sharpness with the 2 converters stacked, made the exercise almost useless.

This experiment was conducted using a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L (non-IS version) fitted to a Canon EOS 1D Mk III, with a Canon 1.4x TC II and a Canon 2.0x TC II fitted between lens and body. You can only fit the converters one way round, as the rear of the 1.4x is flat, and both the converters have a short nose that fits inside the rear of the lens.

The following photo was not resized at all (it is resized for display here, but I've provided a link to the original image), only cropped down from the 1D Mk III's 10.1 megapixels. As a side note, using 2 converters does screw with the camera's brain a little, the lens seems slightly slower to focus, but still quicker than the Sigma 50-500 that I was comparing the results with. Also, the EXIF info suggests this photo was shot with only the 2x TC fitted to the 70-200L, focal length as a result is reported at 400mm, when it was actually around 560mm.

Experiment with stacked converters

For comparison, here's a similarly treated shot, again, only cropped, not resized (except for display in this post), out of my Sigma 50-500mm (aka The Bigma).


My conclusion? Previous photographic evidence by other photographers has shown that stacking converters is probably not a good idea for bird photography, and it's probably something to be avoided where possible, as there is definatley some loss of sharpness occuring, however, when shooting motorsports, which typically involves larger targets moving at speed, the sharpness of the image is sometimes not that critical anyway, as there tends to be a bit of motion blur even at higher shutter speeds.

Would I do it again? Probably, if I had the gear at my disposal.

Would I use stacked converters over a Canon 100-400L with a 1.4x TC? Probably not, but I don't have a 100-400L or a 2x TC, so this is a bit of an irrelevant question.

Would I use stacked converters over my Sigma 50-500? I don't know. The results are close, but the winner for me has always been the Sigma's ability to zoom all the way from 50mm to 500mm, and perform pretty capably all the way through. However, the reason I'm thinking about this at all, is because my Sigma is failing, and I'm not sure it's worth repairing or replacing with another Sigma lens.

Pricing Details for HighOctanePhotos.com

I get quite a few people asking me how much my photos cost to purchase, so in part for them, and in part for me so that I have a ready available price list to check myself against when needed, here are my current prices.

(This price list is constantly evolving in order to maintain the best balance between quality and price for our customers, while keeping the price list simple)

Digital Images: High Resolution jpeg files, ready for printing or further manipulation - includes limited usage license. (In short, ask before using these photos for commercial gain) - Price varies based on quantity only.

Number of Photos - Price Per Photo - Total Price

1 photo - $50 - $50

2 photos - $40 - $80

3 photos - $40 - $120

4 photos - $40 - $160

5 photos - $35 - $175

6 photos - $35 - $210

7 photos - $35 - $245

8 photos - $32.50 - $260

9 photos - $30 - $270

10 photos - $30 - $300

Printed Images: Prints are available in a number of sizes and on a number of different materials, but for the purposes of the price list, a number of prices for unframed paper prints will be given, with a single price for a stretched canvas print given as a comparison. These images are sold with a more restricted license than the High Resolution Digital Images, namely that no reproductions of the images may be made. Images may be sold for profit, but you cannot replicate them in order to do so. Generally, there are no pricing discounts for buying multiple images.

Paper Prints (Not Framed or Mounted)

8" x 12" - $50

11" x 14" - $75

12" x 16" - $100

12" x 18" - $110

12" x 20" - $110

16" x 24" - $150

Shipping costs are not included in the price and will vary depending on the size and number of prints.

Canvas Print (example price)

Size: 32" x 20"

Price: $500 (shipping may be extra due to the size of the print)

Time required: 4 weeks

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Post - New Blog

Yay! Another blog....

I know I've got about 20 blogs already that I use, and most of them get ignored pretty quickly... The one I've had the most success with so far is livejournal (http://landbarge.livejournal.com/), and I still use that...

Anyway, I've decided to give blogger a go, so will have a bash at this one over the next few days/weeks/months and see if I can stick to it...