Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day 2010

This year for Australia Day, k8 and I decided to do something a little different, for us anyway. As long as we've been together we've been spending the day at other people's houses. This year, we spent the day at home, and cooked up a bit of a feast. We actually cooked enough for several more people to eat, but that's ok, it's all good food, and we'll be eating leftovers for a while now.

Roasts Nicely Browned

I cooked the meat, and k8 cooked some garlic potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli cheese and some roasted vegetables including potato, pumpkin and carrots. The meat side of things consisted of a pork roast and a lamb roast, both smoked in a Weber BBQ.


Cooking the meat took about 4 hours, from lighting the coals in the Weber to getting the meat onto the plate, and involved smoking the meat with hickory wood. I have previously used hickory to smoke a turkey and pork combination for Christmas, so I had some idea of how things were going to pan out today. For instance, I knew to keep an eye on things until the meat turned to the desired shade and then to wrap the roasts in aluminium foil to stop the skin from burning while I waited for the rest of the meat to cook.

Beez Neez

Of course, a good beer always goes well with a good meal, and today's choice was Beez Neez, a honey flavoured beer brewed by The Matilda Bay Brewery.

Motorvation 24

Motorvation 24 has now been run and won, and since last weekend I've been flat out sorting photos, burning DVD's and uploading to the website. I'm now taking a few minutes to try to put together a few words on the weekend.

Motorvation @ Perth Motorplex

This was the first year for a long time that I haven't entered a car, but my club, All Fours and Rotaries Car Club, still entered 6 cars, and took out a whole stack of driving trophies. In past years we've been very successful in the Club Grand Championship, however this year the powers that be decided not to award a trophy to the Champion Club, so we'll never know just how well we performed.

Motorvation @ Perth Motorplex

In terms of crowd numbers, from my perspective track side, it certainly appeared that the gate would have suffered as a result of the hotter weather. Both days were well over 40 degrees C, making life difficult for entrants, spectators and staff alike.

Motorvation @ Perth Motorplex

If you want to check out who won what, , put together by the Motorplex staff, that will tell you almost everything you could ask about the weekends results.

Motorvation @ Perth Motorplex

I'm still working on the galleries for
HighOctanePhotos.com, but they shouldn't be too far away now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

ANDRA Pro Series Top Fuel - Round 3

This weekend saw the running of round 3 of the ANDRA Pro Series Australian Top Fuel Championship. Seven cars fronted for this round, with most of the teams electing to leave their transporters parked at the Motorplex after round 2 in December.

Top Fuel @ Perth Motorplex

Friday nights qualifying session saw good strong passes from all concerned, with Phil Lamattina setting quickest time with a 4.708 second pass, while Bob Shepherd rounded out the field with a 6.290 second first pass, exploding the motor just after half track, leaving a big mess for the track crew and a hole in the track.

Top Fuel @ Perth Motorplex

All 7 cars were able to make it to the first round of eliminations on Saturday, and the huge crowd at the Motorplex were treated to some of the best Top Fuel racing the venue has ever seen. The first rounds racing saw Darren Morgan defeat Mark Mariani with a 4.834 second pass to a 4.858 second pass. Phil Read ran 4.870 to defeat Allan Dobson with a 5.002. Martin Stamatis made his way to the next round with a 4.809 over Bob Shepherd's 5.481. While Phil Lamattina's top qualifier spot had earned him a solo through to the next round, he certainly didn't take things easy, with a 4.694 second pass, the second quickest lap of the meeting.

Top Fuel @ Perth Motorplex

The semi-finals saw Read defeat Stamatis 4.708 to 4.967, while Lamattina's 4.709 accounted for Morgan's 5.011. In the final, Read left the line ever so slightly earlier, with a 0.095 reaction time, against Lamattina's 0.120, however by the 1000 foot marker, Lamattina had edged ahead, finishing with a 4.682 to Read's 4.852.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Perth at Night - Barrack Street

Tonight, k8 and I went out for a late night photo mission with John from biante12.com and Dave and Nat from pixelculture.com

Perth at Night

Our original intentions were to head up to Hillary's Boat Harbour, in the Northern Suburbs of Perth, however, somewhere along the way we decided to drop in to Barrack Street to see what lighting was turned on for the Bell Tower and the Perth Wheel tonight.

Perth at Night

As it turned out, the Perth Wheel was in full operation, and the Bell Tower had most of it's lighting turned on for the night. Consequently, we spent a good couple of hours here taking photos from a bunch of different angles and playing around with long exposures, trying to make the best of a rather strange lighting situation. The intense lighting on the main structures makes it hard to pick up much detail at all in the surrounding parts of the shot, but it can be done.

Perth at Night

I also decided to try a little freehand long exposure work, in part because I lent my tripod and remote trigger to k8 so that she could get some practise with those. I was quite happy with the way some of these shots turned out, mind you, I guess I did only work with the safer options here, using fence posts as supports, and shooting targets that had some incident light falling on them, but then, isn't that what it's all about?

Perth at Night

After a few hours running round taking various photos, we decided to head off to Exomod Coffee in Mt Lawley, before heading home to check out our photos. Exomod is one of the few places in Perth where you can still get service after about 8pm, as they are open till 12 most days, and run 24 hours on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The virtues of cheap gear.

Tonight I went out to take some photos of a car cruise a mate of mine was running. As usual I was running a bit late, but our plan had been to catch the tail end of the cruise and then head off to take some long exposure shots.

When we caught up with the crew, I naturally set up and started shooting. Now, when I'm shooting with a tripod, I always use a remote control, and for the last 3 years or so, that has been an eBay sourced Aputure remote. I've previously had to fix a dodgy cable, after about the 6th late night photo mission. Since then, I've been trouble free, until tonight.

Hotrod Underground

After about 5 photos, the remote stopped telling the camera to close the shutter. This is again something that I may be able to fix, but maybe not. After initially kicking myself for not having a genuine Canon remote, I had a bit more of a think.

I've owned that remote for about 3 years now, it's only let me down once before today, and I was able to fix that myself for free, there's no guarantee the Canon would not have done the same thing, as the failure was a break in one of the wires inside the cable to the camera, and probably as much due to my handling as it was to the cheap cable used.

Hotrod Underground

I now find myself faced with the decision of whether to spend $300 on a genuine Canon item, $70 on a pair of replacement eBay units, so that if one breaks, I can keep shooting, or just to repair the one I have.

At the moment I'm leaning towards the second option, while attempting to repair the old unit as another spare.

(updated the morning after: I just had a closer look at the remote, and the button was stuck down. After a firm smack, the button released, and the remote works as normal now. However, I'm still thinking about buying spares, just in case.)