Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pick Ten: Perth Motorplex 2012 Season Opener

The Perth Motorplex's 2012/13 Drag Racing season kicked off in style on the 27th of October. Here are a selection of 10 of my favourite photos from the night.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pick Ten: Perth Motorplex Pre-Season Test and Tune

This season's pre-season Test and Tunes at the Perth Motorplex were scheduled as a Saturday - Sunday affair, however rain over the course of the weekend ended up giving us a much reduced session, with Saturday cancelled and Sunday shortened by a couple of hours.

Here are 10 of my favourite shots of the day, in chronological order.

Rhiannon Allison was licensing in her dads dragster. At this stage, Craig will be back in the car for the regular season, but this is definitely not the last time we'll see Rhiannon in a race car.

The name Pete Veersma is well known to Western Australian drag racers, Pete made a return to the sport last season to help out Jeff Clarke in his final season, and is now running a car for his son, Luke Veersma.

Another car from the Hort racing stable, I believe this is Ethan's girlfriend Jayme behind the wheel of the teams third car.

Sam Treasure had a very busy couple of weeks getting the Cleveland Express back together with a new motor. The work paid off when the team ran their first ever 7 second pass on their first full track pass with the combo.

Kyle Putland has a new car this season, and had brought a tuner from the USA to help out for the weekend. In his first hit out with the new AMA deal, Kyle ran under the national record with a 6.85 second pass.

Simon 'Gonzo' Travaglini was out testing 'BA Baracus' and laid down a 6.44 second pass during the afternoon. With a previous best of 6.41 seconds, Gonzo was happy with the way the track and car performed in testing.

Supercharged Outlaw racer Ian Foster has a new Funny Car on track.

Mosman Park racers the Champan Brothers have a new Saratoga Doorslammer on track this season. This will also be a car to watch this season.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pick Ten: FIL'n'K8 Do Phuket

My wife, Kate, and I have recently returned from a short holiday in Phuket. This was our first time in Thailand, and also our first holiday since both our wedding and the birth of our daugher, Mikah. There were so many enjoyable moments while we were there, that picking out 10 photos was a bit of a challenge. There are many more photos from the trip in my flickr account here. In the mean time, these are 10 of my favourite shots from the trip.

After landing at Phuket airport, we caught a taxi down to the first of two hotels, the Paragon, at the northern end of Patong Beach. We quickly headed for the pool, checked out the pool bar, then got ready to hit town for dinner.

No sooner had we left the hotel, than it started to rain. Thinking this was just going to be a quick tropical blast, we decided to keep walking. By the time we found shelter, we were absolutely drenched and were questioning our own sanity. However, once we did find shelter, we also found a nice little food hall where we had dinner. By the time we were finished dinner, we'd dried off enough to keep on walking and ended up making it to the Jungeylon shops where we did a spot of shopping, picked up a few supplies we hadn't bothered bringing on the plane and then caught a tuk tuk back to the Paragon.

Phuket is definitely alive with building activity at the moment. From small sets of villas to apartment buildings like this one. wherever you head, you'll pass several construction projects along the way. As you can see here, scaffolding methods, or more precisely, materials, are a little different here to those in Australia.

The outdoor bars in the OTOP Markets are a relaxing place for a cold drink or three during an afternoon exploring Patong. The markets are a short walk south of the popular Jungceylon shopping complex in the middle of Patong, and the market stalls here are a lot cheaper than those in the Junceylon basement, although the night markets in Phuket Town seem to be where the real bargains can be found.

We headed a little out of Patong, down to the Kok Chang elephant park, where Kate and I took the time to get up close and personal with an elephant.

The Wat Chalong temples in Phuket Town are an impressive sight, and of course, crowded with tourists. The Wat Chalong temple is considered the most important of the 29 Buddhist temples in Phuket. This photo is not of the main temple, but of a smaller temple in the complex.

One of my favourite meals of the trip was also the cheapest. 440 baht for barbecued catfish, chicken and pork, with a side of salad and some fried rice, two cokes and a king brown of Chang beer.

That night we headed to the weekend night markets in Phuket town, where I couldn't resists sampling some of the local delicacies, in particular, the deep fried insects on offer.

This is why we were there, highschool friends of my wife Kate, Marcus and Danelle, had chosen Thailand as the place they wanted to get married. Danelle was one of Kate's bridesmaids at our wedding, and we were honoured to be invited to join them in Phuket for their wedding.

Not that there's really room for error when you're landing jet aircraft anyway, but Phuket international airport really stresses the point.

Now we're back in Australia, back to our respective day jobs, with the usual sides of a lot of motorsport coming up, and a busy family life as well. Much like our previous USA trips, discussions on the next trip started before we'd even landed, although, again, much like the previous USA trips, it's entirely possible that the next trip will be nothing like we thought it would be either.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pick Ten: WASCC Twin Trophies Race Meeting

On the weekend just gone, I shot the WA Sporting Car Clubs annual Twin Trophies race meeting, formerly known as the Torque Trophy (for Street Cars), but now renamed to include the Tander Trophy race for Improved Production.

Without too many words, here are 10 of my favourite shots from the meeting.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Toyota 86 visits AFARCC Meeting

Toyota's 86, inspired by the legendary AE86 and known across the planet as the GT-86, 86 and Scion FR-S, and also available as the Subaru BRZ, is making it's way to showrooms in Western Australia at the moment. Last week, the All Fours and Rotaries Car Club of WA were lucky enough to get a sneak peak at the 86 when Toyota WA's Adam Song brought the first 86 to hit WA, a red GTS, to their club meeting.

While some of the loyal Toyota fans (myself included) are having trouble getting past over the Subaru boxer motor under the hood, the price is low enough to leave an 86 buyer with a plethora of options to help them get around that little obstacle, from aftermarket exhausts and turbo kits, to complete drive train swaps, with these cars having already received Toyota V8's and turbo 6's.

The build quality and trim is nothing short of Toyota and Subaru's usual levels, with little touches like windows that lower themselves slightly while the doors are open just the icing on the cake.

Although the Toyota 86 has yet to officially hit WA's streets, there's little doubt that we'll soon be seeing this vehicle, and it's stablemate the Subaru BRZ, become fairly prominent in club level motorsport.

Huge thanks go to John Fowler, for keeping the doors open at Wheels World for us to have the meeting. John has been a friend of AFARCC for many years, and has helped me out several times in the past as well.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Perth Airport Viewing Area and Geotagging in Lightroom

Recently, I took a trip out to the new Perth Airport Viewing Area, just off Dunreath Drive. This was to serve a dual purpose, giving me an opportunity to check out a new shooting location, as well as serving as a test run for a new geotagging workflow.

High Octane Photos

The viewing platform on Dunreath Drive is located at the southern end of Runway 03/21, and it's a good idea to check weather conditions and flight details before heading out, or you might end up not seeing much at all.

High Octane Photos

On the day I was there, the planes were taking off and landing southbound on 03/21, and the take off viewing was reasonably good, but inbound the planes would disappear under the treeline in the distance, and you'd next see them after they'd landed.

High Octane Photos

As for the geotagging experiment, for some time now, I've been looking for a way to geotag my photos automatically, and I've recently started trialling a solution for this. I'd been considering buying a GPS enabled point and shoot, having that in the camera bag, and using it to product a GPS tracklog, then importing that into Lightroom and geoencoding the photos with that data. However, I've simplified that even further, by using an Android app called GPSlogger on my phone, which uploads its logs to Dropbox on demand, which in turn synchronises automatically with my computer, and I then use Jeffrey Friedl's "Geoencoding Support" plugin for Lightroom to interpret the GPX format log produced by GPSlogger, and interpolate between the points recorded by the app to estimate my actual position for each photo.

High Octane Photos

My plan with geotagging is to geotag every shoot, and then keep an eye on where I put the photos. It appears that facebook doesn't automatically display geotagged information, flickr does add the photo to your map automatically, and my own websites do not, at present, display or use any geotagged information. If I ever have shots that I'd like to keep the location private, as does happen from time to time, the export dialog in Lightroom does give the option to hide location information. This is a system that I really wish I'd had in place for The Bonneville Run, instead of relying on my memory to work out where each photo was taken. In turn, this little experiment was inspired by our upcoming trip to Phuket, where I'm sure I'll struggle to remember where we went and what we saw each day, without geotagged photos.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

2012 Anywhere, Anytime Airshow at RAAF Pearce

Like most motorsport people, I love anything loud and fast, and that includes military aircraft. So when the RAAF announced they were running another airshow at RAAF Pearce, north of Perth, I started making plans to get there.

We ended up getting a little delayed, partly due to traffic and partly just due to the usual issues with getting a car packed with stuff for a young family. However, the timing turned out to be pretty good, as we cruised in past a C-130H firing up, and as Kate was busy unpacking the car, I was shooting it taxiing out to the runway to start the afternoons military flying displays.

The RAAF were keen to show off their new C-17A Globemasters, with two aircraft on site, one on static display and the other in the air.

The RAAF's Hornet's and Super Hornet's were also out and about, showcasing both their agility and power.

The day was far from a 'jets only' affair, with the RAAF's Hercules and Orion aircraft joining the fun, and the Roulette's flying team putting on an aerial display.

As usual, the RAAF put on a great display of firepower, including a visit from a USAF B-52, which had flown down from Guam for a flyby. The B-52 is unable to land at RAAF Pearce, due to the width of it's landing gear (the B-52 has support gear at the ends of it's wings, which would have extended past the width of RAAF Pearce's runways)

After the flying dispays wound up, most people headed to the carpark, and joined the already long (and not moving) queues for the highway. However, we headed for the static displays, including a C-17A Globemaster, more Hornets, Hercules', a new RAAF Wedgetail (based on the Boeing 737) and more.

Once the static displays closed as well, knowing that we were in for a wait, we grabbed a couple of drinks and headed for the car. We held off on even trying to leave until Mikah wouldn't let us wait any more, which turned out to be about 2 hours after the show closed. Although we still could have walked to the highway quicker, by the time we got out onto Great Northern Highway, the traffic had eased up to the point that it was no worse than any other Sunday evening, which made for a much more relaxing drive home.