Taken with a Contax IIa
Monday, May 13, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
Sunday, May 05, 2013
Flowers at Wilberforce Community Hall, Hawkesbury, NSW, originally uploaded by jiulong.
Took the Rolleiflex 3.5F out on a bike ride this sunny Sunday, from Windsor to Ebenezer, on the banks of the Hawkesbury river. I was worried about riding my bike on the main highway with heavy traffic, but it turned out to be not too bad. For most of the 11km trip there was a metre-wide bike strip beside the highway. I got the usual few shouts, and screams from ute passengers, but otherwise it was OK. A fairly flat road and the wide horizons make you really feel like you are away from Sydney in amongst the ploughed fields, the barns and the gum trees in paddocks.
I stopped off in a small settlement called Wilberforce, which had a wonderful old Community Hall, with some flowers on the tree outside - not sure what for, couldn't read the inscription. It felt a bit like how I imagine the Mid West would be - picket fences and friendly but insular folk. On a few more km to Ebenezer, where I perused the old church and its wonderful setting next to the river. According to the info at the church, it was the oldest in Australia, set up in 1803. Governor Macquarie came up here on a boat for breakfast, allegedly. They even have the stump of a tree under which the first religious service was held. Nice place for Devonshire Tea, but as usual the views of the river were not as good as I expected. Most of the river front was private land and inaccessible. Nevertheless, it's a nice place and I'd recommend a visit.
By the way, I did something wrong during the developing of the first roll of Lucky film from the Rolleiflex, hence the dark band down the right hand side. Enjoy!
The main road bridge over the Hawkesbury at Windsor NSW, originally uploaded by jiulong.
Rolleiflex 3.5F with cheap "Lucky" film that came out with a weird dark band down the right hand side.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
[Pic by Rolleiflex 3.5F with Shanghai GP3 film]
Back at work in a full time job for the first time in .. oh, about a year. I'm back at my old office and it feels surreal - I'm the new boy but the old timer, having worked there for almost ten years on and off before I left last year. Within a few minutes of being there, I find myself doing thing automatically such as going to the kitchen to make a cuppa. It's the same but different - the company has been bought out and quite a lot of people have been culled or moved around. I'm sat at a new desk with just the bare bones of office furniture, the crappiest computer and nasty monitor ... welcome back! But at least everyone is friendly.
Getting there is another thing. Living [temporarily] in Baulkham HIlls means that I had to catch the 602 bus today along the M2. Not too bad, but its a bit of a new experience for me, commuting by bus in Sydney. Got the last free seat and squeezed on with my fold up Brompton bike. Coming home I tried taking the train all the way - and cycling back up from Seven Hills - set off just after five and didn;t get home until nearly seven. Won't be trying that again!
Meanwhile, I am finishing off the book 'Hack' by NOTW journalist Graham Johnson. It just confirms all my worst prejudices about tabloid journalists (if you can call them journalists) .. and about the utter decline of Britain into chavs and Daily Mail reading smug reactionaries. I'm also reading a biography of a German woman (with the un-German name of Louise Fox) who worked as a clerk for Hermann Goering. She later emigrated to Tasmania and had a very mundane later life in Launceston and the Gold Coast. She writes of how the Nazi leaders have now become comic book hate figures, portrayed as utter madmen. In reality she says they were quite ordinary people who just had a lot of ambition and who were in the right place at the right time, and all the worse for that. It's weird to read about how the 'enemy' were quite like us.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Not sure if I like the grainy quality of this pic of the family on our way to have yum cha in Parramatta today. It was taken with the usually reliable Rolleiflex 3.5F using some leftover Shanghai GP3 film that I bought ages ago in Beijing. I developed it in Kodak D76 (made up from powder) for six minutes. Everything seems a bit too grainy and contrasty. Maybe I should try a shorter developing time next time.
It was yet another lovely sunny day, and i would have liked to go out to the beach for a swim. However, we are currently living in Baulkham Hills and it's just too far to get to the beach from here - especially when we have two teenage boys who just can't get out of bed before 10am on weekends. So instead we went to nearby Parramatta and had yum cha at Princes Restaurant (not that impressed to be honest - not much choice, too much seafood in everything). The upside was that we found a decent cafe on the way back that did really good coffee - right at the top of Church St, just before the arts centre. Can't remember the name.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
I am trying to stick to my rule of only ever taking one camera out with me. Today it was the Leica M2 with 50mm Summicron lens, to finish off the last five or six exposures on a roll of Ektachrome E100G. However, I also took my new digital Olympus E-PM1, which I also tried to use with the Summicron ( but this proved useless as on a digital it becomes effectively a 90mm lens, good only for portraits and 'tele' shots).
It was a beautifully sunny autumn day in Newtown and I had to wait a couple of hours while my Brompton was getting an upgrade at Cheeky Transport (smaller crank to ease the gears and a new saddle). I wandered down to Victoria Park and took a few pictures of the views and of the architecture (see above). I will process and publish these pics tomorrow. Sydney feels so nice on days like this - after the bleak weather of a Yorkshire winter it feels like a permanent holiday here. And is it the sunny weather that makes everyone here seem more attractive, stylish and laid back or is it more like that anyway? I took the opportunity while in Newtown to re-visit some of my old haunts - coffee and a croissant at Campos coffee followed by a visit to Vinnies op shop (tried on a few shirts - no sale) ... and popped in to Gould's huge second hand book emporium. Nice to see it still going. And as usual it turned up an interesting tome on my pet subject, China - a diary written by the Russian Tass correspondent describing the time he spent in Yanan between 1943 and 1945. The book gives a remarkably candid view of Mao, and the author does not hold back in describing Mao as a scheming, power-mad tyrant, even in those days before he came to power. He compares the nationalist/feudalistic so-called Marxism as practised by Mao very unfavourably with the democratic and 'informed' Marxism of Russia. The author basically says that Mao used Marxism as just a cover for his own power grab, and that the CCP was useless during the war years, even having secret links with the Japanese command in Nanking. (Makes a mockery of all those anti-Japanese war movies they constantly show in China). As a Russian the author is very sceptical of the real intentions of the CCP and says that Mao and the other leaders were blinkered and xenophobic - secretly despising and resenting the Soviet Union, but he notes that they were surprised and troubled by the sheer ability of the USSR Red Army in invading Manchuria in 1945. All in all, Mao is portrayed as a cold-blooded manipulator whose only real interest was in gaining power at any cost and in maintaining total control over all Chinese - basically a modern day 'Red' emperor. I should have bought the bloody book instead of speed reading it while standing between the bookshelves - but it was $15 and I got the gist of it from reading just a couple of chapters.
I had a $7 Thai lunch across the road and then picked up my bike with new gears and saddle (at a cost of $160 though) and made the long drive back to Seven Hills in the white Honda. It's such a long way and I just hate driving - even listening to some exquisite Debussy couldn't make it bearable.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
It feels awkward being at a parade when you don't support the current wars in Afghanistan etc. Especially when you see newspaper reports quoting current soldiers saying it has been their ambition to fight in Afghanistan to 'defend Australia'. In a documentary I saw about Afghanistan, the terrain and society reminded me of Tibet and NW China, and I could only imagine what the people of those regions would think if battalions of western soldiers in their obligatory Gucci military kit were tramping through their villages. "Go away, leave us alone' I think wold be the most obvious sentiment. It's one thing to be defending your country when Hitler is at Calais or the Japanese are at Kokoda ... but sending troops to central Asia? Well,, I don't want to bang on about this. Nothing I say or do is going to make a difference.
For the remainder of the day, I pedalled around Elizabeth Bay, enjoying the sun and just soaking up that languid Australian 'day off' atmosphere. I snapped a few scenes with my Contax IIa and used the 50mm Sonnar and 21mm Biogon with B&W Fuji Neopan Acros film. I passed one of the most expensive houses in Sydney and the owner/occupier drove in in and old Ford Fairmont. Wish I'd got a picture of that.