Sunday, 2 September 2012

Monaco Oceanegraphique - catch them while you can

Monaco Oceanegraphique Fish
An HDR shot of one of the impressive marine life display tanks at the Monaco Oceanegraphique, situated on the hill, up by the palace. Although we have visited the Cote D' Azur many times, this was the first time my wife and I paid a visit to this building - well worth it. Spread over three floors, a lot of time and effort (and money!) has obviously gone into creating the excellent displays, and when we visited, there was the added bonus of a Marc Quinn exhibition on as well.

Jenson Button - British Grand Prix Silverstone 2003

Jenson Button Silverstone Formual One Grand Prix BAR
Well done to Jenson Button at todays Belgian Grand Prix at Spa - a dominant win from start to finish. Here's a shot I took of Jenson at the 2003 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, making his way through the Beckett's complex during the race in his BAR.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Friday night music in The Morningside Glory

Band in Morningside Glory Edinburgh
Caught a good portion of the set these two guys played in the Morningside Glory on Friday night, and really enjoyed it - especially the renditions of Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" and Simon & Garfunkel's "America". Sorry I can not put the the band name here, but did not catch it on Friday, and despite looking at the MG's website and Facebook pages, can see no mention of who they are (feel free to post a comment if you can tell me, and I will amend the post!)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Bennets Bar, Tollcross, Edinburgh

Bennets Bar Tollcross Edinburgh
I took a wander around Edinburgh yesterday with my Canon EOS 30D SLR and 28-70mm L series lens - the plan was to experiment with some HDR shots using the SLR, as I have only tried producing these with my little pocket Lumix and its ever impressive Leica lens. Time got the better of me, but I did manage to drop into Bennets Bar in Tollcross, a legend of bars in Edinburgh, which serves the best pint of Deuchers IPA in town.
Bennets Bar Tollcross Edinburgh
 
I'm reasonably happy with the way these first, experimental shots turned out, but to be honest there more duffers than good ones - I need to play around with the settings a bit more, and improve the sharpness of the exposures to create the HDR final image.
Bennets Bar Tollcross EdinburghBennets Bar Tollcross Edinburgh


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The sun sets over Villefranche bay - Dusk

Villefranche bay at dusk sun setting
The sun sets in the west, behind this boat and because of Mont Boron, the hill between Villefranche and Nice, it means that Villefranche bay gets dark very quickly...however, over to the east, the clouds gathering over the hills behind Monaco are just catching the last dying rays of the day.

Harley Davidson's - a perfect match

Harley Davidson HDR motorcycle
A couple of nice Harley Davidson motorcycles I noticed in the marina at St Jean, Cap Ferrat in the Cote D' Azur, unsurprisingly both parked right opposite massive yachts! What a nice life that must be, cruising around the South of France on your boat, and when you notice you are running low on milk or bread, jump on your Harley to the supermarket in whatever port you have pulled into.
Harley Davidson HDR motorcycle

Monday, 20 August 2012

The Rising - Bruce Springsteen & E-Street Band tribute act

The Rising Bruce Springsteen & E-Street Band tribute actThe Rising Bruce Springsteen & E-Street Band tribute actThe Rising Bruce Springsteen & E-Street Band tribute act

The Rising Bruce Springsteen & E-Street Band tribute actThe Rising Bruce Springsteen & E-Street Band tribute actThe Rising Bruce Springsteen & E-Street Band tribute act

A few more photos from The Rising gig the other night, at The Citrus Club in Edinburgh.


Sunday, 19 August 2012

David Niven house - a panoramic view

David Niven house Cap Ferrat panoramic view
Here's a panoramic view of David Niven's house, discussed in the blog post below. It shows the extensive gardens as well, where (according to the Niven autobiography I am reading just now), he liked to while away the hours in the same favourite shady corner. I had to shoot all the pictures of this house in HDR (using 3 exposures, then combining them) as the house is notoriously difficult to photograph from the public footpath - no matter what time of day it is, part of it always seems to be in the shade.

David Niven's house on Cap Ferrat

David Niven's house on Cap Ferrat
On the beach path walk from Beaulieu sur Mer round to St Jean on Cap Ferrat (the walk is known as the Promenade Maurice Rouvier), you pass David Niven's old house, originally called Lo Scoglietto (Little Rock). As you can see, it even has its own little private harbour. It was built in 1880, and in 1920, the villa was rented by the Duchess of Marlborough. It was then extended in the 1950s and rented by Leopold III, King of the Belgians. Later Lo Scoglietto was bought by the great Charlie Chaplin, and in 1960 he in turn sold it to the film actor David Niven.
David Niven house Cap FerratDavid Niven house Cap Ferrat

The house itself is also a movie star, having appeared, with a cameo from Niven, in the otherwise unwatchable Trail of the Pink Panther (1983) . Peter Sellers had died, and Niven was dying, so the film is a morgue-like stitching together of old clips of Sellers, while Niven has his voice dubbed by someone else.
The small square in front of the villa is named Place David Niven as a tribute to the late actor. Although the ownership of the house since then has been less well documented, there is an unsubstantiated local story that it was briefly owned by Dodi Fayed, who of course was the ill-fated suitor of Princess Diana.
Recently restored at a reputed cost of €10 million, the villa is now known as La Fleur du Cap. The last photo is the approximate view the house enjoys, back to Beaulieu sur Mer...just stunning.
David Niven house Cap FerratDavid Niven house Cap Ferrat

(Acknowledgement to Monaco CityOut website for the information above).

The Rising - A Springsteen tribute band worth catching

The Rising Bruce Springsteen E Street Band Tribute
I went to see The Rising last night, a Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band tribute act, who are locally based in Central Scotland...and they were excellent. Its a funny thing with tribute acts (and I've seen quite a few), as some punters are more bothered that they "look" like the original act, and others are more impressed if they "sound" like the original act - me, I could'nt give a hoot what they look like, its the sound I am interested in...and these folks gave a very good account of themselves in that respect.

The Rising Bruce Springsteen E Street Band TributeWhat I was most impressed with was the spread of Springsteen tracks they played in their set, covering all era's of The Boss, and throwing in a number of lesser heard numbers such as "Trapped" and "Fire". You can find out more about The Rising at their website http://www.the-rising-band.co.uk/ and catch them in Glasgow at The Ferry on September 22nd, for their "Boss's Birthday Bash".
The Rising Bruce Springsteen E Street Band TributeThe Rising Bruce Springsteen E Street Band TributeThe Rising Bruce Springsteen E Street Band Tribute

Friday, 17 August 2012

Canoe group - Cap Ferrat, Cote D' Azur

Canoe group in cote d' azur cap ferrat
Whilst walking round to St Jean on Cap Ferrat one morning, I came across this group who were having a break on a little streatch of beach, after what was not doubt a tiring journey from Beaulieu sur Mer - a dip in the water was obviously required to cool off. They looked like they were having great fun, on what a gloriously sunny day.
Canoe group in cote d' azur cap ferratCanoe group in cote d' azur cap ferrat

The Beluga - Villefranche, Cote D' Azur

Beluga bar Villefranche outside
The Beluga bar in Villefranche, Cote D' Azur, is without doubt one of our favourite places to stop and while away an hour or so with a nice cold drink, and as my wife says "watch the boats bobbing about". It is situated about half way along the front of Villefranche, on the right hand side as you walk from the train station.
Beluga bar Villefranche frontage
As you can see from the frontage photos above, the owners have decked it out in a very luxurious fashion, with large, regal looking armchairs and sofas, and they always have really well chosen "chillout" music playing. The staff are so friendly, especially "Mr Beluga" as I call him, who always has a chat, and gives us a wave even if we are just passing by. The inside is pretty spectacular as well, with a neon lit bar area as you walk in, and an upstairs area should any guests require a little privacy - I always wonder if this bar existed in 1971, I can just imagine Keith Richards or Mick Jagger enjoying a few glasses of wine here, when the Rolling Stones were in residence at Nellcote, the villa you can see across the bay, recording Exile on Main Street.
Beluga bar Villefranche outsideBeluga bar Villefranche inside
Beluga bar Villefranche outside

Monday, 6 August 2012

Old Eze - the view to Eze sur Mer, from the top

Eze village looking towards Eze sur Mer
I'm off on my annual break to the South of France soon, so thought I'd post this panoramic shot I took from the cactus garden at the very top of old Eze village, looking towards Eze sur Mer (the village village down at coast level, beside the railway line). I've seen this shot 1000 times online, and every time we go up here, there are loads of tourists snapping exactly the same shot, so its certainly not unique in any way...but the view is simply stunning. This image is made of three seperate images stitched together. The walk up from Eze village, through the old town is not for the elderly or faint hearted, especially on  a boiling hot summers day, however there are plenty of spots to stop and have a cold drink, and seek some shade for a few minutes. If you are staying in Nice, you can get a bus to Eze, which takes about 20 minutes.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Alan McNish in his Toyota F1 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2002

Alan McNish Toyota F1 Indianapolis Grand Prix 2002
A shot of Alan McNish, checking his mirrors during the USA Grand Prix 2002 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on the back straight. Alan is a true talent, capable of turning his hand to many different types of motorsport, especially with great success at Le Mans. Its a shame his all too short F1 career did not pan out, I met him once at Silverstone, and he's a top bloke, only to happy to shoot the breeze with fans.
I took this on a Canon D30, 1/250 sec at f5.6, focal length 370mm (hand held!)

Juan Pablo Montoya - Williams garage, Silverstone

Juan Pablo Montoya helmet sits on car William garage Silverstone
Juan Pablo Montoya's helmet sits on the sidepod of his F1 car, 30 minutes before the qualifying session starts at the British Grand Prix, 2004.

Beaulieu Sur Mer - panoramic image over the marina towards Cap Ferrat

Beaulieu Sur Mer marina towards Cap Ferrat
A panoramic image looking over the marina at Beaulieu Sur Mer, towards Cap Ferrat in the Cote D' Azur. I took this on a visit in March, where we left typically dismal Scottish weather at the airport, and two hours later were strolling along here in a very pleasant 24 degrees.

Monaco - panoramic view over Monte Carlo

Monaco Monte Carlo panoramic image
Panoramic image over Monaco, on a gloriously sunny Cote D' Azur morning. Looking forward to visiting this curious place again over the next fortnight, on my annual summer break, especially the newly revamped Stars N' Bars.

Cap D' Ail - Cote D' Azur

Cap D' Ail Cote D' Azur
I'm off to the South of France next week, for a ten day break with my wife, so thought I'd mark that by posting a few more shots of my travls around the Cote D' Azur, without doubt my favourite place on earth. These three are from Cap D' Ail, which is just on the outskirts on Monaco, the first train station you pass through on the way to Nice.
Cap D' Ail Cote D' AzurCap D' Ail Cote D' Azur

Thursday, 2 August 2012

RAC Report on Motoring 2012 - Eddie Irvine F1 Driver

I've had a request in by email, to feature this video on my blog - which I am more than happy to do.

This is the introduction to 24th Annual RAC Report on Motoring 2012 launched on 23rd May.

The Report captures motorists' attitudes and opinions on a range of current issues, including the cost and necessity of motoring; the state of the roads; transport investment; road safety and the future of motoring. Now in its 24th year, the annual report provides interesting and valuable insight into what most concerns today's motorists.

The Report surveyed a representative sample of 1,002 UK motorists, and also drew on the expertise of an Advisory Panel of transport industry specialists, who provided comment, analysis and insight throughout the development of the Report. In response to the findings, RAC proposes calls to action and are keen to engage with stakeholders to develop and promote appropriate motoring policy.

To read the full report visit http://www.rac.co.uk/report-on-motoring/report-2012/

Limehouse Lizzy - Jailbreak

Another excellent tribute band, Limehouse Lizzy, who I saw along with Livewire. Limehouse have been at this game for years, and it shows - a totally tight outfit, who absolutely nail the Lizzy classics. Great musicians, and a front man who definately has a bit of Lynott in him! - come back to Edinburgh soon guys, its been too long.

Livewire - Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be

I've caught these guys a few times, when they have visited Edinburgh...best ACDC tribute act I've ever seen, and I've seen a few! What I like about them is, apart from their great show and musicianship, is the fact that they have two lead singers, one "Bon Scott" and one "Brian Johnson", and they both play their respective parts really well - oh, and dont forget the cannons!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Jarno Trulli - Monaco Grand Prix 2001

Jarno Trulli Jordan Monaco Grand Prix 2001
An image I took of Jarno Trulli in his Jordan, during the Monaco Grand Prix 2001. I took this image from a very cramped grandstand, but managed to sneak my camera through a gap in the fencing, to shoot the drivers as they exited La Rascasse. Monaco of course is where Jarno got his first F1 Grand Prix win in 2004, whilst driving for Renault. I always liked Jarno, and see he still has a very active web site at http://www.jarnotrulli.com

More Lotus 49 - Tiff Needell & Martin Brundle test drive this classic car

Another couple of great videos I found, showing both Tiff Needell and Martin Brundle test driving the classic Lotus 49, lucky sods!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Lotus 49 - "It's got a bit of poke"

I found this fantastic video, filmed by Ford, documenting the birth of the classic Lotus 49, with footage of Graham Hill testing it, andthen  its first race outing in the hands of both Graham Hill and Jim Clark. I love the bit in the initial testing footage, where Graham Hill returns to the pits with a big smile on his face, and says "well, it's got a bit of poke!"

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Luca Badoer - loneliness of the long distance test driver

Luca Badoer in his Ferrari at Silverstone
A shot of Luca Badoer during a three day test session at Silverstone in 2002...a lonely job being the test driver for an F1 team, bashing round the circuit lap after lap, with none of the glamour of Grand Prix weekends in sight.

Poor old Luca...the driver with the most number of F1 races, without scoring a single point, although he did win the F3000 title at his first attempt (so there was definately talent there!)

Love Lotus? - Have a new wallpaper

I found this stunning shot of the Lotus 49 in the Project Cars forums, and have resized it to 1680 x 1050, and now have it as my wallpaper. Feel free to grab it for yourself if you want (I uploaded it at original size).

Indianapolis USA Grand Prix 2002 - A dream visit

Indianapolis Grand Prix 2002
In 2002 I had the good fortune to attend the USA F1 Grand Prix at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or "the brickyard" as it is fondly known. I have to thank my good friend Bill Hunter for making this possible, and the hospitality of Alan Caine and his wife. This was such a big deal for me, due to the obvious Jim Clark connections with this hallowed circuit. I'm just starting to sort revisit some photos from this trip, and will post more over the coming weeks.
Photographers shooting famous bricks Indianapolis Grand Prix 2002Ferrari fans at Indianapolis Grand Prix 2002

Rouen 1962 Grand Prix - Documentary

To tie in with my last post, the gameplay video of my 3 lap race in Project CARS at Rouen, here is a fantastic documentary covering the 1962 race at Rouen (split into two sections), featuring all the greats of the era...Jim Clark, Graham Hill etc. Essential viewing, if like me, you consider this the golden age of motor sport.

Project CARS - 3 lap race at Rouen, Lotus 49

My latest Project CARS video, and definately getting closer to the quality I would like. A three lap race in the Lotus 49 at the classic French circuit Rouen - what a blast this circuit is, with some really exciting elevation changes, and the auto-camera angles coded in to this build are some of the best I have seen (in fact, I just left it on auto-camera for the whole replay)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Barony Bar, Edinburgh - Legend

Barony Bar Edinburgh
A nice HDR shot I took in the Barony Bar, Edinburgh last night. Early evening in a week when summer finally seems to be making an appearance. This was around 6pm, before it got really busy, and many customers were sitting outside at the time. I've been going to this bar on a regular basis for nearly 30 years, as it is across the road from Khushi's, my favourite indian restaurant, where we were heading last night. (click image for larger version)
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