Wednesday 30 November 2011


Here's what half of ColumnShift Media has been doing instead of holding up his end of the bargain and actually writing some stories to accompany the photoshoots we've done recently.

I stand by my decision - She's nearly finished anyway, and working on my bike helps me gather anecdotes for upcoming work. Research, if you will...

... Does that make it tax deductible? I'll call an accountant as soon as I've written another thousand words... And rebuilt the carbies...

Saturday 26 November 2011

Work in Progress

The only problem with this freelance gig is the early starts. Oh, and also that we can't make enough money to quit our day jobs.

Other than that it's fantastic - you get to go to cool places, meet great people and check out interesting cars. All three happened today, with an early morning photoshoot on top of Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane.

We're really grateful to all the owners and friends who take the time and effort to get their cars spotless and then spend hours of their weekend hanging around with us answering my questions and moving the car 3 degrees east for Dan's perfect shot.

Spending this morning shooting Ash's Holden and hearing his story was great fun, and it sounds like he might have some old bikes we need to check out in the future. Dan is currently locked down in the lab processing shots while I try to write a few words that do the story justice.

Dan often gets asked what camera gear he uses, how he composes, how he processes shots. It's all Greek to me, but I can report that I took this photo with my beaten-up, ratrod Blackberry, using the lift-phone-and-click technique. I think it captures the moment though.


Monday 14 November 2011


Of all the sounds that have stuck with me over the years, the sound of a big-block engine from a long way away will always make me smile.

I've ridden in all sorts of big-cube cars over the years, from a screaming twin-carb 454 powered ute to slow, smooth cruisers. They all have one thing in common: the engine note that comes up through your feet, then in to your soul.

Of all of them, my favourite was Damien Nelms' 455ci Oldsmobile Cutlass. Following it in a Nissan Micra, the noise from the three-inch pipes and the way it pushed the back tyres around did something to me that I might never recover from. The body helped - if the coke-bottle hips on that thing don't make you swoon, you're clinically dead.

Dan recently unearthed some spare photos from the shoot we did for Gasoline. Enjoy - I did. The moody way these photos are processed suits the car perfectly - I particularly love the shot of the fuel pressure gauge, the aged photo makes it look purposeful, like something peeking from under the engine cowl of a Spitfire.

Monday 7 November 2011

Learner Drivers

It's probably safe to assume that everyone who reads this quaint little website drives a car, or something similar. It would also be safe to assume that you would have been taught how to drive by someone at some stage or another.

Everyone from Dick Johnson to Cranky Grandpa down the street would have been taught to drive. Maybe it was your father, your grandma, or your Drill Sargent while you were in 'Nam. More commonly these days, it is usually a State Certified Driving Instructor, which is probably the best way to go if learning how to drive safely is a priority.

Most commonly, however, it's your parents who strap you into the drivers seat and give you brief, well meaning instructions on how to propel a huge hunk of metal down the road. However, unless your father is Michael Schumacher or your mother Vicky Butler-Henderson, chances are their bad habits on the road are being passed on to the learning driver, which safer roads this does not make.

When I was learning to drive on the road, there wasn't a driving school that I could attend, so I did the best I could, until I could get to the big smoke to attend a Defensive Driving Course, which I think make me a ten times more competent driver on the road. I even spent a brief amount of time working at a Defensive Driving company, delivering the very same courses. If you are thinking that these courses are for reformed drunk drivers or school kids, you'd be wrong. Sure, the fundamentals are there, but once you sink you teeth into it, you will soon realise that these courses are anything but boring.

I first drove a car when I was 9 years old, on the Common Land a few kays outside of Goondiwindi, behind the wheel of Dad's three-on-the-tree Kingswood ute. Ever Sunday after moving the lawns, we'd go for a swim in the river and I'd get to drive there and back (not on the gazetted roads of course!). Further education regarding driving came from my late Pop, who took me out to the forestry behind Woodford to drive his early seventies FJ LandCruiser ute (or Nan's awesome 5 speed Sigma wagon).

These early beginnings probably didn't make me a better driver, and nor did the informal training I received during my L Plate phase allow me to win any driving awards. I can, however, confidently say that the formal driving training I received in the form of the various driving courses over the last eight years most certainly did.

So get out there, book yourself into one of the many accredited Defensive Driving courses around Australia and allow yourself to learn a few things about how to drive competently - who knows, you might even have some fun!


A young Daniel and Bingo the dog hanging out in the above mentioned Cruiser ute

None of these courses taught me how to do a skid, or even condoned doing them, but skids are cool, okay??!!

Thursday 3 November 2011

More Nervous Breakdown

Well, the breakdown photoshoot last night went excellently, and we've got the perfect shot.

Overnight, CSM correspondent Spiro sent through a further photo from 2001's Wounded Lamborghini saga. It's embarassing enough that I am duty bound to share it with automotive fans more broadly:

Note the ever-reliable Falcon in the background. Try not to note the shirt.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Nervous Breakdown

Halfway through a terrible week at my day job, but that's OK because we're off to do a photoshoot for an upcoming CSM article tonight.

The article talks about breakdowns, although hopefully not my nervous one.

My favourite breakdown story was part of a sorry saga partly illustrated below. Over the years, hundreds of people have accused me of faking this photo of my old Falcon, but I can assure you it's all too real...