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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Concorso d'Eleganza della Villa D'Este

A quick view around the Concorso, in the beautiful shores of Lake Como, Italy...held annually in the Villa D'Este in Cernobbio, this event is the premier vintage car event. with beautiful and magnificent vintage cars being shown. I am attending this event for the first time, on invitation as part of the Press Group of A. Lange & Sohne who are the newest sponsor to participate in this historical and very important vintage car show.

Below is a 3 panel stitch of the general area, where the cars are being shown and the judges parading the area...asking questions of the owners, prodding for the restoration or preservation virtues of each automobile.

More pictures of the cars soon...

Friday, May 25, 2012

A little Italian town by the shores of Lake Como

Hotel and interiors in Bellagio, Italy

I am travelling on assignment to visit the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este...a major vintage car show in Cernobbio by Lake Como in Italy, on invitation by one of the sponsors: A. Lange & Sohne.

I arrived one day earlier, to visit the lake region, and am staying at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, a small town amongst many which dot the shores of the beautiful lake.

This a grand old hotel...quite beautiful, classical architecture

The hotel is right by the lake

The interiors are particularly beautiful...the bar

And the grand sitting room (click for a 1920 wide pano)

A customary wrist shot of the Datograph enjoying the weather...21C and sunny. Magnificent.

I caught a cyclist...amongst many who ride the hills of this rugged countryside...this one on a Van Nicholas titanium frame bike...stopping to take a photograph of the scenery.

On the drive to Bellagio, we passed many great steep slopes and an an equal number of wonderful downslopes...I am a bit fearful of riding the mountains...perhaps another time...perhaps...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Portraits: Black and white or colour?

Portraits. Colour or black and white?

I sometimes do portraits on assignment. For assignments, these are decided by the client or art director. But when I do my own work, I have the option to decide which, and sometimes I am undecided. On prints, I often do prefer black and white.

Somehow, it helps me as the viewer and photographer focus on the essence of the person. I feel that by converting the photograph to black and white, the removal of colour allows a suspension of reality, distilling it.

What do you think. The following two portraits are photographed in Geneva...of master watchmaker Laurent Ferrier in his garden. It was a rather brisk morning...perhaps 6C.

Which do you prefer? Though in this case, strangely, I prefer the colour version.

With blue filter, reduced to 50% opacity, and converted to bw.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Introducing Movements of Asia: Singapore brand

Introducing Movements of Asia. A home grown Singapore brand. Designed by Sean Wai...a tactiturn architect turned watch brand do-it-all in Singapore, assembled in Singapore with Chinese parts.

I first came to know Sean from his other hobby company...Soul Bikes. The only titanium bicycle frame brand to be based in Singapore. The frames are completely designed inhouse by Sean, but fabricated in China and Taiwan. When I visited to talk bikes, I noticed he had all these interesting watches lying around...and found that he also designs watches.

Designed as tough, sporty watches...the watches are quite highly specified. Shown here is the GMT2 model in massive (I really mean massive) stainless steel case measuring some 45mm.

I rather like the menacing styling and massive-ness of the watch. The movement is Chinese made Hangzhou running at 28800 bph, protected in a case designed and tested to 300m. The watch shows dual timezone, and a sweep seconds hand with a date. I found the date too small to be read...and as this is diving watch, would prefer not to have a any case one so small is useless.

The sapphire glass, with anti reflection treatment on the inside of the glass is some 4mm thick. The bezel, to accomodate the massive glass is equally thick and massive, but has a reassuringly confident click. The bezel can be moved unidirectionally in half minute increments...the 120 clicks being quite unique, as most dive watches have only 60.

The crown is massive, and treated with the same design language as the bezel...large cog like structures, which allow it to be gripped by gloved fingers. Perhaps the design is for it to be operated by gloved fingers, but I found the crown's ridges to be a bit sharp, threatening to rip my fingers when I unscrewed it to adjust the time.

The caseback is engraved with a Chinese character meaning "water", and with the model designation and the water resistance of 30 ATM.

As a designer, Sean put out his personal touches, and the buckle is an inhouse design, featuring a notched v, again, massive.

The watch is available with a stainless steel bracelet, but I quite liked the sample watch loaned to me which was made in thick leather. The patina, I found to be quite beautiful after a bit of use.

Very sporty design...massive (I know I said that several times, but this is the predominent feel I get with the watch). Quality is quite high, though I did not see the movement, I was assured by Sean that he decided to assemble the watches in Singapore because after the intial experience of having the entire watch manufactured in China, he preferred to do it himself to assure quality.

Price? A reasonable US$600. At this price, I would think it good value for money...and would compete effectively with the Sinn, Tutima, and Seikos of the world. Available in bead blasted matt finish as shown or with DLC black pvd. Contact Sean Wai at Movements of Asia for more details.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fleurier: panorama

Fleurier is a town in Val de Traverse area in the Canton of Neuchatel in Switzerland. But from this tiny village...more or less, population of 3500 has produced no less than 2 Nobel Laurettes: Charles Guillaume and Daniel Bovet. And boasts of three interesting watch manufactures: Parmigiani Fleurier, Chopard and the independent Kari Voutilainen.

Cold, harsh winters are the norm here, and when I visited in late November 2011, it was not yet winter, but the weather was already quite cold on some days. Though, I managed to find some sunlight to make this pre-dusk panorama of the entire Fleurier.

And from the vantage point of Chapeau de Napolean...Napolean's cap(200m above Fleurier)...captured just after dusk.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MBF Moonmachine: a collaboration of MBF and Sarpaneva

Max Bussier's MBF is rather innovative...that's an understatement. The watches coming out from his stable is truly stretches the imagination, and the wonderful stories he can tell to describe them equally wonderful. It is with great interest that I can now present the HM3 Frog Moonmachine.

A variant of the HM3 Frog, with its bulging eyes for hour and minute markers, the rotor is now semi hidden by a Sarpaneva moon...hand made in the studios of Stefan Sarpaneva in Finland. Here are some pictures:

From the back...engraving proudly announces the partnership

Available in black pvd titanium with a gorgeous, gorgeous blued plate for the rotor...and non pvd titanium case as well as a rose gold case.

The blue on the sky which sets the characteristic Sarpaneva moon is hand made by Stefan himself...and is a wonderful, deep, blue not seen elsewhere. Truly magnificent. This version is available on the black pvd titanium case. The regular non pvd case has a sky also in blue, but lighter in hue.

A closer look at the moon and the firmament which is the view of the sky over Finland

Both versions retail for approximaely the same price in Singapore.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Exploring textures

Texture in nature is sometimes...often times complex and amazingly beautiful. In today's post, I briefly explore the texture on some folliage...a moss covered tree bark amongst the fall colours of shrubbery in Nikko Japan. I used focus stacking with Helicon Focus to achieve the almost unlimited depth of field.

With a tool like the Hasselblad H3D...its perfect to show the high resolution.The soft, autumn afternoon light is beautiful. Makes a great semi-abstract large print.