This is the first photo I ever took of a rally car on stage. It may only be the zero car, but it is actually not a bad snap, and a heap better than the rest of my photos from that event. This is under the Greenhills power lines from the Canberra Stages in September 1981. Yep, 40 years ago!
Here is a photo of me (my Dad’s old Minolta SLR in hand) at the start of the same rally. This photo was taken by my late friend Rod Paterson. That’s my other mate Laurence to my right. As you can see from the photo, that’s about 40kg ago! Other than that, I still look the same. :)
There are a couple of other familiar faces there. That’s Ian Hill in that gorgeous Escort, and the late Brad Mansfield in the Mitchell Auto Wreckers t-shirt.
After Rod passed away in 2008, his family kindly bestowed his slide collection to me, knowing that photography was a passion we both shared. So what was I going to do with just over 700 slides held in a couple of dozen yellow lidded plastic slide containers stored in an old Dunlop KT26 shoe box wrapped in a Teds Camera Store plastic bag?
I had the same question about what to do with my own not insignificant film based collection of slides and negatives for the years before around 2003 when I belatedly went down the digital path.
Initially toying with the idea of slide scanners, I was put off by the cost and speed of these devices. Earlier this year, I caught a Youtube video from a guy in the US that does this for a living. His basic premise is that “scanning” with a DSLR camera was the only way to efficiently get good quality digital images from film. I had a couple of DSLRs already and with a bit of investment on a light source, camera mounting solution, and software, I was in business. With this rig, I can scan about 300 images per hour. (More details in a future blog post.)
So while I think I am close with the capture side of this process, I’m not quite sure which way to go with storage and sharing of the resulting images. However, for my rally images, I will be sharing these on my website as part of the Roy Meuronen Photography Motorsport Classic Collection.
Now, the biggest disappointment for me is that many of my old photos are nowhere near the quality of the images I create and put up for sale today. In fact, back in the day, if I could get 4 or 5 “keepers” from a 36 shot roll of film, I was pretty happy. Nowadays, I am usually choosing between 4 or 5 (or more) sharp shots of each car on each stage. So each scanned photo up on the site is pretty much as it was shot. No cropping, just minor adjustments to get them looking as best as they can. I’m leaving out the really rubbish ones, but the other slightly blurry shots that are somewhat recognisable are still there.
In the spirit of sharing our motorsport history, low resolution images with a watermark will be available for people to download and share . Of course, full resolution versions will be available to purchase, because photographers should be rewarded for their work.
So for a start, check out the Motorsport Classic Collection galleries that are now up on the website at: https://roymeuronenphotography.com.au/classic
There will be more to come as I slowly make my way through my collection.