Stepping back in time

Many years ago, in a time before the internet, political correctness, social media and video games, when the only things an 8 year old kid needed to worry about was what mum would say when you swipe pegs from the clothes line to attach cardboard to the bike to strike across the spokes and your left shoe is worn out from jamming it between the back wheel and frame to stop in a hurry. A time when your imagination meant building stuff with your hands, getting cuts and bruises and hitting your thumb with the hammer. In this time of playing outside till the lights came on, building forts and climbing trees, this young boy like so many had a collection of dinky cars.

A few years later, this boy has been taught to make plastic model boats and planes. His ceiling was adorned with B52’s, Spitfires, and Catalina’s flying above his bed. Any flat surface had war ships of every size and style. Then one day, he received an AMT Vantom Ford Econoline Custom Van kit. This was the start of something new. The planes came crashing to the floor, the ships sank beneath the carpet, the boy had discovered what’s in the box does not mean you have to follow rules and instructions and came with options for the build. Soon more car kits arrived, engines were swapped, then came the big rims and tyres. Suspensions cut down and roofs lowered. The boy soon found himself buying kits to pillage parts from to make new models.

As time went on, the boy finished school and got a job and realised the brush paint jobs weren’t cutting it anymore, he spent 3 weeks wages on an air brush to give his models a new finish. Now this airbrush could be used from a spare tyre from a car to supply the air. Hmmm, Dad won’t notice, so out it came from dad’s boot, and the spraying began. All was fine till one day dad got a flat tyre and went to put on the spare, the flat spare. OOOOPS!!!!!

A year or two later, the boy buys his first real car, flushed with cash from his first year apprentice wage, The models give way to the real car. The desire to make changes ever increased. The disease spreads and half a lifetime later, the boy is a man, and even though no longer playing with cars, the disease is still there, hidden in the deepest depths.

There’s an old saying, You can take the boy out of the car, but you can’t take the car out of the boy.

Today, this man headed off to the Perth Model Car Sunday. A pilgrimage he has not done in over a decade. After years of seeing the model car group at the annual Hot Rod Show, the time had come to see where how scene had changed over those years.


Walking into the room, the man is taken back to a time when Friday night was model night and the cutting and filing plastic to make things fit. Today, things haven’t changed, boys of all ages display their creations. From small to large. Each piece an insight into that persons mind.


While cheaper and smaller than a real car, the thinking and attention to detail is just as impressive. 100’s of hours are spent making the finite details perfect. Much of the time while looking through a magnifying glass at parts held in place with tweezers and medical forceps.

For this man, having worked in the model car industry for over 18 odd years, the introduction of scale diecast replicas has taken the the hobby from plastic to metal, making the customising a lot more intensive with the introduction of mini metal grinders and cutters like the Dremmel. With manufactures making a myriad of components in a variety of models in all different scales that could be swapped to make something new and impressive.


Walking up and down the isles, the variety and quality was impressive. More and more metal models adorned the tables. then getting to the end of the first isle, my mind was blown away as I ogled over a display of a barn find 1930’s Mercedes, complete with torn rag top and seats, rusted panels. The detail on this model was overwhelming. The model looked so realistic, I had a hard time deciding whether it was plastic or actual metal that had been naturally rusted. (It was plastic). It was truly amazing until I moved to the next table where a Rolls Royce Phantom II sat.


It looked just like something you would find in the bush behind a farm yard barn. Model makers have taken customisation to a new level. It’s ironic that for so many years, this man in his boyhood years spent so many hours building cars I envisioned in my mind, is blown away by a model that has been scavenged by time and weather by someone in their home to finish with a model that is truly outstanding. Unfortunately the photos really don’t give it justice but I’ll try (I wish I had taken the big camera now).

After having my mind blown by the rust display, the dioramas where next on the agenda. I always had fun creating workshops for the models. It’s one thing to build a model, but adding it to a diorama brings it all to life.


Again, I was blown away. The attention to detail in the buildings was outstanding and the themes and flow of the stories were perfect.

The rest of the show contained stalls, 1/4 scale speedway cars and a large RC track with trucks of all sizes including road trains and construction equipment. Although not my taste, was interesting to watch the control of the trucks and equipment.


After a couple of hours, I had been taken back to a time I had all but forgotten. A time when I dabble in a hobby that allowed me to express myself with the cars and dioramas I made. It was good to see that people still have the passion to spend hours creating something in ways the manufacturer didn’t envision. Has the show stirred something inside, maybe a little, but not to start up the hobby again, but it was good to travel back to a simpler time of less expectations and give me hope for my future project.

And for the record, modeling is not just a kids hobby. :)

Below are some images of the models that stood out for me. There were many many more. Hope you enjoy.

"Apps" For photogs

Every so often I come across an App that make my life a little easier for taking photos. Whether it's taking photos on the phone, DSLR or old film SLR's, these apps help me decide when and where and sometimes how.

Recently I have been asked about some of these Apps, so here is a comprehensive list of all the Apps I use. (I have many that I don't use, either because they only do one thing or one of these others do it better.)

Because I am an Iphone user, some of these Apps are only availble for IOS, but where they are for both IOS and Androind, I have linked to the website so you can choose the correct one.

Weather Apps

I use a few different weather Apps. It's always good to double check, especially if you are heading into the water for shots. Forget about the BOM App, or Weather Channel App or whatever your phone has as a default, they wont tell you much.
My goto every day Weather App, is a free one. It's from and is also available in the web. "Windy" is a very comprehensive weather program which includes rain, clouds, lightning, wind, and even swell and wind waves, water temp and the list goes on. If you create a free account, you can save your favourite reports and where ever you are logged in on , phone tablet or computer, it will show the same reports. Windy can forecast up to 10 days in advance and you can see whats happening worldwide. It makes planning day or weekend photo trips a breeze.

Accuracy - Very good


The Next weather app I use is also called WINDY, but this one is more water sports orientated with wind, waves, and tides. I use this as my secondary check. Once again it has a 10 day forecast with a pro version that is a Pay Upgrade.

Accuracy - good


Both these apps, DON'T use BOM data for their forecast, but draw their data from international ECMWF and Global Forecasting System.

The third weather app I use for day to day temps and quick checks is Weatherzone. A good all round App, but doesn't have much for water people.


For quick tide checks I use TIdesAU App. Its a simple app that does what it's name says. Gives you all the info on tides, times for sunrise, sunset, twilight, phases of the moon, all on one page and you can put in any location in Aus and get the info for that location.
This is a great little app, especially if you are planning on getting reflections from the incoming tide of the sunrise etc.

Sun and Moon Apps

The next few Apps are a photographers necessity. Knowing where the sun and mood rises and falls, times etc are so important. Especially if you are trying to capture a particular shoot and you need to know what the sun is doing.

First up, Golden Hour One. This is a paid App, but so worth the money. It will give you the Golden and blue hour times for bother Sunrise and Sunset for any day ion the calendar, it will also give you the Rise and setting times and allow you to set reminders for this times so you don't miss them. It will also show on a map your precise location and the direction of the sun and moon course as well as Blue and Golden hours.
The weather tab show Sky, Light and Moon indexes. The sky index lets you know if its too overcast to get a good sunrise or if its perfect for a sunset,Hour powerful golden hour will be and whether the moon will be present or hidden behind clouds. Its simple to use and all the information is easy to find.


PhotoPills is the photographers swiss army knife. Apart from information on Sunrise and set times, etc, direction of the sun and moon, moon phases, it also has DoF table and calculators, Exposure Calculators, Hyperfocal tables, Start trail calcs, time lapse and so much more. This app is a must for photographers. There is so much information in it. For me, a little too much in it. When I'm looking for quick Sunset and rise times etc, I check out Golden hour first for its ease of use and reading on the fly. For in depth checking, I use PhotoPills.


If you don't have either on your phone, I suggest you download them now.

If you are looking for a quick location sun direction app, you cant go past  It does exactly what it the title says. It will calculate the sun and moon direction for your current location. You can search for specific locations and it has basic times for sunrise and sunset


One last one I don't use as much anymore, but when I had planned shoots during the day and wanted to know the suns location, I would use BestPhotoTimes App. What this App allows you to do is simulate the position of the sun or moon at any given time of day or night with the use of a simple slider. This app I used a lot when i was doing weddings or portraits and I couldn't pick the time of day to shoot. It enables you to at least know where the light would be coming from.

Photography Apps

Now we get down to the nitty gritty. Photography Apps. Each has it's purpose, some are proprietary to specific brands, others are universal.
Rather than show each one, I will briefly describe them and list them in order of My preference.

Film Photography
Film photography is not something you would think would need Apps, but unlike digital photos that have all the settings used embedded in the Exif data of each digital print, film doesn't have that ability. I still have little notebooks from my film days with ISO, Shutter, Aperture, lens settings for each roll I shot.  Now that I am getting back into film again, I needed an App that would replace notepads. I found one in PhotoExif. A paid app that you can record everything about each frame of a roll you use, and if you have the rolls scanned into digital images, it can also embed that information into each relevant image also. A must for film togs in this digital age.

If you develop your own films, this App is a must, The Massive Dev Chart. Punch in the type of film you are developing, the developer type and it will give you the mix ration, develop, fix and wash times. It has a timer for each stage and also has the ability to go darkroom light with green or red output so you can using it in the darkroom.

ND Filters
Theres a few ND filter calculators out there. Most of the time I do it by feel and experience. But there are times when i need a helping hand. I have three on my phone. Two from the two major filer manufactures and one from an independent developer that works with all brands of filters. All have an exposure calculator and timer and all do pretty much the same job.

Nisi Filters
Lee Filters  (go to bottom of page)
NDTimer  (Paid app)

Startrails/Astro, Timelapse and anything useful
This is where I put the rest of my apps. Each has its purpose. I have already mentioned PhotoPills previously. This app is at the top of my list for anything not already mentioned. The amount of tools included in this App are amazing. Including Startrails, Timelapse, Long exposure  and the list goes on.

Another Star trails/Astro app I use quite a bit is Dark Skies. ( Android version) This little app is great for setting a basis of Star photography. Select the camera, the focal length and it will give you the maximum time to ope your shutter to capture those sharp star images without motion.

two other useful Apps that get used regularly on my phone are

Light Meter App. It will give you the White Balance and shutter for any lights source you have. A great little app for fixing those pesky funny coloured lights.

And the final App I will list is TROVER. Trover allows you to search any location and find places of interest including food and drink, outdoor interests, arts and entertainment. Users can upload photos etc of their locations and its a great source for photographers to find interesting places to shoot.

That's about it. I have approx 50 apps for photography, editing, weather, travel etc on my phone, most don't get used or only get used rarely, but they may have a purpose one day. The best of the bunch have been listed here. these I use on a regular basis. Hopefully they will be of use to you all. Sorry for the android users if some apps aren't available, however, I have seen some awesome Android apps I will were available on IOS.
Anyway, happy shooting everyone