April was a fairly busy month which I like, a little downtime is nice but i prefer to have a hectic busy shooting schedule.
4-6 This shoot was a departure for me, it was a food shoot for Heavy Hitters Magazine, they were profiling Ajos Y Cebolla located at 1648 Tyler Ave Ste D, South El Monte, CA 91733 (626) 279-6511. If you want to Get some amazing mexican food that is not your typical try it out, but come hungry as the portions are huge. After the shoot I didn’t eat the entire next day. It was nice though to shoot something different from cars. It was a lot of work, the shoot lasted about 5 hours but I was fairly happy with the results considering I’ve never shot food before.
4-9/10 The season opener for Formula D professional drifting series was held on a portion of the Long Beach Grand Prix circuit in Long Beach, CA. This is a challenging event to cover since it is a temporary circuit there is fencing on both sides of the track with some holes cut in the fencing for photographers. Jon from the idagency always does a great job in cutting a lot of holes to make our jobs easier. One nice thing about this event is that the pits are close to the track so I don’t have to walk all over the place. The first event of the season is always nice in that you get to see people you haven’t seen for a while. I was happy when I saw Nick the Motorsports Manager for Falken tires and he gave me the VIP pass for the 2010 season. Falken has a great hospitality area for the team, dealers and friends of Falken where they provide drinks and food and a place to get out of the sun. This is very much appreciated especially at the events where it is hot and I don’t have to wait in line to get drinks and food.
April 19 This was a shoot for Lowrider Girls Magazine, the location was a barber shop in South Central LA, I’ll be honest when driving through the hood I was a little nervous, but luckily the shop was not in the bad area. I love shooting for Lowrider girls because the Editor, Tanisha is always on scene so we can work together to get the best images possible. also the makeup artist Kim is great. This shoot was two parts indoor and outdoor with a lowrider. The first part went fairly quick and easy inside the shop. For the second half we had a lowrider, I was wondering where we were going to park the car but she shop owner said that parking it on the sidewalk is ok. I was a bit hesitant because try that anywhere else but south central and you’ll be getting hassled for permits and the police for parking a car on the sidewalk, but no problems and the shoot was finished with good results.
4-23 This day was for mini Mini-Truckin. I was shooting in a studio that they use. The truck was really nice kinda a late 50’s early 60’s scallop paint scheme. It was for a cover and feature and we were using a model that I photographed before Helen Fancik, she is a pleasure to work with and I got some really good images that day.
4-27 RV magazine cover shoot
The early part of October was pretty quiet, just a few local shoots and getting content to my editors. The later part of the month was another story swamped from October 16 to November 2.
October 16 and 17 was the final round of the 2009 Formula D season at Irwindale Raceway. I always look forward to this event number one its close to my house and its a track that I always get some of my best drifting images. I always like to get to the track early, its easier to park, most of the security isn’t in place yet so you don’t have a bunch of douches in yellow jackets saying where you can or cannot go. I get there at my usual time when the participant gates open around 8am to find out that the first practice isn’t until 2pm, and since it starts so late virtually no one is there. so I went to the Scion trailer where I knew Chris Harrington would be, he drives the truck and does all of Scions photography at the events. Pretty much hung out there for a couple hours till it was time to go to work For most of the day nothing too eventful just shooting the normal drifting and pit photos.
Around 5pm I got myself into a good position to shoot some late afternoon opposite lock drift pan photos. its a nice shot.
Unlike the newby wanna be photographers I rarely look at the back of my camera to see what I got, Im more concerned with what is going on at the track. After a couple frames my camera made a couple strange sounds so I checked the back and this is what I saw. I took a couple more frames and then the camera locked up. Below is when i first noticed there was a problem.
Normally not a big deal, but in two days I was going on a 14 day trip and had a lot of shoots to do. After slightly panicking I emailed two of my supervisors telling them about what happened and about the pending trip. I told them we could do 1 of 3 things 1st I cancel my trip, 2nd we rent a camera which for that length of time would be about $2k or buy a camera. Well the two later suggestions were out of the question as they would not approve that kind of expense. On Sunday when I finally reached my other boss he told me that there was a spare camera from the recent layoffs and he would get it for me that afternoon…that made my day alth0ugh I missed the final round of the Formula D event. But at least I was ready for my next 14 days on the road. First stop Texas
As I said in an ealier post, I took a 3 month break from this journal just because I was too busy and could not find the time to update this blog. So since my last travel blog was I’m going to update this with 3 different posts each highlighting each month. Let try to see how much I can remember…which is the main reason I decided to start this.
August 6-10 Assignment was to go to Seattle and photograph an Mitsubishi Evo for Import Tuner magazine, photograph Formula D for both Import Tuner and Super Street and then some models for Super Street. For once I was prepared to travel to the Pacific Northwest buy bringing cold weather gear even though it was summer. Aside from the cold weather Seattle is one of my favorite cities, for most part its clean, has great food and as far as cities go it is very scenic. One of the best things about being in the Northwest during Summer are the variety of fresh berries that are available all over the place and they are very inexpensive.
Formula D is always a good experience to shoot, mainly it is a chance to see friends and colleagues that I normally don’t get to see. As always the hospitality at the Falken VIP area is great and I finally got to try Chris Harrington’s chili at the Scion team trailer.
Sunday was nice, no shoots. So I got a chance to visit a good friend of mine who lives on Bainbridge Island. Had to take a half hour Ferry ride there which is nice in itself, get to relax and enjoy the scenery. It was also nice to spend an afternoon with long time friends and have a home cooked meal.
Due to a lack of planning of one of my editors, I flew home on Monday the 10th then had to go to Vancouver for 4 days on the 16th. Nothing special to report from the Vancouver trip.
I was home for about 4 days then I went back to Canada for about 13 days, but before i could leave there were a couple of photoshoots for mini-truckin and up to Camarillo to shoot Neuspeeds Audi TT. I have been shooting Neuspeed cars since 1989 and its always good to see Aaron.
On August 26th went to Toronto, Canada for 6 days, its been over 9 years since I went there and was looking forward to the trip. Assignment for this trip were for Honda Tuning Magazine and Import Tuner and included 2 EK hatches, 2 DC-2’s and a Honda S2000.
The hotel I found was right in the heart of downtown Toronto at the Toronto Hilton, since it was in the financial district the rates for the weekend were only $80 per night so it was nice to stay in a nice hotel.
Here is a view from my room
There was an Irish pub in the building next to my hotel and it had one of the best breakfasts I’ve had.
One of the most difficult parts about my job is finding locations to photograph the cars I’m assigned to shoot. It seems simple enough but since we don’t pull photography permits we have to be creative and find something that #1 the chances of getting kicked out are slim #2 is a location suitable for the publication. So my subjects had someone who take me around to find a place, nothing worked, we drove around till sunset so couldn’t shoot that day. I hate wasting time when I travel and that day was a waste of time. The location we ended up finding at sunset was a great place. It is an old airforce base that is now being redeveloped for commercial uses. Wish they would have brought me there in the first place, lots of old buildings, vast expanse of concrete. Security guards that didn’t care that we were there. I shot all my cars at that location each with a different look.
Here are two of the Cars I photographed for Honda Tuning
That was about it for Toronto, didn’t get a chance to do much aside from work in the room, each day was editing and trying to keep up with work.
Next stop Winnipeg and Calgary
A couple months ago while shooting the Formula D finals in Irwindale, Ca my Canon 1d Mark IIn started to make some strange noises each time I fired the shutter. I shot a couple images and looked at the screen and noticed this diagonal black bar going across the frame. all I could think of was great not again, see this isn’t the first time the shutter has failed on this camera. It has happened 2 other times and both well under the 250k that Canon says they say they should last. Each time this has been repaired, Canon has not charged for completely replacing the shutter…I guess this is a known issue with these cameras.
This is supposed to be a fairly easy trip. Originally just going to Las Vegas, NV to photograph Formula D qualifying on Friday and the top 32 event the Saturday then go home. Two days before I was supposed to leave, I get a call from my Editor at Super Street Magazine asking me if I can “squeeze in” one more shoot on Thursday afternoon, Miss Formula D Miki Taka at the track then shoot a blackjack tournament that night.
Now instead of traveling lite with just my basic gear and a Canon 300 2.8 that I rented from Calumet. I now had to photograph Miki Taka Miss Formula D to shoot outdoors at a racetrack with no power and not clear plan on how and where I was going to photograph her. Now I have to bring a lot of gear because i’m not sure of the situation I will be shooting. I would have liked to shoot her on the racing circuit but the only problem was that practice was going to start around the same time I was supposed to start shooting. What to do.
With my job you can do all the planning and thought into a shoot but most of the time its go to plan B and improvise. So i saw their starting lights and decided to go to a clear area of the parking lot and setup the light, then talked to my good friend Jonathan at Falken Tires to help me get one of their sponsored cars to use in the background which was a challenge since there was practice going on, but luckily it didn’t take too much convincing once they realized a model would be in front of their car.
Once Miki arrived we didn’t have much time to shoot because the light was going away fast. She was wonderful to work with even though it was over 100 degrees and the wind was blowing Miki had a great attitude and great personality. I hope i get a chance to work with her again when we have more time to shoot. Anyway all the images came out great and the editor loved them.
Friday and Saturday were qualifying and race day. The event started later in the afternoon but it was still over 100 degrees both days. For me Friday was a pretty miserable day. I woke up at 6 am really sick, i won’t go into the details but it was a rough day. Once thing about being a photographer, you just have to work through those situations and get the job done. My editor can’t fill pages with excuses. I just moved a bit slower shot all day till about 11pm then I had it and went back to the room at the luxurious Hampton Inn to rest for the next day. Practice was like any other except insanely hot and it is worse carrying around 30 pounds of camera gear the whole day. I am just thankful the media center and Falken were there with cold drinks.
During the practice Vaughn Gitten driving the Ford Mustang hit the wall and ripped off the front suspension and wheel from the car. The caliper and strut were still attached to the HRE wheel. A couple hours later when I went to the Falken pit, I was amazed that the car was put back together and ready for qualifying. That took an amazing amount of effort to get it back together.
A big thank you goes to Nick at Falken Motorsports, for giving me a VIP pass to their hospitality area. This is always a great place to get out of the sun, sit get something to drink and get lunch and dinner and see colleagues and friends. I was surprised to see Mike Kojima wearing Falken colors, I guess he is helping with some of their chassis tuning.
Saturday, felt a lot better. Just took it easy in the room getting caught up on work. I have been shooting so much lately haven’t had time to edit. The event was the same, cars going sideways, choking tire smoke and heat. In the end Tanner Foust took top honors in the twin drifting competition and won the Formula D Las Vegas.
This is the first time that a Scion has taken the First Place trophy at Formula D. Even though they had to do an engine change replacing their E85 powered engine which would have been more favorable for the Nevada heat with the gas powered engine. Tanner’s skill and the entire Rockstar Scion TC team battled the heat to get this win. Another big thank you goes out to Fred Chang, and Chris Harrington everytime i walked by the RSR/Scion Racing trailer there was always a cold drink and a chance to sit in the air conditioning and get off my feet. ALWAYS appreciated