It was nice to have a week of no shoots to get caught up. The next assignment was Nov 10,11 at Buttonwillow raceway for the Super Lap Battle for Import tuner, super Street and Honda tuning. Super Lap Battle isn’t exactly a race in the traditional sense, its not wheel to wheel racing. The point of time attack is to get the single fastest lap time in your class (the best run of several heats throughout the day is your winning time). At the Super Lap Battle runs in different classes: Street, Limited and Unlimited. The other event was the Import tuner Evo vs sti challenge, this is a time attack but just for evos and Subaru sti’s.
Driving on I-5 to Buttonwillow
Since the the 10th was an early day I drove out on the 9th to spend the next couple nights at the luxurious motel 6. This is one of the worst hotels I stay in, the beds are like sleeping on a rock, the whole area smells like cow manure and there are flys everywhere. The front desk even provides guests with fly swatters.
Group shot of Evo/Sti competitors, well at least the ones that were still running, this year over half of the cars had mechanical problems.
One of the cars for Import Tuner
The evo Sti day was a little more work what the super lap battle. After a full day of shooting, my self and other photographer Luke Munnell had to shoot 8 vehicles as well as do a 8 car group driving shot around the track and an 8 car group shot. A lot to get done in a short time, being winter and it gets dark so early and the event ended at 3pm there was a lot to shoot in just a couple hours. Luckily I have done this type of shoot several times over the years so for me its no big deal.
Nov. 12 drove to Walnut Creek, Ca to attend my Tanta Tina’s funeral…that’s all I’m going to say about that.
The week of Nov 16 I had 3 shoots. First one was the 5 Zigan for an rsx photoshoot at their warehouse, for Import tuner. A simple shoot but one that had to be done quickly. My arrival time was 10am and had to finish by 1130 because the container was arriving to take the car back to Japan, plus the car could not be driven anywhere since it was a race car and the location was not the best especially at mid day. So the boring race car in the warehouse because we did not plan better to shoot it at the race track. Oh well it came out nice though
on the 19th went to kraftwerks in Ontario, Ca for an environmental portrait of Oscar Jackson and his son for Honda tuning.
Nov 20 for Import Tuner, had to shoot Alex Pfeifers drift car at Irwindale Raceway. Shoot was scheduled at noon but when I got there he was still applying the stickers to the car which took almost 2 hours to do. No big deal but there was deadline because there was a race scheduled for 3pm. I used my Dynalites with the external battery supply which gave me 100 watt seconds of power. Considering I had only 20 minutes including setup and teardown I was pretty happy with this shoot.
My next assignments were during Thanksgiving weekend for Heavy Hitters Magazine. My editor say we had to be at the location at 9am in West Hills on Thanksgiving Day. I told him that ill be there but had to leave by 1pm so I could get to my parents house in south Orange County. If this was any other mag I probably wouldn’t have worked on that day but Heavy Hitters always provides me with great content and the shoots are always a challenge more than the typical car feature. It was a fairly simple shoot we had to do group shots of the cars then shoot each individually and then shoot the house plus any detail shots that we saw. Oh did I mention that the cars were 3 Lamborghinis and an Enzo Ferrari. So pretty nice shoot
On November 27th I had another Heavy Hitters shoot this one was going to take place over 2 days in two locations. The subject was Prince Oliver from Germany. First we shot at his warehouse in Santa Monica where the bulk of his collection is stored. Upon arriving we were greated by the armed bodyguard who was pretty cool and fit the stereotype of every German badguy from a Bruce Willis film. Anyway at the warehouse I was surprised to see so many American cars I was expecting to see a stable of exotic European Cars. That day was a 5 hour shoot, I shot interview photos, the cars in the warehouse and photos of the prince along with his bodyguard with the Rolls…
On Monday November 30, was round 2 with Prince Oliver. This time we went to his house in Beverly Hills where finished the shoot. There we photographed the house, the other cars including a perfectly restored Gullwing Mercedes and a few setup photos of the Prince and his fiance.
Before we started working, the Prince invited us to breakfast. Since he is German, I was hoping for a meat fest with piles of sausages, etc. but what we got was a healthy breakfast, after the maid (dressed in a traditional maid uniform) served the food he said that there is no fat or cholesterol in the food, oh well…It was really good, just not what I was hoping for. The shoot went very well and I was very happy with the results. As usual it was a lot of work but it was worth it especially when I saw how it was layed out.
The article as it appeared in Heavy Hitters
Shoots for the rest of the year were nothing special. Since this time of the year there are not a lot of photoshoots I take a lot of time off plus I used several of my furlough days. After this year I needed a break but it will start again in January with 3 weeks in Japan for the Tokyo Auto Salon and feature shoots. Japan will be a separate posting
October 18 was the start of a 14 day trip, lots of flying, lots of driving and hopefully a few good shoots. This trip I was going to be shooting for Heavy Hitters, Honda Tuning, Truckin and Mini Truckin. The same day I flew into Dallas I had two shoots one for Honda Tuning and one for Mini-Truckin just east of Fort Worth, nothing too special about these shoots except the Honda was 2 hours late. Since my whole life is about being somewhere on time, that is one of my pet peeves is being late.
On Monday the 19th I had a car to shoot in Shreveport, LA, never been there so kinda looking forward to it. I had a 3 hour drive from Dallas but it ended up taking 4.5 hours since I was so tired I pulled over a couple times to take a nap. Since I had never been to Shreveport and the car I was shooting was coming from Baton Rouge I had to figure out a meeting place. To do this I used Google Earth, a really great tool, I have used this for a long time now to scout locations for areas I have never been. The area was perfect, lots of decaying buildings all within a mile of each other.
The car on the other hand was pretty lame, it had all these high performance goodies, was as low as it could go but it does not drive, have never been driven…whats the point but it had a graffiti painted engine bay. What I didn’t realize when I picked the location was that there was a homeless shelter across the street and as the end of the day approached it opened up and the dregs of Shreveport started making they way past us all asking for money and eyeballing all this expensive camera equipment. I finished as fast as possible then had an hour drive to my hotel. I would have liked to stay in Shreveport but the next day I had a 6 hour drive and wanted to lessen the drive as much as possible.
Oct. 20 drove from my hotel forget the name of the little dot on the map to Conroe, TX just north of Houston. I drove diagonally across the state. Since there wasn’t any real easy way to get there I mean no interstates I programmed the address in my Blackberry and it gave me a route that I was sure would get me lost. The whole trip would be on 2 lane Farm roads. Driving through the center Texas…wow this is a huge state with a whole lot of nothing. After leaving my hotel I just wanted to get going so I figured I would get a few miles on me then get some coffee, big mistake after I left my hotel there was not a single place to get coffee until Houston 5 hours away.
After settling in my hotel for a bit my shoot for that day was a 3 axle mini-truck for mini truckin, it was interesting, not my taste but I’m sure someone likes it.
Houston does have some great food especially bbq, one of my favorites is Goode Company. You know this is going to be good before you even taste the food. All the signs of good bbq are there, piles of wood surround the building, there is a separate smokehouse with a steady stream of smoke coming out of the smoke stack, dining is simple just long picnic tables but most important is that you can smell the smoking meats long before you get there.
My shoots on Oct 21 for Truckin and Oct 22 were canceled due to rain so instead of staying in Houston I went back to Dallas.
My shoots for Truckin’ Magazine on Oct 21 were canceled due to rain. Instead of staying in Houston I went back to Dallas at least I would be closer to the airport and would be able to go to dinner with some friends. The drive to Dallas took longer than usual due to the rain.
The view of the drive-through from my hotel.
When arriving in Dallas, I called a friend of mine who owns Jack’s clothing in Flower Mound, TX. She needed some photos of her store so I did some interior photos and some pics with her and her dogs. After all her shop is named after her dog Jack. It was an easy shoot mostly available light with some simple lighting when people were involved. It was really nice to see someone who I haven’t seen in a few years.
On the 23 I was able to photograph another friend who I had been trying to photograph for quite a while but for one reason or another we haven’t been able to meet. We did the shoot at Kat Tattoo, we were supposed to meet around noon but due to her makeup artist canceling at the last-minute we couldn’t shoot till later in the evening. I was worried that we wouldn’t have the time to do the types of images that we both wanted.
While waiting for Katrina to get made up this guy walks in that had some unique tattoos and just a great look that I wanted to photograph. Luckily he was interested to shoot. I did a quick setup with a single speedlight inside the lastolite box and a single sunpak 120j as a rim light. I was very happy with the results for this 10 minute shoot.
Once Katina was finished with hair and makeup we started to shoot, she was amazing, I think we got several really good shots at this location and was very happy but we had to leave and move to my hotel. Katrina recommend that I stay at NYLO it’s a really cool hip boutique hotel in Plano. The room was really good to use a photo location since it doesn’t look like the typical hotel room. We shot there for a couple more hours and once again got some more really good images