The month started off with a quick trip to vegas for Honda Tuning for an s2k photoshoot. I used my location outside of sloan, A fairly simple shoot spent more time driving than the shoot took. I did car to car for the action, over the past few years Ive done so many rig shots im sick of them so Im doing more standard action.
The next couple of weeks I had a few shoots that were nothing memorable. On the 18th I had European Car shoot that was a real pain in the ass to schedule. The car was a highly modified Lotus with a carbon fiber body supercharged/turbocharged engine. Based on what my editor wanted I decided I wanted to shoot this on Glen Mountain Road the all the owner did was whine about having to drive his car 60 miles, whine about dirt on the road etc etc. Even the day we schedule the shoot at the last minute he decided that he didn’t want to go. So I made the drive to calabasis. One thing I really hate about what I do is dealing with self important self absorbed douchbags who think their car is the most important thing on the planet. Give me a break its just a car. Well we went to the location that he wanted to shoot and of course it was not that great, I really didn’t care after dealing with him for 3 weeks of canceling shoots all I wanted to do was get this finished. It came out OK but if we would have gone to the location I wanted it wound have been a lot better
The 20th I had to cover the Remix car show for heavy hitters, it was fairly easy because all I had to do was shoot the exotics.
22nd team menace mitsubishi shoot in LA
23rd lowrider girls photoshoot
24th Super street model shoot at Gearheinz
26th Super Street model shoot at DME
27th Heavy hitters bmw show at Oakley
29th Honda tuning in la
30th lowrider girls in la
Here is part 2 of the Japan trip. My next assignment was for Honda Tuning Magazine at J’s Racing in Osaka, Japan. I would not need a translator for this as they have someone at their office who speaks English. One of the things I hate about photographing cars in Japan is that 9 out of 10 times you have to shoot the literally where it sits, they don’t move it or want to take it anywhere, so many times you have these great cars in lame locations and this shoot was no different. It sat in the service bay and it did not move just shot it where is was parked
This was a pretty quick shoot and I was back on the Shinkansen bound for Tokyo by 3pm so at least I got back at a decent hour. Before I got on the train had some soba and tempura.
For the last 14 days I was staying at Tokyu Stay in Shibuya, nice business hotel, quiet the one nice thing was that there was a washer and dryer in the room so I didn’t have to bring so many clothes. The one thing that sucked was that each day there was at least a 15 minute walk to the main part of shibuya.
On the 27th it was time to change hotels, I used some points to stay at the Hilton, ah it was nice, big room comfortable bed, executive lounge access for breakfast. This was supposed to be the start of a week vacation but my editors had different plans. I had planned to spend 5 days going through my list of things to do but I had to work 3 of those days.
So a couple of days before I moved into my nice hotel I was told that I had a few more shoots. So myself and my translator Kenta took the Shinkansen down to Nagoya
When we were in Nagoya we transferred on a couple more trains and ended up in the sticks at a shop named common snapper.
By the time we got to the shop it was 3pm and we had 3 cars to shoot and it gets dark at 5pm. Nothing too memorable about these shoots, just wanted to work through them and get back to the hotel.
We stayed the night in Nagoya as the next day we had an NSX to shoot at Esprit in Suzuka, Japan. this was a very nice place, lots of highly tuned vehicles there along with a huge nice showroom.
This was a really nice car just with I could have taken it to a better location. That is one of the hardest things about doing photo-shoots in Japan are the limitations. Before I even went to Japan for my first time, I saw Wes Allisons photos in Super Street and always wondered why his choice of locations were so bad when he was in a country with such diverse locations. On my first photo-shoot at a company in Japan I quickly learned why. The shops we visit won’t go anywhere and in some cases want the car shot literally where it sits, also the time of day usually isn’t optimal for great photos. So I do the best I can with the locations given to me.
About halfway through the shoot my translator Kenta told me that the Shinkansens were not running due to a problem on the tracks. Since we were not due to catch a train for another 3 hours we were hoping it would be resolved by then. Wishful thinking on our part. Once we got to Nagoya we found out that nothing was running, the train guys thought maybe in another couple of hours. We talked about it and came to the conclusion that when the trains do start they will be packed for a few hours to work through the backlog of stranded passengers. So we went to an itsakaya to kill time.
Once on the train we were making good time but that soon ended as we approached Yokohama station. We stopped for a while before getting to the station, because the trains ahead of us had to unload. Once at the station we were stuck there for 45 minutes for the same reason. After finally getting underway we had the same issues once we approached Shinagawa station, they told us that there were 5 trains ahead of us, a little before midnight we finally got to the Shinagawa station. I was so done with trains and hauling my gear around that I opted to take a taxi to my hotel at the Hilton in Shinjuku
After the Nagoya trip I was really hoping to get at least three uninterrupted days to see some sites Ive been wanting to see. Well that all ended when I got an email from my editor at Super Street Magazine. They wanted me to go down to Fuji Speedway to cover the HKS Premium Day. As usual was only given partial information and a contact name. One thing I did know was that the event started pretty early in the morning so I had to spend the night near the track. Once again I was to leave my comfortable surroundings at the Hilton and stay in a business hotel. I spent most of the morning figuring out how I was going to get down to where Fuji speedway was, getting a hotel and packing minimal clothing and gear for a one day trip.
Here is the plan, get bus ticket, dinner, get on bus where no one speaks English, hopefully get off at the correct stop, check in to hotel, wake up around 6am, take taxi (30 minute ride) to Fuji Speedway, attempt to get credentials from media person who doesn’t speak english and I don’t speak Japanese, walk uphill about a mile to the track pulling 30 pounds of gear, luckily get pickup by someone who recognized me, shoot event, walk about 10 miles of stairs, walk back down hill, return media vest, have the office people get me a cab which they did not want to do but realized that the only way they are going to get this gaijin out of their office is to get a taxi, get to train station, get ticket get on train and relax for the next hour and a half having a few pints of Sapporo while on my way to Tokyo. That in a nutshell was the Fuji trip.
The next day and a half were spent in Tokyo just taking it easy which I really needed then back home on Feb 2. On my last night in Tokyo We had Sh it was cold enough to snow, while this is no big deal for those live in show areas it is for me and was interesting giving the city a different feel with a few inches of snow.
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
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