February is usually one of the slowest months of the year for me which is nice to have some downtime, but by the end of the month, I start to get cabin feverand cant wait to start traveling and getting busy with shoots.
Early in the month I headed over to Tein for Import Tuner for a two car feature and cover shoot.. I got there a bit early and decided to drive around my hometown a bit. I was sad to see how rundown things have gotton over the years, it’s a shame because it used to be a really nice city, but how the traffic is horrible and the business center is slowly decaying.
On the 23rd I had a cover shoot shoot for RV magazine, we took a truck and trailer to the cajon pass and did a lot of car to car photos, a fairly easy shoot to do and the cover came out nice
February 26th shoot was at the former el toro marine air station for truckin magazine. This was a testing day where they had six trucks doing slalom and braking. They took baseline numbers and then did some modifications and reran the tests. It was a bit of a long day, mostly what I had to shoot was the behind the scenes photos and action photos on the track.. There was also a feature to shoot at the end of the day.
Since I have a lot of photos and text I am going to break this post in two sections . I’m now back in Japan for 3 weeks for work and one week for vacation. Yesterdays flight was brutal, the flight itself was good, but was unable to sleep because the person sitting next to me was passed out for the entire flight and snored the entire way even overpowering my ipod.
This will be my 14th time to Japan, but I’m almost bored with Japan now, Tokyo been there done that. If I go again for vacation, I’m going to attempt to pack lite and see more of the country aside from the bid cities. I already have a 10 day trip planned, where I’ll go to see some of the World Heritage Sites, Onsens, basically more of country that’s not a big city. When I travel for fun I’m not really a be on a schedule person but this next personal trip I’m going to plan it well to get the maximum time to get images I want that I haven’t been getting in the past few trips. There are also a few photo stories I want to do. I’ll leave it at that, don’t want to give out my ideas but it has nothing to do with cars.
I arrived in Japan 3 days before my main assignment the Tokyo Auto Salon. Since I was shooting it for 4 magazines I had to try and shoot everything to give my editors as much variety as one can get from a trade show. Anyway, first couple days just had to get situated and get my sleeping pattern to Japan time.
First couple days I stayed at the Conrad in Shiodome, I like Shiodome, since its mostly office buildings Shiodome is quite a contrast to the rest of Tokyo. There are very few people in the stations and even just walking around
Oedo line at the Shiodome station. Its always this empty even at rush hour
The Breakfast bar at the Conrad, the food is great, amazing view and its quiet
On Jan 15 was the press/vip day, well not really a day it was from 8-1. Then they let the hoards of unwashed masses in. So I try to get as much of the show covered as possible before 1, then spend the next 4 hours getting whatever I could. As the models come out the crowds get insane, the problems that the pervs will clog up an aisle with dozens of people taking photos of the models. The way they react to the models one would think these Japanese guys have never seen a woman before.
press registration for Tokyo Auto Salon
Tokyo Auto Salon
One of the aisles, they get even more crowded when there are some models
It amazes me each time I go to the Auto Salon how many of these creepy “photos” are lurking around the models taking dozens of photos. its like they all have just seen their first woman.
After TAS I was scheduled for the next 4 days to shoot for Super Street, but they didn’t have any shoots for me, so I was basically on call, not really able to plan or do anything as I was waiting for the editor to assign me something. So when I didn’t get an assignment I would just do some sightseeing. Still don’t understand it, oh well…
The Tokyo subway/train map. First time I saw this I was thinking WTF
Edo Museum, this place was interesting. I want to go back and spend more time there
At the exit of every train station there is a local map with major destinations indicated. These are very helpful as long as you have the name of where you want to go.
Salarymen, slurping ramen in Shinagawa
Amazing cheap sushi, Midoria in Shibuya, near the train station there is always a line unless you go to eat at off hours
On Friday the 22nd I met my translator for next two days, Kenta from at Ueno station. First we took the Shinkansen to Boss Auto Produce in Nagano to shoot two cars, it was pretty easy but not very creative as we were limited for a location. After the Boss shoot we went took a couple more Shinkansens about two hours worth to Niigata. By the time we got to the hotel near the station it was already getting late so we went to get some food. by the time we left the Itza kaya it had been snowing and there was several inches on the ground. I know what those of you will say who have to deal with snow yearly, but Im from California where we don’t get too much of the white stuff. So we walked around for a bit then back to the hotel.
On the 23rd we had a photo-shoot to SS Works in Niigata. this was a pretty important car as it holds several records. Since it had snowed about 6 inches the night before. I already knew I was going to have to shoot this inside, in Japan that can be a challenge since most shops are very small. Luckily this one was pretty big but narrow and very cluttered at the same time. I had my lights with me, so I could light the car and underexpose the background letting it go black. All in all I’m happy with the results. One thing I hate about shooting in Japan in the Winter is that with all the extra layers of clothes, shoots take longer
After the shoot at SS Works the owner took us to a fantastic Ramen shop where I had some very spicy ramen, perfect food for a snowy day
Part 2 of the Japan trip to come in a couple days
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
Off again for another assignment, destination Seattle for Super Street, and Import Tuner magazines. Two assignments this trip two models and cover Formula D and shoot a feature car.
The drifting is pretty straight forward just basic camera gear in a Domke bag. The car feature on the other hand is a little more complicated. I need to bring gear to light the car and my camera rigging. for the model its pretty simple just going to use the sunpak 120j’s in an umbrella with rim lights. Once everything is packed it all weighs in around 200 pounds. ill post a couple samples as they come.