2010 came and went. It was a year full of self-exploration and growth for myself. I turned the big 30 and decided it was time to set new goals. One of those goals was to explore photography more seriously, which eventually lead to starting this personal blog. Towards the end of 2009 I finally made the switch from PC to MAC and picked up my Canon 7D and haven’t looked back since.
This particular blog post was inspired by my friends at Speedhunters.com as they have just completed some amazing entries of automotive and motorsports photography highlights from the year.
I have selected 50 photos from the year that has had some impact on me either as a shot that I feel is good and has shown a progression in my photography or simply brought me down memory lane. This post took about 3 weeks off and on to complete, but here it is finally. I’m now ready to look towards the future and a successful 2011.
The New Year kicked-off in Downtown Long Beach for the annual Red Bull No Limits event. I am fortunate to have worked with Red Bull in the past and was able to gain some VIP passes. I witnessed Travis Pastrana jump his Subaru off a pier and over 270 feet of ocean onto a floating barge. This was a great way to kick-off the new year amongst close friends.
Not quite 2010, but this was my first studio experience with my good friend and photography mentor DC Chavez. He was filming a video for Hyundai showcasing race car driver Rhys Millen’s Hyundai Genesis Coupe aka the RM460 and featured a lovely model. The concept cleverly connected the beauty between vehicle and female counter-part. Check it out HERE. I was able to shoot around his set-up of both the car and model and worked with the lighting he created to capture some shots that truly showcased to me the value of quality lighting.
One resolution I made for 2010 was to spend less of my time at nightclubs. Many of my friends are club promoters and DJ’s so it’s hard to find time to spend with them outside of the the nightlife arena, but the constant partying can pay its toll so I decided that this year I wouldn’t go out as much. As fun as it is it’s hard to be productive while hung over through the weekend. Besides who wants to be the old guy at the club?
April is when things start to get busy in the year. This is when the Formula DRIFT season begins and my traveling starts. Luckily, the first event of the season takes place in my hometown of Long Beach and the track is a mere walking distance away. The year started off with the unveiling in Downtown LB of the Full Tilt Poker / Nitto Tire Mazda RX-8 built by Bergenholtz Racing for driver and all-around good guy Joon Maeng. A dramatic police escort through the streets of Downtown is the only way to start the season.
One of my closest friends had his first child, a beautiful baby girl named Harlow. I took some candid shots at their home in Costa Mesa and thought this was one of the better images from the bunch. I was able to capture this photo just as he was putting her to sleep. Sometimes it’s not about having the right equipment, but being at the right place at the right time to capture the moment.
NOS Energy Drink filmed the first drifting commercial that was aired on major networks throughout the US. This was a big investment for the brand and it featured the 2009 Formula DRIFT champion, Chris Forsberg. As this was a private event I was able to shoot some action up close and personal without any guard rails or safety equipment on this closed location, which made for a great learning experience and overall fun time. The commercial can be viewed HERE.
My office is located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles better known as Skid Row. We threw a small gathering of close friends and associates for our office Open House which featured some great print photography, gaming stations, and live music. But what really caught my attention was early on when our local hobo “Pepper the mayor of Skid Row” came by with his bicycle and shared a few stories with me of his days as a pro rider. He showed off his scars and multiple locations of broken bones after a few riding accidents. Pepper is definitely a unique character and his weathered skin shows the years of living the fast life.
Modern architecture is one of my favorite things that I know hardly anything about, but appreciate it for what it is. The way lines connect to form a structure, reflections in glass, and overall aesthetic appeal of the design tells a story. This concert hall in the Orange County Performing Arts Center also happens to be where my brother works as executive chef. So on a quick visit for happy hour I was able to run back to the car and grab the S90 to capture this shot. The best camera is the one that is with you.
One event that I was proud to curate and put together was the Formula Drift Photo Gallery. To commemorate the start of the new season for the series I was able to bring together a collection of work from friends including FD staff photog Jose Martinez, Speedhunters.com Linbergh, and LA lifestyle photographer Estevan Oriol. A video was also premiered by Will Roegge. Great sponsors came on board to help with the month long “pop-up” gallery and made the beginning of the season one to remember. Now the question is how do we top that event this season?
The Long Beach Grand Prix is one of the premiere racing events in Southern California and with the stars of the IndyCar Series coming to the LBGP it was only fitting that they celebrate in style with an event located in the entertainment capital, Hollywood, CA. Blocking off the main road on Hollywood Blvd in front of the famous Mann’s Chinese Theatre a section was reserved for the stars of Formula Drift. This was one of my first action shots of Mad Mike Whiddett and his “BadBul” Mazda RX-8 as it ripped through Hollywood Blvd.
Traveling with a motorsports series is both repetitive and exciting at the same time. We visit the same tracks with the same people, sleep in the same hotels, and eat at the same restaurants, yet the experience is always new and refreshing. It’s become a small tight knit family on the circuit and through the 4 years of traveling with Formula DRIFT I can truly say I am blessed to share these experiences. This shot stood out as it was different than the traditional photos taken at the events of the action and personalities, but rather I focused on just one crucial element within an event, the Clipping Point, which can determine the victor.
New York, home of the Yankees, Supreme, and the Wu-Tang Clan. I travel here at least once a year and this year was no different than the past couple with a few short days of exploring the city mixed in with some shopping and eating. This year I visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and it was mostly the same as I remember as a child. I felt an urge to take random photos of the city life. It is one of hundreds of photos from this trip and as I write this blog I look forward to visiting the city once again for my birthday at the end of the month.
I was invited to the launch event for the new Mister Cartoon MetroPCS phone by Motorola. In true LA fashion, Cartoon brought his close friend Snoop Dogg to celebrate with him. The event was small and discrete for only around 30 people, but they took the time to meet and greet with each person and sign everything from posters to handbags. It's great to see celebrities give back and make an effort to connect with their fans.
The annual E3 gaming convention draws in thousands of gamers and video game companies all aiming to make a big impact within the billion dollar industry. The booth spaces are some of the most spectacular and creative creations. Each company must live by the ethos, “Go big or go home, ” because each booth is massive and a ton of money must be spent to stand out. It is truly sensory overload as you enter one of the main halls.
This summer the world stopped for a second for the World Cup. I was invited by Nike to check out the United States vs. England match at the Montalban theatre. Watching a good game with a rowdy crowd creates for an exciting experience and I was able to sit back and enjoy the festivities. On the roof of the theatre some kids played soccer on the Nike custom built field and it made me miss the game, which I grew up on. I need to start another indoor team …maybe in an the old man league.
This was the first year that I was able to complete a full road rally. And I was able to do this with the Targa Trophy. The first of three events began in LA and ended in San Diego. Through a series of checkpoints, country back roads, and the twists and turns of mountain streets I ran a stock Lexus IS350 with a collection of exotics, sports cars, and luxury vehicles. The experience was documented on my Fatlace blog as well as in Import Tuner magazine.
Every now and then a much needed break from work and the city was in order. Equipped with my New Balance hiking shoes I ventured off a few times to the Angeles crest mountains to enjoy the great weather and go for a hike.
I head into Seattle once a year and the trip is always one of my favorites. Seattle is a gorgeous city with great people and when the weather is right it can’t be beat. On this last trip we were treated to a boat ride through the Pacific Northwest for the day by our good friend Bill Diggs. Bill owns a company that produces all types of signage and print materials. I highly recommend him to anyone looking to have anything from posters, billboards, displays, and more as he does quality work and is an overall great guy…his company is called Everything Under the Sun.
Continuing in Seattle was the Formula Drift event held at Evergreen Speedway. This event is one of the best not only for the action but for the fans that attend. They are amongst the most enthusiastic group of drift fans in the world. This event really stood out to me for photography as it was one where I was had some rare free time to walk about the paddock to shoot photos. I decided to test myself with the 50mm lens and capture the essence of what the event is all about.
The same weekend was my good friend and co-founder of the Formula Drift series, Jim Liaw’s, birthday. This has to be one of my favorite shots of the year as it captured his expression after having cake smeared across his face in front of over 7,500 people and thousands more via the Live Stream.
Rebel8 is one brand that has a loyal core following. Based out of the Bay Area and founded by JoshyD and Mike Giant the brand came down to Los Angeles to hold a special event at Barracuda titled, “Return of the Lost Angels.” This event attracted hundreds if not a thousand fans that waited in line to purchase special limited edition items, hang out and eat some food while having a beer, and hopefully get a chance to get an autograph from the artist. This shot of artist Mike Giant’s hand autographing a poster is one of favorites as it focuses on the body part that allows him to create his works of art.
After a couple hikes over the summer my girlfriend took us to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon for a short vacation. I’ve really come to appreciate nature and the peace and quiet. With my 7D in hand I documented our trip with hundreds of photos of large Sequoia’s, scenic landscapes, and our close encounter with a brown bear.
Each year the X-Games come to Los Angeles and this year was no different. It was exciting with clients being involved with the event and even having a few friends compete. I grew up on action sports and am always excited to watch the competition unravel especially the street skating and now the rally and super rally events. NOS Energy Drinks threw a private roof top event on the terrace at LA Live and this was shot as I was crossing the street to head back to the car. The peaceful night mixed with the neon lights made for a great shot of the city.
One of my best friends from college was set to move to Florida, but before she left she had one last thing to check off her bucket list, a hike to the Hollywood sign. Living in Southern California most of my life it’s one of those things that you take for granted as there is always so much to do and so many things going on. Some times you just need to step back and appreciate everything that’s around you and take advantage of it all while you still can. I am excited to travel to Florida later this year to visit her.
A good friend threw his housewarming party in Downtown LA. His rooftop view is amazing with the LA Skyline in the distance. Los Angeles has become a second home since re-locating the office from Long Beach and I’ve able to experience a lot of what this city has to offer.
The summer brought forward many outdoor events and by living in the city I often try to make the most of it and attend as many of these events as possible. I went to the annual Long Beach Crawfish Festival to do what everyone else does and eat some good Cajun style food. Armed with my S90 I shot the jazz band as they paraded through the park, which made me add to my bucket list a trip for Jazz Fest in New Orleans…one day.
Almost 2 years after the first project Scion TC was built I finally saw my Tuner Challenge winning vehicle on display at the Scion Unlock the TC event. Scion held a special event for owners to showcase the new generation TC. With catered food from popular food trucks, entertainment, and cars on display this was a cool event to attend. It was great to see that my project car was still being used for promotion and held up pretty after touring for 2 years.
Las Vegas is one of my favorite places to visit and I am there quite often and probably more often that I should be. There is so much to love about the city from the gambling, shows, luxury hotels, to the fine dining and yet so much to hate at the same time. When the new City Center opened I had to stop by to visit and was blown away by the massive structures that make up the center. ARIA featured in this photo was the only hotel within City Center that I have had the chance to stay at, but look forward to trying out Vdara and the Mandarin Oriental in the future.
My favorite drifting image from the year was at the Formula Drift Las Vegas event. Long Beach native Kyle Mohan and his Mazda RX-8 caught the setting sunlight just right and the slight tap of his brake lights accented the rest of the scenery to create this scene.
Over the summer I was invited to the red carpet premiere to shoot for the movie, “Machete.” Never having shot a red carpet event I didn’t really know what to expect and made the most of the all-access pass I was given. I felt like an authentic paparazzi shooting A-list stars Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, director Robert Rodriguez, and Machete himself, Danny Trejo. The movie premier was also fantastic and thought the movie was very entertaining and can’t wait to get a copy of the DVD for the bonus footage. The experience to shoot this style of fast paced competitive photography is very exciting and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Continuing on the second leg of the Targa Trophy was one of the most memorable trips of the year. Not only for the road rally experience itself, but for the “guy time” with a few close industry friends. In typical road trip fashion we ate at an unknown diner, got pulled over a couple times (but got out of tickets using the journalist excuse), and even tried some crazy dim sum i.e. bird saliva.
During this leg of the Targa Trophy we stopped and enjoyed the scenery. The beautiful landscapes of Northern California was just too good to pass up and made for a great break in between the fast paced driving during the road rally. In this shot I attempted to sneak up to the cattle and take a shot of them eating, but they must have heard me coming as they turned and ran immediately and I missed the shot I initially wanted. Sometimes you work with what you have in front of you.
The Bay Area is one of my favorite places and each time I travel I make sure to catch up with all my friends up there. This photo was taken while driving to the Fatlace Paddock grand opening event from the freeway right after passing the site of the explosion that made major headlines and destroyed several homes in the area. The image stood out to me more than the fire and smoke photos in the collection as it showcases the most symbolic structures in the Bay Area.
Formula Drift has held an event each year at Infineon Raceway in front of thousands of fans. This year was no different and the event showcased some intense drifting action. Sadly, this venue will not be used this season and the Series will be adding one more East Coast event to the schedule. I’ve had a great time working with the PR team at the track and hope to work with them again soon.
The summer brought out wedding season and two of my close friends got hitched at a beautiful winery in Temecula, CA. The weather could not be anymore perfect. I traveled with other close friends in a rented van that became a rolling party and overall great time to celebrate the occasion. I brought the 7D to shoot what I could and was pretty happy with my first wedding experience.
One project that I took on during the busiest time of year was a project car build for Ford/Lincoln. For this project I was able to team with designer James Bond, co-founder of Undefeated. With only around 6 weeks for the build it was non-stop work to get the vehicle ready for the SEMA convention, where it made it’s debut in the Ford booth. This may be my favorite project as it truly represents me and my lifestyle. The design came together with the top brands in the industry including these great HRE wheels.
Tackling a second project vehicle build I entered the Scion Tuner Challenge to promote the new 2011 Scion TC. My inspiration came from motorsports and my goal was to build a functional race project and challenging myself to stick to the theme and build something outside of my comfort zone. Ultimately, I came in second place and after a few stressful months I was happy with the end result. I couldn’t have done it without the help of some great sponsors and friends. Would I do it again…you betcha.
San Luis Obispo is a gorgeous town north of Los Angeles and near Paso Robles wine country. It made the perfect setting for the wedding with Chris and Jaclyn. For this occasion I had my trusty S90 and shot what I could while enjoying local brews and wine and of course the homemade ice cream that was served for dessert. An amazing weekend with friends made this one of my favorite moments of the year.
I developed an eye problem during the month of October and had trouble with my vision out of my right eye. I had to visit the opthamologist and eventually a retina specialist to discover and fix the problem. Possibly brought on by stress, fluid had leaked into the vision portion of my retina and I underwent a short laser treatment to fix it. Somehow I was still able to work during this time and my real concern was that it was my dominant and eye that I used for photography. I did learn a few things including how to shoot with my left eye and to really hold the camera steady to try to get the most tack sharp images possible. This shot was taken with my Blackberry.
The annual SEMA convention is a gathering of the automotive industry. With 2 project cars and many clients at this week long event it becomes one of the busiest times of year for me. I managed to find time to walk the show and snap some photos. This was one of my favorite vehicles of the show and the stunning red paint just really makes me miss my old BMW. Mixing business with pleasure seems to be the way to tackle the event for some. I appreciate this photo as most are too busy snapping the model behind the car I was able to get a clear shot.
Immediately, after the SEMA show I was able to take the Project Lincoln MKX on the Targa Trophy finale through the desert surrounding Las Vegas. The MKX was put to the ultimate test and eventually I came in 10th place out of about 50 cars, not too bad considering the other vehicles had much more horsepower. In this photo the modern machine meets nature.
Continuing with the promotion of the all-new 2011 Scion TC, the project Scion TC GT that I built for SEMA was displayed in the Scion booth at the Los Angeles Auto Show. This was my first LA Auto Show that I was able to attend in a couple years and it was great to see the finished project displayed for hundreds of thousands of people. The Scion booth itself is awesome with the stack of cars and even 3D video that gave spectators a glimpse into what the progressive brand is all about.
Following Thanksgiving was Black Friday and for this event I brought the Project MKX for display at the the Undefeated store in LA. Somehow the stars were aligned as the “Grey Friday” event was complete with the release of the Converse x UNDFTD Poor Man Weapon collection and the MKX just so happened to be battleship grey. The hundreds of shoppers through the day were able to see the project car while waiting in the massive line.
There was so much to be thankful for this year. Celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday down in San Diego I brought the 7D to capture a few candid moments, but once the kids saw the camera they posed to make this one of my favorite family portraits I’ve ever taken.
Import Tuner magazine reached out to feature the Scion TC GT and I was honored to have them shoot it. It was scheduled for a split cover with the Tuner Challenge winner, Shawn Baker’s, stanced-out TC, but was unfortunately pushed for another vehicle. The feature article will be available in the April issue of the magazine and goes on-sale on Feb. 8th. Be sure to grab a copy.
When my friends from Long Beach Clothing asked me to visit their new location I immediately said yes. Long Beach Clothing has become a staple of the city and now residing in Long Beach I am obligated to help the brand. With a new location in Bixby Knolls I expect big things for the new year.
When Ken Block puts his name on anything it is sure to create a buzz and attract attention. He recently held the first Gymkhana Grid event at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale and for once I was able to attend the event and enjoy some time with industry colleagues and friends. I focused much of my shots on the lifestyle surrounding the cars and was able to capture this shot of a group of friends with their Honda Ruckus’. Whether on 2-wheels or 4-wheels I have always appreciated the creativity and personalization of vehicle owners and the pride they have when displaying their works of art.
I’ve always said that I’m lucky to be surrounded by such talented individuals and one of them is my good friend, Jon Sibal. I was able to meet with him and see him in action inking a comic and on the computer working on a speculative rendering. Jon and I have collaborated on a few project cars now and I’ve taken pride helping his world-class renderings come to life. I’m excited for the new year and working together on new projects.
Right before the holidays I was invited to photograph the NIKE “Destroyer” event during LA Art Walk. It was a great experience and seeing the effort and execution that NIKE produces for their events only makes me understand why the brand has been so successful for so long. The performance by J*Davey highlighted the evening and I made my way through the crowd with my 50mm lens and 7D to capture the lead singer in action.
The final event of the year was an interesting and unique concept. To promote the new Marvel vs Capcom video game, two food trucks were paired with celebrity chefs to duel it out in a food challenge each representing one of the brands. Marvel came out on top with Chef Ludo, but everyone was a winner that attended being able to try out the new game and enjoying free food and drinks.
This was my year in review and by far the longest blog post I have ever done. If you reached this point thank you and I hope you were able to enjoy the crazy year that was 2010 with me.