In Part 1, the photos reflected the first half of the year up to June. This is a continuation of 2011.
The annual E3 convention is always fun to check out and be part of. This year was no different as we planned the launch event for Forza Motorsport 4. This event took months of preparation and work to be as successful as it was. From the great group of attendees, stunning collection of cars on display to the surprise appearance of Top Gear’s Stig it was a night to remember. Yet the highlight of the evening was the performance by the legendary DJ Mix Master Mike and Travis Barker. This photo was taken during their sound test that lasted about an hour and in front of maybe 15 or so people only…amazing.
One of my favorite places in Southern California is Encinitas. The town itself has a very laid back vibe and good surf. On this particular trip I caught up with an old friend and pro skater Bucky Lasek for a video project for RECARO. Bucky is a true car guy and races on the track whenever he gets the chance and this coming year I look forward to seeing him rip around in a Scion TC that debuted at SEMA.
This year was the year of the bike for me. Anything with 2-wheels for some reason I found myself around. It started with Ducati and continued to Lossa Engineering and founder Jay LaRossa. Jay is known for his cafe racer style bike builds, but has roots in everything from mini truckin to BMX racing. I was able to hang out with him a few times and learned his story. We pitched Skinnie magazine to cover this interesting and talented builder and they asked me to provide photos since they were on deadline. I actually shot him two separate times as I was unhappy with the first set of photos. The second time around I really wanted to showcase him rather than just the bikes and was happy with the end results.
We returned to Sequoia National Park in pursuit of bears and the rest of nature. This time we spent it with Danielle’s family, which included her adorable nieces and nephew. I spent much of the time helping babysit and capturing their first camping moments on camera. There were a couple bear sightings that added to this great trip.
I’m brand loyal. Once I find a brand I like I usually stick with them for awhile. Having both built a couple Scion project vehicles and as an owner (1st gen XB) I jumped at the chance to participate in a lifestyle blogger event to introduce the new Scion iQ. This was a great experience and I met some really interesting and unique individuals from the art and design world. IQ over Fiat 500 any day.
I purposefully haven’t included many photos from Formula DRIFT events. I’ve had the great opportunity and pleasure to have traveled with the Series and manage the media relations now for the past 5 years. Each year is a new adventure and even though we visit mostly the same locations from Seattle to New Jersey to Atlanta and everywhere else it is still enjoyable. This photo was taken from the paddock at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway right as the extreme temperatures finally started to dip and the sun was setting and we began our evening for practice at the track.
Continuing into the Formula DRIFT driver introductions at the second to last event of the season we were surprised to see a firework display. But the real action began soon afterwards when the drivers battled it out and left the championship up for grabs for the finals the following month.
Part of the reason I love living in Downtown Long Beach is all of the attractions and events that go on during the year. It was a gorgeous day and we decided after having lunch at our local gastropub, Congregation Ale House, to go check out the Japanese Classic Car Show. This was first time to attend the event and I’m glad we did. As a car builder I can appreciate the attention to detail and passion that these owners have for their classic imports. I look forward to the next one…maybe someday I’ll pick up an old Datsun to restore.
After working with designer James Bond of Undefeated on the Lincoln MKX project I have been inspired to be more creative. So when the opportunity came about to work with him again on a new project that featured him as a designer I jumped at the chance. Visiting his studio space I was able to watch him while he worked and capture a few behind the scenes photos that would later be used for the client’s website and ad campaign. The ad ran in Antenna magazine and the project is still on-going.
The 2011 Formula DRIFT season came to a close in dramatic fashion. Entering the event the Top 5 drivers had a chance to win the overall championship with many scenarios playing out. This by far was one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting, drifting event I have ever witnessed. In the end, my good friend and now Formula DRIFT champion, Daijiro Yoshihara stood on top of the podium to celebrate his monumental accomplishment.
So when my good buddy asked me to help him with his new Crossfit location by taking some photos and helping build his website I couldn’t say no. This year I have slacked off and haven’t worked out as much as I should, but it’s been tough to find the extra time. Crossfit is a great work out program and I highly recommend it to anyone that can stay committed. I did manage to find the time (mostly late nights) to schedule this photoshoot and build www.crossfitdowney.com – check it out and if interested in enrolling let me know.
I rarely take the camera out and shoot in my hometown. But on this particular evening as I was walking to a shoot at the Aquarium I stopped to take a couple photos at the Pike and on the bridge. Long Beach is full of great scenery and imagery and I should really take advantage of being here, while I have the chance. Maybe this year I’ll make a point to get some unique photos.
The Long Beach Aquarium annual Sea Fare fundraiser is not only for a good cause, but also for good eats. When my friend asked me to come down to check it out and try a few treats I couldn’t resist. Her company Decadence had a booth showcasing a wide range of desserts, all of which were tasty. Given the unique setting inside the Aquarium that was darkly lit and also busy with people I was able to grab a few food photos. If you need a dessert bar for an event visit her new Facebook Page.
Continuing with a new client’s project that features a set of lifestyle brand ambassadors I was able to visit the legendary graffiti artist and founder of Dizzizit clothing, Slick at his studio. Watching the artist get up in person was a treat as he spray painted his famous “LA hands.”
My brother asked me if I would shoot his baby shower invitation photos. We selected a location during sunset that was nearby and was able to get a few shots for him. Reflecting back to this shoot now after his son was born is surreal.
SEMA is a crazy part of the year for me. With multiple clients having things going on to end the year we are quite busy. This year I also built a Ford Focus that was unveiled in the Ford booth. A lot of last minute preparation and sleepless nights leading into the week long show is all worth it after seeing the final project on display.
All the hard work paid off with the honor of receiving a Ford Design Award for the Focus build. I have a lot of people and great sponsors to thank that help make it possible and am grateful to have their support.
I wasn’t the only recipient of a big award at SEMA this year. My good friend, Jon Sibal, took top honors in the Scion Tuner Challenge with his iQ concept. As an accomplished illustrator and artist he can now put project car winner in his portfolio adding to the long list of milestones. I can’t wait to work together on the next project car and hopefully we can do something this coming year.
Another friend and MMA fighter, Josh Barnett had his first taste of showcasing vehicles at SEMA. Here he is in the Magnaflow booth with his baby. This coming year will be big for him with not only the Strikeforce heavyweight championship on the line, but also some automotive stuff that we have lined up and will keep under wraps for now.
Two weeks after the SEMA show the car world doesn’t stop and the LA Auto Show begins. I love walking the halls during press days and seeing the new offerings from the manufacturer. Sometimes it would help if I had an Amex black card.
Being a fan of real hip-hop I’ve always had a fascination with the entire culture from breakdancing to DJing. One of my all-time favorite crews is the Beat Junkies. Since high school into college I followed them. Years later I’ve gotten to know a couple of these guys and it’s still great to see them doing their thing. DJ Icy Ice is still going strong with the music and hasn’t lost his skills. Sitting with him and asking him about the state of hip hop and how technology has changed the game was very eye-opening.
Following the Icy Ice shoot I immediately went to Hollywood as I was assigned to cover the Ducati Panigale 1199 release event. This was a challenging shoot as their were many elements involved within a short period of time. I had to shoot overall ambiance, close-ups of the guests, the unveiling of the bike and the fashion show. I arrived early to catch the practice walk-through and thought I had it covered with my shooting location and all of my settings. It was a good experience that was slightly challenging dealing with the numerous obstacles of low light, bright strobes and also an open swimming pool a foot or two in the middle of the location.
I brought the ID Agency Ford Focus to display at an event called Tab Tuesday. This event draws in local kids to check out cars, buy some clothes, listen to music and eat from assorted food trucks. Great concept and good time. With the project car we partnered with a fixed gear bike company called Leader, out of San Diego and they sponsor one of the top stunt fixed gear riders in the world, Michael Chacon. He is a rising star, but is refreshing to see how humble he is for being so talented.
After a hectic, but amazing year we planned a trip to Costa Rica. Costa Rica has been on the top of my list for vacation destinations for a long time. The vacation was truly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had from simply relaxing on the beach to surfing to eating fresh seafood to the ziplines to the white water rafting. That is how all vacations should be and I understand now how people can drop everything to live there for the rest of their lives. I didn’t shoot too much with the 7D (long story), but did what I could with my S90 point and shoot. I experience “Pura Vida” and can’t wait to do it again.
Upon returning from an amazing trip the good times didn’t stop there. We were invited to attend the Hyundai Re:Mix Re:Generation event in LA. We moved to the front of the stage just as the performances began and watched DJ sets from singer Erykah Badu, the Crystal Method, DJ Premier and Skrillex.
A good friend of mine, DJ Reflex hosted Common’s listening event in a very intimate setting at the Sayer’s Club. As a huge fan of Common since the early 90′s I was excited to see him and eventually meet him in person. He performed songs and gave insight to them off his new album, “The Dreamer / The Believer.” Wish I brought my 7D, but I was happy to be able to enjoy the entire show up close.
It’s become a tradition of ours now to go to Naples in Long Beach to check out the amazing holiday lights and homes. Living in Southern California makes it difficult to really feel like the holidays especially when the weather is in the upper 70′s and sunny each day. Coming to places like this help to make everything feel more festive.
I couldn’t end one of the busiest years of my life without being active so we decided to enter the Targa Trophy road rally NYE event in the ID Agency Ford Focus. This was a fun rally as there were many checkpoints and scavenger type things to do. The scenery on the drive was beautiful through the back roads of San Diego county. We also found a new favorite location in San Diego and just fell in love with Little Italy.
Since we were in San Diego already for the rally we also checked out the Red Bull No Limits event. Thanks to a friend we scored media access and was able to check out the stunt from a pirate ship with the perfect vantage point. Minus the fog that rolled in the stunt was well executed and unbelievable to see in person as you could see how far these guys really jumped and how crazy they are. We ended the year in style with a nice dinner and champagne toast. “Keep it classy, San Diego.”
Normally, this post would be done, but I’m just too proud of my new nephew to pass it up. Liam Riley Pangilinan was born a few days after the new year and I am now officially getting old. I look forward to the many adventures that 2012 will bring.