Petit Le Mans – The ALMS Finals with Falken Tire

What an awesome year spent with Falken Tire.
The 2012 American Le Mans season was a blast! I was very lucky to be able to cover half of it for Falken Tire – in addition to many other projects that they brought me in for throughout the year. By far my favorite was ALMS, though. There is an incredible team of people out at Walker Racing that I was lucky to be welcomed in to. Through many events and long days/nights of work I also had the chance to work closely and get to know much more of the Falken Tire team, too.

The season wrapped up in Atlanta, at Petit Le Mans. Another endurance race but this time only ten hours instead of twelve like in Sebring. Haha! Even one of the managers at Falken, when he asked me the next race I’d be at and I told him “Petit”, laughed and just said “We send you to all the long ones, don’t we?”

Since it was my last race of the season I brought a bunch of gear out Road Atlanta with me. Instead of a 300mm like I had at Sebring, I brought a 400mm since this was a large track. And since there was a lot less access than at Sebring it’s a good thing that I did. I also carried a brand new Canon 1D-X with me – I was definitely excited to see how the sensor and tracking system performs over my 1D-3 that I’ve been using for years for sports.

I’m not going to go on and on about my weekend. I’ll keep it short and say that it has been a blast being part of Falken’s season and part of their team. With a bit of luck I’ll be doing some more work with them next year, but I won’t know that for sure for quite some time.
Until next race season starts up it’s going to be back to model photography and smaller projects for me! So keep checking back for updates on those – one of my next shoots is for April O’Neil and my ongoing Ninja Turtles project.

And to comment briefly on my opening image up top… I felt this was definitely a great closing image to contrast my opening image at Sebring for the season…
Here’s a comparison:

Nice, right?

Anyway.. click past the break for over 150 images of Team Falken, and several other teams/cars at Road Atlanta this past weekend.

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Formula Drift Finals 2012

Last weekend was the Formula Drift Finals in Irwindale, Calif.
I was invited to attend by Falken Tire – one of my clients who I’ve done a lot of race work for this year. I actually hadn’t shot Drift in a couple years; not since my days handling K&N Filters photography when I was on staff with them. So I jumped at the opportunity to go out and shoot a bunch of new images as well as hang out with my friends on the Falken staff.

It’s funny that after living right next to Irwindale for two years and never doing any shooting there that I would have the chance to do so right after moving to San Diego for the remainder of the year.
I was able to stay with friends in OC, so it was just a brief trip right up 605 to get to the races.

I didn’t shoot this event the same way that I cover Le Mans. So unfortunately I do not have a bunch of behind the scenes photos and stories for everyone like I usually would. Since I was a guest of Falken rather than there working I did my best to stay out of the way as much as possible.
So, scroll down after the break and check out shots mostly from the track of the various teams ripping through the turns and destroying their tires for sport.

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The Dwelle-Muñoz wedding

To say that Dwelle-Muñoz wedding was just an average wedding would be a bit of an understatement. An old Catholic church, a packed party bus, a beautiful reception venue, and a couple hundred of your closest friends and family… topped off with a mariachi band. You guys missed out!

I met Denay and Omar through Denay’s brother, Dale. I’ve known Dale for something like 13 years – and he’s quickly setting the record the the Most Weddings We’ve Been In Together. I actually am part of a couple weddings a year with Dale I think – clearly it means we both know everyone. hahaha!

Denay and Omar contacted me and asked about my availability to come up to the Bay and shoot for them in San Jose. It was incredibly sweet to be referred by an old friend to his younger, and only, sister. And I all I kept hearing about Denay from everyone I talked to was “she’s so nice!”.
I met up with Denay and Omar several months before their wedding – after booking and working out the details. This was my chance to sit and talk to them a bit and get to know them. Turns out they’re big Disney fans and had seen my Engagement shoot with the Nguyen’s at Disneyland a long time before planning their own wedding. We went over a number of ideas and talked about different stories. Cassandra, a close friend and photographer who would be assisting me, came along to meet them too. When we left we were both excited to be working with such a wonderful couple and looked forward to when their wedding weekend would finally arrive.

Denay and Omar were married on a Friday at St. Joseph’s in Downtown San Jose. It was the same church that I shot the Nguyen wedding in last year, so not only was I familiar with the venue and the lighting, but the Dwelle and Muñoz families would have a small idea what the images might turn out like. Win-Win.

My day started with the bride and her girls, as always. The difference with this wedding is that I wasn’t going to have to break away and try to meet up with the guys while they got ready. This worked out great for many reasons. One of them is that Denay and Omar each had eight people in their wedding party. The other reason is it turned out Omar was busy running around most of the morning with errands. As a surprise to Denay he went about bought roses to decorate their room with rose petals for later that night – and had to squeeze that into all the other things he had to do that morning.

It also turned out that the hair and makeup for so many girls went later than planned – so it was great that Cassandra was spending the morning with the guys. However, even as we were running behind and Denay was ready to bolt out the door I was still able to take a few minutes and create some gorgeous bridal portraits of her . But believe me, she hauled ass down the hallway when we were done, and when we got to the limo she turned around asked where all the girls were.

The ceremony was beautiful – as I said I’ve shot there before and it really is a pretty church. But, the majority of the cermony was in Spanish. Between my incredibly broken Spanish left over from what I learned in high school and having shot several full-mass weddings, I was able to follow along pretty well.
After the ceremony we had a TON of family portraits to get through before piling onto the buses and heading to Gilroy for the reception. But we stopped at 7-11 first to get drink for everyone. The singing alone was worth the trip on the bus though, hahaha!

The reception was great, and I think the only thing that Omar and Denay would have changed would have been if they could have somehow stopped and talked to everyone that was there. I have a ton of photos from everything and I will talk more about the reception through the captions – so click down below for those.

Overall I had a great time and am incredibly pleased with the images that we created. Denay was an absolutely stunning bride. Omar even joked with Cassandra “Yeah, I thought she was going to dump me after like a year!” when explaining how amazing his wife is to him. Omar was looking damn sharp that day, too. My only regret for the wedding is that I didn’t get to spend nearly the amount of time getting to know Omar and his boys as I did getting to know Denay and her girls.

Click the break below to read on about my weekend with the Dwelle and Muñoz families! I have over 225 images from the day. I hope you all enjoy and laugh as much as I did.

To Denay and Omar,
I had an amazing time and both your families are wonderful. You two brought so much energy and love to your images it’s hard to not look at them and smile. Even people that have never met you have already been sending me messages online about the previews I’ve shared so far. Thank you for letting us be part of such an important day.

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