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Formula Drift Round 5 – Seattle

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Another Drift race of the season for the books – and a disappointing turn of events for Team Falken.

I just got back from Seattle a few days ago where I was out shooting for Falken once again for Formula Drift. This time around I was on my own covering the weekend’s events since the the rest of the creative staff was in Canada for the ALMS race. And while I got plenty of great photos from the weekend, the actual race itself didn’t go all too well for the team.

I arrived much earlier than I normally would for a race. I selected a super-early flight for some reason… I was trying to remember why I chose a 630a flight when I was just going up north to Seattle versus cross-country. Typically I seem to handle a lot of the far-away races for Falken. So that means long flights, and lots of travel on my part.
But for the life of me and I can not remember why I chose an early flight that put me in Seattle an entire day early.

No bother though, it was a chance to test out the extra Sony camera gear I brought along.

Thursday for me was a long day… not because I was busy, but because I wasn’t. I wasn’t there to work, so I was just hanging out. I didn’t bring my rental car since I rode with the team. Which left me plenty of time to do whatever I wanted. So, I shot around and took a ton of Behind the Scenes kind of photos of the guys setting up. Getting to know the crew is honestly one of the best parts of my job. Sure, taking pictures is great, but meeting and talking to everyone is seriously the best part. Whether it’s BS’ing with the crew during setup, asking the mechanics about what they’re doing and hearing them explain their job, or sitting at dinner talking with Dai about racing (his job), photography (my job), or fitness (mutual interest), it’s just plain amazing that this is what I get to do for a living.

But anyway, you came here for photos… so, read on!
Tons of images after the break from Setup, Practice, and Race Day. Also, Falken said “go ahead and play with lighting”… so, the photos are a bit different than I normally take.

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Formula Drift Round 2: Atlanta

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So I’m finally getting around to uploading the action shots that I took at Formula Drift Round 2: Atlanta.

I was out in Georgia two weeks ago or so for the race shooting for Falken Tire this time around. I was the only creative staff sent by Falken, which meant I would likely be on my own the majority of the time wandering the track and getting images out to the Falken team back home on the west coast for them to upload.
My flight to the east coast came just two days after my return from the east coast where I was attending my friends Aaron and Danielle’s wedding in Clearwater, Florida. I suppose I could have spoken to Falken about flying me direct from Orlando, but, that would have meant that I would need to bring even more gear with me to Florida on that trip since I would need different things at the race than I had brought to Florida for that trip.

Anyway, back in Georgia again, and it really didn’t seem as though it had already been over six months since I was there for Petit Le Mans at the end of the 2012 season.

This race I would be focussed on three drivers: Dai Yoshihara, Darren McNamara, and Justin Pawlak.
I was also able to continue my ongoing portrait series while out there, as you guys may have already caught in my last blog post.

Overall it was a great weekend. The weather was overcast and a bit rainy… which unfortunately makes for less-interesting Drift photos in my opinion. Colder track temperatures means colder tires means less smoke…. means boring photos. Hahaha

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But… Vaughn DID run over a car on the track… that happened.

Haha, click past the break a ton of photos from the weekend. I decided to just upload a ton from the weekend. Enjoy. But sheer numbers alone you’re bound to at least dig one or two of them.

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Portrait shots of Vaughn Gittin Jr, Chris Forberg, Ryan Tuerck, and Bil Baldwin

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When I’m asked what I like shooting most of all my answer would be portraits. Which is saying a lot because I have the opportunity to shoot a LOT of different things from models to racing to weddings.
And while all those other things are a lot of fun, coming back around to portraits is where I always end up. It’s wonderfully simple an they’re WAY more interesting than a racecar on a track I feel like.

The Formula Drift season just kicked off for 2013 – and I’m sure many of you likely saw my blog post earlier this week about it. And during Round 1: Long Beach, I was on assignment from K&N Filters and AEM Intakes. One of the things I was required to shoot was headshots of various drivers that they sponsor. I immediately thought “Awesome! Now I HAVE to get photos with three of the busiest drivers at the track: Vaughn Gittin Jr., Ryan Tuerck, and Chris Forberg.
Now I’m not saying these guys won’t give you the time of day – that couldn’t be further from the truth. However as a photographer for one of their sponsors it’s much easier to get a few minutes of their time set aside specifically for you to photograph them.

Each of my portraits of these drivers only took me about 5 minutes to create. So long as I have nearly all my camera settings dialed than it’s just a matter of lighting being balanced, a few test shots, and a couple “real ones” where my subject can smile or do whatever they like…. then I’m done. Out of their hair AND I have both headshots for my clients along with an image and I can edit into the portraits you see above.

I also met and photographed Bil “The Bearded Man of Drift” Baldwin, who’s become a bit of a legend in the Drift world. I actually had heard of him through a friend of mine that knows of Bil from the “Beard Life” community, haha!

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Me and Bil, right after his portrait the morning of the race!

Anyway, click past the break for the portraits I created of Vaughn, Ryan, Chris and Bil – along with some Behind the Scenes that my buddy Rex shot while I was working with Vaughn!

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Formula Drift, Round 1, Long Beach 2013

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Three incredible drivers took the podium at Formula Drift Long Beach this past weekend.
Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara , Vaughn Gittin Jr., and Chris Forsberg took first, second and third respectively. And despite the dreary weather it was an awesome race weekend – but I do feel bad for poor Randyl Dawn who was stuck standing in the middle fo this champagne fight… she ran away shortly after this photo. haha!

I was out at Drift this past weekend shooting for my old employer, K&N Filters. Some of you who have been following my work for several years remember when I was on staff for K&N Filters and AEM Intakes. It actually wasn’t all that long ago – about three years. While on staff with them these were some of the guys I had to focus on the majority of the time I was at the track.
Well, on a whim I randomly hit up my old boss to see if they were in need of coverage for Long Beach. I’ll be working for Falken Tire on part of the season for Drift this year, however for the season opener at Long Beach I was not yet booked. Turns out my timing was perfect since K&N was just looking at what their options were for Long Beach images. And with Vaughn having a new tire sponsor, new livery on his Mustang, and new logos on his race suit, K&N definitely needed photos and headshots.

Perfect! I was now booked for the weekend, and I already had a good idea of the types of shots that K&N would be looking for.

But I was most looking forward to the headshots I was going to be required to shoot…

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Portraits! This was an awesome opportunity to create portraits of some of the drivers for Formula Drift! And, of course, Bil Baldwin “The Bearded Man of Drift”! But, I’ll post that in a couple days in a new blog post. I have additional photos of the portraits and a couple BTS shots to share too. I rather that be it’s own post.

So we’re going to keep this post simple… Just a ton of photos, and a few captions here and there for good measure.
But keep in mind I was shooting for photos to be used in magazine ads (like this), so, they’re fairly cut and dry. Not as “artsy” as I might get with my Le Mans work. haha Specific clients need specific things.

Click to read on!

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Behind the Scenes on Wildpeak Ad Campaign

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Blazing desert heat, cold streams, and windy mountain roads… all just part of the Falken Tire Wildpeak Off Road ad campaign I shot at the end of 2012.

Among many of the projects I was part of with Falken Tire last year one of the most fun was the Wildpeak Off Road campaign. This was a project that was planned, assembled, and shot all within a very short amount of time compared to other projects I’ve worked with Falken on. Falken’s newest tire line, Wildpeak, needed a variety of images created for upcoming ads and media in 2013. So several days were selected, along with several vehicles, to shoot many different images in different locations. I would be handling a large majority of the shooting alongside the video crew, who would be shooting for commercials at the same time.

The entire first day was spent in the desert, under the hot sun and, at times, very high winds. We had a selection of cars: Ford Raptor, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner, and the custom built Falken Jeep JK. We also had a few support vehicles with us, a Chevy Tahoe with 22’s for what would essentially be “beauty shots”, a Toyota Tacoma, our tow vehicle/rig, and a total crew of 10 people. This was not a small job by any means.

The second day was the longest by far. We were in the mountains. All. Day. But we were able to capture a ton of different images varying from water/splash photos to “climbing” photos. The video guys also did the majority of their filming the second day as well.
Day 3 was the shortest, and was cut even shorter after the first location we planned to shoot at didn’t work out.

Click below the break to read on and see over 100 images of what goes into a multi-day photoshoot of this size.

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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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Road America – American Le Mans with Falken Tire

Road America, with the Falken Tire racing team.. and what a beautiful weekend it was out in Wisconsin!

Yes. We crashed. Let me start with first saying that I don’t know any details about the crash beyond this: Whatever the end cause was, it sent Bryan into a wall at an incredibly high speed. It wasn’t head-on, so, Bryan escaped with a few bumps and was cleared quickly by medical. As for the cause or crazy photos – I don’t know, nor do I have any. I was at a different location on the track when it happened. And the cause is being investigated so changes (if needed) can be made before Baltimore in 11 days.

Now, onto to details of the rest of the weekend..

Any sort of East Coast travel always means very little sleep the night before. Going to bed early doesn’t really work well for me, and first-flight-out typically means leaving the house at 5am. So I only got about four hours of sleep that evening. The travel day went surprisingly smooth. Funny that with all the flying that I do the best service I have is consistently “budget-airline” Southwest.

That first afternoon in Wisconsin was spent with Cale and Qazi, two of Falken’s video team. We were going around town doing some filming and shooting of the city for b-roll type footage that they could use for their final piece on the Road America race. We found a couple cool locations and the guys did their thing as I wandered around on my own. I didn’t really have much use for any of the shots I would have taken, so I pretty much just took behind the scenes stuff.
Later that evening we checked into our hotel to get ready for a busy Saturday at the track. Oh, and we stayed at the Osthoff Resort which was incredible. I was in an awesome two-bedroom suite on the top floor with a view of the pools and lake.

Practice day for me started early. The photographer meeting was at 730am. So, I was up early to get ready and get out of the hotel in time. Plus it was a new track so making sure I figured out my way around was important, too.
Overall the practice day went really well. I was able to check about half the track during the various practice sessions. Road America is a 4 mile track, so that’s either a LOT of walking… or a lot of driving if you are lucky enough to have a golf cart. Our video crew used the golf cart the majority of the time, which means I was on foot. Qazi, one of the videographers, actually joked “You’re in the best shape out of all of us, John. So you get to walk.” Hahaha!

Race day was a different story… as we arrived at the track the first GT practice of the day was getting started. So, I had the guys drop me off so I could start shooting right then. I rather have every opportunity I can to get shots of the car on the track than risk not getting enough images. The rest of the day was whirlwind of bouncing around the paddocks, grabbing breakfast/lunch at whatever point I had a few minutes to do so, and hiking pretty much the entire track to check out possible new areas to shoot.

And as everyone is aware, our race day was cut short due to a crash – a very disappointing end of the race for us when Falken was bouncing between 3rd and 5th place at the time.

Anyway, I’ll stop typing. Read on for a ton of images and captions from my weekend with Falken’s ALMS team at Elkhart Lake.

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Preview of a busy week…

That’s me and best friend TJ, rollin in his ’08 Subaru WRX. My first car rig test shoot.

I’ve been in the Bay Area nearly a week, again. I came back into town here to photograph the Lordan wedding in San Jose (more on that shortly). But, I spent all of Friday with my oldest friend TJ, doing some shooting of his car while testing both my brand new 5DII, and his new camera mounts.
It took a little while to find settings that I liked, get the feel of the lense/mount/remote setups… And I’m sure even for TJ to find a speed at which his car was smooth and steady. We also tried a few garages and outdoor locations.

The main reason I was in town though, was the wedding of Amy and Michael Lordan!
Their ceremony was gorgeous. It was at the same location I shot at last time I was here in town, however, this wedding was outdoors since the weather cooperated for just one day this whole week!
Amy and Michael are both really amazing people with really incredible families. I’m looking forward to editing more photos to share with you all as I begin to sort them in the week ahead. Please check back in a few days for more on their wedding!

As I said above, TJ and I tried a number of different locations both indoor and out.
The rig we used was actually TJ’s new video rig, which, held my 5DII great. These shots were all done with the Canon 15mm Fisheye lens, too.
I’m currently working with a fabricator back home in Socal to develop a completely custom rig for myself and my work. Hopefully that will be done in the near future since I’m really excited to continue to experiment with various shots.

Speaking of experimenting with angles, gear, and rigs… check out this shot of Adam.
Also coming up this week I’ll post a few more images of Adam that I shot today – yep, we went out on Easter morning. I wanted to try some rig-mounted motorcycle images of him since he’s one of the most experienced riders I know. We tried a number of different things before the weather turned foul. Also, now we have some more ideas for next time of what worked and what didn’t.
So, next time around, they’ll be even better.

And lastly, I want to leave you all with this little gem…

This was the first image I shot with my new 5DII this week the day after it arrived.
Keepin’ it classy.

Been a busy March…

Wow, March is flying by already!
I started off the month up in San Francisco with some of the members of our car club, TOPDOWN. We attended Wekfest 2010 in Japantown and took home Third Place overall. Also, one of our members and really great friend of mine, Alex Doan took home a first place award for his Spoon S2000. For those of you familiar with the import community and have heard of Spoon’s black Honda S2000, that’s owned by Alex.. and he drove it up to the Bay Area from here in Socal to compete/show.

One handed shot with my Mark III while driving North on 5 in the rain and wind. Haha. Skills…

Also, this month was my birthday, nearly a week ago…

So, I got to celebrate (a bit early) with a couple friends at Disneyland! Haha! TJ, me, and Laura spent the day running around the parks riding rides and taking photos. My old friend Phil signed us in (Thanks Phil!) so we could enjoy the sunny weather and Laura could see Disneyland for the first time ever. TJ came along since he hadn’t been since he was a kid. Had a great time though!

Now like I said, this month has been crazy running around and taking care of a lot of things at a more personal level. I’m relocating/moving soon – still based in Socal though. I’m planning some upcoming trips to the Bay Area, Oregon, and possibly to Sacramento, too. All are work related trips and involve logistical planning with clients/etc. And, my birthday weekend lasted about five days… I won’t lie. Hahaha!

On a professional note though…
I’ve been notified recently of various images of mine being used by clients for many different things…

Jesse got ahold of me this morning, from Brazil, to let me know that one of my shots of him is being used on a press release there in Sao Paulo where he is currently doing shows.
So, I’ve been published in Brazil now! Woo hoo!

Jesse’s also running the image on his promotional material, and his new cd cover.

I recently did a shoot with Derek Jameson. I’ve worked with Derek many times on promotional material, album covers, and his magazine feature that was published last summer. Derek called me up needing a last minute shoot for some upcoming shows. We did a very quick shoot in Huntington Beach – I’ll post more from that shoot on my next update.

This promo poster uses an image of Derek from the shoot we did for his magazine feature in Unzipped, published July 2009.

I may have shared this before now that I’m thinking of it… But, Rick Thorne uses my images on lots of his promo material. And, this image for his Grindz and Rhymez tour features my image of him on Monster Energy’s website.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Not many new images to share with everyone just yet. I’ll have some new stuff up shortly, including another shoot with Derek Jameson (that I mentioned above). Hope everyone is having a great month! As busy as I am right now I’m still having a great time.

Been busy, but can’t say much…

The majority of my time recently has been spent doing contract work on various projects.
Unfortunately, as contract work goes, I can’t talk about what I’m doing. I know that a number of you know what it is I’m talking about because, let’s face it, a number of you are involved in these shoots with me.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many different models for many different projects also. The above shot is our creative team for one particular shoot with Melissa Miko – a powersports model that I’ve shot a few times now. You may remember her silhouette in one of my posts from last month – it’s also in my portfolio if you go look.

Also, last weekend I did some shots with Jenny down in Huntington Beach. She needed some simple beach photos done for her portfolio and some projects that she’s currently working on. I still have to finish editing some more from this shoot. But, here’s a quick preview… nothing crazy, just simple.

Long time friend, and comedian, Justin Worsham also recently asked me to do new headshots for him. I’m pretty damn sure that I haven’t laughed so hard on a photoshoot in a long time. I knew that I’d end up spending most of the evening with Justin and his wife (who I’ve also known 10 years now) catching up on life.
We even managed to do a quick impromptu family portrait session at the park with their young son.

Justin is hilarious, and just an awesome guy in general. Please check out his website: Justin Worsham.
He posts his tour dates for all over the United States. You can also catch him on Twitter, here.

But yeah, my explanation of my choice in head shot to share… this is the Justin I have always known… the goofy, funny guy that will always get you to smile.

Most recently I had the opportunity to photograph Jeff’s (far right) incredibly clean, and recently restored, Chevy Camaro.
One hundred percent American Muscle – this beast of a car sounds amazing when he fires up the massive engine. I’ve been active in the import tuning community for years; but I’ve always loved classic muscle cars – who doesn’t?
And Jeff is more than happy to talk about the memories he has with this vehicle – like taking his driver’s test in it. That’s right, it’s been family owned since Day 1.

I have other images of this beautiful car, which I would love to share… but I’ll need to save that for another update.

Tomorrow I’ll be shooting with the stunning Megan Black in Laguna Beach – unless the weather decides to work against us. So, expect some new images in a day or two.
I also have five other photo shoots and a wedding to do this week.
SO. BUSY.

But, please check back, ping me on Twitter, text and say hello if you have my contact info, etc.
I’ll be running around between Laguna Beach, all over Los Angeles, and then the Bay Area. But, I’d love to hear from you guys.

Peace outtie.