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Formula Drift, Round 7, Irwindale Speedway 2013

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Last weekend was the 2013 Formula Drift Finals in Irwindale.
I was out shooting for Falken Tire unexpectedly, which is always a great thing. They’re a fun to team to shoot for and work around. Unfortunately though we didn’t have a strong weekend. All three drivers qualified Top 32, however both Justin and Dai were knocked out before top 16.

Saturday was my only actual day there to shoot. However I showed up on Friday to get my media vest early. The biggest problem with the Drift Finals is that there are a TON of people that apply for media passes. And I’ll be completely honest, most of them have no business being there. They’re un-experienced and represent no major company, no team, nor driver. There are people that I’ve met at these events that simply have their own auto blog and were able to get credentialed in.
To be clear, I’m all for people learning and working hard to advance in a competitive industry. However these inexperienced people tend to be rude, don’t follow rules, and have no common curtesy nor professional respect I find when I shoot a series like American Le Mans.

So rather than deal with a ton of people in the media meeting on Saturday, I showed up on Friday to check in early and then spent most of the afternoon seeing a few friends on other teams and with various vendors.

Race day was busy, as is every Irwindale race.
So, read on, check out a bunch of the shots I’ve selected to upload, and maybe I’ll see you guys out during the 2014 season!

Click the break to read on:

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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 4: New Jersey

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Just got back from New Jersey Formula Drift Round 4, where I was out shooting for Falken Tire again!

I wasn’t originally planning on being in Jersey for Round 4, but after contacting Falken on a whim it turned out they needed additional support that weekend. So that worked out great for me since I still had that weekend of June open and am always down to fly to a race to photograph.
So after what will likely be my last direct-flight to an East Coast race (you’d be surprised how many tracks I can fly to direct from San Diego) I met up with the video guys and headed out to grab a bite. This was actually the first time I’d really seen the Falken video crew this season. The other races I had be on, Le Mans Sebring, Atlanta Drift, Long Beach, etc, were all for other clients or Falken bookings where I was the only media support.

It’s always a blast being out with the team. They’re such a busy company that I don’t always get to see many people from their crew, which makes catching up on life less frequent. Plus, BS’ing with the video guys is fun since we can nerd it up and talk about cameras, software, hardware, and debate all the stupid things that none of my family or friends in SoCal really care about. Creative Cloud for Adobe?! Ripofffffff, what do you guys think? lol

The race weekend was great, and went by pretty quickly. Overall Falken did pretty well. Justin took second place. Darren barely missed third place, finishing fourth.

Next up I’ll be heading out to Seattle for Round 5 in Monroe, Washington. Looking forward to that since Falken has said I can go ahead and start being as artsy as I’d like with my imagery from the races. That “they have plenty of action shots” so I can feel free to be more creative with everything. So I’m stoked for that.

Also, I just talked and met with Sony Digital Imaging, I’m going to be testing some of their gear! This is pretty exciting. I was given a bunch of gear to test during the month of July! So I’m currently working with Black Flys sunglasses to set things up with their athletes for some awesome shoots with their athletes. Stay tuned. July is going to a lot of fun with all this new gear….

Anyway… on to the Drift photos!
There’s a bunch for you guys that just want to see a lot of photos of cars/etc. You will be able to tell the images that are straight from camera and don’t really have any heavy editing applied to them.

Oh, also, I’m trying something different for this blog and all the photos that follow are going to be 800 pixels at the longest edge… I’m trying it out to see if I prefer photos a bit larger than my typical 650 pixels at the longest edge. Let me know what you think in the comments about the size change. I’ll need to adjust the right column links though I realize.

More photos after the break

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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 Dai Yoshihara, Darren McNamara, Justin Pawlak, & Pat Mordaunt

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Two weeks ago I was in Atlanta at Formula Drift Round 2. This time I was out shooting for Falken Tire. But between my shooting out on the field I was able to find a bit of time to meet up with four additional drivers to photograph and add to my driver’s portrait series that I started at Long Beach in March.

I had already been in touch with Dai Yoshihara a bit about shooting with him this round. And I knew that Justin Pawlak and Darren McNamara wouldn’t be too terribly difficult to meet up with since I was shooting for Falken Tire. Meeting up with Pat Mordaunt was unexpected, but great since I was hoping to try and get at least one additional driver beyond the Falken Team.
Funny story about Pat and when I first met him at Long Beach this season. I was introduced to him through my friend, and fellow photographer, Narisa Masermsim. Pat was just driving around chatting with people during the morning of Long Beach practice. After a few minutes of typical chit-chat (ie: who are you shooting for, etc) I asked Pat which team he was with. “I’m with APEXi” he said, pointing to the trailer off to the side of us. “Oh, cool, what do you do for them?” “I’m the driver.” Ha! In my defense I’m not familiar with Drift beyond the Falken Team. And typically I handle American Le Mans for Falken and I haven’t photographed Drift much since my days working for K&N Filters and AEM Intakes. Pat just laughed it off. Honestly I forget the the Drift drivers are all very socialable and it’s not uncommon for them to be out chatting with people, versus Le Mans where most drivers stay in their paddocks and rigs.

Anyway, click past the break for the various portraits that I shot of everyone in Atlanta. A couple varations of course, a tight crop alongside a wider one.

Hopefully I can continue this series in Seattle – which at the moment is the last of the Drift races that I’m booked for.
Also, you can check my portfolio here online for a gallery of larger images: Driver Portraits

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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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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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Find my work in various ads…

So I share with everyone who follows my work various updates on the many events that I go to and shoot. I’ve honestly lost track of how many different races and types of sports I’ve shot this year – which is pretty incredible. I’m sure that if I sit down and write them out, then I can figure out each and every one and their location.
Either way, I’m so busy shooting, editing, and getting work out to clients for projects that I do on the side (weddings, engagements, fashion, and models), that I don’t always have time to track down the many magazines that feature ads with my work.

I decided to make a brief post before I leave California again in a few hours and share with you all a couple ads that are running this month.
The above shot of Team Fun Center Suzuki was one that I did about two months ago, or so. I remember being at the track much longer than anticipated due to mechanical issues. That same night I had to get down to Newport for a fashion show, haha.

Keith Little I shot during AMA Quadcross in Glenn Helen a few months back as well. I took so many photos that day that the only person I specifically remember is Corry Weller from Weller Racing – and that’s because I’ve seen her at many other races recently.

Rhys Millen of Redbull Racing is someone I had the pleasure of meeting during the Long Beach Formula Drift event. I came back with some really amazing images from this event. I would encourage all of you to click on the link to my portfolio (top of the page) and check out my Racing section for more of my drift photos. So cool to watch, and pretty incredible to be 5 feet from these cars and drivers as they come whipping around the turn right in front of you – well, from where I stand as Press anyway.

This particular shot of Carl Renezeder I took out in Nevada during one of the Lucas Oil Off Road Race Series events that I was at. I’ve shot Carl many times since then and have posted shots of him driving multiple times in my blog. Carl’s a really nice guy, and one hell of a driver. Watching him out on the track truly is impressive.

So, there you go! A few examples of my work that’s been in print recently. You can find these in multiple magazines including D Sport, Import Tuner, QUAD, Truckin’, Off Road Truck, Bagger, Cycle News, Parts Mag, Drag Specialties, Moto Playground, Thunder Press, Transworld, Modified, Sport Truck, Super Street… etc. There are least 6 different style ads running right now with differents – maybe closer to 10, I’m not positive.

So, now I’m about to pack up a few last minute things and head to the airport..
I’m leaving the state again in a few hours – this jet-setter lifestyle, man, it’s rough… hahaha

Catch you all this weekend.
Peace

Formula Drift, Long Beach

Last weekend I photographed the Long Beach Formula Drift races.

I had a really awesome time there, met a bunch of our sponsored drivers – all great guys, and saw some really incredible driving. I wish I could handle my car at even a fraction of the level that these drivers can handle theirs. I always think “Man, I’m in the wrong business…” but, then realize, that being a professional photographer is pretty damn awesome also.

Above is a shot of Tanner Foust driving the Rockstar Scion TC… which, with the wide body kit on it, looks pretty awesome I have to say. Below is a shot of Vaughn Gittin Jr.  driving the 2010 Ford Mustang – which is damn impressive to see someone slide such a massive car around a drift course.

I was pretty pleased with a lot of my shots from the weekend. All are shot hand held – no mono pod, and most with a normal lense – not telephoto. I moved back and forth between 1/15 and 1/125 of a second depending on distance to subject, speed of subject, and which corner I was standing on.

Samuel Hubinette took third place is his BF Goodrich Viper – also impressive to see this car flying through the course.

Here’s how I looked most of the day since I didn’t want to breath in all the tire smoke, haha. Woo!

Visit the racing section in my portfolio for more images from the races. I’m actually just about to leave for the Long Beach Grand Prix where I’ll be photographing for the next four days.
Follow me on Twitter for updates on that too!

And sorry for the delay in updates everyone… I’ve had limited access to the web the last week due to work, travel, and the holiday.

Check back throughout the weekend for new photos from the Grand Prix!