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


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!

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


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…


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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Long Beach Grand Prix w/ Falken Tire

Rain. Lots of it. And honestly, I wish it lasted all weekend.
Don’t get me wrong – shooting in the rain can be a pain in the ass. We had FOUR cameras go down among our team this past weekend. BUT THINK OF THE PHOTOS!! Personally I would have been ok with rain all weekend and would have suffered through it for the sake of incredible photo opportunities. But (un)fortunately the sun came out on race day and it was a typical SoCal race event. Oh well. Haha!

Last weekend was the second race of the 2012 American Le Mans season – and this time we were in Long Beach, California. I was brought back on board again with Falken Tire for Round 2 of the series – and I was thrilled to be there. They’re an amazing team, and the second time shooting anyone is always easier because it’s more of a “oh, it’s John” reaction to me walking around and not “who’s that guy… should he be here?” Haha!

And I know I promised you readers photos of the Budweiser girls in my last blog. And I know I haven’t posted a new blog since Sebring and the ALMS event there. I’m sorry. But I AM shooting seven more of the Bud girls tomorrow – til then you can see lots of their photos of my Facebook Fan page here.

But anyway, back to that bad weather I was talking about…

(click the break to read on)
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Upcoming Video, by

Check out this quick preview of an upcoming video by DJ Drizzle, of of my shoot with Crazy Mike from
Me and Crazy Mike rocked two different shoots recently in Venice Beach and Long Beach. This video shows clips from the Long Beach shoot. I’m looking forward to seeing the final product and hoping that it may have a bit of the night shooting from the Venice shoot.

This also reminds me that I’ve been wanting to start making clips like this of other shoots I do. Maybe I’ll start bringing an assistant to tag along and at least get a few shots with a Flip cam or something. Then again, when am I going to find time to edit video? Haha!

Hope everyone’s holiday is going great!
I’m still in Bay Area, but I will be headed home to Socal in a few more days.

I will have a year-end update later this week, I think.

Long Beach Grand Prix

I just spent four days shooting the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix… it rocked.

I’m not going to lie… it was damn hot, fairly crowded at times, loud of course, somewhat disorganized, and at times it was even boring… But it was a lot of fun overall.
I was there to cover various race teams and some drivers that we sponsor, and as it was my first time out to the Grand Prix I tried to meet some photographers that have shot there to give me a few pointers about what to and not to do.
Actually, I even bumped into one of my favorite photographers there, Dustin Snipes, who does incredible work with lighting and sport portraiture. Check him out at

I’m currently uploading nine different images to my portfolio. I’m going to continue to go through the rest and possibly swap out some images in the week ahead.

And check out this shot… come on, that’s fun, right? Haha, I think I just like the reflection of the fire in the wing…

I also have the AMA Motocross races coming up this weekend to shoot. So, I’ll be busy for another couple weeks. I’m hoping that next month I’ll be able to start back on my fashion projects. I had a number of things lined up before all the race seasons kicked off.
Although it is pretty amazing to be too busy right now… not many people can say that.

So, go check out the Racing section of my portfolio.

And check back this weekend for Motocross…

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!