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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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American Le Mans 12 Hours of Sebring w/ Falken Tire

I love Florida. I used to live there… years ago. And I don’t get back nearly as much as I would like to.
But last weekend I was back out in the Sunshine State for the 12 Hours of Sebring – the kickoff to the 2012 American Le Mans racing season. I was shooting for Falken Tire.

It’s been a month since I’ve posted a new blog. I’m so incredibly behind on updates, and I feel terrible about it. I know there are quite a few people out there who do read my blogs and are genuinely interested in my stories. Over the last month, in addition to shooting more Supercross for Falken, I have also worked with several models on different shoots as well as a full shoot with the Budweiser Girls in Orange County. I should probably create blogs with those photos for everyone, too.

But, anyway, I know thousands of people follow my work between Twitter and Facebook, and knew I was out in Sebring for a little race photography.

Ok. Let’s be real. It was a LOT of race photography. I was there to make sure that Falken had plenty of images from the race of their brand new 2012 Porsche on the track. I spent about four days with the Falken crew between traveling and shooting. I always enjoy the chances I have to work with their team. They’re amazing people. I was particularly interested in meeting their ALMS race team. I had been in loose contact with someone who handles their @FalkenALMS twitter feed. Whoever it was was someone that was very interactive – a trait you RARELY see from industry people. Turned out it was their PR Rep, Kelly. She’s awesome if you ever meet her.

I also got the chance to see two of their models again; Brittney and Melanie were both their to support the team this past weekend. I hadn’t had a chance to see Melanie since our shoot in Malibu several months ago – and this was the first opportunity I would have to get her to sign my poster. Haha! Brittney and I saw each other at Supercross. So now, after this trip, I have my poster complete! Silly things like getting signatures from models on pieces of my work mean a lot to me.

Most of my weekend was spent on foot though. I was walking around the track numerous times trying to get an idea of the corners and locations. I had never been to Sebring so I wasn’t familiar with the layout. The downside to all the walking was the 30+ pounds of gear I was carrying. On the one hand I could have left most of it in the rig at the paddocks. On the other hand I was out at two or three hours at a time and rather have all my stuff with me so I wouldn’t have to keep leaving the track.

I had an amazing time out at Sebring. I took a bit of video, too. I was hoping to do some behind the scenes type clips to show everyone what it’s like to see the race how I see it. However with all the gear I was already carrying it was too much to also try and get video and I didn’t come home with as many clips as I would have liked.

I shot over 2,500 photos over the weekend. I threw out 500 or so yesterday. And from the remaining I made a selection of about 60 to share with you guys below. So, click past the break… check out my weekend at the races.

Oh, and I promise I’ll get back on top of my blogs in the next week and have an update for you guys with other recent work of mine.

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Falken Tire 2012 Promo Model Poster Shoot

The 2012 Falken Tire Promo Model poster has been released! And that means I’m allowed to share additional photos from the shoot with everyone that I created for Falken Tire and their 2012 season!

For those who read my previous blog about the Behind the Scenes from this shoot, you’ll recall that I mentioned the goal of the entire day was the image above. Basically we arrived first thing in the morning – before sunrise – and shot all day until sundown. And then, after 12 hours of shooting we created the image we came for – the poster shot. Seriously. The image we spent so much time planning for was created in the last five minutes of shooting. And was also one of the last 10 photos or so I made with the girls.

But it was worth it. The long day. The lack of food (on my part. I forgot to eat most of the day since I was so busy running around that TJ had to make me stop and take five minutes to eat something at the catering table). I look at photos of me at the end of the day and laugh because I look exhausted.
I did at least 17 shoots that day working with each of the models multiple times and in several locations with many different lighting setups. Everything worked out incredibly well. Falken had a very  aggressive set of goals to complete that day and I’m very proud to say that we met all of them! During the time we weren’t working on group shots the models were in hair/makeup and whoever was ready with their next look would be sent over to shoot individuals.

The individual shots we created are mainly for use on the models profile pages since they’re in no way related to tires or the automotive industry, haha! But part of the reason this location was selected for was for wide variety of looks that could be created around the property.
I had the oh-so-difficult assignment of poolside bikini and exercise photos. Wow. Rough location. Haha!
Throughout the middle of the day and afternoon the girls would be switched out with me to shoot around the infinity pool with all the mountains in the background. Gorgeous. I could easily see why so many magazine shoots are done at this location with this pool.

A second concept for the poster was a composite idea I was asked about. There was some question to the feasibility of doing this shot with six girls and making the shot work at the venue. The one thing there wasn’t much of was large open space and walls. We selected the three-car garage doors as the best spot to create a six-photo composite extra-wide style poster. I think it came out pretty damn good, actually.

Each girls was shot with the same style lighting and power adjusted according to the background, skin tone, or wardrobe. But overall it worked great. I may print a large version of this just for the sake of seeing how it looks. But, the version I’m looking at right now on my 27in screen looks pretty awesome!

Ultimately the pool shot was used for the poster – which is perfect since that was the original idea and goal anyway.

Click the break for a ton of additional photos of the girls… since I know that’s what you’re really here to see.

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Falken Tire Girls 2012 – behind the scenes

The Falken Tire 2012 Promo Girls poster is near release and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share some of the Behind the Scenes photos from the project.
I had an incredible opportunity at the end of last year to work directly with Falken on this. I was contacted and asked about possibly tackling this large scale – and very important – photoshoot for the company. After everything was made official we started the planning phase for a quickly-approaching shoot date.

The ultimate goal for the project was to create their 2012 Promo Model Poster with all six girls. We took the girls away from the track/race scene for something different, stylish and sexy. After budget discussion, location selection, and dates solidified it was time to really crack down and get things moving. Our shoot was right after Thanksgiving and there was plenty to get working on.
I was required to bring two assistants – it would be better to have too much help than not enough for a project of this size. And I’m sure all of you are thinking “Yeah, cuz it would be terrible to hang out on set with a bunch of models all day”. But I needed two experienced people on hand that I knew would be great. I brought TJ down from San Francisco. He has 10 years experience with lighting and set work and who has also helped me on multiple shoots over the last few years and understands my style and how I shoot. David came up from Orange County as my other assistant. I met David working on weddings and he has an incredible knowledge of photography and wealth of experience to bring to this setting.

Our shoot day started early.. EARLY. A 430am call time is never fun, but it’s part of the job. Overall the entire day went great. There were a few hiccups along the way as could always be expected, but we still made sure to get everything taken care of that we hoped to complete. I was able to create a ton of amazing images with all the models. And both myself and my team had an awesome time working with Falken and their crew. The models, Julie Galindo, Mayra Tinajero, Olivia Korte, Melanie Tillbrook, Brittney Leigh, and Randyl Dawn were all awesome. And thank you all for putting up with me having trouble with your names all day… having six new models with a new hairstyle/outfit every time I saw them throughout the day definitely screwed with my head. Haha!

Ok, so… on to the photos! I’ll stop rambling and simply post captions…

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