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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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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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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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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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