The year shot by for me. Seems like yesterday I was heading out to my first event of 2015, and here we are already staring down the throat of the 2016 season. Where did the time go? A dozen shooting days at Laguna Seca. Another dozen more at Race Sonoma (that’s what they call Sears Point now). Formula Drift, Vintage racing, Superbike…the list goes on, and grows longer each year. That’s a good thing. Maybe next year I’ll get over-seas for something. Or at least the East coast. Who knows.
Here are some of my favorite shots from 2015:
AFM racing at Race Sonoma. This was my first time covering an AFM race and I was duly impressed with the organization as a whole. The show on track was equally impressive. This shot is the exit of 3b over the crest. One of my favorite shots at this track, I always try a few no matter what the subject. This shot is my favorite of the year. Because: Bikes (duh), late day sun, that lean, and the shine on those tires.
A late start at Formula Drift in Irwindale meant time to run down to Huntington Beach to catch this impressive October swell. Temps were insane – somewhere in the 90’s – Can’t recall the last time I was there when it was that hot. And this CLEAR! That land mass behind the subject is Catalina! Looks so close you could reach out and touch it.
Matt Field. En Fuego. Believe it or not, this is not the only time Matt Field was on fire this year. This kid is getting closer. His car is always fun to shoot.
Ken Gushi making many smokes. I had never shot from this vantage point at Irwindale. I’ve always wanted to spend more time there, but then I see the guys emerge from behind the fence completely covered in tire debris and smelling like a tire fire. This year I decided to risk it. I really wanted to try, so damn the tire bits and smoke. Glad I gave it a go. My camera gear hates me now, though. It’ll be ok – we’re in counseling.
Ryan Tuerck hates those wheels. I watched Ryan get closer and closer on previous runs. Honestly though, I didn’t think you could get a car this close to a wall at that speed. On purpose, I mean.
Yes, I like to shoot Matts car. What’s not to like, though. Tons of smoke, ridiculous speed and angle. Matt Field definitely knows how to play to the sold out Seattle crowd.
There’s really no place in the World like race mornings on Pikes Peak. I first came to race this mountain in 2004. I hope to go back someday as a competitor, but until then I guess I’m content to shoot there.
The Long Beach hairpin may be a slow corner – but don’t tell that to this Porsche.
Several days of shooting affords you the opportunity to try some weird and wonderful shit. Can’t decide if this one’s weird or wonderful…or just shit.
The Indy Car Paddock at Sonoma was decidedly and rightly somber this year. #badasswilson
McLarens are known to stick like glue, but the crest over three at Race Sonoma lifts even the most efficient track vacuums.
Our friend Justin Wilson makes the summit of Pikes Peak just before the heavens unleashed a great fury of lightning and hail. When I first posted this pic, there was some confusion about which Justin Wilson this is. This is the Justin Wilson from Bellevue, Washington driving his Time Attack Porsche – not the Indy Car driving Justin Wilson that was tragically lost just a couple months later. The two Justin Wilsons did get a chance to meet while racing together at Pikes Peak. We have a photo of that around somewhere.
The moment a Viper and a plow are the same object. Turn 6 at Laguna Seca (the Salinas exit, for those of you that recall) is not forgiving when you miss the apex.
One of my favorite shots in all of motorsport. This is the exit of turn 11 at Laguna Seca. Get it right and you’re on your way to victory. Ass it up and you – well, lets just say you hurt your chances.
Andrew Bohan of Life Blasters rebuilt this old bike. Pretty darn good job for his first attempt. Feature coming in 2016.
This shot is definitely in my top three for the year. Besides the fact that it’s one of the most recognizable liveries on one of the most beloved racing machines of all time – it was just a cool moment for me. To be there to see these great historic vehicles. I’m very lucky. Moments before I shot this photo, I finished a cool interview with super-shooter Camden Thrasher. His feature is coming in 2016, too.
The Porsche Rennsport Reunion is one of the most incredible events I’ve ever attended. If you love the brand, you’d spend your day here just drooling on yourself.
There’s a great spot at Laguna Seca, just below the corkscrew where you can try these shots through the trees. You miss more than you hit…but when you hit, it’s pretty satisfying.
Brian Smith completely owns the Sacramento Mile. And when I say own, I mean five years in a row, own. That’s some pretty big own.
The mile, for me, is the most exciting flat track racing around. Of course I love the action of short and medium tracks, but the mile makes my heart really pound in my chest. Big speeds, and just a flick into the long sweeping corner. It’s pure magic to see it in person.
This change in pitch in this section doesn’t seem this abrupt until you see these superbikes hit it at breakneck speed.
Again, this is one of my favorite shots in motorsport. Look up track and you either see the bitter dissapointment that is your competition crossing the line in front of you, or it could just as likely reveal the wide open spaces of victory.
Daytona can’t come soon enough. For us or them, I’m sure. Pure Sex.
Jonathan Frost climbs from the Palatov at the summit of Pikes Peak. What you see here, in one expression, is relief, joy, excitement and the realization that it’s all over.
Plenty of mechanical grip on these old school track punishers.
The iconc livery is a crowd favorite on any chassis. On a car like this, it’s even better.
Joe Tardiff, Elijah Wright, and Crick Filippi. This trio makes up Team Burn the Most based here in Northern California. Joe and Crick have already earned Formula Drift PRO2 licenses, and Elijah is well on his way. A feature is coming on these guys in 2016, as well. You may have already seen the video interview we did with them back in November 2015.
Here’s Team Burn the Most driving in formation for me on the perimeter road at Race Sonoma. This is the track these boys call home. Drifting here most every Wednesday night for eight months out of the year in the Sonoma Drift series. The scene here is so strong because of the plentiful opportunities to drive and not just at Race Sonoma. There are at least three other series here in NorCal.
At the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, one of the most exciting places to stand is at the exit of the curve that winds it’s way past the fountain at the aquarium. The shooting hole is right on the exit, so you’re literally a foot away from a screaming Indy Car full on the throttle at corner exit. I’ts really a remarkable vantage point. And tough on your hearing if you forget your ear plugs.
There’s a parking garage that offers some pretty interesting views during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. A fairly large group of shooters can be found here during the race week trying their hand at this difficult panning shot. Funny angle, and an even funnier arc, I missed more shots than I got here. A few of my friends fared much better. I’ll try again in a few months.
Looking forward to a busy and productive 2016.