What a year …
In terms of workload, this year came in like a lion and went out just the same.
From mid-January through December, I don’t think there was a single week I wasn’t with my cameras. From traveling with Street Driven Tour through our third year of nationwide events to shooting my first IMSA races, working on commercial productions, inking editorial features, shooting products, or snapping a couple dozen grassroots events in California and abroad, this year has been a beast.
It’s been a fun year, a tiring year, a year of great people and awesome memories, but I am happy to be leaving it feeling better than when I started, and looking forward to the long and winding road ahead!
Here are some of my favorite moments from the year, and some of what I have planned for next year:
I’ve been shooting enthusiast and grassroots motorsports for a while, but aside from one Pirelli World Challenge race in December of 2016, I’d never ventured into professional sportscar racing.
I finally changed that this past May with a trip to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, TX, for IMSA competition, and after four days of shooting alongside the talented motorsports and media professionals at the very top of U.S. sportscar racing, I was hooked.
Other work kept me away from the bulk of the year’s remaining races, but I did manage to sneak in another IMSA round at a rainy/sunny Watkins Glen in New York, and get out to Laguna Seca and Fontana to shoot some impressive machines from racing’s past.
Simply put: I loved everything about it. Professional motorsports photography will be a priority of mine this year.
Formula Drift, Global Time Attack and some occasional Global Rallycross (none this year, sadly) have long been in my motorsports photography comfort zone, so of course I snagged some opportunities to shoot some of that as well.
For all the excitement that comes with motorsports photography, the planning and polish of commercial productions is something I’ll never tire of.
This year’s commercial work began with an awesome two days in Santa Cruz with expats from Mazda USA and The Enthusiast Network, and led to lots of other fun, productive shooting days for Genesis, Mother’s, Konig, Maserati, Ebay, and others.
Second to professional motorsports, I’m looking forward to partnering with more brands and agencies to produce exclusive automotive photography and copywriting content for their print, digital and social media marketing initiatives in the coming year.
I got my start in automotive photography and copywriting by working as a technical editor and associate editor in the enthusiast editorial world, so shooting and writing features for contemporary automotive titles will always feel close to home.
Some of my favorite features this year were published in Super Street, European Car, and Street Trucks magazines, C10 Builder’s Guide, and in various branded-content publications along the way.
Though the media landscape is changing, as long as automotive enthusiasm continues to grow there will be an increased demand for quality content. And I’ll remain equally enthusiastic about taking on opportunities to produce it.
One of the coolest aspects of working with editorial titles and brands is all the fun events they throw. For as long as I’ve been a freelance photographer and writer, I’ve had the privilege of covering The Enthusiast Network’s popular year-end track events and enthusiast automotive competitions.
This year, that included Super Street magazine’s FF Battle and Show-Car Shootout at California’s Willow Springs Int’l Raceway, their Odd Swaps Challenge and annual Super Lap Battle at Buttonwillow Raceway, and European Car magazine’s Tuner GP across the desert at the über-posh Thermal Club.
While European Car recently announced that it will be transitioning to an exclusively digital format, I hope that leads to working with the TEN teams on more of these experiential activations that have become some of my favorite events of the year.
The budgets may be small, corporate sponsorship scarce and commercial opportunities nil, but enthusiast track events will always be a blast for me to be a part of.
This year capped off three memorable years touring the nation with Street Driven Tour’s entertaining blend of bash-style drifting; took me to more pro-am drifting, racing and show bouts in the South, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest; and included over a dozen trips to local CA raceways, parking lots, show venues, and more.
I’ve made too many good friends along the way to count, and I hope to see them all (and embarrass myself by failing to remember their names) again!
To wrap it up …
There have been many long days, lots of hard work, tons of fun organizing schedules and budgets (sarcasm), but I loved doing it even more than getting it done. And I can’t wait to do it all again.
Here’s to a happy new year ahead for all of us!