Formula Drift: Streets of Long Beach 4/12/08

Well, I have to admit, I was kind of excited that the 2008 Formula Drift season finally got started. Drifting events (and maybe soon, Time Attack) are the one time where I’ll go out and spend a whole say shooting pictures. I’ll goof around with the camera at home and whatever, but shooting cars at speed going sideways is a different thing altogether. So when you do nail a good shot, its much more rewarding.

Oh, also its a good reason to buy new photo gear too. 🙂

When Formula Drift was in Long Beach in 2006, I struggled with a 70-200 being long for most photo spots on the track. I tried a 16-35, but that was generally too wide/short. So prior to the 2007 Long Beach event, I bought a 24-70mm f2.8L. That was pretty much all I used this year. If you’re good, you can probably get by with a 70-200mm, even from the inside of the long sweeper. But there’s no way you’d be able to get two cars drifting in tandem unless they were on top of each other. And even then, you’d probably only get 1.5 cars in the frame. So what did I buy this year? Canon 40D 🙂 .. but more on that later.

Anyway, you can check out more of my Formula Drift: Streets of Long Beach pictures on my flickr page: 2008.04.12 Formula Drift: Streets of Long Beach

Photography Tutorials (Food & Flash)

I’ve never really shot food pics.. in fact, its not something I would place high on my Photography To Do list.. but I’ve been asked to shoot some food for a restaurant. I won’t be getting paid, which is fine, since I wouldn’t even consider getting paid unless I was the Ansel Adams of Food, or at least close to it..

So in my search for tips on photographing food, I found a pretty good tutorial. It was originally “started” in October 2007. It looks like there were 4 “classes”. Participants posted pics to a Flickr group for critique. In any case, I found the tutorials pretty informative and useful. Check it out if you ever want to get serious about food photography:

And while I’m on the topic of photography tutorials.. if you ever wanted to learn serious flash photography from a newspaper photographer photojournalist, check out the Strobist.. last I checked, he had a tutorial once per year with a new lesson each week. His basic concept was that as a newspaper photographer, he couldn’t pack a crapload of gear. So he had to work with what he had, which was usually one flash. He explains Light very well. Check it out too if you’re in the checking-out kind of mood: The Strobist.

I’ll add some Food pics to my JAlbum if I have any worth sharing..


I was just checking out Thomas Hawk’s photoblog and saw a post regarding Zooomr. Not knowing what it was, I decided to check it out. Turns out that Zooomr may be the next big thing in photo sharing. It’s part social network, part photo sharing, and part microstock site. The best part about it is that they claim to be the best photo sharing site on the internet right now.. why, you ask?

Zooomr is free. There is no upload limit, bandwidth limit, download limit, file size limit, set limit, or number of photo limits. We believe in no limit photo sharing. We think it’s about the best free photo sharing account you can get right now.

It sounds too good to be true. Most photo sharing sites won’t give you access to your full-sized image without a “pro” account. I just uploaded a few pics and I was able to download my full-sized image. In fact, its very much like Flickr v2.0. It looks and feels a lot like Flickr.. only, it has a lot of features you wish Flickr had. Best part, once again, is that it’s free! Also, with every photo you upload, you have the option of setting a price to license the image (like on microstock sites, like, for example).

Check it out now.. or check out my Zooomr page here. I’m pretty happy that I got ““. My Flickr page is the same, ““. Lucky me.

I’m not going to upload all 120+ gigs of pics I have.. but if Zooomr sticks around, I’ll definitely start using it a lot more. Check it out!

Santiago Fire in Tustin/Irvine

A few days ago, the Santiago Fire (which started in Silverado Canyon or something) got a little too close for comfort. Around 7PM on Sunday, you could see the sky glowing red further down the hill. At that time, I got about 4-5 phone calls in a row asking me how close the fire was. I calmly told everyone the fire wasn’t that close, but that it seemed to have gone away. An hour or so later, a friend called back and asked me if I was sure because the fire looked really close to my house. I went outside and noticed the fire had started burning further up on the hill, closer to our community.

Anyhow, I grabbed my camera and 70-200 lens and ran outside. I was out there for about 2 hours and captured about 120 pictures. I must say that the Image Stabilization was worth its weight in gold for this situation. I didnt want to roll out there with a tripod. I messed around with the metering and exposure compensation. But capturing a bright fire in an otherwise dark neighborhood just isnt going to show that much. But here are a few of the pics that I thought cleaned up nicely. I was shooting ISO 1250 so a little bit of Noiseware Pro went a long way.

This was a close up of the fire on the hill, courtesy of 200mm + 1.6x crop

The fire as it crossed the 261 Toll Road and was making its way to Jamboree. The buildings in the foreground are the Salvation Army Church

The fire, approaching Jamboree

This was the view overlooking Pioneer Road (and Pioneer Road Park). At this point, the fire had already burned down to Jamboree. Most of the cars you see are curious on-lookers.

I submitted one of my photos to NBC4 and it made it into their slide show!

Its actually no big accomplishment, they publish every user submitted photo I think 😆

2007 Formula Drift Finals @ Irwindale Speedway

Rockstar/Nitto Nissan Silvia S15

Originally uploaded by arics

I had the opportunity to go to the Formula Drift Finals this year on a DSport press pass. One cool thing that Formula Drift did this time was to limit “press vests” to magazines only. Meaning, if you weren’t there taking photos for a magazine, you don’t get a press vest. The press vest allowed you to get on the in-field. I think that did a lot to keep the in-field relatively open. In the past, there’d be like 50 people cramped in the confines of 4 concrete barriers. If you didn’t head down to the in-field an hour ahead of time, you weren’t going to get a good spot. During qualifying, there was probably only like 6-8 people on the in-field.

Anyhow, I was pretty excited about going this time since Robbie Nishida qualified 1st out of the non-seeded drivers the day before. Ed was pretty excited about the prospects of the next day’s main event. Robbie ended up qualifying 7th overall, under Rhys Millen, JR, and Tanner Foust (not in that order). Unfortunately, Robbie was too aggressive during the first round against #10 qualifier Bill Sherman and spun out just before the finish line.

Anyhow, this was the first time I’ve seen the Rockstar/Nitto Nissan Silvia S15. And I must say, its my new favorite car in the Formula Drift lineup. The Nissan Silvia S15 is just a nice car, period. Throw on an aggressive color scheme, some wheels and a good ride height and it looks crazy. Prior to this car, I really liked the RS*R Nissan Silvia S15. The white/red color scheme looked really good on that car. In contrast, I’m not too cool with the Hankook Nissan Silvia S15. It just looks old or something. I think its just too black/white and the orange makes it look “dated”.

Anyhow, I think I got a fair amount of decent pics. Here’s one of my favorites so far. I still have a few hundred to go through. But I posted a few on Flickr so far. Check ’em out.