Monterey Car Week officially starts this week on Friday, as the Pre-Reunion at Laguna Seca starts up for the drivers who need some practice before the big weekend! There’s a HUGE amount of events coming up over the week too. The Mecum Auctions in Monterey, The Concorso Italiano, Exotics on Cannery Row, and Pebble Beach are all happening next week, and I have no idea how I’m going to go to them all! Of course, I’ll be going to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion; I haven’t missed one since I came to the Bay Area!
This year, we’ll all be celebrating the racing history of Nissan (or Datsun depending on how old the cars are!), and some of the cars from the various racing periods the Japanese car maker participated. The Nissan ZX-Turbo GTP car will be at the track again as one of the showcase cars, as well as the ex-Paul Newman Datsun 280ZX Turbo and the legendary Nissan 300ZX Turbo driven by Steve Millen. And of course, who can forget the Brock Racing Engineering Datsun 510? Pete Brock will also be present at the Reunion, so I’ll see if I can get a photo!
I’ve decided I’m going to make some changes to this blog!
So far, I’m thinking about consolidating my separate store for prints with this blog, so that potential buyers won’t have to be redirected outside of the site. Before, I was using Visual Society to sell some of my photos, but to be honest, I’ve only made a handful of sales since last year. Convincing people to buy a print is harder than pulling teeth sometimes!
The plan now is to have a dedicated store right here on the same site where visitors can buy and download digital copies of some of my work, for personal or commercial use. This would be a great way to advertise some of my services as a Freelance Photographer too! Imagine being able to make your own prints of one of my epic shots from Laguna Seca!
Here are some other things I’m considering:
More articles and stories: I’m always off on some random adventure, whether it’s driving a new road, visiting a new place, or attending another car show; I’d like to write about it more. I’m pretty sure I’ve got more than a few things to write about! I’d also like to write about cars that interest me, like strange and random one-offs and prototypes that never made it past the pre-production stage.
VIDEOS: I recently just upgraded my WordPress account, so now I can host videos! I’ve got plenty of videos I’ve never shared outside of my Instagram!
Adspace: I know, not everyone likes ads. Hell, I almost never turn off my Ad Blocker when visiting other sites. I’ve got to keep the lights on somehow though, and selling adspace on the site is a manageable way to do it. I promise there won’t be any weird stuff. Unless you’re into that. I’m not judging :).
Blackhawk is officially over: Last month the former show-runner for Blackhawk Cars and Coffee Tim McGrane left the Blackhawk Museum and joined the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula as their new CEO. Without him running things, and with the problems they were having since last year, the Blackhawk Museum decided it was the curtain call for the now-legendary gathering. It was such a shame too; where else could you see pre-war sports cars mixing it up with a stanced Subaru BRZ?
Canepa may be following Blackhawk: There are rumors abound that Canepa might be ending its bi-monthly Cars and Coffee event simply because it’s gotten too big for its venue. While that makes sense, I hope they decide to find another place to host it instead of outright closing the gathering down. However, now there are other options…
Monterey Cars and Coffee has become The Laguna Seca Cars and Coffee: with Blackhawk canceled and Canepa one foot in the grave, this new gathering is poised to become the biggest thing since Betty White! And with the newly-minted SCRAMP CEO Tim McGrane calling the shots, its poised to get even bigger. The last show I went to even broke 400 cars; and this was during a track day!
I have officially ascended: I am now the proud owner of a 2003 Mazda Miata Shinsen Version. And it has a stick! Now I can actually participate in shows! Still need to fix it up though…
New Job: I got a new job, so now I’ll be able to post more often instead of getting home at odd hours of the night and not having the energy. This is great, because I’ll need the energy for the next Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and the Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI!
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been attending and event or two almost every weekend! Imagine how many photos I have to sort through! Aside from that, I’ve been making a few changes too. Here’s a short list of updates for you!:
I started becoming much more active on Instagram since it’s pretty easy to use and update. In addition to being able to share my photos from my Flickr account directly into Instagram, I could also use my phone to snap pictures and share them whenever I feel like it. Especially since I have a decent camera and access to photo editing software on my phone!
I’ve just updated the Events Calendar with some of this year’s gatherings. It used to be much easier to just follow events from my personal Facebook page and then export everything to an .ical file, but now I have to copy events from the Facebook events feed manually into the Corkscrew’d Calendar in order for the site’s calendar to update. At least now I’ll be a little more active on the Event’s Calendar!
I’ve reapplied with the Western Automotive Journalists as an associate member! I did this last year in order to get press access to the Spring Classic at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I’m hoping that I’ll get press access again for a lot more events this year!
Also, I’ve been adding more projects in the portfolio since I last made a blog post:
In February I attended the February 18th Orinda Cars and Coffee and shot some awesome pictures using one of the vintage lenses in my arsenal. I should probably see about getting that stuck aperture fixed at some point!
On March 10th, I high-tailed it down to Laguna Seca to check out the Monterey Cars and Coffee happening right on the lake bed! It was something to be walking around and taking pictures of some cool machines while a practice session was happening at the same time! I’ll definitely be going back!
This past Wednesday I attended the 26th Annual WAJ Media Days and even got my photos published! On top of that, I got several chances to ride in a car around the track! It was literally my first time out on the racetrack, so it is definitely something I’m not going to forget! Especially considering that my first time out, I was riding in a Mercedes-Benz AMG GT-R!
That’s about it for now. I’m planning on having a much busier season this year, so stay tuned for more of my adventures!
Though the Bay Area is known for it’s combination of rich history and the constant process of technological innovation thanks to Silicon Valley, it’s almost unsurprising that automotive culture here has flourished for decades. I say this, because one would not be surprised due to the amount of incredible driving roads nearby.
Thanks to the Santa Cruz Mountain range separating the coast from the Santa Clara Valley, there are plenty of roads where motorcyclists and automotive enthusiasts can take out their vehicles and enjoy cresting straights, banked curves, and switchbacks. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see sports cars with decals showing outlines of some of these famous driving roads; not unlike surfers having decals of their favorite beaches stuck onto the rear windows of their vans.
I consider myself very lucky that I get to drive one of these roads on a regular basis!
Hecker Pass Highway is part of California State Route 152, which goes from the Coastal Highway entrance in Watsonville to State Route 99 near Chowchilla. The highway is a low mountain pass which goes through the Santa Cruz mountains and over Mount Madonna, terminating in downtown Gilroy. Featuring banked curves, quick switchbacks, and incredible views of the Watsonville farmlands and the Pacific Coast, the most notable landmarks on the pass are the Mt. Madonna State Park, and the old Mt. Madonna Inn, which has unfortunately been closed since the early 90’s. Having not taken out my camera for a while, I felt that the old Inn might be a great place to practice some long-exposure photography of passing cars.
I managed to convince a friend to come with me and check out the view from the fenced-in hotel at the top of the mountain before we went on to do something else that night, and both of us stood and watched as darkness fell over the mountain the the bright lights of passing cars left trails in the camera’s viewfinder.
Though we didn’t stay for long, I did manage to get a few arresting images of passing cars just as they came around the final corner toward the Inn and started descending the mountain. Though we could have stayed there a little bit longer, the combination of the cold and a previous engagement meant we had to high-tail it back down the mountain and into Santa Cruz. Just as well; apparently the old Inn is supposed to be haunted, and I didn’t want to stick around for too long and find out.
There are other spots that I would love to set up a camera and take some pictures of the lush trees and the winding road. I’ll just have to figure out where I could do that safely away from the daily traffic.
In the meantime, enjoy these long-exposure shots of passing traffic at the old Inn.
Note: I wanted to try something different since the automotive season is a little slow thanks to the winter months. I actually thought about writing posts about some of my favorite driving roads for a while now, so I figured I’d give it a shot with one my regular routes. Maybe this will become a regular series as I explore a little bit more. Stay tuned!
These last couple of weeks have been absolutely hectic!
I’ve started a new job, traveled to a few new places, and I’ve even made some progress on a side project I’ve been working on! But, I’m still dedicated to capturing automotive culture in the Bay Area, which is why I’m happy to announce two new photo collections!
Recently, The Blackhawk Museum hosted it’s Cars and Coffee Season Finale in Danville. This show was to be a very last show of it’s kind, with the Museum starting a new format next year in the hopes that the show can be saved. The new format will include paid entrance fees, and a strong push to sign on new members for the Museum, with many different perks being offered.
Last weekend also ended up being a pleasant adventure, as the Mini Owners Club of America and The Blackhawk Museum sponsored the All British Motor Show, a smaller car show featuring beautiful examples of British Motor Cars. It also ended up being the very first time I had ever seen a Marcos in person, let alone three at once!
On Sunday September 3rd, I did a quick trip to check out the monthly Blackhawk Cars and Coffee meet in Danville CA. It was a lot of fun, despite me arriving late to the event!
You can check out the photos by clicking the link to the gallery at the bottom of this post!
And now for the bad news:
Rumors are spreading about the City of Danville no longer wanting the Blackhawk Museum to host the monthly Cars and Coffee event. Although speculation is all over the place regarding the exact reasons why, it is widely believed that the reason for this is because of safety concerns from the local police department regarding exhibitionists bombing through residential neighborhoods at excessive speeds and creating unacceptable noise pollution.
After asking around a bit, I managed to find out a little bit more about the situation: In addition to the Police Department’s concern, the Danville City Council is also citing concerns regarding lost revenue for Blackhawk Plaza when the event is in full swing and regular customers cannot find parking. Pressure from both the City Council and the City’s Police Department could mean that, unless a resolution could be reached (such as mandatory noise restrictions, stronger police presence, and even relocating the event behind the Plaza), Blackhawk Cars and Coffee’s days may be numbered.
Let’s hope that the City of Danville and the Blackhawk Museum could work something out. If not, it will be a sad day for enthusiasts not just in the Bay Area, but nationwide.
Sorry for the long wait between posts; I was too busy editing and publishing photos!
Monterey Car week came, went, and provided some unbelievable opportunities for capturing the most valuable and incredible pieces of automotive history on camera! Thanks to a few friends as well, I was able to get closer to the action than ever before!
First, I was able to secure press access to the 2017 Mecum Monterey Auctions in Monterey California. For the first two days of the auction, I was in the middle of all the action as some very desirable cars and motorcycles crossed the auction block in front of me! Imagine being mere feet away from a beautiful 1957 MV Agusta while some very wealthy people bid on it!
After I finished at Mecum, I made my way toward the automotive event of the year: The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion! Thanks to a few friends and a lot of luck, I was able to not only camp out at the racetrack above Turns 10 and 11, but I was able to get a photo vest for shooting inside the racetrack! This was the first time I was able to get this close to the action at RMMR 2017, and as a result, I managed to capture some incredible shots of vintage race cars in their natural element! Imagine being close to a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testarossa as it crested the Corkscrew, or having to cover your ears as a four-rotor Mazda RX-7 GTO screamed by!
Finally, because of happenstance I was able to get a small preview of the Concorso Italiano 2017. I more or less crashed the Concorso to get up-close and personal with some incredible vintage Italian machinery, including the Fiat-Abarth 750 Zagato, and the beautiful Lamborghini Miura!
This year’s Monterey Car Week was one I’ll never forget. Come check out the new galleries, and see what it was like being right in the thick of it!
This week is going to be another one for the history books, as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is getting ready for the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion! This year’s Reunion will be special, as the racetrack will be celebrating its 60th Anniversary, and will feature the race cars that first raced at the track in 1957!
In addition, the Mecum Auctions will be in Monterey starting tomorrow at 1pm, until Sunday, Aug 20th. The Mecum Auctions provide another excellent chance to see some incredible machinery! This weekend will be so chock full of automotive events that it will be difficult for someone to split their time between them for fear of missing out on anything!
Lastly, I managed to once again attend the monthly Blackhawk Cars and Coffee on August 6th, and came face to face with not one, but two Ford GT40 Replicas! Blackhawk seems to be getting bigger and bigger every time I attend!
This past Sunday made for a great opportunity to gawk at the current trends in the automotive enthusiast world at the All That Slamness Car Show 2017! Focusing more on imports and tuners than the typical classic and muscle car fare, All That Slamness 2017 was an interesting break from the norm, and made for some interesting photo opportunities with some truly unique rides!