Formula Drift: Atlanta.

One of my favorite weekends of all time? Possibly. Met some cool people? Definitely. Awesome Experiences? That’s a given.
I had the oppurtunity last week to attend my first drift event, as well as shoot it for www.klutchonline.com.

My friends and I made the hike down from CT to GA in a dumped Evo X on gram lights. Very comfortable car to ride in. We left at around 10pm Wednesday, and arrived at our hotel in Buford, GA at about 12pm Thursday afternoon. Pat drove non-stop throughout the night (like the boss he is) and only making stops for gas, we made it in relatively good time.

After avoiding almost running out of gas in the middle of NOWHERE (as seen above), the rest of the trip was relatively smooth sailing- sans the run-in with the 5-0 on the backroads in NY about an hour into our trip. After hours and hours of driving, we ended up at the Courtyard Marriot in Buford. Hallelujah.

Note the layer of brake dust on the front wheels. Ridiculous.

After Connor, Pat, Tommy and I finished unpacking the car, we walked in and got our room keys.

The hotel lobby was pretty nice. Off to the left you can see a little bistro thing they had opened during the day and early evening for fresh sandwiches and stuff.

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Vitamin Z and a lot of Concrete.

A week ago I had the pleasure of shooting my friend Nick Nikolov’s MKV GTI. He refinished his wheels in British Racing Green, and did a matching pinstripe on the front grille. He also framed the notch and is now sub-frame on the ground low when aired out. I rode down with him to Fall Show ‘n Go last year, and it was an awesome time. Real laid back guy, with an awesome, diverse taste in cars. After we met up, he had a surprise for me. He had a friend who wanted shots done too, So I said sure, why not. He never told me his friend and an incredibly aggressively stanced 350Z NISMO and was lower than a buried casket. We went down the road to a quarry/mine type thing near Mike’s garage (Owner of the 350Z) and took a few quick shots there.

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Blood, sweat and tears. Emphasis on the blood, switch sweat with shivers, and replace tears with fried inverters.

This past Saturday (3/26/11) I had probably one of the most substantial as well as one of the most painful and costly days of my photography career.
I planned on meeting up with my friend Joey Batista, who owns arguably one of the nicest E30 M3’s stateside. Seriously- this thing is a trophy riding ON trophies…except they’re BBS RS’- which are the holy grail of European wheels. They look good on everything, and everything looks good on them. Check out his website for full details on the car: http://www.joeysm3.com

Now, this day started out well. I had all my equipment accounted for and working. Batteries for both camera bodies were charged, Vagabond II was plugged in and good to go, lenses were clean, flash tubes on all my strobes have been replaced and are 100% functional. The one thing I forgot to do Friday night after work was cut out an additional spot in my Pelican case for my third light which now has a flashtube. My friend Kyle Scheidel of Tallboy Photography was due to arrive at any moment, we were going to pack up, and go meet Joey at his friend’s house. I figured I would cut out the extra spot in the foam really quick and we could still go. THAT was a mistake.

After frantically hacking away at the foam for a few minutes, I noticed you could pull it out and just pull it out of a seperate layer of the foam. I placed the razorblade I was using down next to me, pushed out a cube, then grabbed it- upside down. I didn’t notice this until it was halfway into my finger, however. After pulling out of my finger and getting blood not only on my pants, but the case and foam, followed by the carpet as well, I went over to the sink and ran it under luke-warm water and put pressure on it- as you’re supposed to do.  Kyle got there, we bandaged my finger up, got the rest of the foam cut, and hit the road.

Without the Vagabond to power the lights.

We got off the highway thankfully right near my house, I ran in, got it, put it in the car, and went to meet with Joey.
We ended up coming back to Middletown and went near the Portland bridge- where I shot my friend Jeff’s car. Joey parked it in a GREAT spot right near the bridge so I busted out the lights. I figured I’d just use one strobe for some fill on the dark side of the car and really make the wheels pop and get a little of the Audi Pearl White paint to stand out a bit. I hooked up the light and set it to full power to combat Mr. Sun- who was out in full blast today. I fired a test shot, heard a loud ‘POP’, and looked to my right.

White smoke was pouring out of the top of the inverter like a Chimney in December. My heart sank and the frustration kicked in.

After shrugging it off, Kyle and I decided we’d just use some natural light for these, then find a place with AC power so I could just run extension cords and use the lights that way. With the help of Mr. Sun and Ms. Cirrus we got some nice diffused light from the clouds for a bit to get some GREAT shots.

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Stepping outside with strobes.

Decided to finally take my vagabond II and White Lightning X800 Ultra Zaps outside for some playtime in some BEAUTIFUL mid-high 60 degree weather! Luckily, my good friend Jeff Feola brought up his ’93 Alfa Romeo 164s (very limited italian four door), so we drove around looking for places to shoot it. After an absolutely heavenly experience at F40 motorsports in Portland, CT- we decided to go near the Portland Bridge to take some shots. After having an ironic run in with a speciality exotic shop with not one, not two- but THREE Alfa Romeo Spiders on the lot (a car I’ve been seeking at a good price for about 6 months now) we decided to go right under the bridge and pop some shots out, after getting permission from the owner.

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