What's up everybody! Looks like Suspence Media has started to finally get the ball rolling, the first event coverage of the year will be Formula Drift, Streets of Long Beach! Huge thanks goes out to my boy Joey Redmond for the media passes for Wrecked Magazine, it was a long Saturday of shooting pics and getting slapped by shredded tires all day long. Here's a collection of the best pics I had chosen out of the 1500+ photos I had taken, sit back, put your feet up and scroll through the smokey goodness!
My usual morning instagram check. (Follow me on instagram @thatphotographer) I post daily. :)
Stopped to fill up, grab some coffee and off to Long Beach!
Took me only about 30 minutes to get from Laguna to Long Beach. After a few minutes in line at the media sign up stand I snagged my wrist band and I was off to explore. Just after 5 minutes of walking into the main area, I walked by numerous professional drifters...
The extremely loud GOPRO camero.
Look at those snails!!!
Jr taking off to get on the grid for warm up laps.
I had walked around the map a few times to check out the track, and then I entered into a media zone beyond the fences. I had spent about 30 minutes in the media meeting getting to know all the rules and regulations for shooting the event. After 5 minutes into the meeting they had mentioned that shorts were NOT aloud. ( Of course I was the only one wearing shorts ). Some how I had managed to sneak by the FD guys, get my media passes and bright yellow vest and shoot the ENTIRE day. I was warned twice about it from the regulators, but I said that I would get pants.... and I kept shooting pics.
I was standing at one of the first spots you can go to for media credentials when you cross the big bridge, as the morning meeting was going on we had to pause because of the extremely loud motors echoing through out the building that we had the meeting it. Every time I heard the sound of a screaming V8 and screeching tires I would get anxious to go shoot. Once the meeting was done, I ran to this spot where I was welcomed to two cars running completely sideways 5 feet away from my camera lens at probably 60+ mph. 'll never forget the first sight I saw of drifting that morning, it was an S14 against a 350z. I had gotten to that spot, I heard two cars ripping down the straight away, and then I saw it. The two cars battling around turn 1, completely sideways throwing smoke 20 feet behind them. It was the first time I had seen drifting in person since 2005. I've never had that big of a case of the goosebumps. I was like a little kid in a candy store, but it was more of the case of a photographer with the perfect subject to shoot. haha.
As I made my way down the media zone, there were a few spots where the fence was cut out for us photographers to snap pics easily. The 2nd round of cars came by on the turn 2 and screamed by at even a faster speed. It was early in the morning so a lot of the photographers hadn't arrived or they had set up at a different spot.
More and more cars running in the early morning getting practice rounds in.
VGJR was repping HRE wheels on his insanely loud Mustang, he's definitely one of the more famous drivers out there in FD.
Some of the battles got pretty intense for practice, Matt Powers was ripping it up during the sunrise. The track didn't have much rubber laid down yet, so it was grippy in a few spots resulting in some crazy close spin outs.
More and more cars started making their way to the track, tires warming up and getting more and more angle.
Huge variety of cars this year.
The nissans below were both extremely loud, running V8 motors with straight pipes.
In total, there were 19 rookies running this year.
The new Scion ripping it up.
An SC300 convertible with a shopping cart wing, pushing 1,200 horsepower powered by a 2JZ from a Supra.
Falken Saturn and Powers warming up.
Caught another spin out.
Crazy 240 getting sideways.
Fully carbon fiber Lexus pushing his enemy.
After a solid morning of practice, the final event was about to begin. I walked across the track when it wasn't hot and made my way to the other side to get some different angle photos. Definitely a thick layer of rubber on the track ready for the drifters to destroy.
Made my way over to the pits where once again, not many photographers were aloud. I was kicked out of this area after about 10 minutes of shooting the drivers and their cars up close. I got the pix I needed, so all was good!
Lil different of a design, but pretty damn cool.
Gotta say it's nice to see 240's still running in the game, after all these newer model cars running in the drift series the 240SX will always be a classic drifter car.
Rotiform CRAZY interior!
After being kicked out of the pit area, I ran over to my new spot, made some room for my gear and started snapping away at the first event.
These guys weren't messing around, trying to impress the judges getting as sideways as they can with out spinning out. These two guys below BOTH were involved in a HUGE crash right off the bat, more photos coming soon of the crash.
The Falken mustang giving the wall a nice love tap for extra points.
After a few snaps at the spot, I ran over to the other side of the track at the last turn Peninsula where I was able to get with in a FOOT of the cars as they drifted by. It aloud me to shoot a full zoomed in at 18mm for a crazy wide angle shot. Some of these guys were just killing the clipping points.
Hyundai Genesis killing it throwing up a huge cloud of smoke.
Classic Mazda keeping up running an original Rotary motor.
Back to the other side of the track to get some different angles.
This was an awesome spot, it was right after the main turn where they would heat the tires to the point of just smoking them to death, offering for some insane pictures.
Had the chance to meet the team at AWOL films, they brought out an INSANE camera rig. For those of you who don't know them... they did a lot of the Goldrush and Wagenwerk videos.
After round 1, there was a 2 hour break. It gave me a chance to go photograph all the awesome cars from the Slammed Society car show. Lotta familiar cars here!
My favorite car at the show, this SLAMMED Audi looked so good with the BBS wheels. So clean and so simple.
Rotiforms booth with a flat baby blue evo.
lil homie with some serious swag!
Crazy deep dish on this Z.
These wheels are so simple and they somehow manage to complete the look of this WRX. Definitely one of my favorite cars there at the show.
Damn, that's low.
Some BLQ love on this XB.
Oh man, this car had my heart. I miss my e30, this one had HRE wheels which just completed the entire car making it another favorite whip of mine.
I currently own an IS300, this one was a bit.... much, but hey it had 900 horsepower!
FD's............. weak at my knees for this car.
Vossen wheels on this G37.
Homie MILT Killing it with his OFCR PLZ 350Z.
Checked out a few drift booths.
Another car with HRE wheels, they're killing it this year for FD!
RAUH WELT RWB Porsche, definitely one of the most talked about cars so far this year.
Hey, that car looks familiar!
HUGE tire, it was running an extremely small sidewall too.
Drivers getting interviewed.
Yep, favorite car at the show for sure. FD Rx7's are seriously unique, I would own one in a heartbeat.
Sold out show! Couldn't believe how hard it was to walk during the break. So many people, but it was awesome!
Well, the car was a bit dirty... but no reason to write on it..
More interviews on the big screen before the final race.
As 2:30 approached, I ran over to a spot on the track where the fence was cut, made room for my gear once again and got ready for the final 3 hours of the battle. They had the opening ceremony and the final round was on!
Powering up the crowd!
The cars started up, warmed the tires up and started ripping the track up.
My favorite shot of the day.
ome of the drivers managed to get so close to their opponents, but everybody did an amazing job at driving and the Falken team came out with the win of first place.
A few little bump-intos....
All the photog's with multiple cameras.
I captured this right as the Scion slammed into a wall, causing it to spin out of control. You can see the right side of the body including the wing flexing. The car sat for a few moments, started back up and took off.
Battle for the final podium standings!!
As a few more battles ran, I walked over to the front exit so I could grab a few snaps from a different side of the track. These were the last few I took before I left.
At the end of the day, I had an amazing time. I thought at first going to an event like this alone would just be depressing, but I woke up early, took off on my own, spent the entire day at the track and I had met a TON of great people and photographers. It was a bit hard for me to get the hang of the right settings for shooting a drift event, so many different conditions and settings for getting the perfect photo. But a huge thanks goes out to the ones who helped and I'm extremely happy I didn't have to drive back to Long Beach to put on a pair of pants. :)
Really hope you all enjoyed the photos, it was very time consuming but it was definitely worth the sunburn, shooting time and editing time. Stay tuned for more events for 2012!
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