AutoWeek

So for a few years I was a contributer to AutoWeek magazine. I shot photos and wrote articles for the Pikes Peak Hill climb. It was a very fun gig and I really enjoy that race, but eventually I had to give it up. I just have to many things on my plate and I needed to ease back a bit.

Steve Bennett from Martini racing at Devils Playground

One of my first articles for AutoWeek is one that I am most proud of. I was able to write for them with no restrictions. My article was just what I wanted it to be and although I felt that I could have expanded it a bit, it is an article that I would like to save. So take a moment and read this if you have a chance. I’d love to hear feedback, but I also just want to share it.

AutoWeek Link

Pikes Peak Hill Climb Test and Tune

Every year there is at least one test and tune day for drivers up on Pikes Peak. Drivers head up and shell out some cash to be able to run the mountain for two mornings well before the mountain opens for normal traffic. In recent years this has been more and more important with more and more of the mountain turning into paved roads.

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This year I organized a group of drivers and we are planning on doing a small video project. The project will involve 4 teams and each team will be running cameras on their car. We will have some cameras on the mountain as well and in the end we should have a pretty cool video! Since a couple drivers were heading down to the practice day I threw a camera on Spencer Steele’s car to let him play with the camera and check out the video that it is able to record. Spencer was also worried because having a big block motor putting out serious horsepower bolted straight to a tube chassis, well it is a bit to much for any camera he has used before, so he was worried that this one may not hold up. I was curious as well, so we bolted it up and tried it out.

His second run of the morning resulted in this video. Of course there is a bit of crap on the lens, but check it out.

Golden Super Cruise

I’m a bit of a fake car guy. I have a great appreciation for cool and creative things done with cars. I have a huge appreciation for the amount of work that goes into bringing a car back from a rusty heap to a shiny show car but I have hardly any ability when it comes to working on the mechanics of a car.

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With that being said, I really do enjoy seeing what people have built for themselves. There is a lot of vision that goes into building some of these cars and going to the Golden Super Cruise is a great way to see the fruits of their labor.

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If you don’t know what the Super Cruise is, check out their site. http://www.goldensupercruise.com/
I would describe it as a HUGE car show that is pretty informal and everyone shows up and just appreciates cars. The Crowds are huge and the variety of cars is equally as large. People line the streets to watch the cars cruise by. Cars are parked in every parking lot along the street. Hundreds of cars, possibly over a thousand, they are everywhere and they are cool!

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I have always had a desire to restore a car, but I have never really had the time or cash for that project at the same time. A bigger concern of course is, what do you build! I mean, you can go with the tried and true Cobra, that is pretty much the coolest car ever, right?

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But the problem with that is, everyone has a cobra, it just isnt unique at all. So there are of course muscle cars, they are all over the place and I do really love a good cuda, but I don’t need a huge horsepower monster, plus where would I put that thing!

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There are the unique collectors as well, but most of them I like, but don’t really want. Plus they are typically so desirable that I couldn’t afford them anyway.

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And there are the Rat Rods and hot rods, but they are becoming so cookie cutter to me. Everyone seems to have this “unique” thing to it but they seem to follow a style to closely.

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I have in the last few years started thinking more and more about a 30′ ford 4 door. Something that lends to its vintage but that has a bit of style to it too. Think of a bonnie and clyde kinda car or an old school gangster car but lowered a bit with some kickback wheels, but not quite so kickback that they are spoked. Vintage interior, but not old just true to the era.

This car was as close as I could find. The exterior was perfect (maybe a bit to much red for my taste however) these cars came in BLACK, so I’d keep it black. A bit lower on the front, a bit more aggressive all around. The wheels are great, the interior was a bit to modern for me, but overall it is a subtle car that I almost walked by until I really looked at it.

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I would consider chopping maybe 1 inch out of the top to be fairly subtle, and doing a light tint on the windows too. (I know it is a modern touch) but think I’d do a very traditional interior with only a few modern design upgrades. Overall though I think that is a great car! So who wants to buy me a 32 ford 4 door so I can get started?

High Plains Raceway

As the final rivet went into the front aero package at around 3:00 in the morning on Dave and Allison Kern’s Evo I was anticipating heading out to the track the next day to see how my wing mounts held up. Dave was planning a test session out at the track and I decided to tag along and see if everything went as planned with the wing that I had just modified to work.

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After a late night it was a bit difficult to wake up in the morning so I didn’t actually get started until about 10:00 and I didn’t end up getting to the track until after noon. That wasn’t all that important however, the important part was the Evo was heading out on its first laps. Dave was going to run the first laps with just the front aero setup to see how the car felt before he put the big wing on. On his first lap he had some clutch issues so he came in to diagnose them. Everything that he could think of was not working and I am no help in that department…so I began wandering around. There was plenty to see the place was packed so I figured I’d check out a few cars.

As this was going on a big race trailer showed up. The wrap on the trailer drew everyone in. Classics, old school racing cars, formula cars etc. I was really curious what was going to roll out of that thing. as the rear door went down they didn’t disappoint. This thing had a 30’s Bugatti and a 50’s Talbot Lago! Combined, assuming these are pretty original cars, these two cars were worth in the neighborhood of $4 million dollars. I can assure you that all the other cars that were there that day (probably 40 more cars) would not have added up to the value of these two.

www.highmountainclassics.com

They rolled out the cars and began prepping for the day and their little pit spot was a magnet for car guys. I stopped by and chatted with the guys. They were very cool and very interested in showing off the cars. The guys were from High Mountain Classics, which is a restoration shop primarily for Vintage French vehicles. The owner of the shop was there, one of their fabricator/restorers and one of the vehicle owners was there. They were testing the vehicles in order to head to Sears Point next week.

www.highmountainclassics.com

www.highmountainclassics.com

I had a chance to chat with the guys for a while when another trailer pulled up and a 1960 Ferrari 250 SWB emerged from the back of the trailer. Wow! Another half million dollars in car just showed up!

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I had a chance to chat with the owner for a bit and he was very interested in talking about the car. It sounded as though he did all his own work on the car as well which is definitely pretty cool with a car like that as well.

My day was balanced between spectating the cars and checking in with Dave to see if there was anything I could do to help, but at one point a small blue car rolled up… I had never seen one of these before.

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The owner said that it was a British sports car and he even said the name, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. I do know that it starts with a G and if you can tell me I’d love to know. This car was so small but the lines of the car were beautiful! It made me reconsider my Seven idea and consider building something like this instead!

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Out on the track these cars were great to watch as well. Seeing a 1930’s Bugatti mixing it up with some guy in a Corvette that is blowing every turn was just a strange sight to take in. When you see an 80’s camero following a 1950 Talbot Lago Formula 1 car…well that is pretty interesting as well.

www.highmountainclassics.com

www.highmountainclassics.com

www.highmountainclassics.com

www.highmountainclassics.com

It was a fun day out there, unfortunately Dave never got the car running so he had to head home to pull the motor and trans out of his car… Next week hopefully, the evo will be ready to tear it up again!

Hells Belles at the Fox

It has been several years now that I have shot Hells Belles. It started off with a simple phone call and after I showed them my first shots I have been shooting many of their local shows ever since. I like the challenge of using the “natural” light of a venue. Some venues are definitely more of a challenge than others and some lighting tech’s are more challenging than others.

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The Belles are always good fun to shoot and they really do put on a great show! I hadn’t shot them for about 2 years when I finally got a new camera recently and figured it was time to stretch its legs! So how about we see what I got!

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Check out that guy smiling…kinda seems out of place doesn’t he?

Anyhow, The new camera is great, sharp pix. I find it to seem a bit less sensitive than my old camera, so I find that I have to shoot a bit lower shutter speed. I also think it really soaks up the reds a lot. so I may have to adjust a bit to that, overall i’m fairly satisfied with the results.

Here are a few favorites from the past several years with the old 1DMKII
Jamie

Jamie

Jamie

Adrian

Jamie

Adrian

Adrian

Anyhow, if you have never seen the Belles, check them out. They put on an amazing show and it is always worth the price of admission! Hells Belles Website

From Locost to Lemon

How nice it would be to have all the time in the world to be able to pursue all of the projects and attend all the events that I would like to do! Well, I headed out to check out some friends who were in the midst of their own projects. I’d say these are inspirational experiences really because I would very much like to pursue some of these possibilities in the future.

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Locosts

John Grimberg has been telling be about this car he wants to build, this has been an ongoing conversation actually. He brings this up periodically and then convinces himself that he is perfectly satisfied with his track ready Miata. It turns out that there was a meeting of Lotus Sevens at a friend of John’s house. The meeting was during the day and I had to work, but I was able to get over to see the final cars before they left.

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John’s friend Skip owns the blue Caterham. His has a Miata motor and is running around 300hp at the wheels. That doesn’t sound like a lot, however you have to keep in mind that these cars weigh no more than about 1400lbs. That is pretty much half the weight of a current sports car. So this car needs much less power to be able to accelerate like a current sports car! Skip’s car is capable of about 0-60 in 3.5-3.7 seconds and 0-100 in only 7 seconds! It is brutally fast at only 300hp! He took me for a spin to see what it was like.

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Now, I feel like I should explain a bit. Lotus introduced the seven in 1957 and designed it by their company philosophy of performance through weight savings. When they stopped producing the car in 1972 a company called Caterham licensed the design and has produced them ever since. Kits have been developed and there seem to be a lot of different variations on the design at this point. There are now blueprints available that allow home builders to create their own car. When people do this they need to modify the design to accommodate their engine and transmission, however the design is pretty all inclusive so it makes this a reasonable vehicle to build if you decide that you want to build a car. These home built cars are referred to as Locost’s (said Low-cost) and there is quite a following including a build forum as well as books and variants.

So after checking this thing out all I could think is “I could do that!” So I have been talking to John and reading other peoples build logs and trying to figure out how I could justify this to myself. How do you justify spending a year to build your own car!? We will see, I now have a lot of ideas and I would love to build one, but I need to make sure I sort out the budget and the plan first so I don’t end up with a pile of steel in my garage that isn’t able to go anywhere!

Lemons
Today I stopped the Ghetto Motorsports complex. Jeff, Ian, Alan and Kirk were there and they were working on their 1980 Mazda. They bought the car for $100 and have been racing it in LeMons races. These races are a play off the 24 hours of Le mans. The goal of the racing is to race a car that is purchased for less than $500. Safety equipment can be added but you have to be ready to either have your car destroyed by vote or purchased for $500 at the end of the race. Often these cars have themes and the racing is filled with repairs and contact. This car has gone through several motors and trackside repairs are typically pretty involved when they happen. This is racing that is affordable and it is racing that is open to anyone who has a place to hide a crappy beater car from their neighbors when they aren’t racing it. Turns out these guys have that. They are racing this weekend down in Pueblo with 5 drivers and two 7 hour races. To be honest it is pretty impressive to think that this car can run for 7 hours straight!

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So now of course I think to myself, “well, I have $100 dollars…maybe I should consider something like this!” Of course, time is the problem on this one. Just like everything all these events are on the weekend and of course…guess who works on the weekends currently… Hopefully I can figure something out, because that looks like a lot of fun.

Photo contest aka: taking photos the old school way.

Whenever I get a new toy it rejuvenates my excitement for that activity. So recently when I got my new camera I decided that I should participate in some of these little photo contests that I stumble upon. I participate in a few automotive forums. I am sure that doesn’t come as a surprise if you have read my posts! One of them holds a monthly Photo contest, it is pretty low key and seemed like a nice motivator to get out and take some photos. So the March contest was posted and I began putting together ideas.

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The March contests title is “2 Miles.” The goal is to take a photograph within 2 miles of your house using any camera, but no additional photo editing. So no photoshop and no touching up! This is a bit of an interesting twist for me. I shoot primarily in RAW, which is also known as Digital Negative. This mode generally requires you to make the color adjustments in post. So now I have delved into the world of in camera color adjustments, sharpness adjustments. In addition the contest requires you to include in your photo your mode of transportation.

I guess I should explain why I use RAW. In my mind when you are shooting photos, there are times when something happens that is unexpected. When you are shooting film those times always look better in B&W when you were shooing color and they always would have looked better in color when you are shooting B&W. So RAW give you an unmolested color profile that you can turn into the color that Velvia film provided or you can desaturate it to the perfect B&W and you never have to compromise. In addition to that you get a lot more information, the files are uncompressed so you have a lot to work with. To give you an example the JPG files from my new camera average around 6 megabytes and the RAW files average 21 megabites! That is a huge difference in the amount of information that they provide!

There is one primary difference between shooting RAW and shooting a specific color profile. It is the way you approach the shot. You definitely need to visualize things a bit differently when you are only shooting in black and white you need to think about things that way. Or if you are shooting a very saturated color profile you need to think about things that will take advantage of that.

I realized as I left my house and began to look for some shots that I had not simply gone out looking for things to take photographs of in YEARS. I am often someplace looking for something specific to take a photo of. Now the world was my oyster, I could just go and shoot anything! I realized immediately that the surrounding area from my house isn’t terribly interesting. But I pushed on, I had some thoughts about what I could do…then I came across a simple bent piece of metal. It was an old fencepost and it just looked interesting. So I began tinkering with some shots and I began setting up more. I decided on B&W and aligned my shoes in the shot to show the direction that I was traveling at the time. Then CLICK! I got the shot that I liked. It is a simple shot but it seemed to work. I could definitely stand to do this over during a better time of day, but this is the shot, feel free to click on it to see a larger version. Hope you enjoy it!

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Old News/Projects

I realized the by starting this blog fairly late I didn’t get to show some of my biggest projects. So here are a few projects that I have done over the years that I think are pretty cool.

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IZ7Q7861Table Project
A long time ago…or maybe not so long ago, but it seems that way. I started going back to school again and the first project that I started with was a coffee table. Actually, my feet are resting on it as I type this entry! The goal of the table was to make something that I thought was pretty cool, professional looking quality and utilized processes that I had never done before. Machining, welding, powdercoating and specing parts with a company were all part of it and the experience led to more and more projects in the future.

I was fortunate to have a good friend of mine named John Grimberg. John was nice enough to take me under his wing. he taught me a lot about machining aluminum and it really helped move the project along. The table utilizes a welded steel base with a baltic birch top. Above that floats a 1/2″ piece of glass that sits on 6 risers that are all made of 3 sections. Everything was hand made and the glass is the only part I didn’t actually cut. I was the only person in my class to have a finished project and I can assure you that it was a lot of work to get done, but it is one of my favorite pieces of furniture!
Table Riser detail
Sideview of the risers
Table overview

Red Bull Soap Box 2008: Team Save Ferris

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One day I set out an email to my friends. Hey guys, who wants to compete in the Red Bull Flugtag event? Well turns out that they all wanted to! However we changed our tune when we realized that Red Bull was having a soapbox race in our town! So we sat down and we came up with a new plan. Red Bull Soapbox in Denver. We sat down one evening around a table at Matt Fishers house and came up with the plan. Team Save Ferris. We would construct our version of the Ferrari 250GT from Ferris Buellers day off. We spent a LOT of time on this vehicle. I mean days turned to nights nights turned to weeks and weeks turned into a 1st place finish! We were incredibly excited about our winning finish, but I have to tell you, sharing how we built it is almost more exciting! So cruise on over to teamsaveferris.com and check out all the info on how we built this thing. We did a very extensive writeup.

Red Bull Soapbox 2009: Team Speed Racer

After a successful race the year before we had to try again! How do you follow up not only a very cool looking car but a very successful trick that surprised all of our fans as well as the judges? Well we decided to focus on the car. Lets make the coolest car that has ever been created! We decided the Mach 5 from Speed Racer was the best way to go. We also decided that we were going to take this to the next level. This time we planned on making a female mold and doing this “the right way.” Again, I don’t feel the need to tell you all about it since we did a very extensive writeup so check out www.goteamspeedracer.com for more info on this build.

Both the Ferrari and the Mach 5 are being displayed in the Forney Museum in Denver. If you have a chance stop on by to check them out!

The Day Job isn’t Typically all that Glamourous

Yes, there are times when the day job is nice and there are times when it is just work. The days that are the best are the days when you are given some indication that what you are doing is appreciated. Well today that came in spades!

Tucson Arizona

Part of my day job is to make the catalog for Excel Sports. We have an 84 page catalog that we put out 6 times a year. With all the other things I do there it sometimes gets a bit hectic to get this all done, but we manage. We have a designer that works with me as well and together we create a nice and informative catalog. There have been some controversies and doubts in the past with the catalog that include the departure of my previous designer, but after a compliment like today I would say that all that is solidly put behind us.

Ok, so I am sure that with this build up you’d like to know what this compliment is….well here is a link, check it out!

WV Cycling Blog

If you haven’t seen the catalog before, we just started doing an eCatalog, you can check that out here:
Excel Sports eCatalog

Baphomet Cycles

If you have ever been out and about in the cycling world of Boulder Colorado you may have heard the myth of a man who goes by the name of Bama. You may also know of Bama from the Surly Bikes ads that show a man in a santa suit jumping through a flaming hoop. Or you may have seen him riding a fixed gear in work boots up flagstaff. No matter how you have heard of him, he is a real person. Yes, I can assure you that he exists and yes…all those stories are true.

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I met Bama years ago when I walked into his house with a friend of mine to find him welding on the linoleum floor. He had just finished cleaning his bike in the kitchen and the entire place was covered with dirt and his rational was “well I covered the floor in dirt, so it is protected from the sparks!” Keep in mind this is on the second story of an apartment complex. I can surely come up with a story for every time that I have hung out with Bama, but today’s story is his new clothing business.

Bama is a guy who will do things, things that someone in passing may say “aww, that sounds like a good idea.” Bama will write that idea down and make it happen. This is the first time that I am aware of one of those ideas turning into a product to sell however.

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So Bama has found that many commuters, messengers, delivery folks and fixie riders find themselves inventing their own clothing to wear. “Nobody just makes the stuff that people ride in without charging a lot for it!” So Bama decided that someone should make these pieces and they should sell them for inexpensive so people who are using their bike for work will have something affordable to be able to ride in:
http://baphometcycles.com/

Today we headed out with some new products in hand (Mostly modified prototypes) We headed out and with our sole model (that’s right, the man, the myth, the legend) Bama and we shot photos for his website.

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Bama did a great job, he was fun to work with and we just took some casual shots to get the ball rolling. I am sure you will see some of these on his site in the near future, but for now, you’ll have to see them on my blog!

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