• Excerpts from my automotive adventures around the world. Enjoy.

    “With regard to performance, commitment, effort, dedication, there is no middle ground. Or you do something very well or not at all.” -Aryton Senna

On an unusually cloudy couple of days in Coronado, CA, I was about to embark on an adventure that few people in the world ever get to actually experience.  I would start by boarding a C-2 Greyhound COD (Carrier Delivery Vehicle) and take a 1-2 hour flight to an undetermined location in the Pacific.  We would then trap on the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, spend the night bunked in a stateroom, tour and observe the ships operations, and most importantly meet with the ship’s leaders and our nation’s finest sailors to truly experience Navy life at sea.

The morning of the embark, as our group was briefed at NAS North Island, I began to realize what a privilege this experience would be.  The sheer scope of the capabilities of a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier were mind-boggling, as 4.5 acres of floating sovereign United States territory should be.  Perhaps even more interesting were the fact that at any time there would be 8-9 squadrons consisting of, among others, the F/A-18 Hornet – all conducting a variety of operations which we would be able to observe at very close range.  For all those times we’ve seen Top Gun and had dreams of what it might be like on the flight deck of a carrier, we were about to find out.

Now at this point I could fill the rest of this narrative by describing the G-forces we experienced while trapping, or how a cat launch slams you so hard into your harness that you struggle to contain your own saliva, but that wouldn’t be the point.  Rather, the experience aboard a carrier at sea is all about the men and women who have made the decision, often at a very young age, to serve our country in the United States Navy.  Their commitment, will to succeed, and drive to carry out the many different missions of the Navy, all while being out to sea for months and months on end is to say the very least, not to be taken lightly.

Often times I’ve thought of what a dream it would be to be a fighter pilot, especially a naval aviator, deployed at sea and defending our nations freedom.  Yet now that I have seen first hand the hours and days and months of work that these proud men and women put in day in and day out, on a ship that never sleeps and for an overall mission that never wavers, that dream is something that these men and women have earned.

To even begin to understand the support structure that is put in place to get that pilot up in the air and then back safely is simply a monumental task.  Not to mention the thousands of other jobs in support of not just combat, but peacekeeping and even humanitarian aid, often on an international level.  The fact of the matter is that it takes a tremendous work ethic and a level of commitment that I now have an utmost appreciation for.  So on this Veteran’s Day in 2015 I invite all of you to thank a veteran, and in this particular context, thank a sailor.  But most importantly, never forget to thank those who gave up what they had for what you take for granted.



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There are fast cars, there are race cars, and there are fast race cars.  The McLaren F1 for many represents the pinnacle of performance that is achievable on the street, and even by today’s standards remains nearly unmatched in terms of overall outright speed.   It only seems fitting then, that when I was given the opportunity to photograph what is considered to be the ultimate development of the McLaren F1, I jumped on it.

This particular F1 GTR Longtail garnered four podiums in five FIA GT Championship Races with two overall wins, and maintains the livery that brought it to victory during a gloriously competitive racing era.  I can only imagine what it must have been like piloting this incredible machine at Hockenheim!  But for now I am happy to simply present images that showcase the timeless design of Gordon Murray as well as the ultimate racing pedigree of McLaren.  Enjoy.

1997 McLaren F1 GTR LongtailPIN1997 McLaren F1 GTR LongtailPIN1997 McLaren F1 GTR LongtailPIN1997 McLaren F1 GTR LongtailPIN

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Many people over the years have slammed questioned my much maligned opinion on Nissan’s 370Z since its introduction to the market back in 2008.  I had the privilege of driving a production model 370Z before the official public unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show that same year and due to a rather unfortunate series of events (for which I accept full responsibility) I was able to “fully” evaluate the limits of the car.  The performance of the vehicle was on-par with my expectations yet the styling and overall presence of the car left many things to be desired.

I am a HUGE Nissan fan and daily an ’07 350Z while previously owning three 240SX’s and a Z32 Twin Turbo.  Over the years I have supported Nissan with nearly all of their vehicle offerings sans a few recent attempts to blend crossovers into something they really are not.  But like many other vehicles on the road that roll off the production line looking a bit fugly (Murano CrossCabriolet), polarizing (Juke), or downright shark-like (370Z), things can be fixed by the aftermarket.  Or in the case of the Juke-R, they can even be fixed in-house at NISMO.  And although Nissan has steadily made improvements to the  370Z’s performance, even offering it in racing trim for those highly ambitious individuals who, for one reason or another, love the styling or the performance or even the rev-matching transmission, the car remains….well….ugly.

The Z lineage has had its share of design failures soon after the success of a previous model.  The s30 chassis for example (I prefer the 240Z specifically) is a stunning vehicle even by today’s standards, and will go down as one of Nissan’s finest designs.  The follow-up to this car, the S130, I personally saw as less appealing although it was a success in terms of overall sales and market impact.  The Z31 300ZX was on the other hand a complete design failure and although it was again a market success, Nissan really turned things around by unleashing the Z32 – an instant design classic that sold over a million Z cars in it’s first year.  Returning to the sports car market in 2002 with the  Z33, the modern 350Z will forever remain close to my own heart, as it struck a chord with me from the moment I first laid eyes on it back in 2002 at the 240SX National Convention at Nissan’s (then) headquarters in Gardena, CA.

The Z34 then is in a lot of ways similar to the S130 or even the Z31.  From a design standpoint I appreciate their subtle incorporation of the s30 heritage along the rear quarter windows and the GT-R inspired roof-line, but that is where my praise will always end.  Canadian designer Randy Rodriguez often attributes the “boomerang” head and taillights to a shark’s tail and dorsal fin and has gone on record as stating he was on a Shark Week binge while penning the design.

Randy, all we can say is next time you are penning the next generation ANYTHING, lay off the Discovery Channel.  Luckily, we have aftermarket companies such as ZELE who can at least partially correct your mistakes:


Author’s note: I took this opportunity to revisit a series of images I photographed for the cover of Autosalon Magazine nearly three years ago.  In the magazine feature the post processing methods they used actually colored the car yellow, while the real color of the car is actually Lamborghini Orange Pearl Mica.  I felt it should finally be reworked and presented in it’s truest possible color corrected glory here and now, for all to see.  Special thanks to Steve Wu and the former workers of the (now defunct) Dromo 1.

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As we wrap up Arizona’s biggest automotive month on the worldwide automotive scene sans NASCAR, the Scottsdale auctions seemed to do reasonably well this year.  According to Autoweek & Hagerty Insurance, the 2012 totals soared north of $180 million dollars spread across 2,100 lots sold.  This represents a more than $23 million dollar increase over last year’s totals and is a strong indication that our current recession might not be so bad after all.  Nevertheless, if you happen to be an average Joe or automotive enthusiast without a fat pocketbook, chances are you may have seen a program called Chasing Classic Cars on either the Discovery Channel or Velocity.  The host of this popular show is none other than Wayne Carini, a genuine automotive aficionado with a wealth of knowledge and a knack for uncovering some rather historic barn finds.

I spent an afternoon with some of the fine folks at Hagerty Insurance at the Penske Racing Museum in North Scottsdale to produce some content for their quarterly magazine.  Wayne spent the afternoon co-hosting a symposium of auction heads as everyone discussed the state of the auction industry and afterwards we setup a mock studio adjacent to the upstairs cafeteria inside the museum.  Wayne proved to be very easy going and great to work with, and as we wrapped our quick portrait session we also snapped some environmental shots at Penske.  If you are an Arizona resident and a car enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to get down there at least once!  Enjoy!


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After another long hiatus I feel it is time to get right back in the swing of things! Barrett-Jackson 2012 is just over 1 week away and for most Arizona residents this represents one of the few times of the year when automotive enthusiasts can gather and enjoy the spectacle that is Barrett-Jackson. Last year I had the fortunate opportunity of covering the show for Autoweek, Hagerty Insurance, and several other media outlets so naturally I was snapping away quite a bit. I decided to look for some unique angles and perspectives this time around while also covering a few of the bigger stories of the show.

One such story was the auctioning of the only 2012 Ford Mustang BOSS 302 Laguna Seca in Grabber Blue with proceeds going to charity. Another story that generated quite a bit of press both positive and negative was the JFK ambulance that Jalopnik uncovered as a fake shortly before the car actually took to the auction block. This year the stories seem to be a bit less controversial, but you never know what will happen during auction week in Scottsdale! Enjoy some of my favorite images from last year in case you missed them in Autoweek:


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