Ayala’s 2011 Year in Review

What a year 2011 has been. It’s been such a privilege to be a part of the Life Blasters crew, and I can’t wait for what 2012 holds in store for us. My first Life Blasters post was on the PGP event in March, so I think I’ll start with that. Jason Cancio has probably my absolute favorite car that drives that track. Not for its JDM radness, but for its pure originality. Stock metal, stock wheels, stock aero, slammed rwd STi hatch cannot lose.


There is nothing quite like Formula D Long Beach. The feeling there is unlike anywhere else. Its like the first day of school. Getting to see old friends again, new drivers, and new cars. Thinking about it now, It seems SO long ago, and its hard to believe that we’ll be there again in only a few short months.


One of my favorites from Long Beach is 2011 Formula Drift Champion Daijiro Yoshihara as he prepares to flick his car against Santa’s wall.


One guy who surely made a name for himself this year is my boy Walker Wilkerson. After making a huge impression at Long Beach in his battle against Ryan Tuerck, Walker was ready to hit Road Atlanta. And no, Linhbergh, I am not afraid to use a little JDM angle!


There was so much more traveling this year than I could have predicted. This is a photo I took of the storm over Dallas Fort Worth, which rendered Larry Chen and me stuck at the airport overnight. This however resulted favorably for us as we were able to put together our successful interwebz video “Stuck”


New Jersey was a first time Formula D stop for me. I often hear people talking about how they don’t like Jersey too much, but personally, I love it. It’s so much fun shooting there, and everything looks good. So many little things that make this track one of my favorites.


Then there was the storm that Friday afternoon that sent mild flood waters through the pits and brought the Need for Speed tent to the ground. Here is Doug assessing the damage.


After FD Jersey, Bohan, Shreeve, and I took the ferry to New York City to visit B&H Photo and be tourists. New York was another first for me! It was so much fun seeing sights, riding the subway, and doing handstands in Grand Central Station.


A few days after returning home from New York, I had to fly out to Pikes Peak in Colorado. I grew up watching videos, reading articles, and even played video games about Pikes Peak. It’s such a magical atmosphere; getting there at 3AM and watching the sun rise from 14,000 feet with race cars flying by.


Not just cars, but ATVs and motorcycles take on the 12.42 mile track over gravel, dirt, and pavement. Next year the entire track will be paved. I feel very fortunate to have seen it driven on in its older form.


Not long after Pikes Peak, did Justin and I get to fly half way across the world to visit the wonderful country of Norway to film Team Yellow drive at Gatebil Rudskogen. This year has been full of first times for me! I can never express how grateful I am to Lars, Dag, and everyone else on Team Yellow for everything they have done for us! Much love guys!


Aside from shooting the awesome Norwegian cars, I had a photoshoot with Lars’s awesome Norwegian kids.


One of the perks of having an awesome blaster-buddy like Geoff, is that he knows good food, like this loco moco from Noho’s Restaurant.


Formula Drift Seattle is one of my favorite stops just because it’s almost like a homecoming for me. Its so much fun seeing so many of my friends at a single event. Love it there!


Back in my hometown of Medford, Oregon, I got to shoot my good friend Erica’s engagement photos. I find it really challenging directing people in poses and stuff like that. I like shooting the candid stuff a lot more, but it turned to be a good experience for me in learning more about other side of photography.


This is for all my PNW people. Yeah Seattle is cool and all, but it can never get on San Francisco’s level. This place is amazing!


At XDC Seattle, Justin, Sully and I met up with Jarod DeAnda and the Forsbergs to hang out and watch them get their “Papusa Posse” tattoos.


This is Hobo in Vegas. Not much else needs to be said, really.


China was something else. I was so excited when Larry Chen asked me to come along with him on the trip. It’s still hard to believe I was in a place so foreign and unreal.


China was a so much fun. I made so many new friends, and my new friends made new friends, hahaha!


Just days after we got back from China, and right before Formula D Irwindale, Larry and I got to do an interview with NBC for our “Stuck” video. It was so weird being on the other end of the camera and getting interviewed. Can’t wait to see the finished project, which should be coming out soon!


The Occupy movement seems to be well heard as it sweeps through the nation. We can barely read the newspaper or scroll through the internet without seeing some news regarding it! I went out a few times to Oakland to shoot the riots that were happening. It was quite an experience.


People ask me a lot what Tandem of Die will be doing over the winter. Well, aside from making a whole DVD filming whatever we can, Justin and I will be finishing up our cars. We have huge plans them involving Formula D next year. You’ll find out all about that soon.

Cheers everybody,


:: Ayala

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