Best of Ayala 2012
It’s about that time of year again, It’s crazy looking back through this year and throwing stuff together for this “Year End” post. I checked out my post from last year and couldn’t stand anything I shot. I can only hope to hate this post as much when December rolls around in 2013. I’ll pick this up where I left off last year, right before the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Aside from Pikes Peak, this was one of the coldest events I’ve shot. Up at 3AM on top of the hill with gusts of wind hitting me as I rolled long exposure shots. I was only wearing a t-shirt and a windbreaker, not the ideal attire for such conditions, but was a fun time none the less.
Occupy Oakland marched down the west side for their “Port Closure” protest. Some pretty cool images came from this march, but it remained relatively peaceful with no confrontations with the law enforcement.
Come early January, Brooke and I made a big life choice as we adopted our little boy, Yoshi. Here he is eight weeks old the day we picked him up.
Living in San Francisco at the time allowed for some pretty cool cityscape shots. Here is one I took from the south end of the city at about 6AM. The sunrise bounces golden light off of the bay waters and onto the the buildings’ mirrored glass.
I go down to Southern California for some personal and work related business every now and then, and I often forget how rad the sunsets are down there. I was able to get a quick one right before I made my way back home.
Wekfest’s annual show at Fort Mason in February was not bad. It’s nice meeting up with Larry Chen, Linhbergh, and the MayDay Garage guys again, but my favorite photo from that day was towards the end of the day when a very tired Brooke and Yoshi stepped outside of the Herbst Pavilion for some fresh air.
In March, Bohan, Yoshi, and I made took a hike up Mission Peak in Fremont CA. The hike to the peak is about three miles. From the top, we could see the entire Bay Area, From below San Jose up to Oakland and San Francisco. The sun was just about setting as we started our walk back down to the base.
The mountainside was riddled with cow droppings as herds of cows make it their home. The lighting made for some cool silhouette shots.
Shreeve and I would make frequent trips back to our hometown in Medford, Oregon to work on our cars. We were hoping to have them finished and painted by Long Beach. We were cutting close on time since Shreeve needed to get his 1JZ swapped in before we started on paint.
Before we dropped his car off at Portland Speed Industries for the 1JZ swap, Shreeve took his KA24 motor to PARC of its last hurrah before it got replaced.
This was my first trip to PARC and I was really excited to see what the track and drivers had to offer.
I was really pleased to see Kyle Pollard out there in his F20 powered Corolla. I fell in love with this thing back at Big Foot Bash 2010 and haven’t seen it since Pro-Am Nationals that year.
PARC is notorious for flooding a bit during the winter months, but Kyle paid little notice to the small lakes that formed on the track. #aintcare
It was nice being able to shoot at PARC, because that was only one short month from the first Formula D stop in Long Beach.
I really wanted to start shooting more film this year on my Canon AE-1. While at Formula D Long Beach, I got the chance to shoot John Jimison’s FC out on the public streets.
This shot fully happened by chance. I was walking from one point of the track to the other and decided to shoot slow and wide on the next pair of cars to hit the 2nd turn. Justin Pawlak would make this run closer to the wall than anyone else and I didn’t expect it at all. Very lucky.
The weekend following Long Beach, Brooke and I went to the Coachella Music Festival. This colorful scene provided some really fun photos, even though I was not allowed to take my big bulky DSLR inside the venue, smaller point and shoots were allowed. This made for a more challenging and fun time shooting.
Then came one of my favorite stops, Atlanta. It’s just a fun environment to be around. Everyone who lives here is awesome and the track provides plenty of action.
Daigo Saito was already showing signs of possibly being this year’s Formula D champion.
I think one of my favorite parts of this track is the initiation on the bridge. It’s just really cool to me.
I feel pretty fortunate to have been able to attend a few of these Turner Field events in Atlanta. Unfortunately, this one right here was the last event that Turner Field would hold, as the city would no longer allow them to drive there. Andy Sapp was in attendance and gave the lot one last thrashing for old times’ sake.
I’ve had the privilege last and this year to work with some of the most talented guys in the industry, one being Ryan Davis of YAER Productions. This isn’t Ryan, rather his weapon of choice, a Canon 5D III & 400mm 2.8 IS II.
Ryan graciously let me borrow his 400mm for a few sessions that weekend. I immediately fell in love with it.
Shreeve and I made our first trip out to Norway for this year in July. We stayed out there for about two weeks, so with an extra weekend, Team Yellow took us out to their place out off the coast of Sweden.
The Harlem Family, Team Yellow, and Drift Monkey are rad guys. Can’t wait to work with them in the future.
We stayed in Sweden for a few days and made time to climb the surrounding hills and explore the area a little bit.
This year at Gatebil Rudskogen, Mad Mike Whiddett made an appearance in his Need for Speed x Red Bull Mazda RX-7. I fell in love with his RX-8 when I first saw it in 2010, but have always wanted to see his FD in person.
It was a pretty wild thing to see. Not just see, it appealed to nearly every sense. The smell of the Nitto Tire smoke, the sounds it makes when it screams and echos through the canyons on the complete other side of the track, and way it feels as it passes by leaving my hairs standing and vibrating. Such a fun car to be around.
A few days after Norway, we were back on the other side of the planet in Monroe, Washington for Formula D.
After Seattle, I was pleased to see that my new Canon 1D X had arrived. I took it out on a fishing trip in Southern Oregon to a place where I would occasionally see bald eagles swooping down for fish. I was fortunate on this trip to see such an event again.
I’ve seen a few pretty bad crashes in the short time that I’ve been shooting, but Jim Guthrie’s flip at Vegas was by far one of the wildest. I’m glad he was able to walk away from it.
On our second trip to Norway in September, we were allowed to drive their SR20 powered Silvia. One of the perks of the job.
As frustration as the rain can often be, I love it at Gatebil. Drivers like Tor-Anders Ringnes will initiate from the Wurth sign, just about 250 meters away from Turn 1! So much fun to watch.
Up next was Global Rally Cross in Las Vegas.
A few months ago, Geoff Pitts, Bohan, and I started doing what we like to call “Gittining”, which is where one would pose himself in a position to the likes of Vaughn Gittin Jr’s signature pose. Cool to see that it caught on.
Before GRC started, the NASCAR Truck Series was holding a race that weekend on the track, so I was able to shoot this as well. Travis Pastrana was also making a driving appearance in the race.
Autograph sessions at night was a nice change for Vegas weather.
It was really challenging shooting GRC here, but still really fun. This was a great learning experience cause up until then, I hadn’t shot any rally or NASCAR.
Fleet Week in San Francisco was a nice change of pace.
Then came my favorite stop of all, Irwindale, CA.
Our good friend Ryan Kado killed it that weekend, but lost in a very close battle to Ryan Tuerck in the Top 32. If you look closely here, you can see part of Tuerck’s wing and a GoPro camera.
Irwindale was possibly the best Formula D event ever as it provided plenty of excitement with crashes, upsets, one more times, and underdog risings. One of the bigger upsets was when Vaughn Gittin Jr lost to Pat Mordaunt. It’ll be fun to see him charging harder than ever next year as I’m sure he really wants that title back.
Daigo Saito proved himself as the best driver this year but winning not only the Formula D US, but Asia too.
A short week later, I found myself shooting a trio of Canadians at All-Star Bash. Drift Union made the 1,428 mile journey from Kelowna, Canada to Willow Springs International Raceway for the 3rd year in a row. Hopefully next year, I’ll have my car down there to drive with them.
Drift Union car styling is unlike anyone elses. Canada Style is killing it.
And their driving was on point, as they won the team tandem competition.
I recently moved to Portland, Oregon, so now with some luck Shreeve and I will finally get our “Tandem of Die” DVD finished! That is if we stop fooling around with our damn cars.
We actually didn’t get to drive our cars as much as we wanted to this year, but the few times that we have it’s been a blast. I can’t wait to start all over on them again for next years season.
The 25 Hours of Thunderhill is definitely the highlight of my December. It’s such a tiring and exhausting event, but it is so satisfying and rewarding leaving there knowing that you survived the 25. Such a great feeling.
Now I’m here in Portland, trying to make what PARC events I can to stay fresh for next year. I couldn’t be more excited for 2013 to happen! Keep updated on all my stuff this year on Facebook and on Instagram @_joeayala. Happy New Year, Everyone!