Archive for the ‘Automotive’ Category

Just a quickie   Leave a comment

I snapped this in one of the Apple parking lots after seeing Fast Five a couple weeks ago. I thought shooting under white LEDs would be easy but the temperature correction was just a bitch to deal with since my camera doesn’t have a setting for 4300K.

I’m heading to Chino with my dad on Saturday for the Planes of Fame airshow, and he got us passes to go on the ramp for sunrise shooting. “Fucking stoked” kinda begins to describe my excitement. Hopefully I’ll have teasers up on Sunday, much more next week.


Posted 05/10/2011 by gordonronco in Automotive

BAP Spring Meet 2011 Edition   3 comments

Everyone has their forum. That one group they started with and will always be tied to, that even though they moved on in terms of cars. For me that group is BayAreaPrelude. This upcoming tuesday (4/19) will mark 6.5 years that I’ve been a member of BAP, and through that time I’ve seen the community shrink and grow a bunch of times. As of recently though, the future of BAP has looked pretty grim. After a drama filled year or so drove a bunch of people away, and some of us that stuck around just stopped caring, it was looking like the forum’s days were numbered. Some of us tried to revitalize the group, but nothing we were doing seemed to really work.

Last week however, a miracle happened. Derrick organized what I thought was going to be another small meet, but turned out to be reminiscent of BAP meets of yore. So much that Nat, aka “BAP mom” for those who don’t know, called it “the new generation”. Anyway, enough of my rambling, here’s some photos.

All the 3rd gens lined up. Definitely crowded out by the 5th gens, but when you consider that they’re all at least 19 years old, you realize there aren’t going to be as many as there would’ve been even 5 years ago.

Nice to finally see Derrick’s turbo build done. He’s been talking about doing it for years, and it’s good to see someone’s dream build come true.

Just in case you forgot who makes the Prelude.

The last time I saw this car it looked quite a bit different, but that was a couple years ago when Mario still owned it. I know he pulled a bunch of shit off before he sold it, but at least it still has the H22, carbon fiber hood and a set of beautiful BBS RAs. Can’t wait to see what the new owner (who’s name I always forget) does with her.

I’ve always loved what Glanny has done with his car. It’s got so much going on that you have to take a few passes to catch it all.

One of the details I love is that he kept the stock plate tub on his carbon fiber trunk. I mean, he’s kind of a hipster with the mass of stickers (crazy HP yo!), but he’s doing his car up the way he wants and it looks damned good.

Clean red paint + flat black hood = b-e-a-utiful.

I still see rim, go can lower.

Seriously pissed with myself that I couldn’t manage a good shot of Russ’ wheels. Laughing at the fact that you can clearly see the hood badge through the bra, it’s the automotive equivalent of hard nipples.

Noble’s lude, which he named Choochoo or something, that actually has a front bumper. Hope he remembers to not drive in the rain on bald tires with this one.

As Lamcke pointed out, I was humping this 3rd gen all day. Completely made me consider going out and picking up another one because it made me miss mine.
At first I didn’t like the look of slips on 3rd gens, but the combo of polished with that beautiful red paint is definitely winning me over.

I wish I had snapped a wider shot of Jeremy’s car. There really isn’t a single thing I don’t like about this car. Could use a Mugen wing though, just sayin.

Speaking of…

I once saw this on a car that I knew was the other way around. Definitely not the case with Rico’s car, which has changed more in the last year than most show car’s I’ve seen. The best part is that he’s done it all himself.

At some point Amit decided that his car was a 4×4 and belonged off road, or a rolling stereo. Either way it looks damned good.

Of course we weren’t excluding non-Preludes from the meet. Hell, I haven’t had a ‘lude for almost 18 months. My buddy Sam has come out to a few meets with his E46. Eventually I’m gonna get a full shoot of his car with a couple other guys from Apple, when they all their cars decide to be fully functioning.

I’ve been pondering picking up an older Honda bike just like this one. I dont like the loud shouty things like what this rolled in with. I’ve always been more partial to the 40/50s style Harleys and Triumhs, but considering I don’t make enough to buy or even maintain something that old I’ll have to take one like this instead. Japanese reliability and whatnot.

Jimmy’s TSX. I may wind up picking one of these up as a family car in the future, if I haven’t already gotten an estate that I like more.

Nat & Jei’s beater STi. It’s too bad they didn’t bring out Jei’s S2000 or Nat’s DA, but then again I’m sure that Cammy would’ve been a handful in either.

Lamcke’s beloved “Fonda Odstar”. Never before have I seen someone put so much work into modding a car that they hate so much and has cost them so much. Complete with primer black paint job (which is the third version it’s had), a killer sound system and even a BBQ in the back. It’ll probably be set up totally differently in a few months, if it hasn’t completely died by then.

Apparently that area was marked “Creeper van parking only”.

Noble had enough foresight to contact MoGo BBQ to come out, and a huge thanks to them for doing it. Damnit, now I want another rib eye and bacon burrito.

They were also nice enough to let us add to their sticker collection. Jei threw a BlackTrax decal on while Noble filmed the occasion.

And I put a BAP decal where nobody would miss it. Not my first choice of placement, but they had an issue with us putting it over the “Bay Area” part of the Bay Area Dog.

Candid shot of Jei, Nat and Cammy. Friggin dog is a tank.

Right before I took this Noble was complaining about not being able to eat something because of some food allergy. “I can smell the gluten” or something like that. I think he should’ve just gotten some bacon and beef from MoGo without any bread.

And someone brought a live snack!

This is the scene I miss from car meets, people standing around sharing stories and tech tips and info. Take note Honda-Tech, not everyone needs to be a flaming douchewad.

Until next time, I’ll Leave you all with the pic that sums up the whole meet to me: great cars, great friends and great memories.

Facebook album here
Meet thread here

Posted 04/15/2011 by gordonronco in Event/show

A bit of nostalgia…   Leave a comment

I’m constantly thinking about my old cars. What could have been, what I should and shouldn’t have done. I realize that back when I started trying to do my own build, I was extremely underfunded and had no knowledge of what I was doing or how to do it right. For instance, I ripped the back seats out of my Vigor and bought eBay seat covers for the front, all the while ignoring the three growing oil leaks. At one point there was real promise for the Vigor, the JDM lights and slight drop were a good start, and the paint hadn’t started to rapidly oxidize yet.

Over time though I got lazy and ran out of money to work on her. I had stupid ideas like painting the hood white, not replacing the rear seats but I was finally forced to fix the leaks at great expense (it was losing a quart of oil a day). Eventually I grew tired of it becoming a pain in the ass and a major financial drain. By the time I had owned her for 3 years it was an outright hatred, about the only thing I did like about it was that she had a decent amount of power.

After I took a trip to Ireland with my family, it became fully apparent that I needed a new car. Seeing that I had been a member of BayAreaPrelude for four years, I decided that I needed to finally get one. Less than a month later I payed way too much for a salvaged ’89 4WS, and the torrid love affair began.

Due to no fault but my own, I started dropping massive amounts of money into her and accruing more debt than I could deal with. Despite the fact that she caused me problems from the start, I was always happy with her and willing to sink more money into the project. Even when it came to simple things like new brakes I went all out for Brembo rotors and Hawk pads, or when I broke a stud I should’ve just gotten an OEM replacements but instead I had BLOX extended studs installed all around and new axels at the same time.

At least I had learned enough to not buy crap parts for it. Between the dropped suspension, front and rear strut bars, c-pillar bar and wider wheels and tires, the car had what I considered to be a perfect stance. Never any issues with understeer or loss of grip, I used to flog her all over the Santa Cruz mountains and took every turn I could as fast as I could. Even after engine problems sidelined her for a month or so, as soon as she was able to run around again I went straight back to the hills.

But just as the Vigor before her, the Prelude wound up out of my good graces. I had put so much more money into the car than I had paid originally that I lost sight of the fact that I really just needed transportation. It’s been over a year since the Prelude and I parted ways, but not a day goes by that I dont physically remember how it felt to put her through her paces. Even the Vigor sticks in my head; it was a comfortable enough car to drive and if I haf the money I would gladly buy another one to build the right way. I know the Vigor is dead now, and the Prelude is rolling around San Jose/Los Gatos area. I can only hope that her new owner, who bought it off the drug dealer (not kidding) I sold it to, treats her right. And if he sees this blog, I sincerely hope that he contacts me because I would love to see the car again and how she’s doing.

Facebook albums of the Vigor and Prelude.

Posted 01/27/2011 by gordonronco in Automotive, Blog

Solo Edition – Arsenii’s 2.5RS   Leave a comment

Anyone who has known Arsenii for more than an hour knows that he has had quite a few cars. If memory serves me correctly, this is #15 since 2003. They haven’t all been lookers, hell some of them have been downright terrible, but after years of working his way through nearly every Japanese car company he finally got stuck on Subarus. I’ve always respected his dedication to the pre-bug eye platforms, especially since the trend and popular thing to do is pick up some newer WRX or STI and slam it. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he finally got a respectable Impreza though, a WRX-swapped GC coupe that seemed like more of a pain than it was worth. Whoever had done the swap messed something up that caused him to go through two clutches in less than a year. Unfortunately it died when it was slammed right across the front bumper, shoving everything forward of the wheels a good half a foot to the right.

But if it wasn’t for that hit, he may have never had as good of a car as he does now. Soon after the insurance payed him out for the car, he parted most of it out and used the money to pick up another blue 2.5RS.

A couple years ago it started having engine troubles and it eventually died. Luckily he picked up a totalled ’03 WRX and sold off most of the car, keeping the drivetrain for himself and having it dropped into the coupe to bring it back to life. Unlike most people our age who get an engine swap, he did two things different: it’s actually legally swapped, with all the paperwork done so that he doesn’t get hassled; and he left all the stock badges on instead of slapping a WRX badge on the back.

Now since he’s had two nearly identical cars, I have a hard time remembering which one had which mods on it. I know he’s had three different scoops and a couple of wings, and for a long time it seemed like he was changing the scoops to match his outfit. It’s been so long since I’ve seen his car though that I didn’t even know that he had gotten a carbon fiber wing, let alone painted it.

One of the other things I’ve always loved is the fact that he hasn’t slapped a set of “hella sick” Rotas on the car. Other than his stock 2.5RS wheels, I think the only other wheels he’s had were a set of later-model STI BBSs. That’s the one thing that I am openly resentful of most Subaru owners of doing, and I don’t know why what the logic is, but I really could give less of a shit as to why they do it. Add to that the fact that the car looks fairly stock, other than a few carbon fiber pieces and the exhaust, and it’s just a very subtle and clean build.

Yes that really is a full Version 7 STI interior, complete with Momo steering wheel and dash-top climate pack. Just another way that he’s kept this a very clean build.

And now, by the power of magic! I’ve done a few of these “cut aways” before and always loved them. The intercooler really is an STI unit, not just the stock one that’s been painted.

Sadly he’s planning on selling the car this year and moving on. It’s been a joy to see this car grow over the years, and I know that whatever he winds up with next will be built up just as cleanly. I can only hope that the Impreza’s next owner will treat her as well as Arsenii has.

Posted 01/22/2011 by gordonronco in Photoshoots

Adventures in motion   Leave a comment

While shooting with Daniel last week, we talked about trying to get together for some rolling shots. It’s one field I had only tried on my way to Wüste and have been dying to take another crack at, so after hanging out with Arsenii over the weekend we planned for the planned to all get together on Wednesday. Since it was pretty clear and bright out, I stopped at San Jose Camera before heading over there to pick up a neutral density filter. Granted I have very little idea on how it works, I wanted to try and keep the wheels blurred in case I had to use a higher shutter speed.

For some reason whenever I go anywhere with Arsenii or Lamcke, neither of them seem to have gas before we set out so I’m always forced to entertain myself while they’re filling up. Luckily this time I had my camera with me. I’ve always loved how Arsenii’s Impreza has been done up. It’s veer subtle looking with the stock wheels and not too noticeable drop, really the only things that stand out are the exhaust and some carbon fiber pieces.

Granted it is loud as hell, and he used to have a massive carbon fiber scoop, but other than that it’s a very simplistic looking car. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves for now, the next shoot is a solo of the Subie.

At this point I was already loving the new lens. My only issue was that Daniel’s suspension was so stiff that I was being bounced all over the place. Plus 4th gen Preludes don’t exactly have large windows to hang out of.

It turned out that cruising down De Anza was a good call, the traffic was light and the sun was at just the right angle to really show off that beautiful blue paint.

I have no idea why he has such a big grin on his face, especially since he’s normally Mr Stoicism.

Eventually we pulled into a parking lot so I could switch cars. I figured 85 shouldn’t be too packed since it was only about 2, so we headed back up towards Saratoga. The last time I tried to take rolling shots of Daniel’d Prelude it was on the way to Fresno a couple years ago, and that was while I was driving so there wasn’t anything too great. It’s nice to have a second driver so that I can focus on the actual photography.

This is about as blurred as I could get things. Honestly with Daniel’s Sparcos I’d love to have them just slightly blurred like before since they’re just a great set of very simple five spokes. But that’s not the reason I plunked down $20 for a neutral density filter now is it.

And back by unpopular demand is the wide angle filter.

I used to hate shooting white and black cars in full light like this. Daniel was the first one who suggested to me that I set the metering on a brighter part so that the pictures don’t get blown out one way or the other, and that combined with being able to better edit everything I don’t have any issues with doing it anymore.

We doubled back so that I could take some photos not looking into the sun, and now I kinda wish that we had done that in the first place

Done with my motion experiments, we pulled into a parking lot so that I could get some glamor shots. All those little white specs on Arsenii’s hood are rock chips from 880 since he goes to school in Hayward. It’s a pity because other than that the paint is in immaculate condition.

I was utterly astounded that I managed to save this one. The Prelude was washed out and the Subie was extremely dark, but somehow I salvaged it into a passable piece.

At some point Daniel apparently got bored and started singing the theme to Superman by just singing “dah san” over and over again while posing. I guess we should’ve counted ourselves lucky that he didn’t run around the parking lot pretending he was flying or something. Considering we were in a church parking lot, I don’t think they would’ve liked the commotion.

Unfortunately the Prelude was pieced together after a crash a couple years ago, and lacking the funds to do a professional respray Wing Stop Crew helped him out. Well over time the rattle can clear coat has chipped away and changed color, so she doesn’t look quite as pretty as she used to. The custom retrofit projectors which came from our friend’s Prelude not the other hand look as gorgeous as the day he got them.

I learned that stacking my wide angle on top of the polarizer makes the vignetting way worse. If only the cut off and blurring weren’t so bad, it would actually be a nice effect.

I’ve known Daniel long enough to know that when he gets quiet, it usually means that he’s planning something.

…low and behold I was right.

Another one that was tough to save since it was so dark. Normally I’d probably be annoyed with the lack of depth of field but in this case I made an exception since the focus really was just on the carbon fiber pieces.

After wrapping up we headed back to Cupertino for some lunch at House of Falafel, where they spent almost the entire time talking about how to gain or lose weight and all sorts of dietary subjects. I just kept quiet and tried to enjoy my lamb kebab. We split up after eating, and I headed back to get my car at Arsenii’s place. I wound up staying for a while to do an impromptu shoot for him since he’s looking to sell the car soon. That shoot will be coming in the next few days after I finish the editing.

Posted 01/22/2011 by gordonronco in Photoshoots

This is what I had to deal with today…   Leave a comment

I’ve been wanting to do a rolling shoot for a while now, so I met up with Arsenii and Daniel today after finally picking up a neutral density filter.  It’s fun to hang out with these guys cause there’s always good conversations to be had, and well, you can see what we had to put up with from Daniel…


This is going to be a lot to sort through so I think I’m going to break it into two separate shoots.  In any event it was a fun afternoon, I’ll hope to get the first part up this weekend and the rest of it next week.

Posted 01/19/2011 by gordonronco in Photoshoots

Silver Creek backroads shoot   Leave a comment

Ever since I got my new 0.49x fisheye filter from my dad for Christmas, I’ve been dying to give it a shot. I met up with Tahsin, Daniel and Hocken over near Silver Creek Valley since Tahsin said he knew some places to shoot. Of course it started to rain as soon as we met up, but regardless I wanted to try and get in some shutter time. There’s a dead end road that kind of reminds me of how highway 9 was before they repaved it, rocky grey with some nice flat out curves, especially just before the end.

The first few shots I took were all in JPEG, so I decided not to edit them. The only problem was after switching to RAW it was still raining and I forgot to reset my ISO to 400 for a few more shots.

First time using the fish eye, and the vignetting and edge blur weren’t really as bad as I had anticipated. If I had bothered to remember my tripod I’m sure I could’ve gotten some better photos.

I think if I go back up there again I’m going to move back towards that bend and take some different angles. As it was I didn’t feel safe being that close to a corner in case someone came whipping around.

Of course Hocken’s car came over all Prelude-ish and decided it didn’t want both of the fogs to work, but he tried doing a spot fix to no avail. After giving his car another “poor man car wash”, and waiting for the rain to let up, Daniel busted out his camera (which I’m jealous of) and started snapping away too.

Wide angle + wet primerludes = not too shabby photo.

All the sudden I’m hearing “Hey, fat boy! Move out da way!” being yelled from behind me, so I turn around and see this jackass.

No wide angle filter on this one, I was alternating between it and just the regular 18-55 throughout the shoot. I didn’t put the polarizer on though because it causes the wide angle to seem further out, so more of the picture is cropped by it. Doesn’t matter though, I’m happy with how these were turning out.

Run, soda seksi asian boi, run! Ugh, maybe more to sexy with that face.

Daniel wanted me to “work my magic” and make his car look like the clear coat isn’t chipped to hell and filthy. I think I succeeded for the most part.

WSC, represent. I hope one of us can get our act together and draft up a new logo since this one is a bit outdated.

I lost my creative flow with that set up and wandered back down to where we parked to shoot Tahsin’s car some more while the ludes restaged.

I never did like how crammed the 8th gen Civic engine bays are, but I guess when you start taking parts out like the stock intake it looks a bit more empty. It doesn’t match anything else on the car, but I’m digging the hyphy orange valve cover.

Shots like this make me miss having my Prelude. Especially since it was always the lowest of the group. Eventually I’d like to pick up another one and build it to be a cruiser, no need to try and make it super fast since that can’t really be done and keep it street legal.

Apparently the spot is a hang out for underaged drinking and whatnot. Kids do so well with following posted signs.

Yea yea yea, keep flaunting the better camera. You ass.

Figured I ought to take a picture of the workhorse. She’s filthy and bone stock, but still serving me more reliably than any other car I’ve had.

The wide angle filter is two pieces, the base of which is a macro lens. I got another set of dedicated macro lenses (1, 2, 4 & 10x) from my dad, but I’ll have to wait til another time to test those out.

Facebook album here

Posted 01/12/2011 by gordonronco in Photoshoots