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Joining Toyota Rally

In October of 2016, I joined the Toyota Racing Rally RAV4 team as a photographer and videographer. My first rally was in Houghton, Michigan. I headed to the airport, and left via Tom Bradley–which is usually reserved for international flights. I boarded the flight, and soon realized I was aboard a Boeing: 787 Dreamliner. This was a bit of unexpected luxury. I wasn't sure if I would be traveling this way in the future, or if this was just a matter of time. I asked the stewardess why we were flying out of international, and she said "the pilots were flying between LAX (Los Angeles) and O-Hare (Chicago) to gain enough hours to fly international. My second light was a small puddle jumble that flew from Chicago to name. When I landed, i didn't see a single light. I was now in the middle of nowhere, it was 10pm at night, and I had a 2-hour commute into Houghton. I woke up the next day, met the two guys I would be shooting rally with. The first was Les. 

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THE TEAM

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LES

The first of two team members I met was Les (pictured left). Les is in his mid 50's, although he might tell you otherwise. I found him charming, jovial, boyish, and sensed there was a more complicated spect of his personality. This was emerge in later rallies.

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RYAN

The second team member I met was Ryan. A early 20's kid from the middle of nowhere, in Pensilvania. Les was experienced photographing cars, previous working as an editor for an automotive magazine. And Ryan just absolutely loved rally car. He couldn't wait to sniff some fumes. Ryan was a learning photographer, but an experienced navigator. 

 

HOUGHTON, MICHIGAN

The first of two team members I met was Les (pictured left). Les is in his mid 50's, although he might tell you otherwise. I found him charming, jovial, boyish, and sensed there was a more complicated spect of his personality. This was emerge in later rallies.

Between its rainbow color fall foliage, it is liberator with old coper mining facilities–that we couldn't;'t help but take 15 minutes to explore. One of the favorites was the name of this college mine called. 

Between its rainbow color fall foliage, it is liberator with old coper mining facilities–that we couldn't;'t help but take 15 minutes to explore. One of the favorites was the name of this college mine called. 

Being an avid landscape photographer, I pushed everyone to head up into the copper mines at night try and catch the northern light. It is a rare phenomenon to see them in our conditions. But low and behold, night 1, they flared up for about 30 minutes. I managed to get some nice photos and a time lapse.

Although we chose to short our sleep schedules at night, and make the occasional redavous during the day, our task at hand was spent covering the Toyota Rally Rav4. This was an almost stock RAV4, that Toyota is using to market this vehicles to a slightly different crowd–than their typical mothers.

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Ryan Millen is the driver for Toyota. At the time, his wife Christina was his co driver. Ryan comes from a prominent racing family and is racing in the 2-wheel drive devision. The vehicles is highly capable within the class, however noticeable less capable then vehicles that are 4-wheel drive. Although I was there to shoot photos, I shot some video and put together some recap videos.

The person I was excited to meet is Travis Pastrana. Although I was not familiar with with most of the rally drivers, I recognized Travis from a show on MTV called Nitro Circus. He is such a nice guy, and makes time for all of his fans.

The first day of shooting was using my rolodex of technique to get the desired effect, and more important not dying. Although he was very young, Ryan was responsible for my safety and making sure I didn't get hit. Every year, photographers get paralyzed and killed at rally events, particularly in Europe. Day one was also so rain it was about keeping our gear dry.

A selfie of me (for the wife). Photography speaking, I am shooting the rally with a Canon 1dx mark 2. The camera base is amazing! Just the body (with accessories) set me back about $7,500. But it is Canon flagship camera, has an amazing focusing system and can shoot 14 frames a second. While trading through the forrest, chasing the car, we might only shoot 2 or 3 passes a day. So shot selections, accuracy are a big deal.

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we had a couple hours of light and decided to visit a local waterfall, called Hungarian falls.

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we had a couple hours of light and decided to visit a local waterfall, called Hungarian falls.

We continued to hike downstream, ultimately leading us to a beautiful canopy and a sign for a restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

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We followed the sign, in what seems the middle of nowhere and it led us this a restaurant. No one in there. Tired and Hungry.

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