TheOkLife
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Looking back on 2015


   Taking a look back on 2015 and my most memorable shots from the season. It was a short year but a great year, a year full of new experiences, a year full of learning curves, and a year of growing. 2015 I decided it was time to ditch my camera gear that I started off with in 2014, I wasn't happy with the quality of my work coming from my old gear and knew it was time to invest in a new camera and start off fresh for 2015. I hit the ground running once the track days started up, nervous about pushing myself to do more and explore new areas, but also following three rules I set for myself, #1 improve on the past, #2 never stop learning, #3 always have fun. If I had to sum up 2015 with one word, "growth" is what comes to my mind, and I'll carry that growth through 2016. 

  The year started off South of the border, a new environment, a new track, and out of my comfort zone. Nissan Fest was a great experience, and will be one of those events I'll make a stop at every year. I clearly remember taking this picture of Erich Hagen after one of his runs, what I enjoyed most about this picture was after looking closely at it and seeing the heatwaves rising out of his car and off the engine. 

  Being at Evergreen Speedway for the first time I had no idea of what to expect, it was a real eye opener seeing the speeds that were being hit on such a large track. I've never experienced such a thing in person, but it was a great time doing so.

  During my time at Nissan Fest I tired my hand at experimenting with some creative shots and trying something different, when I saw the chance to get cool shot, I took it and was actually pretty happy with how it turned out.

 I like to think that this shot shows what track days and car shows are all about, just hanging out with your friends and having a good time, forget about the rest of the world and enjoy the things in life that make you happy.

  Competitive friends doing what competitive friends do, just a good ol fashion drag race for nothing but bragging rights with your buddies.

  Before the drift season started up and I still had my old camera gear, I stopped by a buddies place one day for an afternoon and snagged a few shots while I was there. Catching this rad shot of how some off season projects spend their time.

  This shot came from a fun experimental shoot with a friend, I always enjoy challenging myself with what I'm given in the environment I'm in. Minimal shop lights and a grungy shop stall made for a different but cool shot in my mind. Maybe in 2016 I'll push myself with more challenging shots.

  Again with another experimental shot, although I wasn't happy with this shot looking back at it, it still put some new ideas into my mind for next time when I try some light painting. Not everything in my mind works out the first time, but it helps to look back on these times and see how I'd do things differently the next time. Trial and error seemed to be the way most of my year went, but it's how I learn and I've been pretty happy with the outcome from it. 

  If you're not having fun, then what are you doing? Clearly these guys were having a great time, it's not always driver and passenger notice you snapping a picture of them.

  The Knox Mountain Hillclimb is by far an amazing local event in Kelowna BC that takes place every 2nd weekend in May, and you can guarantee that you'll catch Rodger Sieber in his WRX putting on a show for the spectators at turn 8. The first time I was at this event a friend told me about this Subaru that always drifts turn 8 ever year, I was told that 3 years ago, and since then it has been a yearly sight to see.

 You don't have to see it to know who's coming, that distinct sound the rotary engine makes gives away that Wouter Bouman is on course. The Rx7 is a beautiful thing, and the sound of the rotary engine is music to my ears. 

  Over the summer I was aiming to do a number of one on one shoots with cars for the site, but being caught up with so many local and out of town events, that take became more of a challenge than I thought it would be. Even though 2016 is going to be action packed with track side chaos and mayhem, actually getting more shoots done will be something I'm going to try and focus on a little harder for 2016.

  But for the very few shoots that I pulled off, this one stuck out the most for myself. I met up with a friend of mine and fellow automotive enthusiast to shoot a specific car that I had in mind, but mechanical things were going on with that car, so the next best car came out to play.  

   With it being a year of trying new things and experimenting, the sun dropped really quick during this shoot, all I had with myself was my camera and a tripod. So I made the most out of the situation and wanted to see what I could pull off with what I had on hand. It's not the greatest shot I have taken, but i think this situation really tested me and opened up my eyes to whats possible with little on hand.

   Now if you think you have some deep dish wheels, I'll bet you my twenty bucks that says my buddy Jaime has some deeper dish wheels on his E90 then you do on your ride. But really, that's a seriously deep dish wheel. Playing with a 8mm fisheye lens is just a perfect for this shot.

   I've always had a fascination with space since I was a kid and the older I became, the more that fascination with space grew. Then this one night during an eclipse I decided I'll try something new and completely out of my element, I shot the moon. Once I dialed in my camera setting to something I was happy with, I snapped this one pic, looked at my preview screen and let of a laugh of excitement when I saw the result. That night something new started, and I'll be making an effort to explore this new area of photography.

   With 2015 being a year full of new experiences, Formula Drift Seattle was one of those new experiences. This was my first time seeing it in person and I was blown away. I had some ideas in my mind about what to expect, but everything exceeded my expectations by so much. Just seeing the speeds that these guys were doing while running tandem and rubbing doors at times, I couldn't believe my eyes, I was just overwhelmed at first with everything going on. 

  I guess one of my biggest goals for the 2016 year would be making a greater effort with getting out to larger events, but with doing that also keeping a good balance with the grassroots drifting community I am apart of. Without the local grassroots drifting community where I am, I wouldn't be as passionate about drifting as I am today.

   And with the push to be at larger events in 2016, Formula Drift Seattle 2015 was a great eye opener to what I could expect at larger events in 2016.

      Depending on how you look at things, the action isn't always on the track. When I first got involved with photography, I just looked at what was happening on the track, or more so where ever the chaos was happening I had my camera pointed in that direction. The more I started to pay attention to my surroundings, I began to notice so much more, I started looking at everything in a different way, not only paying attention to what was happen on track but also off the track.

 Sometimes you just end up in the right place at the right time. During some down time at Formula Drift Seattle I took to the pits to take in some of the pit life atmosphere, as I was setting up for this shot, Chris Forsberg stepped out of the teams trailer and made his way to his car. The timing was perfect.

   Some people call it talking to yourself, I like to think of it as "thinking out loud" which I find myself doing quite a bit when I have my camera. I remember this moment at Formula Drift Seattle, making my rounds in the pits between heats and seeing what off track action I can capture. I came across Pat Goodin and a crew member probably having a talk about what adjustments can be made to his car before it hits the track again. But when I came across this shot I remember telling myself out loud, "I should probably get a picture of this, this would make a cool shot" and so I did.

   It may not be the most glamorous and action packed shot, but aside from the action that happens on track at events I make it out to, I really enjoy seeing what goes on off the track. Maybe not everyone looks at what goes on in the pits the same way as I do, but so much happens off track in grassroots motor sports or professional. Even if it seems like nothing is happening, something is still happening, that's how I see things. 

   With the 2015 season I had being summed up with the word "growth" aside from growing my skills with my camera, I focused a lot on editing also. Some shots I edit more than others, not that they're bad shots or at least I don't think they are, I just have my own style, edit shots how I picture them to be in my mind, and have fun with it. I shot through a lot of tire smoke and prior to editing this shot I thought I'd never be able to use it, as the year went on I'd spend some of my spare time seeing how I could save shots that I thought were no good with the new knowledge I gained from playing around while editing. Lesson learned, NEVER get rid of shots that you think are worthless.

   Easily my most memorable and favorite shot from 2015, there is just so much going on in this picture. I quickly caught up with Mike a little while after his run, because in all honesty I was really stoked on getting this shot. We shared a few words on the shot, and he was just as excited about the shot as I was. It was a great drift battle between Mike Whiddet aka Mad Mike and Forrest Wang. After a great run Mike explained, "When you're that excited you need to drift the inner bank after the finish line." 

  Capturing the excitement.

  Keeping the thought in mind of being more aware of my surroundings while at events, I found myself paying much more attention to what was going on around me. It's something that I struggled with throughout 2015, but I will try to focus on during 2016.

  The grassroots drift scene is where it all started for myself, without the local group I became apart of over the past two season I don't think I be where I am today with photography. Before I picked up a camera I had a small interest in the world of motor sports, but then one day I came across the drift community and my passion for motor sports exploded. 

  At the beginning of 2015 I had this idea of getting involved with many other disciplines, but here in the Okanagan not whole lot goes on with motor sports. There are a few other events that happen over the year outside of drifting, but they are few and far between. Drifting has now became my main focus and I've never had so much fun behind the lens with this scene.

  Seven car drift train, no problem, Husky Situations know how to put on a show at the Drift Union Invitational. The first Invitational I came out to, I clearly remember the chaos that these guys brought to the track, and at the 2015 invitational these guys brought a whole new level of chaos to the track. 

  2015 had its fair share of rough patches and learning curves, through those time a lot was gained and helped me continue to grow over the year. Even though mistakes were made at times, I always looked on the bright side of things and never let those times take away from the fun that was had.

  Spending so much time at my local stomping grounds I became very familiar with the track and the environment around it, I started cluing into where to shoot from at specific times during the day and making the best of the sunlight for my shots. In the beginning of 2015 these were the types of things that slipped my mind quite often, but as time went on these thoughts came more naturally and I noticed a change in my shooting.

  Once I started thinking with a much more open mind, these creative on the fly shots came much easier. When I'm out shooting I usually never have a plan and just roll with it. Some people probably prefer taking some time to think ahead of time, I just find myself having more fun coming up with my ideas on the go. Just show up, make it happen, and have fun doing so.

  The first time trying my hand at chase and lead shots, just hang out the window, hold onto my camera for dear life, point and shoot while hoping for the best. Figures when I started trying these shots the drift season was coming to a close for 2015, come 2016 I can't wait to get more of these fun shots done.

  The most enjoyable part about shooting the grassroots drift scene, is capturing the moments of your friends having a great time. Marty and Gaelen getting rad and slaying some tires. 

  I had a lot of fun trying out these chase and lead car shots, besides not really knowing how your shots will be framed or turn out, you're out drifting with friends and having a great time.

  A great perk that comes with shooting track side, being up close with the action and having probably the best seat in the house. Catching a good friend of mine Aaron Coombs from Endless Light taking a moment to enjoy the action on the track.

  Aside from the grassroots drift scene just being straight up awesome and feeling like a family, one of the main reasons why I really enjoy being apart of it is having the ability to try new ideas with ease.

  I can now say I've had a car drift around me, was I nervous? Yes! Was it fun? Hell ya it was. I wanted to try one of my ideas that I had on my mind for a while over the summer, and I couldn't have been any happier with the outcome of the finished shots.

  A big thanks goes to this guy Shawn Browne for putting on these incredible events for the grassroots drift community.
Drift Union
Penticton Drift Days

  Along came my first rally race, this was beyond an amazing experience. What was most challenging about this experience was the short amount of time you had with a car before it blew by and hoping you got the shot. It was quite the learning curve in such a short amount of time, being mostly involved with drifting over 2015 I became pretty comfortable picking up on how a drift car reacts on track and when I should shoot. But being new to rally I wasn't sure what to expect and had to quickly pick up on how the cars reacted on course. 

  There is a first for everything and seeing a rally car catch air in front of you for the first time is a pretty exciting experience, towards the end of 2015 I'm glad I made it out to the Pacific Forest Rally in Merritt BC. I'm hoping in 2016 I'll be able to make it out to many more rally races as now I'm hooked on a new motor sport.

  All I know for 2016 is that I need more rally in my life.

  Trying new things and making it happen, unlike most photographers I don't have a flash to help shoot when it's dark out. So I made the most of this situation during one of the night stages at the Pacific Forest Rally and got creative with long exposure shots, I was pretty happy with how my shots were turning out and it was a lot of fun trying something new. Come 2016 I may add some new camera gear to my set up, but I enjoy the challenge that comes without having specific accessories.

  There's no fun like snow fun.

  With 2015 coming to an end and 2016 just around the corner, I was very thankful for the season I had behind the lens. I would have never pictured where a camera could taken myself over the season, the places I went to, the people I met, the great times that were had, all because of being passionate about motor sports and having tons of fun getting cool shots along the way.

  Sometimes we all need a push to get us through the rough times, I can at least say along with these guys who ditched it into a snowbank and became really stuck during their run. I'm really thankful for my friends and family who supported me over the year and pushed me along when I felt stuck.

  For the little amount of motor sports that do go on in the Okanagan, it's actually pretty impressive what goes on with what we have to offer here.

  Now it's time to look ahead with all the new knowledge and skills that were gained over 2015 season, put them to good use in 2016, and continue growing while always having fun doing what I do.

Tyler Adair