2017… The View From My Face
For this photographer 2017 brought new challenges, new technology, and lots of new lessons. With each passing year that I continue down this path of discovery I started 4 years ago, I realize just how blessed I am to be pursuing my life long dream of making a living doing what I love. In so many ways I have accomplished much of what I set out to do, but I still feel the tug of the unknown and desire to explore new territory with camera in hand. God willing, I will continue to do just that!
I haven’t kept up with my blog the way that I had hoped I would originally and I hope you can forgive me for that, but I wanted to share where this year has taken me and where I hope to go in the years to come. Having said that, please enjoy some of my favorite images from 2017 and please feel free to share this with your friends if you enjoyed it! Let’s get to it!
I’ll start off with some Moto since it’s one of my favorite pastimes, but rarely get the opportunity to shoot it. The first image is Troy Vanscourt at this year’s Parker 250 in January. I really like this spot on the course as the cliff in the background adds a nice element to the photo.
Next is Husky factory pilot, Thad Duvall at a recent AMA race in Lake Havasu.
I had the chance to shoot the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000 this year and made my camp at race mile 120 just in time to catch the motos coming through in the dead of the night. The Honda 3x team would go on to finish 3rd after more than 1100 miles.
My season typically kicks off close to home with the Best In The Desert Parker 425. 2017 marked my 4th season working with the Mills Motorsports team in their quest for victory in the Trick Truck and 6100 classes. I started working with Mills in 2013 when I offered to trade photos for a chance to tag along with them to the Baja 1000. Since then I have been on countless adventures with them and watched the team grow and become like family to me.
Shooting as team photographer for Mills Motorsports gives me access to the race course which allows me to grab some shots of other racers when I get the chance. This is Jason Voss during qualifying for the Parker 425. I like this photo because it shows the shear chaos that an unlimited truck represents.
A couple other shots from the 2017 Parker 425
In 2017 I continued to dabble in real estate photography for a friend who is an agent. It is fun to get outside my normal scope of work and experiment with a new genre.
The performance boating industry in Lake Havasu never really rests, so shooting boats for features in various online and print publications is a year round business for me. In February we shot this pair of boats for a feature showcased on RiverDavesPlace.com.
February also brought with it the opportunity to cover the popular SNORE Battle at Primm for Race-Dezert.com. Held in Primm Valley at the Buffalo Bills Hotel and Casino, BAP is a favorite among fans and racers alike with its tight course and big jumps.
When I first started shooting pictures one of my main goals was to get published in a magazine. I’ve been blessed to have my pictures printed in several different publications, but it’s still just as exciting as the first time! These came out in the January issue of Speed Boat Magazine.
March brings with it one of the funnest desert races of the year. The Mint 400 put on by Martelli Brothers and Best in the Desert is equal parts desert race and party. Starting with a parade of horsepower down Las Vegas Boulevard and subsequent street party on Fremont Street and concluding with the big race. This race attracts everyone from the grassroots racer to A-list celebrities.
After the Mint 400 I got a call from Joey D from UTVUnderground.com to join them out in Glamis for a very special event. The Make-A-Wish Foundation had put together the chance for 8 year old Blake Level to go tear up the dunes with his heroes RJ Anderson and Joey D. Young Blake had been battling cancer and his wish was to get the chance to ride with his idols. As is typical of Joey and his crew, no expenses were spared to make sure that Blake would have a day to remember complete with a new RZR given to him courtesy of Polaris. Events like these are a blessing to be involved with!
April brought with it more opportunity on the boating front. One of the most talked about boats on the west coast the past year was Nordic Boats new 43’ Enforcer. Outfitted with Mercury Racing’s flagship 1350hp twin turbo engines and every feature imaginable it is truly a sight to see on and off the water.
Product and lifestyle content creation for social media has quickly become part of my typical day. With social media dominating the branding landscape for many companies there has been more and more opportunity for photographers and videographers to broaden the scope of their work.
One event that is permanently marked on my calendar is the Desert Storm Poker Run. View by local business as the Super Bowl of events in Lake Havasu, Desert Storm brings swarms of boating enthusiasts from all over the United State and Canada for a week long celebration of horsepower on the water.
In June I made a special trip to the Mogollon Rim in Arizona for a hike with some family and friends to honor my late cousin and spread his ashes. It was a time of healing for all of us and I’m grateful to have shared it with these people.
The performance boat industry has been very good to me. I’m able to live the life I do because so many good people in the industry have embraced what I do and given me opportunity to use my images to showcase these amazing machines and the companies that build them. I’m thankful for the people who have invested in what I do and allowed me to produce these images.
Living at the lake has it’s benefits for a photographer...
August has the heat in full swing in the desert, but that doesn’t stop the desert racers from racing from the sweltering heat of Las Vegas all the way to the cool reprieve of the mountains of Reno. I’m very fortunate to get to fly high above the race in the Mills Motorsports helicopter!
Technology is amazing and always changing in this line of work. This year I finally started to explore the possibilities of drone photography. While I’m still learning, look for more of this tech in my work flow this year!
September through October is regatta time for the boating crowd and they hit it hard! Almost every manufacture hosts their annual regattas during these months and events like the Lake Powell Challenge and Monster Storm in Lake Havasu book end the fall event schedule making it my busiest time of year.
The granddaddy of desert racing is the Baja 1000 and November marked it’s 50th year. Shooting the Baja is more about the adventure than the race and each year shooting it has proven to be an epic adventure. This year was no different!
The last two races of the year for Best in the Desert are the Tonopah 250 and the Pahrump 250. Both are fun, short races and packed with photo ops!
My last shoot of the year came in the form of a perfect early morning shoot with DCB Performance Boats and their new M-31 catamaran powered by Mercury Racing’s new naturally aspirated 860 engines. The conditions were perfect and the boat sounded like two stock cars raging down the lake. It was a great way to cap off a great year!
I’d like to thank everyone for following along in 2017. I’m looking for even more exciting opportunities in 2018 and hope you will all join me along the way! Happy New Year!!
You are a very talented photographer. We can wait to see what 2018 brings for you
Wonderful images & wonderful words! I’m so proud you’re following this dream. I’m so proud of you! To many more for you & everyone around you in 2018.
Tom you continue to grow as a media artist. The evidence is here in your recap of the year. All The Best in 2018 and we'll see you out there throughout the year.
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