After growing up collecting Die Cast cars in spurts and playing any car video game I could get my hands on (Ridge Racer, Gran Turismo, Need for Speed), my love for the Dodge Viper evolved into a love for iconic Japanese cars. This was in part due to The Fast and the Furious craze that blitzed me (and every other pimple faced high school car aficionado kid) as a teenager along with my sister's boyfriend (now husband) incessant talk about Nissan's. Gran Turismo opened my eyes a little to the Silvia/Skyline lore, but TFatF kicked the door in. Around that time in 2004 the 350z/G35 platforms were clawing Nissan out of the dumps, I was graduating high school and Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park was my idol (kind of still is). For those that aren't familiar with Mike, he is half Japanese and heavily infuses that culture into his art and music. Three Japanese cars later in 2008, I met my future wife. Once I came to terms with the mountain of cats and clothes that greeted me up front in the relationship, I discovered she was a closet super nerd with deep ties to comics and anime (video games, reading and drawing). We always dreamed of going to Japan and thanks to her Grandfather (also a fan of Japan) were able to make the trip possible.
Now that you've got the background, I'm going to hold you in suspense while I tease you with some non-automotive aspects of the trip (that comes later)
...and here, we, go. (click on pictures for larger pop-outs)
View from our spacious 250 sq ft room in Shibuya after landing. In a few hours I will experience JDM vending machines and their sweet, sweet jet lag curing Dr Pepper.
Spent the second half of day two in Enoshima. It had an odd similarity to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California with it's massive heavily wooded hill featuring shops and attractions, except with an Amazon forest worth of spiders.
Takeshita Street provided Hollywood Blvd type attractions. Now that I think of it, that's probably a more fitting name for Hollywood Blvd
Condomania off in the distance (use your imagination). Unfortunately our rooftop breakfast went long so we had to bump that from the travel plans from the day.
My guy Domo-kun. My favorite poop themed character! Apparently he's not very big in Japan (I was beside myself). He's actually one of the mascots for a large TV Station in Japan. So basically neck and neck with that Fox Football Transformer guy...
Gotoku-ji Temple. You'll see why we were here in 3 seconds. No, it's not for the amazing temple....
WE CAME FOR THE ARMY OF CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I did a little research on the temple beforehand. Along with being what some to believe the origin of Maneki Neko (lucky cat), they have these prayer boards where you can write wishes to loved ones, etc. I surprised my wife by printing out some pictures ahead of time and laminating them so we could give future visitors a "face to a name" with our boards. Needless to say, you can see our now FIVE cats are our pride and joy.
Every hour, on the hour a 30' Godzilla head roars above the Shinjuku skyline. at the Toho Building
On our final night in Tokyo we capped it off with a visit to Roppongi Hills observation deck in the very upscale business district. Our visit was somewhat impacted by a very odd infomercial-like exercise exhibition on the helipad. Something we did not expect 54 stories up.. The Tokyo Tower made it tolerable.
My homage to "Gladiator" while on a pit stop for what was probably a top 10 day so far in my life. (that post coming soon)
After passing through Mount Fuji for the day we experienced our first Shinkansen (Bullet-train) which was somewhat of a letdown. Not because it was dirty or noisy, but because it was seemingly perfectly executed in every way. There was plenty of storage for baggage, the seats had tons of legroom, power outlets everywhere, dead silent (both people and mechanical) and absolutely no sensation that you were hurling towards your end destination at 320kph (200mph).
Enter Kyoto. After summoning our bicycles from the pits of robotic bicycle hell (it was seriously an underground labyrinth which this mechanical arm from "The Matrix" then retrieves and spits it out of a refrigerator sized retracting doorway), we took a four mile bike ride to the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. We managed to find gaps in the crowds at the top Kyoto tourist attraction for some clean pictures.
This unsuspecting street vendor selling dried fruits, turned out to be the food highlight of the entire trip. At the base of the shrine we picked up some dried cantaloupe and apples.. They were so life altering I've stalked people I follow on Instagram to see if they'd buy and ship me some. Day 157, still have not found a victim to scratch that itch.
Quick, massively uphill bike ride to Ryozen Kannon Temple
Strolled through Nishiki Market on the way back to the Air BnB (a massive 600 sq ft this time!)
Jam packed quite a bit into the day in Kyoto. The one thing I somewhat regret is we planned so many stops into this vacation, it felt like an episode of "24" with multiple plot lines running around in my head. simultaneously Thankfully GoogleMaps got us through the 4 different connecting trains then we hiked our ramen filled stomachs up this mountain to play with...
OH IT'S A MONKEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hopped back over the Katsura River in hopes we could squeeze in one more spot before we were in the dark.
Sagano Bamboo Forest did not disappoint. It wasn't far from the monkey park, but being so close to the densely populated city, my wife and I we're a bit perplexed when the maps had us take a turn down an alley.
Onto the final day in Japan. We head down to Osaka for another full day to check out the Osaka Castle, which similar to the Bamboo Forest, is positioned right in the middle of downtown surrounded by sky scrapers.
To continue the theme of, hard to believe free animal experiences, there's Nara Park. This was a surprise I had planned for my wife and while the deer were playful, there was a certain "The Walking Dead" zombie feel to them when they sensed you had deer CRACKers. My wife's mind was blown when I told her to bow to the deer and they graciously returned the favor. This neat little area had a row of deer themed shops and I couldn't help but think that we had to get my mom there to complete her Snow White evolution!
Yes, in Japan, you can relive your wildest Harry Potter fantasy and play with some owls to hone your owlery skills. They came in varying sizes. Some were able to be handled with a fancy leather glove on, some preferred sitting on your head and some were so massive we were warned they could rip through your wrist like., uh, a giant owl's razor sharp talon through your wrist
At our last stop in Dotonbori, Osaka I FINALLY got to take that trip to flavor town and enjoy some beef from a neighboring town called Kobe. It came in silver dollar sized slices, but I can tell you it lived up to the hype. After collecting another travel mug from Starbucks we explored more of the local eats. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I wasn't brave enough to try the candied-baby-octopus-on-a-stick.
Sad to say we're at the last image we took in Japan with the Glico Running Man battling the Asahi sign on the river..
Overall this was a trip we will never forget. Hell of a place to explore after never leaving the US. Even without the car adventures I intentionally am saving for (near) future posts, Japan will be on the short list as a destination to visit again
I have many car memories with my dad from my childhood, riding the Autopia cars at Disneyland (that gas pedal was so damn hard to push in as a 7 year old), going to the Long Beach Grand Prix and numerous LA Auto Shows (one that is heavily documented with me wearing tube socks and sandals). This is the third Fathers Day without him so I'm still trying to navigate through life. I honestly am stumped as to what he'd think of the Mclaren and the new color scheme. He was more about hitting 200k miles with his heavy commutes to work than having something that would hit 200 mph..
Regardless, he'd be happy that it's one of the things that brings me joy after going on adventurrrrrrres (Ice Tea voice) with my wife and our furbabies (3 at the time of this post, could be 30 by the time I do the next one). Enjoyed a few things this week in the spirit of him with a road trip to see Muse with my nephew and brother (still wish I could've taken him to a show to marvel at the visual and sonic chaos they bring to the table) and capped off today going to a car show with friends followed by a photo and video shoot of the obnoxious unicorn you'll see below..
Introducing HYPERSPACE aka Cloverfield aka Xenomorph aka Unicorn aka Meowclaren
I quickly became hooked on the 12C and color shifting Mclarens around my wedding late in '13 when I drove one at Exotics Racing in Vegas for my bachelor party and CJ Wilson collected his Hyperblurble P1 a few months later (still owe CJ an invoice for the usage of "hyper" haha). The 12C purchase had been on the radar for 2.5 years until finally being in the right spot to pick one up. about six months before that in early '16, I had selected and got a sample of this color. I code-named "HYPERSPACE"
Satin wrap removal and color shifting was completed by David at Highline Auto Innovations and came out as I had planned for the years leading up to last weekend. Was a nightmare trying to find a 12C without a colored interior knowing I would go full rainbow. Thankfully found a perfect alcantara/ carbon/ black spec'd interior and was set. Decided to keep the Verde Ithaca calipers to complete the absurdity.
Went with a very England-y feel on this spot with the castle. Shooting to make it over to that side of the pond in '18 with the wife. for the true experience.
Wife was a bit bored driving the quiet automatic to set up the shots.
A couple hours into the drive over to Charlotte I realized the entire state of North Carolina is under construction which made for a tense ride dodging road debris.
After a fun and hot meet at Caffeine and Exotics in Buckhead, GA I had an enjoyable 30 minute drive on the way to the photo spot my buddy hooked me up with blasting through some tunnels to hear the new exhaust/ intake setup my friends at Hypercar Development in NC were able to cook up (We're basically related through the "hyper" usage).
My dad was the inspiration for my photography passion and he loved shadows, so for the 4 seconds the sun was out I definitely had to capitalize on that visual.
This will be called "X-Wing" on a post sometime in the future.
Hipster puddle shot
Also big shout-out to Jay at Stick N Wrap in Lawrenceville for the last second vinyl request. Speed Kiwi's and MP4 tub vinyl came out awesome.
I think the interior touches are my favorite. After a stressful and expletive riddled few days of ripping my interior apart (without too much drama thankfully) I was able to get the powertrain knobs, start button ring, AC Vents, AC/ Iris knobs, D-N-R button surrounds, key fob and cluster surround hit with the HYPERSPACE color shift.
Things were going well, I didn't crash the drone into the car and some Osmo testing went well too. Then it start pouring as I'm over this shot. My inner Usain Bolt shot down the catwalk to get the doors closed and gear out of the rain.
This is a shot I had in my head very early on after selecting the color. Was hoping I could've controlled the timing at which it occurred a bit better, but came out just as envisioned. Macro-porn ensued.
Thanks for reading. I went from a year between blog posts to six months, soooo... progress!
After moving from Southern California with my wife and two cats late 2015, we finally were grasping life in North Georgia and are slowly getting back in the swing of things with cars and weddings (uprisingimagery.com). Here's a look back at HYPRPWR PHTGRPHY 2016.
Up first are our good friends at Unplugged Performance (Tesla branch of Bulletproof Automotive) in Hawthorne, CA. These guys are pushing the bounderies of Tesla modification with beautiful carbon interior and exterior work as well as custom BBS Wheels and a full bumper refresh.
Quicky test shoot with my new Wescott Icelight on my 500e HYPRWAT
Fun shoot with a Gone in 60 Seconds Eleanor and a 50th anniversary
My wife traded her '13 Magma 370z in for a '15 Nismo 6MT (she's a badass).
Onto one of my favorite shoots with my buddy AirforceGTR (time for a name change bro) and his newly aquired beautiful Mclaren Orange MP4-12C on a trip up to San Francisco
Quick trip up to Tail of the Dragon with the Atlanta GT-R group. and my Midnight Opal (Came to learn recently it's #44/50 in the US
Then came a shoot for Rohana and a well known Youtuber afficianado (Youtube.com/DoItWithDan) and his Camaro. in Walking Dead country, Central Georgia.
After a shoot with Always Evolving and their GT3 cars in Long Beach last year, we met back up again at Barber Motorsports park in Birmingham Alabama before their race this year.
Another trip out to California for a very special purchase (more to come below). Met up with my buddy Tom and is insane full carbon Alpha 12X and Huracan.
Now, time for the previously mentioned new addition to the family. My HYPRSPC (hyperspace) MP4-12C. Fully carbon spec'd with verde ithaca painted calipers with 20/21" BLK Wheels and full satin Xpel clear bra. The last in person conversation I had with my dad 18 months ago before he passed was about how he attended the first few Long Beach Grand Prix races in the '70s and practiced photographing the F1 cars at various parts of the track (this shot was inspired by the Monaco Grand Prix). He loved James Bond and British cars so he was drawn to Mclaren and James Hunt. While he would likely not be thrilled about my "investment" in one he would definitely be happy I attained a car I had heavily pursued for three years after driving one on my bachelor party in Vegas. I'm looking forward to exploring Atlanta with my MP4-12C and sharing what comes of it with everyone. Hyperspace will soon be getting a refreshed hyperspec in the Spring..
Met up with a Maserati owner shot for Rohana in North Georgia
Had a chance to meet up with Hypercar Development from Charlotte and their Hyper800 Mclaren. I've actually had these guys on my radar due to the hypr/hyper coincidence so I've been following their progress in the years leading up to my 12C purchase. Long story short, the Hyper800 is bonkers. It's unbelievable what they have done with some intake/ exhaust/ tuning and extensive cooling improvments.
And lastly a couple upcoming shoots for Rohana.
Look forward to some upcoming Mclaren shoots in the first half of '17. Stay tuned!
"Madness, as you know, is a lot like gravity, all it takes is a little push." My wife was perfectly content with her '07 Toyota Corolla, that is until I pushed her to test drive a 370Z. A couple weeks later she was terrorizing the streets in a stock 2013 Magma Red 370Z she dubbed "HYPRZED". That honeymoon lasted about a week before she had a decent mod list already compiled (wheels, intakes and exhaust).
Enter Fast Intentions. I remembered Tony at Fast Intentions from my G37 ownership days and after a few forum searches later it confirmed they were still the leader in G/Z exhaust fabrication. She landed on the TDX Cat Back exhaust with Carbon Mufflers, 12" resonators and threw in some resonated test pipes for some extra oomph. At that point Co-owners Tony and Dan embraced us as family and a budding friendship had formed.
We got Tony's personal Nissan GT-R (lets call this version 1.. A v2 blog post is in the works) out for some industrialized chaos around the Port of Long Beach. The FI GT-R "GRAYHZE" v1 featured a full bolt on setup capped by a prototype Fast Intentions exhaust, exorbitant amounts if carbon fiber and ADV1 wheels. After a two hour burst to eight unique locations we called it at day.
While I have never owned a Porsche (I did recently move to the P car capital of the U.S. in Atlanta so that might have to change), I have a huge appreciation for their owner base. They are by far the most die-hard group of enthusiasts I have ever come across. Elizabeth and Andrew from the skyward bound ITSWHITENOISE movement (They had me at all caps everything) were no different. After squaring away a shoot at a Shift S3ctor event where they came, they saw and they figuratively popped our E-cherry with the ITSWHITENOISE 918 Spyder, I knew it was time to put some ideas to work. After a sunset romp in the traffic riddled Hollywood Hills, out came the new lighting toys for some visual experimentation. HYPRCRED to my wife (Uprisingimagery.com) for setting up lighting and her flawless stunt driving. By flawless I mean she didn't kill me.
While tagging along doing some photo work at Shift S3ctor Airstrip Attack 8 in Coalinga, CA I had a chance to peel away a couple friends from hitting 200 mph in the half mile in their 1300hp SP Engineering R35 GT-Rs to shoot their new GT-R Nismos on one of the unused, uninhabited runways. Both colors are rare versions of the already scarce Nismo. The Solid Red was one of only three 2015s produced in the U.S. The Super Silver was one of a mere seven. Both were equipped with the optional and incredibly beautiful Titanium exhaust specific to the Nismo. One of seven wasn't rare enough for the owner of the Super Silver. He now happens to be the owner of the ONLY N-Attack Nismo in the U.S. and it is in the proper Nismo specific Matte Grey. Work was completed by Stillen, the only authorized N-Attack dealer in the U.S. Hopefully there will be a King of the Monsters Part II post in the future... Now onto the images.