2010 was an odd year for me – truly life-changing. I left a company that I was instrumental in starting, growing, moving and expanding. I’d honestly reached a point of … I won’t call it “burn-out” but more like a “loss of joy”. There wasn’t any enjoyment happening anymore. I looked for another gig and had some amazing adventures in that process (after a year passes perhaps I’ll tell the tale!) But one announcement In our industry just seemed to be a bit of destiny: Facebook committed to building a datacenter in my wife’s hometown of Prineville, Oregon. Facebook had called me in the autumn of 2009 about a datacenter-related job, and I ended up declining to interview because it was in California. But now they were building in central Oregon, where we have family ties. I contacted the recruiter who had called me before and threw my hat into that ring. I accepted an offer in late June, and started at Facebook the first week of August, 2010. In September we moved to central Oregon, to a nice 3 acre property in the country east of Bend, and southwest of Prineville.
Facebook is a fast-moving, rapidly growing company, and being here has changed my life a lot. I’ve had to put a lot of other activities on hold, or forego them altogether. My car-related activities have all but ceased. I had to regretfully resign from my position as the Crew Chief/Photographer for Mad Dog Rallying run in the 2011 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique. I only participated in one major rally this year, the 2010 Northwest Passage in June. Once I started my new job I was immersed in learning The Facebook Way of datacenter operations which involved a lot of travel (I made Alaska/Horizon Airlines MVP in just 4 months!)
What does this prologue about life-changes have to do with Photography?
Unlike previous years where almost all my photos were automotive in nature, life’s curve ball has changed my art. Instead of just old cars, 2010’s best photos are mostly of travel, landscape, and even construction. Only a few car photos made the cut this year. So without further delay, here are 2010’s best photos from your favorite old car and datacenter geek:
Cars – Ten Best:
Yes, automotive photography remains my true passion. 2010 saw few chances to do any of it though! Here are the best of…
Shot on the “rest day” of the 2010 Northwest Passage, this is the only image I’ve ever really used a photoshop filter to cover its entirety. I like the outcome.
A real highlight of the 2010 Northwest Passage was attending with my son Christopher, as well as my parents. This shot is Chris at the check-out point, the starting line as it were, of the first stage, on the first day of the event. It captures the intensity of Vintage Rally Navigation so well. He’s got his route book, and he’s eyeing the clock with laser-like focus as the Rally Timekeeper counts us down to our check-out time. Chris did an amazing job on this event and we zeroed the entire rally, thanks to him.
The Northwest Passage could have been called the NorthWET Passage this year, as it was bookended by bad weather at the start and finish of the week-long event. Here you can see the futility of depending upon British Engineered Windscreen wipers. Rain-X FTW!
This image from the NWP was chosen for inclusion in the 2011 XKEdata.com E-type Calendar. Order yours here.
I shot this blind, over my shoulder while driving, yelling at Chris to duck. Sometimes it works.
Shot at the local car show in Arlington, WA.
I’ve only ever seen two Henry J Kaiser’s car in the flesh, and both were yellow.
I shot this on a trip to Texas in May. It is one of the first S-Class Mercedes-Benz models, a 1971 280SE 3.5 Coupe. Classic machine.
In September Nick & I drove the 450sl, aka “The Cruise Missle” down to Oregon for our move. We stopped at Maryhill under gathering clouds and I grabbed this shot.
This photo is my favorite of 2010. My friend and 2008 Going To The Sun Rally Co-driver Mark Collien lives in Maryland and while I was working at Facebook’s east coast datacenters in October I took a Saturday drive with Mark and some other British car folks. I shot this with the 7-14mm lens out on the end of an extended monopod over Mark’s shoulder. This is straight off the G1’s sensor… no photoshopping here. I took a few tries to get the motion blur right via shutter speed. Lots of wasted shots here as we were going from light to shadow and the exposures were often off. This one captures the essence of vintage motoring quite well.
Oregon Landscapes – 5 Best
I moved to central Oregon in September, but then spent the better part of the next three months traveling. As such I did not get much of a chance to photograph the region around my new home. However, every day I was here I had my camera in my bag and was presented with some amazing views on my daily commute between my home and the Facebook Prineville site. Every one of these shots was taken on the roadside…
I watched in awe one November evening as the sun set and lit up the unusual clouds. I finally had to stop along the roadside, and using my car’s roof as a tripod/shooting platform, shot several mid-length exposures.
This was shot from the road in front of our “office” which consists of a construction trailer. Looking southwest to the east shoulder of the Powell Butte massif, these cold winter clouds have a typical central Oregon look to them.
I was driving to work one October morning when I came around a corner and spotted a coyote in a farmer’s field. I went down the road a bit, turned around then came back to where the coyote was and parked on the shoulder. Oddly, this young coyote seemed too focussed on hunting a field mouse than being aware of the cars speeding by on the Powell Butte Highway. Its head was looking away most of the time, but I managed to get this shot as the coyote looked back over its shoulder once.
Both of these images were shot on the same evening. Central Oregon has some of the most spectacular sunsets and this evening near Horse Butte was truly incredible. I was afforded mere minutes to capture the brilliant colors here before the sun sank below the Cascades to the west and turned everything blueish-grey.
Next: People & Construction shots.