The Chronicles Vlog #2: Yuta Akaishi and Super Lap Battle…(Part 1 of 2)

I’ve never been one to do video stuff and am far from a videographer. There are so many guys out here doing video these days that I know it is hard to keep track of everything. Recently, I decided to start putting some videos together because, well, I see a lot of interesting stuff that I’d like to show you guys that always doesn’t tell the full story through photos. Thanks to Ryan Der, I have access to a pretty nice GoPro now so we just decided to film cool shit that we encountered and I tried to organize it in a way where you guys might enjoy it. You guys probably saw my first video documenting my trip to Hawaii with DPK David for the Spocom event. For my second video blog, I’ve taken it in a completely different direction and covered my friend Yuta Akaishi’s journey to Super Lap Battle 2014 (GTAxSLB 2014). Yuta is a very passionate fellow with a great deal of knowledge in cars and I wanted to give you guys a behind-the-scenes look into his world. He is a privateer driver with not very many resources so I think this is cool to see because you rarely get to see what these guys go through before a major event. This is a two part video so make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you care and want to see the rest of it. I actually have been doing a lot of video lately so there is much more to come. Thanks as always for the support. Grab some popcorn and enjoy….

If you prefer to watch this in full 1080P resolution, simple go to my YouTube link and you can view it in all its glory there….

SEMA 2014 Coverage…Part 3 of 3…

This SEMA ’14 finale probably has some of my personal favorite photos of the week-long event. It’s cool seeing all the great cars inside and capturing them with my camera but to be perfectly honest, it’s a bit of a pain in the ass shooting inside the convention halls. There are just way too many people at SEMA, especially this year, and it makes it very difficult to shoot with a tripod on a slow shutter to get a clean shot of the cars. Photographers know that you can just bump ISO and shoot with a prime lens but I always have a specific look that I want for my coverage and I shoot for clarity. I want the cars to be visible and clear to you front to back, especially if they are detailed-builds that deserve to be posted. The important part of doing event coverage is capturing the cars in full and being able to show the world what you are seeing in person. I think sometimes people take too many shortcuts to get the shows as fast as possible and the car is lost in the photo. Instead of being able to see the cars as a whole, you’re just looking at the front end and the rest is not in focus and you don’t get a good grasp of what the car is about. At that point, you’re just taking a photo to take a photo and not trying to capture the subject matter, which when covering car stuff, is vital. You’re not taking pictures of models or anything where only they need to be seen. Vehicles are much bigger and much more linear and you want that to be seen in full detail. I don’t know, if that is the way you want to shoot, that’s fine but people that come to this site know what to expect and I want to bring you the cars as I see them through my own eyes. Shooting these types of events are incredibly difficult because there is no time period for me to just roam the show freely without other people walking around. At Wekfest and other cars shows, I usually have a grace period where no one is around and I can get whatever shots I want. At SEMA, things are way different. Most of these people at the shows are just businessmen who are car guys in the auto industry and have very little care for photographers. They are just there to see what they need to see and have no concern for your photos or if they walk into your shot. If anything, they think that you are in the way because you’re just obstructing their view by standing there with a camera. The only show comparable to this in size with this many people is Tokyo Auto Salon in Japan. That show is probably even more difficult because of how compact it is and how many people are there. I just hope people appreciate the time it takes to document events like these because it definitely is not easy…

These final photos are my favorites because I saved the cars outside for last. Shooting outside is much easier and provides for a much more dynamic photo because of the natural light outside. It is just much easier to control the light around me and a lot less time-consuming because I don’t need to use a bulky tripod. This year, I covered only the cars at the SEMA event. Everything else that I captured, which is pretty good in my opinion, was capturing on a GoPro. It just seems easier to detail what goes on outside of the show on video and I promise you that it’ll be an interesting watch when I upload them. I’m still piecing everything together now but so far, I’m pretty stoked about how the videos look. It is completely different than what you’re used to seeing on this site and I think you guys will get a kick out of seeing life during SEMA week through another person’s perspective. Many of you attend SEMA so you have a good idea what to expect but I know there are many more who have never gone or will never make it out to Vegas for SEMA so you can live vicariously through me and my friends. I’ll let you guys know when that is up for viewing but for now, check out more great builds from the 2014 SEMA Show….

If you missed the previous two sections, click the links below to catch-up….

SEMA 2014 Coverage…Part 1…

SEMA 2014 Coverage…Part 2…

This is Part 3 of 3…

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One of the cars that I was pretty interested in finally seeing in person was Chad Castelo’s Mugen NSX. I don’t say “Mugen NSX” because it is a NSX with Mugen wheels on it, Chad is one of the very few people in the world that actually has a complete Mugen aero kit on his NA1 NSX. These kits are so rare that this is the only one that I’ve ever encountered in all my years in this hobby. To see one in person finally was really a treat and it is great that there is someone with this much Mugen-knowledge who owns and appreciates it. I’ll admit that it was a bit odd to see at SEMA since it doesn’t have anything that would be deemed relevant by today’s fast-moving automotive standards but it participated in the event on behalf of Meguiar’s. It makes sense because Meguiar’s has some of the best automotive detailing products in the world so why not have a rare Mugen NSX as a display item for your products?…

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The rear of Chad’s Mugen NSX where you can get a good look at the rear lip, wing, and sides. Also, it is only appropriate to rock Mugen MF10 wheels to complete the package…

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Alfred Senato’s “Blue Waffle” G35 coupe from R-Rydes. Engine bay and the rest of the car looking great as always…

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Robert Kochis’ Rocket Bunny Version II Scion FR-S from out here in Southern California….

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Widebody Subaru WRX STI on air suspension and Forgeline wheels from New Jersey. Nice vanity plate….

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A Subaru build that I’m more accustomed to seeing out at Wekfest East the last couple of years out in Vegas for the SEMA show on new Work Emotion wheels…

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Randy Riggs surprised everyone by showing up at the SEMA ’14 event with a completely new color scheme for his G35. It is almost unrecognizable now but this is the same G coupe that was once orange. Nice touch matching the Wilwood brakes with the lips of the wheels….

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Lexus LS460 with a full K-Break aero kit, RSV forged wheels, and Futura big brakes….

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JOB Design LS460 on Work Equip wheels from Platinum VIP….

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Varis Arising Subaru BRZ from the East Coast on brand new bronze Volk Racing ZE40 wheels…

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Sarto Racing Mercedes CLK prepared by LTMW….

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Chris from MFest’s E60 BMW M5…

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Rotiform displayed this nicely done Audi TT RS on their new BTH wheels…

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Custom widebody R35 GTR featuring modified Phoenix’s Power front bumper, Top Racing carbon sideskirts, hood, Varis rear bumper/lip, and Overtake dry carbon trunk…

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Karen Chang’s incredibly well-done custom widebody Y50 Infiniti M with full K-Break Platinum aero kit and AME Shallen WX wheels…

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This is probably my favorite shot from the entire SEMA ’14 show featuring this widened Lexus LS460 wearing K-Break aero…

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Superstar Leon Hardiritt Jager….

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CA TUNED’s BMW E30 coupe rocking a unique individual throttle body set-up and gold Rotiform wheels….

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This long-wheelbase BMW 7-Series looked great planted to the floow on HRE wheels….

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AE86 coupe featuring a Nissan SR20DET engine swap and Volk TE37V. The black/white two-tone is paired also with carbon fender flares and doors….

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Nice color combo on this Z33 bagged with Avant Garde AG Form Series wheels in a bright copper finish…

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I always thought this Mitsubishi Mirage coupe was interesting with its full Evolution conversion. There is definitely an overwhelming amount of custom work to get this car to its current state. If it were not a two-door, you’d almost get it confused for a real Evolution…

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Aimgain LS460 that I shot last year for the Aimgain Japan 2014 calendar wrapped in flat pink vinyl….

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Brian Duong from Mackin Industries’ Varis widebody Mitsubishi EVO X on new Gram Lights 57Getter wheels….

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A team of guys finishing up a full custom vinyl livery on the Rocket Bunny S15 Silvia…

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You guys may remember seeing this S15 on day 1 of the SEMA Show when it was just white inside and out. As the days went on at SEMA, they started applying the livery for everyone who attended the show to see. We stood there for a good 20 minutes watching them put this together and it was crazy to see them do it right at the show…

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All they had were the pieces cut out and then they slowly matched it with the rendering that was taped to the window of each side of the car…

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Loved this BMW 3-Series wagon on HRE Vintage Series wheels. Hard to see but this BMW also had a trailer with a cafe racer strapped to it….

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Black Pearl Complete Lexus LS460…

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Variant Factory debuted this wild “Eternal NSX” with tons of body work and head/taillight conversions….

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Paul Garcia’s Liberty Walk R35 GTR on newly-debuting SSR Professor TF1 wheels…

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One more shot of Phaze2 Yogi’s custom widebody Lexus GS….

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Libert Walk had a pretty nice display set-up at the Nitto Tire/Monster Energy/DUB Show section of SEMA ’14…

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The Liberty Walk Ferrari 458 Italia before a Jeep decided to rear-end it at the end of the show and broke the rear wing off of it. I actually got to see the car recently and the damage isn’t too significant. The rear hatch is slightly dented though and it is a Ferrari so it probably won’t be a cheap fix….

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Liberty Walk also brought out their LB*KIDS toy lambos, which are pretty cool but probably thousands of dollars…

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Making the trip out from Japan from SEMA ’14 was the Liberty Walk Kenmeri Skyline. I got to see this car while I was at Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this year so it wasn’t that crazy for me to see personally but I’m sure most of the show-goers got a kick out of it….

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Libert Walk BMW M4 looking really good. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the kit on a new M4 but honestly, I like it better than the E92 M3 kit….

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Vinyl-wrapped Liberty Walk R35 GTR….

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Liberty Walk Kato himself posing for a photo with a friend….

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I decided to make one more stop into the Wheel/Tire hall so I could get some photos of this Audi R8 at the Continental Tire booth…

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…as well as this 1968 Dodge Charger from Mercury Racing sporting a 1650 horsepower boat motor….

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The real reason why I went back to this particular hall was to get photos of Faiz Rahman’s Lexus IS300 which was parked at the Fortune Auto booth. I got to see this car when it debuted at Wekfest East this year but it was finally completed for SEMA ’14. Very unique IS build featuring a 2JZ-GTE Supra swap, C-West front bumper and sides, and a crazy set-up in the rear with the custom diffuser, massive rear wing, and chopped rear bumper….

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As I was leaving, I spotted yet another Sarto Racing widebody Mercedes CLK….

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Molten Pearl Lexus NX with full Artisan Spirits aero kit and HRE wheels….

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One more shot of the Rocket Bunny S15 with the completed livery. I really liked how the car looked when it just had the custom pearl white paint but I gotta admit, the livery adds a completely different feel to the car. it just seems more “whole” now, I guess you can say. Either way, this was certainly one of my favorites from the 2014 SEMA event…

On that note, that’s a wrap for SEMA ’14. Make sure to keep an eye out on all my video blogs I have coming out that covers my SEMA adventures and much,  much more. Thanks for looking!!