Sunday, August 26, 2007

ROCKIN' in Pleasanton (Goodguys 21st West Coast Nationals) - part three: coupes & ragtops

These photos really don't need captions. They result from hours of walking around the fairgrounds, looking for interesting faces and personalities.
When I get 'em back to my computer, it's there I crop out the non-interesting parts, like people bending over the vehicles. Sometimes the people and crowds are integral parts of the picture and the overall flavor, but when I'm shooting coupes and ragtops for my own pleasure, it's really just about the cars themselves and the vibe I'm picking up from the sculpture and the color. It's personal. But I do apologize for the tight crops.
Many of my friends cruise the fairgrounds with cameras. I often wonder what they see--are they picking up on the same personalities? Do they see

the same car faces I see? In a future blog, I'm hoping to share some of the photos ROCKIN's designer and art director, Brent Rector, has taken at shows like Paso Robles. He has a viewpoint all his own, and being an active gearhead with his '59 Caddy, maybe he sees things I don't pick up on. But that's all part of the fun. I'll say this--the person who first brought me to car shows, artist Darrell Mayabb, was both encouraging of my naivete but also a somewhat stern professor--not everything you see, he often told me, is real quality, real innovation. Another dear friend, Tom Snook, who taught me about antique toy vehicles, often said that he (and then I) should be able to walk into a show of 10,000 toys and be able to pick out the top 50. It's a matter of both sensing what's subliminal, and also having the knowledge to make choices and select the very best.
The license plates are funny moments. Just like mine . . . ROCKMUS. Overall, they add flavor to the experience, but they're really non-essential. Novelties. If you've done your work right as a customizer, or as an owner, or as a gearhead, then your creation speaks for itself.
There's at least one more blog to come outta the West Coast Nats for this year, and it has to do with the odder things I saw. Hope you're continuing to enjoy. I love the self-imposed challenge of getting the captures down right.
Oh, and by the way, I hope all readers of this blog know that you can click on each photo and see it enlarged.

ROCKIN' in Pleasanton (Goodguys 21st West Coast Nationals) - part two: the trucks

(above) what it's all about . . . lookin' at trucks
(above) a classic '40 Ford, in the California early morning haze
(above) what lurks under the hood of this '50 Ford F100
(above and below) a massive and beautifully flamed Jimmie transporter

(above and below) a vintage Autocar, also converted to transporter

(above and below) ok, I once owned one of these . . .
a psychedelic yellow 1955 Ford F100,
purchased one deliciously impulsive morning
from a farmer in Red Lodge, Montana

(above and below) red pickups are simply . . . yummy

(above and below) Chevy Apaches and Suburbans, they're growin' on me

(above and below) late '40s - early '50s Chevys and GMC's
now take a major place at Goodguys events,
and when seriously modified (as below), take on a whole new persona
from their otherwise (previously) dowdy selves

(above and below) one of the weirdest and
strangely beautiful pickup re-creations,
which has caught my eye at many shows now,
and is just hugely fun to photograph from so many angles

(above and below) ok, for me, absolutely, BEST IN SHOW

(above and below) the 1941 - 46 Chevy 'mustache grille' pickup.
an undeniable classic properly chromed and spiffed,
but what I would do with one of these . . . de-chrome it (!)
and I'll show you what one looks like in a future blog,
(which I saw at an NSRA event in Louisville many years ago)

I'm a truck guy and proud of it. I'm a founding member of the American Truck Historical Society and the Hays Antique Truck Museum in Woodland, CA, and a few blogs back you read about my family's adventure at the Golden Age of Trucking Museum in Middlebury, CT.
So, here I am at yet another Goodguys West Coast Nationals, and what do I see . . . MORE TRUCKS!!
Yay! (You can never get enough trucks).
During the course of two days, the weather and lighting changes constantly. The vehicles are parked every which way and take on (or lose) hues and depth of color. So you do what you can with your camera. Creativity and inspiration rule.
And, of course, part of the task is the decision to either include people in your photo, or wait for just the right second until the crowd passes and you can hunker down and get just the perfect shot. Then, there's determining exactly the right angle, stance, and pose. And that's why I respect photographer David Perry so very much--'cause he sees it all.
For the first time at a major car show, I'm using my Canon Powershot G6. What a fine piece of equipment--and I wonder why it took me so long to pull it out. I guess, because I've gotten addicted to my mini, the Casio Exilim 755 which is a miracle of technology in such a small package.
Previously, I'd shot most of my books using the now venerable (and rare in its time) Epson 3000Z. I knew it was rare when it was brand new, when I learned that only one shop in the Bay Area carried it (Keeble and Schukat, in Palo Alto), and quarterback Joe Montana nearly beat me to it buy purchasing the last two of three. What it could do with only 3.3 megapixels . . .
In the next several blogs, I'll show you my coupe shots, all kinds of wonderful and weird stuff, and a great discovery-adventure with a ROCKET 88 from Roseville, CA.

ROCKIN' in Pleasanton (Goodguys 21st West Coast Nationals) - part one: the roadsters

(above) my sentiments exactly
(above) go Jimi go . . .
(above) what hundreds do . . . constantly cruisin' the fairgrounds
(above) the famous Tom McMullen roadster, first cloned in '97
(below) sorta the same idea, blown
(above and below) my friend David's favorite

(above and below) one of the SoCal Speedshop-esque roadsters

(above) the first rod I saw Saturday am, just inside the fairground gates

(above and below) the plate sez it all (as awarded)
"America's Most Beautiful Roadster, 2005"

(above and below) in the winner's pasture

(above and below) I've always been a Creamsicle guy

(above and below) another color I adore . . . psychedelic yellow

My high school friend David Liskin and I cruised the Goodguys 21st annual West Coast Nationals on Friday at the Alameda Country Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, and then I went back Saturday for a second helping. David was fascinated by the roadsters, so I made sure to shoot some beauties.
The Deuce, as seen in hot rod roadster form, really is one of the Rockin'-ist cars ever designed. It has classic lines worthy of the many songs it inspired, and as you can see, improvisation with metal, shape, and color is very much like the improvisation inherent in rock music.
More wild shapes and colors in the next several blogs a-comin'.