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Author Archives: Amy

One of my earliest memories revolves around cars and cameras. Both of them are still loves of mine today.  My dad has always loved photography and from the time I was very young would put a camera in my hand.  The first picture I ever took was at age three or four- it’s of my parents bending over waving because I wasn’t pointing it up at them- standing in front of our pontiac sunbird. Going to the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway really got the photographer juices flowing through me again.  Part of it has to do with it being spring-type weather and the light was great at the track most of the time.  On friday when I was walking around the Neon Garage I saw lots of “official” race photographers.  They were easy to spot- they wore roadwork type vests that said PHOTO on them.  And don’t think I didn’t have camera envy too.  I remember wandering around the garage area and my head whipping around- to check out a camera or seven.  Yeah a little embarassing I admit but it’s totally true.

During Friday I used my trusty Canon I5 IS that I LOVE- it’s not a dslr- but its more than just your average point and shoot).  I am completely self taught (as is my dad I must tell you and he takes great pictures) and mostly do that by trial and error and let me tell you it was definitely a trial and error type of day.  I got some great pictures and some horrendous pictures (blurry, out of focus, etc).

Let me give you some examples:

While visiting Tony’s garage stall I saw him get out of the car during practice, talk to crew chief Darian Grubb and then go check out something under the front splitter. These were my pictures (keep in mind that these are from the upstairs viewing galley through the glass windows):

Tony Peeks Under the Splitter- obvious autofocus problem- focused on the beam and the glare and not on Tony causing blur)

Tony Peeks Under the Splitter- obvious auto-focus problem- focused on the beam and the glare and not on Tony -causing blur)

Close-up of Tony peeking under the splitter (image degredation due to being taken through window coupled with digital zoom crispness loss)

Close-up of Tony peeking under the splitter (image degradation due to being taken through window coupled with digital zoom -crispness loss).

Now here is the same shot (kinda) being taken by a professional photographer (of course realize also that this picture is not taken through glass and is at the ground level obviously in Tony’s garage stall):

See the difference? Way better. Of course this photographer is more than likely standing right in his garage stall so access is different).

See the difference? Way better. Of course this photographer is more than likely standing right in his garage stall so access is different). THIS IS NOT MY PHOTO- it's from tonystewart.com

Now I know in my heart that the reason my pictures are crummy in comparison are:

1. I am not a professional nor do I have the kind of equipment those guys (and girls) carry around (how they do it I don’t know- it about killed my neck carrying around the Digital Rebel I used on Sunday).  My dad and I were looking at a professional lens the other day? 8 grand! Like I told my dad when he told me I could get it for him for his birthday: Yeah let me pull that kinda money outta my butt cuz I sure don’t have it in the bank.

2. I am not a professional and do not have the kind of access these guys (and girls) have to get the shot.

3. I am a self-taught, shoot-from-the-hip kinda person. I don’t take time to set up a shot. And while I have an awareness of concepts like the rules of three- I don’t often take the time to consider it and set up the shot accordingly. Usually I am more of a “Oh that’s a great picture opportunity” and start snapping.

I did get some good pictures that day.  This is my favorite:

Tony gets out of the car during a practice break. Why did this one come out so much better? I honestly have no clue. Angle maybe reduced glare through window?  This is one of my favorite shots from Fridays Practice (that I took).

Tony gets out of the car during a practice break. Why did this one come out so much better? I have no clue. Angle maybe reduced glare through window? There was slight blur of motion towards the bottom because he was swinging his leg out of the car.

Of course as I said that is one of my favorites that I took that day (and definitely my favorite Tony Stewart shot that day). However this is my favorite of other people’s shots from that day. It was another one I found on the Tony Stewart website:

Tony looks either perplexed or determined I cant decide which. (photo is NOT MINE. From: tonystewart.com)

Tony looks either perplexed or determined I can't decide which. (photo is NOT MINE. From: tonystewart.com)

What is it that I love about this shot? Well first of all the vivid red. The car in the forground yet slightly out of focus- but not out of focus so much as to not be able to recognize its parts. The hood up. The expression on Tony’s face. This is a picture I wish I had taken.

First Friday Fill-in 115

1. When I look to the left, I see Roxy sleeping in one of her favorite spots (the recliner).

2. The living room is the room that has the best view in my home.

3. Let it work itself out.

4. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! (although I use to think the lyrics were Dirty deeds done with sheep).

5. Sense of community is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share.

6. If you have any questions feel free to ask (seriously- use the comments).

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to getting done with the work day and going home, tomorrow my plans include mundane chores like laundry and dusting and Sunday, I want to finish up a crochet project and get a chunk done on a writing project (it’s an off weekend in NASCAR what do you expect?)!

And now the Springtime MI-5 (by yours truly):

1. Now that it’s warmer (or when it gets warmer if it’s still cold where you are) what are you looking forward to doing outside? Taking some pictures. Walking Roxy more.
2. Are there any special memories or moments that you associate with spring? Suffering from what we called cabin fever, BFM and I use to occasionally take off driving until we hit an area of sun somewhere. That was always fun.
3. It’s definitely greener here now. Is it green yet where you are? What are some of the first signs of spring you have seen or look forward to seeing?  The wildflowers they seeded the dirt with infront of our building are in bloom. Yellow, blue, purple and red flowers everywhere.
4. Do you have any spring cleaning rituals? Not really but I do usually have more of an instinct to organize things- especially at work during this time of the year. I blame it on the extra light (oh who am I kidding I love the extra light!)
5. Are you Irish? Do you take part in any special St. Patricks Day celebrations? I do have a wee bit of the Irish in me on my mother’s side. The only thing I partake in that is probably traditional is corned beef and cabbage…which I love.

Because of the picture-intense race posts about the Shelby 427- I use the extend the entry function of wordpress- so people on dialup (I know you are still out there peeps- don’t be ashamed- I too am still doing the dialup) don’t have to wait six years for my page to load. Just FYI. Contine on with your regularly scheduled programming.

If you were keeping track- last year when we decided to go to the Vegas race, BFM woke up Thursday morning really sick- as in throwing up sick.  We were going to go see Tony Stewart’s driver appearance at the local Home Depot and at her insistence I went anyway with her brother instead.  That was the only driver appearance we got to that race. This year- however was quite the different beast.  To begin with no one was too sick to go.  Also there were tons of driver appearances – unfortunately it seemed that 85 percent of them were all at the same time (what is it with the Thursday from 4-6 time slot that the drivers love to use for their appearances?).  I told BFM that since I got to see Tony at both races we went to last year that this year she could pick our driver appearances.  So she picked:

Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Casey Mears.  The major problem there? Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch were doing their appearances at the same time at separate ends of the Vegas Strip (Kahne was in the Stratosphere and Kyle Busch was at M&M World which was just down from the MGM Grand).

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Walking in on Sunday Morning

Walking in on Sunday Morning

I honestly don’t remember what time we got to the track on Sunday- but I want to say probably around 9:00 again.  We perused the midway- partaking in free COKE ZERO samples as well as getting free Bobby Labonte flash drives preinstalled with the ask.com nascar tool bar wiget thingy mabob.  Mostly though we scoped out a place by the SPEED stage and waited.  We were there solely to see Jeff Gordon’s interview by the PRN guys- but be cause we also got to see Richard Childress and Kyle Busch during their interviews and we got to watch Hermie Sadler film one of the cut-away car segments-which was fun too.  I got a few mediocre pictures of Richard Childress and one of Jeff Gordon:

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Surprise! I decided to get these out starting today so you wouldn’t be left wondering.  Anyway last year the Vegas race (the UAW 400) was our first NASCAR race live and in person and this year BFM decided to take the reins in planning everything.  I just wrote her a check when she told me how much our tickets would be. She picked the seats and the activities and everything…and let me tell you I had a total blast. She picked us some awesome seats in the Petty Terrace (right across from Pit Exit).  I am going to have to break up my experience into three posts: Qualifying Day, Race Day and Driver Appearances otherwise you all would probably kill me for the length/picture ratio.

QUALIFYING DAY (Friday)

After our great time last year in the Neon Garage BFM and I decided that Qualifying day is the best day to have the garage passes (in Vegas the Garage passes are expensive…friday alone is $99.00 but both of us thing they are WELL worth it).  We got to the track probably around 9:00 ish and spent a good portion of an hour and a half or so just messing around the midway checking out the merch haulers and stuff.  The busiest haulers seemed to be Junior (no suprise), Tony (probably his fans stocking up on new merch) and Digger (yeah Digger has his own little merch booth).  Then it was off to the neon garage:

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Ok…I know you are all drooling and having fits because I STILL haven’t given you my race update from Vegas because I was there and have you know actual pictures and stuff to share…and I promise this will be published on Wednesday morning sometime.

Anyway- during the Atlanta race- right about the time I was considering giving up on Tony and crew and taking a nap- I mean it I seriously was bummed by being 2 laps down and all. Anyway- during that time my nephew came over for a few minutes for a visit.  Now I haven’t given you all an update on him lately so consider this it.

He’s 11 and 1/2 months old.  Anyway he came over and was busy crawling around and so I was distracted by watching him to make sure he didn’t try to do a header into the laundry basket (why is he so fascinated with my laundry basket) or trying to pull the dogs tail (not that she seems to care).  Anyway my dad went and retreived a truck for him to play with while he was visiting and it was very interesting to say the least. He is semi-interested in TV for about three minutes and then its off to something else…anyway- he’s zooming this plastic singing truck around (which amazed me in itself because the last time I saw him play with the truck he flipped it upside down and just spun the tires with his hand). Anyway I was half watching him play and half watching the race and something on the race caught my eye…and I probably said something to the effect of YEY TONY GO or something like that (when he is visiting I TRY to keep the adult language to a minimum).  And he whipped his little head towards me then towards the TV and then actually watched the race for a couple of minutes.  Then went back to playing with his truck.  I don’t know why it fascinated me but it was like he was actually watching the race because I obviously was so into it I was talking to the TV- so it must be something good.

Of course a little while later he successfully snagged my cell phone off the end table and tried to sneak off with it and expressed his frustration at the fact that I wouldn’t let him have my iced tea that he shrieked at me.

As a Tony Stewart fan I will tell you that the Atlanta race was extremely frustrating and I almost nearly gave up on it to take a nap. Tony seemed to nearly immediate fall backwards in the field.  Ryan Newman seemed to be doing ok at first but he too seemed to start to go backwards instead of forward. And then…when that caution came out because Marcus Ambrose’s gasman (who was suspended for the duration of the race) decided to chase a tire half way to the track…causing NASCAR to throw a yellow flag.  Well I knew that would screw Tony who had just pitted. Little did I know just how much it would screw him.  And then Tony seemed to fall back even farther and farther and I admit that part of me wanted to say “Urg screw it…I am gonna go take a nap” (I didn’t feel well nor did I sleep well and I did take a nap later after the race).  But as much as I wanted to recharge my battery, I stayed with the race and watched the whole thing and I was so glad I did because I got to see TEAM OFFICE DEPOT at its best- they fought back long and hard and Tony got his two laps back (one the hard way and one lucky dog) even after having a problem with the fueling choreography on one of their pitstops.  It was good strong team work that got Tony to move up to another 8th place finish, moving him up two places in the points to 6th. Congrats to Kurt Busch for winning the Kobalt Tools 500.

Other notes on Atlanta:

  • I don’t remember who crashed…but someone crashed right in front of Joey Logano and he did a remarkable job getting through the crash-way to go for the rookie.
  • Also speaking of Joey Logano- I don’t remember if it was Jeff Hammond or Darrel Waltrip who coined the phrase “The Whole Logano” in reference to a car who has severely scraped the right side of their car along the wall so badly you can’t even read the numbers on their car. That made me chuckle.  I know he’s a rookie and really green…but you have to admit it’s funny.
  • What was with the butt bumping by the Stewart-Haas teammates? First Ryan Newman tags Kyle Busch so hard in the rear end he damages his bumper.  Then Tony Stewart appears to do the same thing to Joey Logano.  Darrel said he thought Tony was trying to bump draft Logano but that didn’t make sense to me. Did Logano check up or did Tony want to give him a push so that Logano knew he was there? Not sure. Probably only Tony knows for sure.
  • Way to go Jeff Gordon for finishing a strong second- even with a problematic clutch.

Next Week: Is an off week for NASCAR. Next Race is March 22nd at my favorite track to watch on tv…BRISTOL.