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(Click here if you are looking for the Annual NASCAR Champion’s Week Trip post for 2014.)

If you have been reading BadGroove for awhile you probably know that I love photography. I am constantly trying to improve my craft the best I can. Anyway here are some of my favorite captures from Champions Week:

A Champion's Chariot

A Champion’s Chariot (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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zMAXDragway in Concord, NC Summer of 2012 (Photo Credit Bryan Howland Photography)

One of my Facebook friends shared the above picture on my wall a while back (Hi Shannon!) and I just love it on so many levels.  First off it’s just a beautiful picture- I could hang that in my office or something if I had a copy.  But it’s more that than- it’s the face that it’s a race way.  Even though it’s technically a drag strip in North Carolina I have never been to and I am a NASCAR girl from California – this photo has me jonesing hard to be at a race track. (more…)

If you know me- you know I love to take pictures. If you know me you also know that I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to those pictures so I can come back from any given event or outing with 300-3000 pictures and only find maybe 50 that I actually like (sometimes more- occasionally less). Here are some of my favorite pictures from the Kobalt 400 Race:

I don’t know why but I love this one of Tony Stewart’s number 14 pulling out of his garage stall- which happened to be directly under me at the time:

Heading out for practice

Tony Stewart pulls his #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Chevy out of his garage bay at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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(If you are looking for the 2013 Sonoma Race Diary please go here)

If you know me, read this site, are facebook friends with me, follow me on twitter, instagram etc-  then you know two things about me for sure: I love NASCAR (and fast cars in general) and I have a “thing” for photography. I do not necessarily consider myself a photographer- but I do like to roam around with a camera snapping pictures of this, that and the other.  I do do some post production work in LightRoom- but what I have learned in both photography and LightRoom is pretty much self taught (lots of trial and error) with some guidance from my dad who also dabbles. (more…)

The last time NASCAR was at Auto Club Speedway (California Speedway) was last fall- it also happened to be the last time I was at Autoclub.  We interviewed Tony for a second time (and he claimed to remember us so yey), went to the fan fest at the track and we had a great side trip to San Diego (I had never been there before even though I have lived in Cali all my life).  So it was a great weekend “racecation”- I got great blog fodder and I got to go somewhere I hadn’t been before. Win win.  Until Sunday when my win-win weekend turned into a WIN weekend!

I love to take pictures (and sometimes I am good at it too- See this photo album for proof).  During any given race weekend I attend in person,  I normally end up with a sore or stiff neck by the end of the day from carrying one or both of my dslr cameras around hoping to find that perfect picture.  Last Fontana race was no different. I had my camera with me.  I was in the main grandstands – probably three sections or so before the flag stand. Now- five months later I don’t remember many of the details about the race.  I remember Jeff Gordon got a pit road speeding penalty because I remember Misty was MAD!  (I don’t blame her- I was pretty ticked when Tony got his penalty in Vegas). I also remember it was pretty hot (no surprise there) and worrying my mascara was melting all over my face (it wasn’t- yey Clinique).

So as the race was winding down, I remember thinking that Tony probably wouldn’t win but hoping he would have at least a top five finish.  Then the laps wound down even further and I must have  said  something like “He’s not going to win”  to Misty.  I say that because I remember her standing there in the stands next to me- decked out in her Jeff Gordon garb just to give you a clear picture- CHASTISING me HARD for saying whatever negative thing I had said.  I remember sitting down at one point because I didn’t want to see him NOT win.  Of course Misty told me to get up after letting me stew for about half a lap…which of course I did.  And then…I watched Tony cross the finish line first.  I was SOOO EXCITED because not only did I get to finally see Tony win a race in person but it was at a track he hadn’t won at yet.

I was so excited that I got only two pictures of the event.

This one…not so bad considering I was sitting way across from pit road in the grandstands:

Tony's crew celebrating victory at Fontana last year. (photo credit: ME)

And here is the second picture…and this one is my favorite even though it is probably one of the WORST picture I have EVER taken:

Very blurry portion of Tony's burn out in Fontana 2010. (photo credit: me)

You are probably looking at it and thinking: Egads woman- that picture sucks! Why do you love it so much? Well let me explain it to you.  I was so excited that I obviously forgot to not only focus, but I also forgot that I had the lens zoomed in on the crew.  So it’s blurry and only a partial shot of the car doing a burnout…but the emotion involved in getting the shot is what makes it priceless. That and I GOT TO WATCH TONY WIN IN PERSON AT A TRACK HE HADN’T WON AT BEFORE! It was an awesome day.

I hope he has another awesome day down there at AutoClub Speedway this Sunday! GO TONY GO!

This may totally shock you but I do have a life outside of loving NASCAR…shut up I actually do!   I LOVE to write. And I LOVE photography. And I LOVE crafting of all types.  I write daily (not necessarily here or in a public arena really even) so you will just have to trust me when I tell you that.   Every single day- I have done some sort of writing.  I am taking photography classes to get better there- so I don’t do it daily but usually weekly because I have an assignment or five to turn in.  So naturally crafting has kind of taken a back seat lately only because I do have a real job too and and Roxy and two adorable nephews that I love to play with and you know…sleep which is also good. Oh and did I mention I have this thing for baking too? I do. I love to bake because it’s an exact science of measuring and following directions  (unless you are my dad- who is the only person I know who can throw stuff in a mixing bowl haphazardly and end up with delicious cookies no matter what he throws in the bowl or how much).  Ok so technically sometimes the love of writing and the photography thing intermix with NASCAR but they are actually also totally independent of each other.  Really!

Anyway- today I got a little crazy and signed up for an online CROCHET-ALONG where  we will get weekly clues as to what to crochet and by the time it’s over we will have made a blanket. No problem right? I mean I know how to crochet.  I haven’t actually crocheted anything in over a year or maybe even more now that I think about it. But I have been wanting to pick up a hook again.  I mean why NOT?  So maybe I haven’t EVER made anything as big as an afghan before- there is always a first time for everything right?

Well that is what my crazy right-brain side of me is saying anyway.  The smart (albeit slightly anal) left-side brain is screaming things like DUDE ARE YOU SERIOUS? Another project? Really? It’s not like you don’t have FIVE different things you are currently writing (including this blog), and don’t you have THREE different photography assignments you are working on? And when do you plan to sleep?  Because this is actually the BUSY TIME of the year at work and they just included you on that new assignment that will probably be a lot of work.  CRAZY! YOU ARE CRAZY! Oh and did you not forget that you are going to races in October and November AND champions week in Vegas? When will you have the time? When??????

So yeah- I am slightly crazy and added another thing to my plate but this will be FUN! And an ADVENTURE!  Because not only have I not made anything as big as an afghan before BUT I also haven’t ever crocheted anything without a solid pattern (with pictures) before I started. So it will be odd.  Not knowing what it’s suppose to look like while I am actually making it…so it could all go really wrong.  I will keep you all updated on my progress.

These are the things that I planned to do this weekend:

  1. Write at least three posts for Badgroove.
  2. Write my next post for Racing In America.
  3. Do my photography class assignment (what? You didn’t know I was taking a photography class…you would have if I had completed number one).
  4. Upload said assignment into my online classroom.
  5. Change my sheets.
  6. Wash the dog’s blanket.
  7. Save a bunch of writing and photos onto my external hard drive.
  8. Work on some fiction I am writing.

What I actually completed from that list:

  1. Do my photography class assignment

What I did this weekend:

Took nearly 12 Gigs of photos in my adventures over the course of two days that took me to a parade:

SPD Preparade 1

Marine ColorGuard

Miss california rodeo

To the staging for the parade:

Prepping for The Horse Parade 12

Prepping for The Horse Parade 2

Prepping for The Horse Parade 3

A local state park that I had never been to before:

Foggy Day at The Dunes

Ben Contemplates The Sea 2

shoes on the beach

To a cemetery overrun with deer:

little buck in the cemetery 4

fawn in the cemetery 3

deer in the cemetery 7

Saw the USS Mobile Bay anchored away in the bay:

uss mobile bay

And while I was at the wharf I saw:

nautical knott

cannery row from wharf one

seagul 3

Had a great time but I ended up with a nasty sunburn. It was a great way to waste the weekend. I am such a procrastinator.

Some of the best advice I ever got from a co-worker (at my real job) was  “Never apologize for doing your job…if you screw up sure apologize but do not apologize for something you were suppose to do.”  I pretty much have taken that to heart…which is easier said than done when you work in customer service/technical support like I do.  However I am going to apologize to you because I feel that I haven’t been doing a very good job here.  I feel my blogging has been incredibly uninspired…and dare I say forced.  And frankly I blame that on me- as I have been uninspired.  I do not know why or what is up with it…I just basically pretty much am forcing myself to blog because otherwise? I wouldn’t update but once a week…and that is NOT me…nor is it badgroove.com.  Maybe I am being too hard on myself as I have a huge tendency towards self-depreciation…but yeah…stick with me ok? It’ll come back.  The mojo, inspiration, muse, whatever you call it. Trust me it just isn’t here that is suffering from this lack-o-inspiration so it’s got to come home and soon.

In a desperate attempt to get some of the inspiration back I took a little road trip on Sunday since the race was on Saturday…I ended up at the zoo without meaning to.  I mean..by the time I got there I meant to be there but when I left the house in the morning I didn’t intend to be at the zoo. My dad and I love to go on “photo” outings…cameras in tow and my mom will often come for the ride.  Usually my dad drives and thus he picks where we go.  This time my parents and I had taken off with cameras in tote (five cameras between three people NOT including cell phone cameras) and since I was driving this time- I decided to head north on Highway 1 since we usually head south.  One thing lead to another and we ended up at the SF Zoo (ok basically my dad begged me to take him to the zoo).  Now I LOVE zoos. LOVE THEM!!!  Unfortunately the SF Zoo isn’t the best of Zoos but still I got some ok shots:

Baby Giraffe. Photo By Me

Gorilla. Photo by Me!

Lion resting in the shade. Photo by me

Swimming Penguin Photo By Me

I also took some flower pictures at the zoo:

Ruby Pinchshion Photo By Me

Some sort of purple flower. Photo by me.

On the way home we stopped to snap a few shots of the Point Pigeon lighthouse:

Point Pigeon Lighthouse Photo by me.

Point Pigeon Lighthouse Photo by me

And also on the way how we stopped and took some pictures of people kite boarding:

Kite Boarder getting some air on the pacific. Photo by me.

You can see the best of my pictures from Saturday’s adventures in my SF Zoo and NorCal Coast Flickr set.