2011 California Hot Rod Reunion – Great Pics!

Hot Rods & Nostalgia Drags at 20th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion

Shooting with a vintage 1953 Zeiss Ikoflex twin lens reflex camera, Tim Scott captures the beauty of the hot rods and nostalgia diggers at one of the coolest drag races on the planet! Dig the warmth of these photos as Tim takes photographic demons of the past out for little ride… (Click on any picture to see it full size)

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Photos & Story By Tim Scott – Scott Photo Co. – www.scottphoto.co

This was my second year attending the Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, CA. October 20-23 were the dates of this amazing event for 2011, and this year certainly didn’t disappoint.

See, I’m not much of a car show guy. I love vintage cars, motorcycles and speed, but I really don’t care for the attitudes that often come with car or motorcycle cliques. I don’t care if you’re a Harley Davidson or an import bike rider. I don’t care if you’re a “rat-rod” fan or a custom fan. If you work on and ride/drive your toys – respect. Just leave the attitude at the door.

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The beauty of the Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway is that people that I’ve met there are true fans of steel, craftsmanship and speed.

There are famous people walking around that are completely unassuming, humble and unbelievably talented with no attitude or BS to be found. And the cars? Let’s just say that I probably should have worn a bib. There is a beauty to some of these machines that is incomparable.

I don’t even begin to have the skill, knowledge and patience of these craftsman. My stable of toys includes a ’53 Chevy pickup, ’62 Ford unibody pickup and a couple of old Harleys. I am not a master builder or any kind of a builder really. I have a few good friends who help me work on and keep my toys drivable, but I’m no expert. Working on it though.

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My passion comes with a respect for the beauty of classic steel and the craftsmanship that people of yesteryear demonstrated with none of the technology that we now enjoy. I think that a lot of old things have a soul that can only come with age, use and history.

I’ve worked in the creative industry (advertising) for many, many years finally escaping from NYC (amazing city) a few years ago so I could have a life, own a car (or three) and experience life in a different way. I was into photography beginning in high school and shot for years until an eventful day in the 90’s when all of my gear was stolen when I was away on a trip. Not having the money to replace it at the time I pretty much just left it behind and moved on.

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About a year ago I picked up a little digital camera (Olympus e-p1) and started to feel that excitement of making images again. Now this is a fantastic little camera and I’ve had a great time shooting and sharing photos. But as much as I love these images, there has always felt like there was something missing. I didn’t know what it was, so in an effort to find it I spent a lot of money on a beautiful Canon 7D and a professional set of lenses. This camera also captures some beautiful images. But still, I was missing the feel and emotions I used to experience when I looked through my images.

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I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I hate average or “acceptable”. If I’m going to do something I want to do it great, not just good. So I went back to the beginning and refreshed my knowledge of basic photography techniques. Light, exposure, composition, etc. Continually looking for the “magic” that I wanted to find again. And though many of my images were technically perfect, I felt no emotions when I looked at them. I kept looking, experimenting and questioning everything. I found an old 35mm film camera on Craigslist that I purchased very cheap because I wanted to go back to shooting fully manual to try to find that magic again.

OK, wow. Shooting with film again was a complete pain. It takes 3x as long to take a photo, and that’s after you have to find and purchase the film. Then comes processing, editing and getting things into the digital realm. No wonder everyone shoots digital. But wait. When I received my prints and looked closely there was a hint of that old magic that I was looking for.

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Now let me be clear. The camera is a tool just like any other tool. True greatness comes from using tools to their fullest in a creative fashion. By slowing down and focusing on the basics again, being selective of what I captured and not just blindly clicking I was beginning to find what I was looking for. But being a sucker for pain I had to up the ante and make the next step. Medium format film photography.

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I found a 1953 Zeiss Ikoflex twin lens reflex camera on Craigslist and continued my experimentation. It was on this camera that I created the images that you see here. To me these images have begun to capture that special something that I was looking for. A feeling of warmth and dimension. I want to look at these images and feel like I am there again. I hope when you look at them it gives you just a little taste of what it was like to be there.

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So to bring this back to cars and steel, there was craftsmanship, hard work, good use of tools and a work ethic that want into the great cars of yesteryear that were everywhere at the 20th Annual Hot Rod Reunion. The same is true for the great builds today, and great photographs. Nothing worthwhile is easy and it takes work and passion to make something truly great. I’m not there yet, but I’ll keep working on it.


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