After finally getting used to the small size of Florence, it was then time to move on to Rome! It was a short hour and a half train ride into Roma Termini, right in the heart of the city. Rome’s heart beats much faster than Florence’s, and there always seemed to be a flurry of activity no matter what time you were out walking the streets. We settled in at the Mosaic Hostel which was only a few blocks from Termini, and began to plan our trip.
Rome itself is so much to take in. The city is so rich in history and artifacts that it is nearly impossible to try and see them all in a short period of time. If we’d had the entire two and a half weeks to Rome itself, it might have been possible. It is overwhelming at first to walk up to these monuments that are older than you can even imagine. It is hard to wrap your mind around it at first! The Pantheon and Colosseum, both nearly 2,000 years old apiece with their well worn marble, smoothed from millions of footsteps over the years. The sheer size of them is amazing as well, a huge feat in engineering, given the tools that the ancient Romans had to work with. Pretty humbling stuff.
Part 2 of the series – on to Florence! After a few great days in Paris, we caught a night train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Firenze Santa Maria Novela. The train was loud and the air conditioning was less than stellar, so it made for an interesting trip!
Florence is a much smaller city that one would imagine. Most of the city is within a comfortable walking distance, and amazing monuments like Il Duomo are packed right into the city amongst shops and restaurants. We had a great time walking around and seeing amazing pieces of history like the Ponte Vecchio spanning the Arno River and the statue of David.
What a great trip it was! I have finally been able to sit down for a moment and go through some of the photos from my recent European adventure! Rather than place them all into one humongous blog posting, I’ve decided to break them up into segments as they were traveled. First stop was a driect flight from Houston Intercontinental to Paris Charles De Gaulle.
I chose to use a photobook setup to condense the photos into viewable portions. I might make the individual photos available as well so that they can all be viewed full size. Stay tuned and I will probably provide a link to them.
Yesterday while I was shooting on the 43rd floor of the Exxon buliding (in the Petroleum Club), I took a quick series of shots to stitch together later on. The panorama turned out great, and I thought I would post it up for everyone to see. I highly recommend that you see the HUGE original version here, which has a ton of detail. More to come soon as I have a very busy weekend of shooting ahead!
A Lamborghini is one of the many objects that most mortals such as myself can only dream of ever owning. Costing as much as an average man’s house, it is an exclamation point on the exorbitant lifestyles known only to the rich and famous; a pure flexing of one’s disposable income. The name alone conjures up fleeting thoughts of success and passion; the sight of one is enough to make the average person short of breath. So when I was contacted about shooting (and driving) a 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, I had to take a moment for my heart to catch up. That night, having thoroughly terrified myself with reading stories about the unpredictability of the Countach and the unforgiving nature of the Diablo, I was extremely apprehensive about what was to come.
Showing up to pick up the Lamborghini the next morning was a nerve wracking experience. This car triggers a visceral reaction in your body that other cars in its class cannot come close to matching. In my very limited experience with cars of this nature, I had never yet actually been afraid of a car…until now. Even parked, it looks like some sort of evil surgical instrument, full of acute angles and razor sharp creases. It sits low and wide, nearly seven and a half feet from mirror to mirror, with the windshield raked to an angle better suited for a reentry vehicle. Bathed in a deep pearlescent coat of paint, the color shifts tones in the sunlight, from a light yellow hue with flecks of turquoise to a deeply saturated yellow-orange. When compared visually, the mighty Ferrari F430 looks a bit too proper, too safe, too dull. Sacrilege? Maybe.
Sitting in the Lamborghini requires an awkward dance: open the door, swivel your hips to the left, bend your knees and fall backward (watch your head!) into the driver’s bucket. With your rear planted firmly 3 inches above the pavement, you can take the time to look around the cockpit. The interior, furnished by Audi, is exactly what you would expect from the automaker known best for top quality materials. The doors close with a satisfying “thud” and everything has a substantial feel to it. The centrally located rocker switches for the lights, windows and hazards are a nice touch that adds to the feel of being in the cockpit of a fighter jet. The doors panels and center console, all swathed in glossy carbon fiber, remind you of the intent of this beast. The traditional aluminum open gated shifter stands out inside the dark modern cabin, a nod to the great Lamborghinis of yore. I was very happy to see this model equipped with a proper transmission as I have found it a shame that so many recent supercars are losing sight of the pure driving experience. I came to find while driving that it requires a bit more precision and care compared to other shifters I was accustomed to, but the satisfying “click-click” of gear changes and the beauty of the shifter itself are well worth the sacrifice.
I was beginning to feel more comfortable about the idea of driving this beast until I inserted the switchblade style key into the ignition and gave it a good turn. The hand-built 5 liter v-10 exploded to life, clearing its throat with a gruff cough before settling into a impatient idle. I fastened my seat belt (very tightly) and slowly eased out of the driveway, assisted by the hydraulic suspension that lifted the nose up 1.5 inches to avoid what seem to be inevitable scrapes.
A poorly executed cell phone video of the Lamborghini starting up.
I quickly lowered the cloth top in order to gain any real kind of a rear view of traffic. The top took roughly 20 seconds to disappear into a small cubby placed on top of the engine, exposed when the entire rear cover lifts up and slides rearward. With the top down, you are rewarded by the unfiltered sound of Sant’ Agata Bolognese’s finest v10 just inches behind your head.
After tooling around a bit and becoming more acquainted with the heavy clutch and deliberate gear changes, I held my breath and matted the accelerator in first gear. All 520 horses and 376 lb-ft of torque immediately and furiously boiled over. The engine, rising from a baritone growl below 3,000 RPM, changed character and emitted a hoarse metallic scream as I rushed for second gear faster than I ever thought possible. Once in second, the constant linear power continued on seemingly forever until out of self preservation I shut it down at highly illegal speeds. It was in that moment that you realize what this car is all about.
On the freeway, the Lamborghini was well behaved, offering up plenty of passing power in 6th gear with very little drama. The engine begs to be let off the hook however, and I appeased it quite a few times on my trip. On the cratered streets of Houston, it shook, shuddered and creaked along, probably cursing its driver for allowing its tires to touch such broken, shoddily paved surfaces. Gawking stares became a regular occurrence, most probably looking to see who the 20-something celebrity driving the sun-yellow Lamborghini was. If you saw me driving that day, I am sorry to have to disappoint you, it was just me.
People buy Lamborghinis because of the one of a kind driving experience that they can offer. The offer is unabashedly straightforward a car that will sacrifice any necessary niceties to dig deeply into the soul of the driver. The engine sounds more like a wild animal than anything man made; the ride and handling is twitchy and nervous at everyday speeds. It’s not very comfortable, it’s hot and it’s totally impractical. And I love it. All of its faults are quickly dissolved during a drive down a wooded road at dusk with no sound other than the engine churning behind you. It’s an amazing feeling from going from an everyday driver to a Lamborghini – it commands the respect, concentration and total connection of its driver. By the time I parked it I was drenched in sweat and exhausted, either from the heat or from stress of driving a house in every day traffic (probably the latter).
Engine 5.0L V10
Displacement cu in (cc): 303 (4961)
Power bhp (kW) at RPM: 520(382) / 8000
Torque lb-ft (Nm) at RPM: 376(510) / 4250
Acceleration 0-62 mph s: 4.3
Top Speed mph: 195
On to the photos!
The entire shoot is located here
I was fortunate enough to shoot the John O’Quinn collection again this past week. I was really excited to hear that the shoot list was nearly double the size of the first!
The shoot list included:
- Featured in The Fast and the Furious, 1994 Toyota Supra
- 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass
- Ex-Tom Cruise,2004 Lexus Concept Car
- Given to Madonna by Sean Penn,1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SL Convertible
- 1963 Custom Roadster
- 1955 Packard SAGA Concept Car
- 1955 Lincoln Street Rod
- 1964 Pontiac GTO
- 1964 Pontiac GTO
- 1932 Duesenberg “Big Cow” Tom Mix
- 1987 March Kraco
- 1958 MG MGA Convertible
- 1957 Cadillac Eldorado
- 1929 Gardner Eight Cycle Roadster
- 1937 Duesenberg Father Devine
- 1957 Lincoln Continental Premier (2dr)
- 1956 Ford Thunderbird
- 1964 Lincoln Papal
- 1962 Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Cabriolet
- 1906 Cadillac Model 1
- 1906 American Tourist
- 1956 Lincoln Premiere Convertible
- 1955 Ford Custom Bubble Car
For the shoot, I brought along the same equipment and used the same settings as the first time, with the exception of an additional lens – a rented Nikkor 16-35 wide angle for interior shots. Loved this lens, it was invaluable for getting good wide shots in tight spots.
It was a great deal of fun to read through the posting and see all the amazing photos that were included. I am humbled to be included in such an elite bunch! Each other photographer who was posted has some incredible work posted on their respective sites, and their work gives me a good kick in the ass to stay motivated and keep improving!
After what seemed like years of trying, I FINALLY made it to a Houston Coffee and Cars event. They’d always been beconing to me, but the 7 a.m. start time always seemed to come and go, despite the constant protest of my blaring alarm clock. This time, however, I was determined to go! With 3 alarm clocks set for 6 a.m. and strict Friday night bedtime of 10 p.m. I was ready to go.
Admittedly exhausted, I rose the next morning in a zombie-like trance and headed out the door. With dawn having just passed, the sky was filled with a soft, warm, pleasant light that would surely soon give way to the oppressing heat that has enveloped Houston for the past few months. Driving 290 on the way to Vintage Park, it became obvious that other attendees were also en route. Peppered in the stream of traffic amongst the cars of mere mortals, the bright red paint of a Lamborghini Superleggera flashed in and out of my field of vision, its exhaust shrieking with every downshift.
I was able to shoot this Grand Prix White 2008 Honda S2000 CR over the weekend. The owner of the CR contacted me a few weeks back and expressed interest in booking a shoot for his car. At this point and time, I thought it was only a standard AP2 S2000 and was very surprised when I found out that it was indeed a CR model. Production for the CR model was originally planned for 1,500 but was stopped after only 650 chassis rolled off the line. This S2000 is one of only 82 Grand Prix White CR’s in the world, and one of only two that I know about in the Houston area. Totally immaculate car inside and out with a lengthy modifications list, including: