Steel Cities Event #2

It was the first actual event for my co-driver.  Moving from a WRX to a Mustang, especially on the PittRace VDA, is a brave task.  I have confidence that he’ll find the limit sooner rather than later.  It doesn’t help that he started driving the car at its worst with last year’s tires on it, but even I have trouble getting used to the grip again.  It also didn’t help that the weather was iffy for our heat:

I also have photos for Event 2 up.  You can find those here.

If you’d like to purchase any, just follow the instructions on the Purchasing Images page.

+5 HP

Green, Blue, Yellow, Red, Black, White, Gold, Silver and, of course, Orange on White!

Come find me at an event if you want to be the envy of the paddock and grid.

Shout out to Autoxgraphics.com for the awesome work, as usual!

My CAM-T Mustang Build

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”14″ display=”basic_thumbnail”]

It’s always nice to have a good distraction to keep your mind occupied when things aren’t going their best.

Spending two nights putting together the latest from the Lego Creator series was a nice way to unwind.  It was also a nice reminder that being an adult means you can buy and build Lego whenever you damn well please!

You can check out the full gallery here

2019 Allegheny Highlands Schedule Released!

I always have a good time at AHR events.  While they only have 5 scheduled, 4 of them are at Ebensburg Airport, which are always really fun courses.  The other nice change-of-pace is that these are all Saturday events.

Sat. June 15th – Ebensburg Airport, Ebensburg, PA

Sat. June 29th – Jimmy Stewart Airport, Indiana, PA

Sat. July 20th – Ebensburg Airport, Ebensburg, PA

Sat. August 10th – Ebensburg Airport, Ebensburg, PA

Sat. September 21st – Ebensburg Airport, Ebensburg, PA

2019 Charlotte Champ Tour registration open!

The registration for the 2019 Charlotte Champ Tour is now open!  I’ll be there with my camera taking photos when I’m not running in F Street and not working course.  Everyone will be so full of optimism for the coming season and just happy to be back out on course.

Registration Link: https://www.motorsportreg.com/events/2019-tire-rack-scca-charlotte-champ-tour-w-cam-zmax-dragway-national-solo-978483

See you there for Trasharitas!

Recording my AutoX Runs

I’ve had enough folks over the years ask me about my setup for recording my autocross runs that I feel like I should make a post about it.  I try to put a decent amount of effort into making my videos actually look and sound as good as they can.  While it is pleasing to watch and listen to, it also reduces the number of distractions when trying to analyze the video between runs.  My camera isn’t shaking all over the place and the clear audio helps me identify throttle inputs on course.

This setup shouldn’t require any specific action camera, but I’ve recorded all of my video on a GoPro Hero 3+ Silver.

First, here’s a sample video:

For mounting the camera to the car, I use Ram Mounts.  It’s a very modular system that lets you mix and match parts for your specific needs.  There is definitely assembly required with this setup, but again, it helps keep it flexible and it helps save you a bit of money when you need replacement parts.  For example, I’ve had a suction cup base go bad on me, and instead of having to buy a whole new mount, I just bought a new base  Here’s the parts list:

Ram Mounts Suction Cup Base

Ram Mounts Double Socket Swivel Arm

Akron Swivel Ball to GoPro Adapter (because this one is better than the one offered by Ram Mounts)

If you don’t have a GoPro, you can always use their generic threaded adapter (Link).  I wouldn’t attach a DSLR to it, but it should handle a $20 knock-off GoPro no problem.

That’s everything you’d need to attach a camera to the car.  Because the arm and the ball connector design have a good range of adjustability on them, you can get really creative on where you mount your camera.

For audio, it’s a little bit more “homebrew” if you will.  Not going to lie, my rig does involve duct tape, and it does involve some “unknowns” that you’ll have to sort out yourself, but, here’s the parts I got:

Olympus ME-51S Stereo Micorphone

12 foot male to female 3.5mm audio extension cable

My old GoPro Suction Cup Mount

A wind muff of some sort

An adapter that connects your 3.5mm audio cable to your camera.  I’m not going to bother linking you to the adapter I use for a 5+ year old camera that may be completely different from yours!

Anyway, couple of things about the audio setup.  First, I like those Olympus mics because they do not require batteries.  I do know that they work with my particular model of GoPro.  I do not know if that mic will work with yours.  That’s something you’ll have to figure out.  Some cameras may need a powered external microphone to work, some might not.

Regarding the wind muff, I can’t give you a link to my exact one.  The business that made the one I use sadly is no longer in business.  The one I linked should work, but I haven’t personally used it.

Finally, using my old GoPro suction cup mount is a matter of convenience.  You could very well do without it.  However, I didn’t feel like taping my microphone to my fender every event.  Instead, I taped the little male-to-female 3.5mm extension cable to the suction cup mount.  I plug the mic on one end and the longer 3.5mm extension cable to the other end.  And honestly, it’s probably far more secure than using painter’s tape.

As far as where to mount the mic, I’ve found that flush against the bumper and not right above the exhaust seems to produce the best sound with the least amount of wind noise.  In these instances, I’ll just route the extension wire through my trunk between my rear seats.  How you get it the rest of the way to your camera is on you.  Different cars require different solutions.  On rainy days, you can also mount the inside the rear tire well (sorry MR2 drivers, I got nothin’ for ya), which is good and bad.  Good because you can keep your mic dry while still getting a good exhaust note, bad because you’ll now hear every single little pebble pinging the underside of your car.

For both the camera mount and the mic mount I use, I’ll always recommend a clean, (mostly) flat, and dry surface to attach them to.  When you do that, the suction those mounts make is strong enough to pull dents out of your fenders.  And if you’re worried about these mounts coming off at speed, here’s me (poorly) lapping Pittsburgh International Race Complex:

2019 Steel Cities SCCA AutoX Schedule Released!

Some good news to start the new year!  Chances are really good that I’ll be at all these events taking photos:

Sat 4/20 – Event #1
Sun 6/2 – Event #2
Sat 6/22 – Event #3
Sun 6/30 – Event #4
Sun 7/28 – Event #5
Sun 8/11 – Event #6
Sun 9/15 – Event #7
Sun 9/29 – Event #8
Sat 10/26 – STC Super Duper Tour Day 1 (FULL MT VDA Surface!!!)
Sun 10/27 – STC Super Duper Tour Day 2 (FULL MT VDA Surface!!!)

Saturday 5/18 and Sunday 5/19 are the two days of the Evolution Performance Driving School (Phase 1 and 2 respectively) which I’ll most likely be at, but just not taking photos.  I’ll be there to learn how to drive faster.

Best of 2018

New year, new website, new way of doing things!

I’ll still be posting photos on Facebook, but I’ve also decided to pay for an account on SmugMug so I can showcase much, much, much better quality images than I can on Facebook.  I’d simply host them on this site, but frankly 10 GB of server storage really isn’t a whole lot.  In fact, I’d go through that in one single heat at a Steel Cities event.  Amazon Photos was an option, because I do have Prime and it does offer unlimited photo storage, but it isn’t nearly as nice of an interface for browsing and sharing.

That said, here’s a gallery of some of my best shots from 2018.