Photos and Words by Zach Taiji
2011 was an amazing year for me, both personally and automotive related. I had ups and downs, but in the end I reflect and realize how much I succeeded as a photographer, entrepreneur, and most importantly as a human being.
nw-built also had an event filled year. 2011 was its first full year, which meant that there were many instances of trial and error throughout the journey. We had our first big events, invested time and effort into the ever growing Social Media, and most of all created the foundation for our fans and supporters from which we now continue to build upon.
I’ve had the amazing opportunity to fuel my passion for photography and cars by allowing nw-built to be a canvas and portfolio of sorts. My progression throughout 2011 as a photographer had been great, and I got to feature some cars which I feel represent our site well.
Back in February 2011 I was living in Sequim, WA which is far and away from the hub of the automotive scene in the Pacific Northwest. One surely wouldn’t expect a 1980′s stanced AMG to reveal itself upon the masses of trucks and soccer-mom vans on the isolated and seemingly desolate Olympic Peninsula. While this car wasn’t fully featured on nw-built, a couple photos were thrown up on the blog – and surprisingly made it on StanceNation. Check out the full set here and the StanceNation feature here.
Fast forward to March, and yet another car came out of the woodworks, this time in Port Angeles owned by Pro-Am drifter Tyler Grimsley. This super clean and well taken care of S14 looks like the perfect daily, and I also got a chance to feature his KA-T powered S13 Pro-Am Drift car. Check out the full S14 feature here and the S13 Drift car feature here.
I also dabbled in the realm of videography during the first half of 2011, when I had my Canon Rebel T1i. My real personal test was to shoot the 2011 Port Townsend cruise. Preview below:
I made sure to get coverage at the events I attended, even though I didn’t get a chance to goto many of the major ones because of work schedule. A couple of them were nw-built @ Cozy Bubble Tea in Redmond and StanceWorks Pochi.
I’ve always been a fan of Mazdas and always will be. Hell, my last car was a Mazda3 and my current one is a Miata – so in effect, I’m biased to say the least. Either way, you can’t deny that this RX-8 owned by Sean King isn’t good looking. I gained a lot of exposure from this photo, which I consider one of my personal favorites. Check out the feature here.
In the second half of 2011 I made friends with Juan at JustStance.com and started to shoot features for them – at this point I was trying to step up both my photography skills and choice of cars up a notch. Check out this MKV GTi on JustStance, and a WRX wagon on locally custom built suspension.
As 2011 was coming to an end, I had also started a new chapter in life. Career opportunities had arisen and personal interest (girlfriend) had brought me to California in October. Before my departure, I did one last final shoot in the Pacific Northwest, of this G35 owned by Andrew Le. Full feature here.
Upon writing this post, I’ve realized just how much has happened in the last year, and it astonishes me at the amazing opportunities I’ve been given. I can only imagine what 2012 will have in store for me – and while I’m not in the PNW anymore my heart still is, and I’ll continue conrtibuting to nw-built as much as possible.