Formula Drift driver Fredric Aasbo

Fredric Aasbo
credit: Hankook Tire USA

I recently had the chance to interview Formula Drift driver Fredric Aasbo, who finished second in points last year to Chris Forsberg. The cool part of this interview, besides talking to a championship race car driver (he won the 2014 Formula Drift Asia title), was where he was when we did the interview: one of my homelands, Norway.

One thing I had to ask Aasbo about – especially since the Buffalo area is Narnia-like right now – was how the weather was in Norway.

“It’s been sunny and not too cold,” he said. “Pretty good conditions for cross-country skiing, which is what people tend to do over here. Not the crazy snow storms that I watch coming from Buffalo.”

Fredric Aasbo
credit: Hankook Tire USA

Go figure – our weather is international!

You can read more of the interview I posted on here:

Meet Formula Drift driver Fredric Aasbo

Fredric Aasbo on: Drift culture and cars

Fredric Aasbo on: Dreamride LA, Speedhunters and the future

His closing thoughts on the interview:

“The events are bigger and bolder than they’ve ever been, and especially the season-opener at Long Beach and the season-ender at Irwindale, it’s an awesome time, especially if you want to combine that with a west coast vacation – I’m sure we’d all like a little west coast sun now and then.”

Ah, yes, the sun…I remember that. Sign me up, Fredric.

2014 in review: Where I went

Looking back on 2014, it seems like I was “playing” with the side hustle more than I was at the “real” job from June through August! I’m blessed to have a job where I get a good amount of time off, and the ability to put overtime away as time off as well – so I suffer through winter to have fun in the summer, not a bad trade-off.

Progressive Field - Cleveland
Progressive Field – Cleveland – July 2014

Baseball – I made my annual trip to Toronto’s Rogers Centre for a Yankees game in April, then got to sit in some awesome suite seats (complete with AYCE food through the seventh inning!) at Cleveland’s Progressive Field for another Yankees game in July. At the end of July, I made my first trip to Cooperstown to witness the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and the installation of Joe Torre…what a celebration of America’s pastime.

NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens
NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens – February 2014

Gardens – Whether it was the Botanical Gardens, the Japanese Garden at Delaware Park, the Plantasia home and garden show or the National Garden Festival, I got plenty of great ideas for my own gardens throughout the year.

Matt Hirschman - Lancaster
Matt Hirschman – Lancaster – June 2014

Auto Racing – It was a pretty spectacular year as far as auto racing was concerned. I covered events at three tracks (Lancaster Speedway, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park and the Syracuse Nationals at the NYS Fairgrounds), caught the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour at Lancaster, Holland and Oswego, and saw the stars of NASCAR at Pocono and Watkins Glen International.

The Ponies - Man-Up Car Show
The Ponies – Man-Up Car Show – July 2014

Car Shows – Both ponies (Dad’s Mustangs) made it to two car shows this year, and each one made it to one other on their own. I also made my first trip to Olcott Beach for the annual Labor Day car show and a few others along the way.

The Osmonds - Seneca Allegany Casino
The Osmonds – Seneca Allegany Casino – May 2014

Concerts – I fulfilled a guilty pleasure in May – I went to see the Osmonds (well, three of them anyway)! In July, Blue Rodeo FINALLY returned to Artpark on a beautiful Canada Day evening, and I HAD to see Lorrie Morgan’s Christmas concert in December (possible my favorite Christmas CD EVER!).

City Hall
City Hall – July 2014

Around Buffalo – Besides numerous trips to the Botanical Gardens, I visited the Buffalo History Museum and the Japanese Garden for the first time in May, and Route 20 Ice Cream in Orchard Park in July. Also in July, I hopped on a bus for a Buffalo-based tour, which led me to explore the Fontana Boathouse, City Hall, Pearl Street Grill and Brewery and Silo City on the waterfront. In December, the teenage hockey fan in me came out when Barnes & Noble had an autograph signing with one of my favorite Sabres of all-time, Clint Malarchuk, who was promoting his new book, A Matter of Inches.

2014 in review: A year in photos

Looking back at my adventures last year, I’d say I kept pretty busy. Between sports, gardening and exploring Buffalo, I took over 7,200 photos last year (at least the ones I kept!), so narrowing it down to just a few is quite a chore, but these are my picks for my favorite photos of 2014.

NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens
NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens – February 2014
Derek Jeter at Toronto's Rogers Centre
Derek Jeter at Toronto’s Rogers Centre – April 2014
Japanese Garden in Delaware Park
Japanese Garden in Delaware Park – May 2014
Celebration of Coleus and Color
Celebration of Coleus and Color – June 2014
Derek Jeter - Cleveland's Progressive Field
Derek Jeter – Cleveland’s Progressive Field – July 2014
Fontana Boathouse
Fontana Boathouse – July 2014
Silo City
Silo City – July 2014
Kyle Busch - Watkins Glen International
Kyle Busch – Watkins Glen International – August 2014
Sportsman Mods - US Open at Lancaster Speedway
Sportsman Mods – US Open at Lancaster Speedway – September 2014
Lorrie Morgan - Seneca Allegany Casino
Lorrie Morgan – Seneca Allegany Casino – December 2014



2013: My favorite photos

With the year wrapping up in a few days, it’s time to take a look at some of my favorite photos of 2013, featuring some of my favorite things – auto racing, baseball, gardens, and George Strait.

George Strait

2013 and 2014 mark the end of the George Strait touring era – Buffalo was lucky enough to get King George with Martina McBride on the first leg of his Cowboy Rides Away tour. I’ve probably taken this picture of George at least 10 times (because I’ve seen him at least that many times!), but it’s still classic George.

French Connection statue

The statue has been up for a little more than a year, but I didn’t get a chance to visit First Niagara Center in the daylight until a few weeks ago. The French Connection statue in Alumni Plaza commemorates the greatest line in Sabres history – Rene Robert, Gilbert Perreault and the late Rick Martin.

WoO Sprints - Rolling Wheels - July 2013

Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge has quickly become one of my favorite race tracks. I managed to snap this picture of Steve Kinser silhouetted in his hauler from the pit area grandstand – it was later pointed out (thanks Ro!) that Kerry Madsen can be seen in the foreground on top of his No. 29, fixing the wing of his sprint car.

WoO Sprints - Rolling Wheels - July 2013 - four-wide

I spent lots of money to get this picture! OK, the money was spent on a really fast lens that makes night-time racing photos much better. It was money well spent :)

Matt Hirschman - Oswego RoC - August 2013

Dad and I wandered to Oswego Speedway for the Race of Champions Modified race at the end of August, which was not only my first trip to the track, but my first time seeing the Supermodifieds in ages. Matt Hirschman won the race, and went on to win the championship in the RoC series.

I had the pleasure of representing Red Dirt Clay as a photographer for the Big Block Modified race at the Syracuse Mile during Super DIRT Week in Syracuse – an awesome experience! Check out my article and photo page.

Mariano Rivera - April 2013 - Toronto

2013 was the end of an era for my New York Yankees: two more members of the Core Four – pitchers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera – retired from the game. Pettitte didn’t announce his retirement until later in the season, and went out as only a Yankee could: a complete game win in front of his home town of Houston (his first complete game in a number of seasons). Rivera announced his intentions before the season began, and was heralded around the league. I did get to see him one last time in Toronto in April – this is the quintessential image of “Mo” that I’ll always remember.

Harriett - 9/22/13

This is my sweet little hummingbird, which I’ve lovingly named Harriett over these many years (I don’t know if she’s the same one, but one always comes to visit! I’ve also read they’re territorial when it comes to food sources, so…). Normally I see Harriett perusing my cannas, but on this day she decided to take a break on one of my zinnias.

Sonnenberg Gardens - August 2013

I finally got to visit Sonnenberg Gardens this summer – in spite of a rain storm which interrupted afternoon tea, the post-rain color and shadows in the garden was amazing.

2013: What I did, where I went

The year is almost over, travels are wrapped up and new plans are being made for a new year. Here’s a look at some of the places I went and things I did in 2013.

Baseball – the annual trip to Toronto’s Rogers Centre and a return to Yankee Stadium.

Auto Racing –numerous trips to Lancaster – er, Elegant Builders Raceway Park, ROC Modifieds at Holland and Oswego (plus my first Supermodified race in ages), World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at Rolling Wheels, the annual trek to Pocono, the SummerNationals at Ransomville and my big debut as a credentialed motorsports photographer for the Big-Block Modified race at the Syracuse Fairgrounds for Super DIRT Week.

Concerts – rather light by my choosing – but after George Strait’s farewell tour (with Martina McBride), nothing else mattered.

Random trips – an excursion to my version of Disneyland – QVC Studio Park – also netted an awesome candy store (Wilber’s). Another excursion to Canandaigua in the Finger Lakes to the NY Wine and Culinary Center netted another awesome candy store (Sweet Expressions). A last-minute trip to Alexandria Bay in the 1,000 Islands – Lil’ River Fudge Company. I’m noticing a pattern…

National Garden Festival – made it to three garden tours, and inadvertently a fourth. The Parkside Garden Walk, the Capen Garden Walk and the Snyder-Cleve Hill Garden View were intentional, but the fourth one, the Ken-Ton Garden Tour, was by accident – a couple of the homes were on the Menne Nursery bus tour I was on, and other nearby homes were open, so I “counted” that as attended!

Botanical Gardens – my first trip to NIGHT LIGHTS in the Gardens (on Photographer’s Night) highlighted numerous trips to the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. I even made a side trip to the nearby Our Lady of Victory Basilica on a particularly nice day in June.

Coming soon – my favorite photos of 2013.