Springtime Shenanigans

Howdy everyone! Wow, were already almost into April, its almost sad to say that the year is flying by and that spring/summer is right around the corner. But I would say that its definitely much needed, especially if you’re in the Midwest and have been stuck inside all winter doing nothing like I have. Figured I would actually take the time to contribute to this website by posting the first update of the year for the CTR!

The 2021 automotive season is upon us! With weather slowly creeping into the tolerable range for those of us in the Midwest, that can only mean one thing.. car season baby!

Before the season began I was ready to get new shoes put on the R

After much deliberation, I opted to purchase the Work Emotion ZR10 in 18×9.5 +35 compliments of Brian at Showstoppers New Jersey (https://www.showstoppersnj.com/) Brian was extremely helpful, quick to respond to questions, and best of all, patient with all of the questions I had. I decided to go with the Works because they worked great on the budget, and you don’t see a lot of these wheels on the FK8 platform in comparison to Volks. The Works will compliment my Konigs by serving as the street wheels while the Konigs get retired to track and autocross duty.

Before they went on the car however, they needed to make a quick trip over to Jeremy at Five Star Detailing for ceramic coating. Jeremy made these wheels pop with Kamikaze Stance ceramic wheel coating.

Once the coating was done, it was time to get the badboys wrapped with some rubber. I reached out to a local Discount Tire and quickly grabbed up a set of Yokohama Advan Apex V601’s

I previously had a set of V105’s on a previous civic of mine, and I really liked them for an every day driving tire. They’re a 280aa tire, slightly softer compound than the ever popular Michelin Pilot Sports, but still offered a 25,000 mile tire life. Given the price that I got them for, I would gladly say I would do it all over again.. I have a few hundred miles on them now and they’re living up to expectations. 265 square, no rub lock to lock. Needless to say, Im very happy.

Hybrid Racing Titanium Knob

A quick shot of the interior with my new Hybrid Racing titanium shift knob I got for Christmas. A great addition to the interior. Speaking of which..

Uniden R7
Vantrue N2 Pro

I was finally able to get these two pieces mounted in the interior of the car that I got over the winter. My new radar is the Uniden R7, which I got for a great deal on Amazon and my dashcam is the Vantrue N2 Pro.

I opted for the R7 because of its reviews and capabilities for picking up signals from far away as well as its dual antennas which allow for showing the direction of said signals. The Vantrue was an easy pick because of its price, and ability to record both forward and behind. Both are hardwired into the car, big thanks to my neighbors for helping me run the wires.

The radar unit had a nice little hardwire package that came with an external mute button that fit nicely in the CTR’s little slot next to the VSA button.

With good weather on the horizon, that meant car wash and cruising. Got a small group of cars together and went for a nice drive towards the Mississippi River. I forgot how nice it was to just slam some gears and cruise. It was much needed after a semi-long winter of doing nothing due to Covid.

My friend got this beautiful 2018 BMW M3 Competition over the winter. Love the paint and the growl of the motor. Plenty of power to back up the looks as well.

The neighbors Golf R

And the other neighbors scat pack.

As well as a friends mustang. My poor little import was outnumbered this day 😀

Like I said, I forgot how soothing it was to be able to get out and cruise with friends. Gives me the chance to clear my head in a similar way to how people probably relax during yoga. Looking forward to more of these, car shows, and more this year. I think the next big show for me is going to be Tuner Evolution (https://tuner-evolution.com/chicago/), but that could change.. so stay tuned!

Feel free to follow the CTR build and other stuff on my IG @AlphaDigital_

Thanks for reading!

Chronicles Of CTR #18645

Well, here we are, at the end of the 2020 automotive season, at least here in the Midwest.  There are some that will drive their vehicles through this winter and for them, the season is probably never over.  However, for me and the R, preparations for the 2021 season are already underway.  But before we get into that, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my first summer with the CTR.  A moment to share my thoughts on what the car is like and what the summer has been like for me since its been probably 3 or 4 years since I’ve owned a fun car for myself.

First and foremost, I am a die-hard Honda fan from start to finish.  I appreciate all cars, and love many, but when it comes down to it Honda’s are my roots, my bread and butter.  At the end of the day, no matter what keys I have in my pocket, Ill always have a love for Hondas.  I’ve had so many including three integras, multiple civics, an accord, and probably some other ones I’m forgetting.

My most recent was my FA5 Civic SI. This was a great car as it was four doors, peppy, and got great gas mileage! Unfortunately I had to sell it to get a larger vehicle after my kiddo was born.

Mowog DCTC

I think my favorite one however, was my 2000 Milano Red Integra GSR. I definitely put the most amount of work into this one, which is why it holds a special place to me. At 18lbs on a 62mm turbo it made a healthy 430hp and 300lbft tq, and while I had planned on turning the boost up with the hopes of making 500+, my plans were derailed and the car was ultimately parted out.

Mowog Canterbury

Selling my DC2 was my biggest regret out of all the vehicles I have had. I had invested a great deal of time, money, and effort into it and there was no way to get back the sentimental value that I had for it. The FA5 certainly was not a substitute, and in a way, neither is my type R. But it certainly is a start to creating brand new memories.

As many of you know, 2020 has been a flaming shit show with the pandemic throwing a wrench in the plans of many events and more.  Between lockdowns, quarantines, and other miscellaneous shit, it looked like this year was going to be a dud, at least for me.  With multiple show cancellations, I didn’t really know where I would end up getting my automotive fill from. 

I started this year off with the intention of trying to find a beater to tinker around with and with my friend selling his EP3, I thought that I might have actually found something to hold me over until next year where I would likely be in a better position to buy another vehicle.  I will have finished grad school, put my middle child into kindergarten (yay no more preschool fees), and freed up a decent amount of cash flow for something decent.  But like 2020, things didn’t end up playing out the way I wanted to, in a good way.

With my truck racking up miles, eating gas, and steadily degrading (MN winters will do that for you), I enticed the idea of trading it in for a four door vehicle that would make for an easy commuter that I can haul the kids around in and probably drive in the winter.  Naturally the idea of a WRX/STI floated into my head.  But at the end of the day, I couldn’t get behind the idea of rocking the STI with its dinosaur age EJ motor, and the WRX just didn’t do it for me.  While it would have made for a great everyday driver, I didn’t get the same feeling of wanting to own it like I did with the CTR.

At the time, the CTR market wasn’t really competitive with the used STI market. With 2017 being the first year of the Civic Type R, they were literally too new to be coming down into the price range I wanted to be competitive in price with a 2015+ STI.  It would be rare to see one come down under the 30-grand mark in this area.  Nevertheless, I slept with one eye open on the market in my area. You might ask, why a Civic Type R?  What’s the big deal with them and why are you infatuated with them?  What makes them so special?  The truth is, I don’t really know.  When the car first made its appearance on the market, I absolutely hated it.  It looked like a spaceship with its aggressive lines and wide body not to mention its weird triple tip exhaust, and that rear end, gross, I hated that the most. 

But as time passed and I saw what people were doing with them, I slowly but surely started taking second glances at them.  I credit @KazuoWfc and @JeppsCTR for having really badass type R’s, because my repeated exposure to their cars ultimately did it for me in the end.  @StigJDM showed me the potential of these cars on the track and its ability to exceedingly outdrive cars that were several classes more expensive was the nail in the coffin for me.  On top of this, the CTR checked just about every box available for me.  Four doors, aesthetics, power, sense of ownership.  Let’s be honest, if you’re a Honda fan, a type R is something special.  While the 10th generation Civic Type R isn’t something as rare as the DC2 ITR counterpart, it still isn’t very common to see (especially in my area), and it still has the R badging on it, so it counts for something. 

Kazuo_WFC 2017 Civic Type R build | Page 3 | 2016+ Honda Civic Forum (10th  Gen) - Type R Forum, Si Forum - CivicX.com
IG @Kazuo_wfc
Stig JDM @ Laguna Seca

Without going further into the other boring details, the end result was a 2018 Civic Type R with less than 5,000 miles finding its way into my garage and in the color of my choice might I add, crystal black pearl.

I wish I could say that the day I picked it up was “magical” or memorable like most things are, but the truth was I took a half day off work, skipped breakfast (I dont eat breakfast), skipped lunch (because of the 4-6 hour round trip including paperwork I was in a rush), and with the pandemic, I really just wanted to get in and out.

First official AlphaDigital branded image haha

During the test drive the R behaved and performed the way I had anticipated in every aspect.  The firmness of the suspension and feedback from the steering wheel was every bit the dream that most people have of these cars.  The tightness and precise steering made every input predictable and the quick spool of the small turbo gave the car a decent 1-2 punch in any gear at a moments notice.  I was sold. 

The looks of the CTR is without a doubt a love it or hate it type of look. The aggressive lines and boy racer wing on it screams attention whore, and can attract the wrong attention while garnering compliments from high school kids and puzzled looks from senior citizens. Nevertheless, I am totally infatuated with it.

Within the first few days I had right around 1,000 miles on it and while driving it was a blast I knew there was plenty of work ahead of me to get it where I wanted. First things first however, it needed some fresh fluids. I quickly contacted an old friend of mine from back in my Integra days who now runs his own shop. Josh at Precision Automotive is your guy if you need any sort of automotive work done.

Having the car up on a lift gave me a good look at the undercarriage and as expected, it was really clean. With a fresh oil and filter change the car was ready to go. I hadn’t even taken it to redline yet (only had it about a week at this point) because I was unsure of how old the oil was. But with a fresh change, I was ready to give it hell.

Right around the corner from me is a nice country road with several twisties that allowed me to see what the car was capable of (within reason). The car defied all of my expectations power-wise. Its rare to have a Honda that makes this much torque, and it was a refreshing feeling being able to power in and out of corners easily without having to rev the piss out of the engine to do it. The car responded well, and powered in and out of sweepers effortlessly. Despite being on 20’s with rubber band tires, the Continental Extreme Contact Sport 6’s showed no signs of struggling on the beaten road. The car simply went the way you pointed it. My previous turbo GSR was a great baseline to compare the Type R to. While both were powered by forced induction, they similarities simply ended there.

STC Reaper GSR 16-18psi 62mm billet turbo
2017 Civic Type R - Research & Development • Full Race
Full Race CTR baseline dyno (https://www.full-race.com/civic-type-r-research-and-development/)

Here we see the top plot of my GSR with a 62mm billet turbocharger on it and below, a baseline dyno of Full Race’s Civic Type R on 91 octane. My GSR was a lot of fun north of 5,000 RPMs where the turbo hit full boost. It brought on a somewhat violent acceleration that held strong all the way to its 8300 rpm redline.

The CTR on the other hand is much different. Power is available as soon as 2500 rpms and hold relatively strong until the turbo begins to run out of breath after 5,500 rpms. Both setups bring about unmanageable tire spin even with both being equipped with LSD. The nice thing about the Type R however is its ability to fit ungodly wide tires (by civic standards) on it, and the suspension geometry that virtually eliminates all signs of torque steer. In stark contrast, the torque steer on my Integra could get you killed if you weren’t paying attention. The boost response from both cars are also night and day. Where the Civic takes very little input to get moving in any gear, the GSR was virtually worthless if power was needed at any given time. You would need to put the throttle down and wait a few seconds for it to come on because of the lower displacement and larger turbo despite having 10:1 CR pistons and a slight overbore.

My overall thoughts on the CTR is that it was an exceedingly capable car with the ability to compete with vehicle several classes above its price tag. Its easy to see how this car was able to set records on Nurburgring in its stock form and how it has come to be the gold standard for FWD hatches. My car however, was not about to be left in stock form much to the dismay of my wallet.

First thing was first, the CTR transmission is really finicky. And I mean REALLY Finicky. It is smooth, and not smooth at the same time, people get gear lock out and worst was the 1-2 crunch people get. It had happened to me twice and I silently shed a tear each time it happened. I found that CTR owners were switching to Amsoil or Synchromesh to alleviate these issues, so $60 later and a trip to Josh at Precision Auto, and I was out and rowing gears in no time. Difference was night and day.

The first modification that had to be done was to get rid of the god awful 4×4 suspension and triple tip exhaust. With the help of my trusty Discover rewards, I promptly ordered a set of Tein S Tech springs and a Greddy Supreme SP exhaust system for the car. While Swifts were a popular spring of choice for the CTR platform, they were sold out everywhere due to the pandemic and with my previous vehicles having been on Tein S Tech springs, I was more than comfortable with having another set.

The exhaust came pretty quick, courtesy of Kami Speed and I was digging the dual tip exhaust over the triple. Now the car had the aggressive tone that it should’ve came with from the factory. Installation was straight forward but I gotta say I am somewhat annoyed with the fact that the factory cat back was all ONE PIECE.

While I waited for the springs to show up, I paid a trip to Garry and Kyle at Amped Auto Accessories in Rochester MN. Kyle is a long time friend of mine and I definitely wanted him to do some work to the car. The first order of business for the exterior was to get some paint protection film on it. I already accumulated a couple of small chips in the front of the car and I didn’t need anymore. In addition, I was going to have the car paint corrected and detailed which meant the PPF needed to go on first if it was going to adhere correctly. Garry got me setup with some 3M film on the front end along with some additional security and the car was ready to go after a few days! Not long after that my springs showed up from Kami Speed.

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate cars that sit high. So once I got the springs… guess what? Off to Josh at Precision Automotive the car went. Some of you might ask, why not do your own work? While I am fully capable of turning a wrench, I have found that my fat figure and short attention span can no longer tolerate being contorted underneath a car for long periods of time. In addition to that, I wanted to show some local businesses love during these hard times. So the option to have it done by professionals or to do it myself was a no-brainer. The end result of the springs was perfect!

The car was now sitting perfectly flush with the top of the wheels with the S-tech springs. As expected, it rode stiffer but with the spring rates that were published online it was expected. R mode was still the same, just a tad stiffer, and sport mode was perfect for every day driving. Comfort mode got a bit too bouncy for me so the car rarely ever goes into that.

With the PPF finally done, it was time to bring it to Jeremy at Five Star Detailing, another wonderful local detailing company. For those of you who don’t know (which is almost everyone reading this LBS) Jeremy and I have worked together on photos for cars he details for clients. After seeing his work first hand for the last couple of years I already knew that any vehicle I was gonna get would make a stop over to his shop at one point or another.

Jeremy’s previous evaluation of the car showed that someone had already gone to town on it with a rotary buffer as there was marring and swirls all over the paint. Aside from a few light sanding marks, there wasn’t anything glaringly bad that would be a cause for alarm. So I dropped the car off to him and let him do what he did best. Another reason I brought the car to Jeremy is that he is a local one man operation who isn’t afraid to give his opinion. He is straight forward and honest with his recommendations and evaluations and I appreciate that in a company. I know who will be working on my car and the level of work I had already witnessed first hand. I knew I could expect great things!

**WARNING** GRAPHIC PHOTOS AHEAD

Please don’t be upset that I let my car get into this condition before dropping it off with Jeremy, after all, it makes for better before and after content. But you can see from these photos that there was plenty of swirling that needed correction. The dust was from the rain the car had gotten caught in before sitting in my garage until it was time to get detailed.

After Jeremy worked his magic on the soft black paint, the difference was stunning. A 1.5 step paint correction and ceramic sealant later and the paint was better than when it arrived on the showroom. I can’t say enough about how happy I was seeing the end results of Jeremy’s detail.

With the bulk of the work I wanted to get done on the Type R done, It was time to find an autocross event to attend. With the pandemic wreaking havoc on the planet, I wasn’t sure how it would affect the local autocrossing events. I had heard that nationals were cancelled (though I cant confirm). Thankfully, it looked like the Minnesota AutoCross group was still holding events with social distancing integrated into it. I quickly signed up for a event at DCTC and was eager for how the R would perform.

Come the day of the autocross I was pleasantly surprised by how many other Type Rs were out there (6 including mine). It would give me a good baseline on how well these cars performed at these events and how rusty I was.

I guess first off, the CTR is an absolute blast to drive around on these slower tighter courses. As expected, the turbo responded wonderfully, giving me power at a moments notice. Powering me out of turns and likely making up for a lot of mistakes I made in the day. I was worried that the larger frame of the car was going to give me problems throughout the day especially in the slalom but I found that I only ate one cone for in the 8 runs that I had. I probably wasnt driving aggressively enough, but I certainly was pushing it quite a bit as understeer was definitely a nagging factor in my runs. Even with the tires at 38-40lbs I still found myself rolling the sidewalls a tad. At this point I knew the next time I ran it would need to be on 18s with wider and stickier tires.

I did neglect to mention that there were plenty of meets and cruises in between this time, and that my brother had picked up a 2017 Aegean Blue Metallic Type R three days after I got mine.

In case anyone is curious what the CTR weighs with a full tank of gas, its likely around 3100lbs. This scale rounds up to the nearest 20lb. What can I say, its a little piggy.

With the help of my friend Samir I was able to tackle the issue of the heat soaking stock intercooler earlier than expected. These size of the stock core was probably only 60-70% of the core I received. I decided to go with HKS and their tube and fin style intercooler over the PRL bar and plate intercooler. Mainly because I dont think you can go wrong with HKS, and the intercoolers ability to allow more airflow through to the radiator over a bar and plate style was important to me as well. Oh, and PRL stuff right now is constantly backordered. If you need any parts please hit Samir up at Midwest Performance Parts https://midwest-pp.com/

With the help of my buddy Victor, we were able to get the intercooler installed in record time, much less than the 4-5 hours quoted by the install directions. The intercooler was an unexpected opportunity, the pricing was literally too good to pass up, and with additional rewards to utilize I pulled the trigger. The last piece of the puzzle was trying to figure out what wheel and tire combo to go with.

Volks and the like were certainly out of the question at this point in time. I couldnt justify that with everything that I had done so far. But the set of wheels I wanted now, I want to be able to use for the track. I wanted to have a set of wheels that had form and function that wouldn’t destroy my wallet. The options for me were truly limited. However, I caught a sale on a set of Konig Ampliforms that I liked way before I even purchased the R. I saw it first on the United Speed Racing Type R.

PASMAG on Twitter: "We love the @konigwheelsusa setup on  @unitedspeedracing's Civic Type R! #pasmag #unitedspeedracing #pasmagdealer  #honda #fk8 #civic #ctr #typer #konigwheels #timeattack #racing  #maxxistires… https://t.co/XOoL6f9zdh"

The wheels were flow formed, meaning they were a great combination of weight and strength, and best of all, they were on sale with free shipping. I decided to compliment the wheels with a set of Federal RS-Pro tires, 255-35-18 for the 18×9.5 wheels. Federal’s from what I understand run a bit wider, so the 255’s are likely closer to 265s, and I didn’t want to run into clearance issues. I think Federal gets a bit more grief than they deserve. While they are on the cheaper end of the spectrum, I was willing to give them a shot. After having done research to gain some feedback on these tires I learned that the previous model, the RS-RR, were a 200aa wear tire that held its own against similar tires of its class, at least in autocrossing. The major drawback of the previous model was the amount of noise it generated. Federal went back to the drawing board to address this issue and the end result is the RS-PRO.

Federal 595RS-PRO

After having put a few thousand miles on my set I can confidently say that they were worth every cent. They are incredibly sticky, pretty quiet (slight hum at 30mph), and did well for me even down in 30 degree weather (Though I dont recommend it). I would gladly buy another set. Get yours at Phil’s tire service (https://philstireservice.com/shop/federal-595rs-pro/).

When the wheels arrived I test fit them and they looked perfect. I complimented them with a set of extended open ended lugs. Shortly after, the tires arrived and my buddy got them mounted up for me. Shoutout to my boy Sopheak!

The wheels had an offset of +35, much lower than the stock wheel offset. Yet despite this difference in scrub radius, the car still handled incredibly well with zero torque steer. I was more than pleased with the look, the car at this point is finally complete for the 2020 season.

My brother had also made a decent amount of progress with his car.

Nothing left but to enjoy the car and the remainder of the weather for the summer. By this time I managed to put right around 6,000 miles on it since picking it up for a total of 10,000 ish miles. The car rides great on the wider tires and the additional sidewall makes for smoother riding over rougher roads. I don’t quite find myself in comfort mode anymore, as its much too bouncy, but sport is perfect.

The final task of the year was to see how much improved the handling was with the wheel setup now. What better way to do it than by autocrossing it at the same place as last time? For the second to last event of the year, the temps were hovering around 40 degrees in the morning, topping out at about 50ish degrees by the afternoon. The layout of the course was identical to the one I was at earlier in the year, however, the finish line was extended to a straightaway.

The difference in handling was apparent as I could push a the tires harder without worrying about understeer as much. The car still pushed in areas but I still attribute that to being rusty since its been about 5 1/2 years since my last autocross. That and with the temps dipping down the tires needed time to get sticky. Oh and I was probably pushing way too fucking hard.

I found 40psi to be a tad high so I dropped it slightly to 38/37lbs for the afternoon, which was still a tad high. I managed to improve upon my time by a tenth but nothing after that. Overall, I was pretty happy with how the car did. I raced with other CTRs that were present at the first event I was at, and was much closer timewise this time around. With a few more events and experience under my belt, I hope that I can be a decent contender in SMF. Shout out to mah boi Nick for coming out and racing his SI and keeping me company while also almost getting run over by a mustang.

Overall, I could not be happier with my purchase of the CTR. For me it is the complete package. It has great power given the size of the motor and turbo, great handling, and wonderfully aesthetic. It has plenty of room for passengers, and hauls groceries perfectly. In the right hands, this thing can be a rocket.

Though, don’t get me wrong, the car does not have blistering fast speed off the line. In fact, I think its 5.1 second (or so) 0-60 is absolutely dismal. But that’s not where the strength of the R lies. The potential of the car to navigate corners for its drivetrain layout and price is almost unmatched. There isn’t another vehicle in its price range I would trade it for. There isn’t another vehicle that comes from a lineage as coveted as the R, and to me, that’s priceless. I hope to hold on to this thing for years to come, to enjoy it in the company of my kids who already enjoy cruises, and friends both new and old.

2020 has been an unconventional season, but despite this, I think I made the most of it. Being able to get back to enjoying cars has been refreshing and a welcomed change of pace to this hectic year. Next year’s goals is to at least put a tune on this car to wake it up, as well as some cooling modifications so I can get on at least one road course. A second set of wheels with sticky tires dedicated specifically for track days and autocross is a must as well. Though I have yet to make a decision on what. Mostly though, I want to make sure I can bring it out for all the shows that I hope will happen next year. That includes Wekfest, Automotion, TunerEvo, and more. With the car officially stored away for the winter, its time to make preparations for what I hope will be a productive 2021 season.

Thanks for reading through my long ass post! Before I end it, I want to give shout outs to all the people who gave me a helping hand.

My wife for putting up with my bullshit.

Josh @ Precision Automotive for always being down to wrench

Jeremy @ Five Star Detailing for the detailing help and knowledge

Garry and Kyle @ Amped for the PPF and Security

Samir @ Midwest Performance Parts for the parts hookup

Victor and the rest of the Ruthless MN Gang for the help and support

Mr. Sopheak Solo for the wheel and tire help

Sambol for aligning the car

Nick for the encouragement and listening to all my bullshit about wheels I say Ill buy but probably never will.

And everyone else thats been down for a good drive, meets, racing, etc. You all know who you are.

Start of the 2020 Season
End of the 2020 Season

To follow my build and other things I shoot follow me on IG @Alphadigital_

Lambo Dreams

With Covid interfering with everything these days, shooting has become increasingly difficult.  Coupled with the final weeks of my semester approaching, it has been damn near impossible.  But somehow, I prevailed and finally got to cross off a bucketlist shoot of mine with this locally owned Lamborghini Huracan.Lambo-2812

As you would expect, it was and is extremely immaculate and lived up to everything you would imagine a Lamborghini would be.

Lambo-2806

Slick styling with power to boot, its a combination that is hard to beat if you can afford one.  The owner reached out to me inquiring about a shoot and I gladly obliged.

Lambo-2677

As we drove to our shooting spot, the owner gave me an eargasmic glimpse into the monstrous power produced by the 5.2L V10 planted behind the drivers seat.  With its drivetrain distributing every bit of the 570+hp to its AWD system, the car took off effortlessly.

Lambo-2982

It is without a doubt, a rare sight to behold in our area and I’m glad I had the opportunity to shoot this and ride in it.

Lambo-2870

Thanks for taking a look! Until next time!

 

  • Alex

 

 

CTR Updates

Last semester of school is crushing me.  But heres some shots of the R anyways.

 

CTR-2311

Additional security installed along with 3M paint protection film courtesy of Amped Auto

CTR-2324

Greddy Supreme SP installed.  Gives the CTR the rumble it deserves and the best part was that it was easy on the wallet.  As someone told me, its nice to see that Greddy didn’t automatically hit the CTR with the Type R tax like other companies did.

CTR-0891

Car goes in for lowering in a week and a half, and then a full detail from Five Star Detailing and then its autocrossing time!

 

Stay safe out there folks!

 

  • Alex

#18645 – Blank Canvas

Hello out there.

I hope everyone is staying safe during these insane times.  Never in my life did I think we would experience the things we have.  The current events have been mind blowing to say the least.

But we persevere.

Together.

In these dark times, if I can even draw one persons attention away from the negativity that envelops the world these days I would consider my writing successful.  I post, write, and take photos of things I love and things that I want to share with you all and today is no different.

Last week after what felt like a lifetime of waiting, I finally decided to pull the trigger on a car I have been thinking about for a long time, a 2018 Honda Civic Type R.  I cant tell you what compelled me to do it, but I felt like the time was right and I was more ready than ever to dive back in to the world of Hondas and cars in general.

More than anything, I am excited to work on a blank canvas that has a real prestigious history.  The R that can be found all over the vehicle is more than just a trim level for a civic.  To me, it stands for a history, rich with accolades of all things racing.  It is the embodiment of the “Power of Dreams” that Honda fans have come to know.  And I’m incredibly excited to share this passion with my daughters.  They’re already loving the cruises we take.

RCS-0756

I found #18645 about 2.5 hours away from me with 5600 miles on the odometer.  It was between this, a CW CTR and a gunmetal one.  Ultimately, I wanted another black car.  Call me a masochist, but the beauty and shine of a black car after being detailed is second to none.  With this car in tip top shape and as low of miles as it had, I knew I had to have it.  After making the stars aligned, I took a half day and quickly hit the road.

When I arrived at the dealership, the only thing I could say was “wow”.  This car was jaw droppingly beautiful, and every bit as mint as I had imagined it would be.  The test drive and inspection checked out, and after some paperwork, I was quickly back on the road and headed home.

CTR-0664

The very next day, the first order of things was to get fresh oil into the vehicle.  So I quickly picked up my supplies and headed down to see my friend Josh at Precision Automotive in Rochester Minnesota.  I’ve known Josh for quite some time back in my earlier Honda days.  Hes the guy with the know how and passion for working, building, and racing cars.

CTR-0662

We got the car on a lift to do an underbody inspection and as expected, the car is in great shape.

CTR-0660

CTR-0742

Once the basic maintenance was taken care of it was time for a wash and a cruise.  BTW, having neighbors that are into cars as much as you is great and I highly recommend it.

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So far, the experience with the car has been nothing but positive.  It rides amazing, handles like its on rails, and having a Honda that actually makes torque is something else.  It is a really foreign feeling.. but I love it.

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I think this thing has a ton of potential and I can’t wait to start “painting on this canvas”.  Modifying cars to me is an art, and I love that everyone has the opportunity to showcase their art in a unique way on their cars and bikes.  The road for #18645 is just beginning! Keep checking back for updates!

 

For more photos and updates follow me on Instagram @AlphaDigital_

 

Thanks for looking!

 

  • Alex

Quarantine Edits

Happy Tuesday!  With social distancing, quarantines, and shelter in place orders becoming the norm, I have found myself retouching photos here and there.  Due to the pandemic any plans to have picked up a race car this summer have all but gone out the window this year unfortunately, but fear not, next year it is (fingers crossed).

Here are a few retouches I have made to some photos these past couple days in addition to playing with my lightbox and the new Thesis Beer release.  Enjoy.

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Still getting used to the new Adobe CC program.  There are still some shortcuts I need to learn, its completely different from the programs I’ve used before.  But so far, I’m really digging it.

 

  • Alex

Strange Times in the Medcity

The other day, I decided to go out and snap some photos of downtown real quick.

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Despite what some people may think, I did not snap these because I liked it.  Rather, I snapped these photos because I wanted something to remember this situation by.  Because I believe that you only know how far you’ve come when you have something to look back on.  And I hope that some day, I am able to look back on these photos to remind myself of how quickly things can take a turn for the worse, and to always be grateful during better times.

The only word I can use to accurately describe what I am feeling about this whole situation going on around the world right now is damn.

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Its hard to believe that about a month and a half ago, over 67,000 people had attended Social Ice right here in Peace Plaza in the same spot.  Friday, it was a ghost town.

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It’s very interesting to see how people process this situation and how they naturally react to things.  Some people go into a full on panic and start hoarding toilet paper and some people deny everything and go on living as normal.

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In situations like these, people tend to show their true colors, and I have to say that i’m surprised at how toxic some people are or can be. Though,  I suppose maybe I shouldn’t be.  I’m sure some people will continue social distancing long after this event has blown past, myself included.

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Shops in the immediate area have the all to familiar signage posted on their doors to let potential customers know of their current situation.

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Thankfully, before Moka downtown shut their doors, I was able to sneak in for a miel latte..

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It may not have been the prettiest, but it was damn good.

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In these strange times that we are living in, I would say remember to stay positive, and that mindset is everything.  The media likes to paint the picture one color, and that color generally allows them to make the most green.  And while it does seem unfortunate, remember that there is always another story that they aren’t sharing.  There are positive things that are happening, and believe it or not, positive things that will come out of a situation like this.

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So stay positive, stay strong, help one another, and remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  It is up to everyone affected to determine whether or not the light comes sooner or later.  The ball is in our court.

For the MedCity folk, support your local shops to help them get through this rough patch.

Rochester Downtown Alliance posted this recently to show you how to support local shops.  I strongly urge you to take a look.

https://www.downtownrochestermn.com/blog/gift-cards-and-online-services-in-downtown-rochester-mn

Wishing everyone the best.  We will get through this together. 

Stay strong Medcity. #RochesterStrong

  • Alex

 

A Chair Affair Afterparty 2020

Howdy folks,

A last minute call from a friend at Aventi Entertainment resulted in me being able to shoot this really cool event that happened for a great cause.

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A Chair Affair happens each year in Rochester to help raise money for the Boys and Girls Club, and this year over $300,000 was raised!

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Spinning beats for the afterparty was Gavin Boss himself, and his slick mix of tunes kept the dance floor hopping.

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The theme for this years after party was “Electric Forest” which saw the entire event area lit up with black lights and glow sticks.  This made for some awesome photos, and despite the dark setting, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the shots turned out.

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Its hard to believe that this is the first time I had heard of this event, and hopefully next year I can at least attend the after party.  Fun times like these helps break up the long stretches of dismal cold winter weather in Minnesota.  At the end of the night, several cool gifts were raffled off and people kept on dancing, so I shot away.  Looking forward to more fun like this in the future!  A big thanks to Sunny at Aventi Entertainment for hitting me up for pictures!

Check out the shots below and thanks for stopping by!

 

  • Alex   @AlphaDigital_

 

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Social Ice 2020

Another year, another Social Ice come and gone!

 

I remember attending this event for the first time probably back around 2010 and its amazing to see how far its come!  The folks over at Downtown Rochester Minnesota (https://www.downtownrochestermn.com) certainly pour their heart and soul into this event.  Right around this time people are fed up with winter and are looking for a great excuse to get outside.

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This year I had the pleasure of working with RDA to photograph the event and I loved every second.  Over 67,000 attendees were present this year for the three days it was put on which is a giant increase over last years attendance.

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And as always, there were beautiful ice sculptures and lights that made things beautiful to photograph.  Five ice bars from local establishments meant no shortage of places to grab drinks in addition to Cafe Steam supplying the caffeine for the weary attendees, and Jerk King with some local grub.

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The highlight for me this year was being able to get on stage with one of the DJ’s to get a shot of him performing.  Last year, this photo won me RDA’s photo contest..

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And this year, shooting from the opposite direction was a mini achievement for me.  Concert photography is something that I’m always excited to do, and learn more about.

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Johnny was a blast to work with, his energy and enthusiasm for DJing made him really fun to photograph.

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Overall, shooting this event was a great experience both for how fun it was and the growth in learning how to adapt in shooting in low light situations.  The weather this year made it easy to get out and about for long periods of time without having to retreat to get warm.  All my thanks go out to RDA for providing me the opportunity to work with them on media for this event!

Thanks for reading.

 

Old Shots, New Edits

To kill the boredom of winter here in MN I decided to kill a few birds with one stone and edit some photos that I took over the summer.  I figured this would be a good chance to test out the new editing rig that I just purchased as well.

Moving to a new tower was bitter sweet.  I liked it because it meant all new hardware, which meant the opportunity to work more efficiently.  The downside to this was that I had to abandon my current versions of lightroom and photoshop while moving toward the Adobe Creative Cloud platform.  I for one hate subscriptions, I simply have too much of them.  I would rather buy the product outright and own it, but oh well.

These new updated programs and layouts meant I had to get used to a new work flow and learning the newer versions of the programs.  So I chose a few photos to go through and edit and I have to say, Im enjoying it quite a bit.

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Heres a shot of the new editing rig.  I bought a well balanced prebuilt gaming tower with specs that worked well for what I plan on doing and then added more RAM to it. Lightroom and Photoshop are definitely enjoying the added RAM, well see if I need to go higher later on in the year.

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Went through a few photos and retouched them and as I said earlier, Im definitely liking the newer version of PS and LR.  Cody’s RS is looking great as always.  This is also a great opportunity for me to reflect on how my style might have changed from earlier in the year to now.

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Just for reference, here is a shot of his car in the same location.

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Decided to throw myself in the deep end of the pool and re-edit a rig shot I did last year.  Many of the functions required to re-edit these shots took a little bit of getting used to, and truthfully, Im still learning them, but im happy with the results so far.

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Similar shot for reference.

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Retouched this GTR for the heck of it.

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Another for reference.

As you can see theres so many different ways to edit a shot and come out with something you love despite it looking way different than what the original did, and I love it.

Looking forward to shooting more cars this year and potentially finding one of my own that I can use to test out new shots with.  For now, looking forward to shooting some local non-car related events in town as well as some upcoming shows including TC autoshow this spring, Automotion and Wekfest in May, and many more.

Find more shots on my IG @AlphaDigital_ and give me a follow!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

  • Alex