Looking back and moving forward

Completely against all writing conventions I’m going to start with a conclusion. Last year, 2013, was an awesome year for me. There, I said it. And now, as January 2014 is drawing to a close, I’m going to take you on a trip down memory lane, to show you why it was awesome.

Subaru Impreza

I’m not going to bore you with useless statistics. Nobody cares about how many pictures I took or how many countries I’ve been last year, but I’m going to tell you one thing. My year started with shooting an event at easily the lowest temperature I’ve even taken photographs at. In short, it was cold! Originally the plan was to shoot a track day, but due to a snow storm the track day was cancelled and everyone not stuck in traffic decided to play on the paddock. Afterwards I was covered in frozen snow and I was so cold I couldn’t stop shaking but I had a lot of fun!

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

Luckily the rest of the year wasn’t so cold so I could actually concentrate on taking pictures. And taking pictures I did. After a very productive 2012 I was feeling a bit unhappy with my photography. I took a lot of good pictures, but not enough pictures I was proud of. For 2013 I decided to cut back on the amount of track days and events I visited and to focus on improving my photography instead.

Subaru Impreza

To achieve that I decided to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible. What’s the fun of shooting the millionth shot at a safe location when you can do some car to car shooting at sunset, on a race track? And to make that day even better, it ended with an office chair race on that same race track. How high does that rank on your awesomeness ladder?


But improving my photographs involved more than just doing different shots. I really needed to learn how to be patient when taking photos. For example, why take a picture now when I know the light will be much better in a few minutes? So I decided to do just that while on an epic road trip with a bunch of friends. With the added benefit of being able to enjoy the moment, instead of just shooting pictures.


And to increase my newfound enthusiasm for photography even further I visited the famous Nurburgring for the very first time in my life with a bunch of fellow Wangan Warriors. And well, I discovered it really deserves its nickname. It really is a green hell. The track is stupidly difficult to drive and walking around it is hard. Not to mention shooting pictures there. Hard shadows, little light, fences around the whole track, fog, it’s a hell to both drivers, spectators and photographers.


But, when you learn to ignore the difficulties, you can easily shoot amazing pictures at the Ring. After that first time back in May I went back four more times and every time I came home with more great shots. And even better, it’s the perfect place for short holidays. In fact, I already have another trip scheduled. The Ring bug seems to be incurable.

Toyota Yaris

However, my life involves more than just photography. I’m a car nut, and a large part of my life is centered around those four-wheeled machines. I spend a good deal of my time at couches, watching stuff like Formula D with friends. Or in garages, tinkering with cars. And luckily last year I finally found some time to work on my own car again.

Toyota Yaris

After two years I decided to give up the struggle with my coilovers. I was having problems with the set sever since I fitted it two years ago and I really started to hate my car because of it. So, I decided to admit my defeat and build a new non-adjustable set with Apex springs and Bilstein shocks. And well, I really started to enjoy my car again. In fact, with the help of friends I started to do everything I neglected to do in the past two years. New brakes front and back, new rims, new fluids, a bunch of other stuff and one of the Wangan Warriors is going to paint my new rear bumper. I can never thank them enough for their help.

Rens Adams

Speaking of other persons, this story isn’t about me alone of course. The Wangan Warriors blog team is a very diverse team and I learn a lot of the rest of the crew. We each have our specialties and each one of my colleagues creates awesome content for you and me to read and enjoy.

Rens Adams

If I have to pick three favourites of last year I choose Allard’s story about his trip to New York, Rens’ shoot of a GT86 and a blog about the Nürmeet written by Maurice. Those three articles are really reflecting what the Wangan Warriors blog stands for. Top notch photography accompanied by an awesome story. Do you agree?

Maurice Bergers & Allard van Grafhorst

And when we’re not shooting pictures or writing blogs we’re finding the time for a good laugh or impromptu visits to the Ring or a Sushi-restaurant. It’s important that everyone feels valued in a team, and good communication and a bit of team-building really helps with that. And well, even when everything goes smoothly spending a night at a sushi bar is always a good plan, right?

Porsche 911

After reflecting back on 2013 it is time to look forward to what we’re going to do this year. We’re busy making plans for this year to deliver more awesome content to you. Great events, jaw-dropping cars, more car life. There will be a bit for everyone. And not just on the blog of course, our team in charge of the meets is having big plans too.

Suzuki Swift

And in the meantime we are going to entertain you with some stuff that has been in the works for a long time. Allard, for example, is working on the next instalment of his Raising the Bar series and Rens just shot some serious muscle from the land of the rising sun. And I’m working on two shoots of two cars. Both are white, both are hatchbacks and they’re the same make and model. But boy, they’re so different from each other.

Gareth Lloyd

So, to jump back to my conclusion, that’s why my 2013 was awesome and why my 2014 will be at least as good. But that was just about me and Wangan Warriors, now I’m curious about your automotive 2013 and your plans for 2014. Please tell me, what was your best car-related moment of 2013?

Alex Kamsteeg

Toyota Starlet

P.S. I had to include this Starlet again. It is both adorable and awesome don’t you think?