After 4 years in San Francisco and being car-less, I finally caved in and got one this weekend. I appreciate everyone supporting me. I play it off like it’s not a big deal, but it kinda actually is.

I’ve been trying to save money and live minimally for a while now. But, it’s time to make the most of the west coast. I still love my e-bike, however, I needed something that could extend my radius and transform California into a true playground. If you’re in the Bay Area, let’s find some twisties and do a weekend run.

I wanted to take a moment to honor one of my closest friends, Mark Smith, who passed away in 2014. He and I used to talk about everything, but most of all, cars. I’m going to do something a little different this time—I’m going to share something more personal. There are plenty of car reviews on the GTI, and I don’t want this to be another one just echoing the same things. If Mark were still alive, I’d write him an email like this (picking up where we left off):

Hey Mark,

As you know, I’ve been test driving some cars. I finally landed on something–the new VW GTI. I know it’s not a Porsche, but it’s still German and has a ton of character.

I’ll get the GT4 one day. Until then, this will have to do. Hah!

I needed something practical—so it’s got 4 doors, a 6 year bumper-to-bumper warranty, and has a dual clutch auto transmission. As respectable as it is, the DCT isn’t as good as PDK. I was reeeeeeeeeally leaning towards a manual, but all my friends in SF recommended me to get the auto since there are so many hills… and traffic can be brutal, even on weekends. So this seemed to be the most logical choice.

I’ll be honest, I still miss my 911. I probably should have never sold it, but I’m happy (and lucky) that I was able to own one for a while. It would have been a thrill to have it here in Cali. Some of the roads here are pure driving nirvana. And, it seems like there are less cops hiding around each corner! Hah!

Anyway, the GTI packs a respectable amount of performance for the price, and it’s better suited for the city. I got mine for under $6k MSRP—it required a lot of haggling, but I managed to walk away with a deal that felt like a tremendous bargain. I got the base model, and it’s honestly just as good as fully loaded version. I just needed something for the weekends.

I went for a short run this weekend, but there was a little too much traffic (b/c of labor day) to really open it up. However, I fumbled with some of the settings and experimented a little. I think the key is to keep the car at higher RPMs (above 4k), sport mode, with the turbos spooled. When the turbos kick in, the GTI pulls. It’s a car that you can really applaud because it does so many things well. It even has heritage, and fan base loves each new iteration. The GTI isn’t a flashy car, but I actually kind of like that it flies under the radar. It’s really growing on me, and I’m also really digging the color.

By the way, Annie got a new car too. She got a new Accord–the safety features are amazing. She was driving a used Accord that had over 180k miles on it, and we were worried about it breaking down at some point. I’ll have to send you some pics soon.

Hope your GTS is running smooth! Don’t make the same mistake I did—don’t ever sell it!! I’ll be back on the east coast new a few weeks. Perhaps I can make it down to Richmond to say hello to you and Julie. We have a lot to catch up on. Let me know if you’re free!


Ps. I started BJJ again… it’s like riding a bike!

Pss. Noel is in SF as well. I was able to quickly catch up with her over the phone. We wanted to collab on a project together, but the timing didn’t work out. Anyway, you should ping her sometime too. She was asking about you.

McLaren on the Streets of SF


I’ll see McLarens at Cars and Coffee meet ups… but it’s extremely rare for me to see them parked on the curbs of SF in a tow away zone.


I’m not sure what’s going on here, but this guy is brave on a couple levels. Either way, I had to take the opportunity to snap some quick photos.

BMW Motorcycle


I saw this beauty on my way home tonight. Look at all those lovely details.


I wish I could have shot this during the day. It was pretty dark, so I had to snap the photo with the aperture wide open.


All you motorcycle nuts: Is this a good bike? Looks expensive.

Cars and Coffee SF

It felt like a light turn out this morning at Cars and Coffee. Here are some of the highlights.


A hideous two tone rolls royce. Yeh, that seems to be gold plating. I don’t really want to knock that guy’s ride, but it’s just poor taste.


Speaking of poor taste, there was this one… It looks like Miley Cyrus vomited on this GTR with a snapchat filter.


There were some redeeming cars like this 458 Italia Speciale.


A nice rear view. You’ve gotta love how the engine is shown through the rear window.


Some Porsches and models posing as photographers swarmed around.


GT4. Yeh, that seems to be the car to have these days.


Days like this, I kind of miss my 911. It’s kind of ironic that I take public transportation to look at Porsches now…


Anyway, more on that later.


I think this was the nicest thing there.


Interestingly enough, the virginia cars and coffee have way more antiques and classics.


For whatever reason, the SF cars and coffee are all about exotics and M3s.


Ford GT. I’m looking forward to checking out the new model.


Look how wide that rear tire is.


And there are always lambos.


I know some people don’t like them… but I actually dig the design.


And the Alpha.


I have yet to test drive this car.


It definitely sounds good.


And last but not least, my ride. The Muni.

Comparison of the 24mm 1.4g and 35mm 1.4g on Cars

I went to Cars and Coffee today on Treasure Island and snapped a bunch of photos. I wanted to show a quick comparison between the 24mm and 35mm.

Obviously there are several differences between these two focal lengths like bokeh, background compression, etc, but I wanted to see exactly how these focal lengths affect how exotic cars… and ultimately, I want to see which focal length suits me the most.


(35mm 1.4g pictured above) I immediately noticed immediately that the lines on the car weren’t as extreme when I shot with the 35mm. In some ways, it the car looked plain. I’m sure there are more flattering angles, but from a corner, it just seemed flat. Sure, the car looks nice, but the photo and focal length wasn’t arousing.


(24mm 1.4g pictured above) As you can see, the 24mm just stretches the perspective and exaggerates the length of the car. The nose feels like it’s so close you can taste it, while everything else is pushed back—this creates a dramatic perspective… and I actually really like the look of the lines.


(35mm 1.4g pictured above) The 35mm looks more natural… but for some reason, it just feels a little boring. Now obviously, we can take photos with compositions that compliment the focal length… but at this particular angle, the car looks pretty normal.


(24mm 1.4g pictured above) On the other hand, the 24mm stretches out the rear and makes it feel much wider. The car obviously doesn’t have these proportions, but the 24mm creates much more depth. Depending on your shooting style, that could be a desirable effect.

Between these two lenses, I personally prefer the 24mm. It just provides something much more interesting. Everything just feels a little more extreme. Lines are sharper and angles are harsher. I like that… a lot!

In the future, I’ll probably just take my 24mm and my 50mm macro to cars and coffee. That gives me an interesting range to capture the extremes of all these exotic cars.

SF Cars and Coffee: Agera R


So you might ask what’s one of the most rare things I’ve ever seen at Cars and Coffee… and that, my friend might be the Agera R, made by Koenigsegg. Word on the street is that Koenigsegg only produces 15 cars a year. This is as exotic as it is rare.


Yeh, this thing can go 0-62 in 2.8 seconds, and it’s able to pull 1.5g’s around a corner. The real question you have to ask when you look at the Agera R is, “what isn’t carbon fiber”.