fast lane daily crashes hard!

no! one of the best if not the best online auto news shows - fast lane daily - has been shut down! i am crushed by this news! to put this in perspective, fast lane daily (web page + youtube) has been running daily - yes, daily - for almost 9 years and it being shut down without any real notice of any kind is heartbreaking. i have come to be a big, big fan of this show and its host, derek d.

derek d and crew were clearly unprepared (but not necessarily surprised) for this move according to the final episode posted on youtube:

this comment from a story posted by jalopnik's editor-in-chief patrick george sums up what this show was about and how well the entire crew did their job, day in and day out:

it’s a real shame to see an early automotive video pioneer meet such an abrupt end. fld’s first episode was in 2007, making it practically a dinosaur in internet years. but the show’s audience was big for a reason—it reliably, irreverently and energetically delivered a daily stream of news for enthusiasts in a way that’s been often imitated but seldom duplicated. at least, not effectively. --patrick george, jalopnik

hopefully this is just a temporary hiatus and not a permanent end, but it's sad nonetheless. thanks, fld. you will be missed, but i will keep my fingers crossed that you will be back.

photographer confrontation on a public road

as an amateur photographer i often worry about confrontation for a number of reasons. among the top reasons is that another person will take exception to the what, where, when, or how something is being photographed. now, the person may be a member of the public, a property owner or tenant, a local authority such as the police, or some other person or persons and they may approach and react to the situation in a broad spectrum of ways. as the photographer the best response is to always be polite, accommodating and understanding, and to engage in conversation as appropriate. while the vast majority of situations are never a big deal, there's always the potential for unexpected escalation and confrontation. these are challenging situations at best and potentially dangerous at worst. take the situation encountered by alex stone recently which was recorded and posted on youtube:

so, could this have been prevented? could this have been handled and managed differently? what can be learned from this situation? i have several observations about this particular incident that i want to share:

  • public road photography: did the photographer and the team have permission to take pictures in this location? despite this being a public location, it is still a road and there's no right to impact traffic even if your perspective is that there is little or no "inconvenience." others may not have the same perspective (even if they said nothing to you directly), and without permission (or even having provided pre-notification to local authorities that you will be in the area) you may have little recourse if something happens.
  • facilitating the escalation: while the photographer is polite (although perhaps a touch condescending at times) during this encounter, there doesn't appear to be anything to gain from continuing to engage with the man in the truck. why not just acknowledge his presence, apologize for any misunderstanding, and state that you will (as quickly as possible) gather your gear and be on your way?
  • post-escalation response: why call-out the man in the truck as  a "redneck" when posting the video? yes, contacting the police and even posting a video as a lesson for others may be prudent and reasonable, but there's no benefit from further stoking-the-fire by labeling the man in the truck. yes, he's clearly unreasonable but let his actions speak for themselves.

clearly my observations are pointed at the photographer in this situation. the potential for a confrontation was created by choosing to take photos on a public road without prior permission or notice. by continuing to engage with the man in the truck they allowed the situation to escalate. this all could have been avoided in my view.

with all of that said, the man in the truck is completely unreasonable and appears to have only been looking for fight. that the only damage done is to the phone is remarkable as this could have been much, much worse. perhaps the photographer has also learned a few lessons in the process as well.

top gear: sliding into neutral ...

a week ago or so i proudly proclaimed that "top gear returns!" and laid out my hopes and a thinly veiled prediction that it would be pretty good. well, the latest season - the reboot following the departure of jeremy, richard and james - premiered on bbc america last night and i have to say that i am more than mildly disappointed. the lack of chemistry between the hosts was apparent but not surprising as i know that sort of thing takes times. the early work with jeremy, richard and james was also lacking chemistry, so it's not that aspect that is most concerning. i will offer-up that the number of hosts is confusing to me ... it was primarily chris evans and matt leblanc with little involvement from others during the premiere except until the "extra gear" segment when rory reid and chris harris appear. sabine schmitz has only a cameo in the premiere episode and is a primary story point during "extra gear" (which seems strange). i have no idea where eddie jordan was during any segment of the show.

no, you see it seems to me that the show is sliding into neutral ... there didn't seem to a purpose to much of what was done on the premiere. from the opening film comparing the viper acr and the corvette z06 all the way through to the conclusion of the uk vs. usa competition between chris evans and matt leblanc, the viewer is left wondering "why are we doing this?" from start to finish.

the previous hosts, while certainly known for doing things that made no sense in the grand-scheme managed to consistently set the table for why they were undertaking some journey, competing, or reviewing something. contrived, certainly but effective at drawing the viewer in with interest in the story to unfold. i never got that sense of purpose from the premier episode.

i will continue to watch the show for sure and while i fully expect there to be tweaks as they go forward, i see "top gear" very much as a work-in-progress. the show and hosts need to clearly establish their own identity and purpose to make "top gear" their own. simply trying to recycle the style from the previous hosts is only leading to a lack of substance in my opinion.