I like to think we never really grow up, but our toys and sandboxes get bigger. My love of automobiles began at a young age, long before I got my first car. I collected Maisto Diecast 18th scale cars, each one kept in its box on a shelf. Add that to the plethora of Hot Wheels, Power Wheels, car posters and Gran Turismo games, and you can easily guess what my interests were just by taking a step in my room. But it wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that this hobby became much more than just something on a shelf.
My dad had a big influence on my love of cars as a kid. When I was 14, we began a father-son project to build a replica 1965 Shelby Cobra in our garage. It was through building that kit car — literally from the ground up — that I learned everything I know about cars.
At age 15, I bought my first car with some help from my grandfather and money I had saved working for my uncle during previous summers. It was a yellow 1999 Mustang GT with a five-speed manual. Naturally, I began to tinker with it in my high school auto shop class, adding small modifications to gain as much power as I could. It wasn’t long before I was in the driver’s seat at Willow Springs Raceway doing laps side-by-side with my dad in his finished Cobra — all before I even had my driver’s license.
After high school, I moved on to Japanese and European import cars, helping my younger brother and cousins modify their first cars along the way. I attended every Cars & Coffee event I could, and that was where my passion for photography began. I started taking my camera with me everywhere I went, and eventually it became just as important to me as my love for cars. I became fascinated with landscape photography, focusing on desolate places in nature. At the time, I was driving a lowered VW Golf, which really wasn’t ideal for the shooting locations I wanted to get to. This led me to buy my first 4WD truck.
The day I bought my 2010 Toyota Tacoma, I had no idea that someday it would become a full-blown off-road rig with barely any Toyota left. Even less did I know it would turn into such an obsession that everything in my life would revolve around off-road, including my new career in the industry.
My two passions — nature photography and modifying cars — had come to an intersection, and off-road was right in the middle of it. Every weekend consisted of a remote destination and an SD card full of photos to process, thus giving rise to my nickname “DesertChief.” I began to rapidly gain a following in the automotive world as I often posted about my modifications and DIYs, along with trip reports and videos of trail runs on my social networking accounts.
Off-road racing also became a big part of my life, as I spend most of my weekends during the racing season trackside, either pitting for a race team or shooting photos and videos of the event. Many of my closest friends are involved in off-road racing, and I enjoy supporting their teams in any way that I can. From turning wrenches on the race trucks to photoshopping a new render to help visualize changes before they take place, I’m always up for a challenge.
Fast forward to 2018: After owning a dozen or so different off-road builds and working for several off-road shops and aftermarket companies, I was given the opportunity to join the Driving Line team as an Editor. Being able to combine my passion for cars and trucks with my passion for content creation and media is a literal dream come true. Much like myself, the Driving Line team shares an appreciation for cars and trucks of all kinds, from all corners of the globe. Shooting and writing for Driving Line for the last year has been an unbelievable experience. I have traveled tens of thousands of miles, visited places I’ve always wanted to explore, and experienced things I never thought were possible. And this is just the beginning. As I continue my work for Driving Line, my goal is to utilize my spare time to focus on my own photography and videography projects, as well as provide multimedia services to other enthusiasts and businesses in the automotive realm. This means full-throttle media guy, spending every waking moment shooting, editing and uploading. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.