Saturday, April 27, 2013

Astral Dreamer and Keelah Se'lai

This piece is more-or-less a one synth challenge except for the drums all I used to compose this piece was the HG Fortune Astral Dreamer.

This is HG's newest creation and above all the wonderful functionality the sounds on this VST synth are just just fantastic, smooth, dramatic and full of motion. A lot of what makes the sounds sound so lush is HG's Harmonics sharpers that can be assigned to open and close off many assignable parameters but I found the LFO tie in to Harmonics to be my favorite.

On my sound cloud song "Keelah Se'lai" I'm adding in the patch data into the comments if anyone is interested in how it was put together.

I am a big fan of HG's synths mostly because I'm a huge sci-fi fan and these patches just make it so inviting to do tracks like this. For this track I went after a feel that was very cinematic yet remained very electronic (as Daft Punk did with Tron) of course being a huge "Mass Effect" fan it has a Jack Wall influence, thus how I decided on a I suppose that makes this fan art ?

As for the drums, they were done with a classic Reaktor patch called Newscool that I have adored for years, a few epic drum hits for drama as well as a basic kick\snare\HH from my old friend Battery 3.

I hope you enjoy the music!


- Jesse

Friday, April 26, 2013

Photo Bomber

Photo Bomber by Savage Land Pictures
Photo Bomber, a photo by Savage Land Pictures on Flickr.
This was taken at the Tico War-bird airshow in east Florida. As amazing as this pilot is it was hard to capture the drama in a shot without a context.

I thought of the series of this performance this shot really sold the insanity of what was truly going on. Sometimes in photography it is more important to capture the moment than to capture the subject.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Half Life Inspired Gravity Gun

Inspired by both Valve’s Half Life series and Volpin (Harrison Krix) real life replica; this is my take on the gravity gun.  This gun was never meant to be a spot on replica but rather an interpretation. The prop is made out of PVC, Foam, parts of old airsoft guns, spare electronic parts and about 200 LED lights powered by a 12 volt battery inside the core of the gun.  I put the NECA Portal gun in this video as a scale reference.

The prop was made for my girlfriend who wanted to go as Alyx Vance last Halloween from the upcoming Half Life 3. I decided to give it a go as my first serious undertaking building a prop weapon. It was a lot of fun to put together.

Anyway I hope you enjoy my take on the Half Life weapon of choice. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Devon GTX

Devon GTX by Savage Land Pictures
Devon GTX, a photo by Savage Land Pictures on Flickr.

From what I understand there are only a handful of these Devon GTX supercars in existence. This is based on the Dodge Viper platform. Truly a stunning exotic to see in real life.

On display at the 2013 St Petersburg Festivals of Speed

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Whale Tale

The Whale Tale by Savage Land Pictures
The Whale Tale, a photo by Savage Land Pictures on Flickr.

This beautiful Porsche 911 race car was on display at the 2013 St Petersburg Festival of Speed

Photographed by Jesse James Allen.
©2013 Savage Land Pictures

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Best Car Story...Ever

Who hasn't dreamed of driving a Supercar? One can only imagine how amazing it must feel to drive a car that is like nothing else on the road. It would be so cool to have all that power and that race car type handling. It would be so fun to turn heads and see peoples reactions as you drove by. Must be nice, but a dream non-the-less that only those who are very successful or privileged get to experience...however sometimes that once-in-a-lifetime dream-come-true happens to one of us average folks. Little did I know the morning of April 7th that that dream was about to come true for me.

Spyker LM85

I was covering the St Petersburg Festival of Speed this past Sunday for the event organizer, shooting cars doing my thing. I have been covering the Festivals of Speed as an event photographer since 2007.

My Mamiya and I

Tesla Model S and Spyker LM85

 As I started to shoot the back side of the Spyker LM85 I feel this tap on my shoulder. The woman started asking me how well I liked the Spyker and being that I had shot it at the show many years in a row I said that the LM85 was truly a standout even among a sea of exotic cars.  It turned out she had bought it for her husband for their anniversary and had quite a tale about purchasing the vehicle and how great of a company Spyker was to deal with (Including flying the couple to France for a track day at Le Mans).  According to her there were only about 24 of these limited edition LM85’s were available to the public.

The LM85 on Display

The Spyker LM85 at the show

Her husband came over after about 15 minutes and started asking me questions about working as a photographer for the festival and I mentioned that I had liked the LM85 so much that I had a poster of it hanging in my home (The photo below) ; around that time the event organizer asked me to photograph the awards ceremony so I handed the couple my card and went to work.

Spyker C8 Laviolette LM85

After the show ended I was heading back to my car when my cell phone rang. The voice said “Hey Jesse would you like to drive my car?” in which I replied “ummmm……I can’t say no to that, I’ll be there in 10 minutes”. A fellow photographer friend of mine helped me get my gear back to my new Honda that I drove to the show, then I made a B-line to the Spyker like a kid going to Disneyland for the first time.

Spyker Wide Open

Once at the car the owner was chatting with some of the event official’s and then said “You ready to go?”Part of me thought I should just be a passenger because that is a lot of money (about a quarter million) followed by the thought “How often does this opportunity happen in one’s life?” so I simply said “absolutely”

LM85 Dash

LM85 Inside

Crawling into the cockpit was certainly an awe moment, the interior is somewhere between a 40’s airplane and high fashion upholstery. I have shot a lot of Exotics through the years, the interior of the LM85 is unquestionably the most stunning.  I sat there for a second staring at the gauge cluster as my photographer friend came by and snapped some pics. My friend asked how did I feel and I stated “In a minute I’m positive my alarm clock is going to go off and I’m going to be pissed” My friend pitched my arm and stated this was no dream.  So I pulled down the vertical door. The owner presented a silver disc that allowed the car to be started. I flipped up the ignition switch on the dash and hit “engine start” it sounded amazing! Like a chorus of roaring tigers with a beautiful harmonic overtone.

In the drivers seat

I put the linked shifter into first and crawled across Vinoy Park and out onto the street. Going through St Pete I could help but notice people looking and giving me the thumbs up. Honestly I was happy enough right there but the owner said “Well let’s take her out onto 375”

LM85 heading to the ramp

Heading into the wild

The on ramp to the highway was nearly a religious experience and the Spyker blasted to 60 in 3nd gear faster than I could say “Good lord!"  There were surprisingly few cars on the road and those that were there got out of the way. The owner stated most people do get out of the way because they want to see it.

The owner was showing me the best lines to take the first few curves of the road, the steering on the LM85 is damn near telepathic, it felt video game flawless. Quite honestly switching to video game mentality helped me focus on the driving experience more than the worry of liability….it was like the best game of Forza I would ever play.

Nearing the edge of St. Pete he had me get off the ramp and circle around.  There was an SUV full of college kids that were losing their mind next to us at the light.  The owner said “Here is your on should see what this can do” as the light changed I hit the gas full throttle and oh …my…. god the sounds and sensation of speed was like nothing I had ever experienced on four wheels.  By the top of the ramp the speedo said 115.

On the way back to downtown it really started to hit me that this wasn't some dream. I was outside myself…seriously the biggest emotional high ever. The Spyker is not a car you drive it is something you experience and it is an experience that will leave you with a sense of humbleness and awe intertwined by intrigue and excitement  The LM85 is a masterpiece of visual design embraced by the pure essence of a world class track car.

Taking the Spyker down to 35 MPH was no sweat for the oversized breaks. The curb side shouts of enthusiasm as we passed the outdoor restaurant patios were so cool.

Back from the run

I got to drive a Spyker LM85 Today!

The owner asked if I had a good time and I said “I seriously can’t thank you enough, this was beyond words amazing”. As we pulled to a stop at the event security my photographer friend snapped the picture above, I had that smile all night long...I still do when I think about this.

Waking from a dream

The owner said as cool as the Spyker is to drive it brings him the most happiness getting a chance to share an experience with a true automotive enthusiast. I shook his hand and stepped out from under the vertical door …that was quite possibly the best fifteen minutes I have ever had behind the wheel.

The moral of the story:
"I drove to an Exotic car show in a Honda and left driving a Spyker Supercar…never underestimate the potential of a single day of your life."


Special thanks to Jason Sha'ul  the photos of me used in this story.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Ten years ago following the success of “MR2DIE4 (1998)” and “MR2DIE4 the Extreme Machines (2000)” I opted to start another automotive documentary to include a broader scope of Japanese car types. I could sense something big was going to happen to the Japanese Tuning scene so I traveled to even more cities than the previous film.

At the time I had released my MR2 films they were one of the few American documentaries covering Japanese cars, the majority of other videos on the market at the time were from Japan (non-translated); However in 2001 Universal Studio’s released “The Fast and the Furious” and within months brought the Japanese Tuner scene into the limelight. The market then became flooded with videos about underground street racing (largely profiling Japanese tuners). Being that “Apotheosis” was self-funded/ self-produced I found myself in a race to get to market on an overly ambitious project.  The film took three years to make as I wanted it to be way more than just another Tuner/Street Racer film but rather a time capsule of the era.

Apotheosis was released in 2003 and achieved moderate success , the film did eventually break-even but I opted against making another as my career was focused on making video games (Including doing some sound design on EA’s  Need for Speed Underground)

As with my other films I also composed the soundtrack; however this was the first soundtrack I created not only with Midi hardware but my very first virtual synthesizers as that technology was becoming more available.

I had a lot of fun working on this documentary mostly due to the wonderful people I met while making it. I decided to post this up to preserve the era for future generations as well as to show a more positive twist on tuners of that time.

- Jesse

Saturday, April 6, 2013

MR2DIE4 The Extreme Machines

This is an independent documentary film I made 13 years ago about the Toyota MR2 sports car. Filmed from San Francisco to Birmingham Alabama in ten months from 1999-2000; this film was meant to be a time capsule of that era.

This version was the one slightly revised for the South East Toyota MR2 owner's club event of 2002 (Extra content). The version uploaded to you tube is straight from the original digital master however there was no such thing as High Definition video at the time so 640 resolution is the tops.

The reason I made the film back then was that I ran the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Toyota MR2 owners club back in the late 90's. I had absolutely loved my blue 1992 Toyota MR2 I had acquired a couple years prior to the making. At the time I was working for a post-production company and in 1998 made a fake Toyota MR2 commercial called "Dream On" the tiny video went somewhat viral in the MR2 community back in the dial up days (56K). Later that year I shot a half hour documentary in Colorado called "MR2DIE4" that I sold on VHS tapes via the web. The video did well enough to fund this project and being that I was so fanatic about the MR2 I traveled to many MR2 events around the country to track down the MR2's that were popular at the time.

After this video was released I received a good amount of support, though there were certainly many who thought the video should have been way more about engine and performance specs. The style of the project was certainly impressionistic more about the feeling of owning the MR2 in this era more than anything else.

I still fondly remember making this film and all the great people I met. Overall this film set the stage for many things I would do later in life such as doing sound design for "Nascar" and "Need for Speed Underground" as well as the commercial automotive photography I do today.

It was requested by the MR2 owners club that I make this available online as a historical piece. I hope MR2 owners of today and tomorrow enjoy this film .