2001 Audi TT 8N

2001 Audi TT 8N

I’ve always wondered if the caveman that invented the wheel ever imagined we’d all be sitting in endless traffic jams. The romanticism of the journey is quickly dispelled by the sound of bass-driven rap music from the car next to me. I must admit, though, that the Audi has been pulling its weight in hauling me and my photo gear effortlessly from adventure to adventure — and I’m always looking for opportunities to place my car wherever I happen to be.

Art of the ‘car selfie’

The TT has something I’ve never seen before: a driving timer. When my dash started flashing ‘2:00’ I thought it was an error code, but apparently I had been driving for two hours and the car thought it was time for a break. I happened to be near Pismo Beach, the only beach in California that you’re allowed to drive on. How could I resist? It’s only five dollars. There I was, sitting on the sand with a bunch of pick-up trucks, so I pulled out my strobes and started shooting. Some people take pictures of their lunch, some of their pets… I think of this as the car selfie.

2001 Audi TT 8N

When I knew I was going to Las Vegas for the Vegas Concours show, Valley of Fire was my first thought. But it’s a National Park and sometimes the Rangers can get cranky, especially if you start taking out professional photo gear. This time I dragged two friends along, so we had three people and all my equipment in the car.

I knew we had to work fast: there’s only one road in and out. The park has special turn-outs for tourists but they are usually next to the bathrooms, and to other tourists. I wanted something unique, so laid claim to a small patch surrounded by the red rock formations and waited for a break in the endless stream of motorhomes and SUVs. After 58 clicks of the shutter, we packed up and headed back. No harm, no foul, not a single Ranger.

2001 Audi TT 8N

The Vegas strip really doesn’t look like a classic James Bond film anymore: the main boulevard is more like an amusement park these days and there’s no room for stopping. The other side of old Vegas, really old Vegas, was our best bet, but we found most of the old hotels fenced and boarded up. So why not just use an intersection? Will the police come? Well… we should at least try. Out come the strobes. I staged the car next to a liquor store so people were coming and going. As I looked through the camera I thought, ‘Why not let them be in the shot, too?’

I drove back to Los Angeles through the desert, and at the two-hour mark my dash was flashing. A good time for a break, and pulling off the highway I really was in no-man’s land. Yep, out come the strobes for another car selfie.

When I got home I checked the oil. The engine had burned half a quart while cruising at 80, 90,1 OOmph, with the air-con blowing cold and the stereo actually playing in stereo. My Audi is 21 years old, has over 100,000 miles on the clock, but doesn’t miss a beat and fires on the first crank. My dad thinks the best car in the world is a Willys Jeepster. I’m not saying a TT is the best car in the world but I sure am getting to appreciate it.

Left and below left When you're a pro snapper, every stop makes for a photo opportunity, whether in the desert or in Las Vegas.

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