DC Exotics: hosted by Lamborghini of Washington

This past Saturday, despite there still being lingering snow on the ground in places, we had some unusually warm weather for late February.  We welcomed the couple days of winter reprieve with the February DC Exotics meet. Lamborghini of Washington hosts this meet once a month and doesn't disappoint with the number of both classic and modern exotics and supercars that come out. You can always expect to see anything from classic Alfa’s and twin turbo Lamborghinis to Vipers and imported Skylines.

Since the automotive community tends to go into hibernation over the winter, I took this opportunity to practice shooting with my new DJI Ronin-M stabilizing my Nikon D800. To say I was blown away with how easy and intuitive the Ronin-M is to use and made shooting with a DSLR would be an understatement! Enjoy our video coverage of the meet and if you’re interested in hearing more about my initial impressions of the Ronin-M keep reading below.

About a month ago I bit the bullet and finally bought a DJI Ronin-M (link to ronin) to use with the Nikon D800 I normally shoot with. In the past I’ve used various DIY methods to help keep video shot with the DSLR smooth and have had mixed success. The best of those was a monopod with a little weight at the end opposite of the camera however getting consistent results still took some work.

Ronin-M all set up with the exception of my 7" monitor.

Ronin-M all set up with the exception of my 7" monitor.

 

Right out of the box the Ronin-M blew me away with how easy it was to set up, balance, and shoot with. From cutting the tape on the box when it arrive to fully setup and ready to shoot with my camera mounted was 20 minutes at most. I’ve never used a gimbal system like this in the past either, so I was doing it all for the first time. Shortly after, I ran outside to take a test clip with it and in the video below you can see the results.

The only gripe I had was that it’s a little slow to start panning and tilting with its default settings. That was very quickly corrected after making a few small tweaks with the DJI Assistant app to help speed things up. One thing to also keep in mind with a gimbal like this is if you’re used to shooting via the LCD on the back of your camera it’s basically impossible due to the way you hold the gimbal as well as the arms that hold the camera itself. So know that you will also need to purchase a small 4”-7” monitor if you don’t already have one to use for monitoring while shooting. Overall, the Ronin-M is a great addition to my gear bag and can’t wait to use it more!

 

-Mark S.

Mischief Driven: 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

 

Words by: Bogdan Poplacean
Photography by: Mark Scire II

I’m sitting in my favorite armchair. It’s a sort of smoking chair with large, dark, thick leather cushions. There is a heavy, early 20th century style to this chair, something which you would more likely see in a cigar smoking lounge with dark wood paneling and Tiffany lamps. The Toyota Land Cruiser is a lot like this chair. It has been around for what is an automotive eternity, and has driven all over the world, including into the Jungles of South America. While this 2016 model is a far departure from the canvas roof versions of the 1950’s, there is no mistaking the lineage of this model. Toyota has given the Land Cruiser a series of updates and improvements for the 2016 re-design including an 8-speed transmission, LED headlights, styling updates and, many new safety features. At $83,825 it’s the most expensive and well-appointed Toyota you can currently purchase. The Land Cruiser is also one of the most reliable and off-road capable suv’s for sale.

Powertrain

Toyota powered this 5,800lb behemoth with a 5.7 liter V8, mated to an 8 speed automatic transmission. While 381 horsepower is adequate, it would do better at the 500hp level. The power delivery is smooth, and at times you even hear the faint growl of a V8 through the well-insulated cabin.

 

Interior

All of the usual accoutrements are present including heated and cooled seats and a heated steering wheel. Navigation, a nice JBL stereo loud enough to disturb your neighbors, and separate temperature controls for the back seat are present. Unfortunately, the back seat on long trips gets cramped with 3 average sized adults. There is a 3rd row seat that splits and folds out of the way, that is best left for the 12 and under crowd since it’s short on space for “adults.” A pleasant-smelling leather interior, wood accents, and buttons make up the Land Cruiser’s interior.

 

Features

Buttons, lots of buttons to press, many that have letters that mean something, and do stuff.  I wish I could tell you more about all the buttons, but on the long hours of our road trip, we spent more time trying to avoid the constant warnings from the lane departure system. A function that was difficult to get used to was accessing the fan speed through the main nav/radio/climate control screen. The automatic climate control works well, but we wished for an easier to access layout. On the drive, we found ourselves wanting for more power outlets, however we also carry around more battery-powered items than most people. Most importantly, the 4wd system works extremely well. It snowed for part of our trip, and even on an icy parking lot, it was a challenge to induce a prolonged slide.

 

Exterior

There’s nothing shocking or off-putting about the outside. We liked the subtle chrome accents around the outside, and appreciated the bold statement the large front grille makes.

 

 

Driving impressions

It’s a pleasant truck to drive, but never mistaken for a sports car. Toyota has added a feature called KDSS. The sway bars are aided by computers, and make this top-heavy body on frame truck handle tighter corners and crosswinds with much more confidence than previous models. Despite the large size, added front, side, and rear view cameras make it easy to see around the bumpers. Highway manners are sedate, and the Land Cruiser never feels unstable or high-centered.

 

Positives:

-Toyota reliability

-One of the most capable 4wd systems available

-Smooth ride, even fully laden

-Excellent outward visibility; LED headlights perform flawlessly

-Many cameras around the car help confidence in maneuvering

 

Negatives:

-Could use more power

-No remote start

-Same key fob as a Prius

-Rear seat room is lacking leg room if over 5’8” tall

-User interface with entertainment, navigation, and climate control is outdated and lags at times

 

Stay tuned for our video review of the Toyota Land Cruiser that will be released soon!

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

MD MISCHIEF PHOTO SHOOT

We ventured out of Ocean City, MD during H2Oi weekend to do a private photo shoot with friends.

It was a little difficult shooting in constant 50mph winds. Here are the photos by Mark Scire.

H2oi 2015

BOGDAN'S 2013 VIPER

H2oi 2015

JOSH FROM IDEAL IMAGE AUTO SALON BROUGHT OUT A COUPLE OF RIGS

H2oi 2015

ALEX K. DROVE HIS DRIFT CAR ALL THE WAY FROM STATE COLLEGE, PA

H2oi 2015
H2oi 2015
H2oi 2015

                                                                                       Contact Mark Scire: markscire@gmail.com