I recently had the privilege of testing out the new Mazda CX-30 in beautiful Santa Barbara with an awesome group of creatives. We had a blast test driving and capturing content from sunrise to sunset in a beautiful piece of machinery.
It worked out that I was paired with Can Ahtam, who is an awesome photographer originally from Turkey and currently resides in Los Angeles. We met the night before shooting the Amtrak train running through the pristine Rosewood Miramar Resort, which hosted the event. There was lovely sunset at the resort’s private beach followed by a welcome gathering with the other creatives and folks with Mazda.
After a 4 am wakeup call, we made it to the coffee shop before they opened… so naturally I started taking long exposures of the CX-30 in the middle of the street with Can (pronounced “John” as that is what it translates to in Turkish) behind the wheel.
It was still dark outside and the city of Santa Barbara was engulfed in fog. With a team-first mentality, Karl Shakur, dropped us a pin to a spot in the mountains above, so we quickly headed there thinking it might be the best and only option to get ‘good light’. We pulled up to two other CX-30’s as we knew Karl was in one, but not yet knowing that Matthew Miller and Steven Onoja where in the other. We found that golden light and the group filled with excitement enjoying such great conditions as we eventually found a couple cool spots for photos.
Matthew and Steven both looked dapper as well, making for awesome subjects to compliment the style of the CX-30. Collaborating with the crew we had that morning was very inspiring and set the tone for more teamwork throughout the day.
After breakfast, Can, Steven, Matthew and I explored in and around Santa Barbara looking for cool locations to pose the two CX-30’s that were metallically painted ‘Machine Grey’ and ‘Soul Red Crystal’. The design and features of this SUV really standout, from the visually smooth lines and integration of Apple CarPlay, Can and I were jamming in style the whole day with plenty of room and comfort. When behind the wheel, the driver is indulged in a silky smooth feel while hugging turns like a champ - plus you can feel the boost with Sport Mode holding the RPM’s a bit longer.
We had a memorable day that ended back in the mountains above Santa Barbara and the fog that was creeping in again from the coast thanks to another pin drop from Karl. It was almost time to get back for dinner which included a Q&A with the legend, Jimmy Chin, when Karl turned to me and said, “Hey Drew, hop in. Let’s see if there’s a better spot up the road.” I knew we still have a good drive ahead of us and possibly in commuter traffic, but I hopped in the car just trusting that Karl knows his stuff when getting “the shot” and let’s just say he “road tested” the CX-30 which handled like an absolute champ around those curvy mountain road.
We made it back for dinner just a few minutes late and Mr. Chin had a great talk answering questions from the larger crew of creatives. He sat down and had dinner with us afterwards and shared some stories of his adventures. It was a great event hosted by a company that cares about making a vehicle the consumer will feel equally as good to be in, as they do to drive.