Friday, July 25, 2008

Norm Cabana.... Memories From A Dream Catcher

For auto racers memories come in all sorts of packages. Some are nothing more than a plastic or marble trophy or plaque while others may be in the form of something akin to a Christmas present or a gift certificate and sometimes even a cash reward is earned. For many of us the best memories are nothing more than exactly that... remembering an exact day or weekend or even just a split second when the excitement was overwhelming. Then again some of my fondest memories of racing are those that can be framed and hung on the wall or shared with friends and family and don't forget those sponsors. There are even some events when a photo can really make someones day as in those times when we are lucky enough to be asked for an autograph on a hero card or 8X10.

If you are like me, I can't begin to tell you how many times that I wished I had a photo of one of my old cars or how about wishing we had one from that time we went all the way to.... Well, you get the drift. Like most racers, our time is so limited while at the track the last thing on our agenda is finding time to walk around the course shooting cars let alone getting premium shots of our own dirty work on the track and even if we did, most of us do not have the permission to get to parts of the track where the cool shots are to be had let alone have the high end camera equipment necessary to get them.

Taking all this into consideration many of us in Northern California now have a void in our sport, one that will most certainly be missed since his untimely passing this week. Of course I am talking about a man that over the years many of us have called our friend, Norm Cabana of Head-On Photos. As the official NASA photographer Norm was the best we have ever had. As anyone that knew Norm will tell you, he always had time to smile, shake your hand or share a story. And if that wasn't good enough his love of his work which also included his family and friends was as good as it gets. I consider myself fortunate to have numerous photos that Norm and his crew made into some of my most precious memories. Thanks to Norm those memories will remain as exciting in the years to come as they were the split second they took place.

Norm loved what he did and together with his family he built his business into something all of us recognizes for nothing short of passion. I remember one day as I walked into his trailer Norm yelled, "Hey come over here and check this out!" One of the guys had taken a photo of a car in a fast turn at Thunderhill and it was so detailed that you could see a lug nut coming off the car. If that wasn't cool enough he had it in sequence. This was the kind of passion guys like us would not capture in a million years had it not been for the likes of Norm and what he will long be remembered for.

I am sure I am not alone when I say that if there is one thing that would really make me smile it would be to see that yellow trailer parked at it's usual spot the next time I come to the track. Hopefully Norm's sons will continue on in their father's footsteps. Norm was always so proud of his boys and he talked about them all the time. Just another quality of Norm you just have to admire.

God's Speed Norm. We all miss you but you will never be forgotten.

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