The National Track Championships
I’ve always enjoyed cycling, (whether it be road, mountain bike or BMX) , so having a chance to see some of the best riders in the country battle it out to win is a great opportunity.
As there are plenty of professional sport photographers there I always feel it’s a little pointless me trying to emulate their shots but from an inferior position. Therefore, I like to take some of my film cameras to try and get something a little different and that means a little more to me.
As I don’t shoot indoors with film very often I needed to find a film that would suit shooting indoors and provide fast enough shutter speeds for moving targets. Colour film was out of the question with 800 speed being the fastest I could find and for the small fortune of £11 a roll! I then thought about using my old favourite HP5+ and pushing it to 1600/3200 but I wasn’t certain about the results I’d seen. They looked a little too grainy for my liking with insane contrast. This led me to a film I’d always been interested in shooting but never had a reason to – Delta 3200.
After a little research I knew I wouldn’t be able to use Rodinal for developing this film unless I wanted the worlds largest grain; I don’t crave the sharpest results but I don’t want to spend more money on a specific film and cut quality at the last hurdle. I ended up going for Xtol as it was relatively cheap and gave pleasing results. I had read that to get really good results with this combo I’d need to shoot the film at ISO 1600 but develop at 3200 times. The results from this combination seemed really good so I figured I’d give it a go.
The camera is my Leica M6 with the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm 1.7 lens – mainly because it’s my only lens.
At the Event
One of the first things that surprised me is how bright it was on the actual track but how dark every other area was. As Delta 3200 is already relatively high contrast I knew shots would most likely end up as near pure white and black tones. It was reassuring though as the readings I was getting were around the 1/250th mark for f/4. Not bad at all for shooting sport and it gave me a little lea way for focussing as I didn’t feel I’d be able to hit dead on wide open with moving targets.
The great thing about shooting in a veledrome instead of on the road is that you always know where the riders will be coming. This made pre-focussing a little easier but not always completely successful. However, it did sometimes work for them to be a little out of focus.
Less of the talking now; here are a few images from the racing itself.