Film Sport Photography

Late last year I was inspired by a photographer, Drew Coleman, to pick up my old film camera again and use it at some of the races I've been attending. My old Minolta SRT202 had been sitting on my shelf for the better part of four years, but it was exciting to think about shooting with a different medium again.

Considering how fast cycling is, it was interesting to deal with how deliberate one needs to be with a fully manual camera. The process gives me a much greater appreciation for how the great cycling photographers like Graham Watson operated back in the day, getting stunning images on film. 

The principles are the same, but you are limited by the speed of the chosen film, the camera and lack of auto focus. My particular Minolta has a busted lightmeter, so I would need to judge exposure with one of my Fuji XT-3 and match the settings as closely as possible, focus and then pull the trigger. A little more involved but the results still came through.

I picked up a 36 exposure roll of Kodak Portra 400. Back in film school I used Fuji Superia fairly consistently, but under the recommendation of my film photographer friends back in Toronto this was something that would have some speed and nice colours. The first few photos came during the torrential downpour of the Aldergrove CX race. Focusing was extremely difficult with a fogged up viewfinder. In the new year I wanted to see how the camera would hold up under the low-light of the Burnaby Velodrome and seeing the photos below, I'm stunned with how well it did. Lastly I brought the Minolta out to the Glenridge Thursday Throwdown. It's a different way of experiencing cycling photography and I think it is something that I might take up again for future events.

Take a look at the results of good ol' 35mm film at the races you've already seen on digital!

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