Back in January, Justin from Leica Camera generously loaned me a Leica M9-P to photograph the La Vuelta in Puerto Rico which is a 375 mile cycling endurance event from San Juan, PR and back to San Juan. This was my first time ever photographing La Vuelta and I thank fellow photographer and friend Kip Pierson for allowing me come down and assist with the photography.
Ok so first the M9-P. Wow! Ok yes it’s basically a glorified M9(no red dot, sapphire LCD cover) but there’s something to the chrome M9-P, I’m instantly reminded of my M3. Matter of fact I felt like I was using my M3 except I could see images on the back of the camera of course. The chrome is just simply beautiful and the old style Leica logo script on the top plate is nearly identical to the older M cameras(M1,M2,M3,M4). Now I’m a huge fan of the older M’s so I instantly fell in love. The 18mp files are like butter. Most of my images were with an iso range of 640-1250 so I could freeze the subjects. I could go into Leicaphile geek technical details but maybe I’ll save that for another post.
So on to La Vuelta…
Probably the most physical event I’ve ever photographed. 3 days of photographing from the back of a motorcycle. I dare anyone to say wedding photography is hard after trying this! But in many ways it it similar to wedding photography, the event has that organized chaos feel. You have to be on your toes at all times, these cyclists are moving at speeds of 25-35mph and staying focused(bad pun) is a must. Low light mornings, bright and hot sun to afternoon down pours add to the experience. “Finding the light” is the challenge.
The following images are from the M9-P. I found ability to get close to the cyclists with the M9-P while holding on to the back of the motorcycle much easier than always using a heavy dSLR. With my 21mm I was able to stay within a few feet of the riders while still capturing the Puerto Rican surroundings around them. I wanted not to just photograph the cyclists but show the small towns, the insane traffic (yes the streets were not closed), the beaches and ocean, what the riders were going through during the 375 mile event. I could set my focus on the lens to 4ft, keep an aperture of f/4 to f/8 and know I had a good focus range because many times it was just not possible to look through the VF while speeding by on a motorcycle.
By the way I really hated sending the camera back but thanks again to Justin and Leica for allowing me to use the M9-P.