Most photographers know Kodak Ektar 100 film as a landscape film as it produces images with high sharpness and vivid colors. It's also suggested for fashion and other commercial film applications - yes it's a great film but all this can be said almost any 100 speed film. This summer I loaded up a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 into my Leica IIIg with an Elmar 50mm f3.5 to go shoot a vintage motorcycle race through the woods in Tampere, Finland. On a gloomy day with only small spats of sunshine and with a slow f3.5 lens, it was not the best film or lens for the job. I knew this going into it but is what I wanted - shooting fast action sports with a rangefinder on a low speed film sounded like a fun challenge.
This was the first time I had shot Kodak Ektar 100 in 2 years, the last time was 8.500 KM (5,280 Mi) away in Yosemite National Park with my Pentax LX. Most of my shots of the motorcycles were shot at 1/60th and 1/125th of a second. With the Leica IIIg I was shooting without a meter and pre-focusing at the distance I wanted the bike to be at the time I took the picture planned. With each shot setup in that way, all I had to do was follow the subject through the viewfinder and click the shutter when they entered the right point in my predetermined composition.
The race was more of a show and I don't believe it was actually competitive. On every lap most of the racers were bundled together as you can see in many of the photos. On each lap as the bikers passed I only had time to take my shot, wind, and repeat the shot again. A few times I was able to get off three shots per lap. I tried repeatedly to get a close up of a biker while following them with my camera, making the background out of focus - for some reason as I quickly rotated my body and arms sideways I could not keep the camera parallel to the ground and got a small tilt with each image. I noticed this at the time and tried to correct buy I couldn't get it right. Sometimes I feel limited with the Leica IIIg and Elmar 50mm f3.5 combination, but I remind myself that in the early 1950's this was a highly expensive and technically advanced camera, and short of a Leica M3 it was the best 35mm film camera that money could buy.
Camera: Leica IIIg Rangefinder
Location: Tampere, Finland
Film: Kodak Ektar 100
Lens: Leica Elmar 50mm f3.5 LTM