MN State CX

For the first time in 5 years I am not in Asia while my home state’s cyclocross championships were happening. I have always enjoyed shooting cyclocross, so I took the opportunity to go out today and photograph some of the races. Before heading out I came up with a plan to make this set of photos different than other cycling events I’ve photographed. I would use my USSR-made 58mm Helios manual lens wide open on f2 the entire day. Getting focus would be incredibly challenging, but the beautiful swirling backgrounds this lens produces at f2 would make the shots unique.

MN CX Champs-14.jpg

This was quite a tricky shot to get, but if you look at the background around Josh you will see the swirls. This is what’s so amazing about this 1970’s era Helios lens.

MN CX Champs-9.jpg

After awhile I just went for it, throwing all caution to the wind for tack sharpness. There’s no way any of these photos would be even remotely sharp edge to edge, but oh that swirl. I love the sense of motion it gives the photograph.

MN CX Champs-20.jpg

Without any autofocus it was indeed quite challenging getting photos that were reasonably in focus. Manual lenses require patience, strategy and finesse. Turning the peak focus indicator on my camera helped a lot.

MN CX Champs-8.jpg
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Shots of more open spaces like the one above took on a slight tilt-shift effect, which I was not expecting, but really love.

MN CX Champs-23.jpg
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MN CX Champs-30.jpg

It was also interesting to see how the lens handled tight shots on static objects. You can really see just how shallow f2 is, and what the swirly character of the lens does in these types of shots.

MN CX Champs-11.jpg
MN CX Champs-46.jpg

Double-exposures were also something I wanted to play around with, so I shot a few of these too. I have some some composition ideas for when I travel to the mountains this winter.

MN CX Champs-45.jpg
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It was nice to get out and focus on some creative photography stuff today. A more complete gallery of images is below. Click on the first photo then use arrow keys to scroll.