Santa Pod NSRA
(photo courtesy Richard Hartley)
After getting a taste for Motorsport photography at the Clacton rally I visited Santa Pod Raceway, a very different environment but still full of photographic potential. I attended the Nostalgia Nationals on may 11th equipped with the Arca swiss and two Minolta 35mm cameras, as the weather wasn't looking to be on the sunny side all day I they were my plan B (setting up a 4x5 in the wind and rain does not sound like fun). I used Ilford Delta 100 for the 4x5 to give a subtle vintage look, Delta's high contrast would suit the older vehicles at the event perfectly. I'm especially impressed with how delta rendered the two classic ford's, its punchy but still has a classic look (images above).
This event was quite different than the Clacton rally, carrying around the 4x5 presented a harder challenge manoeuvring around crowds and not disrupting spectators. The best views are to be had in the spectators stand, and setting up a 4x5 without getting in anyone's way was very difficult. I'm not one for ruining somebody's view especially when they arrived before me, there is nothing worse than a photographer who disregards those around them. On a positive note I enjoyed answering questions about the camera, its quite the conversation starter!
After only making a handful of images the rain arrived and the main event came to a standstill, the spectators began leaving and all returned to the pits. But theres never such a thing as lack of opportunity in photography, so packed up the 4x5 and set out with the Minoltas.
I used a 50mm lens on both cameras with Ilford Pan F 50 and Fuji Velvia 100, these low speed films are Ideal for shooting details and keeping the aperture nice and wide. I'm continually impressed by the Minolta 50mm, it has a simular kind of pop that the 35mm Zeiss Distagon has. Granted not every photo I make with it grabs me this way, but when the conditions are right the Minolta can produce incredible depth. It does loose its brilliance wide open unlike the Zeiss, but stopped down between f/2.8 and f/5.6 the contrast and resolution give an excellent rendition. Not bad for a £2 cash converters find!
I must say I'm very impressed with how Ilford Pan F handles the 35mm format, even scanned on a Epson V800 the photos look crisp and enlarge nicely. The rendering give an almost medium format feel to my eyes, definitely something I want to explore more in the future. When using Ilford Pan F on 645 in the past I was less than impressed by my results, I had expected a notable boost in resolution from my usual HP5. But I can't say I noticed a vast difference other than loosing 3 whole stops, perhaps its because I scan with a flatbed or maybe Pan F's fine grain really shines on smaller formats.