Photos, stories and techniques from my reportage at ING Marathon in Luxembourg
The ING Marathon has become the most important sports (and not only) event of the Grand Duchy, a race capable of attracting thousands of runners, amateurs and tourists alike. Although I do not particularly love sports photography, this event offers many great opportunities for street photography, so it was in past editions when I have always managed to bring home some good and original shots.
In fact, for several years and with my great satisfaction, my pictures taken in past editions, are used in official promotional media, such as brochures or banners. Here is my photo used for the giant banner installed near the start, in this 2017 edition:
With my Leica M and the zone focusing, the recipe is perfect!
A Leica is forever, perhaps, probably. I am now more and more comfortable with this system and therefore for this reportage, I used my Leica M and alternating two lenses, the Summicron 28mm f2 and the Summicron 50mm f2. I actually never had to focus in the viewfinder on getting the shot, because I’ve learned the extraordinary and perfect technique for the street photography, which is the zone focusing.
Once I decide which distance range I want to focus on, I just place the subject in that range and so always having the certainty of not losing the focus and concentrate exclusively on the composition of the photo.
Here is a rare picture of me on the field 🙂
The waiting, a colourful party in blue and orange
After having missed it last year, this time I decided to photograph this great event again, taking advantage of an exceptional and warm sunny day.
But … what to photograph without getting bored?
The most important thing for me when I have to photograph is to have motivation and enthusiasm, especially in those cases where I happen to observe something I already know and that I have already photographed in the past.
Strongly inspired by one of my favourite photographers, Alex Webb, I’ve been trying to get a very contrasted picture with vivid colours, even with multiple action levels. Ahhh, not that easy, though…
So, with Webb in my head, I began to observe all that was happening before my eyes. Thanks to the colours of the main sponsors, ING and TANGO, the whole event was dominated by two colours that I love very much, the blue and the orange, which, with the strong sunlight, have created very interesting contrasts. And here are some photos were taken just before the stzart of the race.
Ready, Set, Go!
For the first time, I’ve been watching the race start and I have to admit that it was a good choice because at this stage of the event it’s concentrated most of the adrenaline and enthusiasm of all the participants up to the explosion of joy at the start. It was not easy to find space near the starting line, but in photography, I think any pose or situation always has something interesting to offer and so I tried to capture the best from my point of view, the only one I could have at that time.
The essence of a marathon? The race.
Apart from some classic photos just after the official start, I focused on capturing the race, that continuous movement of legs, and lots of colourful shoes that alternated second after second. using the panning technique, these situations always give me interesting shots. I lowered myself to get a point of view that was at the same level of the runner’s legs and, with the focus already set, I clicked without looking at the viewfinder or the screen (which is not possible with my Leica M 262).
Being in symbiosis with the car, I can almost predict the final shot even when the camera body is distant from the eyes. In fact, many shots, I realised without looking through the lens. Impossible? Not exactly…
As the hands held to keep the camera steady, down there, and the finger to snap, with my eyes, up, I was looking directly at all the legs that passed in front of me, and when I saw something special … I click!
In this way, a direct link between my eyes, my brain, my arms, my hands, my finger, and finally my camera was created. As soon as I saw something interesting, my finger pushed the button, while my mind already knew what and how the final shot it would look like.
The last ray of light before the end?
I do not know how long this glasses did, but, considering the thousands of feet that would have passed through them, I think that ray of light was one of the last to be able to see… 🙂
Special mention: Take the heart and run!
Among the many shots of the day, this is among my favourites.
If I had the eye in the viewfinder, I do not think I would be able to capture it because I won’t see the guy approaching, While, as I described earlier, with the camera offset and the eyes free to observe the scene, I saw this weird man running holding a heart and got this nice “lovely” shot.
Viva la fotografia e viva la luce!
Grazie e alla prossima,