Gastown Rally Luckily my stay in Vancouver coincided with the Gastown Grand Prix cycling race for children, women and men. The mens was 50 laps totally 60km and the womens was 35 laps. I’ve never used the XT1 for fast paced action photography and it was quite a revelation. Firstly, don’t use electronic shutter (you’ll see some of the effects here) and then keep plenty of batteries and memory cards. I surprised myself by exhausting a 32 GB memory card over 4 hours. I kept 34 photos out of more than a thousand. Phew!

I missed the rangerfinder lens with the focus rings and focus distance zones. With action photography it is sometimes useful to prefocus and then click away. Especially with the 56mm, you can’t wait when the cyclists are like 15m away from you to expect the focus to kick in because in blink the cyclists have whizzed by and you’ve taken a well focused image of a person drinking coffee.

Moreover even with ‘zone tracking’, there is no guarantee you get focus. Many of the pictures have something completely unrelated in focus, but they still make for a somewhat decent picture.

I also tried the panning technique. I got a feel of cool it can be. But i’m not there yet - I guess I need to shoot more cycling races?. But sports photography needs a good knowledge of the route, the sport and people who take part - you’ve got work the layout of the course to capture the best moments. It’s hectic, frenetic and relentless! Finally I just put the camera down and reveled in these push-the-limits sportspeople.

Womens Race

Mens Race

Started 15 mins late and reduced by 15 laps because of two! false fire alarms.