Milan, May 28, 2017. 33 degrees Celsius. A very insidious curve near the 500 meters sign to the goal line, located in the main square of Milan, Piazza Duomo.
It’s the final day of the 100th edition of Giro d’Italia (http://www.giroditalia.it/eng), one of the most important multiple stage bicycle races. This is the day of cronometro, the individual time trial (29,3 km from Autodromo Nazionale of Monza to Milan center), that will decide the winner of the general classification.
Dutch athlete Tom Dumoulin, Sunweb Team, one of the favorites for victory, is fighting to recapture the first position he lost during the last mountain stages. Colombian Nairo Quintana, of the Movistar Team, Italian Vincenzo Nibali, Bahrain-Merida, and French cyclist Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, were the main competitors.
Columnists of the national sports newspapers all agreed: the 100th edition was the most exciting challenge in the last ten years. We need to go back to Marco Pantani and Miguel Indurain’s times to find such uncertainty of results until the last stage. Historical champions Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali would not have been disappointed. The Giro d’Italia could not celebrate its anniversary better!
It’s not my first report on the racing bicycle world. In the mid Nineties in Paris I recorded with a film camera some frames of the Tour de France, the oldest multiple stage race.
Now, digital technology helps shooters. Freezing the athletes with a compact X30 – the best camera in the X series in my opinion – becomes an exciting sports activity for the photographer: super shutter speed and tiltable screen allow me to challenge “photo conventions” and experiment unusual shooting perspectives. What about barriers? No problems, you can overcome them from above and from below! There are risks, of course, as you can see in one of my shots: a cyclist taking the curve with a wrong trajectory put my hand (and my X30) at risk. <GASP!> Those are the dangers of the photo reporter’s job! It was easy to climb a road sign with the small shoulder strap of X30. I did not worry about the avoided risk and the reproaches of the local police!
Using X30’s dials – I worked easily with the frontal ring to change ISO from 100 to 250; it was equally easy to adjust exposure level with the upper dial ring – I was in total control even when I was shooting at ground level to obtain deep & contrasted perspective frames (b&w red filter helps too). X30’s fast action performances (S mode is my suggestion) are perfect: the best a photographer can ask for in this kind of situation. I collected very few out of focus shots in a whole long photo session (around a couple of hours). And that peculiar X30 feature has helped me – in a very broad range of situations, from sports to rock music events – focus on the choice of frames and subjects. When the action seemed slower, my X30 focused on Italian and foreign fans and folks all around the course. I discovered my personal paradise!
Tom Dumoulin, second at the individual time trial with a time of 33 minutes and 23 seconds (Il Giro 100th_25), won the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia. For me it was time to leave the ground and barriers and go looking for a good Italian espresso to celebrate my rich harvest!
P.S. Speaking about my personal “photo paradise” I still have a doubt: why did Fuji stop the production of this great X series baby, number 30? The X30 – am I wrong? – perfectly matches every expectation a serious photoreporter may have for his professional gear.
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Matteo Ceschi – Milanese street photographer, essayist and journalist, writes for several magazines and has exhibited his shots in various locations. He is a member of f50/The International Photography Collective. His latest projects were in collaboration with English photographer John Meehan, founding member of the f/50 Collective, and with Italian fashion brand Lucio Costa. His latest exhibition “Ko.existence” (with the patronage of the Italian Embassy in Bosnia Herzegovina) was in collaboration with photographer Jim Marshall at Public Room Evergreen gallery in Sarajevo.