Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Aston Martin, Mercedes, AC Cobra, Iso Rivolta, Lotus, Jaguar, Jensen, Sunbeam, Bristol, Bentley, and so on… on June 3rd, top-class auto mobile VIPs, with their equally top-class, rare vintage beauties (built until 1969) came together to present their sports, touring and racing cars to thousands of old timer fans from around the world. At the same time, they challenged each other during a three-day racing event taking place in the stunning setting around Salzburg. The M photographers Lisa Kutzelnig and Richard Schabetsberger were at the 13th edition of the Gaisberg Races – up front with a classic and having lots of fun. Below, they share their impressions and workflow during the event.
For safety reasons, the ranked races take place in uniformity mode, where it’s not about getting to the finishing line first, but rather about keeping closest to a predetermined time-frame. That’s the theory. The reality, however, is that it’s always a real challenge for the participants: once they’re on the track, the first thing they want to do is step on the accelerator. My impression is that for most of them, winning is secondary. What they’re really concerned about is showing what their old-timers can do – why they were considered icons of their times. After all, it’s not the Gaisberg stroll we’re talking about, but the Gaisberg Races: that’s what is sounds like and that’s what it looks like when they start taking the bends.
This is why my colleague Richard Schabetsberger and I decided that this time we wouldn’t just capture the atmosphere, the drivers and their beautiful cars. This time we wanted to capture the speed and the passion in their driving. It wasn’t about decelerated but quasi-accelerated photography. Why do I emphasize this? Because we’re both committed M ( Typ 240) photographers. It’s a camera no really known for sports and action photography. We have no autofocus, and with races there isn’t really much time to focus. In fact, it’s not even worth trying. You have to calculate the distance. I virtually only photograph with the Noctilux – as I did in this case as well. But with the light we had I needed to set the aperture at 8 or 11. Then I had to try and reckon what the most sensible area of sharpness would be. Shutter speed 1/90 or 1/125 s. We wanted the speed to cause blurriness in the background, while preferably keeping the driver sharp. Then it was a question of bringing the camera into the movement. Unless you’ve been doing that every day for a long time, the first 20 to 30 shots will go nowhere; but, sooner or later you get the hang of it.
I’ve always been delighted with the issue of speed. I already took pictures at the last two Gaisberg Races, among other things for my Fotografie findet Stadt series that was exhibited at the Leica Gallery in Salzburg in 2014. You can still see it on my website. In that series I’d already taken some pictures in the same way we wanted to this time. I find that the blurriness from the movement in the photos is what best communicates the feeling of speed; but it’s also important to me that the other pictures we took of the 2015 Gaisberg Races, convey a timeless, authentic feeling, and that the viewer can sense the atmosphere of the event. That’s why the photos of the surroundings are of great importance.
As Lisa already said, a longer shutter speed, 1/90, 1/125 s, is decisive. The longer the shutter speed, the more movement blurriness can be captured – though that, of course, makes it harder to take a sharp picture. The aperture is adapted to the light conditions, to avoid over-exposure. You can normally manage well with 5.6, as far as the sharpness area is concerned, but with the direct sunshine this year I had to set the Summilux’s aperture at 11. Then you move the camera at the same speed as the cars driving by.
Thanks for sharing, Lisa and Richard!
– Leica Internet Team
Lisa Kutzelnig lives and works in Salzburg. Her eemphasiss on reportage and street photography. Kutzelnig photographs exclusively with a Leica M ( Typ 240) and Noctilux-M 1: 0.95/50 mm ASPH. Connect with her here.
Read the interview in German.