Sometimes you can never have too much of a good thing. With photos from Nationals and Sunday’s World Cup coming in, we decided to do an impromptu photo gallery week. Up today is a unique look at Reno Nationals by Maxwell Merkle of Oregon. Merkle shot all of his photos on film and shared his work with us.
See below for a list of our recent galleries and for more photos from Nationals, see our growing collection at cyclocross.zenfolio.com
Digital photography has certainly made it easier to capture timely photos and key moments of a race, but some of us still appreciate the art of film photography, especially black and white.
Whether it's the discipline of savoring each frame of film, working within a set ISO, or anxiously waiting for the chemical developer to do its magic, the process of shooting film is something we still greatly appreciate.
Photographer Maxwell Merkle (maxmerkle.com) of Oregon headed to the 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals with the goal of capturing the racing and scene on film.
"My background in photography is largely personal and reactive, so starting to photograph races is only natural. I've been riding/racing all kinds of bikes since before I can remember," Merkle said about why he chose to photograph Cyclocross Nationals.
"Film lets me get a little bit closer to the process," he said when asked, why film? "Literally, as my background is in chemistry. I would say the thing about 'slowing down' or something, but really, over 500 shots over two days seems like a bit of a glut. Mostly, I just enjoy it a little more. I care a little bit more about the images captured because they reside somewhere physical and immediate."
Five-hundred frames over a few days at Nationals may sound like a lot, but to give it some context, we shot over 500 frames of just the Elite Women's race on Sunday.
Digital photography has made so much of our work easier, but it's also greatly changed the nature of how we shoot a race. Gigabytes and shutter count increments cost very little, but as you can see by the time it takes to sort through all our photos, the time savings up front are sometimes paid for with the time required to look through images later.
We asked him about his equipment for this unique project. "The pictures I put up for the National Championships were either taken with an Olympus XA2 or a Leica M6," Merkle added. "The film is some unholy mix of 400 ISO Bergger Panchro, HP5 and JCH Street Pan." He added, "I'm partial to HP5, but decided to let a few more fly for comparison purposes. All can be made available as darkroom-processed Ag-gelatin prints on paper."
Merkle has already developed all his rolls of film and scanned the film, and we're grateful to showcase his unique work below.