I’ve been waiting a long time for Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado to ride like she did in 2019 / 20. The pandemic and all the shit it intensified wasn’t good for her. And this season, she’s been riding like I remember, the one who won the World Championships. It’s more than a week since that first win, and she did it again at Superprestige Merksplas, leaving everyone in the mud behind her. Still and always my favourite rider.
The trees along the southern perimeter road which I know so well. I haven’t sat under all of them only because I have my favourites.
This storm line slipped to the south-west of Tempelhofer Feld. The next one to the north-east. Threading the sunny needle between downpours all afternoon.
The Flugfeld doing that pretty late-summer bloom of lilac-lavender chicory flowers. I sat under a tree reading Fatimah Asghar’s If They Come For Us.
Once again at Tempelhofer Feld. Walking in the fields, sleeping under a tree on the grass with fingers dug into their roots, Kestrel perched on an upper branch above me.
’Cos obviously I haven’t blorged for a month, but I have biked to Tempelhofer Feld a few times a week and gone for one or two-hour walks, sat under trees, read, talked to birds and the earth, and on a couple of occasions the sheep. And the Feld is a riot of grasshoppers, insects, birds, flowers, and apples. The fields come up to my boobs and when the wind blows, it’s achingly beautiful.
Tempelhofer Feld getting windy.
Jumped on my bike immediately after this photo to avoid the incoming drenching.
I haven’t been at Tempelhofer Feld so much the last couple of weeks, and when I have, it’s been doing ultra-lazy laps on my bike, totally not lycra’d up — except for bib shorts under my trackies, ’cos butt comfort. Today was 28° and felt like mid-30s, warm and dry wind, heavy sun, cloudy hazy sky. The Feld was full and the fields have grown from stubble to knee-high in a couple of weeks, doing that luscious, hallucinogenic, erotic green of spring all flushed and horny.
Me photographing lycra’d-up cyclists ended up being me photographing trees. I went for my usual bike plus walk, trying to persuade myself to not feel sick or whatever the fuck the last seven months has been about, got myself over to the southern perimeter road, sat under one of the young trees and watched the cyclists do their anti-clockwise laps. And tried to photograph them. Rapidly closing and departing moving targets.
What did I learn? Locking the ISO to at least 400 helps with shooting at an angle towards the sun and helps prevent everything blowing out. Locking the exposure to at least 1/1000 also, because bike wheels are moving quick and I want a nice, sharp, contrasty image. And I can do that on my FujiFilm X-T4 because the sensor is kinda massive and the lens is bigger than my old camera. Heaps of light, fuckall noise. It’s like follow-spot in theatre, I have to move ahead of the action, not follow. If I shoot burst-mode, I can effectively film each cyclist passing, then go back and find the ‘perfect’ shot. I don’t shoot burst because … I dunno, I hate the aesthetic and the mentality. It’s not photography, just like I don’t like cropping. I like that I mostly don’t ‘get the shot’, and like photographing dance, I have to know the work, anticipate what’s coming up, know how a rider and bike is going to look at a certain distance, a certain angle, with the sun hitting them, all that. None of which I really nailed satisfactorily. Like my previous walk, where I got familiar with the manual focus, a pile of nothing special.
This tree I liked the look of though. Last days of bare limbs before spring jizzes everywhere.