What’s in My Bag? 9th Street Derby, Ep. III


For the third year running, I will be spectating and photographing Durham’s Ninth Street Derby, a modern reincarnation of a hallowed classic, the Wellspring Criterium. In 2012, I had no idea what to expect, and showed up with a Canon 5D, a Canon 1DmkIII, and probably my three zooms (16-35 f/2.8L, 24-70 f/2.8L, and 70-200 f/2.8L IS). I got a few shots I was happy with, and more importantly, fell in love with watching the fast, exciting action of competitive cycling on tight street courses.


In 2013, I tried to keep the weight down as much as possible, but still ended up with a heavy bag full of the gear you see above. Keeping in mind lessons learned from the prior year, and experimenting more with panning, manual zone focusing, and the use of neutral density filters, I was able to get some images I was really pleased with.

This year will be very different, as the Canon gear is all gone–no more ultra-wide zoom, no more rock-solid, constant aperture zooms, no sophisticated and fast multi-point predictive autofocus shooting at 8fps. I do have image stabilization in both of my zooms this year (important for panning, but not action), and I am limited to 27mm equivalent on the wide end this go ’round. Still, I hope to find some success shooting fast action with the Fuji system, as I did last year at Virginia International Raceway.

Without further ado, then, here is the gear I’m taking this year (minus the X-E1 I used to take the photo) in my trusty and well-used Tamrac Adventure Messenger 4 shoulder bag:


Going clockwise from the top left:

The striking difference for me is the number of batteries, as the Fujis eat through batteries like crazy. I have two more on order, in fact, that I would have included if I’d had them. I elected not to take a monopod this year, as this kit is significantly lighter than last year’s, and I didn’t end up using the monopod at all then, either. It’s nice to have both my telephotos in one smaller package this year, and the only thing I really feel like I’m missing is the ultra wide angle lens. I could, of course, have added that in with the newly available Fujinon XF 10-24 f/4 R LM OIS or the XF 14mm f/2.8 R, but since this isn’t for pay and I don’t have a need for those lenses for the most part, the 18-55mm will have to get the job done as best it can.

I have preset the cameras to continuous frame rate shooting (high on both), and set the Auto-ISO to 1/500th minimum. Both are set to JPEG to clear the buffers more quickly. The X-E2 has the grip for balance, and is set to continuous focus–because the auto-AF implementation is significantly crappier on the X-E1, I’ll be using that body for my manual-focus, wide angle work.

Hope that helps you as you plan to do crazy things like shooting action sports with Fuji bodies! As always, the proof will be in the pudding, so I hope to report back here with some great photos!

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