Head hunting on the Bonneville Salt Flats with the Sony RX100 by Terry Bell

Head hunting on the Bonneville Salt Flats with the Sony RX100

By Terry Bell

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Hi Steve;

Hoping life is being kind to you. Your site has become my go to photo blog each morning.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the great joy of accompanying a dear friend to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where,he would attempt to gain membership in the 200 mph club, aboard his BMW motorcycle.

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I decided to take two cameras with me on this adventure… My Fujifilm X Pro1 with 18-55 zoom and 14 mm wide-angle, and as back up , my Sony RX100.

After watching the first few timed runs, ( from a considerable distance ) it became clear that i was not going to come close to capturing the speed and excitement that some of these motorcycles generate, with the equipment I had.

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I decided that rather than focus on the motion, I would instead, turn my attention to the community of racers and staff that show up each year to make this event so special.

My go to camera for this project was my Sony RX100. It’s big advantage beyond it’s ability to render incredibly crisp images, is that it is, by and large, totally un-intimidating. I always like to work close when shooting people and I have found that the more serious the equipment, the greater the anxiety of the subject.

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Here on the Salt Flats, I was shooting total strangers and rarely was afforded more than two or three trips of the shutter. The little Sony performed flawlessly and took any hint of seriousness off my picture-taking.

As you can see by a couple of other pics, it did an equally fine job at capturing the beauty of the some of the machines, as well.

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Hope this proves of interest.

Terry Bell

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Canada

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25 Comments

  1. Really fantastic, “focussed” set of pix. An inspiration to other RX100 shooters. Love the BW. Oh and some very awesome beards as well!

  2. That thing with the umbrella and the lunch bag is going to break the 200mph barrier? Woah. Haha. J/K
    Seriously, that $500 camera sure can pack a punch. Good portraits.

  3. What jumps out at me here is that the portraits all capture the same feeling – that these people are there to relax and enjoy themselves doing what they like to do. That’s what makes fine photography and takes it beyond the mere technical level. Very much enjoyed these – thanks.

    And yes, I did notice the Hasselblad…(!)

  4. Really great series of images. Congratulations that you managed to shift your attention from your originally planned subject to a different one. You made good use of the opportunities offered.

    The RX 100 is a wonderful little camera with great image quality. I just have my personal issues with the user interface. Using it just doesn’t give me the kick I get from other cameras. But if someone is looking for a pocketable camera nothing will beat the RX 100 (except for the version 2 of it …)

    Image #5 is the real photographer test. If you find yourself staring at the Hassy you’re a photographer for sure 🙂

    • The quality of these photos makes me wonder why I still hang onto my more expensive, heavier, larger …. Leica?

      I think this question strikes a warning bell amongst all Leica owners…

      And, makes me want to ask what are they doing in Solms to provide Leica owners with a serious camera with which to respond…in the same or near price range, size and weight, too.

  5. Nice shots, and some interesting characters out there in flatland.

    But am I the only one that doesn’t think these images are sharp? I am guessing that what I’m seeing is somehow related to the upload process to this site? I KNOW this camera can do well having used one quite a bit, so I’m not thinking it’s the camera!!

  6. Love all of the shots especially the old GMC and the guy with the puddin bowl helmet. All of the images show the variety of people who return to the salt every year.

  7. Great shots. My only comment would be that I would prefer these in colour….with the blue sky and other various things going on I feel this subject loses too much in B&W…but to each their own.

  8. Sounds like an interesting event. And what great photos!!

    I also have and love the tiny RX100. The smaller sensor of the RX100 combined with the lens doesn’t give you the subject isolation of of a DSLR of course, but to me, that just means it’s more important than ever to pay attention to the background.

    I think your photos beautifully demonstrate this, and what the camera can do in skilled hands – I love the fantastic, open, clean backgrounds that the salt flats provide, and you’ve included! Very compelling!

    Beautiful work!!
    (though… I am left wondering how the snappy AF and shutter speeds of the Nikon1 might have done in this environment) 🙂

  9. Nice work! These really reveal the character of these people. Good for you being brave enough to photograph complete strangers and not to nervous to screw it up when you did. I’d love to have that level of confidence!

    • Huss… thank you for your comment. My friend left a little disappointed as he did a best run of 176.6 mph…. a full 10 mph less than his best run last year. The issue, as so often is the case, is finding traction on the salt.

  10. Very enjoyable images. I like the “portraits with sunglasses” best because they, with the reflection in the glasses, give the best impression of that stark environment.

    The light must have been very harsh. Still these look very good!

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