The Title of Number One
In the JSB1000 class of the MFJ Superbike, the premiere motorcycle road racing champion in Japan, one rider boasts an overwhelming strength. This is Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who belongs to the Yamaha Factory Racing Team.
To date, Nakasuga has won the season title in the JSB1000 class seven times from 2008 to present, and been crowned class champion five years running from 2012 to 2016. Another of Nakasuga’s accomplishments is his three consecutive wins from 2015 at the Suzuka 8 Hours, part of the FIM Endurance World Championship.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga takes continual pride in his title as number one, and I pursued him through the lens, seeking to capture a tense expression in the pits, a sense of unity between man and machine as it easily exceeds 300 kilometers per hour, and scenes contrasting light and shadows.
The lens I enlisted as my partner for this task was the Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD.
A feature of this lens is its extremely wide focal range, which goes from 100mm to 400mm. This means that when you somewhere confined like the pits and relatively close to your subject, or when you want a close-up shot of a rider in a far distance as they run quickly around the course, this all-rounder lens is up to the task.
When photographing a road race where you are constantly switching shooting locations, having an extremely light weight is another advantageous point in terms of carrying around the lens and its general convenience.
How about the picture it takes?
When the lens would snap into focus, I felt extremely satisfying sense of sharpness. Just being sharp doesn’t mean it is compromising a sense of resolution. For example, you can make out uneven surfaces of the stickers on the bikes, and fully render the texture of the leather racing suits worn by the riders. The high image quality surpassed my expectations.
I think I can use this as a great workhorse lens in shooting scenarios other than road races as well.
There are endless ways to shoot and enjoy photographs.
Naturally, this differs depending on the subjects you are shooting, but I felt that the 100-400mm ultra-telephoto zoom lens I used this time was the perfect lens for shooting around a race track. Using the wide range of focal lengths, you can shoot wide to capture the atmospheric scenes of the entire race, and they zoom in to shoot impactful close-ups that make you think, “Wow, it does this too!”
With an ultra-telephoto zoom lens, you want to test out a range of different focal lengths in pursuit of your very own number-one shot. I have no doubt that armed with this lens, it will be a great partner.