No EXIF 7 - Analogue Photography from the 2009 Season

Nov 11, 2019
by Hoshi Yoshida  
Checking the result list
The YETI team 2009, Sam Blenkinsop, Aaron Gwin and Jared Graves checking the result list, and Wyn Masters swinging by. Photo taken in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Canon 1Ds Mark II at the media center
Canon 1Ds Mark II at the media center
Media center Maribor 2009. This muddy CANON 1Ds Mark II went into retirement a long time ago.

My CANON 1D series workhorses come and go. I've been using 5 generations of them (1D, Ds, DX, and a couple of Mark versions in between). These photos were shot with an analogue LEICA M6 film camera, already considered old at that time. But it seems like good old stuff never gets outdated, that's why this camera is still on duty.

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Greg Minnaar winning his hometown World Cup
Fast growing timber
1st World Cup 2009 was in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Greg Minnaar won his hometown race.

Bike and riders shuttle

The 2009 MTB World Cup season kicked off in Pietermaritzburg South Africa. My first time in Africa. It was a totally new experience and I learned a lot. The typical vegetation isn’t a jungle, it’s rapidly growing timber. The shuttle for the Downhill riders was a lorry. I found out about a South African MTB brand: Morewood, and I met Patrick Morewood in person.

Track walk with Sam Hill Brendan Fairclough and photog Fraser Britton
Zulu dance during the award ceremony
LEFT: Track walk through the timber forest with Sam Hill and Brendan Fairclough. RIGHT: Zulu dance before the award ceremony.

Morewood bikes
High polished Morewood Makulu DH bikes.

Houffalize in Belgium was the stage for the 4X and the XCO World Cup.

the six pack
Not racing 4X but working out.
Jared Graves, Dan Atherton and somebody is flipping through a legendary dirt magazine. Gee Atherton was not racing here but working out.

Easy manual
La Bresse France, Round 2 of the DH World Cup. Sam Hill manuals through the wooden berm.

Mick Hannah warming up under the GT team tent. Marc Maurissen Kevin Aiello Marc Beaumont and Terry Chanethomvong next to Mick .
pushing up his Chumba Bike to the start gate
Busy GT tent: Mick Hannah warming up, Terry giving advice, Marc Maurissen kicking the stand, Kevin Aiello turning on the beat and Marc Beaumont waiting for the warm-up bike. RIGHT SIDE: Does anybody remember Chumba bikes?

Backwheel hopping
Airports can be boring. Unless Duncan Riffle shows up and entertains the waiting queue at the car rental office.

Scenic Fort William, and flat pedal rider Sam Hill skidding the highlands

World Cup podium award ceremony
Kiwis fans
LEFT: Another 4X World Cup Jared Graves was unbeatable. RIGHT: Kiwis with some unique wind instruments.

the Rennie style
LEFT: This forecast is hard to believe but true in 2009. RIGHT: Was this the last World Cup we saw Nathan Rennie racing?.

Megavalanche Qualification
Gondola to the Megavalanche start on the Pic Blanc at 3.330m.

Victor Lucas is actually a photograher
the legend at the Mega
Two unique moments in 2009. Bumping into Victor Lucas with a self-made POV cam at the quali start. And seeing the legend Anne Caroline Chausson (among other titles BMX Olympic Gold medalist 2008.) at the Megavalanche.

4X World Cup finals by night
4X World Cup in Schladming Austria. The finals by night on the ski slope was great entertainment.

Guido Tschugg at the practice
Shoulder to shoulder race
LEFT SIDE: German DH, Rampage rider, 4X legend Guido Tschugg. RIGHT SIDE: The eternal battle between Michal Prokop and Jared Graves.

Danny Hart checking results in the gondola
Misty morning in the gondola to the DH start. My co-passenger was Danny Hart reading the qualification result list.

Winner of the DH World Cup 2009
after race
2009 was wrapped up. Sam Hill won the World Cup in Schladming and became the overall winner. Matti Lehikoinen and Duncan Riffle. Cleaning bikes and packing up. Time to go home.

Photos: Hoshi Yoshida
Camera: LEICA M6, 1997
Lens: Leica Summilux 35mm f/1.4
Film: ILFORD XP2 400


  • 117 0
 This is awesome.....more of this please!
  • 4 5
 .... and in colour!
  • 64 3
 Do analogue cameras only take photos of acoustic bikes?
  • 10 5
 Strong drink snobbery, mustaches, and fedoras with matching suspenders required.
  • 22 2
 Acoustic bike = no battery-powered drive train post, fork, shock, etc right? I'm all for 100% acoustic. Like MTB Unplugged. (TM). Wink
  • 1 1
 @FatTonyNJ: underrated comment. Upvoted!
  • 1 0
 @FatTonyNJ: well done sir, well done.
  • 25 2
 Very likely the best photo set published all year on this site. Thanks, Hoshi! Used to enjoy your work in the German Mountainbike Rider Magazin some 19 years ago. You were special. Thanks again! Smile
  • 11 4
 Agreed. These shots look much more real and authentic than a lot that I see featured nowadays (which are like over produced hype pieces)
  • 10 0
 Just pick up an old pre-2003? magazine to gaze at the professional photographic work on display. If you want to see branding, flash, and commercial photography see MBUK or MB action or something, if you want something more arty like above see Dirt. Imagine trying to summarise a downhill race in 2 or 3 photos. There's wisdom in that.
  • 10 0
 That Yeti 303 DH that Gwin rode was soooo sick. I miss watching Prokop and Graves battle it out in 4x.
  • 7 0
 amazing piece of history, thanks for sharing...Victor Lucas with that crazy setup on the Mega. To this day his article about the MegaAvalanche in 2008 is still my favorite ever piece of written text about mtb (
  • 3 1
 I'd read it right now but I'd rather read it straight outa the magazine, lucky I have this issue.
  • 2 0
 @TobiasHandcock: I think I have that one too. Is that where they made the guy from the BMX magazine down the hall, enter his first "mountain bike race" that just so happened to be the Mega?
  • 2 0
 @mammal: that one!!
  • 1 0
 @elyari: Rad. Such a good story, Imma read that one again. If I recall, he taped a pack of Camel or Marlboro cigs to his top tube before the race... Love my old DIRT collection!
  • 6 0
 Took my Leica M6 with a 35/1,4 and a 14/4 to Hillbilly Huckfest 2015:
  • 4 0
 I love this, 2009 was my peak interest for MTB, I used to live on PB at the time pouring over all of this. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, feeling nostalgic.
  • 1 0
 Great stuff Pink Bike, thanks and can you believe the grain? Boomer reporting in;I remember when digital was the low quality shit. Another random thought: If one of those rare handbuilt bikes had modern geo numbers, would the period suspension have held them back?
  • 1 1
 Ok boomer
  • 1 0
 These photos have the contrast cranked waaay up to make them pop and increase the drama. Unless you run noise reduction software on them, that always accentuates the grain. There is high-end colour portrait film that is quite a bit smoother. The ironic thing these days- people edit their digital images to simulate the colour and grain of film!

2009 wasn’t that long ago... We’ve really only been through a few generations of ‘15% better small bump sensitivity’ since then. Most of the shakeups in the bike industry have been geometry and wheel size related. If you gave these bikes modern geometry and wheel size, but stuck to the 2009 dampers, I think they would still be fairly competitive. Especially under a pro rider with factory techs to dial them in. I bet it would be the equivalent of racing on today’s upper-midrange suspension.
  • 1 0
 @alreadyupsidedown: It is XP2 which is usually pretty creamy in output but that does not necessarily mean anything when it comes to contrast. If he pushed it in development, you would get the grain and the contrast naturally. Without the author chiming in, it is impossible to say.

As for grain, if you are shooting 400 or slower film, there will not be much grain, unless pushed in dev. The 'high end' films like Portra, Ektar, and Pro are color films with tight, almost non existent, grain.
  • 2 0
 I couldn't believe the grain when I started scanning my Fuji Velvia 50 taken on a Leica R6. Even Kodachrome 25 was not immune. When I get my Nikon V ED working again I'm going to have to experiment a bit more.
I've now gone digital with a Fujifilm XPRO2 and the results are staggering - when I can figure out the settings! Life was simple with the Leica's manual operation (save for the meter). The swing to digital was for monetary reasons, the cost of processing slide film was high and when you throw away about a third of shots due to vagaries in exposure it becomes galling.
  • 1 0
 @Tykebike: All film has grain. It just is not as pronounced on slide as it is negative. My strong guess is that this film was pushed in development to get more contrast.

Digital is fun and definitely makes things easier. Being able to move ISO around frame by frame is probably the best advantage.

I am massively looking forward to the beginning of the season here so that I can work on it more. I have the right combination of lenses and body. Just need to practice a bit more. Negative film is cheaper than slide to develop and there are some massively sharp options in both color and black and white.
  • 2 0
 Awesome! I have always loved old skool BW film... still do. Brilliant set not only for the old guard as young guns, but just as an example of how the medium could be used to its full effect... brilliant.
  • 1 0
 I still use my dad's 77 canon 35mm forgot the model. I have a huge saddlebags with cutout hard over soft foam has room for camera flash a 25mm lens 50mm lens and a 100mm lens and a 150mm lens. I dont take it down rough trails mostly on bike path rides worried about vibrations. But having a manual shutter speed and f stop is cool for taking different photos then what you see with the everything is always perfect digital camera. NIW if only film wasnt so rare
  • 1 0
 I have been shooting film a long time and spent a couple of races this year shooting it exclusively. The 2020 season, for the races around me, I will be doing the same thing. I really forces you to be flexible and smart. You cannot just jack ISO around frame to frame to get the shutter speed you are looking for. You have to adjust your vision for what you have. Great stuff here!
  • 2 0
 I miss the days when 4X was UCI sanctioned, still I suppose sitting in your garage on a turbo trainer "virtually" racing other agoraphobics is way more valid.
  • 3 0
 I hate it when people take my body and photoshop Dan Atherton's head on it! Not cool guys.
  • 3 0
 A very young Danny, too cool
  • 1 0
 I would love to shoot with a Leica someday. I’m shooting with my poor man’s Leica, a fujifilm x-pro2 for now. Not exactly a real range finder.
  • 1 0
 sometimes I think I getting old is going way to fast ( an it does ) but that I see those guys still shredding on the highest level today and I start feeling a bit better....
  • 3 0
 The Yeti Team 2009 was so good!
  • 2 0
 Always had a bit of a chub going for chumba bikes and yeti 303 was omg
  • 4 1
 Make 4X Great Again
  • 2 0
 Chumba bikes. Didn’t Shaums March ride for them?
  • 1 0
 Yes, I think Chumba before he rode for Norco for about 4 years. He did Rampage on the Chumba.
  • 1 0
 Great pics! Brings me back to a time when I was riding a bike with a 66 degree hta and it would still be considered slack!
  • 1 0
 PSA: For anyone interested in if Morewood bikes still exist, don't go to their website, it's been hacked.
  • 1 0
 Teenage Danny Hart. He still looks just this side of childhood in that photo.
  • 1 0
 More of this please. 2009 was one of the best years for Downhill, loved watching it growing up.
  • 1 0
 Here are some of mine from an ESC DH:
  • 2 1
 I don't understand why it's in black and white?
  • 2 0
 Black and white film.
  • 39 0
 there were no color photos prior to 2010, when the iphone 4 was released.
  • 2 0
 @savagelake: Thank you I forgot about that.
  • 1 0
 Because black and white is better.
  • 2 0
 Does Sam Hill age?
  • 2 0
 Does Minnaar age ?
  • 2 0
 Probably only adding tatoos.
  • 1 0
 morewood makulu(?)! where's renny?
  • 1 0
 thanks Hoshi for this awesome throwback.
  • 1 0
 Ahhhh Dirt Magazine...
  • 1 0
 This is pure gold!
  • 1 0
 Pure gold
  • 1 3
 Because a 1D shoots film and color photography wasn't invented until 2011. Good trip down memory lane regardless.
  • 1 0
 I am trying to understand your statement here.
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