motorcyclist taking a corner at high speed

Fast and Furious

Alejandro Ceresuela

Alejandro Ceresuela is one of those lucky few who has been able to turn their passion into a career. However for him, this was no accident.

Things don’t happen by chance, things happen because you want them to. I don’t think it’s about being lucky, you have to work and trust in yourself.

Alejandro began his journey around ten years ago, when he was photographing Moto GP as a fan of the sport, but his images quickly caught people’s attention and he started to be in high demand.

alejandro ceresuela sony alpha 9 gp motorcyclist ready to start the race © Alejandro Ceresuela | Sony α9 + FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS | 1/500s @ f/9.0, ISO 100

Like the sport of Moto GP racing itself, the key to taking a great image is positioning and timing. Alejandro explains, “you have to use the right technique and you need a clear idea about what you want to express. For me, the bikes are all about speed and I want to show that in my images. To be able to do that it’s vital that you are in the right place, and then the technique needs to be perfect.”

motorcyclist gets his knee down on a fast corner © Alejandro Ceresuela | Sony α9 + FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS | 1/50s @ f/22, ISO 100

Aside from technique, Alejandro has the final image in his mind throughout the whole process, from capturing the shot to editing, in order to achieve the exact photograph he wants.

I spend a lot of time on the track, but I also spend as much time in the media centre editing my images. For me, the most important thing is the vision in my mind, followed by how I use the camera.

Being an expert in his field with over ten years’ experience, one of the challenges Alejandro faces is keeping his imagery fresh; “Clients will always need the typical shots from the circuit, which I will always capture. However, during the weekend, I do take the opportunity to play around, exploring new images and more artistic shots. Every year I look for new positions to shoot from to avoid my images all looking the same. A new year is like a new challenge. We go to the same places, but I want to take different pictures. I want to be in constant evolution. That’s what keeps my images fresh and exciting.”

Whilst Alejandro’s racing images capture the twists and turns on the track, he also offers an insight in to what happens off the track - everything from the frantic split-second action in the pit lane to riders in a meditative state, eyes shut, recounting every turn of the track before they sit on their bike. Once again, knowledge of the sport and knowing exactly when and where to be is the key to capturing these moments.

long exposure of rider and pit crew © Alejandro Ceresuela | Sony RX1R II | 1s @ f/22, ISO 100
If you want to take a good picture of a pit crew you have to know what they will do and when. You can take a good picture of a pit crew changing a tyre, but during those ten seconds there is just one second that is the most important. It’s about experience and not being focused only on one picture. In three seconds, you can make three very different pictures - but you have to know when to quickly move to get them.

Weekend race meetings can be varied in terms of what Alejandro is shooting, so he uses a range of different cameras and lenses to suit the subject of his shots. “Normally I use the Sony α9 for capturing images on the track as the autofocus and shooting rate is perfect for capturing the speed of the action. You need to be shooting at 1/50th sec, as those slower shutter speeds and panning are what helps to show the speed of the action.”

motorcyclist leaning dramatically into a corner © Alejandro Ceresuela | Sony α9 + FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS | 1/100s @ f/22, ISO 100
When I’m capturing shots in the pit lane or for portraits however, I use the Alpha 7R III, but if I want the extra resolution I will also sometimes use it to capture the bikes in motion. Sometimes the opposite is also true – occasionally I want to capture a rider celebrating a win or a pit stop, in which case I will use the Alpha 9 for its 20fps shooting speed.
motorcyclist celebrates winning the gp with bottle of champagne © Alejandro Ceresuela | Sony α7R III + FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS | 1/500s @ f/5.6, ISO 125

Alejandro tells us how it’s the features of his kit that help to make his life easier when capturing his imagery. He explains, “one of the features that I love on my cameras is the Eye AF, as it helps me get more from my lenses. With the 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4 or 85mm f/1.4 it could be a challenge to get the focus exactly on the subject’s eye, but with Eye AF I can get it sharp every time.”

To capture the right shot, Alejandro also uses a variety of lenses, regularly changing them depending on what he’s shooting. “On the track I usually use the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS and the 1.4x converter. Occasionally I also use the FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS on track, but mostly I use it on the parc ferme, the starting grid and in the pit lane”, he explains. Weight is also a factor for Alejandro, which helps him when he is travelling from race to race with so much kit, “I also carry the little FE 28mm f/2 with me and the FE 85mm f/1.8 – it’s a more affordable lens, but the performance is incredible.”

For those that want to follow in Alejandro’s footsteps, he has this advice: “You can get anything if you are prepared. It always depends on you; you can get anything.”

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Alejandro Ceresuela

Alejandro Ceresuela | Spain

"There is always a way through photography to convey what you want to show"

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