What is the must-have photographic gear for shooting adventure sports?
It’ss difficult to answer this question as shooting adventure sports (just like almost any form of photography nowadays) can be done with anything from your cell phone to the most advanced gear out there. But, let me recommend a few items that will help make your job a little easier:
Freezing the action
With extreme sports photography, you need to capture split-second moments, which means that you will need a camera with a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action. You can capture a break-dancer in static freeze position with an iPhone 7 or lower range point-and-shoot camera, but these are no match to DSLRs when the break-dancer starts spinning. At this point, you will need to raise your shutter speed to about 1/800 sec or even 1/1000 sec to really stop the motion and get a crisp image.
Have a wide variety of lenses
As far as lenses go, the more the better! But seriously, with adventure sports, you need to adapt to many different locations and scenarios, which warrant having a wide variety of lenses. During almost every Red Bull event I cover, I use everything from my fisheye to my 400mm lens, all depending on the shoot. For example, at the 2016 Red Bull cliff diving event, I used my fisheye lens from below the diving boards one minute, and my 70-200mm lens while clinging to a cliff 50 m away, 10 minutes later.
With which lens do I start?
Not everyone starting out can afford all the lenses out there (it took me several years to buy all mine), so I recommend starting with a wide zoom range lens that enables you to take images at various different focal lengths. Then, once you are ready to try something different, look at getting fisheye/super-wide lenses and primes. My favourite two lenses include 24mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor lenses which always amaze me with the quality of image they render in almost any situation.
As an extreme sports photographer, you move around a lot, so once you have your camera and lens kits sorted, you are going to need something to put it all in. I have been using F-stop Gear for several years now and recommend them for any level photographer. I don’t say this only because they sponsor me, but because I honestly like their design and durability.
Back in the day, I used to toss my gear into any bag I could find, but not only did my gear get smashed, but it looked unprofessional on the job. So, having the right camera bag for your equipment really does keep it safe and helps you look like you mean business.