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As part of our Canon Series of articles, we chatted with a number of pro photographers about the gear they use. Durban-based sports and action photographer Anesh Debiky was one of the first we featured. Here are all his answers in one convenient place.

TechSmart: If you had to pick one lens to shoot with, which one would it be and why?

Anesh Debiky: My all-time go-to lens has to be the Canon 400mm f2.8 IS USM II lens. This is like the ‘Holy Grail’ of lenses for sports photographers. This focal length is one of the most versatile of all the super telephoto lenses in the Canon range. It has fast auto focusing, great for night shoots and with Canon’s range of teleconverters available this focal length can be bumped from 600mm to almost 900mm. I can therefore use this lens from shooting soccer and rugby, all the way up to surfing and cricket. The version II of this lens is extremely light weight and can make hand holding a pleasure if the need arises. This also helps going through airport security.

Have you recently acquired a new piece of photographic equipment that is making your life easier? 

I suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome (as Roger Machin at Canon SA would put it), and as such I’m always on the lookout for new and modern gear, also equipment that will make my life easier and take the strain of my back, knees and shoulders. I have acquired the Wireless File Transmitter for the Canon 1Dx, the WFT-E6A. It’s fantastic since it eliminates the use of card readers when using the iPad and drastically speeds up my workflow. 

This little device, literally the size of a match box, allows me to transfer images directly to my notebook, iPad and even to a remote FTP site. Because of the speed of the workflow, clients love this as they can then transmit images out to local and international media immediately. From a major sporting event, I once got an image out from the trophy presentation to the front page of a publication in almost three minutes. Wildlife photographers will also love this for the remote shooting.

Can you describe what major gear is in your camera bag right now, and what do you never leave behind?

I have the following in my camera bag that allows me to go on a sport shoot immediately if need be.

  • Camera bodies: Canon EOS 1D X, Canon EOS 7D Mark II. 
  • Lenses: Canon 400mm f2.8 IS USM II , Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM II , Canon 24-70mm, Canon 8-15mm fisheye, Canon 16-35mm f2.8. 
  • Flash: Canon 600 EX RT with off camera cord.
  • Accessories: Batteries, chargers, cleaning material, memory cards, readers etc.

The cameras are obviously never left behind but the battery chargers are what lives in the bag.

What is your favourite personal photo and why? Is there a particular story behind it that makes it stand out?

Shew! This is a tough one to answer, it’s like asking a parent which of his kids he loves the most. After shooting thousands of images over the years I have got to say that one of my favourites has to be of Brazilian Paralympic swimmer, Daniel Dias qualifying for the Olympics while swimming in Durban in 2012. This is a guy who has one leg and one arm. The arm and leg he has, were also deformed from birth and he has turned out as one of the world’s best Paralympic swimmers.

His drive, motivation and focus in the pool were remarkable and an inspiration. Plus his character out of the pool was amazing – he’s one of the most jovial characters you will ever meet. I enjoyed capturing Daniel in the pool as he qualified and hopefully the determination and focus in his eye catches the viewer before the deformity in his right arm.  

Do you perhaps have a photography tip to share with our readers?

We are bombarded with information from all directions: print, internet, social media and books. This is fantastic for building up knowledge to improve your photography. But at the end, try and develop your own style and signature. Emulating the great photographers is one thing but also let your images show the individual that you are.

Also, at the end of any photoshoot try and spend less time in front of the computer than you spent behind the camera. Keep images authentic and real with your photography knowledge and not your Photoshop skills.

Like what you see? Visit Debiky’s website or follow him on Instagram.

Top photo: Gallo Images

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