Anton Nelson, A Professional Motocross Photographer, Talks About His Must-have 12k Camera

The owner of the media company Battalion and a photographer who specializes in extreme sports tells us what’s in his kit bag.

Anton Nelson, who owns the media production company Battalion and works as a professional photographer and videographer, often says that his life between shoots is like “going around in circles on planes.” This is clear from a quick look at his social feeds.

Anton mostly works for action sports and motorsports brands as a director, director of photography (DOP), and visual artist. But he also works for businesses, the government, and the military.

Anton and I recently had a chance to talk about him, his job as a videographer, and the tools he can’t live without.

It is a Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12k.

“I shoot a lot with the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K. I want my work to look and feel the same no matter what industry I’m shooting in, and the URSA lets me shoot in 12K resolution at up to 60fps or in 8K resolution at 120fps!”

In a recent Motocross video I made with Jamie Carpenter, I have a shot of him going over a jump. I took the picture with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8, 8K, 120 fps lens. He just whips the bike over the jump, which looks awesome. These 38-megapixel frames come in a set of 120. I can bring up any of those frames, and they are detailed enough to be printed on a billboard. That was a big deal to me.

“I only need one camera, the URSA, to take all the pictures I want. I often shoot wider because that lets me make a 9:16 video for TikTok or Instagram Reels, a standard 16:9 edit for YouTube, and a 1:1 square for Instagram’s feed or Facebook. There is no way to lower the quality of the images with that ultra-high-resolution 12K master.

I use a variety of lenses, but I usually stick to photo lenses because they have good quality and are smaller and easier to carry than many video lenses.”

The Things

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8: This lens gives me a lot of options for shooting a wide variety of things, from motocross to Rallycross and other four-wheel track racing.

Sigma’s prime lenses 14mm, 20mm, 24mm, and 40mm: I started out with DSLRs and got used to manually focusing in low light, which is probably one of the hardest ways to focus.

I’ll often find a spot where I want to focus, where I know a rider or athlete will come into the frame, and have them come into focus. Then, depending on what I want, I can either follow them from there or let it drift to make a natural transition into another shot.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM: I love this lens, and I think it is one of the fastest and widest zoom lenses on the market. The barrel is also pretty strong, which is important when I’m shooting in hot or cold (usually cold) places.

Samyang 10mm F2.8 ED AS NCS CS: This is a beautiful lens, but it makes a picture that is way too wide on the URSA’s Super35mm sensor.

Every other thing: “It’s not always easy where I work. I can be making a movie in a place that is wet or dry and dusty, or I can be lying on hard, frozen ground. I have a good backpack that keeps everything safe, and when I change lenses, I will try to hide in it.

“I always travel with a pair of earbuds and I also take a small watercolor paint kit with me. Taking that downtime to do something different and change your thinking helps your way of treating composition. If you start a painting with a blank page, your image-making approach is totally different than if you have started looking through a viewfinder. I don’t want to necessarily lose that.”

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