Timo Anis is a photographer who at the moment is focused on motorsport races, but he also shoots some wedding and portrait photography. In the motorsport field, he's one of the few FIA's World Rally Championship photographers who are following the championship in every continent it goes. His travels take him from Sweden to Australia and Chile. As you can see, that itself provides a great layout for images and gives him a lot of opportunities in his work. His 2020 season started with a legendary event in Southern France with an iconic Rallye Monte Carlo. We had the chance to talk with Timo about the event and the gear that he took with him.
f-stop: You cover a lot of motorsport events, can you please tell us something the WRC Rallye Monte Carlo and what makes it different than others?
Timo: One of the oldest, toughest and most demanding events in the world rally championship calendar. What makes it so difficult? These are the roads and the climate in the mountains. It could be raining or snowing. There can be fog or sunshine. You could have the rain at the start and snow on the top of the super special stage. Which tires one should use? This is a big question for everyone! One never takes anything for granted in Monte Carlo rally. You can only learn and take the experience with you along the process. For sure this isn't an event where you can go flat out from start to finish. One has to be wise, and know when to take it more steady.
f-stop: What do you usually carry with you, and what are your essential pieces of non-camera gear that always go in your bag?
Timo: On a daily basis, I'm using two Nikon d850 bodies. Those will go along with my Nikkor 70-200 latest lens and Sigma art series prime lenses. All together I have 3 of those (24, 35 and 85 mm). Now and then I use my Nikkor 16 mm fisheye. If I need/want to light up my subjects I use my two Nikon SB 910 flashguns. Until now these have been helping me to produce my work. As I'm working simultaneously with two bodies I need some transmitters. For that, I have some PocketWizard's in my bag. For the remote, I tend to use some carbon lightweight tripod.
As the gear that I'm wearing is quite heavy I need to think about my body. For that, I'm using Blackrapid's camera straps system. It distributes the equipment's weight quite nicely and there isn't too much pressure on my lower back. There are different products on the market in that field, but I haven't found anything better, to be honest!
Here's an interesting fact for you. You know all the dust and dirt which flies around when motorsport events are happening. Well, how do you secure your gear? Here's my secret: I use women stocking for it. The thickest you can get. For sure it's the best option on the market at this very moment, at least for me!
As for the non-camera gear I always take my portable Lacie 2 GB hard drive, Blackrapid straps and some extra filters with me. For the gravel events where dust is an issue I always take some brush with me to keep the gear clean. I always take some lens cleaning clothing with me. It's the experience.
One of the most important aspects of shooting outdoors is your clothing. Like in Monte Carlo rally: you can have temperatures from -10 up to +15. So it's not easy to choose your clothing. I always go a bit lighter and with layers. Then I'm able to change things when the weather changes. As I need to walk a lot, sometimes more than 10 km in a single day, so I need to make sure my body can breathe!
f-stop: Why did you select this gear?
Timo: As I have been a Nikon user for year's everything has happened very naturally for me. The biggest change for me in recent years has been the fact that I changed all my other lenses for Sigma's art Series primes ones. I have been really impressed by the image quality they do and really pleased with the overall experience. With the gear I have, I can basically shoot anything I wish. I could say only my imagination is the limit. To give you an example: I can shoot motorsport, portrait work, corporate events and etc with all that gear easily.
f-stop: Where do you put all of that gear?
Timo: I'm currently using f-stop Ajna photo bag. For me, this is the perfect bag. It takes all I need for a shoot, even when it lasts more than a week. One of the major pluses about this bag is also a fact that it is suitable as cabin luggage across the globe. That's a very important factor for me, as I need to travel a lot. All the camera gear, lenses, and transmitters are going into the ICU unit within the bag. For the large pocket which is outside the bag, I tend to put my Blackrapid straps, all the adapters, and wires and etc. Into the top compartment, I tend to put my hard drive, headphones and my kindle. I like to read, but books can be big in their size, so for that, a kindle is a perfect solution!
f-stop: What is next for you?
Ishaan: I have some portrait work planned to shoot in the next week. Regarding WRC, the next rally will be held in Sweden. This will be run as a winter event and on the roads covered by snow and solid ice. The cars will be using studded tires and it will be a very high-speed event. One of the fastest events in the calendar.