The owner of the media company Battalion and extreme sports photographer Battalion tells us what’s in his kit bag.
Anton Nelson, the owner of the media production company Battalion and a professional photographer and videographer, often says that his life between shoots is like “going around in circles on planes.” A quick look at his social feeds confirms this.
Anton works mostly as a director, director of photography (DOP), and visual artist for action sports and motorsports brands. However, he also does work for corporate, government, and military clients.
Anton and I recently had a chance to talk about him, his work as a videographer, and the tools he can’t live without.
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12k is the camera.
“I currently shoot a lot with the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K; I want my work to have a consistent look and feel, regardless of the industry I’m shooting in and the URSA allows me to shoot in 12K resolution at up to 60fps, or I can drop the resolution to 8K and shoot at 120fps!
I have a shot of Jamie Carpenter popping over a jump in a recent Motocross edit I made with him. I used an 8K, 120fps Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens to take the picture. He just whips the bike over the jump, which looks amazing. There are 120 of these 38-megapixel frames. I can bring up any of those frames, and they are detailed enough to print on a billboard. For me, that was a big deal.
“With the URSA, I only need one camera to take all the pictures I need. I often shoot wider because it 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. With that ultra-high-resolution 12K master, there is no way to lower the quality of the images.
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.”
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8: This lens gives me a lot of options for shooting a wide range of things, from motocross to Rallycross and other four-wheel track racing.
The 14mm, 20mm, 24mm, and 40mm prime lenses from Sigma: I started out with DSLRs and got used to focusing manually in low light, which is probably one of the hardest ways to focus.
I’ll often find a point 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 for a natural transition into another shot.
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM: I love this lens, and I think it’s one of the fastest and widest zoom lenses on the market. The barrel is also pretty tough, 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 that makes an image on the URSA’s Super35mm sensor that is way too wide.
Every other thing
“The place where I work isn’t always easy. I can be lying on hard, frozen ground or making a movie in a wet or dusty, dry place. I have a good rucksack that keeps everything safe, and I will try to use it as a place to hide when I change lenses.
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.”