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What’s In My Bag: A Red Bull Sports Pro's Kit For Capturing Fast Action Underwater & Above

Mine Kasapoglu (@minekasapoglu) is a traveling sports and portrait photographer, Sony Alpha Europe Ambassador and Red Bull photographer. She specializes in photographing Swimming, Alpine Ski and Snowboard World Cup races. Having previously been a member of the Turkish National Ski and Snowboard teams, she’s incredibly passionate about the action and emotions that take over while competing and training. Over the last four years, her work has mainly centered around swimming. “I am the official photographer for the International Swimming League,” she explains. “I also shoot for big swimwear brands like Arena. In this article I wanted to take you through the essentials that are always with me for these swimming shoots.” Keep reading below as she takes us through the cameras, lenses and essential gear she uses to be a step ahead of the action.

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The International Swimming League and Red Bull sports pro Mine Kasapoglu takes us through the Sony Alpha kit she built to keep ahead of the action.

Cameras

Sony Alpha 9 II and (2) Sony Alpha 9: The main engine behind the operation are my Sony Alpha 9 and Sony Alpha 9 II bodies. I absolutely need the speed (20 fps), the super fast tracking focus and my magic connection to this amazing camera. At this point I have become one with these bodies, and I cannot imagine shooting another way. I strap two of them on me with a double harness, and a third one is connected to my Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master lens on a monopod. The body on my right is attached to either a Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master or Sony 135mm f/1.8 G Master lens and the one on the left can be anything but mostly either Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master or Sony 50mm f/1.2 G Master. I work with many swimming legends and I have heard multiple times that they have never seen swimming shots like this before. I couldn’t have this effect without these babies. Sony mirrorless cameras changed the game in sports photography and it was great timing with the starting of this new league in 2019. Our photographic look as a league is so strong and good, thanks to the technology behind the Sony Alpha 9.

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Photo by Mine Kasapoglu. Sony Alpha 9 II. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/5000-sec., f/2.8, ISO 4000

Lenses

My absolute favorite lenses are fixed and with a wide aperture. 
 
Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master: The Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master is a dream. I love the effect of this glass. It fits sports and athletes so well. I can get close to the athletes without being right in front of them. I love it when everything is a blur and only the athlete is in focus. I find that this mirrors the athletes' psychology as they compete. I am also crazy about the bokeh.

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Photo by Mine Kasapoglu. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/1600-sec., f/2.8, ISO 125

Sony 135mm f/1.8 G Master: I use this lens when I photograph athletes training in the gym or doing portraits. 
 
Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master: I also like to use this lens when I photograph athletes training in the gym or doing portraits. These lenses capture amazing details even in low light situations. 
 
Sony 50mm f/1.2 G Master: The 50mm always has a special place for me as it is the lens that made me fall in love with photography. And Sony’s version is just incredible. A must have in any photography kit.

The zoom lenses are my go-to for events as I need to capture many different situations, and fast.
 
Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master: The Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master is a great one to use with my underwater housing. The underwater world is so different, slow and wide, in contrast to the speed above water, and this also affects my lens choices.

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Photo by Mine Kasapoglu. Sony Alpha 9 II. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/8, ISO 2000

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master: If I don’t want to miss a thing, this lens is the answer. A classic lens that does it all.

Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master: My favorite is the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master which I also love using for portraits and as an all-round lens. If I go on vacation with my kids I take the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master and the Sony 50mm f/1.2 G Master and I am set.

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Photo by Mine Kasapoglu. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/1000-sec., f/2.8, ISO 1000

Accessories

ThinkTank Airport Roller Derby: Also known as, my assistant. I am never without this rolling camera bag. I have a lot I carry so having four wheels makes it just so much easier.
 
Mindshift Backlight 36L: Perfect for carrying my equipment while skiing, on rough terrain, or anywhere where I cannot use the smooth wheels of my roller bag. Also is weatherproof to keep everything inside safe.

ThinkTank Cable Management & Card Holders: All cables go in this bag to keep everything nice and tidy, which is so important because a tidy bag can help me focus on the job.
 
Manfrotto 290 Monopod: Helps me carry the 400mm lens, but I must admit I am strong enough not to need it. And I prefer not using it but on jobs where I am shooting days in a row this is absolutely essential.
 
Aquatech Underwater Housing: I rely on the Aquatech to protect my Sony bodies not to get wet underwater. Super important task and it has not failed me once.
 
Sony Flashgun: Have one just in case, never know when you might need an extra light.
 
Blackrapid Double Camera Harness: I use this at all events. Love having my Sony bodies attached to my body. And this strap is the magic glue.
 
Sony TOUGH SD Cards: So fast, waterproof, weatherproof, never had a crash with these. Love them.
 
Sony TOUGH External Hard Drive: All my work, my backup, in short…my everything. Also super fast which is so important to me as I shoot about 10000 images a day on average at a job.
 
Underwater Weight Belt: To be able to sink in the water with all that equipment, I need to add on some weights.
 
Arena Fins, Goggles & Nose Clip: To see well, swim fast and be agile without getting water in my nose. I need these when I am pretending to be a mermaid while shooting my swimmer friends.
 
Nerolinn Sun Kiss Oil: This oil keeps my skin so glowing and healthy. When I feel good and confident, I have better results in my shoots. Also it smells so good.
 
Lens Cleaners: I need these to keep my glass spotless.
 
Batteries & Charger: Always have extra batteries, and a charger. One thing you must do before every shoot is charge your batteries, but I always have extra. The rule is, never ever run out of battery.

See more of Mine Kasapoglu's work on Instagram @minekasapoglu.

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