A close-up of a skier preparing to launch himself down a slope.
Canon Ambassador Alessandro Trovati needs to cover a range of focal lengths when photographing skiing, but says the L-series Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens is the one he always ensures he packs in his kitbag. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. © Pentaphoto/Alessandro Trovati

Sports photography is in Alessandro Trovati's blood. His father, Armando, was a celebrated sports photographer who founded the Italy-based Pentaphoto agency. Alessandro followed in his footsteps, and at 21 became the youngest photographer at the 1992 Winter Olympics.

Since then, the Canon Ambassador has gone on to cover 12 Olympic Games, numerous Tour de France races and every FIS Alpine Ski World Cup since 1992, plus many other events. He's also had a successful career as a commercial photographer and has shot campaigns for top sports brands.

A skier in mid-air, flying off a ski slope, trailing snow behind him.
Glare, moisture, cold and split-second action make skiing tricky to photograph at the best of times. Alessandro relies on the top-flight weather sealing of his Canon kit so he can keep shooting even if he gets a face full of snow. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (now succeeded by the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM) at 200mm, 1/1000 sec, f/8 and ISO200. © Pentaphoto/Alessandro Trovati
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Alessandro's kitbag is equipped for photographing a broad range of sports in different styles. It includes Canon EOS-1D X Mark II bodies, and lenses ranging from the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM to the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM. However, the one essential lens he always takes with him is the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM. He says it's good for many sports he shoots, including cycle racing, but is essential when shooting skiing, which is notoriously challenging to photograph.

Elite skiers travel over long, steep courses at speeds of up to 130km/h in the downhill competition, or move rapidly from side to side as they weave between gates in the slalom. Alessandro may be photographing close-ups of skiers before they set off, or action shots during the event when they're travelling at high speed or crossing the finish line.

"Sometimes I am 100 metres away from the subject, and for that situation I usually use the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens," says Alessandro. "But there are many situations where I don't want to use such a long lens. The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is very good in the finish area, for example, because you can shoot the celebrations wide or close-up. I keep that lens on one of my EOS-1D X Mark II bodies all the time."

A black-and-white photograph of a downhill skier.
The zoom range of the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens puts Alessandro right next to distant subjects, and means he can react quickly in a fast-changing situation. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. © Pentaphoto/Alessandro Trovati
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"During the ski action, once you decide on a position, it's not possible to move during the race because it can be dangerous. I like using zooms because they give you flexibility and you can use them for different angles. If you don't have a zoom you can miss the picture."

The aperture of f/4.5-5.6 means this lens is not as fast as some of Alessandro's other Canon lenses. However, the 4-stop Image Stabilizer greatly reduces camera shake and means he can shoot at shutter speeds as low as 1/8 sec if he wants to capture motion blur within an otherwise sharp image. He can also use the lens's Zoom Touch Adjustment ring to control the amount of resistance and make zooming faster when the situation is rapidly changing.

"I've used other zooms in the past, but I hand-hold my camera so I can react quickly and some of the longer zooms are too big and heavy," he explains. "Now I use only the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, because it's so good. Focusing is fast and very sharp. You can shoot a lot of different pictures with this one lens, and it's so small and light it can be used in many different situations." At just 1,550g, the lens is comfortable to hand-hold, and its 193mm length means it doesn't take up too much storage space.

"The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is good for all sports when you need flexibility," says Alessandro. "And when I'm shooting fast action, when the subject is sometimes close and other times far away, this lens is the best solution for me."

Autor: David Clark


Alessandro Trovati's kitbag

The key kit pros use to take their sports photographs

The contents of Alessandro Trovati's kitbag, including two Canon EOS-1D X Mark II bodies, Canon lenses and accessories.

Camera

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

With its high-sensitivity 20.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor, expanded 61-point Dual Pixel AF system and 4K video capture, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II delivers class-leading performance.

Lenses

Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM

The complete range of ultra-wide-angle focal lengths in a single high-quality zoom lens. Perfect for shooting everything from sport to landscapes, architecture and interiors on location.

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