This is an interesting subject to write about since my history in photography has been quite a ride, I don’t know if i can keep it short. I’m from San José, Costa Rica and I started to get into photography on 2006 when I had to take a class at college since my major was in advertising. Probably it was the easiest class to pass in my entire career, it just didn’t asked for much of the students and my dad who has basic photography knowledge helped me out a lot.
Anyway, I got bit by the photography bug and decided to get a better camera when the semester was over since I used an old film camera and an old digital Canon point and shoot. I got a Konica Minolta Z6 and brought it to every car racing event I could, since cars and motorsports are a huge passion for me I found that my newest hobby was the perfect mix. I started uploading my photos to a local forum full of race enthusiasts and after a couple of events the owner of the site asked me if I wanted to shoot all year long at the race track but with the condition that I focused mostly on the people and social side of racing.
I accepted and got my press pass and the first thing I did was getting on the track right were the action was, I just couldn’t just stand on the bleachers and pits shooting people. And that’s how it all started, some time later my dad helped me out and offered me to trade my camera for his Konica Minolta A200. Eventually I got hired by a local karting team and with the teachings of the owner, and now friend of the site I was shooting for, I saved and got my first DSLR, a Canon XTi.
After that I had the issue of not having a decent lens but the 18-55 kit lens. My friend, who I’m really grateful with, lend me his lenses when he could at the race track, at first a 75-300 that was just terrible but I had no choice, eventually with his help I got a Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3, which is still with me. Afterwards I got a Canon 50mm f/1.8 a Canon 17-40mm f/4 L and a Canon 70-200mm f/4 L.
The most important part of my short life as a photographer was motorsports photography, I met a lot of people who helped me out with their advice and got to travel to several countries including: Panamá, El Salvador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mexico, US and Italy to shoot events including WRC and Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. It also opened the doors for me on car dealers and other companies who needed photography services.
After several years of shooting motorsports I started investigating on portrait photography and got a couple of Vivitar 285 flashes, a Westcott umbrella and a lightstand. Inspired by Zack Arias’ work I asked some girl friends to helped me out so I could practice and after some shoots another door opened for me and started shooting for a local girl clothing store and booked a couple of weddings. I kept shooting cars and attending racing events but portrait photography was just getting a little bit more interest because of the challenge and the racing scene was slowly coming to an end in Costa Rica.
My camera bag is quite simple and humble, no fancy lenses or cameras or lots of gear. In the last couple of years every time I shoot at the track, the media I’m shooting for has it’s own gear and that’s what I use to work.
I’ve shot with Canons 1D MKII, 1DMKIII, 1D X, 5D, MKII, 5D MKIII, 7D and for the lenses I’ve worked with Canon 500 f2.8, 100-400 L, 70-300 L, 70-200 f2.8, 15mm fisheye. There’s probably more gear on the list but I just can’t remember all of it. When I’m off the track and shooting portraits or automotive I usually rent a body and lenses.
In the photo you can see my old but trusty 40D, at the time it was a great camera that could stand a lot of conditions, now I’ve replaced it for a Canon T5i and I’m looking forward to get a Canon full frame body.
My battle lens, the Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3, great lens to use at the race track and sport events without having to worry about carrying several short range lenses, quality wise it’s not a prime L lens but it does do the job right.
The Canon 70-200mm f/4 L is a great lens when shooting outside – it’s light, not that big and delivers great quality. The Canon 17-40mm f/4 L has been with me for several years. It offers a nice range and it’s a great piece of glass, a great all around lens.
The nifty fifty (Canon 50mm f/1.8) is mostly used for portraits. It’s a great lens for its cost and I highly recommended it. The Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 and the Takumar 50mm f/1.4 are great old lenses to play with, great bokeh and great results when shooting video.
I’ve learned a lot since I first started in this ride and I’m really thankful for all the advice people gave me without knowing me, so if there’s a way I can help someone out with my advice I’d be really glad to answer any question through the contact form at my website.
Inside Jorge’s Camera bag:
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