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Aviation photographer Justin de Reuck is well known in SA an abroad for his amazing photographic work. As part of our Canon Series of articles, De Reuck spoke to us about his gear and his passion. Here is what he had to say.

What is your favourite personal photo and why? Is there a particular story behind it that makes it stand out?

Justin de Reuck: It’s hard to pick a favourite but a recent shot springs to mind immediately. The shot is of four Pitts Special aircraft from Team Torre Aerobatics (see above). I was contracted to do a shoot for the team but they wanted something different, not the usual echelon formation shots always seen of Pitts Specials.

I came up with this idea but wasn’t sure if it would work in the air as I had it pictured in my head. After a briefing with the all the pilots involved and discussing the practicality of pulling off such an idea, we went out and flew the shot. The challenge was to get all four aircraft in the frame where I needed them, get the light in the right spot and make sure one aircraft’s smoke didn’t blot out another one, then on top of all that making sure the background was to my satisfaction.

If you had to pick one lens to shoot with, which one would it be and why?

For air-to-air work I’d have to say the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM: it has the perfect focal length, the image stabiliser is a huge help and it is tack sharp. The lens is easy to handle and the zoom has a really nice range for my subjects in the air.

With my feet on the ground my Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM is my all-time favourite piece of glass. It’s insanely sharp with a gorgeous bokeh and it’s incredibly versatile.

Have you recently acquired a new piece of photographic equipment that is making your life easier?

I was given a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM ll lens and a Canon EOS 1D-X from CPS (Canon Professional Services) to try out. That right there is my dream kit. The 500mm is an exceptional piece of glass, since it’s light, sharp and just Wow. The Canon 1D-X is just a pure beast of a camera, I love shooting with it. The auto focus system is unbelievably advanced and just plainly a camera I would love to have in my bag.

What gear never leaves your camera bag?

I never leave home without my Canon 1D Mk IV, my 24-105mm and my 50mm, those are always in my bag. 

Do you perhaps have a photography tip to share with our readers?

Shoot your passion. If you hate working with brides, don’t shoot weddings ─ it shows in your photography. I love aircraft and aviation, it’s in my blood, and when I’m taking pictures of aircraft it’s the most enjoyable thing I can do ─ I love it. Photography is about evoking an emotion in an image.

For more of De Reuck’s work, join him online at his website, Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.

For a taste of what aviation photography involves, watch De Reuck in action in the video below:

Air to Air with Justin de Reuck 2014 from Justin de Reuck on Vimeo.

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