Charles Chan Reveals the Key to Success in the Fast-paced World of Sports and Action Photography

From shooting Formula One races in Malaysian tropical rainstorms to capturing backcountry skiing in the wilderness, sports photographer, photojournalist and wedding photographer Charles Chan knows what it takes to capture a great image in challenging circumstances. One of Hong Kong’s leading sports and action photographers, Charles also has a reputation for being one of the region’s most respected wedding and portrait photographers. Charles is one of very few photographers in Hong Kong to have a permanent Formula One photographer accreditation. His shots have been featured in Sports Illustrated and Newsweek, among many other international publications.

With this kind of experience, Charles knows what it means to capture a moment. The top speed of a Formula One car can hit up to 200 miles per hour, pulling more G’s than the space shuttle launch. Charles says “When we work with fast action, it’s like running a Marathon.” The work can be grueling, Charles says “When you’re shooting sports, you need to always be ready to capture the moment. But when you capture that moment, it can be like magic. For me in Formula One – it can be a spectacular crash image or peoples reaction.” To capture a subject at that speed, Charles says, “I shoot on a Canon 1DX Mark II. I often shoot bursts of RAW images in Continuous High speed mode at up to 14 frames per second.”

We asked Charles if he had any tips to stay prepared. “I need the media to keep up with my shooting – be it long bursts as in a crash, or panning a car at slow shutter speeds,” he explains, “It is much more convenient not having to change cards and reduce the risk of losing cards and missing a shot. When we’re back after a shoot, a faster [C.Fast 2.0] card really saves me a lot of time in downloading and makes editing very efficient.”

When talking about what media he uses, Charles says he requires “something that is reliable, durable and high performance.” He continues, “Our images are the most valuable part of our work and we rely on the media to record everything – so it is of vital importance that the media is reliable. I’ve never had to worry about changing cards during a session once I started using high capacity CFast 2.0 cards. [They] allow me to just concentrate on shooting.”

SanDisk just released a new 512GB capacity CFast 2.0 card, which is good news for Charles. “Changing cards is a thing of the past – now I can do a whole day of shooting with only one card,” he says, “I have trusted SanDisk since I turned digital in 2003. Having SanDisk gives me the peace of mind not to have to worry about my data safety, freeing up my mind to concentrate on taking the images.”

To learn more about the new SanDisk 512GB CFast 2.0 cards, visit

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