Photographers' Blog

Robo-cams cover all the Olympic angles

By Fabrizio Bensch

We are on day 5 of competition at the London 2012 Olympic games and our robotic cameras triggered by the team of Reuters photographers are producing amazing pictures from the most unusual angles whenever athletes all over the world are competing for gold, silver and bronze medals.

GALLERY: OLYMPIC BEST FROM LONDON 2012

We had big expectations to create pictures from new perspectives and they have been surpassed by what we are seeing right now. From the colorful opening ceremony to the athletes’ reactions, many Olympic moments have been captured by the remote robotic cameras. At the moment I’m covering the fencing events at the ExCel venue and I trigger the remote cameras with the help of wireless Pocket Wizard wireless transmitters, simultaneously as I shoot with my hand-held camera with the 400 to 800mm lenses. When I see a new angle on the field of play, I can make corrections remotely with the joystick to control the two axis camera head.

Below is a selection of images made by our photographers (Michael Dalder, Adrees Latif, Murad Sezer, Sergio Perez, Mike Segar, Dominic Ebenbichler, Pawel Kopczynski and Fabrizio Bensch) with their eyes but through the lenses of the robotic DSLRs catching the dramatic moments at many different Olympic venues.

Photographer in focus with courtside crash

By Mike Segar

For any photojournalist, when you cover events of any kind, be it sports or news or daily life, you really never want to be part of the story. Your assignment; to be present to make the best possible images of the events unfolding in front of you is a privilege, and ideally your only mark on the event itself is to come away with as compelling a visual record of what happened as you can under the byline REUTERS/Mike Segar…

However, sometimes… you just can’t get out of the way.


Photo courtesy of Richard Mackson for USA TODAY Sports

My assignment at the London 2012 Olympics along with my colleague Sergio Perez from Madrid, is basketball; 15 days of basketball games, 6 games a day, as nations compete for the Olympic Gold medal. Even for basketball lovers, that’s a lot of basketball.

This is my first time covering an Olympic basketball tournament. I have been fortunate enough in my career at Reuters to have covered many NBA Championships and NCAA championships. I love basketball as a sport that I play, love to watch and love to photograph. Action at the feet of the world’s best players is exciting and fun. My close friend and colleague at Reuters Shannon Stapleton and I spend many hours talking about the game. I always look forward to being on the court, close to the action of the NBA, NCAA and in this case the Olympics where many NBA stars are competing.

Multiple exposure’s digital era

By Mike Blake

The ability to take a number of pictures all on the same frame was simple in the days of film cameras.

You would find a situation where the background would drop off enough to accommodate a number of exposures on the same frame of film. After that, it was a matter of how many exposures and how do they all fit next to each other on the same frame.

GALLERY: MULTIPLE EXPOSURES

We have never been able to do that with the Canon camera system until the release of their new DX camera. And of course, being at the Olympics, what better place to use this new technology? Paired with the world’s best gymnasts and a camera that can take 14 pictures a second, it’s amazing.

Learning the ropes of Olympic sailing

By Pascal Lauener

When Switzerland suddenly became a sailing nation after Alinghi won the 2003 America’s Cup for the first time and then had to defend the Cup in Valencia, I had the chance to cover sailing. Since a young boy, I have been attracted to boats, more so to container vessels rather then sailing ships. However after covering the America’s Cup in Valencia, I became fascinated by sailing. Challenged by the elements (wind, weather and water) and on a shaking rib (boat) it’s not so easy to get a good shoot of the action. But with the help of my Spanish colleagues and some old sailing photography professionals I made my way to the Olympic sailing in Quindao followed by another America’s Cup and now to the sailing event at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Benoit Tessier, a Reuters photographer from Paris, and I arrived in Weymouth on July 23 and started our coverage of the games with press conferences and training sessions of the different sailing classes. Every morning on our way to the ribs (boats for the media) with our heavy Peli cases, mentally checking that you have packed everything for a day out at sea, the sun cream and the oil gear for the sea spray and rain, you hope you will return with some cool frames.

On board the rib the first thing I do is to get my underwaterhousing and my cameras ready for action. I put the underwaterhousing on the floor of the rib so it’s ready whenever we have the chance to come as close as possible to a sailor. I also have the two cameras one on a 500mm and the other on a 28-300mm lens back in the Pelicase. On the way out of the port you make your plans together with the captain of the rib and your colleagues on board. But as they are also your competitors you need to find a way so that everyone gets the things they need as there is no place for dispute on a moving rib.

A goldless Michael Phelps

By David Gray

I have been photographing Michael Phelps for over 8 years, which has included 3 Olympic Games and 3 World Swimming Championships and I have never seen him like this – a goldless man.

I even saw him in a race that for the first time did not result in a podium finish. And then the U.S. team only finished second in the 4X100M freestyle relay race, which included Phelps and his now great rival team mate, Ryan Lochte. I never thought this would be possible.

But the perceived rivalry between Phelps and Lochte is a very interesting story here at the London Olympic Games. Whenever I photographed the two of them together in the past, they would always be laughing, joking, and never, ever ignoring one another. Since the first training session here in London last Monday afternoon, I’ve noticed the lack of talk, smiles, laughter, and even recognition.

Hackney Wick: An artistic Olympic community

By Paul Hackett

I first became aware of Hackney Wick over the last year or so and went once or twice for lunch. Last year I went to the Hackney Wicked arts festival held there and was struck by how raw the place felt – none of the normal sensibilities of any London arts event I had been to. The event had an energy to it which for some of the time didn’t feel entirely comfortable.

I went for a wander last weekend to have a look at the place and take some pictures – I was interested in this enclave of artists nestling so close to the massive modern structure of the Olympic park.

As soon as I got out of my car I could see two young men painting a mural on a wall – not an everyday sight on London’s streets – but it looked entirely normal. In fact when I got close to them I could see another couple of artists doing the same thing further up the road.

Stretching the Olympic portrait limits

By Lucas Jackson

Over the course of three days Reuters, along with several other prominent outlets, was given a space and (almost) guaranteed time with every member of Team USA that was able to attend a media summit in Dallas this past May, in order to take portraits of the team members. It was a win-win situation for all involved. The athletes were able to take care of a great deal of their media availability in one weekend and members of the media were not required to travel all over the US in order to get portraits of these elite athletes before they head off to London for the 2012 Olympics. As the photographer from Reuters assigned to this portrait marathon there was only one issue; how to take a single space along with extremely limited time with each athlete to make unique, interesting, and ideally self-explanatory images of dozens and dozens of athletes.

It was a daunting task to say the least but I started with a simple lighting setup that played off of several portrait collections I had seen, including Douglas Kirkland’s, and work that tends to appear in either men’s health or sporting magazines. I finally settled on a dual setup where my first setup would use a simple grey background and light to enhance the muscle tone of the athletes. My second setup was to use a large American flag (given to me by my brother as I arrived in Jalalabad, Afghanistan) to take photos of the athletes who were involved with sports that did not lend themselves to the flexing of muscles or shedding of clothing. I wanted to use ProFoto lights as they have a remote controller and trigger called the “Air Remote” that I could put on my camera to control the light’s power output from the controller mounted on top of the camera. This would save me precious time as I wouldn’t have to physically go to each of the four lights to change their outputs depending on whether I was shooting on the grey seamless backdrop or the flag.



FULL FOCUS GALLERY: TEAM USA

I cannot think of a single athlete who was not gracious and accommodating in the time we were given. Some of the times were shorter than others. The uber-popular yet incredibly bouncy gymnasts gave us between 30 seconds to one minute. Overall, everyone was up for whatever pose or idea that you could come up with. Some of the competitors brought the tools that accompany their sport like racquets, rifles, bows or fencing swords.

The Olympic Games: Much more than the stars

By Denis Balibouse

“The important thing in life is not victory, but the fight; the main thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.” Baron Pierre de Coubertin

I have always been addicted to sports, any kind of sports. My father was a sports reporter in Switzerland. As a child I would follow him onto soccer pitches, motocross grounds and ice hockey rinks. Whenever I travel somewhere I try to follow the local sports. I even attempted to understand cricket (I’m married to an Australian), although I have to confess, I have so far failed with this one.

Now that the Euro Championship is over, my attention will turn to the “road slaves” of the Tour de France, which, in my eyes, is the toughest sporting event in the world. And then there’s the Olympic Games in London, regarded by many athletes as the pinnacle of physical prowess.

Taste of England

By Suzanne Plunkett

Jellied eels. Toad in the hole. Bangers and mash. The Full English. An Eton mess. Trifle. Crumble. Yorkshire pudding. Scotch eggs. A menu of oddly named and sometimes oddly tasting traditional British dishes awaits adventurous diners visiting London for the Olympic Games this summer.

To an American like me, the names of English foods take some getting used to. Take the term “pudding”. In the States, a pudding is specifically a runny, milk-based desert. In England it refers to anything sweet served after the main course– unless it is from Yorkshire, and then it is savory, resembles a popover, and is served with roast beef. The closest thing the English have to American pudding is custard — a luminous yellow sweet sauce which they insist on drowning their deserts in. They consider it a comfort food but I find it revolting, even when my English husband tries to pass it off under the exotic French title of “crème anglais”.

I discovered my favorite English desert after I had been touring the country on a bus for four days. My taste buds had been numbed by a steady diet of egg salad sandwiches and salt and vinegar crisps (or chips, as we Americans call them) so the first time I tried an Eton mess, I swooned. The simple combination of crumbled meringue, vanilla ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream was heavenly. The name of the desert refers to Eton college, a posh school in Queen Elizabeth’s hometown. I imagine mess comes from the appearance of the dish. Recently I made one with my three-year-old daughter and she now shares my passion and nightly begs me to “make the mess again”. I admit, my taste buds might not be the most sophisticated.

It’s as British as fish and chips

By Eddie Keogh

It’s been our national dish for over a 100 years now and although it’s seen some strong opposition from lasagne and chicken tikka masala, it’s as popular now as it ever was. As a young boy, I have fond memories of Dad rushing in the door with parcels of fish and chips wrapped up in last weeks newspaper. Crispy battered fish with chips covered in salt and vinegar – comfort food at it’s best.

I’ve just spent three days traveling around London’s high streets and back streets looking for Fish and Chip shops. From The Codfather in Northolt to The Rock and Sole Plaice in Covent Garden. I’ve met every nationality working behind the counter and queuing in front of the counter, which confirms it’s broad appeal. Back in 1995, British people were demolishing an incredible 300 million portions of fish and chips every year!

The birth of fish and chips has an interesting international story. We hadn’t even clapped eyes on a potato until they were bought back from South America by the conquistadors in the 17th century. It was the French who invented the chip and the Jews who brought deep fried fish to Britain. There are differing opinions but it’s claimed that the first combined fish and chip shop was opened by a Jewish immigrant, Joseph Malin, within the sound of Bow Bells in East London around 1860. The importance of this national dish was never clearer than during World War II when the British government made sure fish and chips were one of the few foods that was never rationed.