FIRST Photography: How do YOU cover it?

**Now, I realize that shooting a digital point-and-shoot and DSLR are two completely different schools of photography (Let us pray for those still shooting film). Still, other than creative control, the results are similar enough. **

After meeting a few photographers at VCU, I became inspired to meet more FIRST photographers and maybe even create a small CD community of photographers. Thus, the following:

For you photographers out there, tell a little about yourselves:

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?

What do you use?

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.)

What subjects do you prefer to shoot?

When at competitions, where do you shoot from?

Anything you’d like tips with?

EDIT: WILL YOU BE IN ATLANTA?

(Any other things you’d like add)


With that done, I’ll start.

When not doing anything at competition or in the shop, I take photos on my own. Otherwise, unless I’ve been told to go take photos of things, I work on the robot. Robot First, Camera Second.

I share my equipment with me dad, so I’ve got plenty of gear that stays at home (macro lenses, etc.), but the following I’m planning to bring to Atlanta: 2 Digital Rebel XTs, Tamron 28-75 f2.8, Canon 70-200 f4, Tamron 17-35 f2.8-4, Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6, 420EX Speedlite, 4-5 gigs of memory. As you can tell, I’m taking this perhaps too seriously.

At VCU, I shot candids on and off the field, as well as action on the field. As the competition went on, I got better at shooting action on field as I learned good angles and such. In the pits, mostly documentary and candid, just like in the shop.

I prefer candids and candid portraiture. Frankly, a non-moving robot tends to be quite boring. However, people at a FIRST competition or during build season…not quite the same story.

As for tips, I just want to meet fellow photographers on CD. Here’s my Flickr. I’ve got a dedicated “Robotics” photoset. Feel free to look through the rest, of course.

Well, lets see where this thread goes. I seem to have a knack for starting threads like this that flop.

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?
I’m probably the second most recognizable person with camera after Nathan Keyes.

What do you use?
Canon Powershot SD200

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.)
Almost anything.

What subjects do you prefer to shoot?
Things in midair.

When at competitions, where do you shoot from?
Anywhere.

Anything you’d like tips with?
Yes, my camera can’t adjust for the light levels inside the NY Regional. with Flash on, it focuses on near objects and makes the field darker, and w/o flash its too blurry and still dark.

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?
Last year mike wast the team photographer but he is also our main machinest so my dad bought a camera and now my dad and i are the team photographers.

What do you use?
A Nikon D50

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.)
Almost anything

What subjects do you prefer to shoot?

When at competitions, where do you shoot from?
Anywhere

Anything you’d like tips with?
good angles of the field

soon (in a couple of months) i will create a gallery on the green team website.

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?

I’m not really on the team! I just happen to be around the team and I like taking pics…and I put them on my web page.

What do you use?

3 yr old Canon S200, fits in my pocket

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.)

Good at or what do I waste a lot of shots on? I like takign pics in the pits, they come out ok generally

What subjects do you prefer to shoot?

I’d like to get more action shots, but it’s not easy

When at competitions, where do you shoot from?

Pits/stands.

Anything you’d like tips with?

Not really, I have some ideas for what I need to work on. I think that getting good action shots of the playfield requires a much bigger lens than I have on my little camera, for one thing.

http://www.selectric.org/nerds/2006ca/

http://www.selectric.org/nerds/2006az/

show some of my results. The paper thing was totally unexpected…the teacher/adviser/coach on our team told the paper that I had some pics, and so they called me asking for them…

WILL YOU BE IN ATLANTA?

yes!!!

I just want to toss out two ideas for the young camera gadget nuts in the forum.

  1. Film has a much wider range of colors than digital. We gave up a lot when we abandoned Kodachrome.

  2. The photographer matters a lot more than the gadgets. If you have an eye for composition, it doesn’t much matter what kind of camera you have. If you doubt that, take a look at the WWII combat pics, nearly all taken with TLR cameras, or photojournalism from the 50’s. Lots of incredible pics using cameras that frequently didn’t even have built-in light meters.

It’s fun to play with the hardware, but that’s not what makes memorable images.

I only have one comment: big lens - wide F stops.

Whether you are shooting digital or film, you need a lens with at least an F2.8 (35mm SLR equavelent) to be able to shoot ambient light photos on the playfield and in the pits. ASA 800 film works well, or if your digital camera response is adjustable set it accordingly. Keep your flash off whenever possible, otherwise the background in almost all your photos will be black.

At most events the lighting is marginal, if you want to zoom in your lens for distant shots you will need a tripod.

I borrowed a Kodak Z7590 5Mpixel w/10:1 optical zoom and was pleased with the shots I was able to get at the FLR this year.

This thread really needs photos to illustrate :^)

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?
I’m the one with the camera (heard rumors its attached) 1,300+ pictures from this season alone.

What do you use?
Canon Power Shot A520 with a 1 GB SD card

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.)
Anything

What subjects do you prefer to shoot?
I like shooting robots and close ups of intresting parts

When at competitions, where do you shoot from?
Anywhere

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?

I guess I am the primary photographer for my team, with my boyfriend being the secondary. Of the team photos on the web, I’ve taken about 75% of them.

What do you use?

I now use a Panasonic FZ20 (up until kickoff of last year when the zoom broke, it was an Olympic C2100UZ)

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.)

I think candids are my best… I’m sneaky with my 12X optical zoom. But I do okay with robots on the field and group photos too.

What subjects do you prefer to shoot?

In robotics? In my alternate life? I like trying to capture emotion, so I tend to prefer shooting living things, but the machines are fun to shoot as well.

When at competitions, where do you shoot from?

Anywhere I can get a good view from. I’m short, but I’ve gotten pretty good at overcoming that obstacle. :rolleyes:

Anything you’d like tips with?

How do we convince FIRST that they should have a space for each team to place 1 photographer or videographer for their matches at every Regional? Dealing with the refs, the judges, the professional photographers and videographers and volunteers is hard enough and I will not complain about them, however, then having to deal with the constant foot traffic of everyone else as they wander to and from the pits (and the bathroom, the snackbar, etc) makes getting a good shot next to impossible at times. Sigh.

WILL YOU BE IN ATLANTA?

No.

Here’s my team’s photo site: Team 116 Vex 18 Photos and
my personal page I’m currently working on two more galleries, Living Things 3 and Odds and Ends. One day, I think I’ll actually take a photography class.

Heidi

For all you team photographers & videographers out there:

  1. I will be teaching a digital photgraphy overview class on Thursday 4/27 as part of the 2nd annual FIRST conference to be upstairs at the World Conference Center (above the pit areas)

  2. We are also trying to schedule a “group shot” of all team photographers (likely to be Friday around lunch) since were the ones always BEHIND the lens! Come and meet fellow photo nuts!

  3. Since I live in Rochester, NY (home of Eastman-Kodak) and have lectured at the Eastman House, I will say that digital capabilities (camera resolution plus editing capabilities) have indeed made film obsolete. Kodak’s top execs agree on this one!

  4. The #1 top priority you MUST do in taking pics is to a) compose the frame first and b) ask yourself if the photo “tells a story” without words.

That said, here’s a bit on me:

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?
I’m the team’s #1 photographer and videographer, but it’s equally important to empower multiple people (mentors & students) to take candid pics. We have one common upload repository for all our pics at rollingthunder.smugmug.com

What do you use?
Last year I was digital plus film (used a SLR with 500mm lens). This year is a) point-shoot Kodak digitla with 3X zoom, b) Olympus 10x digital, and c) Canon Digital SLR with telephoto lenses. Also using Sony mini-DV camcorder with good shotgun microphone (and wireless mike for pit interviews)

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.)
All of the above; but rely on someone to record the “master” video feed (e.g. NASA or circuitrunners) to grab after event for video highlights. This year, I’ll also have green screen chromakey backdrop so you can put pics and interviews overlayed onto robot action. Also good for team shots without background clutter. Candids shot with 10X zoom (stealth-style) are the best!

What subjects do you prefer to shoot?
For stills, shoot lots of candids of teammates and meeting other teams; brings out the joy and gracious professionalism of FIRST

When at competitions, where do you shoot from?
At regionals, be sure to shoot from the field back up into your team’s spirit section. You’ll see me with my “thundercam sky pole” to get above the crowd from the sidelines. be sure to shoot tight action shots in the pits of work-in-progress. Also, you can grab generic shots of the venue (e.g. Georgia Dome) from their web site for use later on.

Anything you’d like tips with?
Layout a “story” for your highlight album or video when done. Mix-in stills and video amybe NOT in exact chronological order. No need to simply do match highlights video (ecept for training). Put together a 5-minute ultra-highlight video/slide show for your patrons and future sponsors.

EDIT: WILL YOU BE IN ATLANTA?
YEA…Also, bring your top five (5) photos to the team 1511 pit and we’ll upload them and display them on our pit TVs…

I saw the press release you sent to our company (Icuiti), using our M920Video display. I used our DV920 binocular video eyewear for all the still photos I took at FLR this year. Being able to hold the camera up in the air with one hand (or on a mono-pole) and see the camera’s NTSC video out in the video eyewear allows you to see much more than you would through the viewfinder, or in the camera LCD window.

And this has one added benefit - when you are standing on the sidelines, holding the camera up in the air it is pointed down onto the field at an angle, so you dont get as much distant-background stuff in your shot (which tends to be dark and distracting from the primary subject).

That video eye wear sure sounds & looks nice! I only use my video cameras for First events and family video’s. I will have to continue jockeying for position with the others on the floor due to the $800 cost of the M920.

Dave

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?
my main role is photographer and videographer. i did most of the photography (about 90%) during the build season, and at the competition about 50% of the video footage is mine. i’m also a scouter at competitions so getting pictures is hard, most pictures from competition are from mentors.

What do you use?
my own camera is a Canon Powershot S1 IS (i’ve used it during competitions)
robotics camers are sony cybershots DSC-S40 and DSC P10

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.)
i’m good with all…for the most part

What subjects do you prefer to shoot?
i prefer scenery shots…outside of robotics…but in robotics i like shots in the pits…of people working on the robot

When at competitions, where do you shoot from?
i’m in the stands most of the time, so from there

WILL YOU BE IN ATLANTA?
sure will…if you see me come say hey

If you have a camera with NTSC (video) out you can also use a portable LCD - like some of the ones designed for video game consoles, to allow you to hold the camera up in the air. The M920 and DV920 are nice because you wear them like glasses, so both hands are free.

A fair bit of our team take cameras to the event. Mainly as we have to fly Trans-Atlantic to get there and thus want photos of New York City itself as well. I had my camera with me most of the time on Thurs and Fri at NYC but left it in the pit for most of Sat… probably a good thing given how delicate it can be.

I take photos of all sorts of things… Just a few examples, all downsized:

http://img410.imageshack.us/img410/2549/10003181hj.jpg < Flags flying in Battery Park City
http://img82.imageshack.us/img82/2557/10001975jz.jpg < A member of our team with the flag wrapped around them
http://img345.imageshack.us/img345/7059/10002020ce.jpg < Robot Crossing Sign (why? why not…)

You can see a few more of mine in CD Media, I put a few up the other day. All of the ones I took come under the “frc759” tag.

yup…here are a few from the Davis regional:

http://www.selectric.org/nerds/2006ca/photo01.jpg

  1. Action shot, handheld camera with too small of lens, flash off, zoomed in, result is blurry but it was good enough for our local paper to use!

http://www.selectric.org/nerds/2006ca/photo02.jpg

  1. Pit action shot, team 1671 had their robot completely apart on Thursday morning, with team members strewn across the floor working on different subassemblies. I didn’t notice till later that the General was overseeing the troops!

http://www.selectric.org/nerds/2006ca/photo03.jpg

  1. Another one from the pits Thursday morning, I was trying to get each team either working or standing by their robot. 114 was a great subject…nice team outfits, neat robot.

http://www.selectric.org/nerds/2006ca/photo04.jpg

  1. Our team being intervied by two judges, and explaining the various features of the robot.

Comments/critisism/suggestions welcome!

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?
I am the main photographer on the team

What do you use?
Canon EOS 20D
18-55mm canon lens
28-300mm tamron lens f3.5-6.3

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.)
I am good at shooting all subjects

What subjects do you prefer to shoot?
I like the action, robot shots

When at competitions, where do you shoot from?
Anywhere allowed

Anything you’d like tips with?

Please read this article:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/filmdig.htm

I wasn’t really a “photographer” at all, but I take my gear everywhere when I leave the city I go to school in.

My gear:
Nikon D70s - This is my baby
Promaster 28-90mm lens
Nikon 70-200mm lens

What am I good at? Well, personally I am never really happy with my shots, I always think I have poor lighting, but I prefer to shoot candids and faces. Sometimes a completely different thought is captured when you just have the faces of a person {see link} http://flickr.com/photos/benthos/sets/72057594095448650/
I also documented DSK at the Indiana Robotics Invitational last year, you can see those pictures here: http://flickr.com/photos/benthos/sets/634635/

Where do I shoot from? Right next to the field! I have been a field reset and referee and I bring my camera with me, if there is any down time, i get it out and start shooting.

My tip? Buy a flash if your camera supports one. You can make a decent picture an awesome picture just by getting some more light on the subject.

I will be in Atlanta, see me wearing stripes.

For you photographers out there, tell a little about yourselves:

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?
I took my camera to robotics meetings 3 times (during build time) and after deleting the photos I didn’t like (10-20), I had 90 of them left to share with my team.

What do you use? DSC-P32 (Sony Cyber-shot: the kind they don’t make anymore)

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.) Anything within range

What subjects do you prefer to shoot? Nature ::cough::

When at competitions, where do you shoot from? Wherever I am when I take out the camera

Anything you’d like tips with? Not really, but I’d like a new camera :smiley:

**EDIT: WILL YOU BE IN ATLANTA? CO regional is still going on. We’ll see if my team makes it.
**

Oops. I didn’t mean to incite a riot when I mentioned film users. Nonetheless, they’re still at a pretty big disadvantage when shooting action on the playing field.

That said, I still shoot film too… just for landscapes and whenever I know I can get a good exposure, which is surprisingly often. I really hate wasting frames, for some reason.

As a matter of fact, this is shot on film. I consider it the best photo I’ve taken thus far.

How prominent is your role as a photographer on your team?

-I fee photography on my team is very important. There is nothing better for advertising, recruitment, and press releases. Team members who miss meetings simply use my website to catch up on the status. The photos are the like meeting minutes.

What do you use?

-All Canon equipment. 20D with grip, 17-40mm, 7-200mm, 50mm, 580EX with external, and a bunch of other things.

What subjects are you good at shooting? (Robots on field, Candids, group photos, etc.)

-I am pretty good with group shots and people working shots (candids) as well as robot shots on and off the field.

What subjects do you prefer to shoot?

-I am most comfortable with the robot. I love capturing the mechanics of it

When at competitions, where do you shoot from?

-I follow the robot. I shoot in the pit and then go to the front of the field and shoot from there during matches.

-WILL YOU BE IN ATLANTA?

Yes, I will be in ATL

I will share some tips later.

Check out my photo website.
www.joemenassa.com