Robots take over Rio: Getty enlists the help of underwater robot to capture swimming shots


posted Friday, August 12, 2016 at 12:48 PM EDT


Getty Images photographer Al Bello is well-known for his sports photography, having been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, New York Times and many more publications over his career. At this year's Olympics in Rio, Bello's 11th Olympic Games, he enlisted the help of underwater robots.

Reuters utilized underwater robot cameras to photograph swimming during the 2012 London Olympics, but this is Getty's first rodeo with the technology. Speaking to CNN about underwater photography, Bello remarked that the robot has helped remove some of the guesswork. With a "submerged static remote camera, you'd have to visualize the photos you wanted ahead of time and think about the race and stroke you want to capture. It was limiting…" You couldn't hop in the pool between heats and adjust your camera if you didn't like the shots you were getting, but with underwater robotic cameras, you can adjust them in real-time.

Submerged in the high-tech underwater housing is a Canon 1DX Mark II. During a race, Bello stands near the finish line watching a live view from his 1DX II on a camera screen and uses a video game controller to access the camera. Bello and his team all have their SCUBA certification, allowing them to do routine checks on the gear each day. When asked about whether or not a robot may one day diminish the need for human photographers at the Olympics, Bello replied that "The robots are just another tool for me to get better photos. [It] doesn't think on its own or come up with ideas. But it can help us get photos more efficiently than ever before."



To see more of Al Bello's work, visit his website and follow him on Instagram.

Getty Images aren't the only ones using unique gear to capture photos of Olympic athletes. You should check out what Los Angeles Times photographer Jay Clendenin is up to. He's been capturing portraits of athletes in Rio using an 8 x 10 inch Tachihara wooden view camera. You can read about his process and see a video here.

(Seen via DIY Photography)