I’ve spoken of my love of US-based online content company Rooster Teeth briefly before, after attending their inaugural UK fan convention almost five years ago. Following the 2017 event I did, as I suggested I might at the end of that post, volunteer at the 2018 event, which meant few photos but nevertheless an amazing and rewarding experience.
Unfortunately RTX London 2018 was the last to date. I still remained involved in the community, especially when the pandemic and lockdown started – I became quite active in the UK online Rooster Teeth community as a way of keeping sane whilst safely sequestered at home.
Rooster Teeth UK – or RTUK – holds an annual fan gathering for members of the community across the country to get together, hang out and play games, raising money for charity in the process. In 2020 and 2021, thanks to covid, these were virtual events. Luckily, the state of covid in 2022 (or, perhaps, the state of the government’s response to covid in 2022 – let’s not go there) meant the event could be an in person one. Which for me meant meeting many of the people I’d spent the last two years talking to daily in person for the first time. This year brought the added bonus of two Rooster Teeth personalities also attending in Geoff Ramsey and Jack Pattillo, so I made sure to bring all my camera gear in case anything good happened.
Being mostly an event full of normal people, many of whom I didn’t know at all and several I’d only technically just met, I was reluctant to take photos of random attendees, so it wasn’t until Jack and Geoff showed up and took a go at the Nerf target challenge that I felt comfortable breaking out my camera.
That’s Geoff in front. Jack is in the pink shirt behind him.
Geoff was evidently not happy with his performance.
Shortly afterwards they repaired to one of the game rooms to play Guitar Hero, which gave a great opportunity to get photographs of them. I perched myself behind the TV screen – where no-one else would want to be – to get a good angle of them.
As you can see I did struggle a little with the amount of available light, as well as a little bit of a cluttered background, so I broke out my trusty 50mm f/1.4 lens to be able to gather more light and increase the bokeh of the background.
Shooting with a prime lens did bring the usual challenges, such as trying to frame the both of them in the same shot, and with shooting wide open when I did shoot the both of them only one was in focus due to the wide open aperture.
After the game was over I had the opportunity to stand with a few people and chat with Geoff for a while, which was something a convention like RTX is pretty much too busy to accommodate.
Jack and Geoff then hosted a panel session, and thanks to it being a relatively quiet event I was able to seat myself in the second row and equip myself with my 70-200mm f/4 L lens. This was a far cry from the panels I attended in 2017, where I needed the full extent of my 300mm lens and shot from a funny angle to be able to get any shots worth having (fun tangent: as Geoff himself was a photographer in the US Army I took the opportunity to show him a shot I was proud of from that event, which he complimented me on, which is a sentence that might show how starstruck I was).
As you can see I faced the usual curse of a photographer shooting inside near a window on a bright day: the light inside wasn’t the same colour temperature as the stuff coming in through the window, so getting natural skin tones on both sides of their faces was a bit of a challenge. I admit to using Lightroom’s auto button a lot to fix the exposure and brightness of these images, but did often still need to intervene to cool off the white balance a little.
One of my favourite shots is this next one, because of the expressions on Geoff and Jack’s faces.
Whilst editing the photos, from time to time I’d come across a shot that struck me as one that would work nicely in black and white. As ever I used Silver Efex Pro to make the monochrome pop.
As is my way I took random photos as they were talking, hoping to capture good expressions and little moments.
They made sure to try some British biscuits whilst they were here. They preferred custard creams, which is understandable.
With a couple of shots I decided to run them through Analog Efex for a more stylistic look, which is something I’ve been doing with some of the photos I’ve shot on my iPhone using VSCO lately.
Once I got a few random chatting shots I tended to leave my camera down and watch the panel unless something happened. Luckily before long the subject of Bovril came up. One of their coworkers at Rooster Teeth is Gavin Free, who is perhaps more famous as a Slow Mo Guy but is more importantly a Brit who is pretty smart but very good at sounding so dumb people don’t believe him – especially when, as he works with Americans most of the time, it comes to matters relating to Britain.
Which is where the Bovril comes in.
Geoff had been on a mission to find some whilst in the UK thanks to it being brought up on one of their podcasts, and because of some organised folk he was presented with a jar during the panel. As you’d expect, the idea of something so quintessentially British as a beef paste for spreading on toast or dissolving in hot water was met with great suspicion by the Americans.
Initially the gift was received with pleasure.
That is, until Jack realised just how viscous it was.
Jack was equally unimpressed when reading the ingredients list.
Despite this, they did at least give it a try. Although truth be told they didn’t finish it.
They then tried spreading it on a hobnob for an alternative perspective.
With that the panel continued, allowing me to grab some more random reaction shots.
After the panel there was a group photo. As I’d (semi) jokingly referred to myself as the official photographer online, I ended up getting to take a group photo of everyone there. Which was a traumatic experience. There’s a reason I prefer shoot unguarded moments, I have no skill or desire to coral or direct people into a staged photo. Even so this ended up pretty well, considering the pressure.
Attending RTUK 2022 was awesome. Not only did I get to meet with most of the people that had been keeping me sane for the last two years, who were just at fun to know in the flesh, but I got to meet Jack and Geoff who I’m big fans of and are genuinely really friendly people. And then there’s the tiny added bonus of shooting something that has a topical slant, meaning I’ve been blessed by the fickle god of motivation to get these images edited and posted far, far far quicker than my usual turnaround of late. Plus the event raised over £1,000 for the charity Special Effect.
As is often the case when I’ve shot a large number of photos, what you’re seeing here is a shortened set; I’ve uploaded more to Flickr.