How To Be A Downrange Photographer

Capturing the action, while trying to stay alive.  The lord’s work really:

What company insures people that do retarded unnecessary jobs like this?  I hope they raise his premiums to 3x his yearly salary just so he might get the point that there are devices that will put him 100% out of harms way, and he is an idiot for trying to make a career from “oooooo look at what I do to get a good picture”.

0:28 – As a professional I carry the 70-200 is [virginal ???] for the range.  This allows me to keep a safe distance from the shooter being unobtrusive.

Sure he is not physically in the way of the shooter, but he is still way in front of the muzzle at 0:28, 0:33, 0:46

You know what though… I’m just being my usual asshole self.  We all know there has never been an accident by a professional shooter at a shooting range.

1:01 – And remember, learn to see the light.

I can’t help by think that’s some sort of reference to dying while standing downrange photographing people who are shooting.

Perfectly safe according to James Yeager.   To quote his ridiculous response video “It’s a scientific fact that true safety does not exist”. *eye roll* I think I actually may have read that in my Troll-sci 100 textbook back in highschool.

Panty-o loves to troll (most of the time by accident though I’m pretty sure).  You might remember Russian operator Sonny Puzikas’ AK Finesse video I posted about which went poof soon after.  I don’t think anyone saved it, so all we have is that glorious screenshot.  Oh and guess what… as I pointed out earlier in the post that guy ended up negligently shooting someone.  Who would have ever thought something like that could happen?

Despite those goofy Tour de France type brand sponsorship shirts, the ridiculous Nikon pink camouflage hat, and the fact he doubled down on paracord bracelets and threw some other rubber ones in there for good measure, Yamil Sued seems like a likable guy.  I just hope he tells his wife and kids he loves them before he goes and voluntarily puts himself in front of muzzles to get pictures which people are going to look at for 1 second and go “Hmm, neat.”.


Hat tip: Jason



Church December 10, 2012 at 12:50 am

The guy does have good intentions, but it’s not like he’s photographing a paintball match where he gets a welt and moves on… I think it’s stupid.


Ben December 10, 2012 at 01:32 am

Ha! That “learn to see the light” bullshit…

Pretty much none of his images have any photographic merit at all…


Lon December 10, 2012 at 02:10 am


If he doesn’t break any of the 4 fundamental rules of firearms safety, is there really a problem outside of freak accidents?

As an aside I think the “learn to see the light” quote refers to how light and shading within the environment can drastically change the mood of a photo.


Rodger Young December 10, 2012 at 02:22 am

You mean this clip of Sonny shooting two directions?


ENDO-Mike December 10, 2012 at 01:36 pm

hahah sweet.. glad to see someone saved it! Thanks, I re-embedded that in my post about it.


Jeep December 10, 2012 at 04:33 am

Come on dudes, the guy has TWO tacticool, fancy-colored operators’only paracord bracelets.
I mean, I can’t even imagine he’s not 110% prepared for anything.
He tells the truth, and you should take it for granted !


czbeardly December 10, 2012 at 05:18 am

I like taking footage from my practices, for watching later and see what I need to approve, thus I have a WiFi backpack kit for my GoPro, so I can set it up on a tripod just about anywhere on a stage and get nice looking footage of a fat bearded Swede shooiting really bad :p


ExurbanKevin December 10, 2012 at 08:34 am

I’m sorry, but comparing Yamil to Buck’s safety procedures is flat out wrong. Does Yamil push the 180° to get a shot? Yep. Does he go past it? Never.

I’ve stood side by side with him at many a USPSA/IDPA match, and he respects the rules of the game. I’ve watched him do it. Often.

Doe he get photos that LOOK like he’s downrange. Yep. Consider this image I took last year at the USPSA Area 2 Championship. It looks like I’m downrange, but I’m actually a good 4′ or more behind the 180°. Am I next up for Yeager-izing?

Getting good basketball photos doesn’t require you to get onto the court. Getting good match photos doesn’t mean going downrange, either.

And as far as the “learn the light” talk? Light is 1/2 of photography (the other is shadow). Having made my living for ten years shooting photos for clients like IBM, ITT and Amex, I can tell you that learning where the light is coming from and what it’s doing is 90% of taking good pictures. The other 10% is making sure you get paid. :)


ENDO-Mike December 10, 2012 at 11:17 am

0:12 – Sure this one I’ll agree is “pushing” the 180


0:26 – So Yamil is actually behind the vehicle in this? I don’t even know how that would work.
0:33 – He’s standing beside the targets about 2 arms lenghts away from them
0:47 – Directly down range, plus the guy is even running with his gun in the air


Exurbankevin December 10, 2012 at 11:53 am

The camera out in front at the 180 is pushing it, to be sure. That’s why I wrote that.

As for the others, you can get a shot of the muzzle of the gun if you’re far enough away from the action and shooting with a long enough lens. That shot of Bagakis I did was taken 30-40 feet away from the start box with a 70-210 maxed out.

As for 0:26 this is how it would work:

Stand far back, go in tight with a long lens, and it looks like you’re there. It’s how you get good shots of receivers downfield, and it’s how you get good shooting match photos.

As for the 0:47, the gun is unloaded and has an empty mag, verified by Bob and Yamil before the shot started and is no more dangerous than dry-firing. Did you see any rounds go downrange in that sequence? No? There’s a reason for that. :)

If you want to say “anyone on the other side of a muzzle no matter what condition the gun is in is always bad”, that would rule out ever shopping at a gun store, ever, as all them muzzles is pointed RIGHT at you. But there are three/four rules of gun safety for a reason: We can break one or two of them (as I do when i dry fire or for that matter, clean a gun). It’s only when we break ALL of them that trouble happens.


ENDO-Mike December 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm

If you want to say “anyone on the other side of a muzzle no matter what condition the gun is in is always bad”

Guns aren’t loaded on the racks at gun stores, people aren’t running with them, people are not under the stress of time determining whether they win or lose.

If no one has got shot taking pictures down range (off to the side or not) it’s going to happen. You’re lying to yourself if you think standing 6 ft off to the side is all of the sudden “safe”.

It’s only when we break ALL of them that trouble happens.

Trusting those shooters just because they are “professional” is a risk he’s taking. Sure those guys aren’t going to pull the trigger on purpose, but could they lose their footing on loose gravel or dew on the grass and shoot him? Yes that definitely could happen, and there’s more of a chance that round is going randomly downrange than behind the shooter


Exurbankevin December 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm

But again, how is that different from showing up at a match? If we want to say that “being around people who are running around with loaded guns is dangerous because they can trip and fall and shoot somebody behind the firing line”, we’ve now eliminated the sports of 3 gun, IDPA, USPSA and SASS as safe endeavors, along with all the shooting sports except bullseye, trap and High Power. Is it safer to be always right behind the shooter? Nope. The one time I’ve been muzzled at a USPSA match, I was had the clock and I was 5 feet directly behind the shooter. He turned the wrong way on the stage and pointed a loaded Springfield XD right at me (it was only .40 S+W, but I swear it was a 4 bore punt gun, it looked that big…) and everyone else behind me. Being 3 feet away from the 180 on the left side of the stage was actually a lot safer than being right behind the shooter that day.

I get that a) Yeager is an idiot for putting photographers in harm’s way and b) Panteo needs to re-consider putting out videos with unsafe trainers like Sonny Whats-his-face, but making the connection between those two clowns and Yamil is tenuous at best.


ENDO-Mike December 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

But again, how is that different from showing up at a match?

You truly think being behind the muzzle when someone is running, and advancing forward etc.. is even remotely as unsafe as being in front of it? Sure you gave your example, but what’s next? Are you going to cite an example of when someone discharged into the air by accident, and ultralight planes had been flying in the area all day so in fact that would have been the most unsafe place to be? It sounds like you subscribe to Buck Yeager’s “There is no such thing as safety” theory. You can do what you want, but I won’t be photographing people shooting by standing in front of them, and I’ll continue to make fun of people who do so on the blog.

making the connection between those two clowns and Yamil is tenuous at best.

By your rationale the only the shooters on either side of Yeager’s photographer are a danger to him. If we eliminate those two, you’ve got the 2 arms length distance Yamil takes at 0:33 in the video which you think is safe.


Exurbankevin December 10, 2012 at 01:05 pm

If I thought it was dangerous, I wouldn’t do it. This is true of my driving, my shooting (pics and guns), of everything I do.

I think Yeager’s a maroon. I think shooting pics from safely behind the 180 at a shooting match is not dangerous.

Feel free to make fun of who you choose.


P. Allen December 10, 2012 at 08:16 pm

And don’t forget that in High Power you have actual rounds flying over the heads of the shooters in the pits


Ben December 10, 2012 at 11:42 am

Nah, that “learn to see the light” thing is what photographers say when they need to bullshit like they know what they are talking about.

“Seeing the light” is bullshit in action photography like this because you are very restricted with where and when something happens.


Exurbankevin December 10, 2012 at 11:55 am

Respectfully, no.

Knowing what the light is and adjusting for it is what makes good pictures. It’s the difference between someone who can occasionally take a great photo and those who can do so on-demand.


Laughingdog December 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm

“seeing the light” is hardly bullshit in action photography, because it dictates which points in a stage can give a good shot and which ones can’t. Then you narrow that down to what would be the most interesting shot.


ExurbanKevin December 10, 2012 at 08:35 am
SittingDown December 10, 2012 at 09:41 am

Will they ever learn?


Andrew December 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

I’ve got to disagree with you on this one. There’s a few times when he’s right at the line of what I would feel comfortable with if I was a shooter. But at no on point was in the line of fire.

Yes, putting yourself near the 180 degree point has some risks. But with a careful look at the course of fire and planning you make this risk almost nothing. I don’t think this is anywhere near the level of having a photographer standing by a target.


Steve Ramsey December 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

He’s an idiot, like Yeager, who, when not busy putting cameramen downrange, sends his customers out to live fire PKM machine guns with NO instruction on how to use them:

Or when he and a frat boy pal ridicule customers behind their back:

Yeager is going to make the firearms community look very, very bad, in a very public way at some point, probably sooner than later. He’s going to do it via some stupid unsafe act resulting in an accident, carrying out his threats, or going on TV and simply being himself. If the anti-gun media don’t get ahold of some of his YouTube foolishness first.

He now says he has a contract with the Discovery channel, on which I’m sure he will go full Rambo retard.


dave w December 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

He always seemed far enough off to the side where you would actually have to turn and aim at him to hit him, unlike yeagers guy.
If you call downrange as anywhere between the shooter and the target for five miles either side then you are gonna need some fancy auto tracking robot gizmo.
If these guys were to miss by 20 feet and 45 degrees well, then they would be shooting at my skill level and not be there.


ENDO-Mike December 10, 2012 at 11:37 am

I agree it’s not the exact same as Yeager’s guy, but still.

The points I mentioned there seem like a small screw up when those guys are running, looks like they could get him easily ventilated.


Exurbankevin December 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

Sure. And that’s true of anyone along the sidelines at an IDPA/USPSA/3 Gun/Cowboy match. That’s why breaking the 180 is a one-way ticket home.


dave w December 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

do they let non competing folks at these things? Ive never seen one in real life.


Exurbankevin December 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Oh yeah. USPSA/IDPA/3 Gun are a hoot to shoot, but not the most riveting of spectator sports to watch, as all the scoring and taping slows things WAY down, but a Cowboy Action Shooting (SASS), on the other hand, goes faster and all the costumes make it a good time for everyone.


P. Allen December 10, 2012 at 05:03 pm

Having a photographer downrange may not be 100% safe but I don’t see why so many people on here shit their pants over it.


Steve Ramsey December 10, 2012 at 07:23 pm

Because I don’t believe in death as a natural extension of stupidity. I don’t believe in death in the name of “getting the shot”. And I don’t believe in deaths that can be used an an indictment of the firearms community as reckless and uncaring. And EVERY shooter that fired a round with the photog’s downrange is GUILTY.


P. Allen December 10, 2012 at 08:07 pm

Also – could someone point out in the video where any one of the 4 rules were broken?


Curtis December 10, 2012 at 05:54 pm

He might be able to do that stuff safely, but there will definitely be people who watch the video and begin to do stupid things while taking pictures. I think Panteo is opening themselves up to liability by releasing this as an instructional video.


Ron Larimer December 10, 2012 at 07:33 pm

Ugh… It helps to know the sport and the ranges the filming occurs in.

This video was shot at “The Range” in Oxford, NC at the IDPA Nationals. Yamil wasn’t down range… IDPA uses muzzle safe points… The shooter, in the case of 0:28 the best IDPA shooter in the world, was shooting across the range. The SO is the only person in the bay that always behind the muzzle.

Yamil is always safe… you crossed the line on this one.


Andrew Saliga December 10, 2012 at 07:49 pm

My humble opinion as a firearm enthusiast and someone who is a film/video/photo pro is that there is no reason to cross the line of fire. Yamil was pushing his boundaries to get some of the shots. Also, for all we know, the run at :45 did not involve any live fire, not that that makes it acceptable to stand downrange. Getting an awesome shot (photographically) is never work the risk of an accident.

I’ve had direct personal experience shooting a video for a large optics company’s new line of AR-15 optics. Every shot was high energy “run and gun” where the camera followed the action. It was shot at the range where I am a member, so the rangemasters I was working with knew my face, and I knew the range. Before cameras started rolling, I explained that I would never cross the line of fire, and we essentially choreographed each action. We communicated every aspect clearly. I don’t recall any instances where I had to be downrange while they were doing drills, but if there were a need for that shot, I’d say the the best option is for the operator to “show clear” to the rangemaster, and then I’d be a 3rd set of eyes before initiating a dry run. For a few shots there was a camera on a tripod downrange, and many others involved GoPros mounted to their rifles.

For a photo/videographer in this scenario, basic firearm safety is only the foundation. Clearly communicating with and building trust with the operator is the half, as Yamil alluded to.


Rick December 10, 2012 at 07:52 pm

Man I love firearms and Nikons but I gotta say as much I have been trying to get a picture in print
(6 years now) . I would never ever consider standing in front of a shooter at a range ..It’s not afghanistan or iraq or sierra Leone ..ITS SUBURBIA … No need to do it


Jake December 11, 2012 at 09:42 am

He looks pretty well clear of the shooters in shoots unlike Yeagers guys.


Billy December 11, 2012 at 11:49 am

My concern is that someone that knows nothing about shooting or firearms will watch a video like this and think that it’s okay to be downrange taking photos. Specifically I am talking about :47, doesn’t matter if he is 200mm on his lens, standing 100 feet away, he is in front of the shooter. That is not responsible in anyway shape or form.


nikonmikon December 11, 2012 at 09:21 pm

He said the 70-200 is versatile. I say it’s highway robbery.


Martin December 12, 2012 at 02:13 am

You should just rename this Troll blog.


ENDO-Mike December 12, 2012 at 02:15 am

Put your money where your mouth is and go stand down range and take pics of people shooting. It’s a great idea right?


Yamil R. Sued February 25, 2013 at 11:13 pm

If you guys watched the Video, you would actually know that in that section, Bob Vogel had an empty Pistol and he NEVER Fired a shot. But I must admit the Preview doesn’t tell the whole story and anyone can make assumptions from it. BUt then again, you know what happens when you assume, right?

For Downrange Images, I use Pocket Wizards or GO Pro’s, them are actually disposable at only $400 each!! I happen to carry over 15 Go Pros on assignment when I need the shot and I don’t mind blowing $400

When a client, ANY Client wants a shot, I do it!!



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