Behind the Scenes: An Impromptu Photo Shoot with Ray

Finally back home after a busy week with Ray in Las Vegas for the CES coverage, while backing up photo files, I ran across a few shots that a lot of you will find interesting.  Last Monday, my first day onsite, Ray and I ran across the Garmin Connect IQ Program Manager, just randomly in a hallway.  All this while we were navigating various far-flung CES venues seeking out a press conference, one that we never found.  But it worked out for the best after all.

I got a rare glimpse into how Ray operates; how he gets his great product scoops, and as a bonus, how he gets his great product photos.  I know Ray has written about his photography before, but this is a unique viewpoint on said photography.

It turned out that the PM just happened to have a few watches with him with some prototype Connect IQ software loaded on them.  Taking advantage of a unique opportunity, Ray convinced him to allow for some quick product shots for his upcoming In-Depth post.  Keep in mind that this happened early afternoon on Monday, a day before the conference officially kicked-off.

With the gentlemen’s agreement in place to allow photos, Ray looked around at the dimly lit massive and bustling hallway we were standing in and started hunting a suitable location for a quick impromptu product photo shoot.

Taking in the subdued lighting and the hallway decor, Ray instinctively determined that the ‘suitable location’ was about a quarter mile away, down through meandering hallways, stairways, and lobby areas at the front entrance to the Sands Convention Center.  So off we went.

Trust me when I tell you that Ray walks fast, very fast.  I quickly discovered that is his secret sauce for covering the massive acreage of display booths we would be canvassing all week.  And I don’t mean just fast walking, like a power-walking soccer mom, it was more like a full on trot for me, but just a casual pace for Ray.  But the Garmin guy and I both managed to somehow keep up, all the while Ray was peppering him with probing questions about Connect IQ, where it was now and where it was headed.

Once outside, Ray looked around and said “This is the spot”.  Mr. Garmin and I looked quizzically at each other, since we were standing literally in the middle of traffic at the front entrance driveway. Traffic that was comprised mostly of fume-belching busses and taxis that were loading and unloading conference attendees. Hundreds of attendees, dozens of busses and other assorted vehicles in the few minutes we were there.  Not quite sure what Ray had in mind, he led us over to the curb beside the heavily trafficked bus lane.  We were like, What?  Where?   Ray points to the small patch of rocks crowded onto a little spot of typical convention center driveway landscaping.  And given the desert locale of Vegas, this was more xeriscaping than landscaping.

So, to make a long story short, most of those beautifully composed, light-balanced, perfect depth-of-field watch photos that you saw in last Friday’s Connect IQ In-Depth post came about in the most unlikely of places and with a most impressive display of quick field photography.  I know it looked like the photography was done in some scenic southwestern desert locale, but really, it all took place here:



A quick artful set-dressing and product arrangement:


A great display of Ray’s yogi-like nimbleness:


All while heavy traffic was zipping by.  I know everyone driving by thought we were nuts.


But, this is truly where the magic happens.


And that’s how you got this:


And just like that, it was a wrap.  No sets or lighting to disassemble, no transporting back into town.  We just gathered up watches and backpacks and headed back into the maze of CES hallways and booths.

Welcome to CES 2015 posts! Don’t forget to check out all my CES 2015 coverage, as well as a slew of updates that were only seen on Twitter.  It was a crazy busy week!  (And yes, there are still yet more left to write and post about – including a number of things that didn’t seem to get any coverage anywhere else)


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  1. Greg

    I think ray just likes to make the garmin guys walk all over the place for kicks since they most likely had rocks in the lobby at one of the hotels!

  2. Greg

    I also love how the old man fishing naked shows up as a “related” story 🙂

  3. Long Run Nick

    Plummer’s crack. Ray may be doing some photo ops with the Kardasians(as a model). Love you Ray. Thanks for all you do.

  4. rabbit

    Nice one, great work, as usuell. Like the “how it works/making of” stories to get a look behind the sceenes. Greatings from Germany!

  5. Tim Grose

    Funny – I have got some “pebbles” bit like where I work and I have taken the odd pic of a Garmin on them 🙂

  6. Jono

    Now I see nothing but the reflections on the Fenix3 and Epix. Also the Vivoactive is too tilted. 🙂

  7. Patrick

    What!? No tripod? Just kidding. Good eye for using what is available. Outside light is always much better than artificial light. Interesting to see what you used for a camera.
    I thought you shot most of your pictures with your iphone but here I see you holding a proper camera! (Canon by the looks, stab in the dark here, 5dII?)

    • 7D, one of these days I might upgrade it, but just didn’t like what came in the 7DM2. Been watching rumors on the 5DM3…we’ll see.

      I pretty much only use the iPhone for weekend shots (5 Random Things) as well as Twitter stuff.

    • barrie gibson

      What camera do you use when taking photos on a run ? Like when you ran the Santa run, you took lots of photos. And all at a 6 min / mile pace !

    • Joe Cutcher

      very briefly, why don’t you like the 7D MkII?

    • Turn The Damn Cranks

      I’m sure Ray will weigh in at some point, but in the interim: Ray’s mentioned, but I can’t recall in exactly which post(s), that he often uses his VIRB for photos on runs. (He also has a Panasonic point-and-shoot tough cam that is waterproof and designed to take falls that he used to use for many of those shots, but I am almost sure that he said in some recent post that he now generally uses the VIRB instead.)

    • Patrick

      I’m both puzzled why you don’t like the 7dII and by what you mean with 5d3 “rumors” since it’s a camera that’s already out over 2 years. For these type of shots I’d pick the 5d3 or one of the next generation (there ARE plenty of rumors going around about a new model coming up) can’t beat the nice FullFrame images.

      I’m surprised you use the 7d (I got that camera myself, but my main interest lies in wildlife use) as for myself I find the specs on the 7dII superior on nearly all fronts and those that aren’t superior are at least similar compared to the first edition.

      Thanks for clearing up the iphone/full camera usage, makes totally sense in hindsight (iphone for twitter and summary pictures).

    • Sorry, mean 5DM4 rumors, not M3.

      As for not liking the 7DM2, I was personally really liking for WiFi. The challenge I have is I do tons of shooting in the studio and I’d really like to have those files immediately sync’d to a file share and available. It was rumor’d to have it, and then cut at last minute due to the casing interfering with WiFi. While I can get the WiFi accessory – it’s silly expensive.

      For photos on the run, I mix and match with the VIRB and the Panasonic, here: link to

      Oh, as for why I got the 7D…it’s because I’ve had it since before the 7DII came out. 😉

  8. Scott E

    Bet the vendors get nervous with their last minute prototypes getting unplanned closeups. But Ray makes just about anything looking like a high-dollar photo studio shoot.

  9. Mike N

    I’ve always loved your photography, great job Ray.

  10. Jim Canlser

    Thanks for the post Randy. I’m really enjoying your contributions to the site.

  11. Hu3ain

    Thanks for always matching quality photography to your in-depth reviews and other posts.

  12. Yago

    I’ve enjoyed Randy’s posts, great addition to the blog, and now on top of that we get a “behind the scenes”. Awesome!

    Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better. 🙂

  13. Francesc

    Randy, you did a good job these days. Ray must be happy. He can now take some Holidays. Ask for a salary rise

  14. Conor

    Keep up the great work Randy 😀

  15. klonnolk

    I must admit that I missed something
    Randy could you please introduce yourself

    I feel like I woke up during surgery and I see that someone else is cutting me: D

    • Klonnolk, I like the surgery analogy. I guess it is quite frightening to wake up to me. I am Ray’s editor, and now co-correspondent. Ray enlisted me to help out at CES this year. You can read a bit more here:

      link to


    • Randy, I cannot say thank you enough for publicly announcing Ray’s walking paces. The man thinks it’s just me because I can never keep up! Just be glad you haven’t had to do the airport walk with him yet! He WILL leave you behind (or in my case stick you on the luggage cart and push you around the terminal!).
      I hope you have had time to recover since the Las Vegas dry air CES Marathon!

    • Eli

      The advantages of height. 😛

    • Randy Cantu

      To The Girl: Yep, he’s a fast strider alright. I can only imagine the challenges you must face once he is underway. But, actually I’m a bit jealous of the luggage cart ride.

  16. Gabriel Eguia

    and i thought this was taken on a beautiful sunny beach with naked women in the background.

    🙁 crushing

  17. Mr Nacho

    Any decent photographer gets good at having an “eye” for photo shoot locations.

    • Patrick

      True, but it takes a good mind to remember these spots while your mainly thinking about what the CES may come up with. But the pictures on this site are always nice so I bet Ray keeps in mind that photos will be needed and secretly adds a little “spot the nice photography places” to his daily agenda.