Photographer spotlight – Donald Sandovalon Aug 31 in Guest Blogger by Meg
Here is our first of the Photographer Spotlight series. About twice a month we are going to post an interview with a photographer that has caught our attention and we’ll ask him or her a series of questions. We hope you will find the answers interesting! Please feel free to drop us a comment with your suggestions as to what you would like to know.
If you have been following the blog lately, you know about our little “Amazing Moments” contest from a couple of weeks ago. We thought it would be a good idea to start our series with our 1st place winner – Donald Sandoval.
Q: Name – website
A: My name is Donald (Don) Leon Sandoval. My website is here: http://web.me.com/donleonsandoval/DonLeonSandoval/Welcome.html
Q: Your favorite piece of gear and why?
A: My favorite piece of gear is my camera, not just my Nikon D300, but also my iPhone. I love the D300. I like the DX format and the ISO capabilities is adequate for most of my work. I don’t always have the D300 with me which makes my iPhone a perfect companion. I take a lot more photos with it then the D300. Most of the photos I take with the iPhone I use for inspiration. It provides me with ideas that I’m able to work on at a later date with my D300.
Q: What else do you have in your camera bag?
A: The lens I use most for everyday shooting and walking around is the AF-S Nikkor 18-70mm, F3.5-4.5 DX. This is the “kit” lens that came with my old D70s. My favorite lens that I have is the AF-S VR Nikkor 70-200 mm, F2.8. Most of my favorite photos that I take were taken with this lens. I use this lens to photograph my kids sporting events. Other lens that I own are the AF Nikkor 85 mm, F1.4 and the 50 mm F1.8. I used the 85 mm more back in my film days and I’m sure I’ll start using it again more if I go to FX format. All I can say about that lens is Wow! The only other piece of gear that I use much is my SB 800 Speedlight.
Q: When did you start shooting?
A: I started shooting black and white film in high school back in the early 1980′s. Back then I use to process my own film. By the early 1990′s my photography took a back seat to my other art activities until I started realizing that I’m selling my art without keeping a record of the work. That is when my photography started becoming a passion for me. It started mostly as studio shots of my art then I started documenting my family life. The advent of digital really propelled my passions and skill to new heights which continue to grow daily.
Q: Who/what inspires your photography?
A: I’m really inspired by the work of the late Galen Rowell. I love how he took his passion of mountaineering and photography and merged them together. Unfortunately for me, with my family life and my full time job as a scientist I’m unable to do much landscape work. Which is one of the reasons I don’t have a wide angle lens yet. I’m also really inspired by the work of Joe McNally. I follow his blog and I’ve studied his books. I find that it is becoming easier for me to use my SB 800 while documenting my family life thanks to Joe. Most of my inspiration comes from my family. In particular my oldest daughter who is now 14 years old. She has taken an interest in photography. This has helped me work hard to learn as much as I can so that I can pass knowledge onto her.
Q: What would be one thing to advise to someone just getting into?
A: My advise to my daughter and to others who are just getting into photography is to learn your camera very well. I tell her that if she’s not getting good photographs it’s not the camera’s fault. I also encourage her the take lots of photos, have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment! It’s working, she’s extremely creative, compositionally, and I’m now picking up pointers from her!
Q: Tell us about your most memorable “Duh” moment you can recall?
A: My best “Duh” moment in photography was back in the late 1990′s when I was in my studio shooting my art just prior to an art show. Here I am shooting still life’s in my studio, with extremely controlled environment, how can I screw that up? Well I did. First of all I was lighting my art with tungsten lights and silly me I had Fuji Velvia film in my camera. Worse yet, I miss read my light meter and under-exposed the shots by 1.5 stops. To make matters worse, I developed the film after the art show and all my artwork had already been sold and shipped away. So much for documenting my art!
Q: Tell us a little more about the winning image.
A: My winning photo is of my oldest who was photographing the sunset sky with her point and shoot camera. This photo was taken last January in the small New Mexico town of Truchas, elevation 8000 ft. I noticed that she was photographing the scenery and I wanted to photograph her. She does not like photos taken of herself so I used my 70-200mm F2.8 lens and positioned myself so that the sun was behind her head. I quickly made a few exposures before she noticed I was photographing her. I think I got lucky with the exposure and as a result I captured one of my most favorite images of my daughter.