EMERGING ARTIST: RODNEY BURSIEL
AGE 47 LOCATION Wimberley, Texas LATEST ACHIEVEMENT First Place, Wide- Angle, 2016 and 2017 “Through Your Lens” Photo Contest
Q What drew you to underwater photography?
A I have been shooting the Austin music scene professionally for about 12 years. Through my music photography, I met Donavon Frankenreiter, a professional surfer and musician. I traveled with Donavon shooting surf photography, which led me back to scuba and shooting the underwater world.
Q What advice would you give to photographers entering contests?
A Be original. If you see a shot that just won and you have something similar, I probably wouldn’t enter that one. It’s already won. Find something that’s never been seen or shot in a particular way. And definitely don’t get discouraged, because it’s easy to do. I’ve entered the same shot in different contests and won first place in one and didn’t even make it past the first round in the other.
Q What’s your shooting specialty, and where’s your favorite place to do it?
A I love shooting big animals, especially the ones with big teeth. If you look at my portrait work, it is very similar to my underwater shots. I like to shoot dark and moody. I even set up my strobes similar to my studio strobes. They are on long arms, up high, pointing down and in toward my subject. Kind of goes against everything they say in lighting underwater — but what are rules for? My favorite time of day is late afternoon, when the sun is low on the horizon. I can get the dark water behind the subject and the great colors of the sun breaking the surface. I probably haven’t found my favorite place yet. There are so many amazing places I’ve been to and many more to be explored. Right now, my favorite trips are Tonga and Guadalupe Island. I love photographing the humpbacks and great whites. My wish list grows daily.