EMERG­ING ARTIST: ROD­NEY BURSIEL

AGE 47 LO­CA­TION Wim­ber­ley, Texas LAT­EST ACHIEVE­MENT First Place, Wide- An­gle, 2016 and 2017 “Through Your Lens” Photo Con­test

Scuba Diving - - Ascend -

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.

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