RAW has managed to find it’s way to the president of the Huntington Camera Club. When I check out Mike’s work I knew that the landscape photographers out there would love to hear what he had to say. He also sent through a nice collection of favourite images so enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a 6th Grade Science/English teacher in Huntington, New York which is located on Long Island. My job as a teacher affords me plenty of opportunities to take extended photographic excursions throughout the world. My lovely wife Carol, whom I introduced to photography, sometimes joins me for these wonderful sojourns. We often will spend a month in the desert Southwestern United States, travel around the Great Lakes shooting lighthouses, or hike and photograph throughout the Rocky Mountain States. Some of my other favorite locations are the States in New England and New York City which is only 50 miles from my home.
I am also the President of the Huntington Camera Club which has 120 members. We have an annual High School Competition in which 15 local High Schools compete. Our members have to select winners out of over 750 entries. We award scholarships and Nikon furnishes DSLR packages for the talented winners.
In the Fall I referee American football at the High School, College, and Semi Pro level, and in the Spring I umpire High School Girls fast pitch softball. I also have two beautiful daughters.
What made you get into photography?
I have been interested in photography since I was very young. I would thumb through the pages of LOOK and LIFE magazines and imagine how wonderful it would be to have the talent to take such wonderful photographs.
How did you get started?
I purchased my first 35mm camera, a $35 Yashica, in 1976 and I have been shooting ever since.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I find that I often set out to shoot landscape photography, but often these excursions will change to nature/animal photo ops or people shoots. I am not that rigid that I will pass-up a good photo journalism shot if it presents itself. I also enjoy macro photography and take many stock photos in my home studio.
What gear are you using?
Canon is my gear of choice and I own a Canon 5D MK II, a Canon 7D, and still have my old Canon 20D.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
My favorite lenses are my Canon 24-105mm f/4 L series w/IS and my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II zoom with IS. I also use a Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, Canon 70-300mm f/5.6 w/IS, and a Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. In the field I use a Giotto tripod as well as a shutter release. My most important gear can sometimes be a circular polarizer or a graduated neutral density filter.
How are you marketing yourself?
I market myself through my own website: www.MikeDiRenzoPhotography.com and a stock photo site www.ShutterPoint.com. I participate in several on-line photo sites and competitions. I get my work published in local newspapers such as New York Newsday and the Long Islander. My hometown newspaper, The Sun Chronicle, in Attleboro runs a full three page special in their 4th of July edition every year called “America the Beautiful” which chronicles my travels around the United States. I find that these exposures in the newspaper drive a great deal of customers to my website. I also often post some of my photos on Facebook and that drives customers to my website as well.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Over the years I have taken thousands of photos and trying to choose my favorite photo is a difficult task. I guess if I had to narrow it down to one photo it would be my shot of the Annisquam Lighthouse over looking the harbor in Gloucester, Massachusetts. This photo has won numerous awards and has been published in several magazines and newspapers. A huge framed copy also hangs in my living room.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
The most important thing you can do is to get to know your camera. Read the manual that came with your camera. Get used to all the features available to you. Then get out and shoot. Get used to shooting in Manual and Aperture Priority modes. Learn how to use various apertures and shutter speeds to get the shot you want, and become familiar with the ISO setting on your camera. Maybe the best method for learning about your camera and its features is to join a good local camera club.