Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Daniel Gutierrez, 9 Years Old and Already an Enthusiast Pentax Shooter

by Miserere

Who said big lenses were only for big guys?
Daniel shoots steady on a 400mm lens.
©2008 Javier Gutierrez

Daniel will be 9 in a couple of weeks. He's just like any other 9-year old: curious, energetic, sporty, an accomplished photographer—wait, what!? Maybe Daniel isn't quite like every other 9-year old after all. His father, Javier, is an avid Pentaxian who has passed on his love of photography to his son. Javier tells us I must admit I am a proud Papa and also a bit envious...He has such good eyes and great reflexes that he catches things I miss. The virtues of youth, my friend!

Javier started shooting with a Pentax K100D, then moved on to a K10D and K20D. In between he accumulated a fair bit of lenses and film cameras, so when Daniel expressed an interest in photography a couple of years ago Javier was able to quickly put together a kit for him chosen from the items he didn't frequently use. Of course, some fatherly LBA (Lens Buying Addiction) helped the kit grow to its present size.

Currently, this is what's in Daniel's bag:
  1. Pentax K100D super DSLR
  2. Pentax MG SLR
  3. Pentax K1000 SLR
  4. Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3
  5. Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6
  6. Pentax-K 50mm f/1.4
  7. Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8
  8. Pentax-M 135mm f/3.5
  9. Pentax-DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
  10. Sigma 400mm f/5.6
  11. Tokina 19-35mm f/3.5-5.6
  12. Vivitar 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6
  13. Vivitar external flash
  14. Pentax 2x TC
  15. Tamron 1.4x TC MC-4
  16. Bryan Peterson's book Understanding Exposure.
  17. 3 bird books.
Not bad for such a young guy, huh? Now you might understand why I keep asking Javier to adopt me!

I thought it would be nice to hear what Daniel had to say about all this, so I asked him to tell us about himself and photography.

Sometimes one camera just isn't enough.
©2008 Javier Gutierrez

My name is Daniel Gutierrrez. I am almost nine years old. I like photography and my favorite thing to shoot is birds. I think it is interesting to see the birds and discover new birds every time.

I go with my dad to different parks that have ponds and lakes. The ones I like most are Belvedere, Hollenbeck and Legg Lake. We go to the San Gabriel River at a nature preserve because there are so many birds there. I like to go there after it rains 'cause there's so much water. We see lots of bushes where they can hide. I take lots of pictures. We've seen Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, lots of different kinds of ducks, sometimes even cranes, and lots and lots of mourning doves. I know what they are 'cause I have three bird books. My favorite is the Smithsonian Birds. My favorite bird is an Appleyard duck. I used to like the Cinnamon Teal.

I used to take my pictures with a Fuji digital camera with zoom. Then my dad let me use a real camera so he gave me one of his Pentax cameras. Then he bought me a Pentax film camera on E-Bay. It is a Pentax MG. It's an old camera. I like shooting with color film. I learned about aperture, shutter speed and ISO from my dad. I learned that most film cameras don't have zoom lenses and if they do it's really little. I think it is very cool to have my own camera. Using a TC adapter makes the camera lens go farther but it might not work on some lenses that well. Once I learned the basics, my dad gave me his K100D Super and we started to collect lenses for me, most from e-bay.

If you think that all this equipment is just for show, you're very wrong. Following is a sequence of photographs Daniel took last weekend while out with his dad on one of their regular photo walks. He used his trusty Pentax K100D Super with a Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6.

All photos ©2008 Daniel Gutierrez

It was this impressive series of photos that prompted me to write about Daniel so all our readers could meet him and enjoy his photos. I asked Daniel about these particular photos and he said:

I like to shoot birds—not with a gun though! With a camera. It is so cool zooming in and controlling it. I like to shoot birds with the K100D super because the pictures come out crystal clear.

When I shot the egret it was flying to this island at Hollenbeck Park. I thought it was cool and I didn't want to miss it. So I had to run down the hill and focus the camera real fast when I saw it and I held down the button and it (the camera) took more than four pictures.

I was amazed! The egret looked like it was gonna pick up a mallard and fly away. When I got home, I saw it on the computer and it came out great. Usually I check them on the little camera screen.

Anyone who has tried taking photographs of birds in flight (and I've spent hours doing it) knows how difficult it is. Yet here is Daniel, with a camera that is allegedly not meant for this type of photography, capturing a beautiful series of an egret in flight. I hope you will join me in congratulating him! I think we need Javier to open up a Flickr account for Daniel to show off his photography. He certainly deserves it.

I asked Daniel if there was anything else he'd like to share with us:

From taking pictures and learning about photography I've learned that it holds a challenge because you might miss the picture. Some times you have to try again the next day. Some times you have to wait for the birds and sometimes you have to hide from them if they're really shy like the female scrub jay. I sometimes lie down on the ground or crouch because the smaller you are the more stuff you'll notice.

Thank you for featuring me on the PentaxDSLRs blog.

It was our pleasure having you here!

I think many of us have a lot to learn from Daniel, wouldn't you agree? I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this talented young man.

Please leave your words of encouragement for Daniel in the comments section. He will be delighted to know what you all think, and his proud dad will make sure he reads them.

Thank you.

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