We had the good fortune of connecting with KAMALA VENKATESH and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi KAMALA, what inspires you?
My inspiration comes from my travels and from looking at photos taken by other photographers. Of course, there are the masters like Ansel Adams and others, as well as Dutch master painters like Van Gogh, Matisse, Vermeer, Monet, etc. I feel like all forms of art, including the art of gardening, ceramics and many more are very inspirational and there is a big connection/crossover between the arts and the artists of different genre. My photography has recently inspired me to take up water color painting.

Being mainly a landscape and astrophotographer, nature is my biggest inspiration whether it be a colorful sunset, a sunrise, a  backlit blade of grass, or a bird sipping nectar from flowers or drinking water from my fountain. The full and crescent moon, the Milky Way and stars on a dark night…they all stir up passion in me.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

My journey into photography started in 2016 when I planned a trip to the Netherlands. I bought a new dslr Nikon camera just for my travels.
I had always been a photographer having bought my first SLR in 1976. Back then my photos were of family-travels, weddings and portraits. Then during the mid 2000’s, my photography turned to more of a ‘professional’ nature. And in 2016, it turned to be a very serious hobby which then became a business of sorts.
I have explored many different ‘genre’ such as portrait, bird/animal, landscape, long exposure, night time photography including moon, stars, comets, Milky Way, star trails, etc. I call myself basically a landscape/astrophotographer. Being a woman and being of a rather advanced age, it is not the easiest to venture out where a great deal of hiking/climbing, etc., is required. Additionally, my desire to shoot the night skies, finds me many a times shooting alone in the dark in unknown and far away places.
However, since I started on my journey so late in life, I don’t have much of a choice. I travel solo a great deal within USA. I also have been on overseas trips where I travel by road in a rental car-in my humble opinion,, the best way to see a country and photograph. I think in many ways my story is rather unique and my style is unique as well. I like to “tell stories” with my photography and it is not just about artistic expression, which of course, as an artist, one has an innate and unique style. And being older, perhaps it gives me a different perspective.
My photographs have been published in magazines, both online and print, and they are often featured on TV in my city, much to my delight! I am also proud to say that my work hangs in many homes.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

Being an avid and passionate photographer, of course, I’d give my friend my extra camera and take him/her on a shoot. I am very fortunate to live is such a beautiful state and city. San Diego is a hub for various landscapes-from the ocean/beach to the west, to the mountains east of us, the desert northeast of San Diego, and the most beautiful Eastern Sierras, all within a few hours drive.

Hiking in a variety of locations is so much fun and the year-round moderate climate is so conducive to physical activities. My city also offers such diversity in ethnicity seen in the architecture and art around us. International restaurants of great quality and variety are scattered all over the city. With San Diego being in such proximity of the border with Mexico, unarguably, San Diego offers the best Mexican and Latin cuisine.

I would definitely take my visitor to Joshua Tree National Park, the Anza Borrego Desert State park-show off the metal sculptures created by the one and only Ricardo Breceda, the unique flora of the desert, Salton Sea with such a history and geological diversity, Mt. Laguna for the beautiful hikes, and of course, the beaches. In my opinion, San Diego had the most beautiful beaches and warm waters for most of the year. San Diego offers great historic and iconic parks such as Balboa Park with all its museums, water fountains and gardens and Chicano Park home to graffiti paintings depicting Mexican culture. Old Town offers great Mexican food and the humongous margaritas. Having lived in San Diego for almost 51 years, I am so proud of my city.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The biggest supporter of my ‘art’ was my father. My father did not live long enough to see me get serious with my photography, but very early in my life, he encouraged me to paint and very proudly displayed my artwork. Sadly, he is not around to see me blossom, at such a late age(I am almost 71 and had he lived, he would have been 110+!), into a photographer. But as far as photography itself, it is my now 87 year old brother who was a photographer way back when equipment was rather very expensive and very few people took up photography as a hobby. Even as a child, I remember him always with a camera in hand. I would be fascinated by the little flash bulbs and even collected the burnt-out bulbs. He was published in some major magazines when he was only in his early 20’s and the amazing black and white photos he took and developed himself, inspired me, but not till I was much older. Even today, I share my photographs with him and have even gone on shoots where he is constantly guiding me with his expertise. Above all, his encouragement means a lot to me.

Website: www.kamalavenkatesh.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kamalavenkateshphotography/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kamalav2/

Other: https://www.flickr.com/photos/weddingmandk/ https://www.instagram.com/astro_landscape_gal/

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