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

Hi Sandy, what role has risk played in your life or career?
In my line of work “Risk Taking” takes on a bit of a different meaning. When I go out on photo shoots in perilous situations such as wildfires, riots, hurricanes, etc.. I have to make time to prepare and have the proper equipment, and in many cases, knowledge of the situation I am about to enter. For instance, if a fire breaks out in the back country, I have to make sure I have the necessary fire gear(Nomex suit, helmet, goggles face mask, etc..), plenty of water, battery chargers, communications systems, safety gear and always have a clear path to escape if fire surrounds you.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In High School I bought an old, beat up Minolta camera and from that day on, 35+ years, I haven’t stopped shooting. Even on my vacations, when not on assignment, I love to pick up my camera and go out and explore a new city or country or even a local part of town and start snapping away. One of the most important things about what attracts me to photography is people. I am fascinated from a sociological, anthropological standpoint with different cultures, personalities, religions, rituals and basically photography is the vessel in which to explore these. I have found throughout my career that most people are open and delighted to share their stories, and having a camera and an open ear and just listening to people’s stories is what makes my career so fulfilling. It’s also nice to be able to share these things, visually with others in hope that it might open our minds to people of different ethnicity, race, or even folks that live in a different local community.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Monday we head over for a hearty breakfast at the Broken Yolk in Pacific Beach, then off to the Hillcrest area and do the 7 Bridges hike(about 5 miles). For a late lunch, dinner it’s down to Little Italy and eat and stroll along India Street. Next morning, we head up to the mountains for a semi-challenging hike to 3 Sisters Waterfall (about 5 miles RT), then go to Julian and get a fresh slice of Apple Pie from the Julian Pie Co.. Wednesday we put on our Tie-Dye shirts and head to the Ocean Beach Farmers Market and check out all the vendors and the pop-up drum circle group and then see all the acrobats and fire twirlers that congregate a little ways down from the Lifeguard station. Thursday we go to La Jolla and snorkel along the Cove and check out all the Sea Lions and other Marine life, followed by lunch at Jose’s along Prospect Ave. Friday we go on a tour of Tijuana and visit the shops and eat tasty street cuisine along Ave Revolucion. Saturday we rent bikes and stroll along the Boardwalk in Pacific Beach and Mission Bay followed by dinner and drinks overlooking the ocean at Pier 21. Sunday we go out on a 1/2 day fishing trip aboard The Daily Double in Point Loma followed by a late lunch, dinner and stroll through Liberty Station.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
SInce I was a young budding photographer who came to San Diego right after college in the early 90’s, I was and still am a big admirer of former Los Angeles Times photographer Don Bartletti. He has devoted his career to covering immigration issues and has brought light to many important problems facing the plight of migrants. Even in retirement Don has been an inspiration in the way he carries himself and to helping mentor and inspire new generations of photographers.

Website: http://www.sandyhuffakerjr.com

Instagram: Sandy_Huffaker

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sandyhuffaker/

Twitter: @SandyHuffaker1

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.