Meet an amazing photographer Rodrigo Peña Part 3

Award winning image of a little league coach consoling his player after a loss.

What picture are you most proud to have taken?
When I was a staff photographer in 1999, working for the San Bernardino Sun, I was hired by a community newspaper in Sacramento to cover the Little League finals in San Bernardino.

The Sacramento Bee sent one of their best photographers and he was able to shoot from the field. Since I was shooting for Sacramento’s weekly newspaper, I was low man on the totem pole and I had to shoot from the stands.

The Sacramento team lost and I got a terrific photo of a young boy crying while his coach comforted him. In the background the winning team was jubilant. (see photo in gallery) I had the agony of defeat the joy of victory in one photo.

The Sacramento Bee photographer was not able to get that photo because he was on the field.

Since I was in the stands, I got the award-winning photo.

That photo won in the CPPA state clip contest and also the National Press Photographers Association regional clip contest.

It also went to the NPPA national clip contest where it
got second place.

Rob Zombie performs during the Mayhem Festival in Devore on Saturday, July 10, 2010

What were the circumstances behind it?
While I may not have had the best vantage point, shooting through a chain link fence, the end result was I came away with the best photo.

The Yankee's Alex Rodriguez collides with the Angels' Jeff Mathis in the bottom of the 5th inning after Hideki Matsui hit a double scoring one run and Rodriguez getting out at the plate during game one of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on Friday, Oct. 16, 2009.

Why was it memorable to you?

A recent bridal portrait

I think it reminds me that we as photographers face obstacles at most events unless we work for the top dogs like Getty, the L.A. Times, etc.

For the majority of us photographers, we have to make lemonade with the lemons we are given. It reminds me that just because you don’t have the best position, doesn’t mean you can’t make great photos.

Another reason I remember this photo so much is because the person who hired me was tremendously jubilant with the clip wins and was thankful that they hired me.

Was it because it was a pain in the rear to get?


Rigo Peña (left with camera up to his face) and his dad Richard on the sidelines of a USC football game. This is a priceless image to me. I would love to have such a picture with my dad. Photo by David Shea.

Many times the photos that we have the work for the most, become the most memorable.

While I may not have worked extremely hard to get this shot, I did not let the obstacles get in my way.

Many times I see photographers give up when the obstacles seem too large

If you had to do it over, what would you change in your career choice?

I’m glad you asked this question because I often feel that I might have been able to climb the ladder better or quicker if I had gone to a journalism school.

I think the results would have been different, but life has a way of deciding what is best for you.

If I had gone to a different school, I would not have met my soul-mate, my wife. I would not trade my wife for a better career.

Do you have any advice for folks wanting to follow in your footsteps?

What I try to tell photographers who are starting out is to assist pros who are already established. It’s like taking a shortcut to success.

I learned quite a bit from assisting my father in his studio.

You are never too old to assist. In fact, even though I’ve been a pro photographer for over 20 years, I still look for assisting opportunities.

The second thing I’d like to say is passion is everything.

If you are passionate about your work, it will show. I don’t do photography for the money, I do it because there is nothing in the world that I would rather do. I want to be good at what I do.

Photography is not a 9-5 job, you have to live, breathe and sleep photography.

The other day I had a challenging photo that was giving me a little trouble.

I kept thinking about solutions. The answer came to me in a dream that night.

The next morning I applied what I had done in my dream and it worked!

When I’m not working, I try to read or watch photography related videos. Seminars are great too.

Images of Rodrigo Peña

Peter Phun Photography

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4 thoughts on “Meet an amazing photographer Rodrigo Peña Part 3”

  1. Peter, thanks again for the wonderful spotlight, you are truly a giving soul. If I can be of service to you or your readers in any way, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    @Tammy, thanks for the support.

    @ Paul, I love the play on words, “exposing” a photographer. lol! Thank you for the support as well.

  2. Hi Tammy,
    Thanks for the feedback. I happen to know quite a few excellent photographers and Rigo is one of them. I hope other visitors/readers enjoyed this too.

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