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Ronnie Gaubert - NPN 1019

Photography has been a part of my life for over 30 years. Growing up in the small town of Destrehan, Louisiana, I fondly remember tagging along with my dad on his weekend trips photographing the many plantations along the Mississippi River. In fact, I still have his trusty Twin Lens Reflex camera that he used for many years.

My first camera was a small box camera that I used in my teen years. I progressed through a series of inexpensive 35mm cameras until finally purchasing my first pro-level camera, the Nikon F2AS. A few years later I acquired a Nikon F3HP, which I used for over 20 years. What a fine camera - 20 years of use and not a single trip to the camera shop. I still have it but have not used it since the purchase of my D100 about eighteen months ago.

Going back to my younger years, I graduated high school in 1969. Shortly after graduation I joined the Air National Guard. After serving 6 months active duty, I returned home and attended college for two years, and then went to work in the oil and chemical industry in S. Louisiana. After working for several companies over a 10-year period, I was hired by the DuPont Chemical Company in 1981. After working in the mechanical department for about 10 years, I transferred to Planning and Scheduling and have been in that function for over 13 years. Not the most exciting job but it pays the bills. Our workweek is Monday thru Thursday, 10-hour days. Having every Friday off allows me to take most of my photographic day trips. Of course, the majority of those trips end up at Lake Martin, near Lafayette, Louisiana. Itís about a one-hour drive from my home in Prairieville, near Baton Rouge. Lake Martin is a very special place for me as it offers many opportunities to photograph the beautiful scenes of the lake as well as the abundant avian life and other animals and flowers that flourish in this unique environment.

Nature photography has always been my passion. Since the early 70s my primary interest has been close-up photography. I say close-up, rather than macro, because I never had a strong desire to photograph in the 1:1 and greater ratios. I think my basic style is to produce pretty images. The manner in which I obtain my desired results is to shoot mainly in the early morning and late afternoon. Using ambient light as my primary light source, I will occasionally use fill flash as a secondary light source. I attempt to depict my subjects in a good light and in their natural surroundings. The majority of my images are made in low light conditions with slow shutter speeds. The use of a tripod is of the utmost importance in order to achieve quality images. I strive to make my images with a non-distracting background that allows the subjects greater visibility. My primary lens for close up photography is the 80-200mm f/2.8 and the 300mm f/4.0. These lens and the use of extension tubes makes for a perfect combination. Occasionally I will use a 105mm f/2.8 macro lens for images where the need for 1:1 ratios is desired.

My photographic accomplishments have been varied. In the beginning, I entered many local contests. Doing well in that arena I ventured out in search of larger contests. In the early 80s I entered the Kodak statewide contest sponsored by a Baton Rouge newspaper. I competed in that contest for three years until the newspaper no longer sponsored the contest. The first year I finished 5th, the second year 2nd and the final year one of my images was selected as overall winner. Each of those years there were over 5000 images submitted. A few years later I signed up with a local photo agent and was selling images in several local gift shops. But having a full time job, married and raising two sons, photography had to take a back seat and within a few years, I called back all my Kodachrome 64 transparencies. After acquiring my D100 in 2002, I discovered the world of Internet photo forums. In 2003, one of my images was selected as 1st place on the Nature Photographers Network Editorís Pick Awards in the flora category.

For the future, with retirement in sight, I hope to spend more time with my photography. My two sons, Brad (25) and Bryan (24), one a manager in retail sales and the other a Baton Rouge firefighter are well on their way to paving a life for themselves. Hopefully my wife Cindy (a Registered Nurse) and I can do a little more traveling. We have already started those travels with recent trips to Alaska, Hawaii, Rocky Mountains and along the East Coast. This fall we plan to catch the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains in the Gatlinburg area. We were there a few years back but it was foggy and raining for the entire week. Hopefully we will have a better trip this fall. In future travels we hope to get out to the West Coast for a few weeks and back to Alaska and Denali.

Editor's note - Be sure to visit Ronnie's online portfolio to view more of his work.

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