Westside Wednesdays: Rodrigo Donoso Interview
Interview by Justin Fisher
How long have you been in the game of photography and what got you into it?
I have been shooting photos since about 1998 or so. Actually what got me into it was an ex-girlfriend of mine got me a job next to where she worked at the time, and it happened to be a camera store. Ritz Camera actually. I was immediately drawn to all the cool gear. At the time I was hired to sell cameras, and well, you make a ton more as sales person selling the more expensive professional gear. So to be able to do that I started reading how to use all these cameras and taking them home and playing around with them in the hopes that some bad ass photographer would come in and I could actually point him or her the right direction, and maybe make some cash. Fortunately for me, at the same time I was doing all this the Discovery Bay Delta was just starting to produce some bad ass riders like Corey Kraut, Rich Facciano, Darrin Rayzor, Josh Store, Joe Miltner and Bob Opsal to name a few. Any how, they asked if I was down to take some photos with them and it all just rolled on from there. Now I’m a wealthy photo tycoon!!!! JK, but I do have my fingers crossed… not on my shooting hand of course.
What else do you enjoy shooting other than wake?
I really just love to shoot photos. Of anything really that catches my interest. I have shot some skate photography with my good friend and amazing skater Jesse Andres and that was really fun. (If you haven’t heard of him, he’s got some unreal stuff on youtube, watch all of it.) But I can’t really pin it down to any one specific thing, shoot, I have some wedding photos and pictures of my friends’ kids that blow me away just as much as any image, maybe more.
We’ve noticed you shooting the tour the past couple years, do you intend to this year?
Yeah I have shot the King of Wake Tour, which includes the Pro Wakeboard Tour by Mastercraft along with Wake Games put on by Nautiques for the last 2 seasons no,w and I’m heading in for third. I like it. I enjoy the crew of people that work there from the ops crew to the coordinators to all the way through to riders and boat drivers so it makes it fun. Oh yeah, how can I forget, I’m teamed up with Big Spence and I get to hang with Nic Weinecker and Dano Amir, the announcers, and they are just flat out funny and you can’t put a price tag on laughter.
In one brief sentence, describe your photography style.
Trying to capture the moment without disturbing the peace.
Give us an average day in the life of Rod.
Well an average day in my life consists of getting woken up by dog that just has to potty at like 7 am, and then maybe shooting some photos if the weather permits. After that maybe going to the golf course and playing some holes. Yes I golf… a lot. Maybe coming home or to whereever and trying to either shoot again or line something up to shoot the following day. After dark I’m probably editing photos and emailing them out, and then I got some shows I watch pretty religiously, like the Seth McFarlane line up Cleveland show, Family Guy and American Dad, and recently I’ve really been digging It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Oh yeah, don’t let me forget I spend a bit of time shooting people on COD. Not actual people, it’s a video game.
What avenue of wake do you enjoy shooting the most and why?
I like all of it really cause it’s hard to compete with the feel of watching someone boost off a double up, carving a line out in a glassy lake or just landing super smooth in the transition. That’s just rad. The Cable and System 2.0 are sick cause it’s park for the water, what a cool idea! Although we don’t have one in Cali cause no one has stepped up to the plate and actually done it yet, but I have heard rumors of one being built. Side note there was one in Manteca CA like 30 years ago and they just let it fall apart. (editor’s note: there’s actually a cable park outside Fresno now.) Then there’s the winch, and I have a special love for this cause it’s so different and new, and a few of my good bros have helped pioneer the street style riding side of it which I think is a great branch off of the traditional wake or cable ride. It brings a different dynamic and that’s a positive for the sport, so I’m down for it.
How long have you been growing your hair?
Let me answer your question with a question. How long have you known me? Really it’s been a while, I think I was rocking a bandanna in like 2002.
What’s the coolest place photography has taken you?
Well I have had a chance to see this beautiful country of ours and been outside the borders a few times as well and it’s been good. Mostly all the good people that I have met through photography, I would have to say that has been the biggest asset.
What camera do you use and why?
A Nikon, cause that’s what I started with and it’s never failed me so I’m sticking with it.
A Nacho Libre quote, now!
I’m seeeck of getting paid to loose, I wanna weeeen!!!!
Over the 10+ years you’ve been shooting what are your thoughts on the sports progression?
It’s crazy really, I mean when I was introduced to the sport people had just started landing 720’s. Like only a few people, so to watch Dan Harf doing 1260 or JD Webb gap a huge water fountain or watch Kyle Murphy bomb down a 20′ drop or watching any wakeskater do just about anything (those guys are aliens), I mean its come a long way since then and I’m glad to have had the chance to be around it.
You’ve been golfing a lot lately, are we going to see you with a green jacket anytime soon?
Only one that I have bought myself. Maybe if I can get one in photography than maybe I’ll have a shot.