Lifeguard Crescent
Lifeguard Crescent



Delray Beach


Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara




Long Beach
Long Beach

Lifeguard Moon
Lifeguard Moon

no title
red gondolas
Red Gondolas


Portfolio: Rob Daly - Photographer Extraordinaire

by Kara Fox

robert daly

Yin and yang...light and dark...the lows and highs in life...I often wonder how much of this is random...from the low...I had a dramatic car accident...came the high...meeting Rob Daly. Kismet. Rob embraces artist in the truest sense of the word. He is the ultimate creative person...his use of words and images are magical.

Born in New Jersey and living minutes from the ocean set the tone for Rob's love of water. He and his family of five went to the shore throughout the year and sat in the car watching the waves. It is not surprising that the beach has always been his favorite place.

Rob began taking family photos with his mother’s twin lens reflex camera at age ten, when, due to rheumatoid arthritis, she no longer could no longer use her camera.

He appreciated the mechanical precision of his mother’s camera as well as the pictures it produced. Preserving a moment in a photograph was magical and powerful to him.

"I became the family photographer and am absent from many family photos as a result.Often a roll of film spanned two holidays or birthdays, meaning months could pass between the time I took a photo, and when the print was returned in the mail. This impressed on me how important it was to get good shots because the moment would be long gone.I moved my subjects into the right light, arranged them the way I wanted and waited for the right expression."

When he turned 12, his Christmas gift was a Kodak Instamatic camera. Thereafter, his picture taking was limited only by his ability to pay for film cartridges and processing.

Unlike his brother and sister, he was not good at drawing, but photography gave him a way to be creative and express himself visually. And, Rob said, "It was all mine."

Moving to the Washington D.C. suburbs during High School, Rob was offered an abundance of new things to capture with his camera: urban landscapes, water and nearby rural areas.

He learned to print B&W in high school, which only heightened his interest in photography. He bought his first good camera, a used Minolta SRT-101 with a 50mm lens, with paper-route money. He bought a used black and white enlarger and set up a darkroom in his walk-in closet at home. He found great enjoyment in printing as much as he did shooting. He still has some of those prints from forty years ago.

As he was able, he upgraded equipment: cameras, lenses and darkroom gear. He took the train to New York to buy new equipment at a discount.

Rob was largely self-taught, learning by experimentation and failure. He learned much from observing what friends and family liked and did not like. The darkroom taught him a great deal.

After high school, he worked one summer for a commercial photographer in D.C. but didn’t enjoy it. The pace was frenetic and the people were unpleasant. He quickly realized this wasn’t what he wanted to do with photography. He earned an AA in commercial art and excelled at design. Following a move to Los Angeles, Rob earned a B.A. in Communications and then attended film school.

In 1984, Rob created a process to extract stills from videotape and formed VideoStill, a company that serves ad agencies and film studios. Film gave way to digital files a decade ago. Today, instead of delivering slides, Rob delivers digital files to the client. His business keeps him close to home but he manages to find interesting subject matter around Southern California. "Often all this requires is patience, as I wait for the right light or cloud or figure to appear."

Ten years ago Rob's house was burglarized and all his camera gear was stolen, including his original Minolta. It was the first time since childhood that he didn’t own a camera and he felt strange and uncomfortable. He didn’t wait for insurance money to buy new equipment, which included a small digital camera.

Shortly thereafter, he bought his first ink jet printer. Learning to print was central to his interest in digital photography. For the first time in decades, he could print his own work. "Profits rose at Epson as I tackled the conundrum of digital printing."

Currently Rob shoots with a Canon 1Ds Mark III. He uses Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to process raw files and print on Epson 4800 and 7800 printers.He attends workshops and seminars to learn new equipment, keeps current with software and learns from others.

"Some of the photos shown here were carefully thought out and others were happy accidents. I was driving over one of the causeways in Miami when I looked to my right and saw the sunset scene. I made two U-turns to find a place to park and return with my small camera.I got the gondola shot only because the sun peeked out for three minutes in an otherwise dreary day. It’s handheld and shot with a consumer camera. The comment I hear most often is that it looks painterly.I planned the lifeguard shack photos around the phases of the moon and left some nights with nothing usable. My access under the pier also varied with the moon and tides.

“I do little photo manipulation. In Lightroom I set my levels and colors correctly. I remove any dirt spots and crop as needed. I’m always thinking about how the image will print. I want to have some images that work from across a room and others that must be seen up close.

“I love shooting nature and architecture but I seek out water wherever I am. The variety of shapes, reflections, color and movement that water offers is endless. When looking for a body of related work for the magazine, water seemed the natural choice."       Water has always played an important theme in Rob Daly's life and fortunately for us, the viewer, we can enjoy the imprint it has made on his creativity.

Visit Rob at his website

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