Make us your home page
Instagram

Former Swiftmud executive turns digital photographs into artwork

Emilio “Sonny” Vergara, 70, shows off one of his digital artworks in his home studio. His art is currently on exhibit at the Rising Sun Cafe in downtown Brooksville. You can also visit skyshadowphotography.blogspot.com to see his work.

MAURICE RIVENBARK | Times

Emilio “Sonny” Vergara, 70, shows off one of his digital artworks in his home studio. His art is currently on exhibit at the Rising Sun Cafe in downtown Brooksville. You can also visit skyshadowphotography.blogspot.com to see his work.

BROOKSVILLE

Over the past decade or so, digital cameras and software have revolutionized the world of photography. And while lovers of traditional hand-rendered art may argue that photography, and especially digitally rendered images, shouldn't be considered high art, Emilio "Sonny" Vergara isn't one of them.

For the past couple of years, the former executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District-turned camera buff has been turning out images that many folks are buying because they find them to be stunningly expressive.

The 70-year-old Vergara admits that what he does with a computer will never displace the creativity and skill that goes into putting paint to canvas. But the basic principles of the two are strikingly similar, he says.

"With photography, you're creating an image that satisfies your mind's eye, and how you manipulate elements of composition, perspective, color, light and dark determines how the final product looks," Vergara said. "There's a certain amount of skill and knowledge that you need to master in order to make it all work, just like you would if you were holding a paintbrush."

Something of a newbie when it comes to photographic art, Vergara didn't start seriously taking pictures until 2000, when he bought his first high-end Nikon digital camera. Since then, his level of expertise has grown with the rapid advancements in cameras and photo-editing software.

"The images I'm creating today couldn't be done by someone untrained like me a few years ago," he said. "For me, half the enjoyment has been learning and exploring what the software can do."

For Vergara, whose work can be seen at skyshadowphotography.blogspot.com, turning a captured image into digital art requires mastery of Photoshop, an advanced graphics editing program that allows him to manipulate, integrate and extract any piece of the image he chooses and reconstruct it to bring out elements not normally visible in a two-dimensional image.

For example, a cloud captured digitally through a lens contains much more information than most untrained eyes can observe. However, those visual elements can be played up or down depending on how Vergara chooses to present them. Finding the right balance can take hundreds of attempts and several hours.

"You never want to lose the focal point that draws the person to the image," Vergara said. "That concept took me a long time to learn."

An avid nature lover, Vergara has traveled the state and elsewhere looking for prime scenery to shoot. However, visitors to his current exhibit with the Spring Hill Art League at the Rising Sun Cafe in downtown Brooksville are likely to see a number of images that were taken in Hernando County.

"The thing I love most about the community is the diversity of landscape and nature that can be found within just a few miles of my house," he said. "If I want to photograph birds on a river, or a spectacular sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, I can do it and be home by dinner. That's a luxury that a lot of photographers don't have."

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

. If you go

Reception

The Spring Hill Art League will host a reception for featured artists Karen Heidler, Judy Newton and Sonny Vegara at 5 p.m. today at the Rising Sun Cafe, 10 S Main St., Brooksville. The event is free. Call (352) 593-4633 for information.

Former Swiftmud executive turns digital photographs into artwork 09/23/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 6:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Glen Campbell's wife Kim discusses challenges, guilt caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, others face

    Life Times

    If there's one thing Kim Campbell would change about caregiving for Alzheimer's patients, it's the attitude so many of us have toward transferring a loved one from home to a long-term care facility. According to Campbell, it's often the most kind, loving decision you can make. It's not a sign of failure, but one of …

    Kim Campbell, wife of country music legend Glen Campbell, is acknowledged by those attending the free event where she shared the story of her personal journey with Alzheimer???‚??„?s disease and the struggles she faced caring for her husband on Friday (5/26/17) at the Suncoast Hospice's Empath Health Service Center in Clearwater. Empath Choices for Care, a member of Empath Health, and Arden Courts Memory Care hosted the free event where Kim shared her story to help others understand the early stages, how the disease changes lives, the challenges families face and the role of caregiver.
  2. What happened when I took my dad to a Pitbull concert

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA — "So, you know how you like Pitbull?" I asked my dad. "We can see him."

    Selfie of Divya Kumar and Anand Kumar at Pitbull/Enrique Iglesias concert.
  3. Tampa City Council votes to accept travel invitation from Cuban ambassador

    Blogs

    The invitation came to Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin in a June 9 letter from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.

    The Tampa City Council voted 6-0, with Frank Reddick out of the room, to respond to a travel invitation from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 25

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Festival: The daytime festival covers Central Avenue's Grand Central District with more than 350 vendors, multiple stages, live music, art and food. 9 a.m., Grand Central District, 2429 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 342-0084.

    Kristen Whalen poses for a photo before the start of the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg last year. It's that time of year again, so check with us for your planning purposes. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times (2016)]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 24

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth …

    Thousands line the streets of Central Ave. during the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg.  [Saturday, June 25, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]