‘Bugs” are abundant in our sunny paradise, but there’s no reason to call an exterminator. These “bugs” are the kind we welcome because they illuminate the beauty of life here in our piece of paradise.
“Shutterbugs,” those who are seldom without a camera, bring into focus our stunning vistas, wonderful wildlife and the joys of living here.
For Sue Killion, photography is a serious pursuit. For David Pulaski, it’s a lifetime addiction.
The two Rotonda West residents each excel at a different kind of photography. Sue zooms in on nature photography while David’s penchant is event and people photography.
With many awards for nature photography to her credit, Sue says a camera is her canvas.
“I always wanted to be an artist,” she says, “but I can’t sketch or paint. A camera is my digital canvas. It lets me focus on my artistic side.”
While she is a perennial winner in nature photography contests, this year was especially fruitful. In addition to winning multiple photo awards from the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Sue scored the unusual distinction of having her photos selected for five different calendars.
Photo buffs know how special it is to have a photo selected as calendar art. Doing it five times in 18 months is an extraordinary accomplishment for the Rotonda West woman. One of her photos was selected as the prime cover shot for the Show Us Your Charlotte 2018 calendar while her stunning photo of a sailing regatta was a winner this year.
It’s important to note that she doesn’t use Photoshop to create better photos. “If I take a closeup of a flower with a crumbled petal, I don’t Photoshop it to take out the imperfection. I like a flower to look exactly the way nature made it,” she says.
Sue’s artistic side is also evident in her own beautifully designed garden with its unique plants making a colorful impact. As past president of the Englewood Garden Club, she loves everything about gardening, including doing the hard work herself.
Because of Sue’s leadership with a Girl Scout project at Broadmoor Park, Lemon Bay Garden Club won the Arbor Day Celebration Award from the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, and first-place tree planting award from the Deep South Region of the National Garden Clubs.
For her, the best prize of all is the experience of being out in nature and using her camera to see detail more closely.
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Prolific photographer David Pulaski says he “came out of his mother’s womb with a camera attached and has never stopped taking photos.”
Starting in junior high school, he enjoyed taking photos of every activity, using creativity to photograph students in unusual settings.
After he earned a degree in industrial management from an engineering school he found himself back on a high school campus — this time as a teacher and yearbook adviser.
He also ran his own photo studio, making a specialty of wedding and commercial photography as well as shooting spots news for the town’s newspaper.
“You name the type of photography and I did it — catalog photography, forensic photography, prom photos, nature photograph, current events — I did it all,” he says, telling fascinating stories about his experiences.
Now, his favorite kind of photography is photographing local events for the Sun and the Rotonda West Association. Whether it’s a parade or community happening, he photographs “anything or anyone that moves,” working hard to capture everything.
A pure pro who leaves nothing to chance, he carries two Nikons at a time with backup memory cards and batteries. His camera bag weighs as much as a small child, but he says he “leaves nothing to chance. If a piece of equipment fails, I have backup.”
What may surprise people is that all David’s work is that of a volunteer. He gets paid nothing for his time or for the photos he gives others.
“I like to make people smile,” he says. “That’s what makes me happy.”
With all his people-pleasing photos, no wonder David is always happy. He’s doing what he loves best and making others happy in the process.
Pattie Mihalik is a regular columnist for the Sun. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.