A photogenic eye on Wantagh


In less than a year, Vincent Ciro has won the Wantagh Dot LI Photo of the Month contest five times. On June 9, he was presented with the five-time winner award before the Wantagh Chamber of Commerce meeting at Thom Thom restaurant.

Ciro has picked up photography as a hobby in recent years, and has found it rewarding. He said he enjoys shooting landscapes, and has captured many scenes around Wantagh.

His fifth winning picture, which is the June photo of the month on www.Wantagh.Li, is of the West Bathhouse at Jones Beach. Previous winning shots include a diner, the inside of St. Frances de Chantal Church, and winter and fall lake scenes.

“I stumbled on it,” Ciro said of the photo contest, which he began submitting to late last year. “Whether I win or not, it’s not important.”

Ciro has lived in Wantagh for 39 years, and he and his wife, Terry, raised their son and daughter in the community. He is retired from the phone company, a job that he said was very demanding and had him on call around the clock. While he dabbled in photography by taking pictures of his family and flowers, the job left him little time to truly develop his interest, he explained.

For his pictures, Ciro uses a Canon 70D digital camera, which he described as “borderline professional level.” He likes to use the HDR, or high dynamic range technique, in which he takes multiple images of the same object, and uses different exposures. He then combines them in Photoshop to make a richer image.

“The digital camera made a world of difference,” he said, “because you see the result immediately.”

He credits his success to a willingness to learn from other photographers, and cites Blake Rudis, a photographer from Missouri with a photo website, as his inspiration. He noted that Rudis teaches the techniques of HDR photography, and offers his critiques.

The Wantagh Dot LI Photo of the Month contest is open to all area residents, but the photo must be taken in Wantagh. Participants are limited to three submissions per month, and photographs are judged on originality, composition, balance, content and overall appearance. Seasonal photos are preferred.

Ciro, as the winner of the five-time award, received a trophy, a one-year subscription to the Herald and $100 in Wantagh bucks, which can be used at participating businesses in the community.

Wantagh Dot LI, a community website, launched in 2001 and the photo contest began the following year. The site is run by Jim and Vanna Colotti.

“We’ve had professional photographers and novices enter the contest,” said Jim Colotti, the site’s director. He added that the number of submissions varies from month to month, but all entries remain in the contest for a year.

Ciro, who has won five of the last eight months, said he plans to keep submitting his photos. He said his father taught that him that anything worth doing was worth doing with passion.

“At this stage in my life,” he said, “it’s very fulfilling to still do something well and to be recognized.”