about me - Red Leaf Photo Art

sandy grasso-boyd, photographer

My Photography Bio

I hail from the  Bronx, New York City, where I lived until I was twenty-one. My beloved aunt exposed me to the arts and music including photography. My first exposures were twin photographs on cards, which became a 3d image when viewed through her old stereoscope. I was most fascinated by the photographs of Sally Rand and her fans. Then my aunt purchased the View Master, a hand held device through which we could view transparencies mounted on a circular disk. My aunt introduced me to the world through this amazing device that now looks like the first image below.

Like many of my generation, the first camera I was exposed to was the Kodak Box Brownie. After seeing the photos it produced and my double exposures, I turned to other artistic pursuits until I met my first husband at college. We lived in Brooklyn while I  taught high school chemistry and he worked as a chemist. He enjoyed photography and set up a darkroom in a closet in our first apartment. After completing my master's degree, we quit our jobs and traveled abroad for 9 months. I remember always having to help him with his Yashica and other equipment he had. We returned with over 1500 beautiful color slides. During the next 30 years, any interest I may have had in photography was overshadowed by the vagaries of life; raising children, divorce, moving to California, and then a new career as an Engineer. Eventuality, I became Mission Engineer for the Spaceflight Directorate, supporting the first shuttle mission, STS 27a , that was to be launched from Vandenberg AFB. When the Challenger blew up and the shuttle program went dormant, new work brought me to Santa Barbara, where I worked for General Research Corporation on Star Wars Projects for 5 years.  I remained in Santa Barbara and pursued a third new career within the nonprofit sector. Obtaining  a  $120,000 seed grant I founded the Non-profit Support Center of Santa Barbara County. Spending four years as its first Executive Director  I retired in 1999 to travel with my new husband, Bill Boyd. My interest in photography emerged again. At first I used film cameras such as the Pentax SLR shooting all our photos on our 5-month trip to Southeast Asia. Then, in 2001 when we began to travel in our RV through-out the United States, I purchased my first digital  point and shoot camera, an Olympus. That was, followed by a Canon  digital fixed lens camera with manual settings that I didn't know  how to use. A photographer acquaintance of mine whose work I  had always admired encouraged me to attend City College to take photography classes. I began in January 2010, and started with a used Canon Rebel XSI. In my seventh class in spring 2013, I completed a portfolio of senior portraits entitled "Old is Beautiful" which has been on exhibition.  I now have a Canon 60D, three lenses, a tripod. and a Epson 3000 printer and  now print and, with the help of my husband, frame my work.   I  enjoy a membership in the Channel City Camera Club. where I occasionally exhibit my photos and enjoy field trips with other like-minded photographers . 

In July 2012. Bill and I traveled to Cuba as part of the Santa Barbara City College Study Abroad Program to study printmaking and photography respectively. It was a wonderful myth shattering experience to find the Cuba people to be hospitable, proud, and resourceful in spite of restricting sanctions imposed by the United States. This past September, as a Rotarian I traveled to Nicaragua to help identify a rural community that our Rotary club could bring our talents and resources to help. Through my photography, I was glad to be able to document the people and their needs for a sustainable water supply, medical clinic and educational equipment to help raise the funds that will be necessary to take on these projects in the next few years.

My Vision as a Photographer

As a Photographer, I am dedicated to provide honest representations of the people, places and objects I shoot. I take the very best photo I can with the resources I have on hand with the idea that post processing will be limited to basic enhancement or simple manipulation skills. Predominantly, my photographs fall in to the following categories: Portraits, Photo Journalism, Landscape, and Nature Photography. I carry my camera with me to be able to take advantage of good photo opportunities that may arise. I look for people engaged in activity, dynamic landscapes, interesting objects in nature and shoot under lighting conditions that will enhance my photos. I compose my photos accordingly using the camera, high quality lenses, and tripod as my primary resources. In photographing people I connect with them before taking the photograph so that they are relaxed and act natural. In that way, my portrait photography is a collaborative effort. In both landscape and nature photography, I capture beauty, patterns and colors whether it is in clouds, a shoreline, a flower, an animal or just the confluence of light and objects. My vision is to continually extend the limits of what I am photographically capable of through experience and experimentation with the camera and minimal post processing enhancement techniques.


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