SunShots is the long-running photo contest of The Baltimore Sun. For nearly a decade, we engaged with a community of local photographers and challenged them to submit their best photos corresponding to a different category every week.

To grow our community of photo contributors, we’ve created a new contest format that keeps the spirit of the original SunShots intact while enabling users to interact with other local photographers and vote on their submissions. Each contest will run for three weeks, at which point we will select a new contest category and photographer of the month.

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Kicking things off, this month’s photo contest category is “Baltimore Architecture.”

Dumbarton resident Roger Katzenberg is the August pick for Baltimore Sun Photographer of the Month. An architect by trade, Katzenberg won five SunShots photo contests in 2019 and placed second in four others. Click through the gallery above to check out more of his work and read more about his photography style below.

How long have you been taking photos?

I have been taking pictures for over 50 years, ever since I first inherited my grandfather’s Kodak Retina Reflex SLR camera. Through the film era, I mostly shot vacation and family photos, and also used it extensively for my work as an architect and historic preservation specialist. With the advent of digital cameras and the ability to process photos on the computer, my interest grew exponentially more serious since the purchase of my first digital camera in 2000 and my first digital SLR in 2010.

What inspired your photography hobby?

When I was young, I obtained a collection of books containing the photos of Baltimore Sun photographer A. Aubrey Bodine, whose work I greatly admired. As a budding architect, I enjoyed his visions of the buildings and environments found around the city and region. In recent years, as I have become much more serious about my work, I have learned much through both the local community of talented photographers, and those I have met and interacted with through Instagram.

What kind of camera do you shoot with?

Since that first Kodak SLR, I have always been a Nikon devotee. I currently use a Nikon D750 FX as my first line camera, with my older Nikon D7100 DX as my second. I have also accumulated a select group of lenses for shooting a variety of situations. My stalwart on the D750 is a Nikkor FX AF-S ED VR 28-300mm 3.5-5.6f, which probably is good for 90% of what I shoot. I also keep a Nikkor DX AF-S ED VR 10-24mm 3.5-4.5f on the D7100 for wide-angle shots. This combination allows me to largely avoid the dreaded changing of lenses during shoots, and getting caught with the wrong one when needed. I also have the following specialty lenses: Nikkor FX AF-S ED VR 14-24mm 2.8f for wide angle shooting with the D750; Nikkor FX AF-S FL ED VR 70-200mm 2.8f for portrait and low light action shooting; and a newly acquired Nikkor FX AF-S ED 200-500mm 5.6f for wildlife, sports and compression shooting.

What is your favorite type of photo to take?

As an architect and lover of the built, urban environment, my first love is shooting cityscapes and architecture. I love to capture the character and patina of older structures and contexts. I have also spent a great deal of time shooting these subjects at night, when I can slow things down and shoot longer exposures. After that, my next passion is landscapes. I have also lately been working on more flora and fauna, spurred on by my wife’s interest in those subjects after I purchased a camera for her last year. And while I continue to hone my street photography, using random people as I find them, I hope to get into more portraiture and site-specific model shooting in the near future.

My style has been pretty straight forward. I prefer color, though sometimes dabble in black and white. I am usually a stickler for keeping my shots spot on the vertical, and for perspective correction, as that is how we see the world. I can be a high-volume shooter (I shot over 4,500 images on a recent trip to New York City), as digital photography allows you to experiment. Over the past year, I have been working harder on framing, leading lines, and layering.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

A: Find your passion, and start there. Learn the abilities of your camera beyond the automatic settings. Embrace computer processing methods (I use Adobe Lightroom extensively, with some assistance from Adobe Photoshop and Skylum Luminar/Aurora as needed), as they are a natural extension of the creative experience. And keep the learning process going. It takes a lot of time and study to develop the depth and “storytelling” aspects of this wonderful craft, that allows your work to rise above the avalanche of pictures that are now “out there”. I am learning something new all the time.

Q: Where can readers see more of your work?

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A: On Instagram, @RKat414.

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