Member Monday Featuring Richard Opiekun

Sometimes one still moment is all it takes.

Capturing a dragonfly on camera can be such an unpredictable and fast-moving pursuit, with the bugs swirling around to different flowers and leaves.

For nature photographer Richard Opiekun, the patience of one quiet morning outside his New Jersey cottage was all worth it for this shot!

Let’s turn it over to Richard to tell you about that beautiful summer day, and his journey to becoming the photographer he is today!

About the Photographer

  • Hometown: Brick, New Jersey
  • Years in Photography: 18 years
  • Years as a KO Member: about 10 years (started as a member of NAPP before there was a KelbyOne group)

About the Photo:

  • Title: Iridescent Winged Jewels of Summer
  • Location: Along the New Jersey Coast on Chadwick Island
  • Any additional description of the photograph: While staying at our summer cottage along the Jersey shore we noticed there was a large “spawning” of dragonflies one morning.  It was breathtaking to watch them flying all around and landing for brief moments.  I ran into the house and grabbed my camera and decided to sit along a fence near a beach plum bush where many were congregating.  My patience was rewarded after about 10 minutes when this dragonfly landed and posed for a few seconds before taking off to explore again.
  • Gear/Software Used: Olympus OMD-EM1 MkII with a 60mm f/2.8 macro lens; post-processing in Photoshop CC.
Hungry Robin Chicks (Brick, NJ)

Describe your creative style in 3 words.

Capturing Nature’s Simplicity

Tell us about a time you struggled or failed with your photography, and how you overcame it.

Early on I was very preoccupied trying to find my style and the subject matter that interested me most.  I photographed many different things and always tried to capture everything I saw, thinking this was the way to tell a story with a photograph.  It took quite of few years of looking at photographs taken by professional photographers and dedicated hobbyists, such as myself, to realize that less is more. 

Richard Opiekun

I had to make a concerted effort to keep it simple and to realize that I wanted to evoke an emotion in someone looking at my photographs.  While I had the advantage of capturing an image and using all of my senses at the same time, I wanted to viewer to experience the same awe and feeling without the benefit of smell, sound, etc. that likely drew me to a location to capture a moment.  Once I realized that evoking emotions and telling a story was more important than the actual subject matter, I was able to relax and find a creative rhythm.

What sparked your love for photography?

Seeing my dad and my uncle always traveling around with the family, camera in hand.

Left Behind (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ)
Richard Opiekun

What’s your favorite class on KelbyOne and why?

Landscape instruction.  I find inspiration in the way KelbyOne photographers look at a scene and set up for a shot.  They don’t just focus on the gear, but the composition that best evokes the feeling of the viewer actually being there.

Connect with Richard

Richard does not have a social media presence but wanted to share that his work is featured on the website of the Ocean County Camera Club in Tom’s River, New Jersey.

Thank you so much to Richard for chatting with us and offering up some incredible shots!

Thank you for joining us for another Member Monday! If you haven’t yet, be sure to submit your photos for a chance to receive a Member Monday feature of your own.