Danny Zapalac

Which would you rather: fly when you fart or pee when you laugh?
Neither, however I have howled like a wolf before..

You are pretty handy with tools, what is the most ambitious project you have taken on?Yea, I learned it all from my crafty dad. He’s from the Czech Republic where he was raised to be competent in all types of trades. By far, it has to be my “Studio On Farm”. It’s a prefabricated building made of SIP’s (Structural Insulated Panels) that sits on the back of our parcel here in Long Beach. With over 5 months of engineering/planning with NeoShed and The City before the unit was constructed, I went from a limited knowledge in building codes to now having a fine understanding of construction etiquette.

Planes, trains or automobiles?
All of the above. Each has it’s own unique flavour ..

What are your most and least favorite words?
“Green” as in commercial jargon is the least and “Wonderful” is the most fav.

Do you listen to music when you work and if so what is most often playing?
MountainChill.com and Cotton Jones are my source of musical inspiration when I switch into editing/post production mode .. We like to support the mom n pop shops ..

If you could live anywhere else in the world where would it be?
It’s really changed over the years. Tough to say right now, especially with a “child to be” in the mix, but it would have to be somewhere relative in terms of healthy business growth as well as strength of that city’s educational system.

What profession other than what you are doing now would you like to attempt?
Architectural as well as Landscape design .. Both have been side hobbies for some time as I’m constantly dialing in our residence. They’ve been that source of rejuvenation where I can loose myself in creativity without having to think of anything photographic.

What is your most proud moment?
I believe that moment is to come with our first child due in 6 weeks.

Do you have a favorite camera?
Of course, it’s the trusted Mamiya 7 with her crisp 65mm and 80mm lenses.

Are there any artists that you especially like their work?
The legendary Julius Shulman is a giant inspiration of both composition and integrity. His book set Modernism Rediscovered is a must for your collection.

If you could get the cover of any magazine, what would it be?
It would be LIFE magazine back in the day. How honoring would it be to photograph the late Elizabeth Taylor at the Oscars in 1961. Iconic images of Iconic people..

Do you prefer locations or studio?
Outdoor environments are the studio. The mighty sun is my key light ..

Was there a key moment in your life that you realized you wanted to be a photographer?
You bet .. it was the summer I graduated Long Beach State with a Business degree not really wanting a cubicle type of job. A friend placed me as the main character of his Super 8mm project where he filmed my multiple personalties along with snapping stills. He placed the varying B/W prints in front of me for the final shot and something clicked inside. I was immediately immersed in that moment of time when each photo was captured. That next fall I enrolled in the OCC photography program and as they say, the rest is history ..

How has “digital” changed the game for you?
Similar to a gardner who has specific tools for differing tasks, digital is now a tool in my quiver.

Do you think a person can be considered a “photographer” if they do not have skills shooting with film?
It’s tough to say, however I do hold those who are skilled in printing from a negative at a higher standard than those who do not. Those that are familiar with “nailing” the exposure onto film understand what I’m talking about ..

What would make up a perfect day?
I must say, I’m really lucky and privileged to live the life I have right now. Though its a fine balance between running your business along side cultivating creativity, I wouldn’t change anything as all days are rewarding in one way or another. I’ve been able to work with real talented folks that continue to motivate my drive in photography. I have a loving wife who supports my effort through editing and a family who have been there from the start. Thanks Rob, you made my day ..