Contributor: Andrew Rios
Location: Denver, Colorado
Shotzr Handle: rios_photos
Instagram Handle: @riosphoto
Shotzr: Tell us a little about yourself!
Andrew: Well, I grew up in Orange County, California and once I got done with school I heard about a summer job opportunity in Colorado. I said “Sure why not?”. So I packed up my truck and drove out to Estes Park in 2010 to work at The Stanley Hotel. Once the summer season came to an end I really didn’t want to leave, so I spoke with the management company and asked if there were any positions that would allow me to stay. As most people know, there isn’t much going on in Estes Park in the winter, but the company that ran The Stanley also ran another hotel in Telluride. They had an opening, so I made the transfer and lived in Telluride for about 3 years before moving to Denver.
Shotzr: How did you get your start in photography?
Andrew: While I was in Telluride I came across an old Olympus OM-1 film camera with a couple lenses at a garage sale. The guy selling it was asking $15 for everything, and kept saying “film is dead, you’re better off going digital”. I didn’t care, it was in great condition and something about that camera drew me to it. I had always loved snapping photos with my iPhone and I wanted to learn how a real camera worked. I soon realized shooting film was a little more difficult than taking pictures with an iPhone (go figure!), but I kept at it and eventually got the hang of it. When I moved to Denver, I took a photography course at Metro State where I spent a lot of time in the darkroom and found my self totally engrossed in the whole process of developing film. I would say that was when I found my passion for photography.
Shotzr: How would you describe your style of photography?
Andrew: I’m not sure how I would classify my style of photography. I really enjoy the energy associated with live music and capturing moments where the artist, or a fan, is completely lost in their emotions. I also love the peacefulness of being completely alone trying to find the right exposure settings at night in the city. I guess I would describe my style as patient and precise.
Shotzr: What areas of photography are you currently focusing your growth?
Andrew: I have been doing more and more research on time-lapse photography. I would love to focus on that in 2018.
Shotzr: Tell us about your experience so far being a Sponsored Contributor for Shotzr.
Andrew: So far it has been a lot of fun! I really like the platform and the point system is a cool way to earn more gear. I think it’s going to change the way photos are shared around the world.
Shotzr: How does being a Lyft driver influence your photography?
Andrew: Driving for Lyft takes you all around the city and it has shown me a bunch of interesting locations to shoot. I was driving over a small bridge just north of downtown over the I-25 freeway, and noticed a little hole that was cut out in the fence. I turned off the app, grabbed my camera, and snapped a long exposure with all the light trails of the cars below. I would have never found that spot without Lyft.
Shotzr: Do you love low-light photography or is it more of a product of circumstance? What is your favorite niche of photography?
Andrew: Low-light photography has definitely been a product of circumstance with my live music work. The stage lights at some of these venues downtown can be difficult to work with and it has taught me to always shoot in Manual Mode, that way I can always control the exposure as the lights fluctuate. My favorite niche is definitely live music, and working with musicians and artists.
Shotzr: Your concert photography is exceptional. When you go to a show are you always bringing your full setup?
Andrew: Thank you!! I usually don’t bring my tripod, but this is pretty much what I bring to every show.
- Nikon D750
- Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8
- Nikkor 50mm f1.8
- Tamron 70-200mm f2.8
- Nikon SB-700 Speedlight (only for crowd shots)
- Sirui P-326 Carbon Fiber Monopod w/ Oben BE-117 Ball Head Mount
- GoPro Hero 5 Black (Sometimes I’ll mount it to the top of my camera to capture some POV action)
- Black Rapid Sport Strap
Shotzr: Lastly, what’s your favorite image that you’ve contributed in the last month?
Andrew: This is one of my favorite images I’ve ever taken. It was taken back in June of 2015 at Red Rocks when the DJ/Producer Gramatik had GRiZ and Big Gigantic join him on stage for what they called “Big GrizMatik”. They have only done this a handful of times and I’m not sure if they will ever do it again, especially when all three are headlining acts. There is just SO much going on in this photo, and the energy coming from the crowd at this moment was really something special.
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