December 3rd, 2011
Photo Expo West 2nd Place winner – Emmanuel Panagiotakis
June 2nd, 2011
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 12:15 am | Updated: 12:21 pm, Mon May 16, 2011.
By Scott Tady
Center Twp. - He might have settled for a big, toothy yawn.
But as the hours wore on, Emmanuel Panagiotakis’ instincts told him there was a better photo waiting on the other side of the moat where the two lions prowled.
The moment the female lion, Shiba, tenderly nuzzled her head with the head of her male companion, Juma, Panagiotakis sprang into action. The Center Township man aimed his monopod-mounted Canon camera and snapped the photo that won a 2007 first-place award from prestigious Popular Photography magazine.
Panagiotakis’ patience that day at the Pittsburgh Zoo is paying off once more, as Popular Photography prepares to release its first full-length book, “Get That Shot! Popular Photography,” consisting of tips and ideas for aspiring photographers with accompanying stories and photos.
After sifting through several thousand submissions provided to Popular Photography magazine over the last few years, Panagiotakis’ lion photo was selected among those to appear in the book. It was a “creme-de-la-creme example” of what Popular Photography represents, said Conor Buckley, photography and illustration coordinator for Weldon Owen Inc., the San Francisco publishing firm partnering in the book.
Panagiotakis will receive a complementary copy of the book with a bonus check.
“It’s more important to me as an artist that people recognize my work,” said the 42-year-old Panagiotakis, who sells prints of his landscape, events and wildlife photos via pittsburghpictures.net.
A native of Greece, who moved to Beaver County 22 years ago after meeting his wife, Genie, when she was on vacation in that European country, Panagiotakis is a late-bloomer as a photographer.
“I hit it hard about eight years ago,” Panagiotakis said, citing National Geographic magazine as his major influence.
Eager to figure out how the celebrated photographers for that magazine captured the images they did, Panagiotakis bought his first digital camera.
“I started shooting flowers and stuff, and got a little more into it,” he said.
The Beaver County Recreation and Tourism Department liked his work and hired him for a few projects. Later, Brighton Township hired him to shoot photos for its website, with Beaver Borough doing the same for its newsletter.
Photography is a secondary career; Panagiotakis’ main income is as a house painter.
He placed second a week ago in a San Diego-based photo contest for his shot of Maine’s Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, which, when added to his lion photo being selected for the Popular Photography book, has boosted Panagiotakis’ ambitions to someday work full time as a commercial photographer.
“After I hooked up with photography, I see the world in a whole different perspective,” Panagiotakis said. “That’s my passion.”