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Local photographer receives acclaim for work

Carly Stone
Staff writer
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Posted 12/16/22

Amateur photographer Nelson Rudiak, of Rome, was awarded by a prestigious photography platform for his black and white photograph taken in Madison County.

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Local photographer receives acclaim for work


ROME — Amateur photographer Nelson Rudiak, of Rome, was awarded by a prestigious photography platform for his black and white photograph taken in Madison County.

Rudiak received “Honorable Mention” in the 17th Annual Black and White Spider Awards in the category of Americana on Saturday, Nov. 26 for his photograph, “Twilight Zone Park.”

Black and White Spider Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography by artists around the globe.

This year’s event included 6,438 entries from 69 countries.

“It’s very satisfying to be honored by a group like that that judges so many fine photographers. When I look at all the winning photographs and minds there, it’s satisfying. It’s an honor. It’s validation and justification that what I’m doing is actually pretty good and people recognize it,” Rudiak told the Sentinel.

Basil O’Brien, the awards’ creative director, stated, “Rudiak’s photograph “Twilight Zone Park,” an exceptional image entered in the Americana category, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present him with the title of Honorable Mention.”

The 68-year-old Rome native described himself as a photography “enthusiast” — “which means you do it a lot, you’re pretty good at it, and you spend a lot of money but you don’t make any money at it,” he joked.

Rudiak has always had a love for the craft and has practiced the hobby consistently for the last 15 years and practiced the hobby some time before that. “I started as a 35 millimeter guy way back in the 1970s,” he shared. Though he has no formal training in photography, he gained insights from his brother, John Rudiak, who taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and University of New Mexico.

Rudiak is always reading about the art and trying to hone his skill. “There’s the artistic side of knowing what makes a good photograph ... but then there’s the technical side too. You try to marry both of them,” he remarked.

“Twilight Zone Park” was shot at Chapman Park in Bridgeport at the end of March. Rudiak said he was originally chasing a rainbow on his way from Syracuse to Rome when he stopped at the park to try and get a shot of it over Oneida Lake. The rainbow had already dissipated, but when he turned around he saw a different scene worth capturing.

“I had to pivot, change my settings very quick, and probably had about 10 or 15 seconds to make that image because the fog came and went very quickly,” he reflected.

The image was taken digitally on a Canon R mirrorless camera and edited to black and white in post.

Taking photographs and learning about the craft is fulfilling enough for Rudiak, who specializes in landscape photography. If he can share his work with others who can also appreciate his work, that’s a bonus, he said.

More of Rudiak’s photographs can be found on his website,


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