I’ve been taking pictures for a long time.  And while my images might not scream experience, I mention this to illustrate how important finding a mentor is.  Learning all by yourself (while having it’s benefits, and a necessary component) is a tough and inefficient walk.  From learning to surf at 13, to starting out in a sales career, I’ve always jumped in with both feet and sought out as much ‘doing’ experience in addition to learning and  reading all I could get my hands on.  But without the practical guidance of those further along in whatever area I was trying to learn, things always managed to get really tough, frustrating, and disheartening.  And we all know that things are going to get this way anyway, so why not try and lessen that, and speed our approach to competence and hopefully one day to a place where we not only feel the joy of doing something well, but hopefully also turning around and passing that to another who is just beginning their journey.  I guess what I’m trying to say is:

Experiment on your own, but why re-create the wheel?  Someone has already paid with blood, sweat, and tears.  As a photographer, my skill level has exponentially grown and in no small part is that a direct result of the good fortune of having very capable and friendly experts to help me.

And so not only do I want to just put this small but important point out there, I’d also like to thank long-time friend and current mentor, Sergio Salvador.  Sergio and I met in college as co-workers in a dish-room, and though Serge’s work ethic in the DR was suspect, he was always a good friend and more than willing to help me learn.  Fast forward 20 years, and Sergio has been helping me over the last six months in just the area of photography.  I find his work to be of the quality I aspire to achieve, and so for him to give me so much time and guidance, it’s truly a critical gift that makes what I do today possible.  Thanks Serge, the check is in the mail!

Sergio took the below pic of my boy in our living room recently on a family trip to San Diego (he resides in Albuquerque).  It was a just a quick snapshot, but I still like it.  He was playing around with a technique of changing the focus selector (on a Nikon) to the big white triangle, and continuous auto-focus (AF-C).  It’s a neat little trick for when things are moving quickly, and I don’t understand the magic, but the computer in the camera just seems to always find focus where you’d want it.  This shot was him basically just pointing the camera at my boy’s face and pressing the shutter.

Check out some of Sergio’s work at the below links:


About Bryan Oster

Photographer of people and food. You can see some of my work at my site (, and at my blog (
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1 Response to Mentorship

  1. Sergio says:

    Thank you, grasshopper.

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