About Rod W. Santiago - Rod W. Santiago

Each moment is unique. Whether they are expressions that show someone’s personality or the emotions between a person and his animal friend, I enjoy capturing those moments with my camera. That is why my favorite subjects are people and pets.


My First Love

When I was a junior in high school, my parents gave me a Pentax SLR camera for Christmas. I became a shutterbug instantly. I took pictures of everyone in my family, including our three dogs, tropical fishes and my rodents. I saved my allowance so that I could buy film, prints and photography books. Even coming from a high average family in the Philippines, this was a very expensive hobby.

During my senior year, I requested a brochure for the Rhode Island School of Photography and wanted to go there. When I told my parents that I wanted to study photography in the States, my mom gently told me that they can’t afford it. The currency exchange then was fifteen pesos to a U.S. dollar. Also, if you were a foreign student, you had to show proof that you could afford to study and live there for a year because you weren’t allowed to work during that period.

A New Love

In college, I sometimes contributed to the school paper by photographing school events. There I had an  Intro to BASIC programming class and got to use a Personal Computer. This is when I started my love affair with computers.

After getting my business degree, I pursued an associate’s degree in database programming and finished second top of the class. This school hired me as a database programmer. As soon as I made money, I bought a 386 PC. Whoa was it super fast then and those floppy disks were awesome! Photography took a backseat and I only took snapshots occasionally.

Colorful fireworks 2013

A New Home and Another Love

Somehow, I ended up in New York City and my first job in NYC, was working as a tech support/instructor for a business school. There I met a recruiter who was hiring entry-level web developers. I bought a HTML training video on VHS and then applied for the job. I was hired and since the,  Web development has become my livelihood for over a decade.

The new millennium brought a new way of taking pictures. They're digital and you can see the photos on its LCD screen right away. Awesome! My first digital camera took a 0.75 megapixel photo. Since then, I kept updating my digital camera as they became more powerful. They were point and shoot cameras though. In 2010, I bought this beautiful black and white Pentax SLR because it reminded me of a Star Wars Storm-trooper. This has made me enthusiastic with photography again. However because of its weight and size, I didn't bring it with me all the time.

First Love Never Dies

In 2012, I bought a Sony NEX 5N mirrorless to replace my Pentax DSLR. I was very impressed with the picture quality which matched photos taken from a DSLR that's twice the size and weight. This has rekindled my love for photography. It also reignited my love for NYC as if I was seeing the city again for the first time.

In mid 2014, I was inspired to start a pet website that I named NYCLovesPets.com. In my spare time, I would approach people walking their dogs, ask them about their pets, take their photos and post their story on the site. Almost every pet parents that I talked to were glad to share their stories and I have been privileged to capture some of those moments with my camera.


Engaged To Photography

In late November 2015, after going through thousands of pictures that I took, a lot of these photos will make good wall art in people’s homes. Maybe there’s a way that I can sell this to them and go pro (I don’t mean the action cam that people put on their helmets.)?

Why not? I was hired a few times to take portraits and headshots within the last two years anyway. I do want to do this more and hopefully make a full-time living out of it.

ATTENTION EVERYONE:  Presenting the fruits of my love affair with photography:

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