WESTERLY — Westerly native David Zapatka, a photographer who traveled the world twice over during his years as a freelance cameraman for NBC, CBS, ABC, TBS and ESPN, and has covered four Olympic competitions, eight Superbowls, and 20 NCAA men’s basketball Final Fours, will inaugurate the new “Artisan in Residence Program” at Ocean House next week and play host to a variety of events for lighthouse lovers and fans of photography and art.
“It’s quite an honor” said Zapatka, a 1977 Westerly high graduate, who grew up in the Avondale section of town. “I was once a kid slinging food at the Ocean House … back when East Beach was the place to go.”
“I have a history here,” added Zapatka, who remembers the summer days of his youth with fondness.
Next weekend, Zapatka will help kick off the artisan program, which was created “to celebrate the arts, foster creativity and offer hands-on education for guests of all ages,” according to Daniel Hostettler, managing director and president of Ocean House Management Collection. Ocean House is one of only 11 Forbes Triple Five Star resorts in the world.
The program features “some of the best talent in the country,” according to Hostettler.
Invited artists will offer workshops and presentations, many hosted in the School House Cottage, which was originally built in 1852 and restored in 2013. A total of eight artists were been selected for the program, Hostettler said, and were chosen based on their “unique artistry and technique, and their ability to create interesting educational sessions for guests,” Hostettler said.
Zapatka will first offer a “Stars & Lights Talk & Photo Workshop,” called “Photographing Watch Hill Light Under the Stars,” on Friday, Sept. 7. Part one takes place at the School House from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and part two at the Watch Hill Lighthouse from 8 to 11 p.m.
Discussion will center around the process used for capturing lighthouses under the stars, Zapatka said. First, he plans to discuss camera gear, weather forecasting and the plan of action for the evening’s shoot, he said. Then participants will meet back at Ocean House at 8 p.m., and, after a shuttle ride to the lighthouse, participants will shoot various angles and will plan to capture the Milky Way at its peak in the sky.
“The Milky Way is at its fullest then,” said Zapatka, “And there will be a full moon. Let’s hope it’s clear.”
On Saturday, a Family Seminar will take place at Ocean House from 3 to 4 p.m. when children will be taught how a camera works and then shown how to “light-paint” their photographs using simple flashlights. Zapatka said his philosophy about children and cameras is to teach them that cameras are tools.
“I have a couple of cameras for them to touch,” said Zapatka, stressing the importance of letting youngsters get comfortable with camera equipment.
On Saturday, Zapatka will lead a workshop called “Sunset Photographs & Wine,” when he will share some tricks of the trade and information about how best to capture images at sunset, including composition, different angles of the lighthouse and how to capitalize on the beauty of the sunset during its many phases. Participants will learn how to capture their own photos at the lighthouse. The weekend will close with two Sunday events: “How Artists Make Art,” and a presentation about Zapatka’s book, “Stars & Lights: Darkest of Dark Nights.”