Photographer focuses on shooting the familiar in a different way

Kenneth Castoro’s photo, “Twin Strike,” is on display at the Art Gallery of Viera in The Avenue. Three of his other photos are on the wall behind him.

To take a once-in-a-lifetime photo can require planning and timing.

For Kenneth Castoro, that moment might be fleeting or excruciatingly long.

“In my work, to get it absolutely right takes a lot of planning. You show up, and the light is not right. That means you go back again and again and again,” said Castoro, who lives in Indialantic.

His stunning photo of lightning, “Twin Strike,” took three years of going to the same spot. It is on display at the Art Gallery of Viera in The Avenue.

Castoro had the image and composition planned well in advance.

“I wanted it to be on the ocean overlooking the pier. So every time there was a nighttime thunderstorm, I’d get an alert and go out,” Castoro said.

His patience paid off with a perfect lightning image on both sides of the pier.

Or, a photo opportunity unfolds in a matter of minutes.

Once, he saw a squall line approaching that sent many on the crowded beach fleeing to avoid the oncoming storm. Except for one little girl.

He focused his camera on this fearless girl who was intent on making a sand castle.

“(The photo) told a great story.”

In his arts-focused family, Castoro’s love of photography began as a teen, when he stumbled onto his father’s old camera.

“It was a perfect marriage between the arts world and technical world. I loved how you can use an instrument to capture light and images,” said Castoro, a Long Island native.

About a year ago, Bella Thomas purchased Castoro’s photo taken at Paradise Beach.

“The sun was breaking through the clouds. Sandpipers were on the beach. Its details and colors were stunning,” she said.

In another photo of his, a least tern is in mid-flight, just above the waterline.

“The sea is sparkling. It breaks into turquoise blues. He has a passion for his work. He takes his time and captures the light. It’s just gorgeous,” Thomas said.

Castoro said he likes to show the world as it is: pure — without editing.

But he also likes to show the familiar in a different way, which is why he often shoots in the middle of the night.

“When you look at things lit by moonlight or starlight, they take on different qualities. It brings out different emotions.”