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"I exaggerate, sometimes I make changes in the subject; but still I don't invent the whole picture. On the contrary, I find it already there. It's a question of picking out what one wants from nature."

- Vincent Van Gogh


"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

- Henry David Thoreau


"The camera is much more than a recording apparatus. It is a medium via which messages reach us from another world."

- Orson Welles


"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

- Albert Einstein


"Photography is still a very new medium and everything is allowed and everything should be tried."

- Bill Brandt



It's 6:30 am on a cold winter morning and Ron Rothbart is setting up his tripod on a promontory jutting out into San Francisco Bay only ten minutes from his home. He focuses his camera on a decaying old pier and attaches a dark filter to the lens. He clicks his remote control to start the exposure and then waits five minutes while the camera sucks in light. "Slow photography" he calls it. "I love finding places like this, being out here by the water, composing other-worldly images. I'm not trying to represent reality," he says. "Reality is over-rated."


Rothbart creates simple, graphic images, usually in black and white. The long exposures and Ron's photo-editing techniques present us with highly textured objects against smooth, silky water and blurred clouds. The images often do have an other-worldly quality.


Rothbart lived in New York, Florida, Illinois, and Massachusetts before coming to California in 1968. After knocking around awhile, he earned a PhD at UC-Berkeley and then spent over twenty years as a technical writer and manager in the software industry. Now he devotes much of his time to photography.




I started doing photography long before I owned a camera. I listened to the radio a lot as a kid and, because we had no TV, I was left to imagine what the Lone Ranger, Sky King, and Big John and Sparkie looked like. The radio, filtered through my imagination, granted me access to another world.


Today the camera grants me access to another world. I point it at something earthly, but what it picks up are other-worldly signals. I use photo-editing software to interpret those signals. My aim is not to reproduce what I see but to pass on messages that come to me from an alternative universe.



• Through the Looking Glass, Blake Garden UC Berkeley, Kensington, CA, February-March, 2020

• Eight Lenses, Art Gallery at the Orinda Library, January, 2020

• Visions of Democracy, Abrams Claghorn Gallery, Albany, December 2018-January 2019

• Language of Light, the LightRoom, Berkeley, November-December, 2018

• Berkeley Fine Art Photographers, Orinda Community Center, Orinda, CA, October, 2017

• Berkeley Fine Art Photographers, LightRoom, Berkeley, CA, April-May, 2016

• "Climate Change," Juried, Art Works Downtown, 1337 Gallery, San Rafael, CA, Jan- Feb, 2016

• f15 Group, Nielsen Arts, Berkeley, CA, December, 2015 – February, 2016

• Digital Arts Collective, Lightroom Gallery, Berkeley CA, Nov. 2015

• Berkeley Fine Art Photographers, Photolab, Berkeley, CA, March-April, 2015

• Darkroom Gallery, Essex Jct, Vermont, Feb-March, 2015

• f15 Group, UC Theatre Gallery, July-August, 2014

• Digital Arts Collective, 3rd Floor, Berkeley City College, May, 2014 - May, 2015

• Berkeley Fine Art Photographers, Nelly's Java Cafe, Oakland, CA, April, 2014

• Digital Arts Collective, Jerry Adams Gallery, Berkeley City College, January 24 - February 27, 2014

• Berkeley Camera Club, Nielsen Arts, Berkeley, CA, December 14, 2013 - February 5, 2014

• Berkeley Camera Club, Center Street Lobby Gallery, City of Berkeley and Expressions Gallery, August 10 - November 1, 2013

• Annual Photography Competition, First Place, Thousand Oaks Art Gallery, Berkeley, CA, June 8 - July 8, 2013

• Berkeley Camera Club, Lightroom Gallery, Berkeley, CA, August 13 - Sept. 7, 2012

• Permanent collection, Musée des religions du monde (Museum of world’s religions), Nicolet, Québec, from May 29, 2012

• Berkeley Camera Club, Zocalo Coffeehouse, San Leandro, CA, May, 2012

• Berkeley Camera Club, Nieslen Arts, Berkeley, CA, December 11 - February 12, 2012

• Berkeley Camera Club, Nelly's Java Cafe, Oakland, CA, Aug. 1 - Aug. 31, 2011

• The Art of Jazz and Music, 57th Street Gallery, Oakland, CA, Nov. 2 - Dec. 12, 2010



o Starting in June 2017, I added an iPhone 7 Plus.

o Starting in November 2016, I added a Sony DSC RX100 for use on hikes, about town, and when traveling.

o Since May, 2015, I've been using a Canon Rebel T6s. From April, 2010, I used a Canon Rebel XSi. And before that, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5.

o With the XSi, I used the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. It died after a few years due to a well-known defect, was fixed, and then died again a couple of years later.

o With the T6s, I'm using the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM and the following:

o EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

o Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

o Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

o Holga lens for Canon

o Hoya Circular Polarlizer

o B+W 10-stop neutral density filter (110 ND 3.0)

o B+W 6-stop neutral density filter (106 1.8-64X)

o XUME adapters (enables snapping on screw-on filters)

o Fotodiox Canon EOS Macro Extension Tube Set Kit

o Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs with 498RC2 Ball Head (7 lbs)

For post-processing, I use Lightroom, Photoshop, and Nik plugins.


Contact Information

If you want to contact me, please use FlickrMail.

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  • JoinedSeptember 2009
  • OccupationPhotographer Extraordinaire (aka retired)
  • Current cityEl Cerrito, California
  • CountryUSA
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