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Our Laguna: Lagunans awarded at the O.C. Fair

September 01, 2011|By Barbara Diamond
  • Art Z's photograph, "Laguna Guardian" won first place in the black-and-white photography division at the 2011 O.C. Fair.
Art Z's photograph, "Laguna Guardian"… (Coastline Pilot )

Art Zdanowski's prize-winning photograph of the Main Beach Lifeguard Tower has been added to the city's permanent art collection.

Zdanowski, whose professional name is ArtZ, donated "Laguna Guardian" to the city at the Aug. 16 City Council meeting. The black-and-white photograph shows the tower under a spectacular cloudy sky.

"I waited eight months for the right cloud formation," Zdanowski told the council.

The wait, which began in October of last year, ended on May 8 when he finally captured on camera the vision he had "in his mind's eye."

"At that time I was learning the photographic technique known as 'HDR' (high dynamic range), which is the digital version of the 'Zone System' created and used by Ansel Adams," Zdanowski said. "I applied HDR by taking the image of the lifeguard tower with nine different exposures and used special software to combine the exposures to get the resulting image."

Zdanowski was introduced to the council by Alan Boinus, a 22-year Laguna Beach resident and neighbor of the photographer.

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"We are fortunate that an artist as gifted as ArtZ has chosen Laguna Beach to launch his career," Boinus said. "The 'Laguna Guardian' photograph may be the most beautiful rendition ever taken of our famous lifeguard tower."

Zdanowski is a native of Warsaw, Poland. He studied art in his hometown before coming to Laguna Beach to pursue his career as a photography artist.

His work was exhibited this year at the Sawdust Art Festival, and his donation to the city's collection may be seen hanging outside City Manager John Pietig's office.

Zdanowski's photograph won first prize for a black-and-white print by an amateur in the seascape class at the 2011 Orange County Fair.

He was among the 24 Laguna Beach exhibitors this year.

Donald Smith received the Judge's Award for his entry in Household Collections.

Tod Gertz won first and second prizes for his oranges, entered as specimen produce by an adult in the Garden & Floral category.

Maty Carlson, 8, won first prizes for the largest lemon and largest beet in the junior category. Her younger brother, 6-year-old Tyce, was a winner in the largest "other vegetable" class with the biggest radish. He also won a blue ribbon for his apricots.

The children are the son of homegrown Melia Carlson, a 1988 graduate of Laguna Beach High School and owner of Flowers by Melia Carlson on Sun Valley Drive in Laguna Canyon. The shop shares property with the art studio of her father, John Alabaster.

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