In this exclusive interview, we present Roberto Valdez, also known as Robinski, who at 27 years old is a professional photographer and the only Sony ambassador in Ecuador. His stunning photographs have attracted millions of followers on social media, with the allure of his passion and love of nature portrayed in every picture.
Where did your nickname “Robinski” come from?
Robinski comes from the combination of my name, Roberto, and “Jodorowsky” one of my favorite exhibitors in terms of cinema, writing, and drama.
How long ago did you begin doing astrophotography?
The first time I captured a photograph of the milky way was when I was 11. Since I was little I had the opportunity to grow with film cameras and learn as I went.
How do you think that astrophotography changed your vision about life?
Astrophotography has taught me to pace myself, to stop completely and contemplate. To be thankful for what I have and fortunate for everything that I see during my journeys. I have become grateful for life.
What are the best spots in Ecuador for astrophotography?
There are plenty! But they’re all pretty far from the urban areas. As an astrophotographer, I always try to get out of the city to avoid light pollution. Some of my favorite spots are Chimborazo volcano, Cotopaxi, Quilotoa, Molleturo and El Cajas. The air in the Ecuadorian Sierra is cleaner (for stargazing) than the air of the coastal region, there is less atmosphere and this results in sharper photographs.
Places in Ecuador you still haven’t captured?
Galápagos! It’s definitely on my list, and even though I’m not a big fan of beaches, I’m aware Galápagos is much more than that.
Could you share an unforgettable experience you lived while on a photography trip?
Once I almost got beaten up by indigenous locals, with a stick in hand. They thought I was going to steal their cattle when I was taking night pictures of Tungurahua volcano. They didn’t understand I was there to take pictures, and even though I showed them on camera, they thought my tripod was a weapon. After a long discussion.. they understood what I was doing, and more importantly, that I meant no harm.
How did you come up with the idea of leading specialized workshops- and how have they worked out for you?
The workshops came from the idea of generating income doing what I best know- and taking advantage of my knowledge of destinations for shoots and photography techniques. I’ve had some success, but I’m mostly proud to be part of the Sony ambassadors family; being the first, and only, ambassador in Ecuador. I am happy to represent my country.
Do you think Ecuador has tourism potential with astrophotography?
Yes, it has a lot of potential, but there aren’t many people focused on it. Since I started working on this, I’ve seen other similar tourism proposals emerge.
What do you think Ecuador is missing when it comes to astrophotography related tourism? Do you think they could explore it and exploit it further?
I wish we had more support from the places where we do our shoots. For example, National Parks could encourage, and even reward, photographers for capturing unimaginable sights that promote the area.
Tell us a bit about your future plans
For the moment I don’t have many, but I’m close to launching my first photobook on stars and volcanoes. I’m also motivated on traveling to other countries where I can direct workshops. Basically, my future plans all involve photography and travel.
Thank you Robinski for the interview, we wish you the best!
For more photographs check here: @robinski_