Westerly, Rhode Island native David Zapatka spent ten years shooting local news in the Providence market before he began his long career as a network freelance cameraman and director of photography. His work regularly appears on national news and sports programs for ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, HBO, and CNN. His assignments have brought him to 49 states and over 30 countries. He’s covered six Superbowls and for the past 20 years has annually covered the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament; he’s worked at four winter Olympic Games, winning two National Sports Emmy awards for his contributions to the NBC coverage of the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 and Vancouver in 2010.
In October 2013, he began what has become the “Stars & Lights” lighthouse project of historic structures under brilliant stars on new moon nights. His lighthouse photography has been well received by galleries throughout the Northeast. He continues to photograph lighthouses under the stars and to date has captured more than one hundred and fifty from fifteen US states. His first book Stars and Lights: The Darkest of Dark Nights was released in 2017 by Vertel Publishing of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. The Stars & Lights project was recently adopted by the United States Lighthouse Society as USA Stars & Lights, and Zapatka will continue capturing lighthouses on a national level. The entire collection will soon have a permanent home in the USLHS archives.
At home in Rhode Island he’s involved in several civic efforts on local boards that include the South County Tourism Council as well as Camp Surefire, a summer camp for children with Type 1 diabetes. He is also president of the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse in North Kingstown and was responsible for the creation of the Rhode Island lighthouse license plate that has sold over 10,000 sets and raised over $200,000 for the preservation of the local icon
He lives in North Kingstown, Rhode Island with his wife Lisa. The Stars and Lights gallery can be seen at www.starsandlighthouses.com. David Zapatka can be reached by email at email@example.com or 401-486-8674
“When one seeks photographs of lighthouses there are usually hundreds if not thousands to choose from of almost every one in the country. Most, if not all are daytime images. Seldom do you find photographs of lighthouses from when they did their most important work—at night. With the advent of more sensitive image sensors developed over the past several years, newer cameras now allow for the emerging genre of nighttime photography.
This project has taken on a life of its own and from the reactions I get from most observers of my work, I believe a new and greater appreciation of lighthouses and nighttime photography has emerged. It is at times difficult work and the motivation is to capture as many operating lighthouses we have left before we lose too many more.” (David Zapatka)