Interview with Photographer Sam Trombino

Sam is a rural landscape, commercial, corporate, and portrait photographer from Vermont. Living in New England most of his life, he’s been photographing the rural beauty of this picturesque place on and off since 1987, and full time in the past 6 years. He was kind enough to take the time and chat with us.

Hi Sam! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. Can you tell us a little about yourself? Hi Anca and thank you for the opportunity to share a bit of my story with your readers. I am a born and raised New Englander originally from Massachusetts. I relocated to Vermont in 1995 and never left. I love the quiet and natural beauty and the pace is just my style. I work in public safety for the State of Vermont and have been for 25 years. I live in Chittenden County outside of Burlington which is very convenient to many amazing locations in Vermont. I originally started in photography in film decades ago. I am self-taught and have crafted my point of view over many years. I primarily shoot rural landscapes. That is my first love. But I have branched out into many areas over the years to include portraits, commercial projects, real estate and even pet photography.  Photography takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master. I am constantly honing my work and trying to learn new things to improve.

Where does your passion for photography come from? What was that AHA moment? I started collecting cameras in my early teens mostly at yard sales and flea markets. I picked up an old Leica with a 50mm lens and started to play around with it. It began a fascination with light and capturing moments in time that cannot be replicated. My true AHA moment was when I bought my first new SLR. It was a Pentax K-1000 and I shot with that camera for over 20 years. I took a hiatus from photography for about 10 years.  I was very reluctant to join the digital revolution. But I jumped back in about 7 years ago.  And my craft really took off.

Scrolling through your feed is a pure joy. Your images bring up childhood memories and nostalgic feelings for old and original. How do you manage to capture that authenticity? I find that photography should evoke an emotional response. I also believe that why my images connect with people is that they can identify with a message I am trying to convey. In such difficult times people are seeking comfort and nostalgia.  I feel that if I have an emotional connection to an image or scene that it comes through and others feel it too. I simply try to be faithful to my point of view.  Most moments compose themselves. They play out in front of me and I simply try and accurately portray what my eyes see.

What inspires your art and feeds your creativity? And how do you incorporate that into your art afterwards? The weather might be my single most powerful thing that spurs my creativity. I simply love snow and the fall and tend to shoot far more in those seasons than I do in the spring and summer. I of course shoot during those seasons as well and I have captured some beautiful scenes. But there is something so special and comforting about fresh fallen snow. It is quiet and fresh and symbolizes a new start every time it snows.

As a photographer, I’m sure you feel attached to all your photos. Each and every one of them must have a special place in your heart. But you must have a favorite. Which one is it, and what makes this your favorite one? This might sound cliché but my favorite image is usually the one I am taking. However, I agree that I feel a strong attachment to most of my photos that I take. Real Estate work is challenging but more formulaic and is a service more than a passion.  I think that landscape photos with memories really become my favorites. Whether it was shooting with another person or some other powerful moment.  I took an image this past fall of a tire swing framed by late September foliage. The light was golden and perfect and with a red barn in the background it simply moved me. It made me think of simpler times and good memories.

Vermont is gorgeous all year round. You have lived there since 1995. I’m sure you have lots of lots of favorite places. Could you please share with us your favorites? Literally on any given day you can stumble over a beautiful spot in Vermont but I think I can list my top 5 for you:

  1. Woodstock Vermont. I love the vibe of the town and it is so close to some iconic photo spots including Sleepy Hollow Farm, The Jenne Farm and the Woodstock Inn.

  2. Lake Willoughby is amazing in any season. The sunsets and foliage are glorious.  The weather is very temperamental so it can be hit or miss. But when things align it can be magical.

  3. Hillside Acres Farm in West Barnet Vermont is a stunning spot. You do have to hit it right for good lighting, but the owners of the property are very hospitable and kind to anyone who wants to enjoy the view. They set up hay bales and signs welcoming you to sit awhile and enjoy.

  4. The AM Foster Bridge in Cabot, Vermont is another favorite spot of mine. It is a covered bridge in a field with a small pond and an amazing view of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks in the distance. It is a great sunset or early morning shot. It is also a favorite for astrophotography.

  5. Lake Champlain is a must visit.  As the only New England state that is landlocked. The lake offers us a unique sunset view. Facing west are the Adirondack Mountains and they are gorgeous.  There are two lighthouses in the bay and they provide really awesome focal points. And the sunsets are spectacular.  The city of Burlington is culturally diverse and there is so much to do and see.


Photo Courtesy of Woodstock Inn Resort

Also what are the first 3 places a tourist MUST SEE in Vermont during winter?

  1. Stowe for both outdoor sports and the total vibe of the town.

  2. Woodstock during the holidays is magical.

  3. Manchester is also a must see for skiing and shopping and dining.

How do you feel about social media? Social media could absolutely be an article all its own. But the short version is that social media is a great way to have your work seen by people. However, there is a lot of competition and your work needs to stand out to get noticed. I think that too many people tie their worth to how a post does on Instagram or other platforms. It simply is not true.  I am grateful that I have an amazing community that supports me. I think the key to social media is to be yourself and share who you are.  Try not to be fake influencer authentic. By that I mean you need to let people know who you are warts and all. Nobody’s life is perfect. I feel that people resonate with real stories by real people. They know that curated perfect feeds are not genuine, and they cannot relate. Social media has become less social and more commercial and retail oriented. And with so many people vying for space to get viewed it can be very cutthroat. I live by the axiom of create don’t compete. I try to promote other photographers as much as I can.

What social media platforms are best for landscape photographers? While Instagram is the largest platform and the best chance to be seen, the images are cropped, and they are compressed.  500px is a good platform as is dayflash. I also post on Gurushots.

How can we find you on social media or anywhere else in the digital world?  Instagram is my main social media platform. That’s where I post most frequently, on my both accounts: @samtrombinophotography & @vermontportraits. I’m also on Facebook: @samtrombinophotography and on Twitter:@SamTrombino

And here is my Gurushots account: