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Photographing His World

Published on: Apr 1, 2022
 By: The New Dentist
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If you understand how to manipulate light and what light is doing to capture a moment, it’s awe inspiring.

Through his photography, Dr. William Nudera captures the moments that matter most to him, whether he’s snapping shots of his family or the scenery around him. He loves manipulating light to create images that inspire him, and then turning his favorites into prints he can hang in his home or include in his yearly family album. 

Dr. Nudera, an endodontist, first became interested in photography after taking a course in dental school, where he was introduced to DSLR cameras and learned about framing and exposure. His interest was sparked even more as photography moved into the digital age, so he decided to buy introductory books and teach himself what he needed to know to pursue this hobby, which took off when his first child was born. 

“I really wanted my photographs to document the scene I saw as accurately as possible,” Dr. Nudera said. “Anyone can take snapshots with their phone, but it was important to me that my pictures convey what I actually saw in the best format possible. So, I started getting into not just taking photos, but learning how to process the images in a way that gave them impact.” 

A Meaningful Hobby 

Dr. Nudera’s photography style ranges, depending on what he feels like. Mostly, though, he focuses on portraits and landscapes. He loves walking around town and taking photos of whatever captures his eye, what he calls street photography. 

Dr. Nudera also likes to play with different exposures for the greatest impact, he said, using post processing software like Photoshop to give his images a dynamic range of lights and darks and high contrast. 

Regardless of the stye he uses, Dr. Nudera only captures images when he’s feeling inspired or knows he’s in a moment he’ll want to remember. It’s never forced; the photos he takes always mean something to him. 

“Every time I pick up the camera it’s just for me. It’s not for any financial gain,” he said. “That’s what keeps it pure for me.” 

Many of the images he captures are of his family, so they’re very private, Dr. Nudera said. He doesn’t typically enter shows or photo contests, but the one time he did, his photograph took the grand prize at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. 

The Equipment 

Dr. Nudera mainly uses Canon cameras. Canon was the first camera body he ever bought, and if he switched brands he’d have to get new lenses—and after more than 20 years, he has quite the collection of lenses that allow him to take beautiful photographs. 

“It’s not the camera body that gives great images,” he said, “it’s the lens you hook to that camera.” 

When he’s buying a new lens, Dr. Nudera looks at the quality of the glass within the lens and the F-Stop, or aperture, which refers to the amount of light it lets in. A low F-Stop means a wide diameter, allowing for the most light. The lower the F-Stop, the higher quality and the more expensive the lens, but the smaller the range of focus. To find the right balance, he looks for the lowest aperture that can stay consistent through the focus range of the lens. 

Practice Benefits 

Dr. Nudera’s photography hobby not only brings him joy during his down time, it has enhanced his work clinically as well. He uses a ZEISS microscope in his practice, which he said is basically a camera lens. When he was building his office, he knew he wanted a microscope with a high-quality lens because of the added influence the images captured would give his case reports. 

“Typically, endo case reports that go back to the referring doctor have a pre-op x-ray and one or two post-op results,” Dr. Nudera said, noting the images he takes also help with marketing his practice to GPs. “When you incorporate a clinical photo of what you did inside the tooth with the radiographs, the impact of your treatment is much greater. It involves the general dentist in what we do.”

The biggest difference between what Dr. Nudera does with photography in his office versus during his off time? Scale. When he’s shooting photos on the street, for example, he can change his position, frame what he’s capturing and adjust the composition before taking an exposure. Dentistry, on the other hand, is on a macro scale, where he’s using high powered magnification to capture an image of a tooth at one fixed reference point. There isn’t much flexibility. 

A Different Perspective 

Dr. Nudera looks at the world differently through a camera lens. He’s aware of how light interacts with his surroundings, and if he can capture the movement of light and how it behaves on a subject, that’s really moving to him. He takes thousands of pictures a year, and looks through each one for that perfect shot, a process he describes as therapeutic. 

“If you understand how to manipulate light and what light is doing to capture a moment, it’s awe inspiring,” he said. “When you get that perfect photograph, it’s just fantastic.” 

Dr. William Nudera earned a DDS from the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry in 1999. Upon graduation, he served in the United States Air Force Dental Corps where he completed a one year AEGD residency program. During his time of service, Dr. Nudera received a National Defense Service Medal for his involvement in “Operation Enduring Freedom” and was awarded the title of “Air Force Dental Office of the Year” in 2002. Following his service, Dr. Nudera returned to Chicago where he continued to practice general dentistry while pursuing an education in endodontics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Nudera completed his endodontic training in 2005, earning his Endodontic specialty certificate as well as a Master’s Degree in Oral Sciences.

Dr. Nudera maintains a full-time private practice limited to endodontics at Specialized Endodontic Solutions in Bloomingdale, Illinois, and downtown Chicago at Advanced Endodontics of Chicago. Dr. Nudera currently holds a faculty position in the Department of Endodontics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry.

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