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Photo of the Week

Take a peek at this week’s top-rated shot, and learn more about the photographer who captured it.
Image: Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge.Matt Smola / UGC

June 4

“It’s more of an obsession than a hobby,” says Matt Smola, describing his love of photography.

In March, Smola and a group of fellow graduates from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, took a trip to San Francisco. While there, the 21-year-old dragged a handful of his friends out to get the perfect shot of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Mission accomplished. Smola’s photo was the top-rated image in this week’s It’s A Snap! contest. But it came at a cost.

The group visited several vantage points, starting at Fisherman’s Wharf, stopping by a few abandoned piers and ultimately walking about seven miles. The trek for the photo became known as the tourist death march.

“I think some of my friends got a little annoyed with me,” Smola recalls, but it wasn’t all bad. “At the end of the day, everyone felt like they'd really gotten a lot out of the day, so despite all the walking, we all had fun.”

“I was dead set on getting a really cool photo of Golden Gate Bridge,” he says.

Smola has been interested in photography for only the past year and a half. He first started monkeying around with his dad’s old film camera. For Christmas, his sister gave him a how-to book. “I read it and got a low-level Nikon D40,” he says, and he’s been snapping shots ever since.

Smola has been photographing people lately, but enjoys taking pictures of just about anything. “I take what I can get — whatever strikes me at the moment.”

And what will the next moment bring? Smola is planning a trip to Chicago to see friends this summer, and he’s enrolled and will soon begin graduate school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

To see more of his photos, click here.