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Updated: Oct 6, 2022

The Cape Fear Living Photographer of the Year was recently bestowed on Phil Vizzini. The three photographs he entered, "Through the Marshes," "Off Duty," and "Water Canvas," in the Landscape category, captivated the judge's attention. The selections were chosen based on beauty and composition, but inevitably it came down to Vizzini's unique perspective, use of color, and what the photographs represent in the coastal landscape in which we live.

By Chris Martin

Tell a little about your background and how you got into photography.

I moved to Wilmington in 2007 from Annapolis, MD. I graduated from UNCW in 2010 with a degree in Physical Geography. I served 4 years in the US Coast Guard and was fortunate to return to NC, where I was stationed in Oak Island for 3 of those years. After separating from the Coast Guard, I attended Cape Fear Community college for the Marine Tech Program. I’ve always been around photography. My mother is a professional photographer specializing in weddings, family portraits, and real estate. I’ve always liked taking pictures, but it wasn’t until I bought a drone a few years back that I could see the world from a different perspective. Now I can take a camera anywhere. After being asked for prints and even to work on a couple projects, I knew it was time to start a business in photography.

Cape Fear Living Photographer of the Year, Phil Vizzini

How would you define your photographic style?

I mainly shoot landscape aerial photography of local beaches and lifestyles associated with the area. I like capturing lifestyles that make this area unique such as surfing, paddle boarding, and boating. Capturing a straight-down view is something you don’t get with an ordinary camera which is quickly done with a drone, where you can get great water textures to vantage points. Also, the vibrant colors of the water here really make this area genuinely look like paradise. My Instagram handle is Nautical Exposure, so most of my pictures have ocean aspects. I keep the feel and tone of the photos true to what you see but I will sometimes add some artistic touch if it is a particular capture I'm trying to achieve.

What do you love about living and photographing along the Carolina coast?

We have stunning beaches and landscapes in the Cape Fear region, and there is so much to do and see. From the river to the ocean, there are many unique features. Every time I do a photoshoot, I capture something that showcases the area, whether it is the bright blue and green water at Wrightsville or the intricate marsh designs. Of course, the surf is excellent here too, and I love capturing surfers riding waves or paddle boarders cruising around the marshes.

Is there a particular photograph you’ve taken that stands out for you?

A photograph that stands out to me is one I took at sunrise on Wrightsville Beach. It captures the soft colors and calmness in the morning. Also, there was a father and daughter in the water, and they were the only ones enjoying the morning. It’s definitely a favorite among my friends.

Are you working on any photographic projects?

I’ve been working with Riverlights Townhomes with their construction progression. Also, for a personal project, I’ve been capturing aerial video of the area to make a short video.

When you’re not taking pictures, what do you like to do?

I like to surf, camp in western NC, and drive out on Fort Fisher Beach for a relaxing day. In addition, I play guitar on the worship team at Life Church.

3 Songs on your current playlist.


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