TRAINER LEVEL: 38
FAVORITE POKÉMON GROUDON
CLAIM TO FAME: AR PHOTOGRAPHER
THE INTERVIEW - Flying High again
G2G: First, can you tell me your in-game Trainer name, level, and your favorite Pokémon? Is there a reason it is your favorite? Also, what do you do in your daily life?
Groudon8134: Cześć! I’m Groudon8134, also known as “doc” within the AR community. In Pokémon Go, my trainer name is “Groudon8134,” I am currently at trainer level 38, and my favorite Pokémon is—you guessed it—Groudon! More specifically, though, Shiny Groudon. This has always been my favorite Pokémon for many reasons.
First, Pokémon Ruby was my first Pokémon game. Second, Groudon was my first Shiny Pokémon. Third, I got extremely lucky in my first playthrough of Pokémon Ruby, and I found a Shiny Groudon on my first encounter with it, so I hold it dear to my heart, and I still have that very Groudon with me today in Pokémon HOME. Lastly, shiny Groudon’s color, lime green, has been my favorite color since I can remember.
In my daily life, I am a PhD aerospace engineer and CTO of an aerospace design company, as well as a private pilot. Although I usually work 12 hours a day, I try to fit my AR sessions in whenever I can. Being a pilot means I travel, a lot, so I have the opportunity to take photos all around the globe.
G2G: What got you into Pokémon/Pokémon GO? Were you into Pokémon before GO was released? What do you like the most about Pokémon in general?
Groudon8134: My first memory of Pokémon was back when I was coming home for Christmas, my first year of college. Before my flight, I stopped at a WalMart to see if they had a charger for my laptop, ad when I went to the electronics department, I saw an advertisement for Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. I decided that since I couldn’t find a charger for my laptop, and I had finished all my books, that I’d buy a GameBoy advance and a copy of Pokémon Ruby. I played it the entire flight, and I was hooked. I loved the collection aspect of the game, which is still my favorite part of the Pokémon series today.
G2G: What made you start creating/sharing Pokémon GO AR photographs? Was it just something you wanted to do, or is there more to it?
Groudon8134: My first memory of AR was back in August 2018, when I climbed to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, United States. I took a picture of Tyranitar at the top, and although I lost the photo in the process of transferring data to a new phone, I retook the picture this past year. I didn’t use AR much after that, until Chikorita Community Day, when I took a few photos of Chikorita in the grass, but nothing special.
In July of 2018, I took a picture of Sunhat Pikachu in a longe chair in front of my pool. In October of 2018, when a Discord server I was in held Halloween AR contest, I took a photo of Giratina in a cemetery, and that was my first time editing an AR photo. Then, in February 2019, I was flying, and I got the idea to take a picture of Latias. I really got into it, however, in April of 2019. Right after I lost my mother, I had visited my aunt’s house, when I noticed that she had a pink Azalea bush, which was my mother’s favorite color. I decided that I would take a photo of my shiny Buneary, since rabbits were her favorite animal, in front of that bush. I brought that picture to GO Hub’s “#ask-the-ar-masters” channel, and I got a few responses, but in the end I retook the picture. This photo got a lot of positive feedback, and inspired me to start taking photos and editing them more often.
Later on that month, another photographer reached out to me, and asked me if I would like to join the AR community Discord, to which I did. With that, I started taking AR photos almost daily, and I would edit them. The members there encouraged me to share my photos, and I started to share them, first on Discord, then Twitter, then Reddit, then Instagram, then my edits on YouTube.
G2G: We think we know the answer to this, but, what is your favorite feature in Pokémon GO? PvP, GO Snapshot, Buddy System, Raiding, Collecting, etc.?
Groudon8134: My favorite feature in Pokémon GO is a tie between collecting Shiny Pokémon and AR+ (AR Mode, GOSnapshot, Buddy AR, Shared AR, etc…). I enjoy collecting Shiny Pokémon very much, mainly because, since I was a child, I’ve always loved collecting. As of now, I have a substantial rock and mineral collection, and I still go to the Tucson Mineral and Gem Show every year. I also collect special-edition Nintendo Consoles, as well as coins. Shiny Pokémon have a special “thing” about them, wether it be the satisfaction of finding one after all the work put into it, the alternate coloring that makes them stand out, or the sparkles, I very much enjoy this feature, and I hope Niantic continues adding Shiny Pokémon.
Going off of that, I very much enjoy photographing Shiny Pokémon as well. If you notice, all but 3 of my published photos contain Shiny Pokémon. This leads me into my other favorite feature—AR. I have always loved photography. First it was aircraft photography, then it was nature photography, and now Pokémon photography. I enjoy the creative aspect of AR; being able to take a photo of any Pokémon, anywhere you want, in any position. Plus, with editing, the possibilities are endless. This, combined with the amazing community, makes this, in my opinion, the best aspect of the game, and again, I hope Niantic can invest more resources into this feature.
G2G: If you had to pick one highlight of your time as a AR Photographer, what would it be?
Groudon8134: A highlight of my AR “career” has to be either my themed week on Instagram, #pkmngreenshiniesweek, the times it snowed and I got some very nice photos of the snow, or the time that the infographics I made spread all around the GO community, and my Lugia photo on Reddit got the most positive feedback I’ve ever received. I haven’t participated in any meetups as of now, but I’m planning on meeting a few photographers at the Safari Zone in Philadelphia.
G2G: Do you have any advice for people who want to get into AR Photography or who have just started and are struggling to grow a fan base or find inspiration?
Groudon8134: For any new or rising AR photographers, my first piece of advice is to keep taking photos! Wether you prefer to edit or not, keep at it. Another piece of advice I have is to get your photos out there and make yourself known. You can share them on Instagram, Reddit, Discord, Twitter, or other social media platforms. If you’re feeling uninspired, the best thing to do is to visit a location you’ve never visited before, and try taking photos of Pokémon you’ve never photographed. If that doesn’t work, try taking requests from people. If you see a technique you don’t understand, or there are any questions you have, don’t hesitate to reach out to another photographer. Most of the time, they will be more than willing to help out. If you like to challenge yourself, try making AR wallpapers for others to use.
G2G: Is there anything else you want to share? Hidden talents? Thoughts about the current state of the game? Price of tea in China?
Groudon8134: Fun Facts About Me! Age: 35 Height: 6’5” Favorite Food: Caviar Favorite Drink: Tea Favorite Activity: Flying! Residence: Boston, USA Favorite Color: Lime Green College: MIT Fun Facts: • I can speak 10 different languages—Polish, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Serbian, Croatian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, English, and French • I am currently writing a book on the physical relations between Bernoulli’s Principle of Lift and the structural integrity of airfoils, and their fuel efficiencies. • I very much enjoy outdoor activities. I love to go hiking, camping, fishing, and cycling. • I am an Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer) survivor.
AIR AR IS READY FOR TAKEOFF
We have to say, getting to know Groudon has been an absolute treat. Not only is he a supremely talented AR photographer, but he is also on the most interesting individuals you will ever come across, and a great human being on top of that. We hope this bio has let you get to know him a little better. Subscribe to Groudon’s YouTube channel below, and be sure to give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter as well!