Bob Oehlman, Featured Photographer, February 2017
I am thrilled to be chosen as a SCPC featured photographer. Thank you so much.
I’ve really enjoyed the club these past few years, it’s outings, monthly challenges, guest presentations and friendships.
My love affair with photography has been on and off, hot and cold most of my adult life. I’d say it’s pretty hot” right now. And, it’s evolved over the years. I acquired my first camera (a simple instamatic I believe) after graduating from high school (1965) and working a summer job in the stock room in a camera store. I took the camera to college and shot a few rolls of snapshots documenting my life and experiences during those years. After college I purchased my first “real” camera – a Nikkormat SLR and became a little more serious about photography. I actually did some reading about photography and took a B&W film darkroom class. I used the camera primarily to document the occasional vacation or to document activities and backpacking trips I took with the blind youth who attended the Braille Institute where I was employed for a few years. Then I drifted away from photography until I married and our two sons arrived. Then, like most families, the camera came out again to record the kid’s growth, birthday parties and family vacations. Our sons (now in their 30’s) still enjoy looking through the old photo albums we created of their childhood.
I converted from film to digital fairly early and purchased a Nikon Coolpix 950 with it unique swivel body and even started a little “post-processing” with Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 2. Elements is now up to version 15. Now, however, I utilize Lightroom predominantly to get the most out of my images. I love Lightroom (and occasionally Photoshop and plug-ins) as tools to create the vision I have for each of my images.
For whatever reason, in 2003 I started submitting photos to the Orange County Fair every year and took a greater interest in creating what I considered “quality” images. Many of my images fell short of “quality” but most were accepted for display. Since that time I’ve taken photography courses, most notably from our very own Laura Hoffman, and subscribed to numerous photography magazines to upgrade my skills and photographic eye.
I’m still developing “my photographic style” and trying to create a photographic brand and even though I’m not there yet, a few words do come to mind when I view my images and when I consider what I’m trying to accomplish. Describers for many of my images might be:
- Clean and simple with limited distractions
- Tightly cropped
- High contrast and high saturation
- Emphasis on the light
- Unusual subject or perspective
My goal is to CREATE an image, not just simply to capture an image. I’m seeking to get a reaction from the viewer of my image. If the viewer utters “wow”, or “oh my”, or “I would never have thought of that,” or “that makes me feel…”, then I’m where I want to be with that image.
However, I am a frustrated photographer with over 20 photo projects and photo books that I want to pursue but can’t seem to get around to. Can anyone loan me an extra 5-10 hours per day?
At some point in the past I heard the following: “If you’re not embarrassed by what you shot two years ago, then you’re not improving. Well, I admit that applies to me. Now, if I could just get up the courage to permanently delete those “zero star” images in my photo catalog.
But, in spite of what I’m trying to accomplish with my photography, I tell others to just get out of their photograph what they want. Whether it’s being a fanatical perfectionist like me or simply a snapshot shooter. It’s your photography. Do what you want with it. It’s a very individual and subjective thing. So much for the philosophical.
You can view some of my work at http://boboehlmanphotography.com