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TomCofer
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Who are you?

Post by TomCofer » Sun Dec 21, 2014 3:52 am

I thought I'd start a page that gives folks a chance to say hello and say a bit about themselves.
Me:

Tom Cofer, living in Smalltown, Missouri. Single parent of a 17-year old daughter. I go to prison (5-days a week, 'cause I work there). :)

Me and photography:
I carried an old Canon AE-1 for several years while I was in the military. Never got great with it, but had a lot of fun and managed to get some decent shots while in various countries. Lived with a woman for a few years who was a student/artist/photographer(film).

I fall somewhere between the soccer mom and the professional photographer, closer to the soccer mom, but not as good looking. I bought a DSLR, played aroud with it a lot, spent hundreds of hours learning online and thru various books, volunteered to photograph various local events. Started playing with Photoshop when I could afford it. Spent a few hundred more hours using it and learning from the web. Even turned a shed (12'x30') into a studio of sorts with a couple of Alien Bees and some backdrops.

I shoot friends, family, local events, bugs, plants, or whatever I can get to hold still long enough for me to grab the camera. I tend to spend most of my time doing stuff for the weekly challange, but throw a portrait out there once in a while for others to help me along.

For the most part, I just shoot for the fun of it. Ok, I shoot 'cause I'm photo addict. There, I said it.

Now, don't leave me hanging and looking foolish. Some of you other folks break down and introduce yourself a bit.
Redneck Enthusiast Photographer on a shoestring budget.

thcofer@charter.net

Failure means you tried. Success means you need to set higher goals for yourself.

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Onslow
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Post by Onslow » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:24 am

Me, well I live in Whyalla South Australia located on the beautiful Eyre Peninsula.
I can remember seeing my first B+W image in the developing tray about 43 yrs ago in my first yr of high school. I've enjoyed photography ever since. I sold my developing gear and Olympus OM10n with lenses when I got married. I always bought mags though keeping an interest in the subject.
My wife passed away unexpectedly in July 2009. Soon after I had to give up work to look after my son. So, now I was on the pension after working full time. To help with grief, I thought I should get back into doing something I enjoyed. Didn't think I'd get into it much though.
I bought a Canon 50D. I very quickly discovered color on the laptop and in prints at the local printer were different (vastly so) to each other. I looked into and discovered color management. Searched and found a good source of information at an interstate store. Stuck with them ever since. Bought a damn good NEC lcd for my editing screen and gradually bought lenses, software, hardware etc.
I've done a few small weddings, I shoot portraits as my preferred genre although I do enjoy landscapes as well. I also shoot local models who approach me for portfolio work. I worked as a social photographer for the local newspaper for several yrs. Whilst there, I took on board the chance to learn how to pose and group people. Might as well be paid to do that. I also discovered an online forum where I first met Bobby Deal and various other mentors who have assisted me the last few years. 3 yrs ago, I became president of our local camera group
I am a part time freelancer now as well as looking after my son. So far, I have had work by local, state, and national organisations who have approached me for images.
Recently upgraded my printers firstly to an Epson 3880 and then last year also an Epson 7800. I now am starting to specialise in canvas and fineart prints for myself and others. I do prints for people who want their images printed properly locally and also sell my landscapes to local businesses.
I've now got a completely colour managed workflow finally with home made profiles etc for my camera, printers and displays using my X-Rite i1 Pro2 and ColorChecker Passport.

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TomCofer
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Post by TomCofer » Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:54 pm

Thanks Onslow, was afraid I was gonna be alone here. :)
Redneck Enthusiast Photographer on a shoestring budget.

thcofer@charter.net

Failure means you tried. Success means you need to set higher goals for yourself.

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Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
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Post by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:42 am

Thanks for sharing this thread Tom.

I myself live in small town America, Port Townsend, WA. 70miles west of Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula and right across the water from Victoria BC. Love living here.

While in Vietnam at the ripe age of 19 I decided I wanted to become a photographer. Not sure where that came from but I'm sure glad the idea showed up. ;-)
After the Army I attend Clark College in Vancouver, WA and started my photo education. Early on I met a Master Fine Art BW Photographer named Shedrich Williames who inspired me to become a artist with my camera. I haven't looked back. For quite a few years worked my wet BW darkroom, many personal projects and studying the History of Photography. 14 years ago I started photographing portraits at our County Fair, I was working at a small photo outlet as the dept manager and had the opportunity to take a short portrait class with Monte Zucker. I was once again inspired and took a few more classes with him.
While I enjoy his classic approach to portraiture and all the rules that you must learn I also knew I never wanted to become a Monte clone as I noticed many other photographers doing so. I have a strong desire to find my own voice and each and everyday I try to find it. I'm a member of the Professional Photographers of Washingtion, attend their conventions and enter my work in their Print Competitions. As some of you know, I've been criticized for not wanting my work to be critiqued, that is far from the truth, folks are more than welcome to make comments and critique what I'm doing, the problem I have is when someone constantly wants to teach me how to photograph, which is what was happening over at the Camel in my opinion. Anyway, I love being a photographer and blessed that I can make a living from it. Lots still to learn and tomorrow is another day to do so. Best regards, Ernst
Today is the Day, a New Day.

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TomCofer
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Post by TomCofer » Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:13 am

Thanks Ernst!
I feel that your sharing of your background really helps (me at least) "see" where your coming from in your work. You definitely present things differently, which I enjoy very much. :)
Redneck Enthusiast Photographer on a shoestring budget.

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Failure means you tried. Success means you need to set higher goals for yourself.

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Post by Duck » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:36 am

I have been an visual artist my entire life. As has been said, I picked up the crayons and never put them down. I have worked as a commercial artist for the past 30 years (I'm 50 as of this writing), everything from logo designs to signage to imprinted sportswear. I have designed vehicle graphics, brochures, web sites, patches, posters, packaging, business identities, and more. 20 years ago, on the behest of my youngest brother I entered into the interesting world of body art. I moved into illustration and never turned back. I have owned my own shop for the past 10 years and have tattooed several generations of friends and family and hope to continue to tattoo future friends in the years to come.

As for my photographic journey, my first camera was a Pentax K1000 SLR in 1981. Soon after I added a Canon AE-1 Program to the collection. The AE-1 was my camera of choice as I did a stint in the Navy. Being poor back in those days I shot mainly Tri-X and had my own little darkroom setup for developing my own film. Never really got into printing though as the equipment needed was too expensive for my pockets back then. Since then I have owned 4 AE-1s (two got stolen and I was compelled to replace them). I still own those replacements. I made the (reluctant) move into digital in 2004 with the purchase of a Kodak Easy Share digital camera with a whopping 4MP. Over the following 4 years I learned to enjoy digital and moved back into an SLR format with a Canon 40D. I went with Canon more out of nostalgia than anything else. Today I have a 7D and a 6D as well. I also own a Cambo large format camera I adopted for digital use. Someday I want to run film through it as well but we'll see.

Having a digital camera allowed me to expand my graphic services and do much of the photography in-house. Since the majority of my design customers were small business owners, like myself, they appreciated the low cost service I could offer them. Soon I was asked to photograph everything from jewelry to food and realized that I really love product photography. As an artist I also have a great appreciation for past artistic, photo journalistic and street photographers. Though I still feel new to photography, I am working to find my visual voice with my own work. It's a difficult journey for me as all my life I have worked to bring other people's visual ideas into reality. Maybe that's why I enjoy commercial work so much. I find that easier than portraiture, fashion and editorial work.

It has been a fast learning process that got me started but I soon discovered my limitations and have continued studying every chance I could ever since. Coming from a family of teachers (Mother, Father, Aunts, Wife and many friends) I long ago learned the value of teaching as a tool to really learn the ins and out of a subject. You can't teach what you don't know and you need to know it to teach it. I joined several photography groups in my area in order to be more active with my photography and quickly got the reputation of being the go-to instructor by other members. There is a hunger for learning in my area and very few good instructors to meet that demand. That demand is currently pushing me into unfamiliar territory of portrait photography. As I get older I also realize I won't be tattooing forever. It would be nice to have a second career to move into. Hopefully my little part time photo career will come to the forefront and carry me to my old age.
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Image ImageImageImageImage

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TomCofer
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Post by TomCofer » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:19 am

Thanks Duck!
(Duck is also one of the key players in starting this site, doing graphics work and other cool stuff!)
Redneck Enthusiast Photographer on a shoestring budget.

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Coral
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Post by Coral » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:13 pm

I live in Kingman, AZ - about 1.45 hours outside of Vegas. My first introduction to photography was when my x-husband bought me my first film camera. A couple of days later we were in Singapore for his work and were invited to a typuson (I'm sure that's spelled wrong). It was so fascinating but when I ran out of film on my first roll, I didn't know how to load the camera ??? So I thought to myself that this was something I really wanted to learn. So I studied, took classes whenever possible. We moved around a lot (aircraft industry) so I would take classes and workshops as time/availability arose. We moved to Kingman 20 years ago and I opened a little studio downtown - worked part time at it. Had a "regular" 40 hour job. Shot a lot of weddings.
10 years ago my husband and I got a divorce and I subsequently re-married. We started a photography company called Cool Photography and worked really hard at it. Actually made a lot more money than I thought I would. I was taking everything that came my way. My mom passed away 3 years ago and I pretty much stopped. I was the photographer for one of the casinos in Laughlin, NV - doing all their weddings on a boat. Shooting so many that I had to keep track of them on a notepad to know where I was in my processing.
About 2 years ago I started shooting again. This time I'm only taking jobs that I want to do. Shooting a lot of models and some portraits. I'm still shooting a few weddings on the boat and enjoy it. It's only 1.5 hours and you are floating down the Colorado river shooting a wedding!
I love photography! I want to keep shooting and improving. I would like to offer a really high end style of photography here in Kingman, specializing in portraiture - working on that.

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Bobby Deal
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Post by Bobby Deal » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:42 pm

Hi all, I am Booby Deal I am a full time working commercial photographer currently based in Las Vegas Nv. (12/22/2014) with plans to relocate to the North Eastern Front Range of Colorado in the spring of 2015.

While I can and will photograph just about anything light will reflect off of I specialize in photographing people in the studio and on location.

I am also a photography instructor and offer weekly workshops in studio lighting, model posing and interaction, business, copyright and post production.

I started with photography back in high school which was way to long ago now. I started out with an old Lieca Split View Rangefinder photographing the big cats and other exotic animals my parents raised for use in The movies in the 1970's-1980's I taught myself the process of developing and printing black and white and with some hand me down equipment from a cousin built my first darkroom and was off to the races. As things progressed I joined the journalism class in school and started covering current events for the school paper. Photographing teachers and students in different programs until one day they sent me to cover a big swim meet the school team was participating in. That was when I discovered my equipment was horribly unsuitable for action sports thus my adventures with the SLR began and continues today with the DSLR's like the Nikon D3s and the D800E

My journey as a photographer and educator has taken me a lot of places from La / Orange County to Belize To Las Vegas and now on to Colorado where I just started the ball in process for opening a new teaching studio this spring.

As much as I love to practice the art of photography it is possible that I actually enjoy the teaching side of it more. After several years of sharing my experience with others freely online through such photo communities as Photography School House, ShutterStock Contributors, TPF, The Open Photo Forum, Ugly Hedge Hog and Photo Camel and failing to find a platform with the diversity to offer all I wanted to see offered and to create a culture of learning that could truly narrow the space between the Professional and the Enthusiastic Hobbyist Photographer I elected to start photoMentoris. Here I hope to truly bring the two communities togetherwith the common goal of improving the photographic community as a whole.

Too that end I have recruited some of the brightest most willing individuals from both the professional and enthusiast communities to help build the foundation of this community. With the help of these key Founding members I hope to reach out across the barriers that delineates the two communities to bring many unique teaching, learning and sharing resources together in one place with equal benefit to professional and enthusiast alike.

I have some big plans for this community and we have not yet even scratched the surface of them. In the weeks months and years to come I will rely heavily on the community as a whole to help us build shape and develop this community into the strongest education centric photography community online. Those who are here at the beginning with me have my eternal gratitude for sharing in this wild and crazy vision I call photoMentoris

Bobby Deal - Commercial Photographer

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"The only photographer we ought compare ourselves to is the one we used to be"

PhotoMentoris- "A diverse artistic community dedicated to a culture of photographic education, sharing and creative tolerance"

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TomCofer
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Post by TomCofer » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:54 pm

Thanks for sharing Coral and Bobby. I enjoy this, learning a bit about the folks behind the cameras.
Redneck Enthusiast Photographer on a shoestring budget.

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Failure means you tried. Success means you need to set higher goals for yourself.

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