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May 4, 2017

A Photographer on an Adventure

By Deb Hofstetter

A Photographer on an Adventure

Life is an adventure and photography is the adventure of a dream. It was only five years ago Deb took the leap to take her camera off “auto mode.” She simply wanted to improve the quality of her “people” pictures.

While she continued to work in accounting, Deb took every community photography class offered at night, attended class photo shoots on weekends, and combed over magazines and textbooks for technical training tips. During her educational immersion she learned the differences between cameras, lenses, and their capabilities. While on a photo shoot in Yosemite she learned the value of having a good tripod. Good equipment is absolutely necessary to getting good results. “Grass is not cut with scissors and professional photographers do not get gorgeous National Geographic quality photos without good equipment and the technical training to use that equipment;” says Deb.

In 2014 Deb purchased a Nikon D610 Full Frame Digital Camera as her first semi-professional camera. Her kit includes Nikkor prime lenses, telephoto, zoom, macro, wide angle, and a fisheye lens. For five years she has practiced taking photos of friends, family and models. She’s done wedding photography, engagement, maternity, newborn, children and senior portraits. She’s worked with natural and multiple light sources as an event photographer for local wineries.

She joined the Paso Robles Art Association Photo Guild three years ago as an opportunity to see other photographer’s work and have her own critiqued. The technical instruction she learned proved invaluable. The Photo Guild has provided tutorials, guest speakers, fieldtrips, and judged contests. Deb attributes a great deal of her rapid growth and success to the lessons learned and applied. Tim Bryan, guild member stated “Deb has accomplished so much in a short period of time from my point of view for three reasons. 1) She has a natural gift for finding the right composition and then the ability to frame it in the available light as best as possible. 2) She devotes a lot of time and energy into improving her skills 3) She is open to exploring new techniques and evaluating what other people have to say about hers. In short, it is the skill set she was born with coupled with her tenacity and work ethic that has made her work so well received.”

Deb finds that she can express herself through the use of digital art and layers of effects such as lighting, textures, and adding elements of interest to help convey a feeling or tell a story. Her first digital art piece “Ocean Echoes of Paradise Found” is a compilation of two pictures layered together with additional layers of texture and during the final process a light texture was added to the entire photo. While the main portrait provided the elements of interest and emotion, the added photo added to the composition and the textures and light contributed to the overall feeling and emotion Deb had envisioned months before she ever snapped the first shot. She uses Lightroom, Photoshop, and a variety of filter plug-ins to post-edit and create images that appeal to her sense of art. Their uses are relatively new to Deb and she continues to experiment with a variety of effects that will add life to what may otherwise be a flat looking image though the composition is awesome or simply an image that needs a special touch. Deb creates her own textures by using pictures taken of fabric, dirty old windows, rust on cars, and moss. Digital art has opened a new door for her. Once you’ve created a work of art - you own it – no other photographer can duplicate it.

For the last two years she entered the Mid-State Fair Photography Division as a Professional and had over 18 entries place top 3 both years. During the past eleven months Deb entered the PRAA judged art contests placing 1st twice, received 2nd and 3rd finishes and two Honorable Mentions. A year ago she started her business as “Central Coast Professional Photography.” In January 2017 she partnered with fellow photographer Dean Crawford Jr and painter Joe Thomas at Studios on the Park in downtown Paso Robles in Studio 4.

Recently Deb was asked to do “bottle shots” or “reflective glass photography” for a winery client. Photographers consider this form of photography to be the most difficult. “In order to achieve this goal I knew I needed to take my skills to a higher level,” she said. Deb connected with her mentor, John Rector, retired pilot and photographer at the end of December 2016. John says, “Deb is passionate and excited about photography and has a desire to achieve the highest quality.” Together they’ve created a photography lab capable of providing quality wine bottle shots and are already producing images for clients.

Ultimately, Deb is driven. She says, “I see images in my mind, beautiful visions that I am challenged to learn how to capture and create. If I must learn a new skill then I get on with it.” There is no end to this adventure, just new and creative art! Deb now works exclusively on her passion: photography in many forms. . and she’s just getting started.

You can see Deb’s work at Studios on the Park, Studio 4, 1130 Pine Street, Paso Robles, Ca and www.ccprophoto.com. Her art will be on display at the Odyssey Restaurant in May/June 2017 and Castoro Cellars in May & September 2017. Matted art is available at Le Vigne Winery, Rio Seco and Pear Valley Estates.
 

 

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