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10 years of opening eyes and shutters to digital camera capabilities
Okanagan College Media Release

Tom Cooper August 2016A decade of teaching Okanagan shutterbugs the intricacies and nuances of their cameras, and opening their lenses to the creative capabilities of digital photography has not dimmed Tom Cooper’s enthusiasm for teaching or photography.

The professional photographer and instructor in Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies and Corporate Training department is as keen as ever on helping photography enthusiasts make the most of their tools and talents.

“Photography is a lifelong interest for me that persists,” he says. “I still have photographs from when I was in university – more than a few decades ago – that I enjoy looking at.”

“Teaching at Okanagan College for the past 10 years has helped fuel that interest, as I watch a whole variety of different people discover things about photography and their cameras.”

“I learn from students too – I end up probing the limits of my craft.”

Cooper’s Kelowna classes focus on digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera essentials, creative modes and advanced features and functions.

“Digital photography is not rocket science, but it is complex,” says Cooper, who has been balancing his time teaching at OC with duties at Red Deer College in Alberta, where he is in his sixth year of teaching the Digital Photography Certificate there, which is delivered online.

“There are five skills to be a good photographer,” explains Cooper:

  1. Camera comfort
  2. Photo editing
  3. Photographic techniques
  4. Structure (composition), and
  5. Developing a creative eye.Tom Cooper Photo Aug 2016

Providing students the technical skills and theory isn’t enough to help them become great photographers, says Cooper. “You also have to create an environment to allow them to take risks and experiment, because that’s how you learn.”

It’s not who you might expect who signs up for his courses. Most students, he notes, have had their cameras for a couple of years.

Cooper’s passion for teaching predated his first DSLR camera. He was a computer-based training course developer and instructor for the Canadian Armed Forces and a community college instructor before retiring to the Okanagan in the early part of this century.

For more information on Cooper’s classes and other courses offered by Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies and Corporate Training department, you can visit Okanagan.bc.ca/cs or watch for College’s fall brochure, being distributed by mail and available online at tiny.cc/occsfall2016.