Corner Member Close Up: Michelle Oppegard

We're lucky to have Michelle Oppegard call the Corner her photographic home on the Internet. Not only is she a loyal and encouraging member of the moderator team, but she always manages to spot the best photographs around the site an nominate them for the Photograph of the Month contests. If you've been nominated for a PotM in the past, odds are your shot was nominated by chellezfotoz. With today's "Corner Member Close Up" we get to learn a little bit more about Michelle, as well as browse through some of her favorite photographs (2 dozen!).

Name: Michelle Oppegard
Username: chellezfotoz



Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Michelle. I live in Mandan, North Dakota, sister city to the capitol. This July I will be married 20 years to "brady" and have three children, 20, 18 & 15. I work for a telecommunications company in the large business bankruptcy and accounts receivables group.

What does your username mean?

Chelle for Michelle - and they're my photos - so chellezfotoz.

Hawk's Cry

How old were you when you took your first picture with a camera; any camera? Was it any good?

I honestly don't know how old I was but was probably a teenager. I'm sure it was just a little film-loaded point-and-shoot. Just snaps of friends, family and events I wanted to remember. And no, they weren't stellar and lots of pics couldn't even be developed due to overexposure or underexposure!

Untitled Tree

What was it about photography that made you want to become a photographer? Why do you take photographs?

Calling myself a photographer is a stretch. With that said, though, I can say that I've always just enjoyed looking at others' work. I take photographs because I love nature and the little things that surround us everyday. Sure I take photos to commemerate an event or capture an activity and friends/family but for the most part I just like to see what I can create.

Photography is my "escape", my peace, my relaxation.

Soft Beauty

How long has photography been a passion for you? When, where and how did it start?

I remember taking a trip with my family and saying, "man, I wish I had a camera (or a better camera)"; "that's so pretty"; "the light is gorgeous". Right before vacation 2007 Brady surprised me with my first camera and I was hooked.

Blowin in the Wind

What is your background/training in photography?

None. Everything I've learned has come mainly from PhotographyCorner and other sources such as internet, books, magazines, my husband, etc. I was gifted a NYIP basic digital photography course from a member of the Corner (thank you) and have regrettably not started it yet but have designated this summer my starting point.

Try, try and try again.

Harvest Ready


What was your very first camera?

Some film-loaded point-and-shoot. Then I got a little digital HP Photosmart P&S. Then the gift from Brady, my Fuji FinePix S700. I really loved that camera!

It took a nose dive off the tripod one 4th of July and so Brady got me my second camera before our vacation that year. That was my Sony H50. Loved that camera too and still have it.

Brady thought it was time for me to have an SLR so he gifted me with my Sony A33, which is my current camera.

Flock of Sheep

What equipment is in your camera bag now? What pieces of equipment will be added to the collection next?

Well, it's shared gear. Sony A33, Sony H50, Sony 3.5-6.3/18-200, Tamron 75-300mm, Sony 18-70mm, Sigma 28-105mm, Sigma 50-500mm APO EX f4-6.3, GorillaPod, lens clothes, remote, small collapsible gold/silver reflector, spare battery, memory cards. I also have an old studio light and some stands. Odd and ends.

To be added next... good question! I think I'd like something between the 200 and 500...

They Walk Among Us

You are asked to choose one lens from the following group: 14mm wide angle, 50mm prime, 200mm telephoto, 105mm macro. You could only use one of these for the rest of your photographic life. Which would you choose and why?

Well, see, now you've stumped me. I don't know enough about the lenses but I do love close-up work and you can still take a decent enough portrait and landscape shot so I'd probably have to go with the 105mm macro.

Royal Beauty

Bonus Questions

Have you ever Photoshoped/edited a photo but told others you haven't?

No. What would be the point?! And honestly, I really don't use Photoshop, in fact it's not even working on my machine right now. I just have been too lazy to teach myself how except for a couple small things. I do most of my editing with the software provided by Sony with my camera (PMB). Otherwise, I just try to get my settings right and cross my fingers!


Do you like your photos most of the time or dislike them most of the time? Why do you think that is?

I dislike my photos most of the time. Occasionally I get lucky and turn out a good one. I'm my own worst critic and could probably file a restraining order against myself for the things I say to myself!

Little House on the Prairie

Have you ever taken the EXIF/exposure info from any of the critiques and tried it yourself?

I've definitely paid attention to the EXIF info to get a better idea of what works and why.

Do you think that photographers take photos because they can't paint; or do painters paint because they aren't good photographers?

I don't think one really has anything to do with the other. It's just an individual choice of medium and expression.


What are your favorite places/subjects to photograph? Why?

I love nature and animals and my favorite place is Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The landscape, light, flora and fauna are constantly changing so there's always a different view.


You are given a dream assignment to photograph one location in the world. Where/what would it be? When would you shoot it? Why that place and that time?

Since I have never really traveled I will just have to go with Yellowstone National Park. I have always wanted to visit but it's become more of a dream since I got my camera!

Otherwise, there's a whole bucket list: anywhere on the 7 continents!!!

Regan Elevator

Who are your biggest photographic influences? Why? What about their work influences your work?

I am inspired by so many, especially here at the Corner but I can't say that I have any particular influence. I like seeing how others see the world and apply this craft.

What are your goals for your photography?

To enjoy it! If I sell a piece ever in my lifetime that would be great but I just want to enjoy what I do.

Wild and Wary

What photo did you take that you are the most proud of up to this point in your photographic journey?

I think "Pale" for the High Key CCC. Not only because it won, but because it's probably the piece I put the most thought and work into. The fact that others liked it too was just icing.


What was your most embarrassing moment while taking pictures?

ell, we've all had the forgot to remove the lens cap issue so that's aleady covered. LOL! I'm by nature a shy, reserved and self-concious person so I don't do a lot of shooting in public...

What was the most dangerous thing (or worst thing) you ever did to get 'The Shot'?

I've been known to hike down raveens or to the edge of a cliff to get a shot... But otherwise, nothing really so dangerous or bad.

For the Birds

What do you do with your photographs?

have made cards out of them for family Christmas gifts and a few are hanging in my home. I've entered a couple contests. I have a few posted on Fine Art America for sale but they're pretty much just for personal pleasure and use.


The Corner

What initially drew you into Corner?

I found the Corner by Googling for amateur contests. I just wanted to see what was out there and PhotographyCorner was a site that looked interesting. After browsing around a bit, I decided to join because the work was fantastic and the people were even better!

What keeps your hanging around the Corner?

The people!! The people!! The way it's run, the challenge, the work presented. Did I mention the people?!

Wild Family

What section of the Corner is your most frequented or favorite?

The Premiere Projects. Being a Premiere Member and participating in the projects keeps me on my toes and challenges me to try to be better.

Then of course the sharing and critique corners - just great work and lots of learning experiences there.

Long Ago Forgotten

What advice would you give other members of PhotographyCorner?

Have fun! Enjoy what you do! Don't try too hard because the minute you're always second-guessing yourself or not enjoying yourself or your work anymore, you've lost something.

Blue Door

If you could meet any member of the Corner, but could ask them only one question, who would you want to meet and what would that question be?

I can't choose just one! Anyone who wants to meet me and put up with me and the question would be, "Wanna go have a drink and shoot a frame or two?"

Seriously, Tim, Mario, Bill (TenX), Carl (ohenry), Carl (Spicoli), tamara, Scott Halford, Jenn (fatcat), Lori, Mo (MAAQ), Faisal, TJ, Lise, Neil, Pat, Joe, Vince... I can't name you all!



What thing about yourself as an artist do you want to be remembered for?

Artist, schmartist - she had fun and took a few pictures and made friends along the way!


If you knew it were your last day with your equipment, whether it be by choice or not, what would you photograph and why?

My family. Only one likes to be in front of the camera and our most recent family portrait (other than camp snaps) is about 14 years old.

I don't take enough family photos and my memory is failing already...


Posted by Tim L. Walker on Fri, 2011–07–22 17:27