Photo shootout between Clifford Oto, Tim Ulmer spreads in California

by AryanArtnews
0 comment
Photo shootout between Clifford Oto, Tim Ulmer spreads in California

Over the past 15 years or so, Tim Ulmer and I have had something of a friendly photographic competition, which has heated up in recent years.

For those of you who may not know Ulmer, he is the owner of UlmerPhoto camera/photo refinishing shop on the Miracle Mile in Stockton. He is a fixture in the Stockton photographic world. He started at the old Meadows Camera in 1983, and after it closed, he opened his own shop. He also lends his photographic skill and expertise by photographing events for nonprofits and other organizations for free. In 2014, he was named the 62nd Stocktonian of the Year by the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce for all his good work in the community.

Tim Ulmer clowns around before the start of the Mid-Autumn Festival to be held on Saturday, September 17, 2022 at Chung Wah Lane in downtown Stockton.

We often shot the same events. As we entered the digital and social media age, Ulmer started doing something I didn’t expect. At these events, there’s often not much to do except stand around before things start. He started taking pictures of me when I arrived at said events. After a while I responded in kind. And then we posted the photos on Facebook. Our little shootouts soon turned into who could photograph the other first and became sort of a photographic version of an old western gunfight. There was no prize for doing this, but bragging rights about who had the fastest trigger finger. We are about equal on wins, losses and draws.

Record photographer Clifford Oto is photographed by Tim Ulmer at the Children's Museum of Stockton in downtown Stockton on January 17, 2023.

Over the years, things have only gotten more involved. I now try to keep a wary eye on Ulmer whenever I cover an event. I take detours to try to avoid him and try to sneak up on him to get my shot. And he did the same. Recently, at the Children’s Museum of Stockton, before the Cleveland School Remembers event, Ulmer hid between two parked cars and ambushed me as I walked up.

Tim Ulmer prepares to photograph the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce's State of the City event at the Port of Stockton's Rough and Ready Island in Stockton on May 19, 2022.

As we posted our photos on social media, people started to notice. He and I now get a lot of comments online and in person from people we know and also total strangers about how they get a kick out of our little competition. Some people even helped us on occasion. If only one of us is at an event, people have to take pictures of the other. I’ve seen people look around and then point out where Ulmer is in the crowd.

Tim Ulmer at the swearing-in ceremony for new Stockton City Council members at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton on January 10, 2023.

Last December, at the Turkey Brigade event where firefighters and police officers donated 600 frozen turkeys to the Emergency Food Bank, Ulmer got there before me. Several cops and firefighters teased him by falsely claiming that I was right behind him. When I finally got there, I was actually able to sneak up behind him and get the first shot.

Tim Ulmer and photographer of record Clifford Oto clown before the start of the 125th anniversary ceremony for Preston Castle in Ione.

Ulmer has heard that other photographers have now started their own contests as far away as Sacramento and Fresno. As long as he and I are at the same event, our fun and friendly shootouts will continue. If you see me first, let me know where he is.

Related Posts