Monday, August 08, 2005

Photography Class

By Christina VanGinkel

I ran into a friend a few weeks back that I have not seen in a while. As we were talking, her husband became a topic of our conversation. Once owners of a small local paper, he was always known for his great photography. I asked her if he ever taught any photography classes, as I would love to take a class taught by someone that I know personally, who takes great photos.

He not only teaches, he teaches across a broad range of ages. So far this summer, he has taught a one-day class for young kids at the local library on the basics of photography, from how to turn on a camera, finding your subject in the lens, to using a zoom lens. He also taught an evening class at a local college for adults that ran over the course of several weeks.

As with anything I do lately, if I am considering purchasing something, going somewhere, or taking part in an activity, I end up researching it thoroughly before I actually do it. This was no different. Once we got to talking about his classes, it made me realize that I would love to take a photography class. My problem would be finding the time to fit such a class into my schedule. I could always look for an online course I thought to myself. A few days later, when I was online browsing for ink for my photo printer, an ad on the side of my search page popped up for an online photography class. Glancing at the not I had made to myself about just such a possibility, I clicked on the link.

What I discovered was a class set up like a virtual classroom. Students would meet online to follow a course (Depending on what level you considered yourself to be, which you were aided in figuring out by a set of guidelines) over a time span of 4 to 8 weeks, depending on which class you joined. Group size also varied, from 10 to 40. Classes were broken down into numerous headings, such as creating visual punch in your photographs to photo journalism. Classes that are more basic were also offered, such as using your new digital, to using your photo printer. Each class followed a course, as stated above, but they were also listed as self-paced. Each assignment is emailed to the class members, along with an actual photo assignment. You in turn will email your photos taken for the assignment back to the instructor for one on one feedback. You can work on your lessons during the week at a time that is convenient to you, and email questions to the instructor to be answered in a timely fashion. If you want more of a classroom feel, there is a forum where questions can be asked and answered for all class members to see.

Prices for these online classes are comparative to an in person class at our local college, ranging from just under $200 to over $400. I still have not decided on a course, I never knew there were so many options. I wonder if the library offers another class for kids if they would notice an adult observing quietly from the back!

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