Digital photography with a foundation in fine arts

Melanie Roberts
Kenneth Kinder, senior lab technician, photography (left) and Ryan Even, head of photography department (left back) help students with recent projects in the lab.

Kenneth Kinder, senior lab technician, photography (left) and Ryan Even, head of photography department (left back) help students with recent projects in the lab.

The photography department at Saddleback College teaches digital photography with a basis in fine art.

They decided to change to all digital photography due to expense and that the field is going digital, said Kenneth Kinder, senior lab technician, photography.

Kinder said, “Work flow is faster with digital work, because you don’t have to change film frequently.”

The entire photography staff at Saddleback, including Even, Kinder, Leighton, Tom Lamb, Bill Agee, Jennifer Porter, Julie Shafer, Sylvia Montana, and Mark Tsang, all either work in the field, practice fine arts, or have work experience. Tsang teaches photography at Mission Viejo High School.

“We are all working together for the student benefit,” Kinder said. His main job is to support instructors and students.

Classes range from beginning Adobe Photoshop, Photo 50, to advanced classes where students can tweak their talents and learn special skills, such as portrait shooting.

Some advanced classes have live demonstrations to show techniques on how to use different parts of your camera and receive different results.

Demonstrations may include assignments like motion blur, depth of field, or how to control the end result of your photographs.

The most basic class offered is an 8 week course teaching students the features on their cameras, said Kinder.

Photoshop Lightroom is used as a teaching tool in all classes to help students organize their work and have everything in one program.

According to the Adobe website, “Lightroom boosts your creativity and saves you time. Built to be fast, intuitive, and easy to use, it’s the efficient assistant you need — one set of powerful tools for your photography tasks, whether you’re adjusting one image, searching for ten, processing hundreds, or organizing thousands.”

Instructors require students entering beginning classes to have their own manual adjustment cameras like a digital single-lens reflex or as its commonly known DSLR.

However, in the intermediate courses and above, special lenses and equipment can be checked out. Cannon equipment is used throughout the department.

“It’s really about the final print,” said Ryan Even, photography department chair. “Here we show students how to use printers and show their final presentation. There is a value in knowing large format.”

Even took over as department chair this year since Ron Leighton’s retirement after thirty years. Leighton still teaches advanced classes.

Even is excited to move into the bottom of the new library building over the summer.

“We will have a dedicated shooting studio that we can use for demonstration and critique as well,” Even said. “With the space we have now, there is not enough room to do much of anything.”

The new space will give them room to mount and mat photos and students will have the availability to shoot outside of class.

There will also then be time for open lab, where now all classes are on a compacted schedule.

Future plans for the department also include, having their own classroom and partial use of another. Classes will be in the new building starting fall 2012.