Thursday, February 15, 2007

Assistance for Student Success

For any of my students who may need help with written assignments, Pierce offers a Writing Lab and help at the Learning Center.

The English Department Writing Lab is located in Room 1612. The hours are Monday and Tuesday 9-3:15; Wednesday 9-2:15; and Thursday 9:30-12:15. One-on-one writing help is available free of charge. One print out of each assignment is free of charge.

The Learning Center provides services to enhance student success and offers help in a variety of subjects, including English skills. All services are free to currently enrolled Pierce students, but there is a $3 minimum printing charge. The tutoring program is in room 1613, which you enter from room 1604, the location of the computer lab. The computer lab has 62 computer stations available for student use. A print card can be purchased at the book store. The hours of the Learning Center are Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday 8:00 am.-2:00 p.m.

In addition to these services, Pierce College has published a Student Success Workshop Calendar for Spring 2007. You may be able to find information at or check at the welcome desk in the Administration Building for a copy of the schedule. Workshop topics include such things as filing out a FASA, writing resumes, transfering, learning disabilities, stress management, using the library and time management. There are 10 workshops scheduled before the end of the month.

Impressions of Day 1

It looks to me as if about 2/3 of the class is shooting digital and 1/3 is shooting film. The biggest difference will be that the film students will have the extra step of having the film commercially processed and transfered to cd while the digital shooters will produce their own cds for delivery. At the end of class, one of the students asked if she could shoot the assignment on both her film camera and her digital camera. I think that's an excellent idea, and if anyone else is fortunate enough to have both kinds of cameras, I think it would be a good learning experience for you.

On Wednesday, February 21, everybody should bring in their cameras, lenses, and instruction books (along with the results of Assignment #1.) Enjoy your holiday weekend and shoot lots of pictures.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Welcome to Photography 10, Spring 2007

Welcome to our exciting experiment in teaching Photo 10 at Pierce College this semester. As some of you may know, Pierce is undergoing great change. This includes the construction of new buildings, which means the demolition of old buildings. Unfortunately, among the buildings slated for demolition is the black and white darkroom located in the old Bungalow cluster near Mason. In a few months, that whole area will be leveled to make way for the Center for the Sciences.

This semester, students in Photo 10 have the option of shooting either film or digital, but post-shoot processing will be handled in a digital work flow. What this means is that for those students who are fortunate enough to have a digital SLR, there will only be a digital work flow. For those students who are working with film SLR cameras, there will be an intermediate step to have your film processed elsewhere, most likely at a place like Costco where you can get a cd with jpgs of your images.

Please bring cameras, camera instruction booklets, and film or digital media to every class. In my own work, I use Nikon cameras and I do not know the intricacies of using most other manufacturers' equipment. I will need to look at your instruction booklets to be able to help you. So the first rule of this class is RYFM--read your f@#!#%! manual.

The second rule of this class is turn your work in on time. This class is part of the Media Arts Department and is an entry class into the photojournalism specialty. Deadlines are important. No publication ever went to press with a blank spot and a caption reading "photograph not supplied by M.C. Valada." Students always want to know how to get an A in this class. It's easy. Turn work in on time ready to be published as is. The photographs should say what you want them to say, be well composed, well exposed, well printed (or otherwise prepared for output), and well presented. The photographs should not need to be better composed, cropped, or retouched. You shouldn't give me excuses such as (but not limited to): the weather was bad, the light was bad, I couldn't find anything to photograph, I didn't have time, I had an exam, I can't afford the class (drop it now, please), or the dog ate my homework.

If you've signed up for this class because you think it will be easy, you've made a mistake. Learning photography is a lot of work because the only way you learn is by doing. I expect you to do a lot learning and a lot of work. On the other hand, none of you is here because a parent threatened to cut you out of a will if you didn't take this class. I assume that each of you is here because you like photographs and want to make better pictures. It might be that there's a new baby in the family or a trip you plan which cries out to be photographed. Maybe there are even one or two of you who realize that you might be able to make a difference in the world by becoming a photographer. So the third rule of this class is have fun. Photography isn't brain surgery and it is unlikely anyone will die if you over- or under-expose a picture. Unless, of course, you make the mistake of agreeing to photograph a wedding. Then you might be the one to die when the mother of the bride doesn't get the photograph she wants.

Rule four is ask questions. The only dumb question is the one you don't ask. You can pretty well bet if you've got a question, someone else does and is too scared to ask. If I haven't explained something clearly, let me know and I'll try it again.

We are all going to need to be flexible about the curriculum this semester. We aren't sure when our computers or software will actually be installed. The only things which are for certain is the class begins on February 14 and ends on June 1, which will be our day for the final. I do not give a final exam. Final projects are due and will be presented that day. Presented means that you each will talk about your project and the individual photographs in terms of technique. I will address this as the semester progresses.

Please post comments and questions on this blog which would be of interest to your fellow students. I will answer them here and, when appropriate, discuss them in class. Keep it civil.

I look forward to meeting and getting to know each of you this semester. If you have any questions about the program at Pierce or your thoughts about transferring or working in the field of photography, don't hesitate to ask. If you have any special needs, or English is not your first language, or if you might have trouble with the writing assignments you'll be doing, please let me know so we can make accomodation or get you help. My e-mail and office phone numbers are in the syllabus.