My Digital Photography Class Teaching Schedule – Spring 2011


I now know my teaching schedule for each of the schools where I will be teaching this spring. The South Bay Adult School’s spring term starts March 28th, while Torrance starts on March 21st. PV NET does not have fixed terms. Their classes basically run continuously.

To see the classes I will be teaching at the South Bay Adult School, CLICK HERE.

To see the classes I will be teaching at Torrance, CLICK HERE.

To see the classes I will be teaching for PV NET in the near future, CLICK HERE.

As you can tell these links simply take you to the applicable pages on my website which show MY description and the schedule for each class.

Torrance and the South Bay Adult School have not posted the spring classes online yet. However they should be doing that shortly, as well as mailing the catalog. Most of the upcoming classes I will be teaching for PV NET have registration information posted on their website.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment here or email me.

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Photoshop CS5 for Digital Photographers Coming to Torrance This Spring


I am really excited to formally announce that I will be teaching Photoshop CS5 this spring at the Griffith Torrance Adult Center. As the title says, it will be taught from a digital photographer’s perspective. Remember, Photoshop is pretty much the industry standard not only for professional photographers, but also graphics artists.

This is a basic course, so it will be ideal for someone who desires or needs to become familiar with the basics of this extremely powerful program. Photoshop has a reputation for having a relatively steep learning curve. One of my fundamental goals is to significantly flatten that.

The course will be given on Thursday evenings from 5:30-7:30pm, beginning March  24th. It runs the entire eleven-week spring term. Look for it in the spring catalog coming soon.

If you are already familiar with photo editing using Photoshop Elements and are possibly considering moving beyond what Elements can provide, you will benefit from this introductory look at Photoshop CS5. A lot of what you’ve seen in Elements will look familiar. But, you will get a good idea why there is a $600 difference between the two programs.

A file manager called Bridge is also part of Photoshop CS5. We will use this program in class to easily locate the images we will work on within Photoshop CS5. Bridge plays a similar role as the Organizer in Elements.

I am currently designing the course and deciding on what specific topics to cover. If you have any thoughts or topics you would like to see covered, please leave a comment below.

A New Year – Time to Take Stock


As you may know or at least guessed, enrollment in my classes over the past several months has fallen at both the South Bay Adult School and Torrance. In fact, many of you have been directly affected. You wait for a class, register, and then get notice the class has been cancelled due to low enrollment.

Already the schools are preparing their course offerings for the spring term which starts the end of March.  To help me and them, would you please take a couple of minutes to answer a few questions below.

By the way, I will be teaching a new class at Torrance in the spring. Its working title is Photoshop CS5 for Photographers. It will be a basic class. Because of the tight schedule for planning, please complete the poll as soon as practical. For those of you who read this blog/post but have not taken any of my classes, please respond to the questions that do apply to you.

Thank you everyone.

Eventually Your Hard Drive Will Fail


We’ve all heard that our hard drives will fail at some point. This goes for those that are inside the computer, as well as external hard drives attached to a USB port. The estimates of how long they last certainly varies, but five years seems to be one I frequently hear about. As you probably know, most external hard drives now come without a on/off button, which basically implies they are designed to be left on from the day we buy them. At least that is how I use mine. Please comment if you have heard otherwise. I’m very interested in what you have experienced or do.

Several days ago I had my first failure of one of my numerous external drives.  I used this drive to back up all of my non-photo files, including my financial (Quicken) data. I use a program called Karen’s Replicator to do the backup. Why I use this program is another story. I run the program automatically weekly, and also use it to selectively backup certain files at shorter intervals if I need to. After each running of the program, there is log that is generated giving the statistics of the previous backup job. I quickly scan the log of the latest backup, before closing the program – a good practice, which I am definitely going to continue.

I do the automated backup at 1:00 am Sunday mornings. I leave my computer on overnight to do this, since it takes quite awhile. On Sunday, as usual, I quickly scanned the log. This time, every job completed, but with failures. Non of the jobs, could find Drive P (the letter assigned to this external drive by Windows 7). Sure enough I could not find it either using Windows Explorer. I rebooted my computer and it appeared, but Windows Explorer operated quite slowly. When I would try to open a file located on the drive, I would get a message that said the file could not be found, even though it was listed!

Well that was enough for me, I immediately re-configured Karen’s Replicator to backup my data to another external drive, keeping my fingers crossed that my internal hard drive would last a couple of more hours. It did, as really expected it would.

There’s more to this story. About two weeks earlier, I was using Windows Explorer to do some housekeeping, and discovered this same drive, Drive P on my computer, could not be found. I cannot recall, what I did to fix it. I probably restarted my computer and the problem appeared to go away. But I did nothing else at that time. It appeared to be working OK, and I promptly forgot about the failure.

BUT, at this first sign of trouble, I should have immediately looked into the problem more thoroughly and backed up the data I had there to another drive. I was lucky. I got a second chance.

By the way, I don’t know exactly how old the disk was, but I believe it could be pushing  5 years, since its capacity was only 320 Gb. This triggers another recommendation and a practice I will begin myself. Record the date you buy the drive somewhere easy to check from time to time, perhaps marked on the drive itself.  We tend to attach these drives and then promptly forget about them until we have a problem. That may be too late!

Addendum 1-6-10:

In the spirit of complete disclosure, I feel I need to tell you the latest in this little adventure. I plugged the bad drive into my laptop a few minutes ago, and again it is working perfectly. It was down to its last Gb of space so I cleaned out some space. Right now it continues to run fine. Obviously, I am not going to use it for anything important, but at least I have it experiment with etc.

This does not negate what I wrote above. This drive may run two weeks and then give me problems again. I’ll probably first check it more errors.

Addendum 1-8-11:

The drive never finished the error checking program. It was quite hot. After letting it cool down and restarting Windows, it was not properly recognized. It’s dead. Now I just have to see how to physically destroy it, in case someone smarter gets a hold of it. No more addendums. 

Still Time to Register for Classes at PV NET and South Bay Adult School


In my previous post I bemoaned the fact that three of my classes at Torrance had to be cancelled due to low enrollment. I am going to review the classes I teach to make them better and cover those topics that you want to learn about. In the meantime, since the South Bat Adult School and PV NET do not begin classes for another week, there is still a few more days to register for their offerings. This might be especially helpful for those of you who had already registered for a cancelled class.

I am teaching two classes at the South Bay Adult School.

Getting to Know Your Digital Camera

         Section 1:        Wednesdays 9:00-11:00 am, beginning January 12th (5 Meetings)

         Section 2:        Wednesdays 9:00-11:00 am, beginning February 16th (5 Meetings)

Creating Multimedia Projects Using Vista

          Tuesdays 5:00-7:00pm beginning January 11th

The camera class is essentially the same as the one taught at Torrance. The Multimedia Projects class is very similar to the one that was cancelled at Torrance, except it will use Vista instead of Windows 7.  However, the applications we will be using are essentially the same in these two operating systems.

I will be teaching a class at PV NET starting in January and a second one starting in February..

Working With Camera RAW Images

          Mondays, 10:00-12:00 pm, beginning January 10, 2011 (5 Meetings)
          No Class January 17, 2011

Home Video Editing – Multimedia Production

          Mondays, 10:00-12:00 pm, beginning February 28, 2011 (5 Meetings)

The Working with RAW Images class is unique. That is, I teach no similar class at either Torrance or the South Bay Adult School. If you have wondered what that RAW image setting on your camera is all about, this class is for you. The easiest way to register for PV NET classes is to email Emily Chen at emilyc@palosverdes.com

You have a few short days this week to register for these classes that start next week.

As always, please add any comments you may have regarding this post this post.

And I really would like to have you give this post a star rating that reflects how helpful or interesting it is to you. Thanks.