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Continuing Education at Kendall produces Learning and Laughs

Posted December 15, 2010 in Youth and Adults




If you happened to walk by room 408 on Tuesday night recently, you would have seen eight students hunched over their laptops, laughing hysterically.  Really hysterically.


Why? They were all taking Photography class with instructor Dianne Carroll Burdick. She had just taught them Photo Booth on the Macs provided by the College. 


Very fun and funny. This is an application where you can take a photo of yourself (camera imbedded in the computer) and then manipulate the effect. For example, you can create Andy Warhol look-a-likes. You can stretch and pull your features in a variety of ways or place yourself in front of famous backgrounds.  It is also possible to import backgrounds. Some of the results had us in stitches.


The class is not all fun and games though. Students learn all about the parts of their cameras, the goal being to move beyond simply “point and shoot.”  As a participant I was amazed with all I could do with my old Nikon D40. I had no idea what all those dials and adjustments were for and how to take advantage of them to create better images. I soon learned.


Dianne, a professional photographer who works for the Grand Rapids Press, collaborates on books, shoots weddings and events and many other kinds of photography projects, was patient and clear and cheered us all on. 


We took photos of the river at night, learned how to adjust our flash attachments to reduce glare and enjoyed looking at each other’s class assignments.


The best part for me was the exposure (pun intended) to PhotoShop, the computer program that seemed daunting. In my mind it is a program only really smart graphic artists could use.   I now think I can learn to use the consumer friendly version called Elements.  I have already signed up for the Kendall  class on the topic that starts Jan. 2011.


My sense is that the classes offered by the Continuing Studies department at Kendall are a treasure in our community.  Brenda Sipe, the Director of the Continuing Studies Department, says approximately 2,000 students a year take classes in the program.


The most popular are the youth classes, the computer classes and the photography classes like the one I took.  “One of our advantages is that our computer classes have an art and design component,” she says. “This is not typical of most computer classes in town.” 


She also explained that the strength of the digital photography is the access to the computer labs at Kendall.  I’d agree with that.  It was marvelous to be able to download our class assignments and learn about PhotoShop and Bridge and the other amazing things you can do to your images without enduring the smelly chemicals like the old days in a darkroom.


The instructors are frequently Kendall grads who love teaching and sharing their skills, talent and training.  Some have been teaching more than a dozen years. 


For a complete listing of classes offered by the Continuing Studies Department, click here. 


-Susan J. Smith




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