Thanksgiving Week 2016

Well, it is our one week Thanksgiving Day break.  Right…  But we are scrambling at school to make sure our Spring classes get the newly mandated number of students quickly or they will (not “might be” but WILL BE) canceled.  We have had courses canceled within two weeks of registration being opened and with over a month to go before the start of the semester when someone decided they would not have enough students. 

So, since registration just opened for Spring 2017 semester, we are already leaping into outreach and marketing mode.  I had intended to go visit my friends in Santa Fe and spend the time photographing there and along the way; but decided this effort really needed to take precedence.

To that end, Monday I scripted some short roughly 2-minute “commercials” (for lack of a better term) for my upcoming classes: Photo 143 Introduction to Digital Photography, Photo 125 Photo Business Operations, and Photo 200A Lighting Techniques.  Yesterday, with the help of my shooting partner, Cynthia, shot the footage for the piece on the Photo 200A course.  Then last night and this morning I hammered it together and prepared to upload it to Vimeo and YouTube so it can be available for potential students.

One down, two to go.   Here is the link for the Vimeo version of the 200A piece.

It has been a tradition for me for years to use the occasion of Thanksgiving to stop a moment and reflect on all of the things I have to be thankful for.  Wow, it is a very long list.  I was blessed with having a great childhood filled with loving relatives and endless encouragement to follow my passions and dreams and endless encouragement for my artistic endeavors.  It was made clear to me that the major obstacle I would face in life was… ME and my willingness to do the hard work necessary to achieve some level of skill and talent in whatever I chose to do.

Currently I am thankful for the opportunity to teach and help lead what I honestly believe is one of the best photo-educational programs there is… period.  Oh yeah, there are places around with bigger names and reputations, some with great “hero” faculty with major name recognition but at our facility at San Diego City College it would be hard to find a faculty more on board with our vision of trying to make it the best.

I’m especially thankful for my co-lead-faculty partner, Dave Eichinger.  We were thrown together, two strangers who, it turned out, shared a common vision to make our program the best.  I sometimes cannot believe our 30,000 square feet of space with darkrooms (yes we still teach film-based work), incredible studios (you can see part of one in the video above)  and well equipped classrooms, is real and offered by a school that charges under $50.00 per credit hour!  It is the deal of a lifetime for potential students.

Here is a district-produced video on our program.

I am also grateful for the incredible collection of friends I have managed, somehow, to entice into my life.  I rely on them to keep me on my toes, tell me (kindly) when I am straying into troubled waters, or getting a bit full of myself. 

Some of them go back to high school days or even earlier; some were clients first or colleagues or even competitors and all of them have taught me something, often something important for me at the time as if a higher power guided them onto my path when I most needed them.  Sometimes I fear it has been a very one-sided relationship with me getting all of the benefit; yet I am profoundly grateful to them and all they have meant in my life.

So here are my thoughts for all of you, whether or not you are in a location that celebrates a day of Thanksgiving as we here in the colonies do.  Take the time this week to reflect not on the craziness surrounding you, or the ugliness or problems; but on the good stuff.  It is easy to lose sight of all the good around us when we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by what we see as negative.  But don’t let that negative stuff define you, don’t let it blind you to the good people, friends, things of all sorts that filter through your lives.  There will, for sure, be plenty of time and opportunity to dwell on the negative, on the fears real or imagined to push us from our paths if you let it.  But for this week, let’s toast and embrace the good stuff and make a point to thank those good friends and people for being in your life.  Life is fragile and capricious; don’t let it slip away without embracing and reveling in the good stuff every chance you get.


About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
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