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Sound Bites - Issue #58 - June 2018 - #290

On the Cover
Ford Lowcock Brings Unique Expertise to Community Ed

Photography instructor : Ford Lowcock

One of Ford Lowcock’s stunning images

Ford Lowcock will team teach Smartphone Photography in July with Ed Mangus

Ford Lowcock has had a long and distinguished career as a photographer and photography instructor at Santa Monica College, and though he has retired from SMC as a full-time professor, he will bring his many skills and talents to Community Ed beginning in July.

Leaving behind a stellar 23-year career on the main campus during which, under his leadership, the Photography Department became widely recognized as one of the top commercial photography programs in the country, Lowcock will team teach with Ed Mangus Smartphone Photography July 7 and 14. And this fall he will teach two new classes: Adobe Photoshop for Photography - MAC and Advanced Digital Photographic Printing Workshop - MAC. Classes are taught in the Photo Department's main campus labs and facilities.

"Community Ed students have a wonderful desire to learn, to gain new skills and have fun all at the same time," Lowcock said. "In addition, the program encourages many students to also consider taking academic photography classes. And Community Ed students get access to the main campus' dark rooms and other facilities, so it's a great community builder."

See more Ford Lowcock images

Lowcock brings with him an impressive list of achievements in photography - including a long list of highly technical and advanced skills - as well as in the academic realm. Before his retirement on Jan. 1 from SMC, he was an unofficial co-chair of the department for more than 10 years and chair for the last four years. He supervised as many as 45 faculty members and participated in the creation of a large percentage of the current photography curriculum.

He was instrumental in building an industry support base providing the department and students networking opportunities.

In addition, he led more than 40 field study photographic weekend workshops for up to 137 students to Death Valley, the Eastern Sierras, Big Sur, Carmel, Joshua Tree National Park, the Salton Sea, Anza Borrego and Yosemite National Park, involving four to six faculty members to help. 

In 1998, he designed the department's first computer lab, and since 1999 he assisted in bringing in approximately $750,000 in grant money.

He has taught many courses from beginning to advanced, including studio lighting, film printing, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, time lapse, business photography and many more.

An ongoing, personal photographic project of his is on the environmentally endangered Coho salmon of the Klamath River in Northern California and Southern Oregon, where he has documented the many sides of the factors resulting in the decline of the salmon.

"I have photographed and told the story of Ron Reed, Cultural Biologist for the Karuk Tribe, Native Americans, who have lived in the mid-Klamath basin for thousands of years," he said. "I photographed and told the stories of steep ground logging and privately owned lands with managed logging, and cattle ranchers who own land but also have cattle grazing on public land, as well as environmentalists in the area."

In Smartphone Photography which will include a field trip to a location in Los Angeles, students will learn how to capture the mood and feel of the city using smartphone cameras. The instructors will teach students to develop a pair of discerning eyes and find out what to look for and how to take artistic photographs that are more than just snapshots, Lowcock said.

In Adobe Photoshop for Photography – MAC students will learn how to express their imaginations and create their own dream worlds with Adobe Photoshop.  They will explore digital imaging and the basic principles of photographic control and manipulation, as well as finding out how to turn ordinary photographs into works of art.

In the Advanced Digital Photographic Printing Workshop - MAC,  which is limited to a maximum of eight students, Lowcock will demonstrate how to bring printmaking to a higher level. He said students will "have to have a strong desire to make personal expressive photographic prints."

"Ford's workshop was an eye opener for me," said student Sara Peterson. "I have a new understanding of how to create a print that begins with processing of the RAW image. The small group size gave us the ability to deconstruct our methods and rebuild where needed. I came away with a stronger workflow, a better understanding of color, and confidence in my technique."

Aside from teaching, Lowcock will be busy in other arenas as well. He plans to assist scientific companies and university academic departments, including archaeology, with projects where photography can be a useful tool for various projects.

"Through association with the archaeology department at SMC I came to realize that using mobile devices such as the camera in our smart phones could be a very important tool in field archaeology research and possibly in other sciences," he said. "I developed applied field applications that utilize small, versatile lighting sources, a list of cell phone apps that could be used to maximize image quality for fine detail, color clarity and remove distortion, and additional supplemental equipment such as add-on camera phone lenses."

Lowcock is looking forward to his next chapter at SMC Community Ed. "It's a great place," he said, "for instructors to try things out outside the academic curriculum."

Ford Lowcock will teach with Ed Mangus Smartphone Photography July 7 and 14. His fall classes will be Adobe Photoshop for Photography – MAC (Sept. 8-Oct. 6), and Advanced Digital Photographic Printing Workshop – MAC (Oct. 27-Nov. 3).

What's New
Photo Contest Winners - Results are In!

Alice Meyering

Catalina Munoz Mejia’s SUNSET AT PLATEAU POINT -- Winner 2018 Student Photo Contest

Catalina backpacking

David Clancy is first runner-up for RUDE BOYS ROSE

SMC Community Ed uses the Augusoft Lumens' platform for its websiteHai Vu - MURAL OVERLOOKING PEOPLE IN CROSSWALK -- Second Runner Up

from the desk of Alice Meyering

I'm thrilled to announce that "Sunset at Plateau Point," a stunning image by CatalinaMuñoz Mejia, is the winner of the Fourth Annual Student Photo Contest - and the picture will grace the cover of our Fall 2018 brochure. The first runner-up is David Clancy for his photograph "Rude Boys Rose," and Hai Vu's "Mural Overlooking People in the Crosswalk" is the second runner-up.

Altogether, we received 150 submissions this year from 34 participants, and after two levels of judging, the three images were named finalists, with public voting choosing the winner and runners-up

I'm so pleased the contest garnered 918 votes—the most ever, and it broke our previous record of 895 in 2015 when we first held the photo contest.  A big thank you to all of our supporters who voted and made this another record year for our signature community event.  Every year we receive so many excellent photographs entered into our competition, and this year is no different.

"I am so honored, humbled and excited!" Catalina told us. "Winning this contest encourages me to keep practicing and develop better skills. I have never won a photography contest before and I am thrilled to see the fruit of my continuous practice. I love to inspire others through images and I hope that having this photo on the catalog cover and social media will encourage others to go explore the beautiful natural places in our world."

Catalina, 42, is currently in the International Logistics and Supply industry and is transitioning to the Travel and Tourism industry after having traveled the world for two consecutive years independently (2015-2017).  

The Downtown Los Angeles resident is the kind of student we love for her commitment to photography and SMC Community Ed – in fact, she has taken nearly a dozen photography classes with us and plans to continue signing up for courses.

Catalina told us that she shot the photo at sunset in January at Plateau Point, a great viewpoint accessed from the Indian Gardens campground on the Bright Angel trail inside the Grand Canyon. 

"I took a 10-day solo trip through the desert to photograph some of the most iconic places of the American Southwest with my very first full frame camera," she said. "I was out there all alone enjoying the sunset as I listened to the Colorado River rush through the canyon just 1,300 feet below me. I set up my camera and waited for that magical moment during twilight when reds, oranges, and yellows become their most vibrant over the rock layers of the canyon walls."

She captured the image with a Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera & Canon zoom wide angle-telephoto EF24-105mm IS f/4 L USM lens.

Again, congratulations to all three of our winners – and next year, we hope to get at least 1,000 votes for our contest!

Visit our award winning website at to register for classes online 24/7. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our classes. You can email us at or call us at (310) 434-3400.

Behind the Scenes:
Travel Tips from Our Foreign Language Instructors!

Venice, Italy

Montmartre, a charming and very popular neighborhood in Paris

Santiago, Chile

We asked our Italian, French and Spanish instructors to give us tips for those who are planning to visit Italy, France or Chile this summer. Each of these instructors has great insight into the respective countries – and here is what they had to say!

Italian for Travelers (July 12-Aug. 2) will let students explore how to manage any situation they might face during their travels. From their arrival at any airports in Italy – gates, customs, baggage claims, duty free, etc. In regards to Uber, it is no longer active so travelers need to rely on alternatives for transportation to get to their destinations. At the hotels, I advise travelers follow concierge recommendations. At rental car companies, for scooters or drive friends/family vehicles, travelers are required to get the international driving license, which is only $20 and lasts for one year. You can get more information at the AAA's website.

If you prefer cycling, you will be able to use the City Share bikes similar to what is offered in Los Angeles. In case of emergencies, such as going to the hospital, visits are free of charge or a maximum of a few euros for treatment and medication! I also recommend that if you plan to shop, learn about the European sizes (different than those in America), familiarize yourself with textiles, and by all means, learn about the amazing cuisine!  

Silvia Masera, Italian for Travelers (July 12-Aug. 2) and Italian for Continuing Students (July 10-Aug. 7).

As you travel, enjoy the local sites. Rent an apartment or AirBnB in lieu of staying at a hotel. Shop and visit areas where the locals "hang out:" open markets, flea markets, local supermarkets, etc. Have conversations with them about the history and culture of the area (learn the history, experience the culture firsthand). Go to a local sports game. 

If you want to do a tour of Paris, experience the boat ride on the Seine River, which has a guide who will explain the various historical sites and places. Or take the Big Bus Tour, which basically does the same. Also, a mini-tour in a Deux Chevaux (old French style car, loosely meaning 2 horsepower) can be fun as well. In the latter two, you can "hop on and hop off" at various stops. 

Be adventurous and design your own tour.  Everyone doesn't have the same desires.  Even, if you dare, take a cooking class and/or a language immersion class, which can last from 30 to 90 days.

Harriette McCauley, Intensive French Pronunciation Workshop (July 14-21).

Visit Northern Chile where the famous Hubble Telescope is and where the sky is the clearest in the world. Check the salt lagoons where you can float like in the Dead Sea. Discover fauna you only see in books: alpacas, condors, etc. or go to Patagonia where you can find the gorgeous glaciers. A must is Torres del Paine and staying at Explora Hotel (if you can afford it), which is in the heart of the park. Don't wait too long – the glaciers are going to disappear in 30 years!

Go to Valparaíso, the main seaport and visit Cerro Alegre where many artists live and adorn the walls of this wonderful town (similar to San Francisco) with beautiful paintings. You can also get wonderful jewelry (Chile is famous for Lapiz lazuli)

Go to Viña del Mar, resort town suburb of Valparaîso. You can drive towards ConCon along the Pacific Ocean and stop by in any of the wonderful restaurants along the ocean to savor fish and seafood.

Visit Zapallar and eat at Chiringuito.  Fantastic food and Chilean wines. Zapallar and Papudo are resort towns on the water.

Visit Pablo Neruda's home (famous Chilean poet and Nobel price winner) in Isla Negra - now a museum.

Go to Santiago, the capital. Climb to Cerro San Cristóbal to have a panoramic view of the city and take the funicular to the other side of town and land in Los Dominicos. The Old Spanish Monastery is now turned into an open market with all kinds of mementos: art and crafts, pottery, jewelry, antique furniture, etc. You can also eat here in a restaurant or have a soda and a sandwich in one of the smaller places.

Visit downtown Santiago – the oldest church, Pre-Columbian Museum, and the Presidential Palace is named La Moneda, which means "mint", it was here where money was issued when the country was founded. Then go to Barrio Bellavista (artists), Plaza de Armas, evening cocktails at La Piojera (try pisco sour), and at sunset go to Sky Costanera. 

You can't leave Chile without visiting the vineyards around Santiago: Concha y Toro, Undurraga, Santa Rita, Cousiño Macul – all about 40 kilometers from Santiago or on your way to Viña del Mar, the vineyards in Casablanca.

The monetary unit is the PESO and right now the equivalent is about $640 to a dollar. You can change money easily at the airport or in any Casa de Cambio.

Cecilia Dighero this summer is teaching Beginning Spanish - Level 1 and Beginning Spanish - Level 2. Both classes began earlier this week but it might not be too late to register.

Summer is Here - But So is Fall (Registration, That Is)!

Michelle KingMichelle King, Director Career & Contract Ed.

Barry Brennan of Flying Lion, Inc. will teach Commercial Drone Certification

A new summer class is Blog Writing for Beginners

Another new class is Networking for Your Career

Summer is upon us – but so is fall (fall semester classes, that is!). Our summer session actually began this past Monday (June 18), but we have staggered classes all season long, and it's not too late to register for classes.

In the April issue of Sound Bites, our monthly newsletter, we highlighted a number of new and exciting summer courses that we are offering, including Treasures of Asian Decorative ArtsIntensive French Pronunciation WorkshopSmartphone PhotographyPortrait Workshop: Shooting & RetouchingBlog Writing for Beginners, and Networking for Your Career: Perfecting the Informational Interview.

I urge you to explore all our summer class offerings through our main website. However, if you are also looking ahead to the fall semester, please note that you can begin to view classes online beginning today (June 22), but registration begins July 2.

I'd like to highlight a few new courses this fall: Commercial Drone Certification (a fast growing profession with unlimited applications), Adobe Photoshop for Photography – Mac, and Advanced Digital Photographic Printing Workshop - Mac. You can find out more about these classes in this issue of Sound Bites or in future issues.

Our class offerings illustrate our commitment to remaining a leader in the realm of life-long-learning – we are always seeking to add new and exciting courses. Our summer and fall new courses, along with many previously provided favorites, are offered in direct response to our community's interests and requests. We aim to provide a variety of unique learning opportunities and we intentionally seek ways to partner with SMC's academic programs as a means of extending to the community access to the college's wonderful campus resources – such as photo labs and special art facilities.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at or (310) 434-3400. Have a wonderful summer!

Warm regards,

Michelle King
Director of Career &
Contract Education


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