Loma Portal students turn shutterbugs
by Kate Searcy
Published - 03/20/08 - 07:51 AM | 1200 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In a move to incorporate both new and vintage technologies into the classroom environment, a combined class of third- and fourth-grade students at Loma Portal Elementary School were treated to a lesson in pinhole photography on March 12.

The lesson featured both a demonstration from a local photographer and the chance for students to experiment by taking a few of their own pictures.

In addition, a podcast, a short instructional video, was also taped on the subject in the school's library and will be posted on the Internet, according to Loma Portal teacher Kelly Magaudda.

"It was a lot of fun for the kids," she said. "They haven't seen their pictures yet and they're very excited to see what they created."

Chris Keeney, a local photographer who is known for his work with pinhole cameras and for teaching how to make them, spoke to the class. Before the lesson, Keeney said he planned to demonstrate for students the basic concepts and principles of pinhole photography and how such cameras in their raw forms differ from the advanced technologies now seen in today's digital cameras. He also said he wanted to teach children that the photographic form is not too difficult to use.

After the demonstration, Magaudda said students would go outside the classroom to take their own pictures using donated pinhole cameras made from small paint cans with their insides painted black.

Prior to meeting with the class, Keeney volunteered to be featured in a podcast alongside Julian, a 3rd-grade student, who asked him several questions about pinhole photography. On camera, Keeney explained that a pinhole camera doesn't have a traditional glass lens and does not focus light by confining it through a tiny hole to making an impression on the material inside.

"Pinhole photography, really, you can use paper, you can use film "¦ ," he said. "I mean, anything that is light-sensitive."

After the podcast shoot, Julian said he was looking forward to the lesson and said he liked the idea of experimenting with the pinhole cameras "because it's fun."

He said he likes photography because "You get to explore your mind."

A classmate added, "Yeah, and you get to keep the pictures."

The lesson and podcast were put together by director Donna Guthrie of "Meet Me at the Corner, Virtual Field Trips for Kids," said Magaudda.

Magaudda said the podcast will be available to view at www.meetmeatthecorner.org. Founded in 2006 by Guthrie, the site is "a dynamic, interactive site which encourages individual expression and participation through video submissions from children worldwide, featuring their special corner of the world," according to the program's Web site.

Magaudda said the idea for the lesson came about after a chance meeting with Guthrie at a Christmas party last year.

Magaudda, mentioning that she was a teacher, prompted Guthrie to bring up the subject of doing a podcast.

"I said, "˜Are you kidding me?' My goal for the year was to do a podcast," Magaudda told Guthrie.

Magaudda said the topic was chosen to fit in with March as pinhole photography month.

Magaudda said her students got a lot out of the lesson.

"It's something that no one's ever done [the pinhole photography podcast in a classroom setting] and they're very excited that they're like pioneers. I think they're feeling proud about it," Magaudda said.
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