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Focusing on digital camera education

Timbuktu Studios offers photography classes in Canyon Country.

Posted: May 9, 2008 12:18 a.m.
Updated: July 9, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Finding the right digital camera, taking the best photos and uploading the captured memories can be an intimidating and confusing task.

But Dave Weathers hopes to eliminate those hassles with the digital arts classes now being taught at his Canyon Country photography studio, Timbuktu Studios.

Weathers, a digital arts and photography veteran, said his classes are aimed at anyone interested in learning how to navigate through the digital world, ranging from soccer moms and dads to kids and students.

"There are so many things to teach," Weathers said.

Currently, Timbuktu Studios, which includes studio space rented out for photo sessions, offers a dozen classes that teach different skills. For example, "I have a new digital camera, now what?" instructs students how to use their camera, while "You shoot, they score family sports photography" shows learners how to capture the best moments of a youngster's sports game.

Classes are taught by one of the four instructors, who all have experience in photography, Weathers said. However, he said the classes will not be lecture-based, but rather through approachable lessons.
"The whole idea is to interact," he said.

Classes, which range in cost from $15 to $225, are held on the second floor of the studio in the hands-on educational center, which features 10 Macintosh work stations and a printer. The space also includes a couch and lounge space for those interested in doing research at the center.

While the classes are new, Weathers is not new to photography and the digital arts.

The local resident has 20 years of background in the motion picture business and is involved in sound, picture editing and animation. He currently serves as president of sound services, animation and interactive for Technicolor.

"I have always enjoyed creating images," he said.

About a decade ago, Weathers said he picked up photography and began traveling around the world, taking photos of people.

His most recent trip was to Cambodia.

Weathers said he most enjoys taking up-close photos of people in their environments.

But Timbuktu's classes are not just for those new to photography. Suzette Troche-Stapp, creative vice president for Timbuktu, said she offers weekend workshops for photographers looking to develop their talents.

"What I wanted to do was teach people what I do and let them do it their own way," she said.

Troche-Stapp, who has won multiple awards for photography and was recently named one of the world's top 40 Photoshop experts, said the workshops help photographers from start to finish.

By the end of the workshop, Troche-Stapp said students will leave with at least five or six new high-quality photos to add to their portfolio.

Troche-Stapp hopes to truly help people with their photography.

"I want to change people's lives," she said.

Troche-Stapp said she has taught workshops in the past, but nothing as extensive as what she offers now.
After Weathers presented her with the idea of offering the classes for the everyday person, Troche-Stapp said that this was something that was needed doing.

While photography classes are offered elsewhere, the hope is that Timbuktu's classes will work better with people's busy lives.

"We wanted to make it a schedule for people who work, have kids," she said.

Additionally, she noted that the classes are designed to teach people the crucial concepts.

"It's made to teach you the skills that you actually need," she said.

Timbuktu Studios is located at 26360 Ruether Ave. in Canyon Country. For more information, visit


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