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On Veterans Day, a look at a special photography class on the South Coast for Veterans, by Veterans

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Caroline Feraday
/
KCLU
Santa Barbara City College School of Extended Learning has a photography course offered for Veterans - created and taught by Veterans

It’s a photography class for a unique group of students.

These veterans didn’t serve together. They didn’t even know each other until they found they had something else in common. A love for photography.

Here at Santa Barbara City College School of Extended Learning is a photography course offered for Veterans - created and taught by Veterans.

"I wrote a syllabus for the class that focused on photography, camera craft — how to use your camera, Photoshop, and then working with these wonderful printers that Canon has provided to us to print beautiful prints that you just don't get in a regular photography class," explained Bill Espinoza, one of the two brothers who lead the course. They are both Vietnam Vets.

He says the digital photography course is a great way for them to connect with others who have shared the experience of military service, while learning a new skill.

"Part of our daily class is they come up and they talk about 'I took this shot,'" said Bill. "Everybody says, 'let's take a look, what was your aperture setting, what was your speed?' and they're teaching each other as we go along by giving each other constructive feedback."

His brother Steven’s desire to support fellow service members has extended long after being discharged from active duty. He says that the course can provide more than just a chance to learn how to operate a camera.

"We understand that creating art is a good way for people to bond and open up. You get up in front of a class and start talking about your picture, well you're talking to people, you're talking to strangers who will become your friends," said Steven. "The camaraderie is off the charts, we have all become brothers and sisters."

Henry Wynn is one of the 12 students in the class. He’s putting together some of his pictures for an exhibition.

He speaks of how he used to use a film camera to take aerial pictures from a helicopter in Vietnam, during his time stationed there.

"I was 18 when I went there and I did not have a clue what was going on. I had no idea.

"Then you get over there and after a couple of weeks or months you say, 'this is nuts,'" said Henry.

"Now as you get older, this is really special to be able to have the relationship with the other veterans. I need that community," he added.

How Miller also served in Vietnam. He says he’s appreciates the opportunity to nurture his creativity, but enjoys the community spirit in the class.

"I also want to be able to take good pictures," he points out.

"There's this camaraderie when Veterans get together," he said.

They are looking to expand the program by inviting first responders or retired first responders to enroll in the free course beginning in January 2023. Registration will open on December 15. To register please email either Bill Espinosa - wespinosa@pipeline.sbcc.edu or Steve Espinosa - spespinosa@pipeline.sbcc.edu.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award this year, and also won two further first place awards, for Lifestyle Feature and Personality Profile/Interview. Last year, Caroline won first place for Use Of Sound. She also won two Golden Mike Awards this year, for Best News Reporting and Best Entertainment Reporting, as well as a National Arts & Entertainment Award from LA Press Club for One-on-One interview. Caroline started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and she was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007. She moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and is both an American and British citizen. Caroline lives in Agoura Hills with her daughter - her proudest production.