I was 12 years old when my grandfather took me down into his basement darkroom and taught me how to make a photographic print. I loved it. There you are looking at a blank piece of paper under a yellow safelight that won't expose the paper and you see an imaga appear. Magic!! I was captured into something that would be a hobby for all of my life and a career for much of it.
My first camera was a twin lens Yashica camera that shot 120 size film which was roughly 2.5 inches square. My dad and grampa and I would process that in our darkroom and I would take hours of time making prints. It was an art and a science and it let me be creative.
In college I was working on a degree in Grahic Arts and was headed to a career in the printing industry as a production manager when I felt a tug toward teaching. I had to have a minor for teaching so I picked Journalism. There I combined writing with photography and worked on the school newspaper both as a journalist and also in production work in the printing shop. When graduation time came and time to get a job I was called to Santa Cruz High School because they needed someone with a credential in print shop and in journalism and I was the only one in California with that combo.
I graduated and got my teaching credential and also got married in 1970. My first year teaching at Santa Cruz High was in the 1971 - 72 school year doing vocational printing and graphic arts plus newspaper and yearbook. Over time print shop became expensive to continue and my school opened up a photography class which ended up being something I taught 4 periods per day for 25 years while continuing with yearbook for a total of 28 years in the classroom. During these years I took a number of courses at UCSC Extension to further my photo skills and improve my credential. (It also paid more as I got more units :-)
In the 1990's I taught myself how to make a web page using the graphic artist and creative skills I loved. When my school said they could not buy a textbook for my photo class I decided to put my whole program and much of what I know onto a web site and created the SCPHOTO web site. Technology was a passion and when Apple offered SCHS teachers a chance to take a free Mac and use it to teach I jumped on it. Eventually I had a lab of 10 computers along with my darkroom. We were the first school in Northern California to do their yearbook on a computer and we started using digital photography as a tool to teach when the first analog type digital camera came out. We used video to do lessons and made technology a major part of the program.
Kids loved the web site and I never needed a textbook ever again. Using powerpoint and the web and video demonstrations my position became more of a coach and less of a lecturer. I loved it. Kids loved it. Kids came into class and sat down to the computer and got their lessons and assignments and I just managed their questions. An online gallery displayed their work to the world and the kids became more involved with their work so that it could be good enough to go in the gallery. All of these techniques are now rolled into the courses offered now at class.scphoto.com using a great web based technology called Moodle.
In 1998 my school entered the Digital High School program and staff asked me to share my passion with them and teach them how to use technology in the classroom. I left the classroom then. After two years of that I moved to the district office and became the District Technology Coordinator. In that position I was blessed with getting to travel around the nation and present lessons on technology in the classroom for Classroom Connect. At that time I took my FileMaker Pro skills that I had taught myself to manage the equipment and projects in my classroom and developed a data system for the district that tracked test scores. FileMaker is another one of my passions.
During this time the SCPHOTO site became a resource for many different schools. One of my beliefs is that IF you have taken something from the INTERNET in knowledge and understanding then you have an obligation to SHARE something that you know with the internet. I have always loved helping teachers reach kids with a camera and this web site has been a resource for that for close to 15 years.
Then in 2005 I discovered MOODLE which is a content delivery system similar to Blackboard that was totally FREE. Many schools and colleges use it to deliver online courses. I could now take my curriculum and add online submission and discussion forums, video, assignments, tests and everything I needed to teach photo and create a class. Now that I am retired the small income that comes from this class helps with retirement costs. The curriculum is low priced and has become a resource for a number of Christian Homeschool groups and schools. The content has no religious content but on the same basis it follows Christian values and does not have any bad content either. This class can be found at CLASS.SCPHOTO.COM
Finally, I have been a pastor and Christian for over 30 years. I am a Gideon. I have traveled to Israel twice and now have a passion to teach Hebrew culture to Christians and have been a teacher of Hebrew Roots for about two years. A bio of me would not be complete without this conclusion. Life has provided some challenges that have helped me grow. One of those challenges was a heart attack in 1994 and bypass surgery in 2000 and other health issues. Through it all I have been blessed with a lovely wife and friend for over 45 years, three children and now 8 grand children and ministry in service to God as a pastor at Calvary Chapel. It has been a joy to serve.
This web site is a service to others from the gifts God has blessed me with. May it be as much of a joy to you as it has been to me making it. For my secular friends the SCPHOTO site does not contain anything that should offend you but by the same token to my Christian friends this site contains nothing that takes away from the glory of God and His creation.
Keith Wills is a retired photography teacher operating the scphoto online class from his home office in Santa Cruz, California. You may phone Tuesday through Thursday between the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM Pacific Time for additional information. Now retired Keith may not alway be at home and will be out traveling about with his camera so email is always the best way to communicate.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. It is better than using the phone as we are often not at home but always have our iPhone.
3917 Winkle Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95065
(831) 479-1869 (home office)