The sky's the limit - Lynn Mickelson shares the magic of digital photography

Lynn Mickelson has been passionate about photography since he was a kid learning how to fly. High up in the clouds he saw images he wanted to capture.

These days, even if Mickelson isn't elevated above Earth, his pictures can be. In the wily world of digital photography, the sky's the limit.

"There are a lot of people out there finding out that you can take an image and alter it and come out with good stuff," said Mickelson, the volunteer teacher for Digital Photography, a new seniors photo-editing class. "I can alter photos and they really look elegant."

The class, funded by the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens (within the Seattle Department of Human Services), teaches seniors how to crop, lighten, darken or color-correct digital images.

"Everything in the world is on computers now," said Patti-Lyn Bell, program coordinator since 2002. "We don't want to have seniors left behind, and seniors don't want to be left behind."

The class implements Photoshop, the image-editing program, but lessons can apply to most image-editing programs available.

"Very few people realize it, but probably 99 percent of everything that you see in magazines has been altered," Mickelson said. "Everything that we do here has been possible - people have been doing this - for one hundred years."

The difference is that now photo- editing can be done in the privacy of your own home. Anyone and everyone can do it - and they do.

"There has been a complete revolution in photography," said Mickelson, a white-haired man with a twinkle in his eye. "Now it is possible to do things at your computer that you were only able to do in a lab."

In addition to digital photography, Seattle Department of Human Services offers basic computer skills, word processing (using Word), as well asd filing and spreadsheets (using Excel). The program is called Seniors Training Seniors, and it is intended to reach people 55 and over.

"The computer, Internet and e-mail have become the fabric of society, and seniors do not want to be left out," Bell said. "Seniors love the classes because they are small - only six people in a class, and people feel comfortable and not intimated."

The program has had more than 1,800 seniors attend classes in the last five years, and it keeps expanding.

"When older people have tried to learn about computers, the classes moved too fast - they felt intimated," Bell said.

"Here," she added, "they are learning from their peers."

For more details about the classes offered by Seniors Training Seniors, contact Patti Lyn Bell, 684-0639.[[In-content Ad]]