Helmed by photo instructor Hal “Bull” Schmitt, Light Photographic Workshops simplify Adobe programs with single-day, eight-hour sessions designed to turn Photoshop neophytes into pic-enhancing masters. The course will delve into Lightroom’s powerful, easy-to-use sliders, tools, and basic editing functions for removing apparitional pic crashers. Though not required, students are welcome to bring their Lightroom 3–equipped laptop to the class to follow along with the lesson plan or a notepad and quill pen to take notes. Upon completing the course, each student takes home an instructional DVD with more than 8 hours of material for multimedia reminders of the class’s subject matter and a 40 percent discount on their first fine art, photo, or fine-art gallery canvas wrap print order through Light Workshops. Students are encouraged to bring either a bagged lunch or lunch money to save personal computers and fellow students from accidental ingestions.
Herds of wild horses and burros—about 400 in total—roam the 300-acre Return to Freedom sanctuary, where they're free to exhibit the natural behaviors and social structures they came to know in the wild. However, for many of the horses, it hasn't been an easy journey to their new home. Government roundups displaced these wild steeds from public lands, forcing many into auction, where they were sold off to the highest bidder. Their stories are harrowing, which is why Return to Freedom works tirelessly to help these wild horses resume their natural ways of life. Visitors of the sanctuary can observe these creatures on walking tours and safaris, getting up close and personal with the five herd families that traverse the lands.
At Ostrich Land, visitors quickly learn that ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand—they'd much rather bury them in a bowl of food that you hold out in front of you. They're also not fond of waiting their turn, and at any given moment, you might have four beaks dipping into your supply. The experience is a far cry from throwing bread at ducks or pigeons. These birds are the world's largest: they can reach up to 9 feet in height and weigh 350 pounds. At top speed, they hit 45 miles per hour on their massive, two-toed feet.
Having been raised around people and trained to eat from outstretched bowls, the park's 50 ostriches and emus welcome spectators from their savannah-like enclosure. They're also celebrities in their own right, with bit roles in the film Sideways as well appearances in a Santa Maria Times video feature and a tongue-in-cheek homage in an episode of The Simpsons. Dispensing the animals' supper is only one way in which guests can get close—a stop inside the gift shop reveals shelves of ready-to-cook ostrich and emu eggs, ostrich feather dusters, and savory ostrich meat shipped in from a separate farm not affiliated with Ostrich Land. Also in stock are vials of emu oil, a substance with anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties that can soothe the skin.
Family owned and operated since 1923, Metropolitan Theatres unspools blockbuster and art-house independent films at 19 locations in the U.S. and Canada using superior film presentation and digital sound systems. Theatre concession stands dole Coca-Cola products and detonate kernels of popcorn to fill bellies and share with encroaching Godzillas. Snacks in hand, customers sink into seats inside conventional or stadium-style theatres to laugh, gasp, and grimace at star-studded titles, such as The Grey, War Horse, or Hugo. Independent films such as The Artist and The Descendants appease creative tastes.
Harmony Horse Training owner Gillian Linberg began jumping fences at the age of 16. Not on foot, mind you, but on horseback. Her passion for horses led her to study dressage, show jumping, and competing at Dunvegan Training in Scotland. Before her 17th birthday, Linberg had received her British Horse Society 1 and 2 certifications, and by the time she was 18, she had earned her BHS 3 and teaching qualifications. Since then, she has cared for steeds in Rome, and conquered the National Vocational Qualification exam.
Gillian’s love for horses and showing eventually led her to open Harmony Horse Training, where she introduces children of all ages to the world of horseback riding. Her lessons teach students how to properly care for a horse, how to prep them for a trail ride, and how to reduce their stress by steering them away from lion cages. Gillian also hosts birthday parties, as well as summer and half-day camps, that teach the fundamentals of horse care, from tacking to grooming.