Referencing his 20 years of experience, skilled shutterbug Richard Maglievaz oversees digital-photography classes for artists of all experience levels. He ensures that whether they teach general classes for beginners or more specialized sessions covering lighting, aperture, or night photography, all instructors are field-tested and capable of being caught on film. Some classes venture out on field trips to such spots as the Houston Zoo, while others stay in the studio for technical lessons.
Over his 25-year career in snapshottery, Jimmy Loyd has accumulated an impressive list of skills as freelance photojournalist for the Houston Chronicle, portraitist, and studio owner. An early adapter to the digital-camera revolution, he can capture digital or analog family portraits, professional headshots, and in-the-moment sports images with ease. Loyd also employs his expertise in intermittently scheduled classes and photo tours, which might occur on-location at the Houston Zoo or, for more candid shots, out in the wilderness where animals don't have access to stylists.
As memory cards replaced film reels, many photographers—both professional and amateur—felt befuddled by the new technology. That's where Digital Photo Academy stepped in. Since 2007, the business has facilitated workshops that explore all aspects of digital imagery, from operating cameras and uploading digital files to editing images and airbrushing realistic mustaches. Seasoned professionals lead the courses, helping understudies hone their use of light, framing, and timing. Students furnish their own cameras, and can tote along any ancillary equipment such as tripods, laptops, and flashes that relate to the course at hand.
At the Latin Dance Factory, Christian Franco Gutierrez teaches students rather than a set of rigid moves. A native of Peru, Gutierrez emphasizes the importance of personal flair when dancing?but he also emphasizes the importance of repetition. Instead of teaching entire routines to beginners, he builds their dance repertoires with simple drills, ensuring that his footloose charges master the basic steps of their chosen style.
The studio's dance styles run the gamut from salsa and merengue to cumbia and kizomba. The lesson formats are similarly eclectic. Students can hone their skills in hour-long group lessons, four-hour intensives, or private lessons. For a more social atmosphere, newly minted two-steppers can practice at "date nights," candlelit dance lessons with wine and cheese spreads.
As the indoor swimming arm of the Gigglin Marlin Divers and Swim School scuba-diving school—recently named Houston's best by the Houston Press—Gigglin Marlin Divers and Swim School entices water persons with a saltwater pool of titanic proportions. The facility's 75-foot long, up to 15-foot deep heated saltwater pool plays host to a crowded schedule of activities. The watery fun includes swim instruction for those less than 1 year old as well as adults. Regular times are also set aside for lap swimmers and indoor scuba sessions in which divers explore the saltwater pool's mysterious depths.