Ben Chen has experienced his share of success in his nearly 30-year photography career—his work has been published in such publications as Cosmopolitan, The Los Angeles Times, and ESPN Magazine, and he has lent his expertise to some of the nation's largest corporations, including Procter & Gamble and The American Red Cross. In 2006, the photographer began to notice that more and more novices were purchasing complex DSLR cameras, and that gave him an idea. Chen decided to share his wealth of knowledge with aspiring photographers by creating the 4-Hour Newbie Photography Boot Camp, which teaches students how to shoot manually with their DSLRs and create artistic, professional-quality photos. Since then, more than 5,000 students in 20 cities throughout the country have benefitted from these classes. In 2013, he acquiesced to student demand and created Part II of the class, which goes beyond photography basics by diving into post-production techniques. Nowadays, students can take both Part I and Part II in the same day, helping them go from student to master in less time than most action-movie montages.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers 4 months old–12 years old with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
Armed with equal parts passion, dedication to the practice, and wisdom gained through teaching certifications, Blissful Yoga Studio's instructors help students achieve lithe, flexible bodies with classes catering to all activity levels. Introductory classes help beginners pay special attention to their alignment and breathing, and hot Vinyasa-flow classes challenge the mind as well as the muscles with a continuous series of empowering postures performed in a room that's heated up to 97 degrees. Instructors also incorporate the studio's specially outfitted wall, using its system of straps to sink students into deeper supported postures during yoga wall stretch sessions, which help them better impersonate the lowercase letter q. In addition to classes, the studio hosts workshops for seniors and those recovering from injuries that cover the basics of the yoga sutras.
Inside Koko FitClub’s tranquil workout studio, orange-and-white cardio and weight machines wait quietly for a guest's unique Koko key to bring them to life. The key, packed with information about guests' exercise history and goals loads up a 30-minute workout for each visit that's fully customized for each guest's body and goals. Exercises are carefully broken down in easy-to-follow instructions, adapting as guests progress, spouting pep talks when energy wanes, and providing information about individual progress. Personalized nutrition plans ensure the body has the energy it needs for best results.
Designed by experienced trainers, the programs are designed to build muscle and torch fat in all areas of the body. To watch success unfold, guests can chart their progress from a store of information accumulated during each session, which also allows guests to map their performance at home.
Wilson Camera Digital Lab & Portrait Studio opened in 1954, back when most photos were still developed on papyrus scrolls. Nowadays, digital gear fills the store’s two locations, but photographer Rudolph Henninger still brings old-school photography knowledge to his work in the shop, drawing on more than 37 years of experience behind the camera. He and his staff offer photography services for weddings and family portraits, teach photography classes, and work in their photo lab to digitally restore old photos.
John Flanders and Jeff Varner founded the Academy of Scuba to bring the magic of diving to the arid lands of the Southwest. They employ a team of PADI-certified instructors, who lead courses ranging from beginner and advanced open-water certification to more in-depth programs such as master diver, deep diver, underwater video and photography specialists, and professional shark imitator. Once certified, divers can stretch their new sea legs on diving excursions to exotic locales such as Belize, Mexico, and Bonaire through the academy’s partner and affiliate companies. Both of the Academy's locations rent, repair, and sell high-quality gear from reputable brands such as Sea Dive, Amphibious Outfitters, and H2Odyssey.