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Donation of camera equipment to Colonie Central High School is picture perfect

Lights, free cameras, and action.

The world of film and photography is about to open its doors to Colonie Central High School students with nearly $50,000 of digital camera equipment that has just landed on the school's doorstep.

According to the technology education coordinator for Colonie Central High School John Gehres, the district received a phone call last week from Khuram Bhatti, a former student of the high school who graduated in 2002 and now is employed by Canon U.S.A., a manufacturer of camera and camera equipment, saying that his company was looking to donate some equipment and asking whether the high school could use it.

Without hesitation, the school accepted Bhatti's donation of more than $50,000 of cameras and parts.

The pieces that were donated to the school include: 21 digital single-lens reflex cameras; nearly 60 camera lenses; and a dozen point-and-shoot cameras, according to Bhatti.

Bhatti, now a sales associate specialist for Canon, said that he had made the recommendation that Canon donate the equipment to his former school based on the need he saw for such equipment while he was there.

When I talked to (technology teacher) Jeff Wright, he said that they no longer really teach a formal photography class because, one, they don't have the money, and two, they don't have the interest since they don't have the equipment, Bhatti said.

Lisa Eichholzer, a technology teacher at the high school who currently teaches a television production course where students can earn college credits out of Hudson Valley Community College, said she hopes the donation inspires more students to become interested in videography.

Canon also donated several video cameras. Eichholzer said that video cameras are now used a lot in the high school to air the morning announcements, tape after-school events, and for her course, in which students learn news applications, news coverage and making creative films.

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