Photography School

I can’t believe that I am already at the halfway point of this first semester. Registration for Spring opened last week, and just looking at the class names is making me so excited for what’s to come.  But first I need to get through Fall!

The beginning of this semester had a slow start as we got acquainted with the labs, the equipment, and each other. Before we could check out cameras, we had to be taught how to use the cameras. Before using the enlargers, we had to be taught how to use the enlargers. Et cetera. At this point, we are in full swing, shooting our own film using medium format cameras, developing it ourselves, making prints in the darkroom, and mounting prints for presentation. IT IS FUN.

Here’s one of the first projects I did – a photogram. It was a way to get our feet wet using the enlargers.
(NB: We haven’t done any digital work at all, that will come next semester I think. All these pics below are only pictures of the work, not the actual work. Are you picking up what I’m laying down? Moving on…)

Trying to choose my favorite photogram. #rccphoto #photography

We mounted them, then had an in-class critique.

Before really getting to work on our own photos, we started learning how to mount our work. Here’s a picture of my first mounting assignment, using a leftover print from a previous student.

Photography School

The black edge shows the mat board. We use a dry mount press with tissue to secure the print. For me, this precise measuring and cutting of the mat board reminds me a lot of quilting and cutting fabric.

Our first real photography assignment involved gray cards and various lighting situations using the Sunny 16 rule of exposure.

Contact sheet. #ilford #xp2 #chromogenic #film #rccphoto

Because we had not yet learned how to develop the film ourselves, one of our teachers did it for us, in the pro-lab that they have on campus. I only had to re-shoot this assignment once, which I counted as a success! Matching gray cards in the darkroom, though, proved a trying experience. I used a lot of paper.Here’s a pile of 4×5″ prints that I went through trying to get it right.

Hopefully I'll get more efficient at printing, because dudes, that paper is spendy.

Just this week my second order from B&H arrived; more film and more paper. I have a feeling it won’t be my last order!

Here’s the film we’re using. It’s 120 film for medium format cameras.

Photography School

And my camera!

Photography School

This gal has given me a lot of grief the past few weeks. It’s older than most of the cameras my classmates use, and the main issue I’m having is with the gears. Film spools that were used when this camera was made were just slightly bigger than films spools of today (and film was thicker, too). So the gears are calibrated in such a way that my frames overlap by up to 1/8″, which is not okay when you are required to print your negatives full-frame. Luckily, there’s a very clever camera expert who works on our school’s cameras, and he suggested I tape my spools to make them slightly larger. And by God it worked! No more overlapping frames! Just when I had that problem solved, the shutter in the lens stopped working.  Sporadically. But it’s working now so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Photography School

Here’s my green light meter, which was required for use on our “motion” assignment. And all future assignments I presume.

And probably the most exciting thing I’ve done so far — develop my own film!

Photography School

That’s a rather mundane picture of what is an exceedingly exciting (and at turns infuriating!) process. Going into the dark with a roll of exposed film, coming out with negatives! It’s magic (and science). I’ve only ruined one roll of film so far, and that was a result of my own stupidity.

A handful of my classmates have already felt the pressure and have dropped out. I’m not specifically sure what their reasons were, but the lab is nicer without the crowds, as harsh as that sounds. And even though we’ve had a lot of projects to do, I have a feeling that it’s only just the beginning. We are preparing for a career where missed deadlines means lost jobs, and shoddy work is unacceptable. The high standards are there for a reason, and not everyone can keep up.

I feel like I’ve learned so much these past few weeks, but with that comes the feeling that I know nothing about photography. Absolutely nothing. I am grateful for the slow start. I look forward to the challenges. Getting to know all my classmates is fun. I really am having the time of my life.

more of Cindy’s knitting! and other things.

I’m back again, with little news of my own. Cindy has released another pattern (she’s on fire) and when she called me last week, I could tell she needed pictures of her new socks right.that.second. I was in love with the socks the second she slipped them on her feet. Look!

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Pattern: Knit Slouch Socks by Cindy Myska Colbert

Cute, right? And clever! The slouchy part of the sock is knit with a luxurious cashmere-angora-wool blend yarn (As payment for the photoshoot, I got a skein – it’s Noro Shiraito. Mmmmm.) and the foot is any old sock yarn you have around.

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A while ago, I mentioned to Cindy that my goal was to write two patterns a month. That clicked with her, and she’s been designing really great things these last few months. Obvi, the same can’t be said for me, but I’m excited to see all the new designs she has come up with.

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I guess I have news of my own, but nothing as exciting as slouchy socks. I just yesterday finished my first semester of school, and my prerequisites are officially done! When I start classes in the Fall it will be all photography, all the time.

I am knitting socks.


Pointelle from Knit. Sock. Love by Cookie A. My mom bought me some gorgeous yarn, String Theory Merino DK, and on a US 2 over 60 sts, they fit. The socks look big, they are big, and they fit me. ERGO I have boats for feet. I’m over it.

Lastly, I had a second engagement shoot with my cousin and her fiance in downtown Greensboro.

Laura & Jim

Much like the first time, they were adorable.  Actually even more so!

school days

Water Street Cap by Mandy Powers

School started last week. I’m only taking two classes, and thank goodness for that. Not using your brain in that schooly way for so long, then being in school, well I’m glad for the lite class load. The two classes I’m enrolled in are required for all students, Math and English. I will start the meaty fun photography classes when the Fall semester begins in August. It will be full time, and intense, and hopefully really fun.

In the meantime I’ve been working on some new patterns, YAY. Mallory is modeling the Water Street Cap up at the top. Maggie had the honor of modeling the new Girdwood Hat, that matches the mittens that I released last year.

Girdwood Hat by Mandy Powers

These patterns are almost ready to go. I’m really excited about both of them, and they just need some finishing touches!

I think I’m going to be doing some behind-the-scenes work on the blog in the coming weeks. The biggest change is that I am going to move all my pattern purchasing to my Ravelry store, since nearly all of the people who purchase my patterns do so through Ravelry anyway. It takes me half a day or more to update my pattern page with a new pattern, and then 95% of people buy it on Ravelry. I’ll still blog about the designs, of course, and put a “buy now” button in the blog posts, but the fancy pants Patterns Page is unnecessary and time consuming. If you have an opinion about this I’d love to hear about it (for example, if you prefer to buy a pattern through the blog, tell me about it!).

Later, gators!

P.S. Anyone remember the last time the Giants went to the Superbowl? I sure do hope they go again this year, but I don’t know if I can top that challenge! I’m ready to try. GO GIANTS!