Tag Archives: Assignment

February 28, 2014 | The Production Director

20140228_more pictures mandy_2431

If the 45mm tilt shift lens from school goes missing it’s because I couldn’t bear to give it back.

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Find Yourself at RCC

Randolph Community College – Department of Photographic Technology from Mandy Powers on Vimeo.

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January 17, 2014 | bellows

20140117_macro bellows_1

All of the equipment pictured, except the tripod, is stuff I borrowed from school. That is, the full frame camera, the lens, the bellows, the hot shoe safety sync and the cord (connected to lights). When I look through the viewfinder I can’t see anything, so I’m playing around until I get a handle on the process of shooting macro.

There are eight weeks of school left before I leave to do internships. Eight weeks of playing, eight weeks of working. Eight weeks to make this time count. Eight weeks.

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aleece cell

The assignment for Biocommunications Object Lighting was to create a high-technoidish image of a cell phone. It should have colored light and a specular (shiny) background. I tried that on Tuesday but I just wasn’t feeling it. And by “wasn’t feeling it” I mean “having a quiet meltdown alone in the studio then refusing to look at the pictures”. I knew I needed another go, and driving to school on Wednesday my idea hit me. I would need rubber bands and willing models.

abbi cell

There is a graduate of RCC, Wes Naman, who has created some amazing portraits of people with faces distorted by rubber bands. There is also a weird picture of a guy with a rubber band holding a cell phone to his head. Those were my seeds. I mentioned my idea to a handful of people, seeking approval and gauging their reaction. It really sounded like a dumb idea when I said it out loud. But my teacher, whose instructions for the assignment I would be ignoring, said go for it.

bekah cell

I shot these pictures using a Sinar large format camera with a Phase One digital back, tethered using Capture One, and it was my first time using this set up. I wrangled three classmates who didn’t know what they were getting into and asked them to 1) remove the cases from their very expensive iPhones 2) take an extreme close up of themselves using their phone 3) strap the phone to their heads with rubber bands and 4) please be very still while I try to focus.

There was minor retouching of the screens of the cell phones, to make them match as best I could. I won’t tick off a list of about a thousand things I would do differently to improve these images, because I really like how they came out and I’m glad I tried my cray cray idea. Here’s how I presented the final three images for my assignment. 

cell phone triptych PRINT copy

(click this one for bigness)

Thanks to Aleece White, Abbi O’Leary and Bekah McClure, who all participated willingly. I think they would want you to know that rubber bands around your head are, um, uncomfortable to say the least. As much as you try to not let them snap…they snap. Sorry girls.

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November 1, 2013 | water/chocolate

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This morning I shot pictures of chocolate in the kitchen at school. There was great discussion of whether or not paraffin wax is edible (it is, in small amounts), I shot tethered for the first time (all screens should be calibrated, by law), and I learned why photographers hire food stylists (because it is tricky to get chocolate looking right, yo).

Here is my final shot.


I copied a picture I saw here by food stylist Susan Sugarman.

There are about 6 weeks left in the semester and oh so much to do. I thought I’d be blogging daily but man there’s just not the time. Lots of weekly assignments and don’t even mention the big projects due at the end of the semester. It’s hard to imagine that in six weeks I’ll have two portfolios and a major research project done. And a book, and Thanksgiving, and apparently my family likes clean clothes!

Given that daily posts are not happening, I’m also going to show you the pictures I created for an assignment called…H2O.


I never meant to create a diptych for this assignment, but it was staring me in the face the whole time. I’m just happy I noticed.

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October 17, 2013 | Say Cheese


Today we had a refresher course today in lighting pattern styles for portraiture. Fun! I got to be a model for my classmate and he modeled for me.

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October 13, 2013 | Infrared

20131013_infrared_We are fortunate to have an awesome camera at school: the Fuji FinePix IS Pro. I don’t know much about how to use the camera, but I played with it today. On the left is an image taken with no filter on the camera, in the center I used an infrared filter and on the right I used a visible light filter, meaning it looks “normal” to human eyes. The camera was on a tripod and the focus was locked down, which is how I got each frame exactly the same. Between shots (and there were many more frames than the three shown above) I swapped the filters and took notes.

I did a small amount of post processing to all three images, but I was just fooling around. There’s more research and experimentation to do before I really get a handle on how I want to use this camera.

One possibility is cat pictures among the green foliage of my backyard. Or something.

20131013_infrared cat_4598


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