Grad School

One semester down…

Yesterday evening was my last class of my first semester of grad school — woohoo! Six credits down, 30 more to go. Next semester I am taking a 6-credit class that is a prereq for pretty much everything else in the program, and then I’m able to take a whole slew of awesome classes (Magazine design, Creative concepts, Book design, Typography II). I’m pretty excited about it.

I really enjoyed both of my classes this semester. Typography I was fascinating to me. Our final project was to typeset the Constitution, which was a fun challenge. And my photography class taught me the ins and out of my camera, how to use Lightroom, shoot in camera RAW, and all sorts of other super useful things.

For our final projects, we had to shoot a series of photos that all fit together. I opted to drive all over the area taking photos of water towers. Yes, water towers. Odd, I know. But I’ve always had a strange fascination with water towers, so it worked well for the project. The final product was six creepy photos showcasing water towers in Howard, Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties.


I’m quite proud of how they turned out. Plus, now I know the location of about 12 different water towers…. that’s useful, right?

Anyway… one semester down, at least five more to go! Now I just need to make it through a bit more work, then it’s CHRISTMASTIME.

Grad School

Life as a grad student


I’ve been in classes at the University of Baltimore for a little over a month now, and so far I’m loving it. My classes (typography & photography) are very interesting and I can already put some of what I’ve been learning to use at work. Plus, I’ve been getting to know the city, albeit a small section of it, which has been exciting for me.

My photography class has been quite fascinating. I never knew how much went into taking and editing photos — it has given me such a respect for professional photographers. I’ve taken photo classes before, but neither of the classes went into as much details as this class has. I guess that’s grad school for ya. I think the most helpful things I’ve learned so far have been metering, bracketing and editing in camera RAW. I ❤ camera RAW (I should make that into a T-shirt) — it’s incredible the difference in editing the uncompressed versus compressed files.

This week, our assignment is to shoot landscapes and turn them into Black and White images. It’s been a challenge to brainstorm cool places to go to take photos that will be interesting each week. I see things all the time as I drive that I file away in my mind to revisit when it fits for an assignment. The power lines, for example, I’ve driven by many times. When we were assigned our Converging/Intersecting Lines assignment, I knew exactly where to go. I’ve taken my camera all sorts of places, and each week the photos get better and better.

Here are some of my favorite images from class so far, and the topic we covered:

Short Depth of Field

Smith_short-dof1 Smith_short-dof

Long Shutter Speed




Something I Love


Where I Work/Study



Smith_framing1 Smith_framing2 Smith_framing3

Positive/Negative Space


Converging and Intersecting Lines

Smith_lines3 Smith_lines4 Smith_lines2 Smith_lines1




Smith_texture3 Smith_texture2 Smith_texture1

Spacial Relationship


Life is really busy right now. Grad school, work full time, family visits, bridal shower planning, other life activities — it’s tough to juggle everything. But, I don’t regret for a second taking on all of it. It’s been a great experience so far.


Amazing photos, amazing coworkers

It pays to know a professional photographer.

I’ve talked about my coworker and friend Tony Richards before on the blog. He’s our department’s kick ass photographer.

It’s not often that I am the subject of Tony’s photo shoot. If I’m involved at all, I play the role of photographer’s assistant (i.e. the person Tony gets to boss around). Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in a shoot as the subject! The result was too fun not to share.

Enter the most BAD ASS picture you’ll ever see of me (or possibly another human being) in your life:


OK, how cool is that!?! My whole team — we’re the creative department — recently just did a quirky photo shoot so we could have fun photos for our website. Of course, my prop was a hammer 🙂 That shouldn’t surprise anyone.

And if my badass picture wasn’t cool enough, I had to share these photos, too.


Chris (the guy I’m knocking out) and I were helping Tony set up for a boxing-themed shoot. I often step in as the “model” to help Tony get his lighting just right. Since we were both around, we put on the gloves and put on a pretty good show.

JoyceVsVictor-28Mar14-5 (1)

I won 🙂

Like I said, it pays to have an awesome photographer as your work buddy. Mad props (I know no one says that anymore) to Tony and his awesome photography skills. You are crazy not to peek at his website:

Speaking of work, the magazine that Tony and I work on together came out earlier in the week 🙂 We took the lead on this issue, which was a crazy, stressful and awesome experience all at the same time. I am so happy that it is out and looking pretty!


Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekends. I plan to finally get outside and work on a few furniture projects. Woohoo!