University of Connecticut

UNIV 1784: Nurturing Personal Creativity through Digital Photography

Semester: Fall 2014
Section: 27
Date and Time: Tues. – Thurs. from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m.
Location: Information Tech Engr 125

Del Siegle, Ph.D.
249 Glenbrook Road Unit 3064
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-3064
Phone: 860.486.0616
Fax: 860.486.0180
Office: Gentry 119B

Student Facilitators:
Georgina Talbot

Eleanor Freeland

Course Description:

The purpose of this seminar is to help students develop their digital photography skills and see the world through new eyes. An emphasis is placed on using photography to communicate ideas and feelings. The seminar will culminate with a product showcasing student created images. The course emphasis is less on the technical aspects of using your camera and more on developing your ability to see and capture visually interesting images.


During this seminar the student will…

  • discuss the role of photography in the 21st century
  • create images with a digital camera to illustrate abstract concepts
  • develop a multimedia presentation using digital sound and visual images
  • describe the photographic digital process
  • manipulate the color balance, contrast, density, and saturation of digital images
  • review basic photo composition guidelines
  • apply creativity strategies to create digital photographic images that reflect originality and flexibility of ideas


Grades will be based on semester participation (you cannot participate if you do not attend) and completion of digital images:

  • Participation — 10% (1 point for each day you participate during the facilitator’s section)
  • Digital Projects — 75% (5% for each assignment) – 15% for the music video) Each digital assignment is due in our shared Mydropbox folder in electronic format by 5 p.m. on the Sunday before the class where the assignment is listed (e.g., The Near and Far assignment is due Sunday evening [August 31] at 5 p.m.). Save the photo file using the following file naming pattern: lastname-assignmenttitle (e.g., smithnearandfar). After you have renamed the file using this naming standard, save the file in our shared Mydropbox folder. I will send each of you an invite to open a free Mydropbox account. I will also send you an invite to share a folder in Mydropbox. This folder is where you will save your assignments for this class.
  • A – 90-100%
  • B – 80-89%
  • C – 70-79%
  • D – 60-69%
  • F – Below 60%


August 26

August 28

  • Icebreakers
  • Select Dairy Bar flavors
September 2
Assignment Due: Near and Far

September 4

  • Visit Dairy Bar (Meet in classroom)
  • Safe and smart college choices
September 9
Assignment Due: Random Emotion

September 11

  • Campus Scavenger Hunt
September 16

  • Academic Citizenship
September 18
Assignment Due: People without People and Compress and Stretch (one telephoto and one wide angle with the subject the same size)

September 23
Assignment Due: Portraits (4 images)

September 25

  • Library Tour (Meet in classroom)
September 30
Assignment Due: Light Makes All of the Difference and Effective Tele/Wide

October 2
In Class Activity (Bring Cameras): Scavenger Hunt
October 7
Assignment Due: Broken Rules and Scavenger Hunt Results

  • View sample Music Videos from previous years
October 9

  •  CCD Resume Writing Presentation (bring your completed resume draft)
October 14
Assignment Due: This is Who I Am (Hands or Feet)

October 16

  • Registration Discussion Day and Pizza
October 21
Assignment Due: Tripod/Time Exposure Photo

October 23

  • Alcohol and Other Drug Services
October 28
Assignment Due: Replicate a Famous Photo

October 30

  • Rainbow Center Visit (Meet outside SUB across from Business School at 10:55 a.m.)
November 4
Assignment Due: It’s Not What It Seems
November 6

  • Education abroad
  • Homework: Bring a question or questions to discuss during next week’s open discussion
November 11
Assignment Due: Leaving Planet Earth

November 13

  • College Life Discussion
  • Magic Carpet icebreaker
November 18
Assignment Due: Manipulated Photo

November 20

  • Honors housing tour (meet in South Dining Hall between 10:55-11 a.m.)
November 25
Fall Recess
November 27
Fall Recess
December 2
Assignment Due: Music Video
(Youtube example of using still images to create movement)
December 4
Assignment Due: Music Video (continued)

  • Warm and fuzzies icebreakers

Descriptions of Assignments

Place each of these assignments in our shared Mydropbox by Sunday at 5 p.m.

Assignment One (due Sun., Aug. 31):
Near and Far
The purpose of this assignment is to create an image that communicates the concept of something being both near and far at the same time. Provide a paragraph that describes how the image represents both near and far.

Assignment Two (due Sun., Sept. 7):
Random Emotion
First year college students experience a wide variety of emotions. Each of you will be randomly assigned an emotion that someone in our class felt was being experienced by first year college students. Create one image that you believe depicts that emotion. Provide one or two sentences describing how your image depicts the emotion you were assigned. Do not share this assignment with your classmates. We will be discussing the emotions next week in class.

Assignment Three – 2 parts (due Sun., Sept. 14):
People Without People
Create a photograph that illustrates the concept of “people without people”– write one or two sentences that describe why it represents “people without people.” By now we should be producing quality images. If you find that your photograph is out of focus or poorly lit, please retake it.

Compress and Stretch
Select a subject to photograph. Set your camera to maximum telephoto and photograph your subject. Set your camera to maximum wide angle, move closer to your subject and photograph it again with the subject the same size as it was in the first photograph.

Assignment Four (due Sun., Sept. 21):
For this assignment, you will photograph one individual four times. You will create three formal portraits (one with split lighting, one with 45 degree lighting, and one with modified butterfly lighting) and one informal environmental portrait. The formal portrait should demonstrate your understanding of portrait lighting of the face, masculine and feminine poses, and a distraction free background. The environmental portrait should reveal something about the subject’s personality or interests while trying to still use effective portrait lighting. Nothing should be included in the environmental portrait that does not tie to the identity you are portraying.

Assignment Five — 2 parts (due Sun., Sept. 28):
Light Makes All the Difference
Your photograph should be one that makes use of dramatic lighting. This photograph should be a scene or object that would not be interesting if it were not for the dramatic lighting and shadows you captured. The image must be in black and white.

Effective Tele/Wide
The focal length of the lens you use (from wide angle to telephoto) makes a difference in the perspective of your images. Take a photograph with extreme wide angle (zoomed out) or extreme telephoto (zoomed in) that is more dramatic because of the focal length you used. Take a regular focal length image of the scene as well. Submit your extreme image and your regular image.

Assignment Seven (due Fri., Oct. 3):
Scavenger Hunt
You will work in a team to take 10 unique photographs that no other team duplicates. We will take the photographs as part of a scavenger hunt. One member of your team will be responsible for assembling your photographs into a PowerPoint template that I will provide.

Assignment Six (due Sun., Oct. 5):
Broken Rules
Take a photograph that breaks one of the rules of composition/photography that we discussed in class. The photograph should be successful (better) because you broke a rule. Take a second photograph of the same subject where you do not break the rule.

Assignment Eight (due Sun., Oct. 12):
This is Who I Am (Hands or Feet)
Take a photograph of your hands or feet that express your personal identify. You may have additional items with your hands or feet to enhance the message you are conveying.

Assignment Nine (due Sun., Oct. 19):
Tripod/Time Exposure
Use the tripod you received to take a time exposure photograph. Some objects in the photograph should remain still while other objects move for part of the exposure.

Assignment Ten (due Sun., Oct. 26):
Replicate a Famous Photo
Select one of the famous photographs we viewed in class. Replicate the photograph as closely as you can.

Assignment Eleven (due Sun., Nov. 2):
Not What It Seems
Select a common object and photograph it in an unusual way so that it is not initially recognized. You might do this by photographing a part of the object, making an extreme close up, depicting it with dramatic lighting, photographing it from an unusual angle, or using the object in an unusual way.

Assignment Twelve (due Sun., Nov. 9):
Leaving Planet Earth
Imagine that you are leaving planet earth and you are allowed to take only one photograph with you. Your friends, pets, and family are accompanying you, so you don’t need photographs of them. The photograph you take should represent how you want to remember the planet. This must be a photograph that you took during this semester.

Assignment Thirteen (due Sun., Nov. 16):
Manipulate Photos
This assignment has two parts. Often photographs can be improved or made more interesting with retouching. First, select a photo and change it in some way to improve its technical quality (It should simply appear as a good photograph). Save the original photo and the retouched photo. Second, select a photograph and dramatically manipulate it (It should appear as having definitely been manipulated). Save the original photo and the manipulated version. .

Assignment Fourteen (due Sun., Nov. 30):
Music Video
Select a song that has a message that you feel you can illustrate. Plan a storyboard of images to illustrate the song you selected. Take the pictures you envisioned with the storyboard. Sync your digital images to the song you selected using PowerPoint, Movie Maker, iMovie, or Photo Story. Save your final product as a movie file and test it on a friend’s computer before uploading it to our shared dropbox

Absence of Students due to Religious Belief:

Connecticut law states that no person shall be expelled from or refused admission as a student to an institution of higher education for the reason that he is unable, because the tenets of his religion forbid secular activity on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirements on such particular day or days or at such time of day. Any student in an institution of higher education who is unable, because of such reason, to attend classes on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day shall be excused from any examination or any study or work assignments on such particular day or days or at such particular time of day. The University Senate requires that students anticipating such a conflict should inform their instructor in writing within the first three weeks of the semester, and prior to the anticipated absence, and should take the initiative to work out with the instructor a schedule for making up missed work.  For conflicts with final examinations, students should, as usual, contact the Office of Student Services and Advocacy (formerly the Dean of Students Office).

Academic Integrity:

A fundamental tenet of all educational communities is academic honesty; academic work depends upon respect for and acknowledgement of the research, ideas and intellectual property of others. When we express our ideas in class assignments, projects or exams, we need to trust that someone else will not take credit for them. Similarly, others need to trust that our words, data and ideas are our own. We find the intellectual property of others in textbooks, periodicals, newspapers, journals, solution manuals, dissertation abstracts, emails, the internet and other sources electronic or otherwise. Regardless of where we find information, protecting and acknowledging the rightful originators of intellectual property is vital to academic integrity.

Academic misconduct is dishonest or unethical academic behavior that includes, but is not limited, to misrepresenting mastery in an academic area (e.g., cheating), intentionally or knowingly failing to properly credit information, research or ideas to their rightful originators or representing such information, research or ideas as your own (e.g., plagiarism). Knowing what constitutes academic misconduct is so important to an educational community that all students are encouraged to go to their advisors, instructors, counselors, or assistant deans of students whenever they need clarification. When an instructor believes there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate a clear case of academic misconduct within a particular course taught by that instructor, the instructor shall notify the student in writing, and also orally if possible, that unless the student requests a hearing to contest the instructor’s belief, the instructor shall impose the appropriate academic consequences warranted by the circumstances. This should occur within 30 days of discovery of the alleged academic misconduct. The appropriate academic consequence for serious offenses is generally considered to be failure in the course. For less serious offenses regarding small portions of the course work, failure for that portion is suggested, with the requirement that the student repeat the work satisfactorily for no credit.

Students with Disabilities:

Students with special needs should contact the instructor early in the semester so accommodations can be made. Additional help is available through the university. Through the merge of the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) and the University Program for College Students with Learning Disabilities (UPLD), one office now serves all students with disabilities. All students may contact the office by visiting the Wilbur Cross Building, Room 204, calling (860) 486-2020 or emailing

Cell Phones and Texting:

As an educator, I understand the importance of “engagement” for learning. You also understand how nonacademic tasks detract from engagement. Please be respectful of your other students and me and do not electronically text during class. If I notice that you are texting, I will ask you to turn off your cell phone. If this becomes a problem, I will ask you to drop the class.

Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS):

The campus environment can be exciting and challenging. It can also be highly stressful since social and emotional concerns can interfere with effective functioning and academic performance. CMHS is committed to helping students benefit from their college experience. One way students can do this is to talk to a mental health professional in a supportive atmosphere to aid self-understanding and the resolution of personal concerns. Although CMHS may work with students in crisis, the primary goal is to assist students with their concerns before they develop into more serious problems. CMHS works to promote students’ emotional, relational, and personal development. Phone 860.486.4705 or visit