Hovlid Hall + North Point Grand Opening


This poster was my second project working at UW-Stout Housing Design. The brick and tile textures I collected by photographing the actual North Point building. The type went through many versions until one was finally decided on. The final version the client wanted had “Grand Opening Ceremony” in bright orange as they requested. I believed this grey and blue text color was much more successful. This was also converted to a postcard and distributed to everyone living in the Residence Halls at UW-Stout.

My Photography Gear


(UPDATED 1-3-14)

Over the past year and a half I have gone from not owning a camera to having invested several thousand into camera gear. But in the same time frame my passion and skills for photography have grown drastically and photography has developed from a hobby into a source of income. Every piece of gear I add to my arsenal has been researched and selected from all available products on the market. I know exactly what to expect when I receive the package at my doorstep (I order pretty much everything off the internet).

Where should you buy gear?

This is by far my favorite online vendor, not just for photography but for pretty much anything. The customer service it top notch and the shipping is lightning fast. The prices are about the cheapest you can find. If you are a student you can get Amazon Prime free for one year. Amazon Prime gives you free two day shipping and $3.99 one day shipping on items sold by Amazon. For more details go here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/student/signup/info

B&H Photo
Huge online retailer for photo and video equipment and other electronics. They have very competitive prices and lots of reviews on their products.

Another very large online retailer for photo and video equipment and other electronics. They are quite similar to B&H.

MPEX (Midwest Photo Exchange)
Awesome online vendor who strives to support the strobist community. They have premade strobist kits and weekly deals on strobist items. They have an awesome selection of light modifiers and stands. From personal experience I am very satisfied with their customer service as well.

Camera Bodies

Canon 5D Mark III
Listed Retail Price: $3399
Price Paid: $2560 refurbished direct from Canon. Discounted from Canon Loyalty Program.

Canon Rebel T1i (SOLD)
Listed Retail Price: $899
Price Paid: $675ish from Amazon.com
This camera was my first Digital SLR. It has served me very well. It has taken some amazing pictures. It is a very light weight and compact camera especially compared to the 50D.

Canon 50D
Listed Retail Price: $1099
Price Paid: $575 from Craigslist – USED
This camera body was more of an impulse buy because I got such an amazing deal on it. For $575 I was able to get the camera, everything that came with it new, plus a battery grip and three extra batteries. Compared to the Rebel T1i this camera is quite a bit of an upgrade. It essentially has the same 15.1 megapixel sensor but in a much more semi-professional grade package. The body is heavy, well built, weather sealed, and has many added settings and adjustments.


Canon 18-55mm (kit lens) (SOLD)
Listed Retail Price: $199
Price Paid: Included with the Rebel T1i body
This lens is good for learning the basics of photography. I used this lens for the first couple months of owning a digital SLR before I felt limited by it. I moved on to other lenses and this one has maybe been used once since.

Canon 50mm f1.8
Listed Retail Price: $99.99
Price Paid: $105.98 from Amazon.com
This lens is the cheapest and lightest lens that Canon makes. But don’t let its cheap plastic feel turn you away, this lens is not called the “nifty fifty” for nothing. This lens is VERY sharp and with a max aperture of 1.8 also very good in low light. At f1.8 it is sharp but when stopped down to 2.5 it is as sharp or sharper than my lenses that are around five times the price. It is very effective at taking portraits.

Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 (SOLD)
Listed Retail Price: $740.00
Price Paid: $431.10 from Amazon.com
This lens is definitely my favorite out of all my lenses. The colors and contrast are outstanding. The lens is relatively sharp at it’s widest apertures and tack sharp at its sweet spot of f8-f11. The wide angle distortion effect is awesome. This lens it great for pictures of landscapes, buildings, and even portraits. At 10mm you can make some very unique portraits utilizing the distortion. At 20mm though I can take normal portraits with little to no distortion.

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8
Listed Retail Price: Unknown
Price Paid: $442.98 from B&H
This lens is awesome… if you get a good copy. I originally purchased this lens for Amazon. When I received it I tested it out right away. I discovered very quickly that many of my pictures seemed out of focus especially when zoomed to 75mm. Upon further testing I discovered the lens was back focusing. This is when the lens locks on focus but is really focusing slightly behind that spot. I contacted the Amazon customer service and they promptly sent out another copy. This one had the same problem too. I returned that lens as well and ordered from B&H instead. The copy I received from them was the best but still slightly off. I then decided to send it in to Tamron for calibration under warranty.

When I received it back several weeks later I was very satisfied. The focus is now dead on. The colors and contrast isn’t quite as good as the Sigma 10-20mm but still quite good. The lens is extremely sharp and is even sharp wide open at f2.8. Many of the reviews I have read indicate that this lens produces images on the same level as the Canon equivalent. The Canon version is a 24-70mm 2.8 and is also almost three times the price. Now that I have a good copy of the lens I am very pleased with it though I don’t know if I can recommend it to anyone because of the severe quality control issues.

Canon 70-200mm f4L Image Stabilized
Listed Retail Price: $1349.00
Price Paid: $1118.00 from Amazon.com
This lens is simply amazing. It is definitely the sharpest lens I have. The build quality is outstanding. The image stabilization blows my mind. The IS of the lens allows it to take sharp images at 1/20 of a sec. It is awesome for portraits with its beautiful bokeh. It is especially awesome at wedding ceremonies to get in extremely close to the action.

Canon 135mm f2.8 Soft Focus
Listed Retail Price: $549.00
Price Paid: $40 from UW-Stout’s MSC Surplus Sale – USED
I managed to get this lens for an EXTREMELY low price. It is one of the oldest lens that Canon still makes. It is also the only Canon lens to have a Soft-Focus feature. This feature allows me to set a softness of 1 or 2 on the lens. This blurs the bright areas of the image and adds a kind of glow. A similar effect can be produced in post-processing in Photoshop. The Soft-Focus can also be set to 0 to turn it off. This lens it very sharp, even wide open at f2.8. I am very pleased with it so far and am excited to take some portraits with it.

Sigma 85mm f1.4
Listed Retail Price: $1450.00
Price Paid: $969.00 from Amazon.com
This is truly an outstanding lens. Beautiful boken and sharp wide open at f1.4. This is my go to lens for general portraits and low light shots.

Sigma 35mm f1.4
Listed Retail Price: $899.00
Price Paid: $899.00 from Amazon.com

Canon 17-40 f4L
Listed Retail Price: $839.99
Price Paid: $$616.46 refurbished direct from Canon

Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro IS
Listed Retail Price: $1049.00
Price Paid: $899.00 from buydig.com

Lomography + Zenit Petzval 85mm f2.2
Listed Retail Price: $599.00
Price Paid: $599.00 from lomography.com

Lens Filters

Hoya Non-Coated UV Filter – 77mm
Price Paid: $13.49 from Amazon.com
I use this filter on my Sigma 10-20mm. It seems well built and doesn’t seem to degrade the image quality at all. This was much cheaper than my other Hoya filters.

Opteka HD² R72 720nm Infrared X-Ray IR Filter – 77mm
Price Paid: $39.95 from Amazon.com
This is a very interesting piece of equipment. This infrared filter blocks VISIBLE light and allows only infrared light pass through it to the sensor. When looking at the filter it seems like very dark sunglasses. You can’t really see anything through the filter. When you use the filter you must mount the camera to a tripod and use a long shutter speed to allow enough infrared light to pass through the filter. The picture you end up looks like a red and black photo. You can then bring the photo into Photoshop or Lightroom and get some very strange effects. This particular filter seems pretty well built and it works pretty decent.

Hoya HMC Haze UV Filter – 67mm
Price Paid: $32.85 from Amazon.com
This filter is mounted to my Tamron 28-75mm lens. There is no noticeable loss of image quality when using it.

Hoya SUPER HMC Haze UV Filter – 67 mm
Price Paid: $41.85 from Amazon.com
This filter is mounted to my Canon 70-200mm lens. It is my highest grade filter which goes on my most expensive lens. The coating on the filter makes it easier to clean fingerprints off.

B+W 77mm Circular Polarizer MRC Filter – 77 mm
Price Paid: $142.76 from Amazon.com
This filter was purchased to be used on my Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens. The filter works great. It really brings out the blue in the sky and definition in the clouds. It also renders foliage better by cutting down on the reflections from leaves. The build quality is superb. The filter rotates very smoothly.

Battery Flashes

Minolta AUTO 320X
Listed Retail Price: Outdated
Price Paid: $0 from my father
I got this flash for free, how can I complain. This flash is probably around 30 years old and was designed to be used on Minolta film SLRs. Fortunately my dad had it laying around and said I could play with it. Before using it on my Rebel T1i I researched it to make sure if would be safe to mount it on my modern camera. I concluded that it would be safe and my flash photography obsession began. The flash is relatively powerful and has manual power setting from 1/16th to full. The flash served me well until it died shortly after purchasing my Canon 580EX II.

Canon 580EX II
Listed Retail Price: $499.00
Price Paid: $395.00 from Amazon.com
You can’t get a better Canon flash than this. It is very powerful and rarely do you need more power that this flash has. In addition it can be a master flash in Canon’s wireless flash system. The build quality is superior and it also has weather proofing. The recycle is relatively quick and silent.

Canon 550EX
Listed Retail Price: Outdated
Price Paid: $184.15 from eBay.com – USED
This flash is essentially two generations older than the 580EX II. It is very similar to the 580EX II in power and features. The 550EX has a screw on hot shoe foot instead of the quick release that the 58oEX II. The main difference that I don’t like is when in manual mode the 550EX power can be adjusted in one stop increments while the 580EX II has third stop increments for more precision.

Canon 430EX II
Listed Retail Price: $329.00
Price Paid: $256.99 from Amazon.com
This flash is a smaller and less powerful version of the 580EX II. The 580EX II has a click wheel on the back for adjustments but the 430EX II has buttons instead. The buttons are shaped awkward and they are diffucult to push with my large fingers. Besides this issue I love the flash. It doesn’t have the ability to be a master flash in the Canon wireless system but it works good as a slave flash. This flash is substantially smaller and lighter than the 580EX II which makes a big difference when I need to travel light.

Canon 600EX-RT
Listed Retail Price: $549.99
Price Paid: $423.99 from Adorama.com

Studio Flashes

Elinchrom Style 400BX Monolight
Price Paid: $675 for kit with two lights, stands, umbrellas, and softbox from Craigslist.org
These monolights are very compact but yet powerful. The digital power control is awesome. They also recycle in a bit more than a second on full power.

Elinchrom Style 600RX Monolight
Price Paid: $700 for light and octobox from Craigslist.org
These monolights are very compact but yet powerful. The digital power control is awesome. They also recycle in a bit more than a second on full power.

Light Modifiers

Gary Fong Lightsphere Universal Cloud
Price Paid: $49.95 from Amazon.com
This light modifier is expensive for essentially a piece of tupperware but it is worth it. It is probably the best on-camera flash modifier out there. When you need decent light as quick as posible when bouncing light is not possible I reach for this.

Westcott 43″ Collapsible Umbrella
Price Paid: $24.99 from Amazon.com
This umbrella folds up small and is very lightweight. The hollow shaft on mine have been dented from being clamped into the umbrella holders. The light that comes from this umbrella creates beautiful photos.

Lumiquest SoftBox III LQ-119
Price Paid: $39.99 from MPEX.com
This is probably the largest portable battery powered strobe softbox available. When it is folded completely flat it is approximately the same dimensions as a 13 inch Macbook Pro so it fits perfectly in the laptop compartment of my photo backpack. It works great for product photography for awesome control of light. The light it produces is quite soft though not as much as my shoot through umbrellas.

Lumiquest Snoot XTR
Price Paid: $34.95 from MPEX.com
Fun and small light modifier used to create a narrow circular beam of light. The snoot folds up small and is adjustable.

Honl Photo Speed Strap
Price Paid: $8.95 from MPEX.com
This is basically a piece of velcro wrapped around the end of one of my flashes allowing me to attach the Lumiquest softbox or snoot.

LumiQuest Ultra Strap
Price Paid: $8.95 from Amazon.com
This is very similar to the Honl Photo Speed Strap but it is designed to hold to the flash better. I would recommend this one over the Honl Photo.

Honl Photo Speed Grid 1/8″
Price Paid: $22.99 from MPEX.com

Visico 120cm Octagonal Softbox
Price Paid: $67.47 from Ebay.com

No Name eBay 22 inch Beauty Dish
Price Paid: $67.47 from Ebay.com

Elinchrom Rotalux 135cm Octagonal Softbox
Price Paid: $700 with Elinchrom 600RX strobe from Craigslist.org

Light Stands

LumoPro LP604 | 5-Section 6ft Light Stand
Price Paid: $39.99 from MPEX.com
This light stand is folds up VERY small and is light weight. I can attach the light stand to the bottom of my photo backpack to have a portable studio. The build quality is very good. Many reviews say the quality is very similar to Manfrotto stands. A newer version of this light stand is now available.

LumoPro LP606 | 8ft Light Stand
Price Paid: $29.99 from MPEX.com
This light stand is taller and sturdier than my 6 foot light stand but doesn’t fold up as small. In addition the stand has air cushioning. The build quality is also very good.

LumoPro LP621 | Reflector Holder
Price Paid: $44.99 from MPEX.com
I bought this reflector holder to use as a boom. It is essentially an arm that mounts to the top of a light stand to hold a battery powered strobe. This worked great for complete control of light in product photography.

Manfrotto 367B | 9ft Basic Light Stand
Price Paid: Included in Elinchrom 400BX Monolight Kit
I have two of these light stands that were included with my monolight kit. They are very well built as you would expect from Manfrotto though I do prefer the LumoPro 8ft Light Stand listed above because of the air cushioning. Plus the LumoPro stands are much cheaper than Manfrotto.

Manfrotto 025BS | Super Boom 2 Section Aluminum Stand with Casters
Price Paid: $240 used from Craigslist

Flash Light Stand Mounts

LumoPro LP633 | Umbrella Swivel w/ Flash Shoe Adapter
Price Paid: $17.99 from MPEX.com
This piece of equipment attaches to the top of the light stand to give me a place to mount a flash and a umbrella. It is very well built and holds everything tight.

LumoPro LP653 Studio Clamp w/ Double Stud
Price Paid: $19.99 from MPEX.com
This piece of equipment can come in handy as a backup light stand. This will clamp onto many things allowing you to mount a flash on pipes, trees, and many other things.

Strobies Three Way Flash Bracket
Price Paid: $44.99 from MPEX.com
When you need more flash power than one flash can provide this is the solution. It allows you to mount up to three battery powered flashs on it. It works good when you need to overpower the sun with flash.

Wireless Flash Triggers

Yongnuo RF-602 with 3 Receivers
Price Paid: Approx: $75.00 from eBay.com
This wireless set rocks. It is very affordable and reliable. The transmitter uses radio waves instead of infrared light so the signal can travel very far. This wireless setup does not transmit the Canon ETTL flash auto-exposure data. That means you can really only use the flashes and camera in manual mode.

Yongnuo RF-603 with 4 Transmitter/Receivers
Price Paid: Approx: $75.00 from eBay.com

YONGNUO ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter
Price Paid: $109.88 from eBay.com
This transmitter is a Chinese knockoff of the Canon ST-E2 transmitter. This transmitter is not only half the price of the Canon version but also better. It is more adjustable, has a longer range, and has the ability to control a third flash group “C” by using the camera menu. This differs from the RF-602 in several ways. This uses infrared light instead of radio waves so it has less range and the infrared sensor of the flashes must be in the line of sight of the transmitter. But the major difference is that this transmits the Canon ETTL flash auto-exposure data. This allows me to maintain proper exposure without adjusting the power of the flashes. It also allows you to setup up to three flash groups and adjust the power ratios between them.

Yongnuo YN622 set of 2
Price Paid: Approx: $83.75 from eBay.com

Camera and Flash Battery Packs

Opteka Battery Grip and Vertical Shutter Release
Price Paid: $69.95 from Amazon.com
I am very pleased with this battery grip. It is very well built for being a Chinese knockoff of the Canon version. The reviews I read before purchasing this states that it was the best non-Canon brand battery grip available. It greatly extends the battery life of my camera and makes in easier to hold. In addition it adds a second shutter release button that works great for shooting in portrait orientation.

Canon BGE2 Battery Grip and Vertical Shutter Release
Price Paid: Included with the purchase of the 50D
I was very pleased that this battery grip came with my 50D. It is very similar to the Opteka one that I have for my Rebel T1i. The quality might be just a bit better though.

YONGNUO SF-18 External Flash Battery Pack
Price Paid: $41.75 from eBay.com
These battery packs are used with either my 580EX II or 550EX. They hold 8 AA batteries. This combined with the 4 AA batteries that are already in the flashes help cut the recycle time in half. They also make it so changing batteries at a fast paced event such as a wedding doesn’t happen very often. The quality seems pretty decent and from the reviews I read very similar to the Canon brand ones that are three times the price.


Bogen Manfrotto 3221 Legs with 141 Head
Price Paid: $20 from Thrift Store
This tripod is a beast. It is very heavy and very solid. It is great for applications that don’t require it needing to be drug around. The legs are three sections and extend very high. On mine the handle that is used to adjust the central column is broken. Apparently it was a common issue. Unfortunately the replacement part has been discontinued. The next tripod I get will most likely also be Manfrotto.

Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber 3 Section Legs
Price Paid: $319.69 from Amazon
These tripod legs are simply amazing. Excellent build quality yet extremely light. It is a shock when you pick them up because they are so light. The levers are easy to use.

Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head with Quick Release
Price Paid: $112.92 from Amazon
The build quality of this ball head is great. It weighs quite a bit in comparison to the carbon fiber legs I have it mounted on. The degree marks are great for taking panoramas.

Mefoto C2350Q2T GlobeTrotter Carbon Fiber Tripod (Titanium)
Price Paid: $369.00 from Amazon


Tamrac 3385 Aero Speed Pack 85 Dual Access Photo/Laptop Backpack
Price Paid: $129.95 from Amazon.com
This backpack is great. It holds tons. The side opening allows me access to my Canon 50D and several lens and flashes without even taking the backpack off. Just take it off one shoulder and swing it to the front. The laptop compartment is an added bonus.

Canon 200DG Digital Camera Gadget Bag
Price Paid: $20.00 from Office Depot
I found this bag in the clearance section of Office Depot for about a quarter of the price it normally sells for. It is well constructed and shows little signs of use so far. It can hold my Rebel T1i with lens attached plus several lens and flashes plus other accessories. It is now my secondary bag to the Tamrac backpack.

Lowepro Apex 140 AW Digital SLR Camera Bag
Price Paid: Unknown
This little bag is pretty awesome. It can hold a DSLR with lens attached plus an addition lens or two. It is great for when I want to travel very light and I don’t need a bunch of fancy gear. It also comes with a rain cover attached to protect the gear from the elements when needed.

Think Tank Retrospective 7 (Blue Slate)
Price Paid: Gift

Domke F-5XB Shoulder and Belt Ruggedwear Bag
Price Paid: $64.79


Opteka RC-4 Wireless Remote Control
Price Paid: $12.76 from Amazon.com
This device uses infrared to trigger the shutter release of the camera. It works great when setup on a tripod for group photos. I can setup the camera, join the group and click the remote to take the picture. Cheap, lightweight, and it works.

PBL Sandbags
Price Paid: $17.95 from Amazon.com
This is one of the few pieces of equipment that I haven’t been too happy with. These sandbags came in a set of four and are supposed to hold up to 20lbs a piece. I filled each of them up with about 15lbs of pea gravel to use to weigh down light stands. The actual canvas part of the bags seems very well built with double zippers to hold in the pea gravel or sand. The problem lies in the handle. The handles on several of the bags began to rip off after the FIRST use. They aren’t even filled to their “max.” I have since put them aside and plan to attempt to reinforce them at some point.

LumoPro MF613 Background Stand Kit
Price Paid: $149.99 from MPEX.com
This stand kit is well built like all of the other LumoPro gear that I have bought. It packs up into a small bag for easy portability. It seems strong enough to hold large rolls of background paper.

Taking Residence Hall Bulletin Boards to the Next Level


Another responsibility I have for my Academic Resource Coordinator Position at the University of Wisconsin – Stout is to create academically focused bulletin boards. I felt that these bulletin boards were another great opportunity to experiment with new design ideas and to create images that would stand out and catch peoples attention. Listed below are two of the bulletin boards I created for this semester.

You don’t funk with dem cookies and cocoa


I am the Academic Resource Coordinator for Milnes and Chinnock Hall at the University of Wisconsin – Stout. For this job I am required to hold a “study night” once a week. I bribe the students with cookies and cocoa in order to study. But I needed to get word out about this weekly event, so an advertisement was in order. I decided to experiment more with illustration and create some B.A. cookies and cocoa. I have to continuously print off more and rehang them up due to theft so they must be a success. BLING BLING.

Free Photography Cheat Sheet


I recently gave a photography introduction presentation to the AIGA UW-Stout Student Group. As I was planning the presentation I decided I should handout something to help students remember all of the photography terms I was going to mention and how to utilize them. I proceded to scour the internet to find a cheat sheet that contained all of the basic photography terms. I was surprised to find that there was not a free resource like that out there. So to make the long story short I decided to make one myself.

This photography cheat sheet is free to download. Print as many as you like, give them your friends, use them in classrooms, and be sure to keep one in your camera bag. Just please do not remove my logo and url from the document. Also do not redistribute the files on your website. They should only be available for download on this site.

There are two files. The first is just a single cheat sheet front and back that is 4.25″ by 5.5.” The other file is four cheat sheets on a 8.5″ by 11″ front and back to be printed and cut apart.

Download here:

This is the first version of the cheat sheet. If you have any suggestions for improvement please post them in the comments.

My name is Colin Schye. I am a designer and photographer that recently graduated from the School of Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. I graduated from the Multimedia Design program with a minor in Applied Photography. I am currently working as a Designer at Morsekode in Minneapolis.

As an artist in today’s society, I use my surroundings paired with my eye for detail to create art in many different ways. From drawing to technologically based art, my passions exceed far beyond the scope of normality. Relying solely on one type of medium does not satisfy my craving for originality and creativity. Gaining inspiration from different environments and people and the feelings they evoke is what gives my work a unique feel. My style is constantly changing as I experience different aspects of life and thus my artwork is always adapting to reflect these changes.

My work efficiently combines the usability and functionality of design with the beauty and marvel of art. I strive to create pieces that are clean and simple, yet appealing and memorable. By doing so, I leave my audience with a lasting impression that encompasses not only my passion but also my values in life. Working with different mediums, I am able to design truly unique pieces. My designs have evolved through exploration and instruction. They will continue evolving so long as I am determined to see past the initial, and most obvious, view of the world.