The McDowell Tech Advertising & Graphic Design program will have a Student Art Show during the month of February at MACA (McDowell Arts Council) in downtown Marion, NC.

The reception will be Wednesday, February 8 from 5:00-7:00 pm. There will be a live body painting demonstration and free refreshments. Come out and meet these talented students.

Below is the event poster (art by MEC student Ansleigh Avila) and a photo from the last reception that we did a live body painting (Graphics Certificate student Maribell Sarate is a professional body painter).

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Commercial Photography Photo Shoot



Second year photography student, Alexis Yelton, works with Ana Martinez while shooting an assignment for a Commercial Photography assignment at McDowell Tech.

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2017 Snow Storm Assignment


©2017 Gail Higgins

First-year photography student, Gail Higgins’ photograph for the Winter Storm assignment in the Intermediate Photography class at MTCC.


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Life Magazine Photographer Visits MTCC Photographic Technology

Michael Mauney's first Life magazine cover.

Mauney’s first Life magazine cover.

Former Life magazine staff photographer Michael Mauney visited with students in the photographic technology department at MTCC recently to view student work and to show his own work from his prolific career.

Michael Mauney talks with student

Michael Mauney describes working with the Leica film camera to Christoper Jayne, left, and other photography students.

Mauney got his start in photography at The Charlotte Observer in NC. After moving to Chicago, he worked for Life magazine as staff photographer. In addition to his time at Life, he worked for People and Fortune magazines, and also did photography for many of the country’s largest corporations. Today Michael lives near Asheville, NC, and continues to do work for national corporations such as Walgreens, and for institutions such as The Duke Endowment and Foundation For The Carolinas.

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2016 Student Slideshow

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McDowell High School Visit

Photography instructor Blake Madden paid a visit to McDowell High School to speak with Myra Morgan’s graphic design students about photography. Here, Madden explains the technique to one of the classes during a demonstration on how to light portraits, in total darkness, using only an LED key chain light (with colored gels) as a source of illumination. The students all seemed very enthusiastic and some may have gained a new interest in the field of photography. Here is some of their work from that day….. by Myra Morgan

dsc_0159 dsc_0155 dsc_0162 dsc_0169

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Slow Shutter Speed

slowshutter©2016 Araya Hansen

First-year students in the Fundamentals Class practiced using slow shutter speed techniques to show motion. This photograph was taken at 1/2 second, f/11, 100 ISO.

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Fall Classes Begin Soon


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Career Fair


©2016 Michael Lavender

MTCC hosted the McDowell County Schools’ Fifth Grade Career Fair recently at the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center. Second year photography student, Kim Higgins, talked with potential future photographers during the event.

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A Photographer’s Story of “Luck” and Horses

©2016 Sarah Ernst

©2016 Sarah Ernst

©2016 Sarah Ernst

©2016 Sarah Ernst


by Sarah Ernst

I had a lucky day out shooting but a lot of thought went into the “luck”. Photographing horses tends to be like that…you can shoot for hours and not get anything usable..they just aren’t always photogenic on command. It’s the reason I am hesitant to “shoot” other peoples’ horses without time spent at their place and getting to know habits and what is typical for a particular horse.

The first step in these two photographs was a walk to the barn on a foggy, misty day and noticing the light. The fog was just the right thickness and light was pretty. I decided to take just one lens for ease of the hike and to challenge myself to get a shot w/out switching lenses. I also didn’t want to crop anything..I wanted straight out-of-camera and had in my mind..photographing my gray horse in the fog in a black and white and maybe my palomino for color..however, the palomino tends to be more awkward and harder to shoot. The second step was finding the horses in the fog in the pasture. It was that thick. I knew that typically when put out for the day, they headed up the hill and then worked their way down as the hours went by…so I went looking.

Found the gray up near the top and the palomino mid-ways. I had to keep one eye on him and where he was…he will walk right up on top of you…no sense of personal space. Then the gray…I could tell right away he was watching to see what I was up to…but stayed interested in his grazing. Seeing as its hillside, I was really paying attention to slope and his body form and background. I shot for a while..just getting standard and nothing I wanted..meanwhile he began to move up the hill and getting in a “place” that I really wanted to use as a background. I waited and waited..shot and shot a little more. I was waiting and watching for all four feet to be clearly separate, body collected(as thats prettier) and head and eyes seen and preferably ears up and tail quiet. I got it. No cropping..I shot a few more shots but was pretty certain I had the shot I had come for. This horse is in his late 20’s and although a pleasant good-natured  horse is a grouch. He was not happy that I was following him and no privacy for him. I happened, just to play w/him..hollered at him as I was leaving..and it was just enough to break him into a gallop. He was looking for any excuse to leave my area and be left alone. I wasn’t going to shoot it as it was half-hearted and he was just going to stop at any second but I did shoot..about 3 maybe 4 frames of him and boy, am I glad I got it! It was the shot! I did end up have to crop that image as that ground is starting to roll downhill and I probably, in my surprise, I  turned also and shot a little crooked..and although it didn’t hurt the shot, I didn’t like the downhill  feel. I kept the crop in a 2:3 aspect ratio and straightened it. What I got in both images is what I had ideally gone out to get..but never dreamed I would. The black and white I love much as I see the tree limbs above the running horse mimic his movement..and I also see that you can tell exactly where I am at…because the horse’s eye is watching me and his ear is pointing directly at me. It’s a favorite photo now. The color photo I love because of the color and the fog and the quiet stillness of the horse. Your eyes go directly to him as he is the light on the page and then your eyes began to wonder up through the fog in the trees. Both are favorites!

As soon as I left the pasture…the fog was gone and didn’t return for the day. I am glad I chose right then to take advantage of the light that I saw.

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