BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Archive for February 15th, 2009

Service Notice: EOS 5D: Main Mirror Detachment

This advisory was recently published on the Canon USA Website. In order to help viewers, I will publish service notices as often as possible. This notice is edited for size.

In rare instances, the main mirror of some EOS 5D Digital SLR cameras may detach due to deterioration in the strength of the adhesive. Accordingly, Canon would like to convey the details and our service policy concerning this phenomenon.

We [Canon USA] offer our sincerest apologies to those customers who have been inconvenienced by this issue. Canon always strives to provide the highest quality products to our customers and we will spare no effort in our quality management to make sure our customers can use our products with confidence. We hope our efforts will earn your understanding.


The main mirror of the camera detaches and images cannot be viewed through the viewfinder.

Affected products
EOS 5D Digital SLR cameras whose main mirror has detached.

User Support
We will repair and reinforce the mirror portion of the affected products free of charge. If you own one of the affected products, please contact our Customer Support Center.

We appreciate your patience, and we offer our sincerest apologies to the customers using these products who have been inconvenienced by this issue.

This information is for residents of the United States and Puerto Rico only. If you do not reside in the USA or Puerto Rico, please contact the Canon Customer Support Center in your region.

Contact Information for Inquiries
Customer Support Center
1-866-422-2965 (toll free)
8:00 a.m. – Midnight, EST (M-F)
10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., EST (Sat.)

Written by jeremyparce

February 15, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Equipment Profiles: Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens

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Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens is a perfect lens for any serious amateur photographer. This lens provides very sharp images in a lightweight design at an extremely affordable price.

Canon's EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. (Photo Credit: Canon USA)

Canon's EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. (Photo Credit: Canon USA)

Who Needs This Lens?
This lens needs to be in the bag of every serious amateur photographer. The lens that came with your camera, the “kit lens,” is most likely a lens at the lower end of the quality spectrum. This lens will allow you more creative freedom to explore photography with its fixed and super-fast f/1.8 maximum aperture.

Where Will I Use This Lens?
The wide aperture setting will really allow beginning photographers and advanced hobbyist the ability to achieve a shallow depth-of-field, thus giving portraits a professional look. Furthermore, with its f/1.8 maximum aperture, photographers are able to shoot quality images in low-light situations. This is a great all-purpose lens and with it, you’ll be able to capture sharp images.

The only downside to this lens is its construction. Although it’s lightweight, it feels a little too plastic. For the price, however, it’s a great way for beginners to get into a prime lens without hurting the wallet.

By the Numbers
Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Lens Construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
Focusing: Auto and manual focus.
Weight: 4.6 ounces
Price: $85-$100 US

Written by jeremyparce

February 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Composing Tip: Frame-within-a-Frame

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Photographic composition is a topic we’re going to discuss in great detail on this Website. Simply put, composition is the arrangement of items inside the photograph and the interaction of these objects with one another.

For the purpose of this discussion, let’s consider there are only 2 objects in the photograph: One, the subject and, two, the background.

Before we go further let’s examine one fundamental concept: You are making images for a viewer. That viewer may only be you but more than likely you’ll want to show off your images to others. Beginning photographers often forget the audience aspect of photography and because of this, they forget to emphasize what they think is important about the photo.

Remember, the viewer can’t read your mind. You need to give them visual clues as to what YOU, the photographer, thought was important when you made the photograph.

First Step: Visualize the Photograph
It’s important to first visualize the photograph you’re going to make. Ask yourself:

  • What’s the important feature of this photograph?
  • What do I want the viewer to focus on?
  • What, if any, emotion am I trying to convey?

If you keep your audience in mind and mentally construct how you’re going to convey your photographic message, you’re going to make better images.

Jeremy W. Schneider)

Using the Civil Air Patrol cadets' bodies to create a frame, the viewers' attention is drawn to the flag bearer. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Determining Visual Clues
Once you’ve determined what you want to focus on in the photograph, you need to decide how you’re going to get your audience to focus on that object.

Some photographs don’t need visual clues. Sometimes it’s OK to let the viewer’s eyes just wander around in the frame. Other times, it’s important to help the viewer focus.

Jeremy W. Schneider)

In this image, I'm using the sides of the elevator to help from the subjects. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

One technique is framing the subject within the photographic frame. This means using the background or the subject to help frame what you want to convey to your viewers.

Look at the images embedded into this article and decide whether or not the frame-within-a-frame technique was useful in helping you focus on the subject.

Remember, like any technique there’s no formula for absolute success. It’s a trial-and-error process. Also remember that in photography, there’s not a one-size-fits-all technique. Good luck and keep shooting!

Jeremy W. Schneider)

Using the subject's hands helps create both an interesting look and draw the viewers to the subject's face. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Written by jeremyparce

February 15, 2009 at 7:09 am

Nikon Introduces the ‘Fastest DX-Format Lens to Date’

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

MELVILLE, N.Y. – Nikon Inc. recently announced the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens, which is the first fixed focal length, fast-aperture DX-format lens that affords photographers superb image quality along with the creative possibilities and versatility of the classic 50mm focal length (FX-format equivalent of 52mm).

When mounted on a DX-format camera body, it enables photographers to document their world with a lens that produces a picture angle similar to the field of vision as seen through the human eye. Whether new to D-SLRs or a seasoned enthusiast, users will appreciate the extreme low-light performance and the expanded ability to dramatically separate the subject and background with the new 35mm DX lens’ wide f/1.8 aperture.

“The development and release of the 35mm f/1.8 NIKKOR lens delivers new and added versatility to the Nikon DX-format digital SLR system and provides DX-format photographers with a broader range of fast-aperture lens options,” said Edward Fasano, general manager for marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “This f/1.8 prime lens provides users with exceptional control of background and foreground, superb low-light ability, and the natural focal length that has been the staple of photography since its inception.”

Lightweight, compact and affordable, this lens can easily become a fast favorite for any level of photographer. The AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens is ideal for travel, general photography, landscape shooting, portraiture or pushing creative boundaries.

The AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens is scheduled to be available at Nikon authorized dealers beginning March 2009 at an estimated selling price of $199.95.

Written by jeremyparce

February 15, 2009 at 5:20 am

Canon U.S.A. and Pro Football Hall of Fame Award Winners of the “Why Do You Love Football” Photo Contest

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. – Canon U.S.A., Inc., recently announced that Stuart Steele, 47, of Kansas and Ben Queen, 13, of West Virginia have been named the winners of the Adult and Teen Divisions of the Canon and Pro Football Hall of Fame “Why Do You Love Football?” photo challenge, respectively.

Each won a trip for four to attend Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa Bay, Fla. where their winning photos were displayed at the NFL Experience. Additionally, both have won a trip for four to the 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Celebration in August where their winning photos will be unveiled and on display for a full year in the Hall of Fame.

This is the fourth year of the nationwide photo contest in which one Grand Prize winner from each division was selected. Fans could enter their photos in two categories, “Action” and “Feature.” This photo contest allowed football and photography fans the opportunity to capture the passion and excitement of youth football by submitting photos of everything from a playful catch in the backyard to any youth, school or organized football game.

Queen’s photo, “The Longest Yard,” was captured during a Middle School game and features a single ball carrier dragging several defenders with others in hot pursuit. Much of Queen’s inspiration for photography can be directly credited to Canon Explorer of Light and Sports Illustrated photographer Peter Read Miller, whose personal Web site and NFL photo tips have helped Queen develop his abilities as a photographer.

Ben Queen via Canon's Media Department)

Ben Queen, 13, of West Virginia, won the Teen Division of the Canon and Pro Football Hall of Fame "Why Do You Love Football?" Photo Challenge. (Photo Credit: Ben Queen via Canon's Media Department)

“Year in and year out this photo contest has grown to become a valued part of Canon’s association with the National Football League,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A.

The judging panel reviewed more than 10,000 entries and included former NFL quarterback Archie Manning along with some of the world’s top sports photographers including Peter Read Miller; 2007 and 2006 “Why Do You Love Football?” photo contest adult grand prize winner Diana Porter; Steve Apps of the Wisconsin State Journal; Scott Heckel of the Canton Repository; freelance photographer Dave Drapkin; and Tony Tomsic, a freelance sports photographer who has photographed every Super Bowl to-date.

The other finalists in the 2008 adult division included: Michelle Young, California; Scott Strine, New York; Jason Day, Michigan; Tom Manning, Virginia; Rich Barnes, New York; Scott Rohloff, Wisconsin; Regina Dunlavy, Indiana; Derek Johnson, Texas; Randy Owens, Texas; Robert DeForge, Michigan; Gary Jones, California; Cheryl Padget, Michigan; and Greg Kremer, Minnesota

The other finalists in the 2008 teen division included: Garreth Patterson, Alaska; Jessica Brown, Georgia; Quenton Rexroth, Pennsylvania (twice); Hailey Austin, Texas; Aaron Montes, Texas; Nam-My Le, Texas; Cody Tyler, Montana; Ryan Morris, California; Kristyn Russell, Kansas; Richard Gonzales, California; Samantha Cunningham, Texas; and Casey Jackson, Texas.

Canon U.S.A., Inc. delivers consumer, business-to-business, and industrial imaging solutions. Canon Inc., is listed as one of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies in America and is on the 2008 BusinessWeek list of “Top 100 Brands.”

Written by jeremyparce

February 15, 2009 at 3:13 am

Using Your Camera’s Features: Black-and-White Photography

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Jeremy W. Schneider)

Black-and-white images add a classier feel to your images. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

A friend of mine who owns a camera shop once told me that most digital camera owners use less than three functions on their camera. If that’s true, then it’s a terrible waste of money and technology.

Today’s digital cameras – even those on the low-end of the cost spectrum – offer various creative functions that allow so much creative freedom over the photography process. You have the ability to make images that really have a “wow” value if you’re willing to take the camera off the automatic setting and learn some of the features that are available

One of the easiest camera settings to use is the black and white feature. So easy, in fact, for most cameras it’s simply scrolling down the features menu and selecting “black-and-white.” But I would bet a dollar-to-a-donut that all the images you’re taking are in color.

Why Black-and-White?
Black-and-white images are great because they help reduce distractions that are so common in color images. Black-and-white photographs also give a photograph more feeling and helps create a sense of drama. Finally, black-and-white can also be used to create a sense of tension, urgency and even focus.

Jeremy W. Schneider)

Black-and-white images also add a sense of drama and mystery to what would be an ordinary photo. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

OK, How do I do It?
It’s easy to explore black-and-white photography with your digital camera. Simply go to the menu setting, select black-and-white and voila!
Now comes the fun part – go out and try different photos in black-and-white. Portraits are a great way to start. Recruit a subject and start your photo session. Shoot the images in the black-and-white setting and see how much better your images look. Also, get your subject to try different poses and different facial expressions. Try to create urgency, intensity and other emotions. Then, take the images in color. I think you’ll find that your black-and-white work will outshine most of your color photographs and give your images a more sophisticated, classier and dramatic feel.

Written by jeremyparce

February 15, 2009 at 2:18 am

Places to Go on the Web – Great Photo Sites Issue 1

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I love photography. Not only do I love to take photographs, I love to talk, teach, and explore photography. I also like to look at great photographs to get ideas on how I can be a better photographer.
If you have any interest in digital photography, then a visit to some of these sites is worth your time. Looking at great photos will help make your own photos better because you can get ideas, tips and see what and how others are photographing their subjects. As your cruise Cyberspace, spend a few minutes looking at these websites:

David Burnett: Photojournalist David Burnett has more than 40 years of experience in news photography. Burnett was named by American Photo magazine as one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography.” If you don’t have time to look at his whole gallery of images (even though you should make the time), then at least check out the “Portraits” gallery. You won’t be disappointed.

James Nachtwey: You will never look at photography the same way after you view noted conflict photographer James Nachtwey’s images. He is truly a master of the photographic medium. You owe it to yourself to explore all the galleries on his website.

Joe McNally: Photographer Joe McNally’s list of accomplishments and publications in which his work has appeared would take a long time to list. He is a powerful photographic artist and his images are beautiful. McNally’s website is easy to navigate and offers a good sample of his work.

Lauren Greenfield: Greenfield’s portrait and documentary work are examples of photography done well. She is an accomplished photographer with credits in major leading publications such as The New Yorker, Elle, People, and the New York Times Magazine.

Written by jeremyparce

February 15, 2009 at 1:52 am

Portrait Tip: Get Close

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Jeremy W. Schneider)

Getting close to your subject helps eliminate competing elements from taking the focus away from your subject. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

I love portraits. I especially like the low-frill, natural light type where the emphasis is placed squarely on the subject.

Beginning photographers often don’t own a lot of lighting equipment or a host of lenses to make technically complex portraits but that’s OK. You can make beautiful portraits utilizing some very basic techniques.

One of the best things you can do to make a great portrait is get close to your subject. It sounds basic, and really it is, but too many times beginning photographers stand too far away from the subject and let the background compete with the subject for the viewer’s attention.

By getting close, you eliminate distractions and compel the viewer to focus on the subject.

There’s one important thing to remember, though. You have to make your subject connect with the viewer. So look for something “special” about your subject. Maybe it’s the subject’s smile or the subject’s eyes. Look for a flattering way to connect your subject to the viewer.

So, get busy and start making portraits that pop!

Written by jeremyparce

February 15, 2009 at 1:10 am

My Top Ad Picks: Canon ‘Awe’ Ad

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Even though posting this equals free advertising for Canon, I don’t care. I really enjoyed this ad and wanted to share it with you.

Canon USA"

Canon's "Awe" Ad. (Photo Credit: Canon USA"

Written by jeremyparce

February 15, 2009 at 12:37 am