BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Archive for March 2009

Places to Go on the Web – Great Photo Sites Issue 7

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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:

Brian Kuhlmann: Chicago-based photographer Brian Kuhlmann’s use of light and color is spectacular. His start in photography is equally interesting: using six StarKist labels, he sent in for his Charlie Tuna camera and he was hooked. If you don’t have a lot of time, I recommend that you look at his “Movement” and his “Fashion” sections.

Michael Crouser: Michael Crouser’s photographic work is in a class by itself. He is a true storyteller and has a tremendous ability to use light and shadow to paint a scene. Also, if you’re looking for a great photo book, check out his “Dog Run.” For $32 US, it’s well worth the investment.

Pentax: Pentax users listen up: There’s a Website devoted just to you. Sponsored by Pentax, this Website features work by fellow Pentax-users including Mark Dimalanta and Julie Quarry. This is a really cool, fun and informative Website regardless the equipment you use.

Written by jeremyparce

March 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Canon Introduces the EOS Rebel T1i, First Rebel DSLR to Feature HD Video Capture

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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., a leader in digital imaging, today introduced a new addition to its Rebel lineup, the EOS Rebel T1i Digital SLR camera, the first in the Rebel line to feature Full HD video capture. The new Canon Rebel T1i SLR incorporates some of the best technologies from the EOS 50D and EOS 5D Mark II models into an entry-level juggernaut. With a 15.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and HD video capture, along with the DIGIC 4 Imaging Processor, the Rebel T1i gives aspiring photographers plenty of reason to step-up to the latest and greatest model in the Rebel lineup.

The new Canon EOS Rebel T1i raises the entry-level bar with a host of enhanced Canon technologies now available in an entry-level DSLR. Along with the boost in megapixels and Canon’s most advanced imaging processor to-date, this latest Rebel camera has also been enhanced with HD video capture, a 3.0-inch Clear View LCD (920,000 dots/VGA) monitor and user-friendly functions such as Auto Lighting Optimizer, Creative Auto Mode and Canon’s Live View modes, all the right tools to open new doors for imaging enthusiasts. From high-resolution to high-definition, the new EOS Rebel T1i Digital SLR camera helps to give creative consumers a jumpstart on the next evolution in digital imaging.

Canon's new Rebel T1i via Canon

Canon's new Rebel T1i via Canon

“We are witnessing the emergence of a new phase in digital imaging history, as high-resolution still images and HD video can now both be produced in a hand-held device, for under $1,000. This is truly a great time to be involved in digital imaging as the advent of online communities are helping usher in this next great era in imaging,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A.

The muscle behind Canon’s new EOS Rebel T1i camera is the DIGIC 4 Imaging Processor with 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion and the ability to process full HD video. The Canon EOS Rebel T1i Digital SLR offers continuous shooting at 3.4 fps for up to 170 large/fine JPEG images or up to nine RAW images in a single burst when using a class 6 or higher SD or SDHC memory card. Whether capturing wildlife on the run or a child mid-stride on the soccer field, users will appreciate the fast shooting capabilities of the Rebel T1i Digital SLR camera.

With the combination of its 15.1-megapixel APS-C size CMOS image sensor and the powerful new DIGIC 4 image processor, the Canon EOS Rebel T1i camera provides ISO speeds from ISO 100 up to ISO 3200 in whole stop increments, along with two additional high-speed ISO settings – H1: 6400 and H2: 12800.

The EOS Rebel T1i Digital SLR utilizes a precise nine-point Autofocus (AF) system and AF sensor for enhanced subject detection. The new EOS Rebel T1i DSLR provides a cross-type AF measurement at the center that is effective with all EF and EF-S lenses, while providing enhanced precision with lenses having maximum apertures of f/2.8 or faster. The cross-type AF measurement reads a wider variety of subject matter than conventional single-axis AF sensors and thus increases the new camera’s ability to autofocus quickly and accurately when shooting still images.

The EOS Rebel T1i camera is compatible with Canon’s complete line of over 60 Canon EF and EF-S lenses, to help provide an incredible variety of visual effects to both still and video imaging capture, including ultra-wide-angle and fish-eye to macro and super-telephoto. This includes all of Canon’s large-aperture EF L-series professional lenses.

HD and SD Video Capture
After the introduction of the EOS 5D Mark II in September 2008, the Company’s first HD video DSLR, Canon has integrated this must-have feature into the new entry-level flagship EOS Rebel T1i camera. The camera features 16:9 720p HD video capture at 30 fps as well as a Full HD 1080p video capture at 20 fps, and a third option to record 4:3 standard TV quality (SD) video capture at 640 x 480 pixels and 30 fps. The video capture mode is part of the camera’s Live View function, using the Picture Style that has been set for Live View still image shooting. The camera allows skilled photographers and enthusiasts to adjust image sharpness, contrast, color saturation and white balance, and have those settings apply to the movie image as well. When recording video, the camera’s rear LCD screen is letter-boxed by a semi-transparent border to match the aspect ratio of the movie recording size.

Like the EOS 5D Mark II model, the EOS Rebel T1i camera will record video up to 4GB per clip equaling approximately 12 minutes of Full HD video, 18 minutes of 720p HD video, or 24 minutes of SD video depending on the level of detail in the scene. Video clips are recorded in .MOV format using an MPEG-4 video compression and sound is recorded using linear PCM without compression. The camera features a built-in monaural microphone to record sound. To help show off those fantastic movies as well as still photos, the EOS Rebel T1i camera includes an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output to display crisp, clear images on a High-Definition TV.

Live View Shooting
Much like the EOS 5D Mark II, the Canon EOS Rebel T1i camera features Live View for both still images as well as video. The Rebel T1i features the Company’s three Live View AF modes – Quick, Live and Face Detection Live mode – which can be used to capture still photos or video images. Quick mode automatically sets One-Shot AF using the camera’s phase detection AF system. It also allows users to select the AF point, even while the Live View image is displayed. Although the camera’s reflex mirror must be lowered briefly to take an AF measurement in Quick mode, it is the fastest way to set focus automatically when the Rebel T1i camera is set for Live View.

Live mode uses contrast-detection AF with the image sensor and here, as with Quick mode, users can change the location of the active AF point using the Multi-controller. Face Detection Live mode uses contrast AF to recognize human faces. When multiple faces are detected, the largest face closest to the center of the frame is targeted as the AF point. While Live View is engaged, users can still change settings including the AF mode (Quick, Live, Face Detection Live mode), drive mode, ISO speed, Picture style, White Balance and more.

Auto Lighting Optimizer
Canon’s Auto Lighting Optimizer technology helps ensure that the subject of each picture is clearly visible by analyzing image brightness and automatically adjusting dark areas in images so they appear brighter. This is ideal when shooting high-contrast situations that include harsh shadow areas, such as landscape images where the foreground is brightly lit and the background detail blanketed in dark shadow. In a scene such as this, the EOS Rebel T1i camera’s Auto Lighting Optimizer technology maintains exposure of the highlight areas while lightening shadow areas for a more enjoyable and evenly illuminated image. The EOS Rebel T1i also supports Peripheral Illumination Correction for up to 40 Canon EF and EF-S lenses.

Canon’s Creative Auto Mode
Canon’s “CA” Creative Full Auto setting available on the EOS Rebel T1i, EOS 50D and EOS 5D Mark II cameras allows users to make image adjustments such as exposure compensation, aperture or shutter speed through a simple navigation screen on the camera’s LCD screen, allowing them to “blur the background” or “lighten or darken the image” with ease. These easy-to-understand image options allow learning-photographers to experiment with image options while still shooting in an automatic mode.

EOS Integrated Cleaning System
With the introduction of the EOS Rebel T1i camera, the entire Canon EOS system is now equipped with the highly acclaimed EOS Integrated Cleaning System. The Self-Cleaning Sensor Unit for the Canon EOS Rebel T1i has been upgraded with a fluorine coating on the low-pass filter for better dust resistance.

Pricing and Availability
The Canon EOS Rebel T1i Digital SLR Camera is scheduled for delivery by early May and will be sold in a body-only configuration which includes a rechargeable battery pack and charger, USB and video cables, a neckstrap, an EOS Solutions Disk CD and a 1-year Canon U.S.A., Inc. limited warranty at an estimated retail price of $799.99. It will additionally be offered in a kit version with Canon’s EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens at an estimated retail price of $899.99.

Written by jeremyparce

March 27, 2009 at 10:18 am

Tips and Tricks: Getting Good Candid Photos

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Good candid photos (photos that aren’t posed) are easy to get if you have a little patience. Here are a few tips:

Watch and wait for your subject to do something that shows emotion or personality (Photo Credit: Andres U., Miami, Florida)

Watch and wait for your subject to do something that shows emotion or personality (Photo Credit: Andres U., Miami, Florida)

  • Watch and Wait: Keep your camera ready to shoot then wait for the right moment so when it comes, you’ll be ready.
  • Use Zoom: By using your zoom, you can stay further away from the subject, which allows the subject to be more relaxed and natural acting.
  • Take Plenty of Photos: You never know when something is going to happen so keep clicking away. You’re not using film so there’s no “waste.” Just delete the less-interesting photos and keep going.
  • Look for Moments: Wait for those moments that really express the subject’s character. Try to reveal something about your subject to your viewers by showing personality traits.

Written by jeremyparce

March 22, 2009 at 9:00 am

Photos are made for Printing

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You’ve purchased the best digital camera with the most features available. You’ve read the owner’s manual cover-to-cover and read every single article on this Website. Most importantly, you’ve spent all of your free time taking photos of everything you see.

Great! Now what?

Print your photos of course!

One big problem with digital images is that they tend to stay digital. You didn’t buy that 8-megapixel camera for e-mail and Web posting. You bought it to print – and print big.
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based design/photography firm Design215 has a handy chart on its Web site that shows maximum print sizes for various megapixel counts. The chart can be found here.

Although there are many printers available for home use, few give you the same quality and number of product choices as you’ll find from a professional photo print shop. Furthermore, the prices at the pro shops are quite reasonable and the turnaround time is generally fast.

I highly recommend Mpix. The folks at Mpix do a great job printing and offer some of the best products available. I’ve used this shop several times and never had a bad print job. The products and photo finishes offered at Mpix are truly outstanding and the prices are quite reasonable. You should also try out the Metallic prints if you want your photos to really “pop.” The Metallic print is a pearlescent surface that makes colors more vivid and really adds a special touch to the image. The folks at Mpix also offer a variety of photo products from gallery wraps to buttons to photo statuettes. You can even make puzzles and calendars from your photos. All of the products are reasonably priced and are produced very well.

With the wide variety of printing products and really low costs, there’s no excuse for not having a house-full of photos. Show off your hard work and your creative side by hanging your own artwork in your home and office by getting your images off the memory card and onto your walls.

Written by jeremyparce

March 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Photo Ideas

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Unleash Your Creative Potential

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Digital photography can be a fun way to help you unleash your creative potential and learn about art at the same time.

A digital camera is a great tool for a productive, creative and meaningful hobby. A digital camera provides instant feedback and instant gratification. Plus, photography is a hobby that can last a lifetime or even to lead to a career.

The hard part is over – you already own a digital camera! Don’t let your digital camera collect dust while you wait for an “event” to photograph. Create your own special event and spend some time photographing your kids, grandkids, family and friends while learning about digital photography.

Organize a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are fun and even more so with a digital camera. It’s a great event for a lazy day because it will not only get you out of the house for a few hours but it will require you to walk around in the fresh air and actually look at the world in which we live.

Short on scavenger hunt ideas? No problem. Try a few of these:

  • Letters of the Alphabet: This is a great exercise in creativity I use with my own students because it requires them to focus less on the camera and more on the subject. Plus, it’s extremely simple to do. First, participants go out and photograph objects that make letters of the alphabet. For example, a fork in a tree might make a nice letter “Y” or a curve in the sidewalk my make the letter “C.” The ground rules are simple though: No letters on signs or billboards and no arranging objects to make it look like a letter. Only naturally existing “letters” are allowed.
  • Color Wheel: This is another simple and fun project that will not only make you focus on the subject, but will also teach an important lesson about color theory. The color wheel will be the primary tool you’re going to use for this exercise. Using the colors wheel, participants have to find objects in nature that are yellow, red and blue. Be creative! Look past bananas, apples and blueberries and find some really unique items. Once the primary colors have been photographed, go after photos of the Secondary Colors (orange, green and purple) and Tertiary Colors (yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green). Once completed, have the participants print the photos and make a montage so they can create their own photographic color wheel.

    Color Wheel from the Website

    Color Wheel from the Website

  • What Is It?: This very simple guessing game is easy to do and produces some really interesting results. Have the participants pick any object they choose and take two different photos of the same object: one very close up and one that’s at full view. Print the images and show the close up first and have fun guessing what was photographed.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Written by jeremyparce

March 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Posted in Photo Ideas

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If You Want to Make Great Images, Look to the Pros

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Those of us who are serious about photography are always looking for new ideas. Sometimes that means spending countless hours shooting, editing, re-shooting and re-editing images until we get what we want.

It’s also important to look at the works of other photographers to see what they’re doing and to get more ideas.

Rolling Stone April 2002 cover featuring Shakira. (Photo Credit: Martin Schoeller via Rolling Stone)

Rolling Stone April 2002 cover featuring Shakira. (Photo Credit: Martin Schoeller via Rolling Stone)

Personally, I think Rolling Stone magazine offers some of the best photographic work on the market. The cover shots on this magazine can be spotted across a packed bookstore and the photos that accompany articles are amazing.

The magazine started in 1967 in San Francisco by Jann Wenner who is still its editor and publisher and music critic Ralph J. Gleason. Rolling Stone’s contributing and staff photographers include Annie Leibovitz, Robert Altman and Mark Seliger to name just a few.

Fortunately, Rolling Stone offers a look at every magazine cover from 1967 to present on its Website.
You owe it to yourself to take some time and look through the covers. I guarantee that after spending a few minutes, you’ll have hundreds of ideas for your next photo shoot.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Written by jeremyparce

March 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Places to Go on the Web – Great Photo Sites Issue 6

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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:

Michael Grecco: Michael Grecco’s work has appeared in Photo District News, American Photography and Esquire to name just a few. His client list includes giants such as GE, HBO, Sports Illustrated and Pfizer.

Platon: London-born photographer Platon received British Vogue’s “Best Up-and-Coming Photographer” award in 1992 and he has continually built upon that success. He has photographed Russian President Vladimir Putin, then-Senator Barack Obama, former Vice President Al Gore, singer Ozzy Osbourne, Prince and countless others.

James Wojcik: Photographer James Wojcik’s client list is a virtual who’s who in advertising. With clients such as the Gap, Nike, Coach and Grey Goose, his work is sure to awe.

Written by jeremyparce

March 18, 2009 at 1:04 am