BrickHouse Photo School

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Archive for April 14th, 2009

Nikon Introduces Versatile Ultra Wide-Angle 10-24mm DX-Format Nikkor Lens

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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.

Nikon Inc. today announced the next addition to the expansive NIKKOR lineup with the new AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens, giving photographers the opportunity to capture a unique perspective in a variety of shooting environments. Compact and lightweight, the new 2.4x zoom DX-NIKKOR lens offers a focal length of 10 to 24mm, creating a picture angle ranging from 109-degrees to 61-degrees
(FX-format equivalent of 15-36mm) making it ideal for a variety of applications including restrictive interiors, architecture and sweeping landscapes.
“The development and release of the 10-24mm f/ 3.5-4.5 DX-NIKKOR lens continues Nikon’s tradition of providing expertly engineered tools for photographers to realize their unique creative vision,” said Edward Fasano, General Manager for marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “The ultra wide-angle 10-24mm lens offers DX-format digital SLR shooters the outstanding performance for which NIKKOR optics are well-known and the opportunity to capture dramatic perspectives that only wide-angle lenses can achieve.”

The AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens offers an array of versatile Nikon technologies, including Nikon’s compact Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology for quiet, fast and accurate autofocus performance. An advanced optical formula, featuring two extra-low dispersion (ED) glass and three aspherical lens elements renders stunning images while minimizing distortion, a common problem with ultra wide-angle lenses.

A rounded diaphragm opening, combined with the seven-blade aperture, contributes to the 10-24mm lens’ ability to capture images with soft background effects, referred to by experienced photographers as the “bokeh.” Additionally, the new DX-NIKKOR lens offers the user two focus modes; manual and automatic and features an M/A mode that allows the photographer to quickly switch between the two modes. Both use an internal focusing (IF) design that enhances AF speed and eliminates lens barrel rotation and changes to lens barrel length during focusing.

Fully compatible with Nikon’s complete line of DX-format digital SLR cameras – including the D300, D90, D60, D40 and the newly announced D5000 – the AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens enables photographers to broaden their view in new and interesting ways. FX-format shooters can also benefit from the AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED, as Nikon’s FX-format cameras – the D3X, D3, and D700 – will automatically apply the DX-Crop Mode when shooting.

The AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED will be available at Nikon authorized dealers beginning May 2009 at an estimated selling price of $899.95. For more information, please visit

Nikon’s D5000 Digital SLR Camera Expands Possibilities for Photo and HD Video Creativity with D-Movie Mode, Vari-Angle LCD Monitor and 19 Automatic Scene Modes

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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.

Nikon Inc. today introduced the new D5000, a digital SLR camera with a host of features and capabilities that deliver superior performance and image quality along with amazing versatility for photo enthusiasts and those new to digital SLR photography. Leveraging Nikon’s expertise and innovative technologies found in its pro-level D-SLRs, the 12.3-megapixel D5000 enables users to capture exceptionally stunning images and High Definition video with remarkable ease.

d5000_ambience_1Whether consumers are progressing from a point-and-shoot digital camera or looking to upgrade their current digital SLR and elevate their photographic expression, the D5000 serves as an ideal solution. First time D-SLR photographers will appreciate logical and easy-to-use controls, while creative enthusiasts will appreciate the D5000’s robust combination of features, technologies and performance. The D5000 boasts a versatile 2.7-inch Vari-angle LCD monitor that encourages shooting with a fresh perspective, Nikon’s revolutionary D-Movie Mode and expanded automatic Scene Modes, delivering superior Nikon innovation in a compact, user-friendly design.

“The Nikon D5000 represents a cornerstone in Nikon’s D-SLR line, marrying simplicity and instructive features with superior technology and HD video, allowing the user’s ability and creativity to grow—with the camera,” said Edward Fasano, General Manager for marketing, SLR System Products at Nikon Inc. “While its easy-to-use design will attract first-time D-SLR photographers, the D5000’s rich feature set and high performance will also appeal immediately to more experienced enthusiasts. The D5000 is sure to inspire creativity and originality.”

Broadened Creativity and Adaptability
Photographers can easily compose stunning images on the Vari-angle LCD monitor that they can view in a normal position fitting securely within the camera back, or swung out to be rotated or tilted. The monitor can also be stowed with the LCD panel tucked against the camera back to protect the screen when not in use. This tremendous freedom of movement, along with four Live View autofocus shooting modes, affords users the opportunity to shoot from a multitude of imaginative angles. Easy one-button Live View activation now features Subject Tracking autofocus (AF), which automatically locks onto a moving subject. Even if the subject leaves the frame and returns, Subject Tracking AF maintains focus, making the D5000 ideal for capturing fast moving children and pets. In addition to Subject Tracking AF in Live View, the D5000 features Face Priority AF, which automatically detects up to five faces in a scene and focuses on the closest subject; Wide Area AF, which offers a large AF area for optimal hand-held shooting; and Normal Area AF, which provides pinpoint accuracy when shooting with a tripod.

The D5000’s D-Movie Mode allows users the exciting ability to record HD movie clips (1280 x 720) at a cinematic 24 frames per second with sound. Photographers will appreciate the quality produced whether creating vacation clips or intertwining still photographs and movies in a post-production creative montage. Additionally, the D5000 is compatible with a comprehensive assortment of AF-S NIKKOR interchangeable lenses to provide users with the ability to capture perspectives not possible with typical consumer video recording devices. When using any NIKKOR VR lens, D-Movie clips benefit from Nikon VR image stabilization, which automatically activates during recording to deliver added sharpness and image stability. VR image stabilization also extends the D5000’s performance in low-light situations. D-Movie clips are recorded onto an inserted SD or SDHC memory card and saved as Motion JPEG AVI files for easy editing with widely available video editing software.


Further bridging the gap between point-and-shoot cameras and more advanced D-SLRs are the D5000’s 19 automatic Scene Modes, which free users to capture beautiful images without having to manually adjust camera settings. With the broad range of automatic Scene Modes, including Sports, Portrait, Candlelight, Silhouette, Autumn Colors and more, D5000 is the perfect camera for anyone looking to make inspiring images in challenging photographic conditions.

The D5000 also incorporates a comprehensive set of in-camera editing features to make the most of captured images without the need of a computer. The D5000 also introduces several new Retouch features, including a Soft Filter effect, which applies a smooth appearance to faces or the entire image; Perspective Control, which helps correct distortions in perspective often encountered in photographs of architecture; and Color Outline, which creates monochrome outlines of objects in images by eliminating color and tonal gradations. The D5000 saves each of these edited images as a separate JPEG file, ensuring the original image is left unmodified. With Nikon’s exclusive Picture Control Settings, photographers can quickly select various image appearance profiles that include Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape settings. In addition, Picture Control provides the ability to create and store up to nine user-defined custom profiles to reflect each user’s personal preferences for hue, color saturation and image sharpening.

Extensive playback options allow users to review their photos in groups of four, nine, or 72 thumbnail images. Alternatively, users can select the Calendar View to easily group and select images by date. These playback features can be viewed either on the Vari-angle LCD or an HDTV with HDMI connectivity available via a dedicated HDMI port on the camera.

Proven Image Excellence
Consumers will immediately appreciate the benefits of the D5000’s 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor coupled with Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED image processing system, which delivers highly detailed images with vibrant color reproduction and low noise across a broad ISO range. The D5000’s normal ISO range extends from ISO 200 to 3200, allowing for superior shooting in low-light conditions. Additionally, the D5000’s ISO range can be expanded to a Lo 1 setting of ISO 100 or a Hi 1 setting of ISO 6400, furthering the opportunities for previously impossible shots.

Nikon’s exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II, in conjunction with the EXPEED image processing system, contributes to the D5000’s ability to capture breathtaking images by instantly evaluating the exposure elements of each scene and comparing it to an onboard database of information from more than 30,000 images. These split-second calculations allow the D5000 to ensure the right exposure—even when conditions are extreme. To push creative boundaries even further, the D5000 allows picture-takers to also use Center-Weighted and Spot Metering for added personal control.

Smooth, Swift and Quiet Operation
The D5000’s 11-point auto focus system utilizes Nikon’s exclusive Scene Recognition System with Face Detection to help create the best possible images in a variety of shooting environments. Nikon’s 11-point AF offers best-in-class speed and accuracy, helping to ensure sharp focus, shot-after-shot. Single-point AF is suggested for static subjects, Dynamic-area AF for moving subjects, Auto-area AF for spontaneous shooting and 3D-tracking with 11 AF points for maintaining accurate focus on a subject moving throughout the frame.

Paired with Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR image stabilization lens and the ability to shoot at four frames per second, the D5000 easily captures moments other cameras miss. Nikon’s VR image stabilization lenses reduce the blurring in images due to camera shake, allowing photographers to shoot hand-held at as many as three full stops slower than would otherwise be possible.*

The new D5000 also features the innovative Integrated Dust Reduction System, which offers both an electronic sensor cleaning when the camera is powered on and/or off and the Airflow Control System, which directs dust away from the sensor with every snap of the shutter. These functions work to clear image-degrading dust from the sensor’s optical low-pass filter, helping to ensure spot-free images. In addition, the D5000 features a Quiet Release Mode that reduces the mirror cycling noise for discreet shooting in sensitive situations, such as weddings and other ceremonies.

System Expandability
Photographers and enthusiasts alike can also appreciate the D5000’s system expandability, as the camera can work in conjunction with a variety of Nikon accessories including a broad assortment of NIKKOR AF-S interchangeable lenses. While the D5000 offers a versatile built-in flash, the camera is also compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System and capable of Advanced Wireless Lighting when using the SB-900 Speedlight or the SU-800 Wireless Commander. For those looking to document their photo excursions with geo-tagging, the D5000 is compatible with the optional GP-1 GPS Unit, which automatically records latitude, longitude, altitude and time information when a picture is taken.

The D5000 also works seamlessly with Nikon’s powerful Capture NX 2 image editing software (available for purchase separately), for more advanced photographers seeking greater control over their post-capture images. Capture NX 2 simplifies the path to beautiful images with easy-to-learn editing tools and a highly versatile and elegantly simple interface, which streamline editing procedures.

Price and Availability
The D5000 outfit, which includes the AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens, will be available at Nikon Authorized dealers beginning in late April 2009 at an estimated selling price of $849.95. For consumers who want to configure their D5000 system or for photographers who need an additional D-SLR body for an existing system, the D5000 will also be offered as a body only for an estimated selling price of $729.95. For more information, please visit

Respecting Culture: Know the Rules Before You Go

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As a photojournalist, I have taken photos of situations in which it would normally be considered rude or insensitive to bring a camera: car accidents, shootings, funerals, wakes, etc. but it was part of the job. For the most part, my presence as a photojournalist was necessary – I was there to tell a story. More often than not, I was invited and discussed the arrangements with the family or the family’s representative. Photojournalists have a code of ethics in which the majority of us hold dear. But what about tourists? Should we, when on vacation, hold ourselves to a code of ethics?

Even though I was on assignment and invited to a public dance in Gallup, I still asked the permission of the dancers to make a photograph. A little common courtesy goes a long way. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Even though I was on assignment and invited to a public dance in Gallup, I still asked the permission of the dancers to make a photograph. A little common courtesy goes a long way. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Yes. I believe we need to be culturally sensitive no matter where we are or whatever the purpose of our photography happens to be.

Take for example the Zuni Tribe who live in the Pueblo of Zuni along the western edge of New Mexico. I worked as a photojournalist in New Mexico and had several opportunities to go to the Pueblo of Zuni for various events. Surrounded by the large Navajo Nation, the Zuni Pueblo is a small, beautiful area away from the nearest city of any size, Gallup.

I would drive down, photograph my assignment, and return to Gallup to edit photos but after a few trip down to Zuni I began to notice the tourists. For the most, they were respectful of the residents of Zuni Pueblo (remember, it’s not a museum, it’s a community just like any other) but there were a few who were, quite simply, very pushy.

So I asked a friend of mine, who was raised in Zuni Pueblo but lived and worked in Gallup, about the tourists. The stories he told, although humorous at times, were shocking. My favorite is a how a lady walked up to his home, opened the door, peered in while he and his brother were playing video games and said “What? Video games? This is supposed to be a REAL Indian village.”

Now, most of us aren’t quite that, ummm, clueless, but there are those who break the rules to some degree or another.

The Zuni Tourism office even has a posting on its Website on how to visit the Pueblo and be respectful. One of the more important – and possibly overlooked – rules is the photography rule posted clearly on the Website:

“Consider capturing visual memories instead of photographs! Assume that ALL “cultural” activities within the Pueblo are off-limits to photograph, video or audio record or sketch unless specifically informed otherwise. Always inquire first and ask permission before photographing any activity involving people. NO photography is permitted of images inside the Old Mission.”

Does this mean you shouldn’t visit Zuni Pueblo? No. Of course not. It’s important, however, to remember to be aware of the social norms of the area.

Just as you would consider it rude for strangers to walk into your church, temple or mosque and take pictures, so too is it rude to photograph the religious and/or cultural activities of another groups’ way of life.

Another example would be that of the Old Order Amish who live mainly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. For the most part, their religious beliefs forbid them to own a photograph or pose for a photograph and they wish to not be photographed. I have, however, seen tourists clicking away even after they have been asked to stop.

If you’re ever asked to stop taking a photo, please respect the rights of the person whom you are photographing. ALWAYS ask permission first if possible. ALWAYS check with tourism offices when traveling to an area that is outside of what you’re used to. If there’s no tourism board, then follow the instructions on signs. A camera isn’t a license to do whatever you want whenever you want. It’s a tool to make memories, preserve emotions and convey a message so convey the message of sensitivity by NOT making photos when it’s inappropriate.

Books for Your Library: ‘Olympic Portraits’

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Photo books are a great addition to any library. As photographers, we are constantly searching for new ideas and are always interested in seeing concepts-done-well. Here’s a suggestion to add to your library …

If you know nothing about photography you probably still have heard of Annie Leibovitz and probably can recall at least one photograph she has made over the years. Leibovitz is quite possibly the most well-known photographer in the world and for good reason … she’s that good.
You might already know her biography – she started working for Rolling Stone magazine shortly after it launched and by 1973 was named its chief photographer. She photographed John Lennon and Yoko Ono for a Rolling Stone cover some five hours before he was shot by a crazed fan. She photographed the Disney Parks “Year of a Million Dreams” campaign in 2007 and she was Queen Elizabeth II’s official portrait photographer for the Queen’s visit to Virginia.

But her book “Olympic Portraits” is something different. It’s not musicians and actors. It’s not officials and heads of state. The book’s focus is on the athletes prior to the Atlanta Olympics.

Leibovitz doesn’t focus on the fame and action of the athletes. Instead, she focuses on the solitude and almost singular purpose exhibited by these icons of sport. The images are both beautiful and haunting. If you purchase no other photography book, this is THE one to own.

Written by jeremyparce

April 14, 2009 at 7:32 am

Photo Critique 11: ‘Untitled,’ by Renier.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots. Today, we’re going to critique an image made by Renier, my former student in Miami, Florida.

"Untitled," by Renier DP, Miami, Florida.

"Untitled," by Renier DP, Miami, Florida.

General Overview:
Renier, this image is outside of the typical photographs you take and I always like to see you try new things. It’s always good to break out of your comfort zone, especially as a student. The concept for this image is great … it creates the setting of a story and has a real reminiscent feel to it. You set a nice tone with the image.

Good job.

Here are a few improvements I think will make the image better: First, the highlights are a bit too overexposed, causing a loss of color in the sky and in the ocean. On camera fix would be either to purchase a polarizing filter or a split density filter. In computer fixes may include toning down the highlights and brining out more shadow.

Secondly, I wouldn’t mind seeing this image a little closer to the dog. I think if the dog was closer (which would make it appear bigger) and occupying the bottom corner of the frame, it would give a little more depth to the image.

Next, there’s a person popping through in the grassline on the upper right side. Remove the person in editing. If you planned the person being there, it didn’t work in the image because they, as the secondary subject, were not tied in well with the primary subject – the dog.

A quick edit: Changed the saturation levels, added some more clouds, cropped the image and removed the person via Photoshop (Photo Credit: Renier DP, edit by Jeremy W. Schneider)

A quick edit: Changed the saturation levels, added some more clouds, cropped the image and removed the person via Photoshop (Photo Credit: Renier DP, edit by Jeremy W. Schneider)

Finally, I think I would enhance the colors just a little bit. I think the greens would look better if they “popped” more.

Renier, keep up the good work and keep trying new concepts.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at

Written by jeremyparce

April 14, 2009 at 7:27 am