How To Set Exposure Compensation on Canon Rebel and 5D

January 15th, 2012

I have shot mostly with my Canon 400D/Rebel XTi since I bought it new in early 2007. A couple of years ago I picked up a used Canon 5D classic after the Canon 5Dmk2 came out, and have used it casually, but never mastered it’s buttons for changing camera settings as well as on my Rebel. For example, I just realized recently that I could not find the button to change Exposure Compensation! I dug through the menus, custom functions, and scrutinized every button on the camera to no avail. I even asked a Canon 5DmkII user how he changes it… but he uses a newer LCD settings view or the menu — not from the top LCD view and buttons.

Rebel vs 5D Exposure Compensation

Rebel vs 5D Exposure Compensation

So after all else failed, I consulted the instruction manual and found on page 92 what I needed to do: Adjust the power switch to change exposure compensation. Seriously!?!?! How intuitive is that to flip the power switch in order to change exposure compensation? I am curious as to what the historical legacy is behind this design decision… I presume this is to prevent someone from accidentally turning the quick control dial/wheel while shooting and not noticing their EV changed.

Canon 5D Manual - Exposure Compensation

Canon 5D Manual - Exposure Compensation

The power switch needs to change from “ON” to “/-” mode which then enables the quick control dial/wheel to change settings… apparently only the Exposure Compensation setting that I can determine. All of the other settings require just a touch of a top button then scrolling the back quick control dial/wheel or top main dial/wheel. Apparently this Exposure Compensation setting is the same on all Canon cameras other than the entry-level Rebel/xxxD series, and it takes three steps:

  1. Turn camera ON to special power on mode “/-“ (not “ON”)
  2. Half-press the shutter button to engage focus and an exposure reading
  3. Turn the back control dial/wheel to adjust Exposure Compensation

On the Canon xxxD/Rebel series, I think it is much more ergonomic and intuitive to simply*:

  1. Press “Av” button with thumb and turn front main dial/wheel

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Set Gmail as default email client in Firefox (and Chrome fail)

June 18th, 2011

Have you ever setup a new computer or web browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome… and if nothing else is available IE) and then click on a “mailto:link in a webpage to email someone, and suddenly Outlook Express starts up?! Perhaps like most people, I’ve finally moved to using Gmail (or other web-based email) as my primary email address. It’s now actually very easy to setup Firefox to use Gmail or Yahoo! Mail as the default email client, while I used to use an extension for this. This feature has been around for at least a year now.

Just go to Tools-> Options, select Applications, type “mail” in the search box and select Gmail from the Actions drop down. Simple!


Oddly, while Google both owns and develops Gmail AND Chrome… setting up Gmail as the default email client in Chrome still requires a 3rd party extension or serious tweaking with your Windows File Type Settings in XP and Windows Registry in Vista and Win 7!! Come on Google… it’s time to learn something from Mozilla! =)

Magicjack broke during Magictalk upgrade?

February 16th, 2011

A couple of weeks ago my magicJack (original) stopped working, the software would not even start up like normal even though it’s shortcut was in the Start->Programs->Startup folder on my Windows XP system. Instead the magicTalk website popped up – powered by magicJack. I presumed the magicJack software was now called magicTalk since even the website was redirecting to (It’s not – they are completely different software: magicJack drives your dongle + phone, magicTalk is like skype and let’s you make calls using your computer headset. Note there is now also a “magicJack plus” which is the same as the original but I hear plugs direclty into your network w/o the need of a computer running the magicJack software… WIN! finally!) So I tried the upgrade but it did not work – it told me to plug in my magicJack but it already was!?

So the quick fix for this was to:

  1. Optionally uninstall Magicjack from the Control Panel.
  2. Unplug the magicJack from your computer’s usb port
  3. Download and run the mjRemover.exe application
  4. Download and run the Microsoft FixIt application
  5. Optionally restart your computer
  6. Plug the magicJack back into your computer’s usb port
  7. The magicJack autorun from the usb device should download and install the latest magicJack software automatically
  8. Enjoy using your magicJack again!

The text of my online techchat conversation with Tara magicJack customer support is below after the cut.

PS – I also just noticed that my magicJack phone calls sound clearer when called directly to my magicJack number instead of using Google Voice. Typically I would launch Google Voice to call my magicJack number and connect me with my friend. While they could hear me just fine, their voice would be chopping like from a slow internet connection. Since I have ADSL I would have thought my (upload) voice would have the most problems. So I don’t know what the case is, maybe my calls are still going through Google after the connection? I do know the call quality was much better on my friend called me back on my magicJack number – the difference was night and day.
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Newly Arrived in Stuttgart, Germany

August 28th, 2010

I’ve recently moved out to Stuttgart, Germany and am enjoying it so far — being in a new environment and surrounded by a culture that is not my own can be slightly disorienting but also exciting at the same time. More updates as time permits! Check for my updates on facebook, as I tend to be posting there more these days! =)

Custom Calligraphy by Graceful Calligraphy

October 18th, 2009

If you are looking for custom calligraphy on the internet and especially in Colorado, you’ll want to check out Graceful Calligraphy by Katherine. She does amazingly great work – just check out the samples on her website! Katherine of Graceful Calligraphy is the best calligraphy artist to go to if you have a favorite poem or saying, wedding invitation envelopes, place cards, wedding invitations, baby announcements, or a gift for a special occasion that you would like to have written in custom, graceful, hand written calligraphy.

Graceful Calligraphy is a woman owned small business. While Katherine is well known for her superb artistic talent as a calligrapher, she is also a great Catholic and Christian who will provide you a great value and service for all of your calligraphy needs! You don’t have to take my word for it though, just check out her excellent client testimonials and reviews. International service is available.

Fashion Photographer Turns Lens to Christ

October 11th, 2009

photo: The Journey Project

photo: The Journey Project

Highly acclaimed fashion photographer Michael Belk has turned his lens to Jesus Christ to visually tell the tale of many of the gospel stories as set in modern times in his project, “Journeys With the Messiah“. I actually heard about this project during the pastor’s sermon at mass today, as he recalled the popular photo entitled “Quandary” which depicts today’s gospel reading with a man who has the best car, a beautiful wife, two kids and all the marks of “success” in our modern world – asking a 1st century Jesus what else must he do beyond keeping the commandments in order to inherit eternal life? Mark 10:21-22

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

A Baltimore Fine Art Portrait Photographer

September 26th, 2009

Today for the first time I met Kimberly, of Kimberly Fine Art Portraits in Baltimore/Owings Mills, MD and got a nice little tour of her newly remodeled (and massive) studio. I actually stopped by to look at an older camera she had for sale on craigslist, and after a little Canon-photographer bonding – we ended up talking photography for about an hour! She’s very socialable, experienced and was generous in giving me ideas and advice on how to improve my digital workflow, manage my memory cards, and keep organized once photography becomes a profession!

Kimberly Fine Art Portraiture

Kimberly Fine Art Portraiture

All the while, I was admiring her photographic work (ok – it’s “fine art” – truly) and working environment. With 30 years of photography experience, working with such icons as Monte Zucker and other notable photographers – her talent shows as she’s won numerous accolades and awards over the years. Do you remember those paintings of royalty that would hang in castles? That’s what Kimberly’s portraits look like – fine art! It was great to meet with her, and actually a few other photographers lately (Jenni – portrait/wedding photographer, Sean – “Alpine” wedding photography) all thanks to craigslist shopping encounters!

How to Initialize a New Hard Drive on Windows Vista

September 16th, 2009

I noticed that the process to initialize a new hard drive on Windows Vista is not particularly intuitive – at least for a first time user – myself included! (I’ve just always used GNU/Linux, LiveCD or boot disk from the Win9X era.) However, in Windows 2000 and above, including Vista:

  1. Launch the Computer Management: [Win]+[r] or simply [Win] and enter compmgmt.msc in the run/search box
  2. Go to Storage -> Disk Management
  3. Find the drive from the list (colored black if unformatted)
  4. Right-click on the “Disk Label” on the left (displays the drive name and size, not the drive image) and select Initialize Disk
  5. Then you can right-click on the drive image to Create New Simple Volume

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How to print Southwest boarding pass on one page without ads

July 26th, 2009

I just noticed that Southwest airlines is now placing advertisements on their print-from-home boarding passes. =( I have two flights tomorrow morning, but instead of printing both passes on one page (which was standard in the past, also saving paper and the planet) the print preview now shows several ads after the first boarding pass and then the second boarding pass on another page. You’ll need to remove the ads and the page break to force the printout to print to two pages. Here’s the simple way to print out your boarding passes on one page:

1) Save the boarding pass webpage to your desktop.
    (File -> Save Page As. Save as “Web page, complete”.)
2) Right click on the viewBoardingPass.htm file and open with Notepad
3) Scroll down to where you see the “- – – FOLD HERE – – -” line, then just below it: Remove the following advertisement and page break lines:
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Create Multipage or Merge Multiple PDFs into one for free with Irfanview!

June 4th, 2009

The other day I was scanning in multiple pages of a document into PDF format with my favorite image/scanning/multi-tool Irfanview and the Irfanview plugins. However, when I tried to merge all of the PDF page files into one single document using a, multitude, of pdf tools (except because it was a sensitive document) but was unable to because there was an owner password created with the PDF randomly that I didn’t know about — so these tools wouldn’t let me merge the PDF files I created!

After some email correspondence with Irfan himself I just downloaded and installed the latest version 4.23 and found “New multipage images menu: Create Multipage PDF” in the release notes! And this worked wonderfully! Irfanview apparently completely ignored the random embedded password. It’s good to know that I can use Irfanview to merge the PDF files I created with Irfanview. =)

To do this, simply (from the help system):
Click on the View Menu, point at Multipage images. A sub-menu opens with several options to click… including “Multipage PDF” and “Multipage TIF”. Then simply select your input files and the name of your ouput PDF file and you’re set! Much easier and simpler than the other PDF tool programs as well!

Create Multipage PDF with Irfanview + Plugins

Create Multipage PDF with Irfanview + Plugins

I just showed my support for Irfanview, and if you love this application as much as I do (I’ve been using it since 1996, since it was the only extensive image viewer I could find that would fit on a floppy back then!) then I hope you’ll support Irfan too!

Philosophy of Liberty video

April 26th, 2009

This is my favorite and perhaps the best youtube video ever! I can’t believe I’ve never shared it here before! This educational video eloquently defines what “Liberty” is in the political sense in a principled way that is so easy to comprehend that I think every child above 1st grade should see it. =) Hopefully this video gets you thinking and provides some principled stability to your reasoning on politics and justice. If you have any further insights and thoughts on it, please share. I hope you enjoy, and remember… love thy neighbor!

Trip to Seattle and Chase Jarvis

February 23rd, 2009

Watching Chase Jarvis FRAMES: Studio Buildout timelapse video on youtube with a soundtrack from Moby was an incredible visual experience for me. I was so impressed and dreamed of having a studio just like this! So nearly a year later I made a trip to Seattle to see a friend of mine and couldn’t resist sneaking a peak of the studio space – just to say “I’ve been there” and connect in reality with this structure that seemed as surreal to me as Schloss Neuschwanstein in a sense.

I caught a bus up to the neighborhood and walked around looking for the studio. When I first saw it and realized what I was looking at, I thought it was a bit modest and unassuming which even added more to it’s charm. Then I got a little nervous… I was just expecting to stop by and put my face up against the window or something to take a peek — but inside the entire crew was there at work!
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Javascript link in YYMMDD format

January 3rd, 2009

Today I tried my luck at making a custom javascript link based on the current date from the client side. There was one “gotcha” in testing it in firefox though, the traditional code like this didn’t work.

So I just had to write out the whole HREF tag in the javascript function. For more details see my Creating a Custom Javascript link wiki page.

Resolutions for 2009

January 3rd, 2009

Ok, it’s that time again… time for new years resolutions! I thought of a few the other day, and already I’ve been slacking on them. =( So hopefully by posting them online it will help keep me a little more honest and engaged in sticking to them! Here’s my “start” of my 2009 resolutions (may be updated):

  • Health and Strength – daily
  • Prayer Life – daily
  • Time Management – daily
  • House Shopping – weekly
  • Learn Photography – weekly
  • Learn Spanish – weekly
  • Volunteer or Charity – weekly

I’ve broken down each of these “main goals” into finer details after the cut. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Recover and Play a Cracked CD

December 27th, 2008
using scotch tape to repair a cracked cd

I’ve had a pair of cracked audio CDs lying around now for the past couple of years from my old “Teach Yourself Norwegian” (great course btw!)… always wishing that eventually in time there might be a way to recover and play them. So after nearly 4 years since I last used them, I finally googled it and had some luck! Read the rest of this entry »

Travel in 2009

December 15th, 2008

I’m trying to decide where I might travel to this next year in 2009… since I did so much traveling in 2007, I made a pact that I should only do international travel “every other year” so that I could afford the finances! In that year I graduated from NPS, drove across the entire country camping and sight-seeing along the way, then backpacked around Europe for 7 months seeing friends and new places — hitting 10 countries in all, then finally had a family vacation to Hawaii for Christmas and the New Year. So, that was an expensive year!

So far on the radar for 2009, I’ve got a friend inviting me to go to Iceland in March to admire the glaciers and take advantage of the good exchange rate, my study abroad in Norway group reunion planned for May in London, and another friend inviting me down to Honduras to volunteer with street children and practice my Spanish! Oh, if only I could afford to do them all!

German Family Photo

November 9th, 2008

I was just checking out again today and got some happy birthday wishes recently. What was really impressive, was my friend and distant-family-member Rolf posted a group photo of my visit with Melissa and Tini last summer. It was really nice of him, and so I dug up my copy (I prefer the antique look) and wanted to post it to share. Eventually, these photos will make it to the site when I get it rebuilt! =)

Melissa, Tini, Brian and the Kimmeyer Family in Germany. July 2007

The Kimmeyer family now currently lives in the house and on the farm that once belonged to my great-great-great grandfather. They offered such warm hospitality, splendid company, and conveniently for us – all spoke English very well!

Vote with Love

November 9th, 2008

I just found from52to48withlove on, which visually speaks the message of unity in our country across political lines. We all make different judgments and have our opinions on what the most important problems are, how they should be addressed, and which candidate is best suited for the job. We have our differences, but we also have so much in common – love of our country.

The site talks mentions Red (Republican) and Blue (Democrat) states or voters, but I think left out us White (Libertarian, 3rd parties, independent…) voters! Oh well, in time they’ll see we really are in that “middle ground” and can truly bridge the polar opposites the Republicans and Democrats have come to represent. Candidates like Ron Paul attracted so many supporters from the across the entire spectrum of political affiliations, and I think, in time, the American people will get there too.

This is my favorite image, so cute, so beautiful and to the point!

blue vote and red vote kiss

One of our greatest needs as human beings is to be loved. We all need love… and our country needs love!

My favorite bible passages, from 1 John 4:8,16.

MD Election Results 2008

November 9th, 2008

Here are the Official MD 2008 Election Results. I was surprised to see that McCain beat Obama 2-1 in my own precinct, and beat Obama by 2.2% in my county of Anne Arundel. State-wide however, Obama won 61.1% to McCain’s 37.3%. Bob Barr turned up 0.4% in both Anne Arundel and on the whole state-wide.

The campaign for liberty is already looking ahead to the next election and trying to recruit precint leaders for as many areas as possible. Sign up at

Bob Barr Counter-Debate

October 15th, 2008

Watch Bob Barr counter debate Senators McCain and Obama tonight live on the internet.