Spring cleaning

If you’re lucky enough to be a photographer who owns a DSLR type camera, there’ll come a time when you notice little annoying dust specs on your pictures. You might see them when shooting a bright scene or when you’re using a small aperture to capture a grand landscape. It’s very likely these dust particles entered your camera while you were changing lenses or simply removing the lens from the camera for storage.

Some photographers put up with the dust specs or take the time to remove them with software such as Adobe Photoshop. (This can be time consuming to say the least.) More often than not these dust specs have landed on your camera’s sensor. The sensor is the part of your camera that captures light and converts it into electrical signals to make your photograph.

It’s easy to inspect your sensor for dust. First, attach your widest angle lens and set the aperture to f22. Now find a bare white wall or open up Photoshop and create a blank white screen. Take a picture and inspect the photograph at 100 per cent on your computer. You just might be surprised at how much dust you’ll find.

If you do some research on the Internet, you will find plenty of sensor cleaning products and many different sensor cleaning procedures. There’s so much information out there that I cannot possibly describe or list them all here. This information overload can be a bit much for some and might even turn you off of cleaning your camera completely but here’s a tip: I keep my camera’s sensor dust free by locking up the mirror and shutter to gain access to the sensor. I work on a clean, uncluttered, well-lit table while gently using a manual bulb-type blower to remove the dust. Every six months or depending on how much use my camera is getting, I will have a professional use a wet sensor swab to get a really good cleaning.

Today’s digital cameras are very delicate instruments and the suggestion I have given may not apply or even work for you. Read your manual carefully to find out what cleaning products and procedures your camera’s manufacturer recommends. If you don’t feel comfortable doing the cleaning on your own, find yourself a professional to do it for you.
A clean sensor will reduce your time in front of the computer, increase your time in the great outdoors and improve the quality of your images.

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