Sunday, September 15, 2013



For the past year or more I've been getting dark, round splotches on my scenic photos where the clear sky was involved.  Sometimes the circular splotches would appear on a light blue sky as a darker blue or gray shaded circle.  
These shaded, round spots are dust on the camera sensor.  The marks appear on the photo when the lens is used toward the long end (under magnification.  The magnification actually magnifies the dust spot and it's noticed on the image.  Software can be used to remove the spot from the image but it's a pain.
Digital cameras have an option where the camera can be set to send a high frequency vibration through the sensor that is supposed to shake any dust particles off.  It functions automatically, if selected, to shake when the camera is turned on and again when it is turned off.  This works fairly well but, there comes a time when the stubborn dust particles just can't be shaken off.  So, how does dust get on the sensor?
 Dust is probably introduced into the camera when lenses are changed.  The entire front opening of the camera is subjected to any dust particles in the air.  To help prevent dust intrusion it's a good idea to brush the juncture of the lens and the camera body with a lens brush or possibly a lens air pump.  I'd refrain from using canned air as dust can be blown past the juncture of the lens and camera under force even while the lens is still in place.

Many of the high end cameras are not weather sealed and there-in lies a problem.  I believe that most all of the newer models are sealed.  They call it weather "resistant."
So, we have dust on the sensor because we have circular splotches in the sky's of our scenic shots.  What do we do?  By the way, I've been reluctant to clean the sensor of my camera for over a year because I thought there was some highly technical process that I'd surely mess up.  It's not hard to do at all as you'll see.  I intend to do it at least once or twice a year just as normal camera cleaning - it's that easy to do.

 The little rascal is digging a hole to bury a nut that he has in his mouth.

I've done a lot of reading and research about products that the professionals use and most all of them recommend Sensor Swabs.  They are produced by Photographic Solutions, Inc. and there are no chemicals involved that will harm any part of your camera.
I don't have a used one on hand and the new swab must stay in the package until ready for use.  The swab itself is nothing more than a long fiber tube much like a long coffee stir stick, with a fabric swab on the end of it saturated with the chemical "Eclipse" which is a secret formula.  It's not really.  I just forgot the actual name of the chemical.

 So, I like these white faced fox squirrels.

I got my swabs from Amazon on line.  They are handled by many other on line companies.
Step 1 is to use a squeeze bulb to blow air around the base of the lens where it attaches to the camera.  A quick whisk with a lens brush will do as well.

Step 2.  Have the lens cover for the base of the lens ready to immediately attach to the lens when it's removed.

Step 3.  Assure there is a fresh battery in the camera and turn the camera on.  Select Sensor Cleaning Manual on the menu list and highlight it.  Press enter or whatever button causes an action to be activated.  When you press the button, the mirror will flip up and will not fall back down until it is released by your selection on the menu to release it.  So - the lens is off and the mirror is in the up, out of the way position exposing the wide, rectangular sensor that lies behind it.

Step 4.  Remove the swab from the wrapper and carefully place the tip "edge" of it onto the sensor at the extreme left of the sensor's edge.  Canter the sensor stick slightly to the right an apply just enough pressure to just slightly bend the stick.  This will assure enough pressure on the swab end to wipe away the dust.  Draw the swab from left to right clear across the sensor without stopping.  When you get clear across the sensor to the other side, tilt the stick to the left and maintain the pressure to just slightly bend the stick and, drag the swab back across the sensor to the start point and withdraw the swab.  You're done.  

Step 5.  Slam the lens back on the camera and go have fun.
This is Gunther.  He's a regular on this log.  It's his spot.  Great blues are not very challenging but, I thought I'd just keep in practice.

There is no way I was going to send my camera off to Canon to have this done and be weeks without my image machine.  I figured if I messed it up I could always send it to them after the fact.  I also changed the protective cover over the LCD screen in the back.  Mine had scratches on it and smudges that made it difficult to inspect photos that were previously taken.  I replaced it with a glass window made by Canon.  That job scared me too but, it was a piece of cake to change out.
 A green heron.  Look how dark he is.  Most of these birds are of a lighter variety.  He appears to be smaller than most I've seen.  Cute little guy though.  Notice his crest standing up.

 The shot above and those that follow are of a section of the river I've never been on.  The water depth is usually very shallow.  I noted a couple days ago that the river arose a foot above it's normal depth and I decided to give it a try.  This water is normally six inches deep.  It is now one foot an six inches deep.  That's still not much but it's all that's necessary.  I did use the electric motor to navigate this shallow stuff.  All that green you see is water grass.  There are acres and acres of the stuff on the right side of the river travelling downstream.  That part of the river is silted in very heavily.  So, there's water under everything you see that is green.  That makes for tremendous wildlife habitat.

 This is fabulous canoe water too.
The water grasses are starting to rapidly die off along the edges and the dead and dying grass is floating just under the surface ready to catch on propellers as boats pass over.  The writing's on the wall.  A seasonal change is underway.  Fall is just around the corner.