Friday, March 20, 2009

Squeaky Clean Friday: Keep It Running In Tip Top Shape - Camera Stories and Gear Maintenance

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Man, it was a bear yesterday getting the post to view properly. Sorry, to all you folks using RSS readers - I think it popped about 6 times before it posted properly. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the info.

We are wrapping the week on a full run as we head to Photoshop World on Monday. LaDawn and I are looking forward to the visit to Boston - and get this, I get to do a guest appearance at the Kelby Media booth - I'm stoked!! Oh No! I just realized - I've got to get another presentation prepared for my visit. OK, no problem - I'll be featuring content from my book - Captured By The Light.

The book totaled about 80,000 words and about 500 images - Whew! I love the piece of advice I just received from another author - It's best if you can write your second book first - it's a lot easier. I would definitely agree with that;~)

Keep It Running In Tip Top Shape - Camera Stories And Gear Maintenance
This topic or a variation has been popping up on my Skribit Widget on the right of this blog. Yes, I do review your suggestions and I thought I would discuss one of them today. A little footnote here - I know I need to clean up the suggestion listing over at Skribit since so many of the questions have been previously answered at Digital ProTalk over the recent months. I'll see what I can do to point you to the suggestions that have already been answered. More later.

So how do you keep your gear in tip-top shape? Nothing to it really, just take good care if it. Sounds simple doesn't it? I have to say I was pretty abusive on my Hassey gear. One time I lost a $1200 penta-prism when I picked up camera and tripod, placed it on my shoulder, and the penta-prism slipped right off - I forgot to replace the film back which kept the prism in place - OUCH!

Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story...

Anyway, I take much better care of my gear now. I use a Lowe Pro Pro-Roller #2 bag which is sturdy and let's me fit all my gear in it quite compactly. When on the job, we are disciplined to know that each lens has its own home and nothing else hits the hole from which another lens came from. Just this little tip lets us work efficiently and much faster during the heat of the wedding with all the "lens swap".

Before each wedding I polish all the lenses - front and back. I remember back in my film days, I had an assistant hand me a lens and without me seeing it had placed a big finger print on the REAR element. Needless to say, several shots were highly diffused. A thumb print or smudge on the rear element is a MUCH bigger problem than one on the front element.

There was another time when one of my assistants was shooting a wedding and didn't remove all of the paper wrapper from the roll of film he had loaded into his Hassy. That little piece of paper floated all around the camera box inconveniently blocking out various portions of the image. I had a headless bride walking down the aisle with her father - little things like that. Fortunately, this photographer took so many shots, we had one image that was acceptable. The small piece of paper dropped out when he changed film after the roll. You new digital guys and gals have no clue how easy you've got it now ;~)

Lesson learned - I try to clean out the cameras before each job carefully blowing the dust out of the camera cavity. Here is another tip - when changing lens, always point the lens opening downward so dust can't settle easily into the camera. Also, keep your cameras wiped down to remove any cling dust that could find it's way into the camera.

Sensor cleaning is always a great topic of discussion. Check out this link I posted last year about cleaning the sensor at ByThom - here is the link right here in case you missed it. Thom went into quite a bit of detail on sensor cleaning. He made one remark which I think is incorrect. I've always been a fan of the "Artic Butterfly" by Visible Dust. In his article he references that the Artic Butterfly is used to clean the dust from the sensor by spinning it on the sensor - NOOOOO! Spin the bristles first, that charges then up, then carefully brush the sensor. The static charge of the bristles pick the dust right up. Luminous Landscape has a great review on the Artic Butterfly right here.

I will agree that the brush may sometimes pick up some of the lubrication as it brushes up against parts of the camera innards - so be careful. Spreading camera grease on your sensor is not a good thing. It that happens, you have to resort to Sensor Swabs which I have used too and like pretty well.

If I ever have a problem with a camera or lens, it gets sent to Canon Professional Services for quick turnaround at reasonable prices.

Gang, that's about it. Handle your gear carefully, a place for everything and everything in its place gear bag philosophy, keep lenses clean, sensor cleaning is not brain surgery so keep it clean (but not squeaky clean - that what I do around here - hope it helps.

On that note, folks, I'm getting ready for Boston. Come on up and say HI if you are at the show. See ya' in Bean Town on Monday, -David

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