Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Third Thing is a Charm


I believe New Year’s Eve day is good for only two things:  marking time until the New Year’s Eve party begins and working as hard as you can to complete old-year resolutions.  That is what I have been doing.  Passing time and trying to wrap up my big 2013 resolution, which was to organize the sixty thousand or so images on my computer hard drive.

For a number of unspecified reasons too long to list here, I got a late start on the project.  However, over the past week have reviewed, kept and prioritized; or rejected and purged ten thousand or so digital images I shot in 2009, 2010 and 2003.  (I have to skip around to break up the monotony.)

For the past hour I’ve been plodding through 2008 images.  When I got to this freighter image, taken in late January that year, and noticed a few problems.  Don’t take too much time searching the image for flaws.  There are several.  But there is one issue I want to hone in on.  The spots you see floating around the freighter are not migrating birds or UFOs ready to land on the ship’s deck.  They are dust spot on my sensor.

Since October I’ve noticed sensor spots on some images.  (Especially images of snow or sky shot with a small f-stop.) For a long time I shot most of my pictures with a large aperture.  Dust and other crud just doesn’t show much on an image shot with a big aperture.  But I’ve been stopping the aperture down into the teens lately and sensor spot began showing up as big as a cold sore on prom night.

Well today I decided to see what I could do to clean my camera sensor.  I dug around in a book or two and read how some pros do and don’t clean their sensors.  Then I watched a You Tube video by photographer Karl Taylor titled, “How to Clean Your DSLR Sensor” [ ] and realized I had everything I needed here in the house.

Most of what I knew about cleaning a digital sensor was “Don’t try it!”  But, I took my time, followed how Taylor cleaned his camera sensor and it turned out okay.  I took some snow test shots at f.18 and the spots that have annoyed me are gone.  I can still see a dim spot or two but nothing that looks like a special effect from a Steven Spielberg movie.  Not bad for my first try.

So, I did get a little something done this last day of 2013.  Now I can get ready for the party with a clean conscience… and camera sensor.

I hope you have a fun-filled and safe New Year’s Eve.



Big Snow

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While part of our family and many friends are without electricity in the greater Lansing area after a big ice storm, we have been digging out of a good-sized snowstorm.  As luck and home design would have it, when we get a nor’easter, like this one, the wind and snow wraps around our house and fills the back steps and covers the sidewalk with snow.  It drifted about three feet deep.  In the side yard we got a peculiar drift about five feet high but, fortunately, only about four feet around.  It looked like a mini Matterhorn.

I learned the snow blower works on the sidewalk too. (But watch out for the steps…)  A couple of times yesterday, I wished I’d spent the extra bucks and bought a 10-horse snow blower instead of the 8.5-horse.  But I took my time and it got the job done.

Of course the travail of snow blowing a sidewalk and a couple of driveways is nothing like have electricity to your home knocked out for several days, including Christmas.  We hope everyone, especially those without power, have a warm Christmas.  Most of all, we hope the workers in Lansing get their jobs done and the power back on as fast as they can.

We’ll see many of you just after the new year.


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