Sunday, November 1, 2015



We often spend a lot of time with taking great pictures.  The last thing you need is to have your equipment fail on you.  I have worked in camera stores, and have even worked for a camera company, and I can tell you that I have never been in an industry where reliability was more of an issue between manufactures than it is with the photographic companies.  So, with that in mind, all we need to do is to take good care of our equipment, and it will take care of us.  

In this new digital world, there are 10 steps, I believe, that will help you to maintain that reliability in your equipment.  The funny thing, as I write this, is that I believe that this applies to all those who take pictures with their cell phone as well as regular cameras.  So, as I talk about these 10 steps, many of these things will apply to both kinds of equipment.  

#1   It's ok to get a camera bag!  A camera bag will actually protect your camera!  Not a bad idea for your cell phone either. 
A lot of people just throw their phone or 
camera into their purse, back pocket, or where-
ever.  It's crazy where equipment goes.  I know I 
have often picked up my cell phone, after using it as
a cell phone for a while, decide to use it as a camera and notice that my image is all blurry.  It's because it has a big fingerprint on the lens.  Then I think I have not been very good to my equipment.  Then I take the time to clean it up before I take any pictures. And if I want to get serious with my photography, then I know I have my camera equipment in a gadget bag, where it is safe, it wont' get banged around, and the bag is actually water repellent as well.  A bag is a must to help take care of your equipment.  Really consider it.  It will save your equipment.

#2  When we talk about cleaning your lenses on your camera equipment, do not just pull out the local glass cleaner and squirt that on your lenses or filters.  That would ruin the special coatings on your glass.  And if you get some kind of smudges on your LCD screen then you need to go to the local photo shop and pick up a special cleaning solution of screen cleaner that will
help you to clean the screen properly.  Just don't use the wrong stuff.  This is expensive equipment and very delicate equipment that you just don't want to mess around with.

Camera batteries can cause some problems if you leave them in for a long period of time.  If you are not going to use your camera for a while, get in the habit of taking them out of your camera.  It makes you just sick when you take your camera out after not using it for a while, it doesn't work and you find the batteries all corroded.  So, spare yourself the problems of battery leakage, and just take them out if you don't use your camera for a while.

#4       Beware of canned air.  Can't show any image here without pointing at a brand, but, any brand can eventually damage your lenses.  It says right on the can that repeated use of canned air will damage your equipment.  It is not air.  It is compressed gas, not air.  So do not use it.  You would be better to get a squeeze blower or a brush, but, get rid of the canned air.

#5   Turn your camera off before you do anything to your camera.  Oh, this is a good one.  This is like something you do with a computer.  Before you change hard drives, you turn the computer off, right?  Or change power cords, or something on your computer, you always turn the computer off first.  Your camera is a mini computer now.  So, before you change your lens, change your memory card, turn your camera off first.

#6    What if your battery does damage your camera?  Then you contact the battery manufacture, and let them know.  They have a reputation to keep, and they are usually very willing to pay for your repair.  So, if this problem happens, have them fix it.  But, Refer back to #3 before this ever happens, right?

#7    Some of the best photos you will ever see is the ones that are taken in bad weather.  BUT, your camera and cell phone are not designed to work in cold weather.  They are very delicate instruments.  So, what do you do?
Take your camera out only in a waterproof bag. If the weather’s unusually cold, just wrap your camera in a plastic bag that has silica desiccant packets for the reduction of moisture. It’s also a smart idea to have a soft towel with you to wipe off any moisture, just in case it should get on your camera. If you’re on a budget, just wrap your camera in a plastic bag, leaving an opening for the lens. This is how you’ll shoot with it in the field. If you’re a pro, you should definitely invest in a camera sleeve instead!

#8   Be aware that you need to take care of your memory card.  Years ago, it was so important to take care of film, now, it's important to take care of the memory card for your camera and the cell phone.  

So, the question is:  just what affects a memory card?  Keep these tips in mind:
  • Only transport your memory cards inside of a protective case
  • Make sure the memory cards stay dust-free at all times. When removing memory cards, make sure you do so indoors or in non-dusty situations.
  • Make sure that you keep memory cards only in cool places. Never keep them in places where they may heat up, like dashboards or glove compartments.
  • Never place your memory cards close to magnetic sources. Examples of magnetic sources are things such as audio speakers, TV monitors and actual magnets.

#9    Use a filter to protect your lens.  For those who have the digital SLR, this is a must.  I remember telling my customers when you buy a camera, that you just have to buy this too.  If you drop your camera accidentally, it will fall on the lens, for some reason.  If you have a filter on the lens, it will break the filter.  If you don't have the filter on the lens, you will have to buy a new lens.  I know which one is less expensive.  Just plan on it.

#10   For many of us as we go into the colder times of the year, the number one enemy is condensation on your lenses and equipment.  There is only one thing to do, and that is to be patient, and wait for the condensation to clear up first before you start taking pictures.  Let your equipment get acclimated to the temperature change before you use the equipment.  If you still have some water spots, or moisture on your lenses, then a soft lens cleaning cloth will work great to wipe off the remaining moisture.  


Next weeks subject is going to be an interesting one:  How to find your Niche in photography.  As you learn to take photos, you will find that there is a subject that you really like to take pictures of, say, close-up photos, scenery, portraits, family photos, wildlife, etc.  What in photography excites you?  And we are going to talk about the many different subjects there are, and see if we can help you find one that you can learn to call your own.  Once you find the subject you like, then you will find you will take that type of picture better than any other type.  And that is how the professional becomes a professional.  They really become good at one subject, and you will find that when they do an exhibit, that their photos are all of the same type.  So, let's see if we can put out the different types of subjects of photography that you might want to get interested in.


Don't miss this Thursday's "Photos of the Week".  Absolutely the most popular of my blogs now.  The pictures are amazing.  They come from all over the world, and they are inspiring and motivate me to take more photos.

See you soon.


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