Maintaining your camera gear !

Written by Justin Tedford

Camera gear is an investment and it needs periodically cleaning as everything does. I answer plenty of questions on a regular basis about maintaining camera gear and how to clean your camera and lenses. Maintaining your gear doesn’t come with a huge investment for supplies. Spending little as twenty dollars is all you may need to do to purchase the necessary cleaning materials.

Cleaning Tissues:  These little guys can be a great help in keeping your camera lenses clean. Have you ever had a finger print on the front of your lens? Besides that huge finger print on the front of your lens you now have oil from your skin. Use a cleaning tissue and a little fluid will help take that oil and print right off without transferring any of that mess to your cleaning cloth.  

Lens Cleaning Fluid: Remember to purchase a lens cleaning fluid that is meant for optics and not eye glasses. Purchasing a fluid that is meant for optics lessens the chance for damage to your lens coatings.

Lens Cloth: A good cleaning cloth should be a number one priority in your cleaning tool kit. Make sure your cloth is not abrasive; this will help you make sure you are not scratching the lenses front element. Some cloths can be washed, make sure not to use fabric softener when washing your cloth and let it air dry.

Blower Brush: I think this is the most forgotten tool to have. Visit the beach or a dusty back road? Sand or fine dust can scratch that front lens element again. Using a blower will help remove any loose particles that may scratch your lenses before cleaning.


Keeping your sensor Spot less!

               Unless you live in a bubble eventually you will get some dust on your camera sensor. How do you know if there is dust on your cameras sensor? Little black spots will start to show in lighter areas of your photograph like the sky for example. Don’t worry; your local camera store can help you clean your sensor. Some places may clean your sensor for free if the dust can be removed by blowing it off. Sometimes dust and debris are suborned and the sensor may need to be “swabbed”. There is usually a fee associated with this type of cleaning. Swabbing is a great way to remove all dust or debris on your sensor. If you’re up to learning something new, you can do this yourself but only with specialized fluid and swabs. There is always a chance you make scratch your cameras sensor if done improperly.

 Cleaning your body and lenses

My favorite tool for cleaning the outside of the camera’s body is a toothbrush. This will help get all that dirt out of the crevasses of your camera allowing you to blow off it off. I also like to use q-tips to get around little cracks and the view finder of the camera.

Always make sure that you never directly spray the lens fluid on a lens element. First, spray the lens tissue with a little fluid and rub on the surface of the lens in a clock wise motion after you have blown off any debris. Then gently use your cleaning cloth to polish the front of your lens. This is as easy as it gets!

Gear is investment, we wash our cars and keep up our maintenance on them so why not do the same of your camera and lenses. Please feel free to call the store with any questions at 319-395-9121


The Low Down on Long Exposure Photography


Some topics instill trepidation in photographers – especially those who are just beginning to hone their craft.  Long exposure photography often falls into that category, although there is nothing to fear as long as you’re open to experimentation and are willing to learn how to adapt to different situations.

In order to create long exposure images, you’ll need just a few specific tools. A trusty tripod is key and a DSLR camera capable of creating long exposure images.  Photographing moving light, such as those adorning a Ferris wheel or a highway packed with nighttime traveling cars, takes a bit of practice as light travels at different speeds in each instance. As you practice, you’ll begin to get a feel for how – and when – to adjust your exposure settings.


Check your surroundings to determine how much available light is currently affecting your nighttime surroundings. If there is substantial ambient light from sources such as office buildings, signs and traffic, your selected shutter speed will be shorter.  If the environment is an evening sky with little surrounding light, be ready to extend your shutter speed, possibly up to several minutes.

One way to practice nighttime exposure techniques is to photograph a highway with substantial traffic.  Mount the camera on a sturdy tripod and select a location that provides a wide view of traffic.  As you extend the shutter settings, you’ll notice that the light patterns of the traffic will change.  For example, they might start to look thinner and more detailed as you increase the exposure time. This particular exercise is a solid way to learn how to adjust camera settings for nighttime photography.  You can then move on to other more challenging environments and will be able to call upon this new earned experience moving forward.

Mastering long exposure photography is a skill that can improve your imagery in several other situations as it provides training for how to adjust exposure based on various lowlight situations. It is also one of the more artistic expressions of the craft and the stunning results created will certainly stand out in your portfolio.

Properly Storing your CD and DVD’s

Properly Storing Photo Discs

We get many questions on how people should be storing the CD or DVD’s  their photos are on. Here a few quick tips on doing just that

Our photo libraries are now largely digital with smartphones becoming the primary camera of choice. FujiFilm estimates that 1.6 trillion images were taken last year with smartphones, cameras and other capture devices. This new normal means that protecting our favorite photos is even more important than ever as one hard drive crash can wipe out years of documented family history. Using an online backup service is key, but adding a second layer of protection that keeps you firmly in charge of your photo assets can ensure your pictures remain viable for the future. What’s the easiest way to achieve this? Simply backing up your image library to disc will do the trick. Here are a few tips to help make the process successful:

Tip #1:  If you’re using DVD or CDR media to store your pictures, these discs require care when handling as they can be easily damaged, leaving your photos inaccessible. DVDs are denser than CDs, so the information is tightly packed on the disc. A fingerprint or smudge can keep you from retrieving the files off the DVD, so make sure to handle the disc by the center hole or outer edge.

Tip #2: Consider using write-once rather than re-writable discs as a back-up method for your digital pictures. Many people have accidentally written over their re-writable discs and lost their digital pictures, including people who make a living in the technology field!

Tip #3:  Store your discs upright (similar to books on a bookshelf) and in jewel cases or specialty albums to protect them. Keep them in a cool, dry place.

Tip #4: Ever use a marker to label your disks ? Watch out, make sure you marker is archival safe. Acid in some markers can destroy your disk and can make them unreadable.

Bonus Backup Tip – Print Your Favorites:  We admit to being fans of going old-school with printed pictures, and in this situation, it’s because it works. Printed photographs never crash, and there’s something satisfying about viewing a hard copy photograph, holding it in your hand and then tucking it in a photo box or album. Better yet, pick a few favorites and frame them so you can enjoy them every day. Don’t let them languish on your hard drive – upload your photos to our site and we’ll get them printed quickly and inexpensively.