The Flagpole Photographers offered a Round Table with Camera Maintenance Workshop on January 7 at the Newtown Senior Center. Members of the public joined club members at this very informative event.
Flagpole member Darrell Harrington started off the night with demonstrations of how to clean camera lenses and sensors. He recommended using a rubber bulb air dust blower or a camera lens brush as a first pass to get off larger pieces of dirt or dust. He stated that holding the camera with the lens pointing toward the floor is best at this point so any unwanted material falls away from the lens. Then a microfiber cloth could be used in a slow, circular motion from the middle out to the edge to finish cleaning the lens.
Sensors, however, are a bit trickier to clean than lenses. Harrington recommended watching Youtube videos several times before attempting it for the first time. There are several methods for cleaning sensors including using the Auto Clean Function found on some cameras or using a sensor swab and camera cleaning fluid. He offered that he has had the best luck though using a sensor gel stick for cleaning his sensor. There are settings in most cameras to flip up the mirror to get to the sensor, but the sensor should never be touched with a finger. He also stressed that compressed air should never be used on a camera!
Harrington also pointed out that sensors tend to get dust and dirt on them when lenses are changed. In order to minimize this, he suggested changing lenses in a reasonably clean environment.
Fellow club member, Chane Cullens, then presented tips and suggestions for backing up photos. He recognized that backups must be easy, cheap, and part of the digital workflow. Cullens discussed three types of backups which he referred to as either passive, active, or foolproof.
Passive backup included having a backup copy of an image just as a result of having shared the photo. This could be by having posted a photo on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram, emailing it to someone else, or having made a printed copy of it. For members of Flagpole Photography, anyone who had submitted photos for a digital competition or had earned a ribbon in a print competition, will have a copy on the club website. Also, if anyone sends their images out to be printed, that business may still have the image in their system. Some businesses, such as Costco’s online submission, will have all of those images sorted in order submitted and retrievable by customer. In addition, if anyone has made a photobook or scrapbook, this is another form of backup available.
Active backup requires intentional action to backup images. Cullens discussed how to use external hard drives and cloud storage options. External hard drives are reasonably inexpensive and often include free easy-to-use backup software. There are also many options for free cloud storage, but space is limited in the free offerings so that might be reserved for the most important photos.
If not losing a photo has a high value, whether it be for business or personal reasons, then the importance of backing them up needs to take on a more multi-dimensional, or “foolproof” approach. Cullens suggested using multiple external hard drives, alternating them by year, and rotating the devices offsite. Cloud backup space may also be purchased at fairly low rates as another method of offsite storage. Cullens also stressed to not just assume the backup is working, but test it out periodically by trying to restore the data from backup. Click to open the Backup your photos handout.
Flagpole Photographers will be hosting their next workshop, “Know Your Camera” on February 11 at 7:30 at the Newtown Senior Center. This will be a hands on experience with learning and practice stations set up. The public is invited to bring their camera with them to this free event.
Photos by: Rhonda Cullens