March 8, 2014

To Clean or Not To Clean?

Gear is meant to be used.  Using your gear gets it dirty.  That's just the way it is.  Getting your gear cleaned occasionally is a good idea.

My Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0L IS lens is probably my most used lens.  It travels with me almost everywhere.  It's light, has a great focal range, and produces sharp, clean images.  Like I said, it's one of my most used lenses.

Like I said before, using your gear gets it dirty.  Dirty gear needs to be cleaned.  This lens was long overdue for a good cleaning.  Long overdue.  This fact was brought to my attention the other day when I took this shot.

Before I explain further, let me tell you a little bit about this image.  This was shot the other morning in Valley of Fire State Park, just outside of Las Vegas, NV.  It was a fantastic morning and the warm sunrise light plays off of the red rocks beautifully.  One of the things I love about shooting a good sunrise is the starbursts that you can capture.  These happen when a point of light (the sun in this case) peeks over a hard edge (the rock in this case).  The points of the starburst are exaggerated when you use a small aperture with your lens.  For this shot, I was using f/22.  It worked beautifully, I got the results I was looking for.

Now, back to the original point of this post.  The down-side to shooting at f/22, is that every bit of dirt on your gear will show up in your image.  Don't believe me?  Check out what I had to do to this image in Lightroom.
 Use your gear.  Clean your gear.  It's that simple.

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