Spring Cleaning

by Andrew on

Image by Ernst Vikne

Spring is here yet again. Birds are chirping, days are longer and you are probably ready start shooting the wonders of spring. With the holidays and time off you probably had last year it’s easy to assume that your camera got some pretty vigorous use. Your camera is easy to forget when going through all the accumulated winter clutter around the house. In addition to cleaning up around the house you may want to consider casting your eyes at your camera bag and gear.

As any experienced spring cleaner knows the first thing to do is to go through everything, figure out what junk you may or may not have and get rid of all the non-essentials. What does that mean for your camera gear though? Everything in your bag probably seems pretty essential. Do you use AA batteries? I bet you have some dead batteries that you meant to toss but never got around to it. If you are using AA rechargeables now would be the time to go through and test them. Depending on how often you use the rechargeables, they may not be holding a charge like you’d expect them to; especially if they are more than a few years old. There is also the matter of memory cards, go through all your memory cards and see what pictures you may have forgotten to download and then format all of them so that they are ready when you need them.

The holidays are filled with family time, parties and, best of all, gift exchanges. Most photographers ask for and get camera equipment. Some of that stuff is something that has been missing from your camera bag and some of that stuff is replacing an old piece of equipment. Unfortunately that stuff usually just gets put into the bag wherever it fits at the time so you can go out and play with it, right? While you have the time right now, go through and organize your stuff; you might be surprised at how much room you actually have in your camera bag. If you have an item that got “replaced” but still find it hard to let it go figure out if you really need the old one you replaced; you don’t need to toss it but maybe you should let it stay home.

The most important thing you can do is have your camera cleaned and checked out. This is to make sure it is going to work when you need it; think of it like getting your car tuned up or its oil changed. Superficially, it’s just nice to have your camera sparkle again. Getting rid of dust, debris and grime on the outside will reduce your chances of getting it on the inside. For those of you with a digital SLR, it is probably time to have your sensor cleaned off to get rid of those spots that show up in all your pictures. There is nothing more frustrating than taking a beautiful landscape picture and having a black spot in the middle of your blue sky. On top of that you can make certain that your camera’s functions (shutter, aperture, focus, lightmeter, etc.) are still operating within manufacturers specs. And lastly, you’ll get your camera’s firmware updated which is a very good thing.

Summertime is just around the bend and that means vacation for a lot of you. Either way this year is going to be filled with photographs. Doing this now means less panic when you rely on your equipment and better photographs because your camera is in tip top shape.

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