I’m back! We just came back from a wonderful vacation to the desert Southwest. We did the whole shebang; Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Monument Valley, and shot a lot of pictures—well over 1700 images. You probably have seen the weather reports from out there, hot with lots of wind. When we were in Monument Valley the gusts were blowing over 40mph and it we kept seeing huge clouds of dust. Lots and lots of very fine sand and dust kept getting into everything. By the end of every day, we had a solid layer of red dust covering the dashboard of our rental car. As a photographer there are several real challenges in working in this kind of environment. The first is just being careful while changing lens. When possible change the lens inside a building or in a car. When that is not possible, you need to minimize the opportunities for dust to get inside the computer that masquerades as a camera. Having a helpful assistant makes a huge difference. Turn your back to the wind. And keep the camera body turned downwards. Quickly remove your lens from the body and swap out the other lens. Put the back cap on the removed lens and then put it away. Once you have completed the swap, but before you start shooting you should take two additional steps. First, just take out your lens brush or cloth and use it—don’t forget to clean your viewfinder as well. If you have the time or at least once a day, you should clean the camera’s image sensor. It will be a menu item like this…
Despite doing all those things, when I got home on Friday I could still see evidence of just how dusty it was. The great 26 megapixel sensor picks up every single speck of dust. Here is an image from Monument Valley; it looks OK at typical screen resolution.
Light room has a spot tool in the Develop Module, which if you are patient enough, you can go through and correct each and every spot. Good luck and let me know when you are done next week. This is where having a program like Photoshop can really save your life, or at least your sanity, and you will save a lot of time.
When you take it into PS, the spot healing brush, set on a medium size and medium softness can work wonders. Start in a fairly clean spot as it samples from the area surrounding and you don’t want to introduce more spots. As usual, before you start, use CTRL-J to duplicate the background layer so you are not impacting your original image. Keep sweeping until it looks clean. Out, out damned spots.