One thing I find myself doing a lot more of lately is cleaning my camera gear. Ever since I started in Aviation photography the gear just takes a bit more of a pounding. When you’re working around oily, greasy, dusty machines it tends to happen. But it’s really important to get all of that off before it gets stuck on and causes problems. A good example is a couple weeks ago I went flying in a B-25. The area we were shooting out of was right next to where they keep the tow bar, which isn’t always clean. Well when you’re trying to shoot in a crouched position in a moving plane your hands tend to brace themselves against anything. Needless to say some, the gear wasn’t clean after the flight. Another biggy which might go unnoticed is the use of sunblock. Sunblock can do a number things to the camera besides just making it greasy. That’s why using the back of your hand is great for keeping it off your finger tips. There are a couple things to remember when really cleaning.
Photo courtesy of Nikon
For starters make sure you use a clean, microfiber cloth. The kind that doesn’t build up static electricity or leave behind little fibers. For general wipe down and front elements I use Lens Clens for coated surfaces, it does a great job all over. For front elements, LCD monitors, contacts, and especially grips where your hands go it works great. Make sure you get the buttons, a lot of dust and gunk gets into those crevices and can work their way in. For inside I go with the sensor cleaning products of Copper Hill Images. Having dealt with some truly nasty dust filled sensors, I’m talking a couple hundred little spots, these guys work great with getting rid of anything on that sensor. I know sensor cleaning is a pain in the butt, I never like doing it in the field but with their swab system it’s pretty darn easy. It’s one handle a bunch of small heads. When one is used up, pop off the head put on another one. That simple! One thing that I found out long after I started using this system that’s rather helpful, if you are getting a lot wet spots on the sensor from too much on the swab, simply coat one side and hold it at a 30 degree angle so the drops roll down the one side while keeping the other side dry. This way you have a cleaner and a dryer in one swab. It’s actually how they recommend using it. Just a tip