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Tip of the Month
the second one!

November 2017

The Dust Patrol sensor cleaning kit

One of the great benefits of attending a NANPA summit is the trade show. In 2017, in Florida, NANPA had its most recent summit and several great vendors were there. One was a sensor-cleaning kit produced by an American company, called
The Dust Patrol.

The kit that was sold at NANPA had everything -- a Giottos Rocket air blower, a SensorKlear LensPen, a Micnova MQ-7X sensor inspection loupe, sensor swabs, cleaners, the works. My kit had a prominent red label that suggested visiting their website for the latest instructions, and I did just that.

The visit was worth it, as there was plenty of information and short videos that illustrated how to use their products. I had just started editing my shots from our recent trip to Yellowstone and I was shocked to see the dirt on images where a blank sky revealed all the crude. I was about to clean the sensor with my old cleaning gear when I decided to finally open up the Dust Patrol material. I'm glad I did!

The first thing the Dust Patrol suggested was to simply use the Giottos Rocket air blower and to see if that would do the job. I followed their instructions and ... guess what? Shooting a test shot afterwards the issue was resolved.

The Dust Patrol website instructions leads you through the steps involved in cleaning a sensor, using the philosophy that doing less is best, so each step progresses .. from the air blower to a static brush to a sensor pen to using swabs and liquids. It was a very comprehensive tutorial and one
I WOULD STRONGLY RECOMMEND READING BEFORE YOU
NEED TO CLEAN A SENSOR!
I say this because if you're like me you may be a bit impatient, and reading their wonderful tutorial takes a couple of minutes, and I want to get right to cleaning the sensor! If you read their material at your leisure, you'll be better off, and you'll learn a lot.

If you don't have a sensor cleaning kit, or if you want to upgrade with swabs, cleaning fluid, brushes, etc. etc., check out The Dust Patrol's website. The website lists US and world-wide dealers, many that take mailorders.

Great product ... I love it.

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Alan Murphy's Newest Video
PhotoShop Trickery for Bird Photographers

Well, Alan has done it again. Alan's latest video series is great. As I write this I haven't gone through all of the videos but I went through several that I felt I'd benefit most from, or where I could compare what Alan does compared to my own work-around for similar problems. In reviewing about half of the 16 part series I was impressed, and I learned a lot, too.

To briefly sum up --
The video lessons are short and to the point. You don't waste a lot of time on nonsense -- there is none.
The lessons were easy to follow and to the point.
The lessons were completely relevant to what you would want to do with your images.
I would highly and completely recommend everyone getting this video series!

I have to say this: Before I reviewed Alan's videos I was a bit afraid that his 'tricks' might degrade his photography or reputation as a great photographer. One tour leader expressed that thought, which got me to wondering about that myself. Seeing his videos, however, DISPELLED that worry completely. Alan isn't distorting reality or cheating, he is, instead, offering very easy to follow PS techniques that improve an image. The truth of the image is still there, the image isn't 'manipulated', and the result is a better image. Alan's bird shots are works of art, and he's generously showing people how he achieves those results. Well done!

Case in point. I rationalize removing trash in a picture, or a flash eyespot, or whatever by saying 'man put it in, man (via Photoshop) can take it out.' In watching Alan's lesson on removing red-eye he said something similar, which made me smile. We're on the same page.

Alan uses real-time video of what he's doing in Photoshop, and he moves his cursor slow enough that you're not lost. His steps are easy to follow, and even for someone who might miss something, you can always back up the video and repeat what you may have just missed. Alan doesn't assume anything and quickly whip through a step that could get you lost, but instead virtually every time he did a step -- even if he's done it a few times before -- he confirms that he's choosing the right tool or edit step, on screen. And again, if there are some steps that you're not familiar with, perhaps using the bracket [ and ] keys to change brush size, if you simply paused the video and replayed it, I think you'd quickly figure out the shortcut step.

Regarding that, in the videos I watched Alan didn't do shortcuts, which speed up workflow if you know what the shortcuts are, but if you don't can simply add to the confusion of using Photoshop. Instead, he shows the steps by using the tool bar and menu bars, so you can see where his cursor is going and what he is picking.

One of the things I loved about the videos is that, should I wish, I could easily follow along in Photoshop, running his video on one screen and using Photoshop on the other. I use two monitors, so that's easy for me, but if you only have one monitor but you have two computers -- a desktop and a laptop, you could do the same thing. It would make following along simple, but if you are at all familiar with Photoshop I'm certain you could just do the steps by pausing and tapping in to the PS screen.

The techniques could be applied for all aspects of wildlife photography, too, as I'm sure he'll get you thinking about using a couple of PS's tools more competently and, perhaps, in a new way.

I'm writing this report hours before I leave for Kenya for several weeks, and I just got the entire video series downloaded. Had I not have to pack for the trip I'd have reviewed all the videos, as I am anxious to do so -- they're worth watching!
Get it!

Check out our latest video:
Jaguars and the Wildlife of the Pantanal Photo Tour


New Question of the Month! Tamron 150-600
New Tips of the Month!
Video Simplified ebook
and WakaWaka Light Source


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Try Constant Contact FREE for 60 days!

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Office Phone: (717) 543-6423
Or FAX us at: (717) 543-5342

Mary and Joe are proud to endorse the Photo Retailer that has
done the absolute most in supporting nature photography in all
its facets --
-
Hunts Photo

Check out their Monthly Specials
and Alan Samiljan's Specials from Hunt's