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Through a Dirty Lens (Langus Riverfront Park – Pt 2)

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I was so excited to finally get my new 55-210 mm lens out in the open on a day when, as one of our local weather people would say, “the mountains were out. ” I found a few spots to zoom in on the mountains but quickly ran into several frustrations.

The first was being unable to see what I was taking a picture of. My camera doesn’t have a viewfinder so I have to rely on the screen, which is shiny and reflects light, making it nearly impossible to see on bright days. This makes me do dumb things like cut off the end of this dock:

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The other problem I noticed right away was that the foreground was really dark and the mountains were really bright, making it very difficult to find the right exposure. If I got the foreground light enough, the Cascades disappeared into the haze. I could have maybe solved this problem if I had thought to use the HDR setting, which takes three photos with different exposures and blends them into one.ย This didn’t even occur to me though,ย which is completely baffling because I took an HDR photo with my iPhone!

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I could chalk this stupidity up to having migraine brain, but, truthfully, I have this problem whenever I have my camera out in bright light. It’s like my brain get blinded by the light along with my eyes. I’m hoping a pair of prescription sunglasses and a big, dorky wide-brimmed hat will solve this problem.

Even if I hadn’t given the third problem away with the title, I’m sure you would have noticed it by now. I noticed it as soon as I opened my photos on my computer: my freakin’ lens was dirty! Those black dots hovering above the mountains are not UFOs. They are chunks of something stuck to my lens and they’re obvious in every photo that contains sky.

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None of the images turned out as sharp as I hoped they would be either. Maybe I should have used a smaller aperture and maybe a UV filter would have helped. And maybe I should just stick with my iPhone camera since I can’t remember how to use anything more complicated when I’m outside!

The only thing I’m sure of is that my next photography purchase will be a lens cleaning kit. ๐Ÿ™‚

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8 thoughts on “Through a Dirty Lens (Langus Riverfront Park – Pt 2)

  1. I just got a new camera a few months ago. The acquisition was to finally have a camera with a good zoom, which I’m loving. But it also has a very good electronic viewfinder, and I didn’t realize what a huge difference it would make. I can’t imagine going back to a camera without it now. My old compact point and shoot had an optical viewfinder, but it was worthless, so I only used the screen.

    You can get screen shields that should help you some. They are like a little awning that sticks out over the screen in back, giving it some shade.

    Except for the sky blotch, I love your final pic of the mountain. It’s pretty crisp. I have a hard time getting mountains to be sharp.

    1. Thank you for telling me about the screen shields! I had never heard of them. Maybe getting one will save my family the embarrassment of me walking around in a big, dorky hat. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The mountains are hard to get sharp. I’m guessing it’s the moisture in the air. Do you have a UV filter? I don’t have one for my zoom lens yet. There are several filters I want. Photography can turn into quite an expensive hobby once you move past the point and shoot!

  2. Funny how you mentioned your camera didn’t have a viewfinder… and I immediately looked at both of my cameras. I guess I’m so used to taking pictures now by looking at a screen, that I didn’t realize neither had an actual viewfinder. Boy have times changed…

    As to your UFO’s…. my computer screen has plenty of UFO’s already on it from years of never bothering to clean it. Rest assured I never noticed them…

    1. I have to admit that I thought the UFOs were on my computer screen at first too. Eating and computing – not a good combo for a clean screen! ๐Ÿ™‚ I never used the view finder on either of my old cameras so I didn’t think I would ever wish I had one. Hey, these two topics just gave me an idea – maybe the screen on my new camera just needs to be dirtier so it won’t reflect so much light!

  3. I can’t see in an LCD screen most of the time, so fortunately have a good viewfinder. I had the same problem with a spot on all my photos (which I kept erasing in post processing before my brain finally ‘clicked’ and I realised it was dust on the mirror). I actually took it in to my camera shop (as I was passing it anyway) and asked one of the professionals to take the lens off and remove the spot of dust.

    I clean my computer screen (and keyboard) regularly so the spots on my images are never affected by dirty computer screens, only the lens or mirror.

    1. After I read your comment I got to thinking that I should check to see if the spots were really on my lens like I thought. I didn’t see anything so I put the kit lens on my camera and took a picture of the sky. Sure enough, the same spots showed up. So the dirt is in my camera but I don’t see anything in there. I guess I’ll just leave it until the cleaning kit comes next week. I’m glad you mentioned the dust you had on the mirror so I thought to look. I would have been so mad if I’d just wiped off the lens and taken another batch of photos with spots.

  4. These are still lovely despite the dirty lens and/or whatever else was going on with your camera (or your brain ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I like the first one and last ones especially. Live and learn and keep on snapping, you have a great eye, Trisha! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Aw, thank you. It’s fun to learn. The mistakes and screw-ups will make it all the more satisfying when I finally get it right. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

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