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Dirty image sensor Tue, Dec 01, 2009
If you're a camera nerd, or somehow otherwise obsessive and weird, you might have noticed from the Caribbean pictures that as soon as we reached the island of Curacao, there was a spot in the upper left corner of every picture (here, here, and here for example).  You see, as soon as we stepped foot off the boat that day, my camera lens fogged up.  That wasn't entirely unusual because it's a hot, tropical island with 10,000% humidity.  But the weird thing was that it managed to fog up the inside of the camera as well, which I suppose shouldn't be all that surprising, but it is.  So the first 15 minutes of that morning consisted of me sitting on a bench amongst the throng of tourists, feverishly wiping the condensation from the front and back optical elements of my camera lens.  Then things were well and good.  Except for that spot, which I saw, but for which I had no remedy.  I assumed it was something on the inside of the lens, and decided to just go about my day in the perfect island paradise that is Curacao.  I don't regret that. 

However, when I got back home, the spot still hadn't gone away, so I decided to fix it.  The first thing I did was use a lens-cleaning brush on the various mirrors and other things inside the camera body.  This very quickly proved to be the wrong idea.  Not only did it not solve the problem, it spread dust and debris all over the inside of the camera, which as luck would have it, doesn't aid in the production of nice photographs.  I frantically searched online and was pointed to the Giottos Rocket Blaster, which is essentially a fancy turkey baster or snot sucker (I like using that term), but with separate air intake and outflow, which makes it so that you're not simply sucking up dust and then blowing it around.  So I fumbled around with this thing for a little while, taking pictures in between each attempt to check to see if the spot had disappeared.  Nothing seemed to work, so I decided to dip deeper.  From what I could tell, after I take the lens off my camera, there's a mirror and a prism that simply direct the image to the eyepiece.  This is what I had been trying to clean up to this point, which is why it wasn't working.  It wasn't until I continuously depressed the shutter that I actually saw the underlying image sensor.  This blue-green piece of magic is essentially what makes a digital camera.  It's like a heart.  So I pressed the shutter and simultaneously used the snot sucker to blow any dust particles off.  I took a few pictures and was easily able to tell that this was the proper solution.  Snot sucker to the rescue! #entertainment

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