Category Archives: Kit

The humble lens cloth

As photographers, it can be hard to know what bits of kit to take with us and which bits to leave at home, but if there’s one bit of kit that I already regret leaving at home, it is the humble lens cloth.

I never deliberately leave my lens cloth at home. No, what happens is that I’ll decide to go out with minimal gear – leaving the main pack either at home or in the car – and the lens cloth gets left behind with it. And then it’ll either start to rain, or I’ll be doing seascapes and get splashed, and then I have to resort to using an item of clothing to wipe the lens or filter.

While I don’t feel that using a t-shirt or sleeve will damage a lens or filter, the results are questionable at best.

I try to keep a cloth in my pocket or car glove box, but they seem to be one of those things that get lost. I don’t know how many lens cloths I’ve bought over the years, but I always only seem to have one that I can find.

I don’t believe in overspending on lens cloths because I seem to go through them. I just search for ‘lens cloths’ or ‘glasses cleaner’ on Amazon and buy a few microfiber cloths.

All hail the humble lens cloth.

TKActions Panel V3

While I’ve got a whole bunch of filters and actions installed into Photoshop, the one I use the most has to be the TKActions Panel by Tony Kuyper. And a good thing just got even better.

What is the TKActions Panel?

The TKActions Panel is so vast that there’s no way I can tell you everything that it does in a short blog post, but in a nutshell, the TKActions Panel is the control panel for a whole bunch of actions primarily related to luminosity masking.

Don’t know what luminosity masks are? Well, you’re really missing out, because they allow you to take control over the tonality of an image in a way that leaves other techniques in the dust.

Find out more!

If you want to know more, I suggest you grab a coffee and take a look at Tony Kuyper’s tutorial … but I warn you, you’ll never look at image processing in the same way again!

The actions start at $10 (what else can you buy for $10 that will improve your photography? A lens cloth?) but I recommend grabbing at minimum the “Complete Catalog” that costs $30 (again, peanuts for a photography tool), and if you’re new to luminosity masking I think the “Complete Package” for $70 which includes awesome tutorial videos by Sean Bagshaw is worth the money.

I will warn you in advance that the subject of luminosity masking is a huge one, and I remember feeling daunted at the start, but very quickly I got comfortable with the basics, and once I started using it on my photos, I realized the power, and this drove me on to learn more about the subject.

Sensor Gel: Moose Patterson says “service life too low for the price”

One of the things that every DSLR photographer will have to do eventually is clean their camera sensor (even if you don’t change lenses, eventually the sensor will get mucky).

Sensor Gel Stick

I use Visible Dust products to clean my gear – with great results – but I’m always on the lookout for something “convenient” and “time saving,” so I’ve been interested in a new product called Sensor Gel Stick. It seems handy to use, especially in the field (when away from the home/office) but the $50 price tag seemed a little steep to me so I’ve been keeping an eye out for reviews.

And today ace photographer Moose Patterson gave us his verdict on the product.

“I did use the hell out of the thing which is more than most would in a year, but I still find the service life too low for the price.”

Bottom line, he says he used “the hell out of the thing” since January but over the past few weeks it’s lost its stickiness.

Now, I’ve no doubt that Moose has used the hell out of this, and that a few months in his hands is more than a year of use for normal folks, but that still feels like a short lifespan to me.

The makers are reformulating the gel (partly so it doesn’t stick to and damage Sony sensors) so things might get better with the MkII version, but for now I’m giving this a miss.