It seems almost everywhere I photograph it’s dusty. I mean really dusty; dry gritty deserts in New Mexico, salt ponds in Peru, windswept plains in Patagonia. I’m not one of those photographers who worries about dust getting in my camera when I change lenses. If I need to switch lenses, then I am going to switch lenses. Yes, I get dust on my sensor, sometimes a fair amount during a day of shooting. At night I will clean my sensor using my arctic butterfly from VisibleDust.
But how can I minimize the dust in my shot during the day without cleaning the sensor? Use wide open apertures when you can. If I have a set amount of dust on my sensor, and shoot one image at f16 and the next at f5.6, the 5.6 shot will have a lot less visible dust showing. The shallow depth of field reduces the amount of dust that shows up in the image. Sometimes you need f16 for a lot of depth of field, so you are stuck eliminating dust in post processing. But if you don’t need all that depth of field, try a wider aperture. It the image above I was shooting an assignment for Nikon on Route 66, a very dusty place. But shooting at 5.6 for this portrait helped eliminate a lot of dust I would have to take out later.