August 10, 2006

Rising Electric Bills Are Shocking Memphis Residents

Why are our rates so much higher than everyone else around us? That was the question restaurant owner Kelly Nelson poised to the Memphis City Council on August 3rd regarding growing electric bills. And she wasnt the only one asking the question. Nelson presented a petition, demanding the city address the high rates, complete with 267 signatures.

And we just started the night before last, Nelson said regarding the popularity of the cause. So you know there are plenty more people interested in this issue.

Customers in the City of Memphis have witnessed electric rates increase from the base rate of $0.0877 per kilowatt hour (kWh) established back in 2001 to the most recent adjusted cost of $.1321 per kWh in June 2006. That represents an increase of roughly 33 percent.

The City Council attempted to explain to the public at the meeting, that this increase is 100-percent related to the cost of energy.

The increase you have seen in your bill is caused by a surcharge that the city is collecting so it can meet its expense to buy the electricity, stated Alderman Chris Feeney. The surcharge simply allows the city to collect nearly as much as what it is turning around and paying to the electricity provider. We cannot sell the electricity to the customer for less than it costs the city.

Therein lies the problem. Since 2001 when the current rate level was established, the price of electricity for the City was $0.0482 per kWh in October. In November and December that rate fell below the established base rate, meaning citizens saw a negative surcharge, or in essence, received a rebate because of the low rates.

Since then the rates have been on the rise. By July of 2004, citizens were paying a $0.0097 per kWh surcharge as the cost of buying power had risen by nearly a penny per unit. Recently the cost crunch has become extreme, creating the latest surcharge of more than four cents per kWh.

Local customers are not alone in the dilemma. Fellow MoPEP member, Palmyra has implemented two price increases, totaling more than 33-percent in the past 12 months, including a 25-percent price hike approved in May.

In June 2001, the last time power rates were adjusted in Memphis, the city set the rate at $0.0877 per kWh after the minimum charge of $7.71 for the first 50 kWh. Of that base rate, $0.0437 was established as base power cost factor, meaning roughly half the customers electric bill would pay for the actual electricity. The other half of the revenue was earmarked for overhead, including salaries and equipment for the light plant and line crew. This is a basic industry standard, with most power providers maintaining a 50/50 split between their cost of electricity and overhead to provide the necessary services.

The rate also established a surcharge to be added to a customers bill monthly. That surcharge is the difference between the base rate established for the cost of electricity back in 2001 ($0.0437) and the average of the previous three months actual energy cost.

In April 2006, the City of Memphis paid an average of $0.0823 per kWh for its wholesale power. In May that rate was $0.0909 and in June it dropped back to $0.0817 per kWh.

The costs from the three months are averaged, dividing the total price paid for the power by the total number of kWh used in the city (minus the electricity consumed by the city itself to power the light and water plants, the cemetery, the swimming pool, city hall, the police department and fire station, street lights and various other public holdings). That produces the base energy cost, which in June was $0.0881.

So in July 2006 customers not only were paying the normal $0.0877 per kWh, they had the added surcharge of $0.0444 per kWh. The city paid an average of $0.0881 per kWh for power sold to customers, creating the surcharge ($0.0881 base rate $0.0437 = $0.0444 per kWh surcharge).

It is a confusing process that prompted one citizen in attendance at the meeting to tell the council it has done a very poor job of communicating the problem with its customers.

Discussion on the bill increases stalled when prospective solutions were discussed, as most were in agreement there is no quick fix to the issue.

One resident questioned why the city does not generate its own power.

Light Plant Superintendent Mike Ahland explained that the plants generators are not nearly as efficient as those more modern facilities at larger plants. He said, while the city has the capacity to produce electricity in emergency situations or during high peak demands, it is not cost efficient to generate on a regular basis. He estimated it would double the current cost of electricity if the city used its diesel-fueled generators to meet the entire demand.

However Ahland noted that by simply maintaining the capacity to generate, the city receives a demand credit of more than $10,000 a month from the electricity provider.

Since 1996 that provider has been the Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP), a cooperative consisting of 26 Missouri cities joined together under the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC), a state-wide Joint Action Agency specifically authorized by state law to operate as an electric utility for the benefit of the combined requirements of the members.

Established by six charter members, the MJMEUC has grown to a membership of 56 consumer-owned systems ranging in size from 700 to 87,000 meters. These municipal and cooperative electric systems serve 347,000 retail customers, and have a combined peak load of over 2100 MW.

MJMEUC may construct, operate and maintain jointly owned generation and transmission facilities for the benefit of members. The Commission has the authority to enter into contracts for power supply, transmission service, and other services necessary for the operation of an electric utility.

MoPEP, which is run by the MJMEUC, consists of the cities of Albany, Bethany, Butler, Chillicothe, El Dorado Springs, Farmington, Fayette, Fredericktown, Gallatin, Harrisonville, Hermann, Lamar, LaPlata, Macon, Monroe City, Odessa, Owensville, Palmyra, Rock Port, Rolla, Shelbina, Stanberry, Trenton, Unionville and Vandalia.

In 1991, when Memphis joined MoPEP, the city council authorized the contract with the new entity based on electric rates well below the wholesale power contracts being offered by area electric cooperatives.

One director of an area cooperative indicated that the city took what was an excellent deal at that time, saving customers on their electric rates.

Now, since rates through MoPEP have risen, the city is faced with some difficult obstacles in finding a solution. The most difficult mountain to climb is the MoPEP contract itself, which requires a member to give five years notice before leaving the power-buying group.

Even if the city did escape its MoPEP contract, there are fewer options available than back in 1996. Most of the electric cooperatives no longer offer wholesale power contracts, meaning the city has limited options to replace MoPEP, even if it legally could.

Based on the current situation, the city has some limited options to offer relief to our electric customers, stated Alderman Feeney. We can cut our costs, which means likely cutting some services or other expenses. We could also possibly lower rates by using the citys reserve funds earmarked for system improvements and repairs. Or, we can attempt to change suppliers, but our contract and the existing options will make that extremely difficult. None of these are perfect solutions.

Mayor Roger Gosney asked the citizens to consider making efforts to conserve electricity to help lower their expenses while the city strives to resolve the problem.

Trust me, we are working on this issue, but it doesnt appear as there is a quick fix, he stated. We cannot promise you anything, except that we are going to try to help. Remember we are all customers too.

Bible Grove Bar B Saddle Club Meets

The Bar B Saddle Club had their monthly meeting on April 27 at the club building. They will be holding a poker ride for horses and ATV’s this Saturday, May 7th starting at the club house with sign up starting at noon and the ride starting at 1:00 p.m. Entry fee is $5.00 per hand with a carry-in wiener roast following. All are welcome to attend!

Final preparations were made for the poker ride and wiener roast at the meeting. The next meeting will be Thursday, May 19th at 6:00 p.m. at the club house. Come on out to their event and support the newly formed saddle club.

Music Department Hosting Used Instrument Drive

sax web

That trumpet in the attic was made to make music. The guitar case in the garage is collecting dust instead of being played by the next great musician.

If you have any good used, or easily repairable musical instruments would you consider putting them back to work? The Scotland County R-I Band is hosting a used instrument drive to find more pieces to put in the hands of youth wanting to learn how to make music.

“This is an excellent way for donors to ensure that their unused instruments find a new home in the hands of promising young students who are unable to afford or obtain a suitable instrument of their own,” said SCR-I band booster Ellen Aylward. Of course, cash donations will also be accepted to help offset the costs of repairs and refitting these instruments for future use.”

A starter trumpet can cost several hundred dollars, with violins, guitars and drum sets being even more expensive.

Donors to the SCR-I instrument drive will receive a receipt for fair market value for the music item, making the donation tax deductible.

For more information contact SCR-I music director Nathaniel Orr at 660-216-5426 or the SCR-I High School at 465-8907.

Sheriff’s Office to Join Youth Alcohol Enforcement Crackdown

sober WEB

The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office Youth Alcohol Enforcement Campaign is joining the National Crackdown in an effort to reduce drunk driving fatalities.  The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign will target substance-impaired drivers.

Local and state law enforcement will be out in full force as part of the annual nationwide May/Youth Alcohol Enforcement Crackdown ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ substance-impaired driving crackdown.  The crackdown, which will include high-visibility enforcement throughout Scotland County, will run from May 5-16, 2016.

The effective nationwide substance-impaired driving crackdown will also include high-visibility enforcement, high-profile events, and will be supported by national paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb substance-impaired driving during the enforcement period.

The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office said its deputies will be aggressively looking for substance-impaired drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving impaired.

Although it is illegal in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive impaired (having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher), far too many people across the nation get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or other illegal drugs. The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration underscore the serious nature of the nation’s continuing drunk driving epidemic.

“Every year, about one-third of all motor vehicle traffic deaths involve one or more substance-impaired drivers or motorcycle operators,” said Chief Deputy Bryan Whitney. “In 2015, 178 people were killed and 605 seriously injured on Missouri’s roadways in crashes that involved at least one substance-impaired driver.” That works out to approximately one substance-impaired driver involved fatality every two days.

Whitney added the St. Patrick’s Day holiday is particularly dangerous. During the Youth Alcohol Enforcement Campaign May 1-12, 2015, four people were killed and eighteen seriously injured involving at least one substance-impaired driver that was under 21 years of age.

Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign reduces substance-impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this nationwide effort, we will make Scotland County’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the holiday,” said Whitney.

“We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel impaired is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, not only does being under the influence impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you do chose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses,” Whitney said.

He also noted that being arrested for driving under the influence of any substance brings a wide range of negative consequences into one’s life. Substance—impaired drivers face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of their job. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators also often face tremendous personal embarrassment.

“Driving while impaired is simply not worth the risk. So don’t take the chance. Remember, we will be out in force and we will be watching, so ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” said Whitney.

For more information, visit the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign Headquarters at www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov, or www.saveMOlives.com.

SCR-I School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, May 5 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, May 6 – Muffin for Mom, Muffins, Choice of Cereal, Orange Rings, Juice/Milk

Monday, May 9 – Donuts, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Fruit Medley, Juice/Milk

Tuesday, May 10 – Cinnamon Rolls, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Rings, Juice/Milk

Wednesday, May 11 – Breakfast Pizza, Choice of Cereal, Cinnamon Toast, Orange Rings, Juice/Milk.

Thursday, May 12 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Lunch

Thursday, May 5 – Spaghetti/Meat Sauce, Chicken Quesadillas, Hamburger Bar, Buttered Corn, Garlic Bread, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Friday, May 6 – Sack Lunch

Monday, May 9 – Hot Dog/Bun, Bar BQ Ribb/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Chef Salad, Scalloped Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables, Mandarin Orange Slices, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, May 10 – Cheeseburger/Bun, Tenderloin/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Oven Ready Fries, Tomato Slices and Pickles, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday, May 11 – Chicken and Noodles, Sliced Ham, 5th/6th Grade Potato Bar, Whipped Potatoes/Gravy, Broccoli/Cheese Sauce, Dinner Roll, Sliced Pears, Fresh Fruit

Thursday, May 12 – Corn Dog, Chicken Fajitas, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Help Us Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

Superintendent’s Corner

by SCR-I Superintendent Ryan Bergeson

On teacher appreciation week, we would like to take time to thank the teachers and faculty members at the Scotland County R-1 School District for their dedication and commitment to our students.  To quote the great Todd Whitaker “it is people and not programs that make the biggest difference.”  Great teachers make great public schools and the Scotland County R-1 School District is fortunate to have so many great teachers. faculty and coaches leading our youth.   Teacher Appreciation Week is recognized Monday, May 2 through Friday, May 6 this week at the Scotland County R-1 School District and we encourage you to thank a teacher this week that has made a positive impact on your life.

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”
John F. Kennedy

ANNA GENEVA PARRISH (10/5/1928 – 5/1/2016)

Anna Geneva Parrish, age 87, of Montevallo, MO, passed away May 1, 2016 at Cedar County Memorial Hospital after a short illness.

She was born October 5, 1928, to Arthur and Eunice Egbert in Gorin, MO. She attended and graduated from Gorin School in 1947. Anna was a member of Gorin Methodist Church since her childhood.

After graduation she worked at National Fidelity Life Insurance in Kansas City, MO where she met many life-long friends, including her future sister-in-law, Madelene Parrish, who introduced her to her husband, Cap.

They married November 18, 1961 in Kansas City, MO. At that time Anna began her life-long career of being a homemaker and farm wife. She enjoyed raising chickens, working in the garden and attending to her flowers. After the tornado in 2006, Anna and Cap still remained on the farm in their new home.

On July 10, 1963, her son, Jeff, was born. The biggest joy of her life came in September 9, 2002 when her grandson Cameron Albert Parrish (Little Cap) was born. She enjoyed helping Cameron with all of his activities and getting his chickens ready for the fair. Even after Cap’s death, she enjoyed going with her son Jeff and grandson, Cameron to toy tractor shows.

Anna was a very loving and caring person. She enjoyed special occasions at Chicken Annies which was her favorite place to eat. She was looking forward to going there on Mother’s Day.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Cap Parrish; her parents, Arthur and Eunice Egbert; one son, Larry; one brother, Arthur Parrish; nephews, Kevin Parrish and Gray Calvin, her in-laws, Grace and Albert Parrish.

Anna is survived by one son, Jeff Parrish of Montevallo, MO; grandchildren, Cameron and Kelsey; two sisters-in-law, Madelene Parrish and Virginia Egbert; and a niece, Kim Calvin.

Funeral services are being held Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. at Sheldon Funeral Home in El Dorado Springs, MO.  Interment will be in the Virgil City Cemetery, Virgil City, MO.

National Nursing Home Week is May 8 – May 14, 2016

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Every skilled nursing care center is a small, vibrant world.  Care centers are sharing, welcoming communities that encourage everyone to interact with the wonderful folks who populate them.  Once a year, always beginning on Mother’s Day, care centers nationwide take pride in publicly honoring the indomitable spirit of residents and recognizing staff who face each day with a sense of purpose and compassion.

During National Nursing Home Week, May 8 to 14, 2016, skilled nursing care centers will coalesce under the theme, “It’s a Small World, with a Big Heart”.  This theme underscores the bond between staff, older adults, and individuals receiving therapies or with developmental disabilities.  Staff and residents view each other in the spirit of family.  For staff, this reality is often a calling to a special mission and life’s work.

In observance of Nursing Home Week, the Scotland County Care Center will be hosting several events meant to encourage residents, families and other relatives to reach out to and visit with their loved ones and caregivers.  SCCC’s theme is Carnival/Fair Craze Days.

The week will begin on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9th with a Cheesecake Social at 2:00 p.m.  Amazing Grace will be entertaining that afternoon.

On Monday, May 9th, the theme for the day is Messed Up Monday and the dress style is mismatch.  Terri and Tammy, the activity girls, will lead devotions at 10:00 a.m. followed by Carnival Fun Facts/1904 St. Louis World Fair at 10:30 and a photo booth with deep fried ice cream Twinkies at 2:00 p.m.

On Tuesday, May 10th the theme is Topsy Turvy Tuesday with the dress style being Red and White.  Devotions will be lead by Robert and Sheila Moseley at 10:00 followed by exercise at 10:30 a.m. Corn Scramble Bingo will start at 2:00 p.m. followed with Cotton Candy Ice Cream.

The theme for Wednesday, May 11th will be Wacky Tacky Wednesday and the dress theme is wacky and colorful.  Dr. Harlo Donelson will lead devotions at 10:00 followed by a Muffin Walk at 10:30. At 2:00 will be Carnival Games/Teamwork followed with funnel cakes.

On Thursday, May 12th the theme is Throwback Thursday with a 50-60 style dress theme.  Sue Kirchner will lead devotions at 10:00 and the 10:30 activity will be Big Top Trivia.  The SCCC Queen Pageant will be held at 2:00 followed with root beer floats. A hymn sing will take place at 7:00 p.m.

The theme for Friday, May 13th is Finally Friday with a jeans and care center shirt dress theme. Departure for the Golden Age Games in Hannibal is at 7:00 a.m.  Dan Hite will lead devotions at 10:00 followed by Carnival Food Information at 10:30.  At 2:00 p.m. Nancy Tague Platz will present a program and refreshments will be served.

The week’s activities will conclude on Saturday, May 14th with the 19th Annual Car Show.  Registration will start at 9:00 a.m. with judging at 1:00 p.m.

Scotland County Health Department Schedule

Thursday, May 5 – Clinic hours from 8-10:00 a.m. for immunizations.

Friday, May 6 – Clinic hours from 8:00-3:30 for fasting blood sugars, cholesterols and blood draws, blood pressure checks, immunizations, nail care, etc.

Monday, May 9 – Office closed for Truman Day.

Tuesday, May 10 – Skin screening clinic from 9:30-3:30.  Please call 465-7275 to schedule an appointment. Clinic hours from 8-9:00 a.m. for fasting blood sugars and cholesterols and blood draws and from 12-2:30 p.m. for immunizations, blood pressure checks, nail care, etc.  Board of Trustees meeting at the Health Department at 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 12 – Clinic hours from 8-10:00 a.m. for immunizations.

Jeffrey Davis, DO, Installed as President of MAOPS

Dr. Jeffrey Davis was installed as the President of the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (MAOPS) at the MAOPS Convention. He is pictured with past president Dr. Mark Pelikan, a family physician from St. Louis.

Dr. Jeffrey Davis was installed as the President of the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (MAOPS) at the MAOPS Convention. He is pictured with past president Dr. Mark Pelikan, a family physician from St. Louis.

Jeffrey Davis, DO, of Memphis, Missouri was recently installed as the President of the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (MAOPS). Dr. Davis has been a member of MAOPS since 2000 and is a prestigious Wetzel Scholar. During his membership, he has held the leadership positions of Education and Convention Committee Chair, Convention Program Chair and Young Physicians Committee Chair.

As President, he will ensure the association adheres to its mission and vision through its strategies.  He will also lead the Missouri Delegates to the American Osteopathic Association’s House of Delegates, the AOA’s policy making body for the national association, and will be responsible for ensuring that the voice of Missouri’s almost 3,000 osteopathic physicians is heard.

Dr. Davis is a graduate of A. T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri and is currently Chief Medical Officer at Scotland County Hospital and the Medical Director of Memphis Medical Services, Wyaconda Medical Services & Scotland County Care Center in Memphis, Missouri.  Additionally, he is the Coroner of Scotland County, the Physician for Scotland County R-1 Schools and the Medical Director of Clark County Ambulance District in Kahoka, MO.

The Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, is a not-for-profit professional membership association dedicated to osteopathic physicians and their patients in the state of Missouri.  Its mission is to preserve and protect the distinct philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine in the state of Missouri and to serve and advocate for its members in their quest to provide the highest quality of medical care.  For more information about MAOPS, visit www.maops.org or call Executive Director Brian Bowles at (573) 634-3415.

Behind The Lens: Spring Cleaning Your Camera

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By Taylor Lloyd

April showers might bring May flowers but to a photographer, this equates to mud and pollen producing flowers. With these conditions in mind, it is important to once in a while deep clean your camera.

While it is important to clean your gear, you certainly don’t want to overdo it. A good rule of thumb is, if it’s not dirty, don’t clean it. But when it does get dirty, the first thing you’ll want to do is start with the exterior of the camera. Start by taking a soft bristle brush, like a toothbrush, and gently remove any large particles of dust or grit in the harder to reach crevices. Obviously, if your camera is muddy, now is a good time to use a slightly damp cloth to wipe it down.

Once your camera body is clean, move onto your lens by cleaning the lens barrel with a softer bristle brush, like a makeup brush. Be sure to extend the barrel all the way to get all the grit off in those close knit places. Next, remove the lens cap, lens hood, and any filters that may be on your lens. Use a hand blower or a condensed air canister to first blow off the big particles of dirt and dust and then move the soft bristle brush over the glass. Then take a soft cloth, like a microfiber or disposable lens tissue, and put just a drop or two of lens cleaning solution (some people recommend using a highly concentrated isopropyl alcohol) onto the cloth to remove any stubborn smudges. Clean the glass in a circular motion starting from the middle and working your way outward. My recommended cleaning regimen is to breathe upon the lens in most situations and to only use the cleaning solution when tough smudges are present. A few things to keep in mind is to use only lens cleaning solution or alcohol. Household cleaners contain harsh chemicals which could damage your glass. You also want to apply the solution to your cloth first, not your lens. Paper towels are too abrasive and regular tissues are too linty so it is often best to use microfiber cloths or lens cloths specifically made for cleaning lenses.

If your camera has a detachable lens, check and make sure all the contacts and lens mounts are clean and shiny. If they are not, your auto focus may have trouble focusing. Your contacts shouldn’t ever get too dirty, but if they ever do, clean them by applying a drop of lens cleaning solution onto a Q-Tip and place a microfiber cloth or disposable lens cleaning wipe over the Q-Tip. Very carefully swab the contacts on your lens and allow it to dry for a few minutes before replacing it on your camera body. Most photographers recommend never using erasers to clean your electrical contacts because they can scratch or wear off the protective coatings.

Now comes the scariest part, cleaning the inside of your camera. The biggest components inside most DSLRs are the mirror and the image sensor. The mirror is often the first thing you will see when you remove the lens, if it isn’t a mirrorless camera of course. It sits at a slight angle in front of the image sensor and its purpose is to reflect light from the lens into the viewfinder pentaprism, allowing you to capture exactly what the camera “sees”. When you push down the shutter button to take a picture, this mirror folds up briefly (which is why your viewfinder goes dark) to expose the image sensor to light. If the mirror looks clean, don’t clean it and never touch anything inside the camera with your bare hands since small traces of oil can remain on your hands even when washed thoroughly.

Ok so you notice some lint and dust on your mirror, now what? Your first go-to should be to face the camera downward to allow gravity to do its thing, then grab a hand held blower and proceed to blow air onto the mirror. Never use compressed air inside your camera. Compressed air, like the kind you buy in a can, is too forceful and can either cause dirt and dust particles to lodge deeper into your camera or damage fragile components. Also avoid using your breath to clean the inside mechanisms because small moisture particles can get onto delicate electronic parts and cause them to malfunction. After you use the hand blower, if dust still remains on the mirror, you can use the Q-Tip and cloth method like as you would when cleaning your electrical contacts.

Once finished with your mirror, you should proceed onto the sensor. If you notice spots on your images, often resembling small dark specks, this might be from a dirty sensor. If you are unsure if your sensor needs cleaning, a good way to check is by taking a plain, white piece of paper (I usually use cardstock since the underside won’t show through) and placing it on a well lit, flat surface. Turn your camera to manual mode and turn your ISO as low as it will go and set your aperture to the smallest possible aperture (large F number). Pre focus on something the same distance from you as the paper, like the wood grain on a table so that any noticeable grit will be visible on your image. Take a few test pictures and review them at 100% on your LCD screen. Any dark spots you see are either dirt or dust.

Since the mirror covers up the sensor, refer to your camera manual on how to raise or “lock” your mirror up. On my Canon, I raise the mirror up by going to my camera’s menu and finding the Sensor Cleaning option. Once there, I then choose the Clean Manually mode, which folds up my mirror, allowing clear access to the sensor. When you choose to clean your sensor manually, it is important that your battery is charged up since many cameras have to stay on in order for the mirror to stayed folded up.

Once the mirror is up, tilt your camera upside down again and gently use the hand blower a few times. These blowers, usually called rocket blowers, sell on Amazon for $10 but in a pinch, I’ve used a clean turkey baster from my kitchen or even a sterile, disposable syringe like what you’d get at an animal health store. If the dust isn’t coming off, you may have to avert to a sensor brush. Since most sensor dust is caused by static from changing your lens while your camera is on, this brush works by using your blower to statically charge the bristles, and allows dust to cling to the brush.

Cleaning your gear can be tedious but it is a satisfying feeling when your gear is all spick and span and functions better. Until next time, happy cleaning, I mean shooting!

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