In the world of photography, there are a few things that can give us a decent setback or cause issues with our gear. Dust, is one such evil. We've all seen dust in lenses, and dust on sensors. Heck, I had a Sony A7R III a while ago, and took a massive panoramic image from the Wongan Hills lookout. There were about 30 images that I needed to stitch together, and unbeknownst to me at the time, there was dust on my sensor. Cue many, many hours of using the heal tool in Photoshop to fix it.

Lake Ninan, from Wongan Hills lookout, Western Australia. Lots of dust removal on this image!

I like to print my images. I'm a very process driven photographer, so I tend to shoot a lot of film, and I enjoy printing my work on my Epson P906 17 inch roll printer. I can print quite large images, and have a growing collection that I really must get around to getting framed.

This week, I was camping on my own for a few days in Yallingup, Western Australia and noticed on the app Alpen Glow that sunrise had been forecast to be quite good for the following day. I spent the day trying to find suitable locations with a nice foreground and location to capture the sunrise over the water (a rarity here in Western Australia, we're known for our sunsets over the water).

After leaving camp at 4:45am, I drove to Shelley Cove in Dunsborough. When I arrived, there was already a red glow on the clouds in the sky. I gathered my gear, descended some rather unwieldily steps and setup my Fujifilm GFX 50r, and sorted out my composition.

Well, the sunrise did not disappoint! I shot primarily in 65:24 aspect ratio, and one shot stood out for me above all others.

Sunrise at Shelley Beach, Dunsborough, Western Australia. Fujifilm GFX 50r, 32-64mm lens @ 34.4mm / f20 / iso 160 / 10 seconds

Fast forward a few days, and I'm back at home, eager to get this image printed. A couple of quick edits in Lightroom, and I print out a test shot from a sealed packet of paper. Looked awesome! I adjusted the print settings, loaded in my 17 inch wide roll of Ilford Pearl paper and clicked print. My printer informed me I needed to change my grey cartridge, then proceeded to take about 10 minutes to prepare. Once printing was underway, the LCD screen on the printer informed me it would be about 15 minutes to print the image. I wandered off, made a coffee, and came back to the perfect print.

Or so I thought.

So, here's the thing. My office space at home is quite small. It's the 4th bedroom in our 4 bedroom house, and between having my desk, a network rack, an Ikea cube unit and a large printer in the room, there isn't a lot of room left. So, I tend to leave my printer setup, but will all the access doors closed until I need to print. What I didn't think about, in my haste to print, was that my roll of paper had been sitting in the holder (again, with the door closed) for over a month.

When the print came out, I noticed something. There are a few white spots where there had been dust / dirt particles which caused the ink not to bond to a couple of small spots on the paper. After a few face palms and choice, non child friendly words, I reprinted the image. Second time around, it came out great!

Take it from me, a printer cover seems like a wise investment. Now. At the very least, bag your paper or wipe it down with a cloth before printing! It's not worth losing the paper and the ink.

The final print came out great, and I have a home for the imperfect print so it's not going to waste. I'll be getting the good print framed in the next few months, and have another image to pickup. I'll do an article about the framers I am currently using soon.

For now, keep it as dust free as you can!