We all know what dust bunnies are, right? They’re those little balls of dust that gather on the floor after having not swept or dusted for a long time.

But do you know dust bunnies are in photography?

You have most likely seen them in your pictures before. They are those little round, dark spots that just seem to appear out of nowhere! Perhaps you call them something else, but I call them dust bunnies.

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Sometimes they are soft, sometimes they are very defined. Sometimes there is only one, and sometimes it seems like there are millions of them! They are usually most noticeable in areas where there is not a lot of texture, like in the sky.

Every time I see a dust bunny, I think of a family vacation we took down to the legendary Southwest soon after I had bought my first DSLR camera and was enjoying getting started with photography.

Not long into the trip, I began to notice all of these spots showing up in my pictures.

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At first, I thought it was dirt on the front of my lens so I made sure to clean it extremely well. Unfortunately, the dust bunnies did not go away.

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Ah, it must be dirt on the window! Let’s shoot with the window rolled down!

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Hmm.

I knew that there was a lot of dust in my viewfinder, so I tried cleaning that. This made the viewfinder crystal clear, but the dust bunnies still persisted.

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Oh, those miserable dust bunnies! The more I tried to get rid of them, the more frustrated I got. The dust bunnies were mysteriously absent from some pictures but would randomly appear in others. I was bewildered!

Finally, I resorted to the only way I knew I could get rid of them. Photoshop!

This certainly helped, and I got really good at just Photoshopping out these dust bunnies. But that really wasn’t helping me enjoy my photography any better. Photoshop was just a surface fix. It wasn’t solving the root problem. No matter what I did, I could get rid of them!

Have you ever felt this way about stuff in your life? Has there been ugly stuff in your life that you simply can’t get rid of? You just can’t get rid of it! You have tried everything! You’ve tried asking God to get rid of it for you; you’ve talked to your friends about it; you’ve tried cleaning it up as best you know how….you’ve gotten really good at “Photoshopping” things out in your life. Perhaps you are good at playing the hypocrite now, covering up the dirty, secret things you know are wrong but just can’t seem to beat, while everyone else on the outside thinks you are “a great kid.” Maybe you even hate your life because there is nothing you can do about the sin that keeps showing up and making your life so miserable.

Well, I’ve got good news for you!

You know what actually causes those dust bunnies? They are teeny, tiny specs of dust, deep in the heart of the camera. This dust enters the camera during times of transition and susceptibility, like when the photographer switches lenses or lingers to put the body cap back on after taking a lens off. The dust then goes straight to the sensor, the most sensitive (and expensive) part of the entire camera. And it sticks. And doesn’t come off.

Capteur extrait d’un ancien Nikon Coolpix S3000 (focus stacking).
Image composée de 10 photos assemblées avec CombineZP.

And every spec of dust hidden deep in the camera is embarrassingly magnified in every single photo the photographer takes. And there’s a reason why the dust shows up more prominently in some photos and not in others. The use of a very wide aperture renders the resulting spots as nearly invisible. The dust is still there, but the spots don’t show up because they are blurred out due to the shallow depth of field. When using a narrow aperture, on the other hand, the spots become more visible because the wider depth of field is now causing the dust to fall more into focus.

Shooting at a wide aperture all the time would hide the spots, yes, but again, it would only be a surface fix, and it would mean never being able to utilize the full range of apertures the lens offers. The camera would not be able to function at its full potential.

No, the dirt on the sensor has to go.

To do this, the photographer must reopen the camera, risk damaging its most delicate parts, and, in a highly specialized manner, tenderly remove that dust.

Is this not what God wants to do in our lives? He knows where the secret lusts are hiding in our hearts. He knows what areas are not completely surrendered to Him. He knows how painful it is to reopen old wounds. But He loves us too much to just let us exist in a miserable state of unresolved root issues.

Let me challenge you. Will you wholly trust Him? Will you fully surrender your desires to Him? Will you love Him more than anything else in the entire world? Will you move forward in His grace to make no provision for the flesh?….whatever it takes?

God has had to deal with many dust bunnies in my life. He still is. But only as I let Him.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. This I say then, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

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