Opportunities and Gear
Lately I have been reviewing my older images to see what I liked best and thinking about how to increase my opportunities for making more such images. The above is one of my favorite images. I made it back in 2001 using an inexpensive small pocket Olympus film camera in Peru. I lost the negatives a long time ago and all I have left are small scans of the 4×6 drug store prints that I had printed after the trip. What makes the picture so great isn’t the camera or processing. It was my being able to grab a quick shot of an unstaged composition in which everything came together perfectly to make an excellent establishing shot. The row of buildings you see in the distance is the entrance to Machu Picchu in Peru and then the walk across the terrace to arrive at the ruins.
As the years have gone by I have switched to better and better cameras (lots of them) with increasing complexity, size, and cost without really increasing the number of pictures that I am most proud of. No doubt, my later images have been more technically perfect, but what good is that if I don’t make images that I prefer and have fun making.
In the last many months I have been working on returning to the use of smaller cameras and lenses in order to lighten the load. That has meant dropping from Fujifilm gear back down to Olympus micro 4/3 cameras for my Homewood images. I am also using my reduced, in number, set of micro 4/3 cameras and lenses for my personal imagery, but I wanted to go even smaller, lighter, and simpler with my walkabout gear. To accomplish that downsizing I have gone back to a small rugged waterproof pocket camera. I purchased an Olympus TG-6 camera to replace the Ricoh WG-60 and the Canon G5X Mark II cameras. I hope to move out more often and further with the TG-6 even though I won’t be traveling internationally; i.e., I have traded gear for mobility and hopefully more opportunities.
Some will interpret my changes in gear as sacrificing gear for opportunities, but I’m not so sure about the sacrificing bit. In my opinion I have found that the Olympus TG series of cameras are quite flexible and capable so I see this as just another challenge to see what I can make with the TG-6 in the future.
My next step is to wait on warmer weather and then go back out walking around home and see what I can find to photograph; but, I really am missing buying and trying different types of cameras. I got into the habit of buying new cameras and lenses for each international trip I took. My love of travel morphed into an obsession with photography gear.
It’s not the gear, just the person who sees the image. But gear can help in that older digital cameras always had a lag time when the shutter button was depressed. Today’s digital cameras (the higher end ones for certain) are instantaneous like film cameras were. So it helps when the photographer reacts to a scene the camera does as well. But it is the trained eye of the person making the image that sees the possibility in a scene, watching as elements come into play and then placing oneself and being ready for that moment to occur. It’s just being aware, and eventually becoming second nature. Nice photo, John. New places give us new stimuli, but familiar places make us work to achieve something more than the usual because it is familiar. jerry