17

FEBRUARY, 2011

Photography can be a very expensive pastime especially if you always want to have the best equipment available. I have no gripes with that but where it tends to nerve me is when people are convinced that expensive kit automatically ensures perfect pictures. This depends of course on what one sees as being a perfect picture. The techno nerd will tell you that a low grain, extra sharp picture without vignetting & chromatic aberrations is the bees knees whereas I as creative nerd will tell you that it is no use having the perfect technical solution if the image itself is crap. Yes, crap! No emotion, bad composition &/or badly exposed. I would rather have these qualities with grain & slight blurriness if the picture itself communicates something special.

It is indeed. Why is it that so many people are more interested which model or make it is rather than ask questions about techniques or composition of the picture you are about to take? Of course without good equipment there is little chance of good quality pictures but I have seen enough photographers that spend so much money on cameras and lenses plus travel to all those exotic places that this planet has to offer but the pictures are to put it mildly…..crap! Why is this so? It could be the case that we think that with the best equipment that money can buy our pictures will be much better. Technically speaking, they should be. With a DSLR and a good lens the quality what noise, sharpness and the like are concerned is impressive but if you have no idea how to compose an object properly or be wary of light situations around you then the end product will be sharp and free of noise but the image content will leave your audience cold.

For me photography opens possibilities to get outside, visit places, meet people, experience real life situations that I can’t when I’m strapped to my chair in the office forty to fifty hours a week. I’m almost a normal human being on Saturday and Sunday. My wife would disagree with this for the simple fact that in her eyes nobody is normal that gets up on a Sunday morning at half six to drive 60 miles by minus temperatures to take pictures of a possible sunrise on some Bavarian lake or mountain. For me it’s a passion and not a burden. I feel privileged to live in such an area of natural beauty. I am thankful of having a bit of talent seeing things differently to others and I am glad that at least to a certain degree I can afford to realise some of these visual dreams now and again.

Photography has many facets, one of them certainly being the constant change in technology but unfortunately higher camera model numbers and expensively priced lenses seem to be that what most of us interpret as being the secret to good photography. Everyone has to make his or her own experiences I suppose. I must also admit that my equipment has dramatically improved over the years because of my constant search for the best possible quality in my pictures, but this search has cost me a lot of money and I am still looking for that perfect camera bag content. Moose Peterson has probably the nearest I have seen for a while
http://www.moosepeterson.com/blog/?cat=1

This sort of equipment is only realistic through tough saving and real dedication to a hobby or through working as a photographer for a living.
I take around 30-40,000 pictures a year, how many does the average holiday photographer take, 2-3000 a year? Practice makes perfect as they say. Before going out there with the bicycle, car or train, think of the numerous possibilities you have within walking distance of your own four walls. Details, macro shots within the own four walls in winter to keep your hand in. Winter is processing time and time to save money for the oncoming trips in spring and summer.
Photography as a hobby is about making the most of what you have until it makes sense to update to better gear. There are Photographers that only ever use one lens their entire lives, so there is no hurry ;-). Ask yourself this question; “How much time do I spend looking for equipment and how much time do I spend actually taking photos?” Be honest with yourselves. This is an appropriate question before updating from a compact camera to a DSLR and interchangeable lenses costing thousands of Euros for example.

Photography as a career is about having to have the best equipment money can buy to survive, producing the best possible results with the least amount of hassle. To be a pro you need durable, reliable equipment for travel and on the location. Lenses that exceed the budget of every hobby tog are normal tools of the trade, but even here not many so called “Pros” earn enough money through their equipment. They earn their money from daily practice at looking at the world and documenting it in many, many pictures. A good pro never spends much time looking for equipment, a good pro is out looking for pictures.

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