Also known as “sometimes, it’s user error”

Slider photo: s58y
Photo: Aaron Patterson

Whenever you enter a creative field or hobby or just about anything for that matter, you will see a trend. People want to have the latest and greatest. They want to get the latest camera or the best computer or the best bag to hold their best camera and best computer. I know people who have literally tens of thousands of dollars in debt because they got the D3x (expensive camera) with a zillion dollar lens and a brand spanking new Macbook pro with Photoshop. Now, here is the deal, I have no problem with that. If you are doing it as a business and can justify the expense, then buy your heart out. If your creative passion is a hobby and you have the money to do it, spend away. Honestly, if you aren’t one of the people above and want to spend a half an arm on new things then I am ok with that. Actually this post doesn’t have much to do with how much people spend on equipment. It does have everything to do with equipment though.

The word “Photography” literally means “scribe of light”. When you are a photographer on any level, your duty and the mandate you receive when you hold a camera is to document light. Now, breaking that down a bit further, there are two main components that need to come together to create a wonderful photograph. First is the understanding of light, or talent of interpreting photons in a way that exhibits creativity. That is the “light” part of photography. Second is the ability to document or capture that reflective light the way that you want it to be captured. That is the “scribe” part of photography. Natural talent and a trained eye go hand in hand with understanding of equipment and the tools you have at your disposal. People tend to think that getting better equipment will make them a better at what they do. While it may make them more efficient or give them a tad more freedom, this myth that the camera makes the photographer is utterly not true. While a better pen might make a better line, the pen doesn’t write the story, it merely facilitates creativity. Same thing with the equipment you have.

Before I bought my Nikon, my digital camera of choice was the one in the photo above. The moment I got that camera, I resolved myself to understanding every possible thing about it. I remember setting up a studio in my home and taking hundreds of photos of the same thing, only changing one thing at a time each frame and recording how that camera captured light with what setting. It took a lot of effort but I was eventually creating better photos with my point and shoot than people were creating with $10k systems. One first place winners of one of the National Geographic photo contests in the last few years had an incredible photo that was taken with a point and shoot. It beat all the photos that were taken with top of the line camera’s. It was obvious he knew his camera from his photo quality. If you resolve yourself to learn what you have, when you upgrade you will be incredible. Trust me. The best piece of equipment you have is the one that you know almost as well as your spouse (or best friend).

Anyway, in the wise words of a man we all adore, “That’s all I have to say about that”

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