A Crazy Idea

In e-books, Just For Fun, News & Stuff, Pep Talks, Rants and Sermons, Vision Is Better by David113 Comments

Once in a while I get a notion to stir things up. I do so first for myself, usually only later does it occur to me to share the idea. But this is not that time. I’m too busy with doing other things and sadly it’s a reality that being a working photographer often means more work and less photographering. Right now it’s one of those times. I am in Ontario right now and I’ve shot 12 frames – all of the family cat. These are not my proudest hours. πŸ™‚

Months ago I published TEN, Ten Ways To Improve Your Craft, None of Them Involve Buying Gear. It was, and still is a best-seller. But I should have done two things. 1. I should have come up with a shorter subtitle. 2. I should have prefaced it with an even shorter eBook. I here present the proposed content.

Proposed Title: ONE, One Way To Improve Your Craft Without Buying Gear.

Proposed Content: Stop buying gear.

That’s it. And as I don’t know anyone willing to shell out $5 for this advice, I’m just giving it away. Want more? Here’s the expanded content:

The single best thing you can do for your photography in the broadest strokes, is to stop buying gear.

Stop it. Stop looking at the catalogs. Stop reading the reviews.

Just, for the love of Diane Arbus, stop it.

Now grab the nearest camera. And the lens that’s on it. And go make some photographs. Now do it again. And again. And again. Do this for a month, a year if you can manage to stay away from the addiction that long. Do it so long that you don’t even know – or care – about the specs of the newest offering from Canon or Nikon. Do it so long that you no longer care that a faster lens would be sexier and convince your friends that you’re serious about your craft. Do it so long that you care more for the image than you do for the chatter about gear. Do it so long that you fall in love with photographing, not just the gear.

Then, if you must, pick up the catalogs again, and re-subscribe to your favourite magazines. The gear is good, so lest anyone comment about me hating gear or being gearophobic (hey, some of my best friends are gear!) let me re-iterate that there’s nothing wrong with the gear. Nothing wrong with poppies either but an opium addiction will probably sideline you pretty good. Hear me on this rare soapbox (rare because it’s shortish, not because it’s a soapbox): all the new gear and fancy tutorials, all the books and exotic workshops, all of it can be helpful. But it can also be a counterfeit for the real deal; the act of going out and making image after image after image, for the love of it, and with a critical eye and teachable spirit. Getting discouraged? Chuck it all and go make some photographs. Purge the voices from your head, close the magazines, and go make some photographs. Just you, one camera, one lens, and your muse. Don’t show it to others, don’t post it on Flick or blog about it. Just you. Your camera. Your muse. Once you love the images more than the feedback, and the “wow, great shot!”s and the new-gear smell, and the site of the UPS man on your porch, then you’re back where you started: in love with creating actual photographs. And I guarantee two things – you’ll enjoy your photographs more, and the images will be better.

Comments

  1. This should also have a positive impact on my bank account. I don’t know if you will make friends with camera manufactures with this πŸ™‚

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  3. Thanks David. When I bought my first digital about four years ago I thought “this won’t be an expensive hobby- my camera and me”!!! Still enjoying your book Within the Frame so much. Thanks.

  4. Can we still read blogs? πŸ˜‰
    Your honesty and frankness always makes me grin, David. Thanks once again.

  5. I have found that constantly talking about cameras and gear instead of making new images that speak to one’s soul just isn’t worth the conversation. Your idea is not crazy.

  6. Yeah. This is exactly why I did my one camera/one lens/one month experiment. Block out all the gear choices and just be a photographer. I loved it and I think it’s made me a little better.

    I have to disagree a bit about the feedback, though. Yes, you need to be alone with your muse for a while, but I think you eventually need someone to bounce things off of (otherwise you get a *different* set of voices in your head πŸ™‚ ). Blogging about it and posting to Flickr got me some “Nice shot” comments, but I also got some constructive criticism that made me think a little more about the next day’s shot. That, too, made me better.

  7. Ha! This makes me feel better about the 50mm lens I just bought. I could’ve bought the fancy one, but I didn’t – only what I needed and could afford. AND your post also proves that I didn’t have to buy the fancier one and this makes me happy.

  8. awww… but i was gonna buy a new tripod this week.
    but you did make me feel a bit better about my iphone camera app rant earlier today!

    Wise as always David πŸ™‚

  9. well this is truly a good thing. it makes me not feel quite so badly. as i have been saving for new gear in the last year we have 1)had both washer and dryer go out 2)had a major plumbing issue 3) a daughter need braces and 4) and a daughter need a huge nine month round of medications. so basically every time i think i am building up something nice in the old “new gear” fund, life is telling me to not focus on the gear and i should focus more on just improving my craft. plus i think my Bride would enjoy me thinking less about gear. it’s a win-win-win! (i can’t afford it/my wife says i need to quit obssessing/David duChemin says not to focus so much on it) yay for my team!

    seriously though, well written and so true, thanks David!

  10. Today I have been seriously thinking about selling my old body and buying a new one and I stumble upon this post, how ironic. Deep down I know I don’t need a new one and that it wont make me any better but at the same time know that my current body’s value is going down day by day and the shutter count is halfway to it’s expected life. I can justify it both ways but it’s hard sometimes, it’s almost an addiction. The excitement of shiny new gear is intoxicating but as I write about I now seem to be coming to my senses. Lets see how long this clarity lasts πŸ™‚ Thanks David.

  11. but I NEEEEEEED a Think Tank Street Walker Pro! Honestly, the duffle bag doesn’t cut it anymore. A 35mm 1.4 would be nice too since I will be visiting Mission Hill Winery(the cellar is incredible) next weekend butI don’t truly need one if I bring my tripod. The Think Tank will be my treat for the year, gear wise.

    I do agree with your post though. Especially for the hobbyist. I would love to spend all sorts of money on gear but:

    1. Taking lots of photo’s creates improvement more-so than gear.
    2. Money is better spent on RRSP’s(401k) or mortage as there is no ROI for the hobbyist.

  12. “Nothing wrong with poppies either but an opium addiction will probably sideline you pretty good.”

    …Amen

    Superb post David echoing teachings straight from the ‘Zack Arias’ school of photography ie it ain’t about the gear!

    Great stuff,
    Thanks for posting,
    Glyn

  13. Thanks David,

    I needed to hear this again, I said again, because my own conscience has been leading me to that thought.
    I remember a couple a years ago, I could only shot with a 50mm because I couldn’t afford more gear.
    I love to remember the challenge of that, the creativity that came out me, the way I enjoy my 50mm. I got a lot of keepers…
    But lately I’ve been putting to much thoughts on new gear, why? You tell me.
    This somehow takes away the joy of photographing!
    Our visions and hearts for photography are way beyond gear… we have to realize that.

  14. Great advice as usual David.

    So, can I go out and buy that new 70-200 and THEN spend a month making pictures with it? πŸ˜‰

  15. Amen brother!
    Can you add to the list ‘Stop post processing’?
    I’m buried in a backlog here!

  16. Good stuff. I just unsubscribed from all the blogs/websites that were gear related. Man, that was hard. I put the 50mm on my camera today, and I think I should leave it there. Gonna see what I can do with that.

    Thanks for the kick in the pants.

  17. Great post! I think I spent most of my first 2 photography years (i.e. pretty much the last 2 years!) with the likes of DPreview, FM Gear, etc as my home pages – I’d read those, every post, every day. It would do your head in and all you wanted was more gear! Doesn’t matter what you buy, you have it a week and you want the next thing. Talk about bottomless pit!

    Over the last 6 months, I’ve increasingly been reading the books about the craft (although I bought an Ansel Adams one on day 1 thinking it would make me a photo god, lol!) and coming across blogs (and books) such as yours have been a real eye opener and are a refreshing draught change from the tech overload that’s out there.

    In your book you acknowledge the role of the geek, but for many of us the geek controls us, and now I spend less time on Dpreview and the like, and more time reading, viewing, thinking, the more creative I’m feeling (although the doing’s a little slower than I’d like πŸ™‚

    Thanks again.

  18. I bought my digital camera two years ago. I couldn’t afford buying lenses so I’m still using the two i had with my old non-digital one (at least 10 years old, no fast lenses, biggest apperture 3.5 …). I’ve allways looked with envy to 50 mm @ 1.8, still am. But since I don’t have the money, and am still learning how to use what i got… reading your blog and e-books make me feel more confident in experimenting, making pictures, learning… without having to buy all that fancy stuff (like some of my friends did).
    New gear will be my treat when I’ll be thinking that i’ve got the best of my old ones!
    Thanks

  19. i agree, and as soon as i have replaced my cheap tripod, i will agree completely!

    I just find the other thing to imporve your craft is have your camera on you at times, and as many people are saying make sure its attached to a fast 50……..

  20. Great post! A few years back, I spent a month in Burma with nothing but a Ricoh GRD. Fixed 24mm lens. One of the most enjoyable and, in terms of my photography, informative months I have ever had – thoroughly recommend to anyone to do something similar. Chuck the gear and travel light.
    Quote from Mark Twain I think “Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth.” Replace ‘dance’ with ‘shoot’ and we’re good to go! Matt

  21. Thank you again!
    Well, I’ve been doing that for a whle, but I get stick for it.
    It all depends on what type of photos one shoots. And for travel photo, that is most definitely the case.
    I love going out with just the one lens (28-75 on a 4:3), no tripod, no time wasted by lens change: freedom, less backache and more creativity.
    However good one’s photos are though, high ISO or the with lightest move, the quality police will discard the photos .
    For me quality is in the emotion, the beauty of the moment captured. I can do very good quality. But then I’ll miss the moment and the spontaneity.
    I will upgrade when I feel I NEED it and I DESERVE it!

  22. Author

    @jeffrey Chapman – LOL, no camera bags don’t count. πŸ˜› Hey man, I’m not hear to knock your addiction, just to point out that it’s not helping your photography. As for camera bags – I’ve still got more than you. πŸ™‚

    @DJ – Not too bad at all, just make sure you use that Mark IV to make some photographs. πŸ™‚

  23. Yesterday evening, I struggled somewhat shooting interior residential shots. Low light and mixed light scenarios. NIkon D200 and a 17-55mm DX lens. The gear, and frankly, my lack of mastery of it was a factor. And while I know my gear is capable of more than I am currently coaxing out of it, still… I found myself thinking “if only I had faster, wider… and a much better low light sensor…’ I DO understand that the most limiting factor in play here is ME. I do. But at times, it feels a little to me like I am trying to build a house with just a hammer and a screw driver. Great tools! Just not the right tools for every job.

    I thoroughly enjoy the gear I currently have. And I thoroughly enjoy the process of discovering how to use it well. I don’t need more simply for the sake of more. But frankly, this toolbox is just a few tools short… =) No… really!

  24. did you notice, that a lot of photographers post pictures with “experiment with my new soandso” and thats all about they shoot? just experiment with new stuff.

    i’m nearly finished with the gear chase thinking. well, there is still this or that lens haunting my dreams πŸ˜‰ but i’m lucky enough to not have the money to think about it πŸ˜€ so a while ago i realized, that i have great gear and i still don’t know it throughly enough. i made the conscious decision to really get to know the tools i have.

    and maybe it is like happyness. we think stuff makes us happy. but it wont. ads try to make us want stuff and promise it will be the most happyness we will ever feel. and we belive it. and like happyness good photography is not “out there” it’s in us. so changing the “out there” wont do any good if it doesnt change the “in us”. sometimes stuff will help us expand our horizon and become better photographers – but it’s (mostly) not the thing itself that made us better, it’s how we relate differently to it and our surroundings.

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  26. Right on point, David. While down here in Florida I have shot with my Canon 30D, Rebel 2000, Nikon FE w/ a 35 MM lens, Leica 3A from 1936. I still need to use my ’53 Retina and ’71 Olympus ECR.

    What I am still trying to do is shoot @ 1/15th of a second all day long! That is a great assignment from the “10” ebook.

  27. Gear-itis is not unique to photography. It’s an addiction suffered by almost anyone who takes their “hobby” seriously. It usually occurs when someone goes from the casual practicer of an art to a more “serious” level. At this point the hobby becomes more like “work” and differences in talent begin to show up. If you find yourself lacking in ability (and all too many of us do), the almost over-riding temptation is to substitute gear for making the decision to commit to the really hard work of improving on our inborn abilities.

    A few years ago a local Ducati dealership put on a two day event. They hosted AMA Superbike and World Superbike legend Doug Polen. They gave Polen a bone stock Ducati to ride (one of their demo bikes). No fancy engine parts, no suspension upgrades, no expensive modifications of any kind. Polen then raced against some very good local racers, all on highly modified bikes – and beat them all handily. The only difference between Polen and the guys he beat? Years, and years and years of practice.

  28. how did you know how much I like the sight of the UPS man on the porch? πŸ™‚

    you are very funny these days, but sometimes you ask us to do things that are just hard, …sigh

  29. It’s funny that you write this, as I have recently come to the same conclusion. I’ve been thinking about how I was able to enjoy photography in the past with a simple film SLR and a 50mm prime lens as my only equipment. Somehow, I got away from that. So, in the last few weeks I’ve let magazine subscriptions expire, removed selected RSS feeds and give the DPReview forums only a casual glance (can’t expect myself to quit cold turkey!). I’ve gone to flickr and chosen only 5 groups to watch closely, none of which is gear specific but very image oriented. So far, so good.

  30. Right ON!!!! So Inspiring
    IT”S RAINING CATS & DOGS & COWS HERE ON THE EAST COAST….. GOTTA GO ……SHOOT:)

  31. It’s interesting. When I look at gear purchases, I tend to look at them from the aspect of solving a particular problem. Even then, it’s only if new gear is the best way to solve the problem. I’m quite happy with the stuff I have now and with spring here, I’ve been following my muse making quite a lot of photos lately.

    Now exotic workshops though. Those are probably my particularly opium. Fortunately, I’ve never had a taste, so it’s easier to control that desire. But I’d sell all my gear and a kidney to spend a couple of weeks in Nepal. That’s about what it would take for me though, to get enough money and time off for such an adventure.

  32. I couldn’t have said it better (but I could have said it a lot worse). The kit needs to become transparent within the process. That’s often when the real photography starts. Thanks for the wisdom.

  33. Thanks for the words of wisdom. Sometimes I need to hear confimation of my thoghts from someone more knowledgeable. At least the weather is becoming more conducive to getting outside and doing some photography.

  34. Another wonderful post. I have never commented before… but want to let you know that your insight and ideas help keep me motivated and shooting.

    Thanks for posting!
    Shawn

  35. Another great post. I’m betting Ansel Adams could do more with a Kodak Brownie that many can do today with thousands of dollars worth of equipment. The eye in the viewfinder and the mind behind it, will continue to be the most important ingredients in creating fabulous images.

  36. Very funny, David! ROFL!! And serious at the same time.

    There’s something fundamental here that you have touched on in several posts. To me, it’s about BELIEF.

    Some people believe that when they HAVE that new lens or body, they will be able to DO things that will make them BE a better photographer. These people are in a gear-buying loop that rarely brings happiness or fulfilment.

    Others, and a common theme in your posts, is to choose to believe in your self. By choosing to BE a good photographer, you will choose to DO things good photographers do, and you will HAVE great photos. People who behave this way are generally content – because their actions are simply an expression of who they are.

    We are all already great photographers in the same way a block of marble is already a sculpture. By choosing to see that, you can begin to strip away the extraneous stuff through your actions.

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  38. But David, “gear is good” is a part of your mantra! Kidding, because I get what you are saying. Then again, the economy needs gearheads! Love it that you say stop it, stop reading the reviews! Nail on the head. But for gearheads buying new equipment makes them shoot more! Anyway love your message and thanks for posting it.

  39. I recently did just that! I bought a new 50mm 1.8 (most boring lens ever made made) and have left all the other lenses and zooms at home. It has been liberating. But…I still dream…that new Hassie, Nikon, Leica, ARE nice…

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  41. Author

    @Artem, just copy this into a word doc, print to PDF and send me the $1 πŸ™‚

  42. Luckily for me, food and rent take priority over gear, and even then, a new laptop is at the top of the gear list. πŸ˜€
    Whenever I think I want to replace my D80, I ask myself why, what does it NOT do that I wish it did. For the most part, my biggest issue is noise at high ISOs, because I like to shoot church interiors. That problem is now solved with a $60 Gorillapod instead of a $1600 D300s.
    The truthfulness of your gear/vision mantra, David, hit me when I was looking at the winning photos in Photo Life’s Image International Contest. While the grand prize was shot with a 5DmkII, many of the other winning images were shot with the likes of a Canon Rebel or 40D, Nikon D70, 80 or 200, and even a Panasonic LZ8, plus a few film bodies. And without the captions, you probably couldn’t tell by the images themselves.

  43. Man, I have to say that while the whole gear addiction thing absolutely does not resonate with me (I only upgraded from my Canon Rebel like 3 years after I got it) your words are just pure gold! Whenever I read your stuff, it’s not that I’m saying wow I should be doing this, it’s more like tell it how it is David! πŸ™‚ And your words inspire me none the less. How you manage to put everything so eloquently and touch on the most complex and important of topics in a way that is so accessible and understandable is just amazing, it makes for very enjoyable reading. I haven’t commented on any of your posts for a while, so I just wanted to show some appreciation, because really they’re always very engaging and probably even more so since you started doing your whole book/ebook thing. Awesome stuff mate! No one writes about photography like you do πŸ™‚

  44. I want to love this post. I really, really want to applaud it. But I can’t. After years of observation, I’m pretty much convinced that not-caring-about-the-gear is just as much of a dodge as caring-about-the-gear.

    We’re all just trying to dodge the reality that making good photographs is hard; I fail at it most of the time. Nobody likes failure, but the alternative — psyching yourself into not giving a kack — removes the incentive to improve.

    In other words, photography is basically impossible. If you confront that head-on, you’ll either get sensible and quit, or become crushingly depressed (viz Arbus.) So to be able to go on working, we all need some sort of dodge or other… and while equiptomania isn’t my first choice, I hate to kick at another guy’s crutch.

  45. David, if you keep pounding this nail, it’s going to come through the other side of the board. If it does please for the love of Karl Grobl pick up another just like it and keep pounding.

  46. David, it’s so true. And for my part, maybe that’s why I only buy used stuff (well most of the time). 90% of my gear is used, even the digital body. I bought old manual lenses manufactured 40 years ago, because of their quality. I’d rather spend a small amount of cash on an old Nikkor Q 200mm – made of metal – than more on a plastic lens. It offers superb quality (no flare, no ghost, straight lines, etc.) at an acceptable price (to me). And because of their build quality, I can be a little more rude w/ it. Because I cannot afford pro lenses first, and second, I want to shoot and craft! That’s what counts to me. Thanks David.

  47. Author

    @Ranger 9 –

    First, thanks for the honest reaction.

    Second, I don’t think you’ll find much of an argument from me, but let me clarify…

    The problem with the blog is that to some degree it assumes you’ve read my work and are familiar with the general context of who I am and what I teach. If not, well, I’d have to review it all with each post and that’s not realistic, so in the end the odd post comes off sounding unbalanced.

    My motto is “Gear is Good. Vision is Better.” I don’t say gear is bad, nor do I say it’s unnecessary. It’s good. We depend on it for our craft and we must be as good at its use as possible. What I’m getting at here is the addiction to new gear and the peripheral issues that become substitutes. for some of us, for the actual process of creating photographs.

    Psyching yourself into not caring? Far from it, I think what we need to do is care more – and that caring will take us away from caring about which brand of camera we use and how many giga-pixels the sensor is. What I’m advocating is a re-calibration, that we put first things first, and for many of us that will take an act of extreme over-compensation before we return to equilibrium. The question is WHAT do you care about?

    I don’t think the only two options in the face of how hard photography can be, are to get “crushingly depressed” or just give up. I think there’s another option. Get comfortable with the journey of this craft, and comfortable with the idea that our vision will always outpace our skill or equipment, and to do it for the love of it.

    I’d encourage you to re-read this post. I’m not saying stop caring about the gear. I’m suggesting some of us might need to steer the wheel hard to one side to get out of the caring-too-much-about-the-gear rut, so that we can again create photographs free from the pressure to do so with the latest and shiniest. Fact is, Ranger 9, most of us would take no better photographs with a Nikon D3s and a $3000 lens than with a Canon S90. And if you can pull it off with the simplest of gear you damn-sure can pull it off with a closet full of the latest. The question is this – are we distracted by the need to get more gear, or are we distracted by the desire to go out and make great photographs?

  48. Author

    @Adam – “For the love of Karl Grobl…”? Karl would find this really, really amusing. But I promise to keep pounding, because if no one else needs it, I do! πŸ™‚

  49. Great post, David. Your words always inspire me and make me feel better about what I have (or don’t have).

    Thanks, man.

  50. @David- I may have heard wrong but I though that Karl Grobl was interviewed by Matt Brandon and said that he shot with only two lenses (wide and tele) and two cameras bodies. That was all he owned. It threw Matt for a loop in the interview and did for me as well. Karl said he tossed his 50 1.8 cause he hauled it around and never used it.

  51. Author

    @Adam – Yep, that’s what Karl carries. And you should see his cameras – they’re all beat to hell and look terrible – but they still work and he creates great images with them. The man’s got his head on straight (though yes, we’re all a little suspicious of him – only 2 lenses? C’mon, Karl, you’re making us look bad!) πŸ™‚

  52. Great post, thank you so much for reminding us what the real focus (I apologize for the pun) should be!

  53. Great post as usual David! The 24-105 is almost permanently attached to my 5D and is enough 95% of the time!

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  58. True – and an analogy . . .
    . . . Kind of like becoming a BETTER and more CONSISTENT golfer, by taking only your 7 iron, wedge and putter in hand for a year – – – you’ll look like an idiot (or cheap), but it’s amazing how your score drops by a significant amount, your drives are straighter – and you may even start loving the game as a result of that success.

  59. So can you check out my Flickr page and comment on it… oops wrong blog.

    You have convinced me to do a 30 day commitment of taking at least a shot a day with nothing but my DSLR and my manual 50mm lens. Have been to addicted to my AF zooms and need to work on my primes in all kinds of situations.

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  61. First time her, but I’ll be back. I like your style β€” you’ve got something to say and you make me smile! thanks β€” and keep it up!

  62. I enjoyed this so much and feel it’s so right I posted it to a bunch of places and sent it to a couple of my friends.

    One of whom, in a moment of perfect Zen, riposted, “Burn the witch!”

    I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. Thank you again.

  63. Dude – this is a crazy idea! If I could just manage my time better between a “real” job, an MBA program, and two kids I’d be able to shoot more. In the mean time I’ll try to figure out how to keep the creativity flowing.

  64. This is my 1st time here (got the link from a forum member). Interesting article. Here’s the problem I face (and I’m sure I’m not alone on this one). I participate in many photography forums and every day I see dozen of new pictures taken with a variety of cameras and an even larger number of lenses (of all brands, models, sizes, focal lengths, etc, etc, etc.). Many pictures are absolutely superb and they make me feel like having that camera and/or that lens so I can obtain similar results. Now, many people say “the quality of the pictures should be credited to the photographer and not to the equipment used”. Well, I do agree with it but to a certain extent. I love Formula 1 car racing and I’ve followed it for decades. During all those past years, I’ve seen some pretty awesome pilots (drivers actually) managing to win races with cars that were much inferior than others (technically speaking). However, those were isolated wins. At the end of the season, they finished behind because they could not compete with the other pilots driving better cars. You got my point. Give a crappy P&S to an excellent photographer and sure he/she will manage to get some outstanding images out of it but, those will be hits and misses because the final IQ still depends a great deal on the equipment. So, buying gear all the time may not be a good thing but the trick is to know when to stop!

  65. Couldn’t have said it better myself!! Great words to live by……..makes me want to run outside with my camera, and shoot in the dark!!!

  66. Just when my last set of pics were… less than acceptable, & I thought I needed a new camera to solve problems. At least a 5D wouldn’t create low light rubbish like I disappointingly waded through tonight! Ha! Ha! Hear what your saying – I don’t get out enough with the kit I’ve got… going to spend a month with my 60mm macro, which feels a bit like cheating, but I’ll know what we’re capable of by the end of then! PLUS – it’ll be great not to have to carry the ton-weight of my bag around. LOVE your books by the way – many thanks for the knowledge shared.

  67. Great post, no more gear for me… well, just the 17-40L, then no more for a while πŸ™‚

    – John

  68. @Tullio: i think one can’t compare formula1 racing to photography. in f1 there are no art elements and you can messure precisely who was best.
    photography is more like storrytelling. you can tell the “best” storry and there will always be people who dont like that storry. and the quality of a image file is not the same as the quality of that very same photograph. you can get all the pixels “right” and still have a meaningless picture.
    and the awards may make you think that there really is some sort of “best” picture. but that winner is only the photograph, that the ludges could agree that most of them liked it.

    i think in photography the person who is touched by a photo is the winner πŸ™‚ and mostly that’s the photographer him-/herself. unlike in F1 there can be allways many winners πŸ™‚

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  70. Hmmm. I feel I’m in exactly the opposite boat. I take tons of photos. Almost every day (in fact, the first year of my blog I only posted photos I took that day). Now that I’m thinking about actually selling my work, I feel I need some equipment (mostly lighting) and have no idea what to get! I’m not a fan of buying stuff… πŸ˜‰

  71. Gear pimps are one of the worst things about photography. If you took all the money you were going to spend on gear and spent it either on actually taking pictures or on learning about photography you’d end up a much better photographer. But it’s much easier to buy gear.

  72. winkler: “in f1 there are no art elements and you can messure precisely who was best.”

    Well, to me driving a F1 car is an art. It is not nearly as simple and easy as it appears to be. But, that’s my view. There may be no “art” element to driving a F1 car but there are plenty of other elements that influence the outcome of a race (i.e. weather, track design, tires, gasoline, etc etc etc) just like there are many elements that influence the outcome of a picture. The pilot plays a huge role and so does the photographer but in either case, I don’t believe you can precisely measure who’s the best. It’s a combo of personal skills and proper equipment mixed together.

  73. @tullio: yes, you are right. i’m a F1 fan myself. and there is great mastery in beeing a good pilot.

    and here i mean in photography you express something that has nothing to do with the craft itself. it’s the theme you chose to photograph and to make a statement about.

    in F1 you need the skills and the equipment to win a season (and this includes the team and all that other f1-related stuff). in photography you can have the best skills and the best equipment and still suck [david: YOU corrupted my language πŸ˜‰ ] if you’re a nature photographer [sorry for the labels, i don’t like to categorize] you can’t shoot a good picture if you don’t know how nature behaves. if you’re a travel photographer you need to be able to connect to a foreing culture (i guess). if you’re a portrait photographer you need the skill to read people and warm them up. those are just examples and oversimplifications to show a point.

    i mean there are more legs to the table that makes up your photography “level”. and pushing just one (like gear) higher doesn’t rise your level – it just might make it tip over. and as far as i understood david he means something like that. you still can buy new stuff – but don’t forget all the other “things” that make a good photographer.

  74. I was having a tough morning, comparing myself to fancy photographers with pretty trinkets and slick websites. I feel much much better now…thank you.

  75. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Spending more time reading about photography, looking at gear and attending seminars than actual shooting is definitely backwards!
    Nice to see words like this from other photographers rather than ‘How to make this shot’ posts.

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  77. You would be rendering a great service to photography and photographers if this entry was re-posted regularly – say once a quarter.

    Of course, you may leave a few manufacturers sulking in the short term.

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  79. How can you write something like that? Are you mad? Are you saying I just should take my Rollei 35 my dad gave me, some B&W film and shoot? You are ruining the industry! You are destroying this country (and Japan)! Don’t you ever think you would be getting me into this. I know exactly that my self-esteem as a photographer is held up by the fact that I can blame my equipment for my pictures, knowing they will be better once I shell out another 1k for a camera or a lens!

    (that was sarcasm btw. fully agree to your post)

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  82. When the student is ready, the teacher appears . . .
    since I got my SLR, about two years ago, it has been permanently grafted to my hand. It even keeps me company in bed for who knows what wonders I will wake up to . . .reflected sunrise in a window, a bird gathering moths or a kangaroo looking in at me. My photos spill over the capacity of my two computers into external hard drives, still I know the reason I took every one of them and can see the improvements over time. Only Allah is perfect and I have no ambition to unseat any deity, I just find so much in nature that is beautiful.

    Your advice as always is spot on.

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