A door in Jodhpur, photographed on my first trip to India. Images from that trip benefited me more than the best lens I could have bought or the newest camera, never mind the experience and life-long memories themselves.
I ran across a great article this morning on the Adventure Journal. Simply the premise was, “You don’t need all the latest gear. Oh, and by the way, the money you spent on that expensive piece of gear could have purchased a plane ticket.”
The article also quoted Let My People Surf by Patagonia founder Yves Chouinard, a book I finished recently: “Don’t spend money on gear. Spend it on plane tickets.”
Got me to thinking, especially on the heels of three podcasts interviews I did last week, all of them giving freedom to rant about gear-lust and our addiction to the toys. And that thinking led me to the B&H Photo site. I only visit on Saturdays now, because the ordering mechanism is closed for the Sabbath, giving my wallet a sabbatical as well. And then I went to StarAlliance.com. Here’s my math. ( Update: I used Canon in these example because, while I choose Nikon, I am still much more familiar with Canon’s line-up. Nikon has its equivalents.)
Scenario #1 I Need The Best Stuff Out There
Canon 1Ds Mk III – $6,995
EF 70-200/2.8L IS II – $2,449
EF 16-35/2.8L II – $1,699
EF 85/1.2L II – $2.079
Total – $13,222
Scenario #2 I’d Rather Have Money Left Over to Photograph the WORLD
Canon 5D Mk II – $2,499.95
EF 70-200/4.0L – $669.00
EF 17-40/4.oL – $839.00
EF 85/1.8 – $419.00
Total – $4,426
The Difference? $8,796
And then I went to StarAlliance.com and priced out a Round The World ticket. From San Francisco to Paris to Nairobi to Mumbai to Bangkok to Melbourne to Tokyo and back to San Francisco.
Total with Taxes – $5,823
Still Left Over – $2,973. Almost $3000. Handy for hostels, taxis, food.
And the kicker? In no time that gear will be obsolete. Your memories and the photographs taken on 4 continents will last as long as you do. Experiences never get stolen, or go obsolete. And if you got a Canon 7D and settled for non-L-series lenses, you’d have at least another couple thousand to spend on your adventure.
I’m on a tear lately about gear, and you pros out there aren’t exempt either. Spending money on new work and personal projects will generally benefit your bottom line much more significantly, without the depreciation on gear, than the latest lens will.
Forget the shiny stuff, it gets tarnished fast. Put your camera into the bag and book a flight instead. Go make memories and photographs. Live. Buy the tickets.
Yesterday I posted a quick giveaway for a very limited – there is only one – Artist’s Print of Twilight I, Tahoe. Leave a comment on this post and one randomly-chosen reader has it signed and shipped to them, anywhere in the world. Just a comment with your name and email addy so I can notify you if you win. That post is HERE.