What should I bring?

When I started getting back into photography back in 2008, most of my time was fixated on obtaining the best gear, whether it was that slightly sharper lens, or that accessory which I didn’t really need. The folks who know me will tell you that I will come to the DRC photography meet on Wednesdays with something new in my bag. It was either a 60mm macro lens or some crappy variable aperture lens which I probably got poisoned into getting it simply because I plugged it into my D300 & convinced myself… with the help of some of my poison kaki’s at Dell… that it was sharper than the other lens I was using. Damn you folks, you know who you are you bastards! Hence the term “water fish” was born & I got suckered into another piece of gear I didn’t need.

I’m really dumbfounded by how much time I take wondering what to bring on each outing. The rest of you probably think I’m some kind of sifu, or perhaps some of you think I’m some kind of dufus! lol! Back in the ‘old days’, I’d wonder if I should bring my ultrawide… then maybe my standard zoom… or wait, should I bring my 50mm… well then again I’m bringing my SB600… so maybe not. Hey I think I need my 80-200 otherwise I will miss those long telephoto shots! But … haiyo… heavy lah! My bag too small not enough space, I think I need to get that 7 million dollar bag! @&$^#*% WTF man this is hard!! I’d show up at a photo outing with half of my gear in my car & the other half on me, then I’d waddle to where we were suppose to meet. Folks stared at me like I had fungus growing on my head! lol!!

I still remember going to Bon Odori festival with a spanking new 70-300mm I just bought from Foto Easycam, stuck my SB600 on my D300 & shot >700+ jpgs that night! All of which I think 1 shot of the fireworks at the end of the celebrations that really mattered! Boy did I feel dumb!

Those of you probably know I stopped shooting for sometime. Then suddenly out of the blue, I decided that I was going to sell all my Nikon gear & switch to Canon!! Wah… master Chooi was soo happy… muahahahaha! The caveat was that, if I could get back enough $$$ to assemble a decent Canon system, I’d do it. Also it had to be a full frame system… it’ll be rather odd to jump from a x1.5 crop factor to a x1.6 crop factor.

Lo & behold… after a couple of weeks of haggling I managed to get rid of all my gear nearly 7-7-8-8… well all except for my Sigma 2.8 standard which is sitting in Foto Easycam right now. So if anyone wants to try it out, it’s there.

So it seems like what’s obvious. The less you have, the less you worry about what to bring, the less you worry about gear. This is often why women are better photographers than men. They worry less about their gear & focus on capturing what they feel looks good. Guys worry too much about their toys to focus on what’s important… that shot which got away. I guess if I spent time working on my technique rather than acquiring gear, my photos would have looked much better by now.

The last couple of weeks while getting rid of my gear, I started shooting once again. With the limited number of gear I had, I was shooting in some instances with only a 50mm. What I’ve learned over the years, thinking about your camera is usually what distracts you from your objective… which is the picture itself. These last few weeks has really been an eye opener for me. Less gear, less worry… better photos! I shot the last album with my D300 on a 50mm standard lens… I would never have done that for a morning sunrise outing previously!

So the limitation really is your own imagination. If you don’t have a wide angle, use a standard. If you don’t have a telephoto to get that nice tiger shot everyone seems to be getting with their 200mm tokongs… then don’t. Shoot what you can & don’t let your camera get in the way. Ansel Adams only brings 3 lenses… all of which were fixed lenses. Henri Cartier-Bresson shot his entire life with only 1 lens… a 50mm on a Leica rangefinder.

So what should I bring? I guess 1 lens & 1 camera will do…


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  1. Less is better « What I see, How I see… - September 1, 2010
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