The Gear? KISS!

March 14, 2010

I used to shoot with Canon and Nikon 35 mm cameras and Mamiya and Fuji medium format cameras. I also used a 4×5 large format Sinar. I still own several Nikon 35 mm professional bodies and an arsenal of lenses. Lugging around 20 pounds of gear has never really been fun. I also found it limiting my flexibility and joy in going out and taking pictures. Very specialized gear is of course necessary for some types of photography. Over the years I began shooting with less and less heavy gear. It was liberating. Instead of hauling around three bodies and six lenses, I carried maybe one camera and two lenses, or two cameras on professional shoots, because you couldn’t afford not having a backup body. Once I used to haul a large photo bag around all day on vacation, but eventually I took only one small 35 mm compact camera (Ricoh GR-1, if you must know) along. I got outstanding images and I had more fun than when shooting with my heavy professional kit!

I like to keep my photo gear simple now. I don’t need to carry a lot of gear for my kind of photography. Being unencumbered by weight and bulk, I remain flexible and can focus on creating imagery instead of dealing with the gear. As long as the equipment allows me to make a 16×20 inch print in photographic quality, the camera brand does not matter. My DSLR is pretty small and it’s black. I use mostly two lenses, both of which are optically excellent. If an image looks bad, it’s my fault! I am a fan of natural light, but I will use flash to augment available light if needed. Especially when doing Photo Illustration images I tend to use flash with colored gels. I use wireless remote flash, and sometimes I use a tripod. As I said, I like to keep it simple. A big production just isn’t my cup of tea.

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