Today I have a quick shot from the archives, and a few words. This shot is a little over a year old, but it is still one of my all-time favorites of this little guy. I love the sharpness and clarity of the focus on the eye; the colors and light are spot on; the focus fades away quickly enough, but too quickly, to be distracting to the viewer; and the vignetting works here, although this lens can vignette a bit too much for my taste at times. This was a fantastic camera while I had it, and now it has been sent off to another great home. I’m not even going to mention what the camera is, since it’s not important.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I show someone a photograph, and they say: “That’s great, what camera did you shoot that with?” That’s analogous to going to a fancy restaurant and asking what pan the chef used. It’s also pretty insulting, since it makes the suggestion–no claim, even–that the camera did the work, rather than you doing the work. No camera in the world can take a photograph without the photographer. Some make it easier for you with gadgets and gizmos, but you still have to be there and see something. You have to raise the camera to your eye and compose the image.
As we all battle our constant battle with ourselves about acquiring more gear–“Man, I just have to have that f/1.4 lens to take my photography to the next level”–it is helpful to remember sometimes that the best camera is the one you have with you. Sometimes it’s your iPhone. Other times it’s a disposable film camera. Still other times, your $5,000 DSLR with the soccer-mom kit zoom. That last one was tongue-in-cheek, but you get the idea. There is no camera in the world that will get you a shot; you have to go out and get the shot yourself. The only thing you need to remember is to bring a camera with you, and use it.
Sometimes we all lack motivation, or get stuck in an artistic rut. It happens to anyone trying to create something–sometimes the well just runs dry. At those points in my photography is when I find myself most clamoring for more gear. When times are good and I’m in a groove, I’m too busy out shooting to worry about buying any more gear. If you need inspiration, remember this: Don’t Buy Gear, Buy Books. Read up on the great photographers of the past, or just of some that you enjoy personally. Broaden your photographic horizons and maybe step out of your artistic comfort zone. Living in the cold northern states of the USA, winter also puts a damper on my photography. So does life, sometimes. Just remember that gear doesn’t matter.
Not just anyone can create a great shot, but a great shot can come from anywhere. Now get out and shoot.