Friday, May 4, 2012

Bigger and Better

Isn't this the typical human desire - get it bigger and better, faster, 2X as many features etc.? And don't we always fall for this ad-schlok hook, line and sinker?

In addition to cats, photography is another of my passions. Not that I do it particularly well, but I'm trying and hopefully one day I'll be able to take more consistently good photos.

I was drooling over the Nikon D7000 reviews the other day when a comment came to mind, from one of our local folk who is a pretty damn good photographer. He mentioned that he had around 20 cameras - and he has taken good and bad photos with every one of them.

The difference is the person behind the lens. To them falls the understanding of the tool in their hands, their knowledge, technique and understanding of light, their creativity, their ability to view the world through the eyes of an artist - because photography is an art form.

As Darren Rowse wrote : "Sometimes I think our lust for cameras and gear could be getting in the way of actually becoming better photographers.” 

And Valerie Jardin added in her article Stop whining about your equipment, Get out there and shoot! : "That new camera and expensive lens does not create a good picture. You do! ....A new camera will not make you a better photographer. Period. It will only make you a new camera owner.  To become a better photographer, learn to see.  Learn to see the new and see the familiar as new."

The Nikon D7000 is a wonderful camera for an amateur enthusiast like me - but frankly I'm not sure how I could justify buying it. The reason being that I still don't know all the workings of my Canon, and I continually rely on the camera making key decisions for me - like speed and ISO settings for a given aperture. I think that when I get to the stage that I understand all that the camera can do, and that I am capable of twiddling all the settings to achieve my creative designs, then I will have a better idea of the real shortcomings of the camera  (if any - for my purposes).

I will by all means buy a new camera - but will do so only when I'm sure in my mind why I need one, what my current equipment cannot do for me, and how the proposed new camera will be able to fulfil my artistic objectives.

My son in law got my old camera - a Panasonic which was pretty good, but not up to my Canon spec. His brother took some photos with it when they were on a trip in Namibia recently. The desert scenes he shot were magnificent - hue and texture, light and dark, skillful use of silhouette and background, composition and planning of the picture. He's not a photographer - but he has passion and he's an artist. 

Now there is a man who knows how to look, and to see......

In the mean time, maybe I'll practice looking. Maybe there's a lesson there for all of us.

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