Friday, June 10, 2011

camera button friday: too much equipment

I am glad that the early influences on my photography (friends actually going to photo school) were not much into the gear craze.  Most of the outings we went on actually had an unspoken code of less-is-more.  We have all heard that less-is-more and yet we are all still lusting after more gear.  At least I am.

Lately I have been trying to fight that by limiting myself to one lens.  My current favorite setup (that I steel from work) is the 35mm prime on a full frame D700.  I like it so much that I purchased a 24mm prime for my cropped frame D200 in order to have the similar field of view.  I first started doing this lens combo because of how small and easy it is to handle, especially when you compare the 35mm prime to the monster 24-70mm f2.8...

...but I also noticed that this had other benefits, this actually has helped my photography (the limiting part not this particular lens.)  There are a lot of post and forums that talk about how prime lenses are 'better' than zoom lenses because they limit you into creativity.  I agree...but that doesn't make a zoom bad.  There are times you need the convenience of a zoom (like weddings) but times that it is ok to stretch yourself (like on vacation or walking around town.) Primes can do wonders in stretching your creativity if you allow yourself to enter into to that creativity.  If I had my dream kit, it would have both...but there I go again lusting after more gear than I need/can afford/deserve/need.

It seams counter intuitive, but having a lens for every occasion actually oversaturate my mind and I have a harder time seeing images.  It is like I have to many options, like the grocery store when you have 36 options of peanut butter, you always have a hard time choosing what is best.  To many choices stifles creativity.  Limiting myself is hard at first, sometimes even frustrating, but if I stick at it I usually can create better images than I could if I was not being stretched.

Here are a couple images where I have felt free while being stretched:

So, what am I trying to say?  For me, at this point of my photographic journey, limiting myself with lenses can bread creativity.  This can be with one prime, or one zoom, or some combo that intentionally limits me so that I will NOT be allowed to capture every single photo I see, but it forces me to think.  This may be different for me later in life and it may be different for you now...but try limiting yourself in some way if you want to stretch yourself.

After discovering this "limitation that breeds creativity," I actually looked it up and there is actually a really substantial following of the idea.  Even a Wikipedia page.  And if you are into it, Origami is all about this just try and make an ornate spider out of one un-cut piece of paper without betting creative.

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