Have you ever stood in a beautiful place with other photographers and found yourself talking more about the gear rather than what was in front of you?
As photographers, we can become obsessive over gear. We talk about the latest Canon’s, Nikon’s, and mirrorless systems. We spend hundreds, no make that thousands of dollars, on piecing together the “perfect” system only to find out months later we are back looking for more gear. In this all-consuming process we can lose sight of what is most important, why we are photographing in the first place.
Recently, I was photographing the iconic Welsh Spring in the Missouri Ozarks. After arriving early, I spent well over an hour and fifteen minutes exploring different angles and discovering unknown sites and was generally just enjoying the experience of solitude and nature.
Taking how you see the world and projecting it into the creative process of photography
Soon, the sun cleared the ridge and splashed the area with harsh sunlight, which was not constructive to what I was photographing. I lingered in the area a little longer wanting to take in the quickly vanishing colors of fall.
As I packed my gear, a fellow photographer came into the clearing by the spring. We exchanged pleasantries and proceeded to talk about how nice the area was, but quickly the subject changed to gear.
The conversation slowly screeched to a halt as I tried to turn the conversation around, but it was hopeless. Fortunately, I was able to get away quickly, but I wondered would this nice gentleman really “see” Welch Spring or was it just another check mark in his list of places to see.
Do not get me wrong, I am not too good to talk about gear and find it useful when you are looking for a certain style that the other person may have more knowledge about, but to turn a photographic outing into an advertisement for Canon seems almost sacrilegious.
The tools you use to explore and discover you personal and photographic vision
I haves always wondered, in the 1500’s did the two great artists, Michelangelo and Raphael, ever get together and talk about the latest paint brushes or the new high-tech pallets? When Beethoven met Mozart in the 1700’s did they talk about the latest pianos or did they discuss what came out of the piano, the music.
So next time when you are with a friend or a group of photographers, drop the gear talk and discover what the others true vision is for their photography. You may be surprised with the answers you receive or don’t receive. Then after that you can talk all the gear you want to, because we photographers can not resist the temptation, myself included.