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Author Topic: Equipment: Does it get in the way ?  (Read 17487 times)
ivan muller
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« on: November 07, 2006, 11:59:40 PM »
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Hi
After having read that our host will get a G7 after all to supplement his M8 on his next trip, I was wondering if our equipment itself does not get in the way of our vision/creativity? I remember years ago on my first trip to Namibia my partner and I took along the sinar, hasselblad, mamiya and canon's together with a whole boot full of lenses, tripods etc etc. All I can remember from that trip was the decisions, decisions on what to use! Much later I remember going out on a daytrip with one camera only, a hexar, with a fixed 35mm lens. What a pleasure! My legs became the zoom and I made far more memorable photos in one day than in seven days on the previous trip. Only took about five rolls of film. This meant that I had to be more carefull on choise of subject matter. My point is, less is more. One camera(to learn), one lens, one iso, one aperture or shutterspeed. When you do this, the only technical variables becomes the shutterspeed or aperture and focussing. The rest of the effort is spent on vision. Perhaps ultimately that is why the leica is so revered. It cuts down on your choices.
Thanks Ivan
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2006, 03:59:15 AM »
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In addition to my other equipment I still maintain an old Yashica Mat124G double lens reflex camera - primarily because it forces me to be creative.  No interchangeable lenses, 6x6 format, etc.

Mike.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2006, 05:44:00 AM »
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I think that it depends on the endeavour.

If you know in advance the images that you want/need to capture, then it would be irresponsible not to bring the equipment that you would reasonnably expect to need to achieve your goal.

If you are on a more zen kind of assignment where you have the freedom to let your creativity adapt to the circumpstances instead of trying to shape the day, then less is indeed definitely more.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2006, 11:17:34 AM »
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When traveling and/or hiking, I've often seen the guy with a huge bag of camera gear setting up his tripod near his car.  You rarely see those guys a couple of miles out on the trail, because they can't carry all their stuff that far.  They're missing a lot of fine views.  (I have a camera bag that holds exactly one not-too-big camera with one not-too-big lens, and can hike all day with it.)

Lisa
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2006, 11:57:40 AM »
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When traveling and/or hiking, I've often seen the guy with a huge bag of camera gear setting up his tripod near his car.  You rarely see those guys a couple of miles out on the trail, because they can't carry all their stuff that far.  They're missing a lot of fine views.  (I have a camera bag that holds exactly one not-too-big camera with one not-too-big lens, and can hike all day with it.)

Lisa
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I'm totally with Lisa on this one. In my 8x10 days, 90% of my best shots were with my Pentax Spotmatic, because the good shots were too far from the car (the 8x10 spent much time in the trunk of my car.    

-Eric
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mahleu
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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2006, 12:25:05 PM »
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When traveling and/or hiking, I've often seen the guy with a huge bag of camera gear setting up his tripod near his car.  You rarely see those guys a couple of miles out on the trail, because they can't carry all their stuff that far.  They're missing a lot of fine views.  (I have a camera bag that holds exactly one not-too-big camera with one not-too-big lens, and can hike all day with it.)

Lisa
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84164\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That just depends on the photographer, i've walked a long long (too far) way with my heavy tripod, 2 bodies and a few lenses. Depends how fit/motivated/mad you are.
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Wayland
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2006, 03:13:54 PM »
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Over the years I climbed the film ladder from 35mm to medium format and then 5x4. It's been a few years since I used the 5x4 and a couple since the Broni was last out of the bag.

Digital has brought back the mobility that I had sacrificed for quality so long ago.

Sure it's not up to 5x4 yet but I'm more than happy compared to medium format and I certainly get a lot further from the car these days.

I always swore I would never go digital but it has revitalized my images and I'm just about starting to understand it like I understood film.

It's not the equipment that gets in the way, it's the weight of it for me.
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2006, 06:30:18 PM »
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Ivan wrote:
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hexar, with a fixed 35mm lens
I suspect you are pulling our legs about the Hexar, which everybody knows is not nearly as expensive as a Leica, but you don't mention what the maximum aperture of the lens is. As we all know, the best lenses are at least f/1.4.

Quote
was wondering if our equipment itself does not get in the way of our vision/creativity?
Ivan: please do not take offence - but I find your entire post rather confusing. I normally associate vision and creativity with what is called "art". If I want to take an art photograph, I go to an authorized Ansel Adams location, such as Half Dome, drive as close as possible to one of the official vantage points, then hike my Lowepro backpack (containing $23,362.37US worth of the very finest equipment) the short remaining distance to the actual location. This is good exercise and I recently acquired a 600mm lens just to provide extra workout for my abs. (Incidentally, you can always tell you've got to the correct spot by the horde of other photographers already setting up their tripods in the same vicinity. I find it is generally best to calculate the central point of the group, then gradually press my way there to set up.)

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my first trip to Namibia
Isn't that in Africa? Did Mr Ansel Adams ever travel there? I've read his autobiography several times and don't recall any mention of that. I don't think it was Mr Edward Weston either, because he was very poor; and I'm pretty sure he only ever travelled to Mexico.

After reflecting for some time, a very exciting possibility occurs to me. There may in fact be important photo locations that Mr Adams and Mr Weston worked that have not yet been made accessible by paved road ways!! It would be very exciting to be among the first to re-discover these lost gems - and to do so with the added advantage of modern digital equipment. Yet when I contemplate such an enterprise, there is one question that I find very puzzling...

...whatever happened to mule trains?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2006, 06:32:46 PM by Dale Cotton » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2006, 07:56:06 PM »
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When traveling and/or hiking, I've often seen the guy with a huge bag of camera gear setting up his tripod near his car.  You rarely see those guys a couple of miles out on the trail, because they can't carry all their stuff that far.  They're missing a lot of fine views.  (I have a camera bag that holds exactly one not-too-big camera with one not-too-big lens, and can hike all day with it.)

Lisa
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Lisa,

Although I agree with your point, I can testify that some guys are still crazy enough to trek long distances in rough terrain with an Ebony 4*5 with 3 lenses and 60 sheets of quickload Provia 100F, a d2x with 2 lenses... and 4 memory cards (the part that hurts)

Cheers,
Bernard
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2006, 08:02:40 PM »
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If I want to take an art photograph, I go to an authorized Ansel Adams location, such as Half Dome, drive as close as possible to one of the official vantage points, then hike my Lowepro backpack (containing $23,362.37US worth of the very finest equipment) the short remaining distance to the actual location. This is good exercise and I recently acquired a 600mm lens just to provide extra workout for my abs. (Incidentally, you can always tell you've got to the correct spot by the horde of other photographers already setting up their tripods in the same vicinity. I find it is generally best to calculate the central point of the group, then gradually press my way there to set up.)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84230\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Dale,

What a shot of nostalgia you have given me! Your post brought back fond memories of the Good Old Days, when all of the Approved Photographable Locations in American national parks were clearly marked with signs featuring the famous Kodak Yellow Corner on them. In those blessed days you didn't even have to bring your Ansel Adams postcard with you to know which direction to shoot. The Kodak Sign told all (including, if I remember correctly, the appropriate camera settings for each type of Acceptable Light Condition.)

Eric
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ivan muller
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2006, 05:05:43 AM »
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Ivan wrote:

I suspect you are pulling our legs about the Hexar, which everybody knows is not nearly as expensive as a Leica, but you don't mention what the maximum aperture of the lens is. As we all know, the best lenses are at least f/1.4.
Ivan: please do not take offence - but I find your entire post rather confusing. I normally associate vision and creativity with what is called "art". If I want to take an art photograph, I go to an authorized Ansel Adams location, such as Half Dome, drive as close as possible to one of the official vantage points, then hike my Lowepro backpack (containing $23,362.37US worth of the very finest equipment) the short remaining distance to the actual location. This is good exercise and I recently acquired a 600mm lens just to provide extra workout for my abs. (Incidentally, you can always tell you've got to the correct spot by the horde of other photographers already setting up their tripods in the same vicinity. I find it is generally best to calculate the central point of the group, then gradually press my way there to set up.)
Isn't that in Africa? Did Mr Ansel Adams ever travel there? I've read his autobiography several times and don't recall any mention of that. I don't think it was Mr Edward Weston either, because he was very poor; and I'm pretty sure he only ever travelled to Mexico.

After reflecting for some time, a very exciting possibility occurs to me. There may in fact be important photo locations that Mr Adams and Mr Weston worked that have not yet been made accessible by paved road ways!! It would be very exciting to be among the first to re-discover these lost gems - and to do so with the added advantage of modern digital equipment. Yet when I contemplate such an enterprise, there is one question that I find very puzzling...

...whatever happened to mule trains?
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ivan muller
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2006, 05:16:14 AM »
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Hi Dale
I'm deadly serious! And no, no offense taken.Not sure about the hexar's lens aperture, I just put it on P and the camera does the rest. The only leicas we see are from rich tourists( and website reviews) and its quite easy to find their tripod marks as its very sandy around here. Actually, yes Namibia is in Africa and its about a thousand km drive from my front 'stoep' and on the way there you will see quite a few mule trains!
thanks Ivan
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Fred Ragland
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2006, 08:39:50 AM »
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... I was wondering if our equipment itself does not get in the way of our vision/creativity?...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84084\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yes it does.  But more so early on than later.  When we really know what the equipment will do, freeing our vision to create becomes more a matter of researching what will be shot than going astray with how we do it.  As the years pass, I spend much less time fretting about camera technique and more time finding the shot and deciding whether I FEEL good enough about it.

As an aside, with the airlines limiting what we can carry aboard, we find ourselves severely paring down what will go on a shoot.  For me, the concern has become not having the necessary gear.  In this case, its the lack of equipment that gets in the way of vision/creativity...but necessity has mothered new uses that I wouldn't have dreamed of before carryon cutbacks!
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2006, 10:42:05 AM »
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Not long ago, photographers raved about Yashica T4's and Stylus Epic's. The Epic is about the size of a wallet. I own a Stylus Epic and at one point, about 1/3 of the photos on my wall were taken with it. In those days I also had Pentax K-mount gear. The Epic had a 35 mm lens. I often thought that if they had released a version of the Epic with a 24 mm lens and another with 45 to 50 mm lens, AND included aperture priority in their bodies, I could buy the three versions, get rid of everything else, buy a smaller camera bag and I would be ok for 90% of my shooting. Of course, flexibility is worth something and so we pay for it so as not to miss those other (10%) opportunities.

It seems to me that Oly could stuff their 4/3's sensor in 3 digital fixed lens Epic's (or more for that matter) and one's entire high quality gear collection could fit in all the pockets of a good photo vest. The difficult part would be remembering which focal length was in which pocket.
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2006, 06:19:25 PM »
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Hard to say.  I think it may have been Edward Weston who said nothing photogenic was more than 500 feet from the car.  He did OK.  Hard to tell if he let equipment get in his way, or adjusted his way for himself. the required equipment (or whatever he had).

Maybe the photographer gets in the way more than his camera.  He imposes himself (of course) on every image he makes, regardless of equipmant.  There is a scientific notion that the mere observation changes the event.
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ivan muller
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« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2006, 01:05:57 AM »
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hi
the biggest obstacle to landscape photography is climbing over the fence.

Jock Sturgess uses a 8x10 camera, one lens and no meter. not using a meter forced  him to learn to accurately judge the exposure. this saves time. He can probably use the 8x10 as fast as most of us with our 35's. the advantage of a 240mm lens is that you get a wide angle look with very shallow depth of field. And of course nothing comes close to 8x10 quality.
thanks Ivan
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mahleu
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2006, 05:39:52 AM »
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Hi Dale
Actually, yes Namibia is in Africa and its about a thousand km drive from my front 'stoep' and on the way there you will see quite a few mule trains!
thanks Ivan
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It's about 1500km from mine, where do you live?
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ivan muller
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2006, 11:29:06 AM »
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Hi
My estimate was just a thumbsuck. I live in Centurion but commute to Jhb for most of my commercial work.
thanks Ivan
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2006, 07:59:49 AM »
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Good gear is "transparent"--it doesn't get between the vision and the realization of that vision. Of course, nothing lives up to this perfectly; weight, bulk, and the inherent limitations of the equipment all create their own obstacles to be dealt with. While one is certainly better off capturing an image with a digicam in the hand than not capturing it with the 8x10 in the trunk, the reason the 8x10 is in the trunk instead of in-hand (or on-tripod) has at least as much to do with the photographer as the equipment itself. I prefer to shoot with my Canon DSLRs, but while I was in Iraq I had to make do with my Olympus SP-350 due to restriction on how much stuff I could take with me, cramped living quarters, and the impracticality of carrying a 40lb camera bag when one already must carry a weapon and  ammunition (12 lbs), body armor (30+ lbs with attached gear and ballistic strike plates), rucksack (20-70 lbs, depending on what's inside), aid bag (20 lbs or so of medical supplies; I'm a medic) and one or two duffel bags (30-70 lbs each) when moving from one location to another. In spite of its limitations, I got some good images from the Olympus, but now that I'm back from my deployment, I'm back to using my 1Ds and 1D-MkII again, because they are more "transparent" than the Olympus.
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« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2006, 08:54:21 AM »
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Constraint is often the driving force behind creativity. Take a look at Toy Cameras for example - http://www.ToyCamera.com - there's some brilliant images there.

Constraints filter out those that have skill versus those that get lucky or can read an equipment manual.

Regards, Art.
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