It Seems Everyone Is Worried About What To Buy
My position is it doesn't matter one bit if you have the best camera made (which doesn't exist) if you do not know how to use it. Or if you don't know much about the digital darkroom. My position is education is more important...
Did Everyone Hear That?
Nope! Crickets! If myself or other educators out there, state that it's the six inches behind that gear which composes the image...along with a whole lot of heart and passion... and then your work in the digital darkroom that can bring your art to life... and then that printed image on the wall that stands the test of time with daily gazes and it's still an awesome image!?!... Most Photographers, would still wish to talk about the gear. Whew! That was a bit of a run on sentence! But I never said I was a gifted writer.
In every single event I've ever held teaching over the the past 20 odd years or so... Most of the time, usually all I overhear my students talk about... is gear! They do not speak or ask about mood... or story... or impact... or how did you even see that image?
They talk about the gear! AND they can get downright technical with this conversation, spewing forth all kinds of statistics and technical jargon that can have very little impact upon that artistic vision before them! Not one client that ever purchased one or more of my images, ever cared a tinkers dam about what camera or lens I shot it with!
I Was Guilty Of This Behavior...
When I was younger and maybe a bit less wise. I thought when I had my Brownie, I wanted the 35mm. When I had the 35mm I wanted the 120. When I had the 120 I wanted the 4x5. Then? I wanted the 8x10 view camera! Why?
Because I thought, like a lot of us, I could buy myself into becoming a legendary Photographer! Even as little as ten years ago or so I was strongly contemplating spending BIG bucks on the RED. Wow! Would THAT have been a HUGE mistake!
Well with age comes a bit of wisdom... more gear is not what I need. There are several other things, far more important. Please read on!
Currently the new Nikon Z-8 has hit the market. Would I like that camera? Sure! Do I NEED that camera? Currently no. Why? Because I do not need that new awesome focus system for Bird or Wildlife Photography. I do very little of that type of shooting now a days, and what little I do, can be done with my D-850. If I was still shooting a lot of ballet? Yes that camera would be nice for that focus system and it's quiet shutter... but my Z6II can do that as well and I already own that.
In the future I might buy that camera... But currently? If I needed it's capabilities I'd rent it for that one shoot. Four grand looks pretty good in my bank instead of Nikons. I can rent the Z-8 for a week for about $250.00
You Can Buy Yourself Into Better Imagery! Yes You Can!
But your money will be far, far more wisely spent on education! Also? Getting out in groups of other like minded people and shooting together, such as the PhotoWalks and PhotoSafaris from yours truly, or others.
I have drawers full of testimonials from clients that have told me that one afternoon with me shooting was better than two years of self study online! I'm not trying to toot my own horn here... No brag... jess fact. Why? Because I will make you manipulate the buttons and dials on your Camera until this becomes second nature.
The Military actually uses the same type of training. They wish their soldiers to be able to dismantle and reassemble their weapon blindfolded! They can be VERY persuasive in that training as well! Why? Because their lives can depend upon that skill. I try and be a bit nicer.
But guess what? Your Photographic life or result can depend upon knowledge of your camera as well! Now I'm well aware of that insane, internal need to have that shinny new lens. Or that shinny new camera. But honestly? If you can not operate what you already own... that new piece of gear is not going to change those abilities. It will actually convolute them even more with a lot less cashola in your jeans!
Your Digital Darkroom Skills Can Also Assist!
Actually? Good digital darkroom editing skills can trump a better camera! In todays age even entry level cameras are pretty good. Cheap glass in front of that sensor can also ruin a decent sensor. So this is one case where the gear can make the difference. BUT! Do you need a bag full of expensive lenses? Honestly no. Unless you are shooting wildlife a great distance away... or birds in flight, big expensive glass is not necessary.
However, unless you're doing some Wildlife Photography, 75% of the time one lens in the 24-70 range is all you need. Want a little more reach? If you have the pixels you can place your camera in crop sensor mode with that 24-70 and have the equivalent of a 36-105! Yes, that was some edumacation... I just saved you a bunch of cash! A good sensor and that one lens is a LOT of camera!
Now buy that good Camera with the awesome sensor from a used camera site with a good reputation? ChaChing! Saved ya 50%! The awesome lens too? Another 50%!
Do I take lessons? Why yes! Yes I do!
However after the many years that I have been a Photographer... the lessons come differently now. Research, testing, observation, and pushing the envelope come into play here. But Still I go out and shoot with myself and my three assistants ALL THE TIME! Why?
Because we learn from each other, that's why! We are on the same level together when we get the chance to shoot. So we are off doing our own thing, and then sharing our findings together. We VERY seldom talk gear. All the time we discuss mood, feel, story, impact, editing styles, and printing techniques.
Every Single Day I learn Something New Photographically
In my pursuits I am VERY seldom researching a new camera or piece of glass. I have it all you say? No not really. I still bought some new gear last year. But after my years of being a Photographer, there is very little I need now. And actually? Two years ago I reduced my gear inventory substantially! By more than 65%!
Now! Have you learned of a new technique that will exponentially set me vastly apart from the masses? Oh please! Do share! Have you learned of a new location that hasn't been Photographed to death? Please! Do Share! I'll keep it a secret! Can you show me a way I can spend less time in front of my computer and more time out shooting with the wind in my hair? Oh man! Please?! Help me learn that!
I LOVE to teach! I love assisting people to learn faster than it took me. I love that look in their eye when the light goes off and they get it. I love making things simpler for people. I love giving people the short cuts that took me many years to learn... Time!
Time! Now That's Some New Gear I'd Love to Have!
Time is my enemy. I'm running out of time. Can you show me where I can buy more time? Can you show me quick ways people can learn about this cool dude named Garrett, and go shoot with him?
For 35 years in the Gaming Industry I was lucky enough to have a book of eight thousand clients that used to call me up and come visit. I knew the entire family! Even the dog's name! I LOVED that! Now a days? I can no longer assist them with room reservations and what not, so they no longer need me. But I still need people!
I feed off of their energy. This is the key reason I started teaching Photography and doing PhotoSafaris. In the days of yore people used to go back home and tell their friends about me. Why? Because of what I could do for them.
Now? I need to learn how to offer an environment where people still need what I can do for them... so that I can obtain that much needed energy from them as well. This damn keyboard sucks when it comes to offering that energy. I'm old fashioned. I still love to hang out with people! Maybe get a hug once in awhile.
Where is THAT gear?? Give some of THAT in spades! A whole slew of people that come out to visit so that we can go on PhotoSafari together! All year 'round?! Now that's some cool gear!
Once again... Thanks for being here and reading.
The Month Of November Will Be Spent Close To Vegas.
In November I'm offering Classes on LightRoom at B&C Camera. Those should be posted soon. The First class is November 9th at 5:00 pm.
I'll also be offering some PhotoSafaris near-by for those that wish to be away from the crowds of the Grand Prix Races. The Las Vegas National Horse Show is on the same weekend as the Grand Prix. Guaranteed I will be Photographing those horses from the stands! It's a fun challenge. A "dark arena" with Jumping Horses.
The Month Of December Will Also Be Spent Close to Vegas
The first couple of weeks of December is an important time for me with the National Finals Rodeo in town. I will be shooting at some of the festivities located at the Southpoint. Once again I'll be shooting from the stands. Guaranteed I'll be at Benny Binions Bucking Horse and Bull Sale both days, December 7th & 8th...
After the first two weeks in December I usually get out and away from the holiday shopping crowds. With Death Valley vastly closed down, I just might be looking at new adventures. I'm in the planning stages now.
The Month of January 2024
This winter I'll be doing PhotoSafaris in both Southern Utah and Lake Tahoe. If anyone is interested in these hit me up. I'm in the planning stages of those now.
Also Coming This Summer!
It is VERY likely I'll be based out of Duck Creek Utah this summer. This region offers some of the best PhotoSafari locations in the world! I'll be planning those soon as well! So when ya'll have had enough of the Vegas heat this summer I'll have options!