I will be the first person to admit it: I am NOT a techie. Despite my history growing up with an amazing IT coding father, using both PCs and Macs, and being employed as a Mac Genius for Apple, I could not care less about the nitty gritty stats of this gear vs. that gear. How this lens is better that that lens, or how this new camera blows every other camera out of the water. Why? Because when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter! The best camera you can buy is just that–the one you can buy!
Back in college, we were regularly asked to buy cheap Holga disposable cameras for assignments. I think I paid $45 for a three pack and some of the images from those cameras are some of my favorites nearly 15 years later. Cheap, plastic lenses can have weird distortions and aberrations, but if you know the flaws, you can use them to your advantage to create something perfectly imperfect and unique. You can even make cameras out of oatmeal tins (just google how to make a pinhole camera) and create amazing imagery. Bottom line: it’s not about the latest and greatest! Our earliest photography forefathers created images from the most rudimentary of tools.
Yes, you need to know your tool. Know the tool’s limitations and its advantages so that you can manipulate them. The tool is nothing without us making it work. So the next time you’re having gear envy, stop and remember that the “latest and greatest” is not the only way to go to make a successful photograph. I challenge you to experiment with any type of camera you can get your hands on. Push it to its limits and then push some more. I’ll bet you’ll surprise yourself!
Arizona Highways Photo Workshops. For more than 30 years, Arizona Highway Photo Workshops has been committed to helping photographers find inspiring destinations, quality education and spectacular images. Get more information (and enter our contest) at http://www.ahpw.org/FindIt/