When it came to understanding photography, my mindset revolved around the idea that if I purchased a camera with the top specs, my results would turn out like the pros. It was just my innocent ignorance. And whenever I had a question related to gear, I would be delighted to ask one of my friends who majored in photography, to recommend me what I could buy based on my budget; though I knew nothing about what he recommended – I just took his word for it. I was usually drawn to DSLRs, but was typically intimidated by a “big camera”, with all their buttons, dials, and foreign meanings of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and all the rest of it. Due to my limited perception associating big cameras as “pro”, I kept my distance.
Then mirrorless cameras made a debut.
I was attracted to the smaller form factor and the images were comparable to the big dog’s (Full Frame) outputs. So I copped a Sony NEX-6 as my first interchangeable lens camera along with the Zeiss 24 1.8, Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35 1.4 (SC), Sony 50mm 1.8, and the underdog, Tamron 18-200 Di III VC. I also played around with Lightroom 4 to edit RAW files. I was given a tip from one of my colleagues suggesting that as long as my photo’s histogram readings were not clipping on either end, that I could revive most photos in post processing. I always was fooled by the marketing about megapixel count, but since I don’t do large prints (yet), and most of my images are on the web (and Instagram), I found that 16MP provided me with enough to work with my creative flexibility and allowed myself to grow into the camera and not be reeled into the trap of buying better gear. I had to get better with the tools first.
It’s been exactly a year since I started experimenting with photography (and still learning a great deal!). The beauty about photography is that your camera is a tool to extract your visual expression of how you see something – and to share it with others. A building, an object, a person, or some nature landscape can be taken a hundred times by a hundred different people, simply to just “snap” the moment. But for others, it’s a way to show that you were having a conversation with the subject, and to express the dialogue, the exchange in vision, to ignite questions and wonder – to make something ordinary, fluid and alive. Many of us get lost in the technicalities of superior equipment, and how photos should be this-way or that-way, and we forget that someone has attempted to communicate something subtle – and it is up to us to try to understand a photographer’s approach. It allows us to be visual listeners, rather than judgers of what’s right and what’s wrong.
Now that I’ve learned a tremendous amount about photography, I finally picked up my first film rangefinder, the Canon Canonet G-III QL-17 which I have been experimenting with for a couple of months. Because I drool over anything Leica, I instead invested in what’s been called a the “Poor man’s Leica”. Luckily, this little gem was purchased for a measly $40 at a camera show in my local town!
Thank you, Steve, for continuing to do what you do. It has livened up my interest of photography altogether!
Gion District, Kyoto, Japan – Tamron 18-200mm
My Maltipoo named Chip – Canonet 40mm
Matt Davis Trail, Stinson Beach, California – Zeiss 24mm
Mission Peak, Fremont, California – Voigtlander 35mm
Train up to Mount Fuji, Japan – Tamron 18-200mm
Zojoji Temple, Tokyo, Japan – Sony 50mm
Cirque du Soleil, Bellagio, Las Vegas – Zeiss 24mm