Many photographers by nature are gear heads and often love to discuss the next latest and greatest from manufacturers such as Canon, Nikon, Mamiya and Hasselblad. We are caught in an ever ending loop of upgrading our digital bodies only to find out that our entire workflow from software to hard drives to computers also must be updated. Lets face it, for most of us, that additional jump in pixels or improvement in dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio is just plain over kill. Maybe we need to spend more time with our current gear and not money on more stuff.
I’ve heard many photographers, some friends and some just on forums, salivate over Canon’s 1DX or Nikon’s D4. Most are working professionals others just have money to burn. Some, including myself, will not be upgrading to any of those bodies. You have to ask yourself, can I accomplish my goals without the upgrade? If the answer is yes, then spend more time o your craft. If the answer is no, then you need to figure out whether your dilemma is a knowledge or equipment issue.
Personally, I believe I can accomplish everything I need to with my current equipment so this year I will be fine-tuning my craft. In fact, I am signed up for Peter Hurley’s Headshot Intensive Workshop in New York. I love photographing people and creating lifestyle portraits, but I also really enjoy taking tight close-ups of my subjects. I don’t expect to be charging $1,100 for a headshot anytime soon, but I do want to improve my skills. In terms of gear, my goal is to be able to do everything with my medium format and rangefinder gear so I can get rid of m DSLR by the end of the year.
So go out there and rise up to my friend Ralph’s challenge. Spend time with your current gear and really learn how to use it. It’s the stuff between your ears and your eyes that will create those wonderful images. Not the stuff in your gear bag.
Cowboy Joe is a volunteer at GAIT throughout his teen years. He has learned to work with both children and adults with varying disabilities and how to work with horses of varying sizes and personalities. He is responsible for the daily feeding and stall cleaning chores for the horses. I photographed him over the weekend at GAIT’s 16th birthday bash.
I really believe you should use a professional to get memorable photos of your favorite athlete. Sure, I am biased because it is how I make a living, but you will enjoy your high school or college athlete’s games much better. It’s tough to watch your kids life pass you bu through a viewfinder. If you insist on taking your own photos because of budgetary constraints or you simply enjoy taking photos, here are a couple of suggestions that should improve your ability to get tack sharp images.
First of all do not buy anything but a Nikon or Canon DSLR. Sure lots of other cameras take very good pictures, but there are numerous reasons virtually all sports photographers use Canon or Nikon. To get sharper images, my suggestions for the amateur using a Nikon or Canon SLR are as follows: 1) Be sure the camera is set to continuously track your subject, 2) increase your depth of field when possible; and most importantly, 3) be sure the camera has locked on to your subject before releasing the shutter.