Thankfully, I recently stumbled upon On Happiness and Street Photography by Eric Kim and it moved me to embrace what I already have.
Photographically, I’ve felt stagnant for some time. I’ve more recently picked up my camera and shot artistically. I want more from my work. This year, I am putting the focus on learning, improving, and creating. Shifting my focus though, I began to have what Kim calls: G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome).
There were two newer camera bodies out there that I’ve lusted after in the past month. In addition, there was one lens that I’d been dreaming about for weeks. In the end, they are out of my budget and really unnecessary.
While we are frugal, we aren’t cheap. Luckily, I don’t buy on credit and I don’t buy on a whim. I just execute our purchases in an organized fashion. I usually sell equipment to upgrade or improve what I have. Taking a step back when you’re planning to sell items, or spend thousands on something new you “just have to have that’ll make it all better” will make all the difference.
Thank you Eric Kim for quieting my inner critical voice.
One part of the article that touched me was “negative visualization“. This idea was new to me.
I thought about my 50mm f/1.2 L lens and how sad I would be if it were broken or stolen. While this lens frustrates me concerning it’s auto-focus capabilities, without it I wouldn’t have created the images in my portfolio, for my family, and for my clients. And to this day, it produces beautiful soft images with bokeh I’ve never seen before owning her.
My current lenses cover all the range I need to cover. I have the wide-angle 35mm (which I sold my 24mm to upgrade to), a 50mm (which has been my workhorse for 3 years), and a 70-200mm (which covers all my extended needs perfectly). I’ve worked for years to minimize my equipment and here I am.
The lens I’d want is another zoom, but it would replicate the lower end. It would set me back $2,000+, because I’m not willing to sell my fixed lenses for it. It would be an addition, welcome, but not required.
With negative visualization, I realized why I loved the 50mm lens and spent so much $ on it in the first place (in addition to my 35mm): the ability to keep my feet moving to capture something new. I get lazy, bored, and stand in one place taking the same image when I use zoom lenses. With fixed lenses, I am forced to think, step, move, bend, lay down, or transition to find a new moment.
Fixed is what works for my style, no matter how much I read about others who love their zooms.
On another note, my camera body works perfectly. The only new updates compared to the camera I own are better low-light ISO and wifi capabilities. I don’t shoot in low-light often, but wi-fi would be awesome to have.
Though, that isn’t enough for me to sell my camera and upgrade at a marginal cost of $400 or less between the sale/purchase right this moment. In addition, it would mean I’d have to buy new media cards, accessories, and batteries.
It’s easy to get sucked into the trap of newer, better, more, different; thinking it’ll make your work all of a sudden amazing. Sometimes it does, but most times it’s learning how to use what you have that creates the most amazing work.
Next time you want something “new” think about what you currently have and how you’d miss it if it were gone. Appreciate it, and work it to the bone. I will be doing just that with what I have.