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Equipment: Take Less!


By Eric Hartwell

All-too-often we can be misled into thinking that the more, and better, the equipment we have, the more agreeable our images will be. Not so ....

Have a good look at your equipment - all of it. What have you got and how much do you use?

I would estimate that you will have at least a camera and a zoom lens. You might have another camera or two and a few more lenses. That's nice.

Have you also got a flashgun, a tripod, a few filters, a teleconverter, a remote release, a reflector .... and so on? You are lucky to have all this equipment.

Now I want you to try an experiment - just try it once. For me ....

The next time you go out to take some photographs, leave everything at home apart from your basic camera and lens.

Did that shake you? Is it advice that will reap benefits?

I can't tell you what the rewards, if any will be. I don't know what sort of photographer you are, the standard you have already achieved or how comfortable you are taking photos with your camera.

But I do know that leaving all the extra gear behind won't make you a worse photographer!

Assuming you have a basic camera set up with, perhaps, the equivalent of a 18 - 55mm lens, if you go out with just this then you will have to start "thinking" about your shots.

You won't be able to take candids and portraits from across the street, you will have to get nearer to fill the viewfinder.

You won't be able to flood the scene with artificial flashlight, you will have to think about changing your shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings to get a lower light shot.

You won't be able to manipulate the scene in front of you with filters of all persuasions, you will have to make the most of what is there.

Try this once and you will find a host of possibilities opening up before you. You will get closer to the action and will start thinking about your shots in more depth. Composition will become a priority for you and you will think about what you see in the viewfinder rather than what you can fit on to your camera by way of addition.

By taking the barest minimum of equipment you will start thinking about how you can get the best subjects to photograph and how you can get the very best out of those subjects. The more you do this, the more you will learn about the capabilities of your camera and the more you will enjoy the creative inspirations flowing from you.

Remember: try it the once, just for me!

Eric Hartwell is an enthusiastic photographer. He owns and runs the photography resource site http://www.theshutter.co.uk and the associated discussion forums http://www.theshutter.co.uk/forums as well as the regular weblog at http://thephotographysite.blogspot.com. Anyone interested in getting involved contact him at shutter@theshutter.co.uk

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