Remembering your roots

Recently I shared a post from the Photography Institute about the humble point and shoot camera. The photos presented are stunning, and you would be hard pressed to say they were not shot with the bigger, badder, DSLRs. A common thought in photography is the better your equipment, the better the picture. All of the photographers highlighted in the article are a reminder that this is simply not true all of the time. Better equipment helps, absolutely, but there is also a certain eye that is also art of the equation. And a better camera won’t stand up and point out the good shots for you.

Looking back through all the cameras I have used over the years, and through some of my old and much loved photos, I remembered that some of my own favourites had been shot with a really basic camera - and I mean no zoom, no digital, no fancy setting, old school film camera. The funny thing is, some of these shots I have tried in vain to recreate them in digital format with my better gear. And the thing is, I can’t and I never will. These were one time moments, one time lighting, one time opportunities - one time seeing exactly what I saw and that one time to capture it. Having another chance with better gear will never replace that.

Sometimes I still shoot with my old Canon TX, the same one I used at the beginning, just to keep my mind fresh on composing and exposure. Also to remember not rely on the redo function of a digital camera. Film is one shot, and you don’t know the result until later. You have to rely on your knowledge and abilities, and trust in them to capture that shot. I haven’t gotten that ancient beast out in a while, and reading the post reminded me that I am almost taking for granted the benefits of my DSLR.

When was the last time you used a film camera, or a point and shoot for that matter? Why not try an experiment and use one for a day? Take one with you on a shoot and see what you can do. If you’ve never used either, well, it might be a fine time to take a step out of your comfort zone and give it a whirl. You may be surprised how differently you approach your shots. Whatever you do, don’t forget how you started taking pictures, why you started, what you saw that made you want to capture the memory. Remember your own roots, and maybe visit them once in a while.

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