Saturday, August 16, 2014

The soul crushing (and spine crushing) awesomeness of my gear. I have G.A.S! (maybe)

My G.A.S Problem, and probably yours too..
Depiction of Sisyphus attempting to roll an immovable  boulder uphill that
was alleged to have been enchanted by Zeus himself as punishment for his Hubris.
This rather timeless depiction of a Greek mythological figure may remind some of us with our battle of the bulge; our bulging gear bags that get bulgier every time some shiny new gadget comes along promising to make our lives easier that we just can't seem to say no to.

If  your photo biz when you go on an expedition resembles this depiction,
you may want to think about downsizing.


Petapixel had an article a while back about the very first sports action camera that had evolved seemingly from the joining of a massive 300mm cinema lense with a fold-up camera box,  using what looks like a WWII B-29 bombardier's sighting scope. It was called Big Bertha, and boy was it big!

It weighed a paltry 120 pounds it was the fastest and first camera sufficiently equipped to give the viewing public an in the trenches view of the action from the nose bleed seats courtesy of a 300mm lense.
The top down view that operator has, still remains to this day an advantage in many scenarios. I wish my Nikon had this at times because my 39 year old joints don't feel like dislocating themselves enough to allow me crouch down and sight in my camera with a tripod that's too short for a 6 foot plus male to comfortably view the aperture with.

There are a lot of tripods out there that are barely able to keep a camera stable at 3/4 of their rather anemic advertised height. Camera's are increasingly becoming denser in pixel count and complexity, keeping the camera as still as possible becomes an even higher priority. This becomes painfully apparently when doing more complex tasks such as long exposures, multiple exposure blending, time lapse, pretty much every conceivable activity that people are experimenting with now in the DSLR sphere.

Your knee's hurt, back hurts- body hates you (mine hates me), whats the cure? Other than avoiding all stressful activities, even the ones you love there is still hope. Offload a lot of that bulky nonsense for lighter less demanding gear the fulfills most of the same roles your other multi-zooming multi-multi gadgets did for you. You will simply have to adjust your habits to accommodate the lighter less multi-multi gear you once towed around by mule.

You may have to spend a bit more to carry around gear that weighs less. Carbon fiber, titanium alloy, there are a myriad of options for your support gear to support you without adding to your burdens.
For the primary gear, camera body and lenses, there are also options. Mirror-less is particular format that is gaining popularity by leaps and bounds. It's been out in the hands of the masses long enough to prove itself a success or failure. Most of them are fairly successful, some have unique qualities like being brand agnostic when it comes to lenses. Sony's mirror-less cameras have that ability, you can take almost any camera lense and mount it with an adaptor with only minor drawbacks that are all easily compensated for in post. Canon, Nikon, even Leica users may now rejoice because they have the option of divorcing themselves of their camera system without having to leave their precious glass behind.

The most obvious choice aside from picking lighter gear that doesn't make your body scream in agony after carrying it around all day is carrying less of it, only take what you'll know you will really use. That's a tough call to make, and comes with time and experience. I'm pretty green so I carry around a lot, probably more than i'll ever need in one sitting.

Trey Ratcliff is the newest evangelist of this holistic less is more approach to photography. It's a good way to go, camera companies are definitely showing signs of taking the non-DSLR market much more seriously than I suspected they would.

Camera Phones are getting a make-over soon, with DSLR style raw camera formats (selfie freaks rejoice!), manual exposure controls and improved sensor performance. There's still plenty of time and opportunity to ruin your photo's with half-assed Instagram filters so don't fret Insta-holics!

Camera straps are very useful and also handy way of distributing your gear so it's always at hand should the opportunity to take that award winning shot. They distribute the weight of your photo bling more evenly as an added bonus.

How you pursue your hobby or passion is up to you, I just need to buy 300 more things and I'll be done.. I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM!! OK OK maybe just a little one..