Camera gear is important if you want to take photos, and over the years you change with what you are taking photos off, along with how. I thought it might be fun to take a look at what gear I think I need for what I do now. Let’s say all my gear was stolen and I had to start again, what would I get. I don’t think I would end up with as much.
This is a fairly new thing for Melbourne, but every year in February we have White Night. The city centre is closed to traffic, all of it, even trams, for the whole night and the buildings are lit up with amazing light shows. There are installations everywhere as well. They go on all night and there are people everywhere. It is a popular event.
Back in May I did a post on my photography wishlist. I did it for some fun, but I also knew there were things on that list that I did really want. Since then, I’ve changed my mind about some of them, still want some and have got some. I am going to repost what I wrote here for you and put in the updates.
So here is my wishlist.
- A new camera, a Nikon D810 or D750. I am not sure which. I think they are both great cameras.
I would still like a new camera, though I think I would go for the D810 by Nikon now. Still with what I know and the gear I have, it does make sense to stick with it. I’ve been noticing a lot of hot pixels when I do long exposures and I’m wondering if that is just something I have to put up with, or if it is something that happens with older cameras.
- A 28-300mm lens by Nikon. I love this lens and would really love my own.
When I had this lens I couldn’t imagine living without it, but since I haven’t had it since June, I can’t say I have really missed it. I manage very well with what I have. If I could have anything I think I would wish my 24-70mm was a little longer, so maybe the 24-120mm would be a better lens for me.
- Maybe a Nikon 24mm Tilt Shift lens. I like architecture and wonder if I should get one, but then I was with someone recently who had one and it was a bit of mucking around to get the photos, so not so sure now.
I have now decided that I don’t think I could be bothered with it. So this is also coming off the list.
- A slightly smaller tripod, I would like some new carbon fibre legs from Gitzo.
This is still on the list, though I think I have found the one I want, only it is from Benro instead. I’ve been loaned a travel tripod from them to try out and if I’m honest, I really don’t want to give it back. Actually, I think I’ve made up my mind I won’t be. Hoping I can get a good deal. It is exactly what I wanted. It is light to carry around most of the time and great for photographing the city.
- A geared Really Right Stuff tripod head with a L bracket.
I finally got my L bracket, but not from them. I found a great alternative from Sunwayfoto. I also got a new top bit for my tripod so the L bracket fits it very easily. It is great. The bracket is like the Arca Swiss brackets, so fits all those as well.
I love the L bracket and it has been one of the best purchases I’ve made. I had got one from Manfrotto, a total waste of money. I hated it.
- Complete set of Formatt Hitech ND Filters for my Nikon 14-24mm lens.
I have to say this has been a long time wish and I finally got some last week. I haven’t had a chance to try them out yet, but I will be very soon. I got the holder and the 10 stop and 16 stop for that lens.
- Pay for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom for about 5 years.
This is still very much on the wishlist. I couldn’t live without these programs so it would be nice to just get them.
- Maybe a Tamron 150-600mm lens.
I haven’t really been out taking bird photos for so long, and, if I’m honest, I have never really thought of myself as a bird photographer. I think I could take this off my list.
- New laptop.
This is still on it. My husband and I are having small disagreements over which I should get. He thinks I should get something that will be a lot more expensive, and I don’t think I need one that good.
I can’t think of anything else. Is your list close to mine? What would you get?
If you want to see what you might have said here is the link to the previous post, My Photography Wishlist.
There are things that have changed and things that I want that are more to do with photography in general rather than just with gear.
I keep seeing this word being used for many other photographers and it carries a lot of weight, but I don’t seem to be able to get anyone to think that I am good enough to be an ambassador for. It is frustrating and quite depressing really. I don’t know what else I have to do.
I am really enjoying the life of a writer and I would like to do a lot more of it. I would like to write for magazines as well. I would be more than happy to earn most of my money from it. I don’t know if that is possible anymore, but I am going to continue trying.
I’m also planning on doing a lot more writing for this blog. As I said previously, I do want to start doing reviews, perhaps some tutorials, some articles on photography. Time is going to be my biggest factor. It would also be good if I could get companies to advertise or sponsor posts. Though, having said that, I need to be clear that the posts would always be about photography. I’ve been approached in the past and so far have turned many down because I don’t like what they want me to do for them.
I think that is about it really. I keep hoping that some of the opportunities that other photographers get will swing by my way, but it isn’t looking hopeful.
How is your wishlist going? Have you changed you mind about some things? Maybe you have been able get some of the items you wanted? Let me know.
From time to time I get asked how much will I sell an image for. People who like my photos often want to buy one for their walls, but when I give them the price, there is obvious shock and I never hear from them again. The main problem seems to be that they think I should sell them for far less, but they don’t take into consideration all that has gone into the creation of it. It seemed like a good subject for Up for Discussion, or U4D.
There is a famous story about Picasso, I don’t know if it is true, but the moral to it is certainly relevant.
The story goes that Picasso was sitting in a Paris café when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking for a rather significant amount of money. The admirer was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!” “No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years” (http://blog.brianbraun.net/)
When people ask for a price on your image or photos they never consider the experience and the expense that you have had that makes the work what it is worth.
You have to wonder if people think you just go out and snap the image, takes a few seconds and you are done. Maybe a little processing, but why should they pay more for than that? Of course, you could say to that person if it was that easy, then you can do your own. Though we know it isn’t always possible to do that.
I thought in this post we could take a look at some of the things that go into creating an image. They mainly concern me, but for many photographers the same would apply.
While for some it may be more instant, and they have natural abilities, it is more common to find that people have been taking photos for a number of years and learning as they go.
I’ve been taking photos for almost 25 years.
While it isn’t necessary for photographers to have any kind of education, many do. Education isn’t cheap, no matter where you are. There is the cost of the course, and then on top of that you have your living expenses as well. In Australia a degree can end up costing you anywhere from $15000 to $20000. That is for a government funded degree, if you have to pay full fees, then you could be looking at over $30000.
I spent a year a TAFE, like a technical college, then went on to do a Fine Arts Degree. My education has cost me close to $20000. Here we can pay for it later, so I still have that debt, but it will have to be paid eventually.
On top of this, I have also spent a lot of money learning Photoshop and Lightroom. I am self taught, but that just means I haven’t done any formal training, though I have purchased many online courses to teach me.
You have to have a camera, lenses, and various other things if you want to take photos. There is an expectation that if you are going to sell your work that that you gear will produce good quality images. You don’t have to have big cameras and expensive lenses, but there are expectations.
My gear has cost me a fortune. I have a lot of it, and imagine I will continue purchasing more over the years, especially as the technology evolves and things wear out. Everything does have a use by date, unfortunately.
Taking an image
When a photographer goes out to take a photo there is quite a bit of time involved. There is the travel to and from the place that was photographed. It may also be that the photographer has been there many times trying to get the best conditions for the image. They could have spent hours at that spot trying photographing many subjects, and int he end might only have one or two really outstanding images. Not to mention car expenses like fuel and other running costs.
Sometimes when I go out to take photos, it could take me two or three hours to get where I am going. I will spend 3 or 4 hours there taking photos, and then there is the trip home.
When I get home I will spend time going through the images, working out which ones I want to work on, if any. Then once I have picked one to start with, I could spend anything from one to six hours on that image all up.
How much has it cost to produce that image?
The price of that is going to be different depending on each person, where they are in the world and how much it has cost them. Each story is going to be different.
Off the top of my head I’m thinking around $40000 to $50000 to get to where I am with my photography, but that doesn’t take into any consideration the hours and hours I’ve spent doing it, learning it in the field and practicing.
So the next time people are peeved at the price an artist wants to charge for their work, it might be good for them to be reminded about what that image has cost the artist to produce. It is up to them if they want to purchase it or not, but they shouldn’t be upset with the artist.
It is never as simple as you think. It’s never just a quick click of the camera.
Here is a selection of images that if people were going to purchase I would expect them pay a bit of money for.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited by a group to go into the city and do some night photography in the lanes. A couple of the guys brought along some steel wool to burn and then spin around. I have seen so many photos of it in the past, only tried it once, so I was quite excited to try it again. It wasn’t as easy as I thought, but lots of fun.
We went to Hosier Lane and did some with the graffiti as a backdrop. It worked out really well.
I put this image on Instagram and it did so well. Can’t believe how many likes it got, my most successful image ever really.
They were making use of the doorways and spinning in those. It was quite amazing. I didn’t frame mine very well for this one, but it is all a learning experience.
We went down to another lane which wasn’t so well lit up. The lights in adjacent buildings can create too much light in the lanes. This one was quite dark. They did an orb sort of thing in it. Quite weird, sparks went flying and you had to be careful. I had to walk away from my camera because I was getting sprayed.
I used my 14-24mm for these, but I think if I were doing it again I wouldn’t go so wide. I had to get so close to be able to get anything. It wasn’t always a problem, but it meant I could get in the way of others there. I think next time I would use the 24-70mm, or something similar.
It was a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I would do it again, but only for fun. I can’t see myself trying to get a body of work doing this. I know there are people out there that doing it all the time, and that’s great, but I love doing other stuff more. I do hope I will get to do it again one day, you never know.
Recently, I’ve been talking about this quite a bit, car boot photography. It is something that I really enjoy doing, and something I have to thank Moose Peterson for introducing me to.
It is an interesting idea and something that really suits the type of photography that I like to do. So what is it?
I should also explain that in Australia the back part of the car where you put your luggage is called a boot, in other countries it is referred to as a trunk. So basically Car Boot Photography is taking photos from the boot of your car, well sort of.
When I used to go out and take photos I would take everything I needed in one bag, which meant that since I would have to carry the bag, I wouldn’t take too much stuff. The downside to this is if you are out and realise that you could have done with a different lens, then too bad, you don’t have it with you.
I have two Tamrac camera bags, a big one, the Expedition 7x, and a smaller one, the Aero Speed Pack 75. They are both great bags, but one is too big for carrying around all the time, the other too small. So now I take most of my gear in the Expedition 7x, but I also take the Aero Pack. I leave the larger bag with things that I’m not sure I will need in the boot, and take the smaller bag with camera, spare lens and any filters I might need. If I am out taking a photo, then I know I don’t have to go far to get another lens, or something else from the bag.
When I went to the harbour in Apollo Bay, I was using my 24-70mm and then thought it would be nice to use the 80-200mm, but it was in the other bag, so I just went back to the car got it, and then continued taking photos with it. A couple of months ago I would have stood at the harbour and been disappointed that I hadn’t brought it with me.
I think I really like car boot photography, it also means that you take photos that aren’t too far from the car. So driving somewhere, stopping, taking photos, than driving somewhere else. You can’t always get access past a public road, but you can take photos of things from the road. In Australia you can take photos from public areas of private places, as long as you are on public land. I think most of my photography is probably this sort.
Do you do any car boot photography?
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