Some of you are wondering what "G.A.S." is. Otherwise known as Gear Acquisition Syndrome. The photography centric media bombards us with an up to the second deluge of software and hardware you just can't live without. For the last 10, or so, years the camera industry has been on an upgrade frenzy. Bigger megapixel counts, high ISO, video, wifi and the latest lenses are upgraded at a phenomenal pace. Rumor sites feed on the quest for information regarding every large camera retailers next upgrade. Just type in (your camera brand here)rumors.com and the speculation begins. We are led to believe that our photography will improve drastically with the purchase of whatever piece of the newest glass/plastic/metal or software that is arriving tomorrow.
Ok I have to admit that I love gear. Picking up something new and figuring out what it's capable of is one of my favorite things. I am constantly looking for gear that can help me with whatever project I dreamt of the day before. I search online for reviews and am definitely curious what the rumor sites have to say. What I have to do, to balance that, is to look at where I am with my craft.
The craft of photography is often overlooked. I've been working with cameras since the mid 70's and have processed b&w film and color film, printed using enlargers and chemistry as well as witnessed the explosion of digital. I was lucky enough to have been working with a company that transitioned from film to digital so was able to see that unfold and the challenges that it posed. Over the last 40 years I have spent time learning about those that came before us, Ansel Adams, Stieglitz, Lange, Bresson and more. I have spent time learning new techniques and practicing with my gear. You bought a camera that would last you 20 years and it became a companion that you knew inside and out. Four settings, ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture and Exposure Compensation were all you had to work with. Not a menu to be seen. Sure there were lenses and flash accessories and other add ons, but they weren't updated every six months. Film was film and it hasn't changed drastically from the 70's to today. What this meant was that you could spend more time getting to know your gear and more time shooting instead of trying to get up to speed on the latest tech. Yes it was expensive but that also meant that you made every shot count.
After reading the above you probably think that I am anti digital. This couldn't be further from the truth. Digital has freed me up to take as many images as I like without financial consequences. It allows me the luxury of repairing images I would have tossed in the past. My skills have grown exponentially since digital arrived. I do, however, believe we should slow down and work with the gear we have. Transition to new gear when, and only when, it cannot achieve a result you just can't live without. Know the ins and outs of the exposure triangle, the rule of thirds, leading lines and for god sake play with light. Light is amazing and can do amazing things for your photography. It won't be easy and you will fail miserably at times, I know I have. But keep plugging away. You will love photography even more than you do now.
So over the next several months I will be focusing on my skills with my current gear. I will work on expanding my imagination where images are concerned. I will play with light and subject in ways that I haven't in the past. I will push my gear to the limits and see what I am capable of. I will keep learning and growing and sharing what I create with the world. I will work on my craft and hopefully in the process become an even better photographer/artist/human being because of it.