When the “best” camera may not be best for you…

Here’s a phenomenon I’m encountering more and more often these days on photo trips and workshops.

A well-heeled photo enthusiast (usually a middle-aged guy, not unlike myself—except, um, for the “well-heeled” part) shows up with tip top photo gear (i.e. two D3’s, 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm zooms, all the big f/2.8s, maybe a macro or fast prime or two, possibly a flash).

Before every stop on the tour or venture out of the workshop, he asks me, “what gear will I need today?”

When I gently point out that “clairvoyancy” does not appear anywhere in my resume, and stress the need to be prepared for anything, I get the lament “that’s too bad because I don’t want to carry the (fill in the blanks) if we’re not going to need them.” And something always gets left behind, and whatever you leave behind is what you’re gonna need. Yes, folks, it’s a drag to carry your whole kit if you’re not going to need it.

It also stinks not to know when the stock market will spike or tumble, which tollbooth line will move the fastest, or whether or not the Knicks will cover the spread in tomorrow’s game (well, okay, that last one is pretty much a slam dunk “nope”).

The point is, you can’t know in advance what you’ll see in most travel situations. So the question you have to ask yourself is this: which photo gear is better? The heavy “pro” outfit, half of which you tend to leave behind, or the smaller “amateur” outfit that is light enough to take with you and have ready at all times?

This photo below, for instance, would never have been made if I had a D3 instead of a D90 with me on Ibo Island in Mozambique. For the reason why, hit the jump.

mozambiquegirl
Photo © Bob Krist

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It’s Not About the Camera…really!

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© Aaron Johnson, WhattheDuck.net

I just got my May copy of National Geographic and was pleasantly surprised to find a double page picture of mine in the Visions of Earth section. I’ve submitted to this section before but never made the cut and was tickled by the fact that when they were trolling the files at Corbis looking for fodder for this feature, they actually pulled this one out.

Of course, I would have been more tickled had they then contacted me, so I could have made the sale and not shared the booty with my agency! But you know what they say about half a loaf….er, actually, when my current contract lapses, and I sign the new contract, it’ll be more like 45% of a loaf. But that’s a topic for another post.

For a quick look at the spread, and one other funny thing about the whole situation, hit the jump.

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