Don’t Push Too Hard

Let us be realistic. Photography is a difficult art to master. Not only are we limited by individual skills, we are also limited by time, subject and tools. It’s not like music where the only limitation is in the musician. In photography knowing when to stop is very important.

Time. We only have 24 hours in a day. Unless you are a paid pro, you will have to juggle photography with your day job. It really pains me when I see a beautiful sunset outside of my office window. I feel bad watching a glorious sunrise inside an airport terminal. You just have to let it pass and hope that you’ll be at the right time and place “next time”.

Subject. How many times have you wished you could move a tree or a huge rock even just a tiny bit for the perfect composition? Or bring a mountain closer? Or move the sun a few inches to the right for symmetry? Or wish the model was taller, skinnier, etc…? Painters are lucky because they could create and arrange their subjects however they want, the trade-off of course is we get to finish our work in a fraction of a second what would take them days or months to complete theirs.

Tools. Among artists, photographers are one of the most ill-equiped. Cameras that can’t capture the dynamic range of a scene. Lenses that are too heavy and too slow. You name it. And yet photographers have the most expensive tools. A photographer spends so much time and money circumventing tool limitations. A good musician or painter seldom complains about his tools but a good photographer simply learns NOT to bother at all.

Your lens isn’t sharp, so shoot at smaller apertures. It is not fast enough, so use a tripod or choose a different subject. Camera sensor is too noisy, then shoot when there is enough light or convert to black and white and use grain to spice up the photo.

I find it funny that people complain about sharpness and shallow depth of field when their shots are not even properly composed.

My point is, there will always be severe tool limitations. Realize that you just have to do something else instead of complaining. You can’t shoot sports or go birding with your 18-55mm f4-5.6 kit lens. Those who do, carry bazookas. Concentrate instead on what you can do with whatever tool you have. Find inspiration. Look for photos that you like that were captured using a similar set of lenses and see if you can come up with a better photo. If you can’t even take a decent shot with your kit then no camera or lens can make you capture better pictures.

Inspiration. That is the best cure against gear acquisition syndrome.

So stop complaining, go out and do wonders with your camera.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Push Too Hard”

  1. I carry a little P&S with me all the time now for those “magic moments”. It has an amazing working range and more often than not I just leave it on auto….

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