I have come to realise that kit (or gear) plays a small part in keeping me motivated. To try new cameras and new techniques is a method I use to engage myself, to push myself and to learn.
This is not to be confused with Inspiration. That can strike at any time and I have learnt that whenever I am inspired, I have to adapt this to whatever I have with me (the camera that is always with you).
This can be hard as the inspiration may not be achievable with the equipment you have available so then you have to refine the plan to stay motivated.
This is where learning, knowledge and expertise come into play. I may not have planned for a shot but now I know what I want to shoot, what is the best way to achieve this?
Can I achieve this?
Will this take post-production to realise my vision?
Is it worth continuing or do I adapt?
Why is this relevant?
This morning I went for a walk around the meadow, this has not been an option for a while as Network Rail were working on the tunnel that led to it.
I was going to take my X100T but decided to leave it home.
I recently upgraded my phone to a Pixel 5 and had not had the chance to put it through its paces. This would be that chance.
My old Pixel 3 had one lens and Googles clever AI software. The Pixel 5 adds two additional lenses and more gimmicks.
I took some shots today (and a few videos), not because I was inspired but because I was motivated. Having a new phone made me want to go out and see what was possible.
This motivation led to some shots and some videos but it also led to me thinking about what and why I was shooting – this in itself led to inspiration.
The photos weren’t photographically great (the camera is more than capable), but at least I got the opportunity to be out in the fresh air and taking some shots. A chance to focus on something else and unwind.
A colleague of mine commented that he wasn’t motivated to take out his camera due to the Covid situation and this led me to consider why I had been out so much with mine.
Location may be one factor as I am lucky to be able to leave my house and within 5 minutes walk I can be in amongst nature and on my own.
But during lockdown, I upgraded my X100 to a T, purchased the Polaroid SX-70, tried various medium format cameras, finally got my hands on a Texas Leica and sold all my Olympus kit to upgrade to a Fuji X-T4.
That’s all within 6 months!
Was all of it necessary? No.
Am I lucky to be able to be in such a position? Ges.
Was it worth it? Yes, I think it was.
I have learnt so much trying all this gear over this year.
I adore the photo’s I took in New York pre-pandemic but have since pushed myself to try new things and to simply get out and shoot.
I have had some successes and some failures.
I have created and sold (and sold out) my first photobook on Etsy (which incidentally got me banned from Facebook!). I almost instantly created my second photo book.
I’ve had several photos printed, some now adorn the walls of our home.
And I have also filled the odd photo album with new memories.
I can hold myself back and restrict myself due to time pressure and cost. The Texas Leica is the perfect example of this. For one fleeting moment, I went crazy and shot 4 rolls of film in the space of a day. Great fun but very expensive!
I have also had a pack of Polaroid 600 Color special edition film which made it home with me when we visited in the summer but I didn’t use it cause its expensive and I didn’t want to waste it.
I noticed it today and thought to myself – why is it sat in my desk drawer? What’s the point?
I got it as I wanted to see what a 600 film and ND filter would look like in my SX-70 but held myself back from doing so due to costs.
So you know what? I just loaded it up and shot a photo of Tilly.
Why? Because I can and because it was fun.
Photography is whatever you want it to be. All photography is about being creative. Capturing moments in time and expressing yourself.
I have never really understood the term “Fine Art Photography” – what is fine art to you may not be to me.
But, at the end of it all. Shoot. Get out there (or maybe not, motivate yourself to try something indoors due to the current situation) and shoot. Shoot like no ones watching.
What have you got to lose? If you never show the work it doesn’t matter but if you do and people don’t like it – that doesn’t matter either.
If you shoot it and you enjoy it, whether you get the result you wanted or not remember, you shot it, you can learn from it and most of all enjoyed it.
Stay safe and stay motivated everyone.
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