When new products are announced, in the past, there was a wave of discussion of pluses and flaws and lust for a short time and then we got back to the business of photography. These days, the new product is almost a daily ritual so getting back to the business of photography is getting pushed to the background. After watching a few hundred photographers for the past week, I saw the basics weren’t even in play and heard lots and lots of depression over images missed. The basics were either not known, practiced, or forgotten. As I stood there enthralled with the birdlife in front of me, my mind got to thinking about all in front of me. That’s when I came to the conclusion what the number one thing is in my bag for photographing everything I point my lens at!
My sense of humor, that’s the most important thing in my bag! Were you expecting to say some body or lens? Oh, they are incredibly important but they only work as well as the person behind them. That would be me. On those days when I’m on top of my game, any piece of gear I put in my hands just sings. On those days when I’m in a fog, there are no good gear options. It’s not the gear fault and no new piece of gear on that day will help. I know this about myself which is why no matter what, the camera is in my hand every day practicing proper hand-holding, panning, and long lens technique. I’m working on the equipment operator and not the gear. I go over basic camera operation and settings. I know that my gear is not the weak link, I am and I know when I’m not operating correctly then my sense of humor is not coming through my images!
There has long been the debate of what is more important, the photographer or the gear but to me, there is no debate. The sharpest lens on the planet is not sharp if the operator is not giving it a stable platform. The fastest firing camera on the planet is not going to capture that action if it is not keeping up with the subject. And the story you want and need to tell in your photographs will not happen with the finest lens, body, or post-production technique if YOU are not at your finest. At the same time, if you’re at your finest and your gear is not, you are not getting that story told your way. But that’s coming back to the photographer and not the gear as the photographer must know their craft, and know themselves so they know when the issue is the photographer or the gear. I’m a firm believer photography has to be fun, the entire process. And for me, my sense of humor in the #1 thing in my bag!