POLL: Why do you buy camera gear?

Started Jul 14, 2010 | Discussions thread
tom Senior Member • Posts: 2,724
Re: POLL: Why do you buy camera gear?

I didn't answer for a while, because I difficulty looking at this as an either or.

I think I buy camera gear so that I can photograph things that interest me. Sometimes that is a type of photo I have seen in a book or magazine that I want to learn how to make (e.g. refractions in water drops).

War story. As I was rushing out of my house to go to work one morning I noticed that everything was wet, dripping wet. Looked at one of my dogwood trees that was in bloom and saw it had very large drops on it and the sun was peeking through the trees and hitting the leaves. I went back into the house and got my tripod, X570, macro bellows and a 135mm lens.

Rolled my pants up so I would get my suit pants wet and moved around the tree looking for good drops in the right light so they would have images in them. Then I'd set up the tripod, adjust the bellows, and take a couple of brackets, change focus, etc.

Fifteen minutes later the sun had caused the drops to shrink too much, and my bumping cause a bunch to fall. I put the camera equipment away, changed my socks and shoes and went to work.

Got the film developed, worked with the camera store employee on custom printing two of the better ones and have them on my wall. It was a negative and I never was able to rescan it at home to get the colors I got at the store.

In another case, I had seen a number of prints of flowers in Lens Work where the flower glowed against a dark background. Although they were B&W I wanted to try with color. The photo below was shot on Velvia slide film with my Maxxum 7, Minolta 100 f/2.8 macro lens and the macro ring flash. It was the last shot on the roll, and I was very happy I nailed it in one shot.

I did a similar shot of leaves on B&W film using a 6x6 camera. That one I again worked with the camera store employee and made a custom print. I really liked the way the leaves glowed and I got the full range of tones from almost black to almost white with beautifully sharp detail. Its on my wall.

The image below was a multiple exposure (8 exposures on one negative) made with my Maxxum 7. For the first 6 exposures I rotated the camera a little and for the last rotated it enough to get some separation. The red leaf at 10o'clock is from the 7th exposure. Again, wanted to try it, did it, and it worked. It looks really neat at 11x14 inches.

However, once I accomplish these things, I don't feel the burning desire to do it again. Sure if the opportunity arises I probably would, but I don't think I'd go into the wet grass in my suit again.

I don't generally feel the need to post my images or to enter contests. But I did enter 3 shots in a contest at my local camera club and won 1 first place and 1 honorable mention. Haven't felt the need to do it again.

I am a generalist type of photographer. I want to be able to shoot anything that interests me. So I want camera equipment that gives me the flexibility to do anything I want. The more options in a given camera and the easier to use them the better. On the other hand I don't feel the need to carry a camera with me all the time, although sometimes I wish I had one for a great sunset or dramatic storm clouds.

Note, in my career before I retired, I was a R&D metallurgist. One of the things I really enjoyed was using the photomicroscopy equipment, both optical metallographs and scanning electron microscopes. I also occasionally used a transmission electron microscope, but that was a lot more work and less fun.

It was interesting to not only use them to study the alloys, but to make good photographs. Talk about neat controls, they really had them.


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