Good Morning !
Let’s start with where we left last time (read the previous blog here- part-2 of the story)i.e. discussing about megapixels and all those fancy features in your DSLR that you actually don’t need to shoot good pictures. All you need is just to know how to shoot. Ok, look at this picture below. What do you think ? Is it captured with a very high end camera with more than 20 megapixels ? Not at all. Its my first DSLR, the humble 6.1 megapixels Nikon D40 with a kit lens 18-55mm (no VR or anything fancy).
So stop considering buying a new camera just because it will deliver output with more megapixels. While buying a new camera first try to justify yourself whether the new features you are looking for would actually help you shoot better ? Would it make you a better photographer over the night just because you now have a xxx megapixels camera ? If you are into bird photography then definitely megapixels help as you might need to crop a lot. If you are going to print a billboard size photo then definitely yes, you need to have a camera with lots of megapixels or better a bigger sensor. But other than specific reasons there is no reason to consider an upgrade just because of megapixels. Rather think the actual benefits like when I moved from Nikon D40 to Nikon D7000 my reasons were
1) I wanted something which had to be kind of weather sealed because I was shooting seascapes a lot and I found rust and salt in some of the screws of my Nikon D40 after extensive abuse in salty atmosphere.
2) I was looking for a camera which could handle the low light.
3) I checked whether I had enough cash to spend on my passion which was just going to give back pleasure and nothing more than that
My D40 used to pump up the noise level like hell just beyond ISO400. Based on these parameters and available cash to spend I judged whether it would be wise to sell D40 and buy D7000 or am I falling into the trap of Gadget Acquisition Syndrome i.e. GAS (Fight G.A.S) . I found that it was justified based on the nature of shooting I was doing and I finally bought the D7000. Till then I was tempted with many new releases, I wanted to buy a full frame. But before I finalized anything I have always asked the question to myself “whether it is justified to buy a new camera just because it gives so and so feature ?” Till date every time I got a negative answer and I have not upgraded to anything so called latest model. Rather I have invested the money in buying books, attending webinars, attending workshops which actually helped a lot to make me a better photographer compared to few years back. Don’t take me wrong, if you have all the money then go ahead and buy whatever you want but if your target is to learn the skill then, according to me, you should first concentrate on yourself rather than the tools. You should first assess whether you have the skills to produce good results out of your existing set up. Once you have spent enough on learning and you are confident and still have some money left then go out and buy a new camera or lens. Again this is not applicable for the rich kids.
Ok, now its enough of lectures on why you should not be tempted to buy all the latest products. Let’s come back to the actual story.
Now when I was in Hong Kong and was again getting some time for myself, I started shooting again. For obvious reasons my subject remained the seascapes, waterfalls, blurred flow of water on the rocks
I shot the sunrises , the sunsets. I learnt the use of neutral density filters (ND filters).
But soon I realized that I was just shooting cliché and hence not getting enough motivation. I was producing similar body of works and again my mind was in search for something new. I realized that if I have to come out of the cliché world I need to create something which I can claim as my own idea. I started focusing on simple shapes and forms and yes it worked for me. I was relived for few days that I was no more creating those ‘wide angle’ landscapes rather I was trying to show the simple shapes and forms of the rock formations, the wave washed sands on the beaches, a small rock pool. I was fascinated by the works of the Indian photographer Soumitra Dutta.
I also found my inspirations in the photographs of another nature photographer Ganesh H Shankar. I really never liked the simple Natural History shots which shows the Eagle sitting on a perch and eyeing for a fish. Photographs of Ganesh H Shankar or the forum CNP gave me a lot of motivation to do something new – something artistic. I did some with my humble 70-300mm cheap lens when I visited my native place Raiganj in India which eventually shares its landmass with a very big bird sanctuary , The Kulik Bird Sanctuary.
But wildlife shoot demands for specialized equipment which I hadn’t access to and I have had not enough spare money to spend on a 600mm lens or to buy a brand new Macro lens or a high frame rate camera. I also knew that I have a day job in Hong Kong and probably wont be able to shoot the wildlife as much as the spending on the new equipment would demand for. So again the question was “Is it justified to buy a 600mm?” and the answer was “No”. So I stuck to the sea beaches, the rock formations, the waves and tried my best to deliver which a passers by would not see with a casual look.
But after around a year I again got frustrated that I was really lacking original ideas. The new idea of shooting simple shapes and forms again had started falling into the trap of cliché.
Stay tuned for the last part of the story.
Till then, good bye !