Friday, September 03, 2010

What do you really want? (part 2)

Galaxy Bar and Patio
Universal Studios City Walk, late night
E-3 w/Zuiko Digital 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ED SWD
Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.
Thomas Edison
I have been, and never will be, a thoroughly satisfied man. Not in my job, not in my hobbies, not in my personal passions. Especially photography.

With photography that dissatisfaction comes in two parts; dissatisfaction with my ability, and dissatisfaction with the camera equipment I use.

The dissatisfaction with my ability will never be completely satisfied. It's not false modesty that forces me to admit that my talent is mediocre at best. All I have to do to be reminded of my limitation is look at the fire hose of talent that streams constantly on the Internet, from amateur to full-up card-carrying pro. I can work on my technique, and attempt to substitute a good looking photo for a photo worth looking at. But I'll never, ever be as good as many that I admire and respect. So I chalk that up and move on.

The dissatisfaction with the equipment with the equipment I use will never be completely satisfied either. It would be nice if I had an infinite bank account that allowed me to purchase the ultimate in bodies and lenses. If I had that kind of expense account, I'd wind up living in a hovel surrounded by hundreds of thousands of dollars in camera equipment. Instead, I have a job and a plethora of adult responsibilities like billions of others around the glove. After paying for the necessities of life, I have a slim bit left for "discretionary" spending, like photographic equipment. A discretionary item that falls towards the bottom of the list of other discretionary items.

And so when I listed my requirements for a new camera in an earlier post, I was attempting to throw money at my problems. When you're staring at the new and shiny photographic gear that is being constantly pumped out, you can be blinded to the fact that what you currently own still exceeds your ability to use it. And the new and shiny gear can exceed your ability to pay for it, especially in these troubling economic times.

Rather than throwing more money at the problem, it's better to learn to use, to push if necessary, the equipment I already have. To channel that dissatisfaction towards improving technique and developing talent, even if it's limited. That's the way to truly approach true satisfaction, to avoid false satisfaction through just material acquisition and failure.

Equipment Used
Olympus E-3, Zuiko Digital 12-60mm
Taken at Universal Studios City Walk at night
ISO 1000, 1/125s, 27mm@f/3.5

1 comment:

  1. Same here, Bill.

    I have a family to support. Being the sole source of income, that's by far my priority one. And so I can look at all those wonderful photos made with Olympus SHG or even HG lenses, and still have to use what I have: the two kit lenses of my E-520, plus an OM Zuiko 1.8/50mm.

    Trying to make the best use of that, like in:


    Or with the kit lens (I would loved to have a wider angle than 14mm here, but I had to do with it):

    Employers' gardens, early in the morning

    And from time to time, I really appreciate what that old Zuiko can give me. Tho it's nowhere near as sharp as the famous 50mm macro, doesn't it sometimes render backgrounds which can only be described as "impressionistic"?

    Employers' gardens, minutes after that last photo

    I know, these could be sharper. But sometimes, sharpness is meaningless, like in what I'd call "Stairway to hell" (shows the rotten stairs down into an old Nazi barrack which housed eastern women who built most of Frankfurt International Airport:

    Stairway to hell

    Thanks for your thoughts on your blog. Oh, and those images were "developed" with using RawTherapee on Debian Linux.



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