I’m packing up today for my two week residency at the Homestead National Monument in Nebraska. This is a really exciting opportunity and I’m looking forward to the time spent focused on one place. Now if I can just decide what I’ll need while there!
Photographers collect gear, let’s all admit it. There’s a small voice in the back of our heads that says “better pictures come from better/more/different gear” so we are always scanning the catalogs and magazine to see if we’re missing out on that one widget that will elevate our images to awesome. Starting out in photography this is a daunting issue – all of this stuff is expensive and takes up space. What used to be a small fanny pack for a camera and maybe a second lens now looks like luggage for an around the world voyage. The adept photographer makes decisions on what is essential and leaves the rest behind. I’m not quite to the adept stage yet, so I usually succumb to the temptation to just carry it all and figure out what I need when I get there.
For this project I can actually get away with that tactic. The Monument isn’t miles off the road and doesn’t cover sections of prairie – walking the complete area is one of the joys of being there. I want to be prepared to photograph in all light and weather, wide angles and macro scenes, digital and film. So I’ll just take it all. I mean, what’s the point of owning a SUV if you can’t cram it full of stuff?
Having said that, now I’m setting myself up to deliver great interpretations via multiple media types. Well, my personal challenge at the beginning is to slow down and find the stories, which I know can’t be done hauling around bags of gear. Having all my stuff actually gives me reason not to bring it out immediately because I know having it right there will lock me into a way of seeing the area. Let’s face it, once you drag out a couple of cameras, tripod, different lenses, light kit, etc. you’re going to make a picture of something if only to justify dragging all that out!