Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Sierra Light With A Compact
James Kay had to ditch his DSLR in favor of a basic point-and-shoot for a recent ultralight hiking trip. The small camera gave him a sense of creative freedom, and knowing how to work within the camera’s limitations, he brought back a stunning portfolio.
The Return Of Spontaneity
Well before that trip, I had become familiar with the advantages of working with these point-and-shoot cameras. I often use them while working with students in my workshops to quickly show them how to frame a composition. It's much easier than using my DSLR with all its dials and settings. And then there's the creative aspect. Here's a great example: During one of my Capitol Reef workshops last spring, two of my students, Christine and Eric, shared one DSLR body. While one was working with the DSLR, the other walked around looking for images with a small point-and-shoot. While the rest of us had surveyed the scene, chosen what we thought was the best composition and were now simply waiting for the light to optimize while our cameras were firmly affixed to our tripods, Christine was walking around, quickly scanning the scene and snapping away at abstract patterns all around us. She captured some remarkable images.
This is exactly what I was looking forward to on that Sierra trip, more spontaneity, less deliberation—just let it flow. Without all the dials and levers to adjust, I soon discovered that chasing light with that little camera was a lot of fun. I had eliminated all that clutter and was now concentrating on photography in its most basic form as I scanned my surroundings for great light and compelling compositions. It felt like the first time I picked up a camera. I was hooked. And without all that extra weight, I was able to move through the landscape with ease and save my energy for those big climbs. Sure, there were a few times I regretted not having that big sensor, but all in all, I concluded afterward that I had made the right choice. Don't get me wrong, my point-and-shoot isn't going to replace my DSLR anytime soon, but I now hold that little camera in much higher esteem, and I've placed it among my indispensable items when I head out the door.
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