Got GAS?

Image courtesy of the Lomography.com blog. Click the photo to go to the original post. 

Image courtesy of the Lomography.com blog. Click the photo to go to the original post. 

Lately, I've been obsessing over my photography gear and realized today that I haven't made a single photograph in well over 2 weeks. That's definitely not good. Many people have preached that you shouldn't worry about your gear and concentrate more on the photograph (myself included) but being a geek, that's a little hard to do when you hear about the latest and greatest in the camera gear world every single day!

I've been contemplating going back to digital  since film is getting a bit too time consuming and I would like to spend a lot more time with my family than I already am. Digital is convenient but ugly. After wasting quite a bit of time on the notion, I came to the realization that I have the best gear for my needs. I've got a full frame point and shoot with an interchangeable sensor  (Olympus XA) and, now, a fully functional half-frame Olympus PEN FT  (bigups to Yoshi at Nagami Camera Service for making it even better than new!) for the complete manual control that I was craving. Sure one does need a digital camera in some instances, when you don't want to waste the gold (film) or need the instant gratification, but I have those as well. I have a very capable Sony W120 point and shoot and I still have the Canon 350D with the kit lens that I learned photography on. What more could I possibly need?! Maybe a 40mm f2.8 for the Canon - No! Bad Hasan! No gear!   

Deciding to move to a different medium or going with the newest camera isn't going to make me a better photographer. Getting my ass off from in front of DPreview.com and actually making photographs is (along with viewing the  works of my idols; viewing  photo-books; reading books and watching  video lectures related to photography; etc.).

Why does that quote by  Chase Jarvis (check out 'The Best Camera' album) get overused by the pros? It's simple - they know that an excellent camera doesn't make a great photograph - it's the person behind the lens (proof:  here). Bet you're saying "but most of the pros get all the latest gear the day it's released!". Most pros buy all that gear because their job depends on it, it's how they keep a roof over their wife and kids. Us, hobbyists don't have to do that with our photography. Besides, what ever the pros spend on their gear, it's more of an investment that pays for itself over time through the commissions and assignments they get paid to do. For us, buying a new camera body when our current one is perfectly capable of making beautiful photographs, is an expense...and an expense that can be better used elsewhere.

Even for those who want to pursue photography as a full time career - start small. There are tons of alternatives to almost all the expensive gear out there. If you need a flash, don't lust after the SB-910 - get a Yongnuo YN560II for $80! It hardly lacks any feature of the OEM speedlights and is a fraction of the cost! WIreless triggers - forget about the PocketWizards and get a decent set for under $50 off of eBay/Amazon!

One thing to keep in mind, if you  need  the gear for your photography, stay at the bare minimum and learn to get the most out of what you already own before dishing out more of your hard earned cash on that next item the manufacturers make you believe you have to have.

Just like everything in life, learn to work within your limits.

I go through the  GAS  phase once every year and every time I loose precious time that I could've spent making photographs with my, already highly capable, gear.

Time to practice what I preach...