The Best Camera To Use…

is the one that’s with you!  As a professional photographer, photography instructor and workshop leader I’m often asked by people what the best camera is or which camera they  should purchase, dSLR or point and shoot.  Until recently I probably would have entered into a long conversation beginning with a bunch of my own questions.  Questions like; what’s your budget, what’s your experience level, do you currently own a camera, what kind of shooting do you anticipate doing, will you be making prints, etc? I say until recently because lately I’ve been thinking a lot more about the act or craft of making pictures and less about the tools used to make images.  In this digital age technology is advancing at breakneck speed with new cameras, lenses, computer hardware and software  coming out all the time.  Too many people, myself included are fixated on the gear and not as much on the process or act of making images.   Some great insight on this subject can be found over at the Pixelated Image, an awesome blog by Vancouver based photographer David duChemin.  His writing has reminded me that no piece of gear is going to make you a better photographer and thus allow you to make better images if you don’t spend time actually taking pictures.

Don’t get me wrong photo equipment is important but if you don’t have it with you when the mood and/or circumstances align, you ain’t got squat!  I take a lot of pictures every year with some pretty darn nice camera equipment.  Many of these images are for pleasure, you know to satisfy my creative sole.  But the majority of the images I make are for paying clients, weddings, portraits, editorial assignments, commercial projects, etc.  For the most part my picture taking is scheduled and predictable, so of course I’ll have my gear with me then.  What about the rest of the time, like a quick trip to town for milk or when I go to visit friends for the weekend?  I’m often guilty of not having a camera with me during these times.  Unfortunately, I’ve often wished I had my gear and because I didn’t I missed something great.  You never know when there will be something good to shoot, and if you’ve been reading my previous posts you know there is always something to shoot.

This year I’ve been making a concerted effort to always carry a camera (you’d think that would be a no brainer for any professional photographer but hey cut me some slack), some camera, any camera.  Sometimes I carry the whole kit and caboodle, sometimes it’s a small dSLR body with a prime lens, sometimes it’s a compact or point and shoot and sometimes it’s the camera that’s built into my cell phone.  I’ve found that I take more images and the images I shoot are more varied in content.  As such I’ve been having a lot of fun shooting, challenging myself and definitely growing as a photographer.  The following images are all examples of images I made recently with whatever camera I had on me at the time; a time when I probably wouldn’t have had a camera with me unless I made the extra effort.

Looking for Frogs

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Above, an autumn afternoon spent fishing with the kids ended with the girls content catching frogs from the dock and dad happy documenting the event from shore.  I backed off to provide some scale, little fish in a big pond so to speak.  Below, garage band heros!  The last of my single buddies from high school finally got married this year.  The bachelor party wound up being an impromptu jam session.

Drummer Boy

© Kurt Budliger Photography

the rockstars

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Each fall a group of guys I used to work with in New York gather in the Adirondacks for an annual Boys Weekend.  Weather permitting every year we do some hiking, paddling and have a great horseshoe tournament.  I made the extra effort this year to take some photos.  This first shot typified our paddling experience this year, calm water and rising mist make the shot for me.  Each year I attempt to get a shot of the horseshoe tournament but this year I went for a totally new perspective.  This by far is my favorite of any year.  The final shot is an abstract pattern in the water created by the boat wake as we cruised around the lake for sunset.

Mad River Canoe

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Horseshoes

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Boat wake

© Kurt Budliger Photography

This last shot was taken this past weekend while visiting a good friend.  We got our first significant snowfall and his little boy got his first taste of extreme sledding.

Sledding with Dad

© Kurt Budliger Photography

None of these shots would have been made had I been doing business as usual.  They came to fruition because I used the best camera, the one I had with me!  You never now when inspiration will strike so make sure you are ready, take your camera everywhere.

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~ by kurtbudliger on December 9, 2009.

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