Photography is not always about the equipment (and Photofriday)

Occasionally we all need reminders that photography is not only about equipment. We spend thousands of dollars getting into the latest dSLR, drop a cool grand on the sharpest “L” series lenses, and go to great lengths to capture the most imaginative images possible.

This morning, I received notice that I’ve “won” the photofriday challenge this week. Photofriday is a weekly competition with participants from across the globe. On Friday they release the theme word for the week, “mountain, cold, cruel, yellow, night, round”, etc. It’s up to you to interpret that theme as you wish. At any rate, I try to submit as often as I can (which turns out to be about once every 4 times). I’ve won a handful of times since 2005. There’s no money, no prize, and no real recognition, but it’s still a motivating way of trying to interpret themes in photography. I recommend this type of competition to anyone getting into photography.

When I submitted this week, it was with an image I took while climbing the Javanese volcano – Gunung Gede in May, 2006. I snapped the photo with a 5mp Canon point and shoot, hand-held, with a 30lb pack on my back, and without any planning. There was no skill involved, only luck. (more about the trip here)

The point being, photographic tools, camera bodies, lenses, etc, are all wonderfully addicting – I am a certified fanatic when it comes to researching the best lens for my money; ask Novita. I can easily blow an entire evening trying to decide if I should get a Canon 35mm 1.4 L or the 24mm 1.4 L. (still haven’t resolved that one) But I think all of us need to step back and remember it’s about the photograph, not the equipment. The final print is what will speak to viewers, and most won’t care what lens was used, whether it was Canon, Nikon, or medium format. They won’t usually notice if you used film or digital, nor whether the lens was an “L” or not. (yes, often the higher quality glass will offer the chance to capture that vision more accurately – but you get my point)

Photography is about conveying a scene or subject in the way you, the photographer, interpret it. The tools simply help guide you to that vision, and ultimately your passion will seep into the pixels and prints, no matter how you may get there.