Forget the Technology, Feel the Image

DIMW Column – Wayne looks at getting the relative importance of the technology and the image right.
Whether you are a digital artist, photographer, graphic designer or modern illustrator, your tools of trade will probably involve technology. Mine currently involves a number of computers, both Mac and Windows, lots of software, a mix of printers and a number of cameras, but mainly a Canon 350D/Rebel XT and a lot of Canon L series lenses. The camera model might seem an oddity but at the present time it is the right camera from a cost/performance perspective. Should Canon wish to provide a better camera, I’d be very happy to use it :). I also naturally use whatever camera is floating around here at the moment for review.

It is very easy to get into a circle of focusing overmuch on the technology. I see this a lot when I get invited to speak at camera clubs. there is always a group of people who seem more interested in the cameras than in what to do with them. Indeed it has happened to me at various points in time. And of course if it is not the technology, it is learning. “I just have to learn a little bit more before I can go and shoot macros”, or whatever it is.

My advice is while you are waiting to learn a bit more or to have the money for that particular camera or lens, just go and make the images anyway. As I said in my earlier post on the value of restriction, having to work in a less than ideal way is a great boost for creativity. So rather than wait for that expensive macro lens, go get a cheap closeup filter to use in the meantime and see what you can do with it. Rather than wait for that photo workshop on landscape photography before doing any, get out in the field and shoot. Rather than wait for that new piece of software you lust for, see what you can do with the existing software. And rather than waiting for that high resolution digital camera so you can make big prints, so shoot with what you have and find a way to make prints the size you want, as I did with my latest work, Splintering of Personality.

It has been my observation that few of us fully exploit the potential of what we already have before we run off and buy something new. The thing to remember with all technology is that you never buy it until you absolutely need it, as you know that if you can hold off with what you have for another three months the new gear will be cheaper and probably better. So milk what you have for all it is worth and then you can, with all sincerity, look your spouse in the eye and say ‘sweetheart, I really need this’. It will also make you a better image maker.

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