Friday, April 11, 2008

Another New Camera.

Last weekend was especially entertaining for me. The work at the galleries at Unblurred was generally competent and interesting. There were a lot of people out having fun. Saturday's show at La Vie was a predictable success, and featured its routinely stimulating mix of people enjoying the occasion. I also got a hold of the new CD by my favorite band- Slim Cessna's Auto Club. After the first couple of listens, it has proven its worth and earned the right to sit alongside the previous masterpieces of the band. Even Baby E. seemed to get a kick out of it. I got a package of extracurricular work completed early, and thus was free to enjoy the delights of spare time. To cap it off, the Flyers beat the Penguins. Although I shouldn't care at all, it makes going back to the workplace easier for me when that happens.

But the best thing that happened goes deeper than all of the rest. To understand why it so meaningful, an explanation of my recent experiences is necessary. For the last ten (or so) months, I have felt incredibly dissatisfied with my photographic output. Fortunately I have been able to concentrate on other outlets, because at some inarticulable level I need to be happy about my artistic processes in order to be satisfied with life. I've also built a certain set of expectations among local galleries about having quality work to show. I do have an extensive backlog of stuff that I feel is worthy of exhibition, and I could have continued my creative drought while still mounting some decent shows. I had a few productive years in a row, and there's a lot that will be 'new' to people who have followed my progression.

The reasons for my dissatisfaction are numerous, but the most obvious problem is that I haven't been shooting much over the past year. Primarily this is the result of having purchased a new camera. In the beginning of last summer, I went to Ritz and picked up a Canon Rebel XTi DSLR. By the time I got out of the store I had spent something like $1800 for the package. I did so impulsively because i had been agonizing over the direction I should take. I hang out with several folks who are obsessed with the technical aspects of photography. Time and time again, I was told that I need to upgrade. I had presumably exhausted the capabilities of my Canon G6. Now it was time to "get serious". So against my reservations, I finally took the plunge. Now I had a small backpack full of gear, waiting to be used.

Unfortunately the size of this camera and its accessories ended up inhibiting my production. If I wanted to shoot something, I had to plan ahead. The equipment was way too expensive to simply leave in my car all of the time. So if I decided I might find something worthwhile, I would have to hump that damn backpack around. Then when I spotted a likely target- I had to pause, take the bag from my back, unzip it, put on the appropriate lens, and then get into a solid shooting position. By the time I was ready, all of the spontaneity and intuitive aspects of the situation had dissipated. The pictures mostly came out looking uninspired and overly conventional. I was almost entirely confined to 'documentation', and even then my subject had to be pretty inert. It removed most of the joy from the activity.

For months I've been considering grabbing a point-and-shoot that I can stick in my pocket and carry around with me conveniently. After my son was born, my Dad came to visit and brought his new G9 with him. I tested it out briefly, and liked it a lot. I resolved quickly to continue my loyalty to the Canon G-series (my first and second cameras were the G5 and the G6). I put off its purchase for weeks, until my G6 gave up the ghost permanently. Then there was no reason to hesitate. I'm incredibly happy I took the plunge. The first two days I used it, I took hundreds of photos. I feel that I got more show-worthy images over this past weekend than in the previous year. When something intrigued me, I simply grabbed the G9 and went to work. And once it was out, I began to play with its features (many of which are absent in the XTi). There's a certain high that comes with feeling good about making art. I had come to expect it fairly regularly. After a long absence, it's now back.

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Blogger jefg99 said...

Congratulations on your new G9...I'm really happy with mine. So much so that I refuse to continue the camera toss technique with it, so I picked up a smaller less expensive model "just in case". Perhaps the next time we meet you can test out my telephoto and wide-angle converters, both of which are rarely available on a point and shoot. Slowly I'm picking up the many available shooting options.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Gee, and here I am with a brand new Nikon D-40; of course I'm not anywhere near the level of your expertise but do plan on taking some classes. I hope to get an opportunity to take some up close and personal shots of E. one day soon...until then I await the e-mail attachments from M. Congrats on your show.

4:01 AM  

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