And You Need Gear – Part 11

This is continued from my previous post, Buying My Camera – Part 1. I’m at Henry’s Camera store in Scarborough, making my purchase of my fist camera, the Nikon D7200…..

Here's my basic gear. Doesn't look like much in a photo lol! This was taken with my Iphone.
All my gear. It doesn’t look like much in a photo lol! This was taken with my Iphone.

Before I had even left Henry’s store, I spent more then I had intended. Of course I mentioned how I wanted to do landscape photography. And of course, the sales person advised they had one Tamron 11-18mm lens on sale in the resale department. (~$365.00)  She advised it would probably go quickly because it was a really good price. I had no idea that I needed that lens, and I knew even less about what a Tamron was or why 11-18mm might be good for landscape photography, but I knew I had to have that lens. You see, I am a woman. I fall prey, each and every time, to the idea of a sale. It’s even worse when you add that I may never see an item, such as this, again. Talk about creating tension, and I’m not talking about a photograph here! What I found out later, was not only did I not need the lens right out of the gate, but I have consequently seen it numerous times on the web and at Henry’s for around the same price. I later realized they work on commission at Henry’s. Buyer beware! The hardest part was ‘sneaking’ the purchase out so Sue wouldn’t know. There are times when I do take advantage of her blindness. Enough said. I think I’ll skip this line when I read this aloud to her lol.

So I did what ‘they’ on the web caution and advise us not to do. I mean, I read it in the blogs, and in the reviews and in the newsletters. I read it time and time again. Don’t go out and purchase gear until you know what you want to do. But you see, Sue and I went to Lynde Shores and took photos of birds. Or at least she did. All I could see was a small dot in the distance with my little 18mm-140mm lens. It did not matter that I found wildlife photography a little boring. Or that I’d watch a bird for a few minutes but my ADHD would take over and something would catch my eye and I would soon be looking over there. That’s exactly when the bird would make their move and I’d miss it because I was … looking over there. The point here is that just in case I might want to shoot wildlife and come back here, I needed a longer lens. Hence, I acquired the Nikon 70-300mm lens. (~$700.00) And not only couldn’t I take a photo with it unless I used a tripod, (I found it very heavy), I still found wildlife photography, even now that I could see them, infinitely boring. Ho hum.

We mustn’t forget the search for all the accessories. First were the camera straps. I have back issues and resisted buying a Black Rapid type of strap. Instead I opted for the Cotton Carrier type harness. But mind you, not just the vest carrier where the camera rests in the middle of your chest, but the strap carrier that you attach to a backpack strap, and don’t forget the side holster waist belt. (~$400.00) In the end, I went away to Sault Ste Marie and forgot them, yes all of them. I purchased a Black Rapid strap while there out of desperation. (~100.00) I still use that strap today as my first choice lol.

Of course there was the search for other items. Camera bags are a whole research endeavour on their own. There are side saddles, luggage with wheels, sling backs and back packs. That again was an easy decision for me. Backpacks are the only way to go with my back. My first purchase was the Lowepro Fastpack 250, which was way too big for short day trips. (~$150.00) I got the Lowepro  Photo Hatchback 16L and it is just the right size for wandering around town. (~$80.00) I can load up my camera with the kit lens and my Tamron 11-18mm lens and my Nikon 50mm lens, and still have room for lots of accessories and my Ipad to boot. And I can walk comfortably around for hours and hours with out any problems. This bag is really da bomb. It is such a great match for my needs that during the good weather, except when on the way to work, I almost always have my camera with me. And as they say, you can’t shot that decisive moment if you don’t have the equipment!

Now of course, I’ve skipped some important acquisitions. You see, every time Digital Photography School put out their weekly email which I subscribed to, some author would be expounding on the virtues of prime lenses. So, you know, I just had to have a prime lens, you know, just to see what they were talking about. First was the Nikon 50mm f/1.8, which I found used. (~170.00)  It was described as the best value for your buck. It was versatile and useful for almost any photography you wanted to take. It was great for street and family photography as it made the camera look unobtrusive and best of all, it was crystal clear sharp and great in low light conditions. I can attest that I found all these claims to be dead right on. It is probably the one most favoured lens that I own and I always carry it with me.

Loving the sharpness that the 50mm lens provided me, I looked to purchase a second prime lens. The research suggested everyone needs a portrait lens, that 85mm-105mm range. I opted for the dual capacity of the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 lens which offered the ability of not only sharp portraits, but of being a macro lens as well. (~$700.00)  Maybe, I thought, just maybe, I might want to do macro photography in the future. It was a sensible purchase I told myself. Again, I have been blown away with the clarity of these lenses.

So, just to recap, I purchased the Tamron 11-18mm for landscape, the Nikon 70-300mm for wildlife, and the Tamron 90mm for portrait and macro photography. My Nikon came with a kit lens of 18-140mm which is the lens I use probably 90% of the time lol.

It didn’t take long before I knew the truth about landscape photography. Unlike what I thought, landscape photographers don’t just ‘happen upon’ a sunrise and just capture that photo, that one that moves me so much. Rather, they scout for places deciding in advance where they want to be for the sunrise. Then they have to get up from sleeping in the middle of the night to travel to this preplanned destination and set-up while it’s still dark!  Of course, they have to be ready for when the sun starts to rise.  Duh! Really? I have to say, I have a much greater appreciation now when I see those photos that capture my heart, as I now know how much work went into getting that photo. But, get up and be there for four am? Scratch that type of photography off my list!

Next is wildlife photography. Yep, hasn’t changed. Yawn, still boring. And of course that leaf blowing in the wind always catches my attention just a second before the bird does something. Yawn.

And lastly, portrait photography. Who am I kidding. I hate and always have hated, taking photos of people. I always want them to get out of my shots because I think people are ruining the shot. You know what I mean. I want the photo of the statue, not you and the statue! Well nothing has changed. Still hate taking photos of persons. So, there you have it. I purchased three lenses for types of photography I don’t even like. However, I do have the lenses should I ever decide to dabble in any of these types of photography lol.

All this was purchased over the summer and into September. But of course, I started to think about the cold winter and not being able to get outdoors to take shots. I know you can still do photography, but I hate the cold. So, just in case, I decided I needed a flash for inside work, maybe with drops of liquid or still life photography. So I purchased the Yongnuo 568EX speedlight. (~150.00) However, I soon realized that would not be enough for winter table-top photography. So I also purchased a cheap studio kit which came with backdrops, a support frame, two continuous lights with shoot through umbrellas, and one short backlight. (~300.00) And of course, that necessitated requiring a tripod. Hence the acquisition of both a Vanguard tripod, the VEO 235AB and the monopod VEO 234. I highly recommend both of these items for ease of use and portability for most photography (~200.00.) I am more then ready for this winter in photography. In Toronto today, which is January 9, 2016, it was 7 degrees and no snow on the ground. Well I’m ready for winter photography once winter shows up!

So all in all, I did what ‘they’ on the web often suggest you don’t do. I went and picked up gear, lots of gear. Besides these major purchases, I spent almost $50.00 each pay buying little odds and ends from Amazon or at Henry’s to expand on what I had. You know, we always need step up or down rings, macro close up lenses, another lens cleaner or an infra-red filter. I figure, the overall cost, once you factor in all the equipment, plus all the costs for training, both on-line and in workshops, as well as videos and books, and lastly the post-processing programs and plugins and presets, I’ve spent ~$8000.00 in the last six months on this endeavour.

It’s a good thing I got bitten by a bug, a photobug. Hence the beginning of kvphotobug.

Next post I am going to go over the courses I took and what I did to advance in this craft and develop faster as a photographer. Happy Shooting.

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