Gear Envy

Continuing the Gibbs Garden field trip, my cohort and I made our way down from the Manor house back towards the main entrance in time for lunch.  Along the way, we frequently paused to shoot.

Below the Manor House, looking back up the hill, an arbor stretched across the hillside below the house, surrounded by flowers.  It was so beautiful, we had to stop to shoot.  Unfortunately, the sun was high and the house was lost in dark shadows.

As we worked our way back down, we found numerous water features.  Between natural looking creeks and man-made ponds and streams, each had a distinct character.  The bridges that accompanied them were just as varied.

It’s funny how I can look at a scene, know that the lighting is not going to allow me to get the image I want, but not be able to resist trying anyway.  I wonder if this is the difference between digital and film?  Between knowing I can just delete any bad shots and that I can do quite a bit in post processing to improve the harshness of the light, I can’t walk away without shooting.

I haven’t quite figured out how to fix bad lighting in software, though.  While I can lift the shadows and pull down the highlights and do all kinds of interesting adjustments, in the end, it’s still bad lighting.

My first impulse in dealing with harsh lighting is to reach for a polarizer.  While it can’t fix the light, it can at least remove a lot of glare.  Two things have recently changed, however.  First, I have been shooting wide angle with a lens I added a couple months ago, which requires an 82mm filter.  My polarizing filter is 77mm.   So, I had to switch lenses to my most recent addition, a 24-70mm, which takes a 77mm filter.

After switching lenses just so I could use a polarizer, the second recent change come into effect.  I now have enough gear that I need two bags.  This has created a whole new problem.  I only brought one bag with me and I forgot to put my filters in it before I left.  So, I had picked a lens to fit a filter I didn’t have with me.

It seems like getting more stuff complicates photography in the same way it complicates the rest of my life.  The cost of more gear is more than the price–it also means more time organizing it, looking for it, and switching back and forth.  I think I’m about to hit my limit on wanting to further complicate my hobby.

Interestingly, the photographer I shot with at Gibbs Garden has been into photography since he was a boy.  Once film became too expensive and inconvenient, he switched to a high-end point-and-shoot with full manual control.  He carried his small, light-weight camera, a proportional tripod, and nothing else.  I was extremely envious by the time we sat down for lunch.


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