Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Which camera will I take with me?

with apologies to Shakespeare - To Lug or not to Lug? That is the Question.       

While on holiday we always find ourselves climbing through gorges, walking along a trail to a sight that shouldn’t be missed, or exploring new towns and cities on foot. And as a photographer the question always arises, to lug or not to lug camera equipment?  Do I lug a backpack with cameras, lenses, filters, paraphernalia, tripod (all this surely yells “photographer” to any would-be thief!), with one camera easily accessible in a waist pack to grab photographic opportunities whilst I juggle walking poles – the poles help me with balancing all that weight in the camera bag on my back and I need the extra support on bush tracks ……. And if we are hiking and camping overnight, well there is camping gear as well......


 In the pursuit of “that photo” I have lugged a camera backpack through the amazing domes of Purnululu,  up and down rocky ledges in magnificent gorges along the Gibb River Road, Karijini and central Australia, up mountains, around lakes, along beaches, rivers and forest trails, tramped around the base of Uluru, climbed to lookouts along spectacular coastline, and most insanely walked for two hours in 38 plus degree heat in the Keep National Park in the Northern Territory – we wouldn’t normally hike in 38 degree heat but we were on holiday! Make sure you definitely lug water and wear a hat for that one! 

Keep National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Last summer we travelled to Denmark, Walpole and Shannon in the spectacular Walpole Wilderness area of Western Australia’s south coast.  And true to photographic endeavour I packed two cameras, 3 lenses, two tripods, paraphernalia, and a laptop to download photos. Normally my camera bag sits at my feet on the floor of the front seat along with a bag of maps, travel brochures and a notebook, with one camera on top to grab quickly.  It is a little crowded around my feet with all that stuff! However this time it was a little different.  The camera bag was relegated to the floor behind my seat, and I kept at hand my previous year’s acquisition, my Canon G11 – a light, compact, handy little camera with many great SLR features, swivel screen, macro, and 5xzoom. 

So when my husband pulled over to the side of the road so I could take yet another wildflower or scenic photo, or we strolled along magnificent coastlines, tramped through towering Karri forests, and photographed pelicans waiting for a feed from local fishermen on the beach, my hefty camera bag was left laying on the floor of the backseat, and my compact was given preference.  

Denmark, Western Australia
Whether you carry a backpack full of gear or one camera really depends on what you want to photograph and why you are taking photos.  If you are hiking a distance a small compact camera may be ideal, however if your primary motive is to take photos then a DSLR and accessories, including tripod would be preferable. It important to decide what your prime goal is, as whatever you choose to aid one goal may be at a sacrifice to the other. 

When I am travelling and using my DSLR, I always seem to be changing lenses – it doesn’t matter what lens I put on I always seem to have to change it depending on varying photographic opportunities – while my poor companions wait patiently under the shade of a tree or walk on to leave me taking off my backpack yet again and juggling with lenses (hopeless if you are with a tour group!)

Me and my camera - photo taken by my husband while waiting!
 I have started carrying my G11 with me everywhere, but I think I have now come to a place where I want to capture images as they present themselves, those moments in time, without planning ahead and worrying about the setting up. I am questioning “why do I take photos” and I want to return to just enjoying photography, not with the thought of a possible monetary reason.  However, as a freelance travel writer, a camera is essential for you never know when your next story will jump into view.  


Great Central Road, Western Australia
So did I get the shots I wanted on my trip to the south coast? I took a whole range of photos with my compact from flowers to landscapes.  As with all trips, some of the photos stood out, and some did not, but they did include saleable shots to go with several travel articles. Undoubtedly I could have done better if I had taken more time and used my DSLR, but I don’t always have the luxury of time. 

Shannon National Park, Western Australia
On our next trip I again lugged my backpack of camera gear – you never know when that award winning photograph will present itself, and you want to be prepared.

So the question is - does it really matter what sort of camera you have? I guess it all depends on what your end goal is – for yourself, for your blog, for magazines, or for printing on a huge scale for sale.

Uluru - Can you tell which is the DSLR photo and which was taken with my compact G11?
 In todays’ world of "instagram" phone photography and social media thousands of photos are downloaded every day to photo sharing sites.  To get a winning shot maybe it really just comes down to being in the right place at the right time with a camera -  any camera - and a photographic eye.  After all, the camera may be the mechanism to record the scene but it is the photographer that captures the image! 

Bibbulmun Track near Balingup, Western Australia
I hope you have enjoyed reading my ramblings. Have you had this delema? I am interested to hear your thoughts.
Did you pick which photo of Uluru was taken with the DSLR?

I am linking up to Travel Photo Thursday. Please click on the link to see photographic travels around the world - Travel Photo Thursday 
 

24 comments:

  1. Basically it is up to the photographer as to which camera or lens or if you have a stable full of cameras and lenses, to use. If it were me I would use the camera that fits the conditions and what you are going to photograph. If you are just going to record a shot the a point and shoot is all you need. If you are going for a masterpiece then you need a camera and lenses the will best give you what you need. Also don't forget that camera's can break down at the worst time so think of have a spare camera that will work with the lenses and accessories that you have. Every photographer is different and has different opinions as to what they need. The most important thing is to have fun while taking your photos.

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    1. Valuable thoughts on the subject from a professional photographer - thankyou Horst. I always appreciate your feedback and comments, and I am sure others will too. Have a great day. cheers!

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  2. Interesting post and an issue which freelance writers deliberate a lot, I think. The quality of cameras and lenses these days makes it easier to take a good photo with a small camera, but as you say for the truly award winning photos I think DSLR's are imperative.

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  3. I have a Canon S95 which is small enough to put in my jeans pocket and my husband has a Nikon K200 - an oldie but a goodie. His is too heavy and is a pain to carry when travelling, but we do use both simultaneously (he has to carry his so that is fine by me). I use photographs from both on my blog. His sometimes need lightening, but are much clearer. But I am happy with my easy to carry S95 which produces passable photos in auto for my blog.

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  4. That's a good question Jill. I have a Lumix fixed lens super zoom (Leica lens) and a Canon DSLR. For most shots I love using the Lumix and it's so much lighter and more compact - although still a little more bulky than the G11. The zoom on it makes it so versatile and with a Raynox macro conversion lens (about $80) it takes amazing macros too.

    I like the second shot of Uluru much better but it may be a matter of timing and lighting.

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  5. I totally know what you mean- now that we have multiple lens, more cameras, different types for different things... it almost takes the fun out of shooting!

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  6. After years of college photo classes to become a 'real journalist' I've been reduced to a point and shoot digital. . .size, convenience and quality all took me from my film-slr. Sad to think about it. Much like the computer age.

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  7. Love the colors in the Uluru picture :)

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  8. Hello Jill, Great post and subject.
    I'm a minimalist when it comes to gears. I don't want to be bogged them by their weight and let them take away the joy of travel.
    I've already established that I'm a traveler first and a photographer second. My goal as a photographer is to capture the moments that capture me as a traveler. And I capture those moments the best I could using the whatever gears I have in hand. I have an all-around lens that I carry with me all the time and I bring a smaller high aperture lens for indoor and lowlight shots as I don't like carrying my flash around. I only bring zoom lens when I know for sure that the situation warrants it like safari trips.
    Your images are beautiful. I'm sure carrying your gears around made the effort so worth it.

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  9. I am more and more into photography but less and less into carrying too much. I'm trying to take the fewest number of lenses with me - mainly because I'm usually carrying them on my back. Love your photos and understand your dilemma. Simplicity is great but if you are trying to make a living that changes the conversation.,..

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  10. After having bought the DSLR camera I had to have, I 'm now contemplating buying a point and shoot camera because it's so much lighter and easier to carry around. I will never sell any photos so a point and shoot is probably all I need for blog photos. I did love going on a recent photography trip though so maybe I'll have to keep the DSLR. It's so confusing!

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  11. I can so relate! Like Jenny, I too bought the DSLR that I just had to have! For years before, my point and shoot was enough but then I went on a safari. It was fine but it really made me realize that I needed an upgrade. I ended up buying a second camera that I could carry in my bag and not feel like I'm carrying the world on my back and worrying about theft. Sometimes, I've brought them both -- there are times when the photo calls for something a bit more sophisticated. Thanks, great post!

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  12. thanks everyone for your comments. It is obvious that many of us have this same problem - I am glad it is not just me.
    Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for stoppping by. It was great to hear from you.

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  13. Your photos of plants and flowers at Shannon National Park are quite lovely. I don't have a DSLR, just a point-and-shoot, so there's no dilemma for me! I've thought about buying one and taking my photography to the next level, but frankly, I think my kids and hubby would just drive off without me while I try to grab the perfect shot.

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    1. I understand completely what you mean, that is why I sometimes just take my compact, but still I can't stop myself wanting to take photos!

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  14. what a great place. And very good and a bit unusual photos of Uluru. :)Thanks for sharing. :)

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  15. Both pics are beautiful, but is the DSLR the second one? I'm a point and shooter, but sometimes I'm in the right spot at the right time. Love all your photos here.

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    1. yes you are correct Cathy - the second one is the DSLR. Slightly different "minute" so the colour is not the same, but also zoomed in more on the second one - the advantage of a zoom on a DSLR.
      Yes, it is all about being in the right place at the right time.

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  16. Your collages are magical, I love all the flowers in the one. Australia is high on my travel wish list. Thanks so much for stopping by, Laura

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  17. Loved this discussion and the points that were raised. I have always used a point and shoot but I'm considering buying a DSLR - mainly because I love looking at the beautiful photos that travel photographers take and would like to try and improve my own. I would guess that the second Uluru photo was taken with the DSLR because the details are clearer - both are gorgeous though!

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    1. yes, you are correct the second one. Take your time in buying a DSLR - it is a big purchase and you want to make sure you get exqactly what you want and it will do what you want it to. Owning a DSLR is a whole new learning curve so you need to be ready for it!

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  18. I only have one camera - an Olympus SZ10 - and I'm a loud & proud amateur. That takes the pressure off!!! I take photos to capture the journey and what I see in the moment - I'm not creating art. That means my photos are not technically perfect, but they are 'real' which also means they are accessible! Probably because they lend a sense that this is what ANYONE would see if they came to the same spot! I'm quite happy for the real photographers to carry the gear and take the time for the money shots - that is their choice. For me, I balance capturing the moment with actually enjoying the moment!!

    I don't know which Uluru shot is which - but that probably just reinforces my 'amateur' status!

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    1. Red I love the images on your site - so your camera fits you perfectly for what you do. Sometimes it is too easy to get tied up in the technicalities and the latest gizmos!

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  19. Thanks everyone for your comments. It has certainly been an interesting discussion. I think in the end the camera we are happy with is the one we should use!

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