I get two questions a lot:
1. What camera should I buy to take good pictures?
2. You mean to tell me you don’t bring your camera on vacation?!
In answer to number one, it’s not about the camera. Not to say that a high quality camera and lens selection aren’t important. Of course they are. But the fundamentals of photography are housed in the ever expanding instincts and knowledge of the photographer. Buying the $7,979.99 bike that Lance Armstrong rode to win the Tour de France may make riding a little easier, but I ain’t winning the Tour on it. One of my photography teachers here in DC, Zaid Hamid, at the time used just a 50mm lens and a camera about three iterations older than mine. And mine was the least sophisticated of everyone’s. And he could still shoot circles around all of us.
The best camera is the one you’re willing to carry with you. The heavy Nikon D3 with a 400mm lens ain’t gonna take very good pictures on my vacation because it’s sitting in the closet at home. Shlepping a monster like that through the airport as my carry-on and treating it with the love and attention of a newborn baby is not my idea of kicking off a relaxing week away.
Which brings me to question number two. There are instances when I bring my camera body and a few select lenses on vacation. Back in a 2010 trip to Europe, I brought my camera body, an 85mm 1.8 lens for portraits and street scenes, and a 14 – 24mm 2.8 lens for landscapes. I thought about what types of images I wanted to take from that trip, and packed the bag accordingly.
But sometimes, I just want to sit on a beach chair and read from my Kindle. I don’t want to think about getting up at 5am for the best light, or missing dinner for the perfect twilight shot. So on these types of vacations, the only camera I am willing to bring with me is my iPhone. Which I did on last weeks’ trip to Antigua, West Indies.
Where, ironically, it was 15 degrees cooler than here in DC.