what piece of photo gear had a fundamental impact on your photography?
In tracing my progress as a photographer, I can see how the things I learned from other photographers really helped me – whether through magazines, books, workshops and presentations. Sometimes it’s a dramatic impact; sometimes it’s just an incremental change; but it is there. And all this has a ripple effect on how I approach photography. Accumulated knowledge, coupled with experience.
In the same way, some photography equipment also had a huge influence on how my style and technique developed.
For example, getting the Canon 580EX speedlite that allowed a full 180 degree swivel movement to either side, had a fundamental impact on how I approached bounce flash photography. Suddenly I was able to get directional bounce flash. This changed everything for me in terms of my understanding of lighting, and what bouncing on-camera flash, was capable of achieving.
At the time, when I upgraded my camera to the Canon 1D Mark III body, its high-ISO performance allowed me to change my style, and change how I blend flash with available light. The same thing with the progression from the Nikon D3 to D3s – I could shoot successfully in very low light levels. I talked about this in the article on wedding photography – when style, technique & choice of gear converge.
I would say though, that the photography equipment that possibly had the most impact on my style, was the use of large-aperture telephoto zoom lenses. My first such lens was the amazing Pentax 85-210 f/3.5 zoom. A massively large lens, but a beautifully sharp optic. Sadly, it was stolen. That was upgraded then to the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 ED zoom. Wow. A big wow. Life at f/2.8 instead of f/5.6 or f/4.5
Shooting with wide apertures and long focal lengths, allowed me to be more selective about my backgrounds, and melt them into pleasant colors and shapes. Your subject just pops in the final photograph. A simple technique that gives images a quality that you can’t achieve with smaller aperture lenses.
The model in the photograph is Molly K, who I photographed in the late afternoon in Times Square, using only the available light. My settings: 1/200 @ f3.2 @ 800 ISO
Nikon D4; Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S VR II (vendor)
tell us your story
Tell us what piece of photo gear had the most impact on your photography, or helped change your photography the most? Tell us why it had the most impact.
A previous contest here on the Tangents blog – best photography tips – had an overwhelming response. So with the kind sponsorship of our good friends at B&H, we had another contest.
The contest has now closed, and a winner has been announced.
See my comment #190
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