I am currently on vacation. On Wednesday, I took a ferry from my home in Dominica to Guadeloupe, a French island just to our north. The trip was really nice. We left around 8 pm and it took about two hours. Guadeloupe is a busy place, and much more built up and modernized than Dominica. It feels like being in France, minus the Louvre and add some palm trees.
Before leaving, I contemplated what type of photography equipment to bring. Normally, I have a LowePro Stealth backpack that I fill up with cameras and lenses and my laptop. It’s the perfect bag for a trip like this because I can stuff a good deal of equipment and accessories in the bag and still have easy access to things like passports, and other travel items.
However, for this trip I decided to do something different. Instead of packing up my entire arsenal, I decided to try an approach that I really found useful back in college. I brought with me one camera, and one lens, nothing more. I chose this option not simply because it would allow me to travel light, but really, because I have found it to be a great exercise in creativity.
I used to do this back in college all the time. Though, back then it was even more restrictive. I would take my Nikon F3 and a 24mm lens, two or three rolls of film, and go out shooting for the day. Every time I did this I came back with really great photographs. It causes you to really slow down and think about what you are doing. It forces you to compose, and move around physically, looking for better angles. It challenges your creativity, and the next thing you know, everything is flowing.
For this trip, I decided to bring my Canon 20D and my 10-22mm EF-S f/3.4-4.5 lens. I really love this lens even though it is a little slower than my 17-35 f/2.8. It is pretty compact, very sharp and the wide angle (16-35mm equivalent) is really nice. In addition to the camera and lens, I brought a card reader and my laptop.
Sometimes I feel like digital photography can limit our creative juices. There is just so much immediacy. It allows you to be more liberal with your shooting, and sometimes can cause you to become a little lazy. There is always more hard drive space, and you don’t have to pay for processing. You don’t have to wait either. As soon as you shoot you can see your image.
So, I am going to limit myself digitally. As I shoot, I plan to refrain from reviewing my shots on the LCD. I plan to download my cards into Aperture when they fill up, but I am not going to look at the shots. Maybe I will set up Aperture in List Mode so I can’t see the thumbnails. I am planning to wait until I return to Dominica to look at my images. Maybe I am crazy, but I think it will help. I am really interested in revitalizing some of my creativity. I have tried all types of things in the past, but this time I am going back to my roots. One camera, one lens, one 4 gig card. I may even tape down the zoom ring and fix it at 21mm.
Since I began using Aperture, I have really enjoyed being able to develop my images on the fly, quickly and easily, without any hesitation or workflow constraints. I can make as many versions as I want to, and I can try things out and decide that I don’t like them later. It’s really an amazing way to work that I believe has truly helped my creativity in some ways. But, this time, I am going to use Aperture as a storage facility. Aperture will keep my photos safe, secure, and organized until I return home. At that point I will open my Aperture library, turn on the normal viewer mode and begin my editing process.
I am hoping that my experience will be similar to picking up my three rolls of Velvia at my college lab. It was such a reward to open those film bags and lay the rolls out on the light table. They just jumped off the table, rich with color and ready to be looked at. I miss that experience, and I miss that type of creativity. So, stay tuned next week when I post my results of this little experiment in creativity. It should be interesting!