I’m a gearhead.
And pop goes the cherry. This series of photographs was taken from my window at midnight on New Years Day, 2010. It would appear that my neighbours had decided to create their own little fireworks display. Of course, we had the London eye fireworks on TV, but when something so colourful was happening in – literally – our own backyard, we turned off all the lights to watch the show. It was brief, about a couple of minutes, but man was it fun. I should go thank my neighbour for the fireworks display. Hello 2010 and here’s to a fantastic new year, hooray.
I’m sure everyone has their shopping plans etched out for the months ahead, and you know I’ve got plenty. As much as I love spending my money on food, I tend to devote a large chunk of my life savings to photography equipment. At work, me and my colleague call ourselves gearheads. I shoot food, he shoots churches, but we’ll only shoot our major subjects of interests with the latest Nikon digital bodies, any less, and it’s a toy camera. Haha, oh man, I’m a camera snob, I should be ashamed of myself. I love gadgets I have to admit, I do wish I was more dedicated to the craft itself, than the tools, but the tools are equally important for me.
I shoot with a Nikon D700 and it’s a great camera. A digital sensor physically equivalent to the original 35mm 24×36 format, which means that I can use all the Nikkor lenses made for the Nikon F-mount as it was originally intended, without a cropped view. More importantly though, there’s more bokeh when you operate at full-frame…. I’ll save that discussion for another post though, today I just want to share my lust for camera gear with you.
There’s an acronym on the web for this – G.A.S: Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It’s a full blown addiction. It starts with probably a perfect image taken with said equipment, be it a lens or a camera, and I’ll probably have seen it on flickr. And then I’ll probably google a review (my favourite so far is Steve Huff and my utter envy of his Leicas), and then after gathering all the relevant intel on the piece of kit; my life suddenly becomes a quest to acquire the Holy Grail. My current setup – whatever it may be – will never take photographs as I ‘intend’ it to, and my mind will be fantasizing about what my dream gear could do instead of what I have. My mind will be wandering until I finally surrender my credit card to the camera dealer. I’m a Nikon guy, very loyal to the brand having started out with the D40, made some video clips with the D90 before jumping into the full frame arena. I’ve also dabbled with a wide variety of lenses too, and like many just starting out, I was lured by the zoom-it-alls to my first prime, the nifty fifty. Today, I compliment my D700 with four prime lenses that covers the 24 to the 85 range, and it handles all my image making needs. I don’t shoot with zoom lenses.
Although, if we’re talking true gear love, then it’s got to be my Nikon FM2n. Fully manual film SLR, loaded with Kodak Portra 400VC or Tri-X 400, slap a 28 f2.8 on it and take on the streets… now that to me, is true photography.
This image was made with my FM2 and a 28mm, probably set at f4, probably zone focused to 1m and probably loaded with the cheapest film I could get at boots. I had it developed at my local sainsbury’s and it is untweaked, straight off the negative. Great isn’t it? Alas, there are times when I need to go digital, but my heart would always lean toward the FM2, the sheer joy of exposing film, is what makes photography so romantic. As we roll into 2010, high on my shopping list is the ultimate 35mm camera : The Leica. After going back and forth and back again, I’ve decided my first Leica should be a film one, the Leica M6 to be exact. To keep to a budget, I’m looking at 50mm ‘cron and lots and lots of rolls of tri-x 400.
This is shot with tri-x 400 with my FM2 at 28mm, probably at f8 and probably prefocused at 1m as well, but I don’t know. To quote a fellow aspiring photographer mate of mine, film just has a ‘look’ which digital can’t yet deliver. Of course, if we’re talking about signature looks, there is none more recognisable, or to be exact, quite as revered as the ‘Leica glow’. What’s their motto again, ‘You can always tell a Leica by the pictures it takes’ … or something. Anyway, I want it. I want a Leica, I will buy it in 2010, I intend to forge that ‘connection’ Leica photographers claim to have with their gear and I want to make photographs with soul and abit of glow.