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How Does Your Gear Influence Your Vision?

When I ideate on what I want to document, I first and foremost think about where I’m going and how I want to use a camera and lens to capture it. A few ideas will come along by scouting locations that lead to visualizing how I perceive the area and by navigating through various resources for inspiration. Once my mind settles down on a few ideas, I work on selecting a minimal collection of gear that will enable me to achieve the specific visual I have in my mind.

The gear I choose plays an important role in influencing how I’m going to visualize and capture a moment. I use the gear to hone in on my ideas and not go guns blazing with just anything that I have in mind. I want to be very selective with what I take and utilize it to the best of my abilities to capture my vision. My approach is to select a minimal amount of gear. I have found over time that the more gear that I have on me, the more disconnected I feel from my photography.

When I first came to the Sony mirrorless system, I only owned one lens—a 20mm—and that was what I used for most of my photography. When I traveled with the Alpha Collective to Acadia National Park I had the opportunity to borrow a variety of cameras and lenses. Despite having a lot of camera gear at my disposal in Acadia, pairing the Sony α9 with the 100-400mm focused my vision and enabled me to create some special images.

Sony α9. Sony 100-400mm f/3.5-5.6 G Msater lens. 1/100-sec., f/5.6, ISO 200

When using gear I’m unfamiliar with, I try to slow down my thought process to be more in the moment. I give myself some time to understand the gear and how I can use it to help aid my photography. That was the approach I took with the α9 and 100-400mm.

When we would reach our destination points, I would generally walk away from the crowd with the α9 and 100-400mm because I wanted to separate myself physically. This way I could capture their moments when they interact with the space without my presence or the camera's presence having any influence on their actions. Those images are the ones that I enjoyed the most because my main philosophy of photography is that I want to see the subject's natural tendencies and how they interact with a space. The 100-400mm enabled me to do that perfectly and that enabled me to really relax and be in the moment so well.

Sony α9. Sony 100-400mm f/3.5-5.6 G Msater lens. 1/160-sec., f/4.5, ISO 640

It’s amazing how knowing the capabilities of your camera and lens can allow you to recreate your reality while giving you the freedom to observe. Knowing what limits I can push with my gear to get the result I want makes all the difference.