I lied.

I’m BAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!

I am going to write something on here occasionally. And today is one of these days. I just have a couple things to touch on; feel free to peruse and skip at your leisure.

I thought I’d start out first, with talking about G.A.S. – or for those who aren’t well-versed in photography colloquialisms, “Gear Acquisition Syndrome.” Nikon recently announced their D5 and D500 cameras, and if you’re interested in those, Google them yourself, as I won’t take the time to describe them here. Suffice it to say that they are “bigger” and better than anything else Nikon has released to date.

This is a pretty typical scenario in our technology-driven world today: you can only have the newest and the best for six months to a year before it’s “outdated.” I am (and have always been) a bit of a self-professed gear whore. Phones, computers, bicycles, flying things…cameras…I love having the newest, fanciest tech. However, I am not made of money, and therefore to save when I can, and make do with the best that I can afford.

So, before I discuss whether or not I want/need these fancy new camera bodies, let’s take a look at my photography upgrade path.

August 2014, I purchase a refurbished entry-level Nikon DSLR introduced in late 2012, early 2013.

October 2014, I got bored with the basic, variable aperture kit lens, and purchase the stellar, budget-minded, 35mm f/1.8 DX lens, introducing me to the world of “fast” lenses. I still own and use that lens today.

November 2014, I purchased an 80-200 f/2.8 used off eBay, a lens that was made in the late 1990s, but works flawlessly today. It has been my most-used, most-loved, go-to lens. It has changed my photography forever.

March 2015, I sold the D5200, and purchased a refurbished D7100 – an enthusiast DSLR body introduced in 2013. I made the purchase because I primarily wanted some flash options that the D5200 didn’t offer, and the D7100 not only provided those, but a variety of other not-neccesities, but some very useful features.

Late June, 2015, I bought a used fisheye lens – I had sold the 18-55 kit lens, and was lacking a wide angle solution for my camera.

Mid- to late-August, I found an INCREDIBLE deal on a D4 – Nikon’s pro body in 2012, since surpassed by the D4s, and most recently, the D5. I didn’t NEED this camera, but…Oh. My. God. There is nothing like it.

So there you have my BIG photo purchases over the last two years. I have tried to only upgrade when my own personal skills have reached the limit of the gear I owned, or when there was a VERY specific reason for me to make an upgrade or purchase. Right now, I favor shooting with the D4, as it’s full-frame-ed goodness is hard to match. The D7100 is not a crappy camera by any stretch of imagination, and in good light, the images it produces never cease to blow my mind with their fine details, but the D4 just makes things, LOOK BETTER. In my own honest opinion, I don’t think I’ve reached the limit of creativity or technical prowess with either camera, so I don’t really feel a need to upgrade. Sure, more megapixels might be nice, to be able to crop more, but on the other hand, I should just improve my skills and shoot tighter. And I can’t bloody well afford the new bodies – my strategy is wait for used or refurbished models.

Lens-wise, I’m hoping for a wide-ish/mid-range zoom in the near future, as that would be the most practical piece of equipment that I currently don’t own, but a 300mm or 400mm lens would be AMAZING. Each lens fills a different need, which is why you hear photographers saying “glass glass glass,” and so while getting shiny new lenses might seem like G.A.S., but it’s not nearly as bad as the battle over bodies.

The other thing is, that my current gear continues to blow my mind, producing images like this, that are essentially as clean as a whistle, in lighting situations that most photographs in years past wouldn’t have even THOUGHT about shooting in…

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So really, my best advice on new gear is this: does that shiny new piece of technology do something that your current, now-outdated technology doesn’t do? Does it do something SIGNIFICANTLY better, so much so that you are going to save substantial time, and/or money? How much money are you going to lose by buying it? If you answer these and you realize you don’t NEED it, but just want it…don’t buy it. Save your money for the next model. When you’re more than three or four models behind, or you come across a feature you NEED, or have good reason to want, THEN make the purchase.

With that, I’ll leave you with a picture of my fisheye…

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And some lens porn…

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I only own the one on the left…but OMG I want the big lens…

And now on to other photos and photo stories…

Friday, January the 8th was my 21st birthday, and I did take the opportunity to go out to some 21+ establishments, where I did my best to make mature, adult decision. But my photographer’s eye wasn’t ever totally turned off…

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And then in other news…I was asked to photograph a Masonic induction ceremony…

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It was extraordinarily interesting, and not something I’d ever had the opportunity to do. I would do it again too! I enjoyed it – a bunch of very kind, welcoming people.

I’ve also been playing around with the fisheye, just testing out some video stuff, and trying to get some unique perspectives on every day scenes – like my workplace the pool.

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And of COURSE, I almost always have my iPhone on me, and enjoy the compositional challenge of shooting with that camera. Because…”the best camera is the one you have with you!”

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And FINALLY! I got my soccer fix for the month…I’ve been aching to shoot some soccer for the last couple weeks; I don’t know what got in to me during the FSU season, but I may be a littttlllleeeeee into the global phenomenon that is soccer. So I went out after coaching swimming tonight, and shot one of the district play-off games that was going on tonight – the second Leon vs Lincoln game of the season. Lincoln (my former high school) got their butts wiped, and were shut out. But I got a few okay images, and my desire to shoot soccer has been sated. And I ran into Larry Novey!!! He’s the contracted photographer for FSU Soccer, and a REALY nice guy! I hadn’t seen him since late November/early December.

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For whatever reason, this (below) is my favorite picture from the evening…

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And this (below) is the one I’m most proud of – after shooting so much soccer over the last several months, I’ve gotten to the point where I can predict plays occasionally, and mentally called where the ball was headed, saw how the girl was oriented, and nailed a sequence of shots as the ball came right to her, exactly as I had predicted, and although the shots aren’t AMAZING, this was the best one, and I gave myself a little pat on the back.

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So there y’all are! I should have some interesting stuff to write Sunday/Monday/Next week, but for now – I’m out! I hope (as always) that you the reader found some redeeming quality in this post, even if it has been somewhat scatterbrained. I just can’t force myself to take the time to do multiple drafts and more than one proofread of something that’s not for a grade, and is more of a distraction/source of personal enjoyment.

But anyhows – peace! Have an excellent weekend!

-Colin

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