Photographs: Art or Technology?l

This week we had a photography- friend arrive on a flying visit from overseas – 48 hours on the ground, including the seminar in which he was participating. We took him down the Great Ocean Road – a glorious coastal road – last time we drove it was in a rented Porsche, top down, for the full experience. But that was February – there was no desire to repeat it in July!

We left at 8am and arrived back at 10pm – it is a long drive… with some choice stops along the way for refreshments and to absorb the views.

Our friend had most of his camera kit with him – 2x semi-professional digital bodies and multiple lenses, including the extraordinary 14-24mm fish-eye. I had my, um, phone camera!

At the end of the day we were happy and exhausted. Our friend had over 750 shots, I had about 120 – mostly variations of Gibson’s steps, the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge in the late afternoon light.

We talked at length about the camera gear, tempting me to invest in some new technology. My last significant purchases were Nikon F801 and accessories back somewhere around 1990! Film! Yet it did give me some fun playing around with black and white developing for a short window. I haven’t used this camera for at least 10 years.

I’ve had a couple of the early digital cameras – mostly with very ho hum results in the early days.

In recent years I have been the proud owner of a very modest Panasonic Lumix point and shoot – 7MP, 10x optical zoom, super little Leica lens. It has been a brilliant camera to fling in my handbag on overseas business trips – always there to capture some little treasure to bring home as a memory of the trip.

I’d like to think that I approach my photography a little more seriously than just taking happy snaps, but I’m not too precious about it. My aesthetic has refined over time, and I particularly enjoy the experience when I venture out specifically with the aim of taking photos – it changes the way I view my world around me, and I really value that.

I was browsing through my photos this week, and uploaded of my travel-related photos to try out the photo section on Google+. My brief trip down memory lane of my travels in recent years was largely the result of my trusty Panasonic P&S. And while I didn’t have the range of lenses and manual settings, I have somehow managed to capture some very pleasing shots. I guess it comes down to understanding light and composition better now, after all this time.

While I have been briefly tempted this week to get back into ‘the gear’, the burden of lugging it all over the world and worrying about it being stolen etc seems too onerous – just not worth the effort.

I’ve decided I’m going to stick with something ‘middle of the road’, that gives me enough manual control to make my hobby satisfying, but is easily transportable and can be with me at all times – that fits better with my priorities.

So while all the photos above have been taken on a mobile phone, maybe I’ll look at updating my trusty Panasonic – it’s is looking pretty battle worn now, the body showing evidence of it’s adventures from many scratches and scrapes!

While the technology is necessary, for me it just a tool for me to exercise my art!

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