For those in the know I had a series of equipment failures that practically put me out of action a couple of months ago. My very good friend Landscape Photographer Rob Wilson lent me a camera to keep on shooting. While waiting to get back on my feet equipment wise I had a bit of time to think about where photography was taking me and where I wanted to go. This will forever be referred to as my Time of Reflection.
One of my favorite novellas is Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, by Stephen King (spoilers below). (Made into the wonderful movie The Shawshank Redemption staring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.) Towards the end of the book Red (depicted in the novel as a red haired Irishman!) contemplates what to do with his life. He has been released from prison and is finally a free man, but he has difficulty making the transition to life on the outside. There came a point where he needed to make a decision: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
During my Time of Reflection I found myself thinking about the same question. And a few weeks ago I made up my mind. It was time to follow the dream, take a bit of a risk, get my gear back up to scratch and start doing what I love.
I’ve been looking for a good one stop shop for most of my camera gear, and on a recommendation from a friend I checked out SMIFU , an online retailer based in the South Island. Not only are the prices some of the best in the country, but the owner of the company Mark (great choice of names there Mark!) is always quick to respond and its nice to be able to chat to a real person. And if you are in business and looking to lease SMIFU have that option as well, offering Flexirent as a way of managing your cash flow. So it was onto the phone with Mark, and after a very short process I am now back in the game again, and I can’t begin to tell everyone how good that feels. Great service Mark!
Now I would like to introduce everyone to the Beast.
I decided to build a camera kit that will allow me to shoot in almost any situation but be light enough to fit into a biggish duffle bag. I shoot with the strobist approach: so being mobile, lightweight and quick to set up are things that are important to me.
The camera itself is a Canon 7D: a camera that after a brief run around yesterday has already exceeded my expectations. I won’t bore you with the technical details: but shooting with the 7D is like upgrading from a pistol to a machine gun. THIS THING IS FAST! But from now on the 7D will simply be known as the Beast.
I’ve chosen some lenses that are exceptionally sharp and well built that can shoot in low light situations, I’ve also got a few flashes for when the light gets too bad or for when I’m looking to do something more creative.
The Beast is known for having an auto-focus system optimized for shooting moving objects, so I was keen to take it for a test run. If you have seen the movie Top Gun: then imagine the Heads-Up Display with the targeting reticule moving across the screen chasing the enemy Mig: this was what I saw through the viewfinder as I was chasing the seagulls. Truly amazing.
I captured this moment as I headed home while close to one of my favourite little spots Moa Point. I’m finding that the Beast is a bit too heavy for my tripod, so it looks like I’ll have to be upgrading that shortly too.
And lastly, a sunset. I nearly missed this: I went down to the rockpools to capture one of my favoured moving waterscapes, but the light was too bright, so I headed back to the car, turned around to open the door and saw this:
I’m starting to remember why I became a photographer. Its time to get back into the groove, and as Red put it, “Get Busy Living.” I’m looking to make January a busy one, so look out for a number of special offers and opportunities that I’ll throw up on my facebook page in the next few days. (Because I need to pay for my gear!) Thanks to everyone who has helped me get through the last couple of months, I couldn’t have done it without you guys.
Only Forward from here on in.