Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Watertown, New York
"Do You Always Carry Your Camera?"

Every photographer encounters this question now and then. I'm sure the more basic question—whether or not it's a good idea to carry a camera habitually—has been argued since the invention of reasonably convenient hand cameras. I'm also sure there is no proper answer to the second question: the choice is a matter of personal preference.

I don't carry a camera every time I go to the grocery store or the post office. However, as a full-time photographer without a day job or a daily commute, I spend a great deal of time out specifically hunting for pictures. Sometimes just for a morning, sometimes for days or weeks at a time. The picture above was made one recent evening, through the window of a pizza parlour in Watertown, New York, while I was waiting for my slice and salad to arrive. I was on a three-day expedition to find pictures, with absolutely no preconceived notions of what I was looking for.

Convenience Store, Keesville, New York

This picture was made 26 hours or so earlier. I'd pulled into the convenience store parking lot to get off the road and use my cell phone. The picture just jumped out at me, so I shot it, then made my call. Taking blocks of time when my entire attention is devoted to finding pictures seems to work for me. Not carrying a camera the rest of the time also seems to work. Making the separation may help center my attention.


Anonymous said...

Hi Carl, I'm starting to carry a camera more and more, since the great shots always seem to pop up when I don't have one with me.

The question is, what is a good light kit to carry when not on a dedicated photo expedition. I've been taking my Nikon D200 with a 45P manual focus pancake lens in a Lowepro Sliplock 50 pouch. A pretty light and small package with great IQ.

I'm curious as to what your carry around kit consists of.

Thanks for hosting this great site. I find your photos very inspirational and look forward to opening your blog every day.

Jeff Kott
San Francisco

Ernest Theisen said...

No I don't always carry my camera but I should. I really can't carry my main camera in my car and leave it as there is a good chance it will not be there when I get back. But I have been taking my Cannon Power Shot G3 with me as I can somewhat hide it under the seat. I have been trying to get a shot of this old house just off the road going downtown. It has to be in the afternoon and I would like some clouds. Maybe today. I check your site everyday. Always interesting stuff. E

Carl said...

Thank you Jeff.

Choosing a "pancake" lens is a smart move for your walk-around camera. For years my "carrying" camera was a Leica M4 or M6 with 35mm lens: very compact with the best imaging quality obtainable in 35mm. I'm concentrating on color digital capture for my small format work now and use an Olympus E1 with 11-22 lens: not anywhere near as compact a package as I would like, but there are no compact, moderate wide-angle lenses available for it. I'm seriously interested in the new camera Pentax is introducing precisely because of the 21mm (1.5x factor) pancake lens available for it.

BTW, on shooting expeditions my standard camera is the 8x10 Deardorff...

billwheeler said...

Because I love taking pictures, I carry a camera just about every place I go. Although I own a digital slr camera, I usually grab a film camera on the way out the door. Unless I am going on a photo expedition, with the express purpose of taking pictures, to keep things simple I usually carry a single small camera and lens. I love the day-to-day stuff shown on photography blogs.

Scott Kirkpatrick said...

Interesting. I had also settled down to using the E-1 with 11-22 (and occasionally the 50/2) as my serious camera, but recently I got a Ricoh GR-D which lives in my shirt pocket with its external viewfinder and stays with me most days. I think P&S cameras like this can now give high quality while remaining inconspicuous, replacing the battered Leica of 20 years ago. The GR-D is unusually suited, since it gives full manual controls with only one hand needed.