Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Context to Earlier

To afford some context to my morning rambling of regret over returning the RX10 Mark III, it's shot like the above where I anticipated its most logical application. Tripod work, long exposure, likely at night, stopped down a good bit to produce clean single captures of a scene, maybe even going as far as to run them in an interval for even cleaner composites. The sort of time invested, laborious work that I haven't applied myself to nearly enough in the past months, let alone the past year. The kind of work I did in the very beginning, running around at all hours of nightfall with an old Coolpix E8700 and cheap plastic Ritz branded tripod (I think they became the Sunpak 'disposables' found in every Best Buy these days).

One camera, one tripod, and a singular focus. I rather miss those days.

I was reading an article by Ming Thein this morning as well, elaborating on the odd way that as we mature in our practice of photography, it becomes harder and harder over time to create an image fitting of self-applied standards of 'good enough'. As pointed out in the article, this isn't necessarily a measure of whether the image is otherwise very good, technically solid and compositionally competent, but a measure of whether it adequately pushes barriers and breaks new ground on a personal level. It's a high level barrier I've felt myself pressing up against for the past few years, and my response to it, more often than not, has been creative hibernation, evident in the significantly reduced compulsion to publish any work, let alone photograph new material of any personal significance.

Most often, I perceive the issue being a technical one, but not in the way one might conventionally think. My tools are remarkably competent and adequately diverse, certainly to the degree that they do not present a technical barrier. Rather, it comes down to choice paralysis, and the irrational compulsion to equip a bag for a variety of subjects for the 'what if' scenarios (that inevitably come when one does not equip to confront them). Thus the value proposition of the RX10 Mark III was in its one-stop solution for deliberate tripod work. Which, unfortunately, is hard to keep in focus when vacillating between motivated states of mind (such as tonight) and depressed, muse-be-damned lethargy.

I recall telling myself upon returning the Sony that running with any combination of my Olympus equipment made just as much sense and to kick myself into gear when the muse again struck, bite the bullet, and simply run with what I already had and knew. And yet, at the same time, I knew I wouldn't. Whether from being dropped so many times or an optical quality issue otherwise inherent in the lens, the 12-40mm f/2.8 which closest fits the perspectives I seek in night shooting just sucks. It's soft, not unsharp, but certainly an optic geared for portraits, for people. The 7-14mm f/2.8 is better, however it's far too wide for what I seek. And if it weren't for being stolen, the 40-150mm f/2.8 is too long in most cases. Perhaps the saving grace would be the yet-to-be-attained 12-100mm f/4, but I would actually have to acquire it first, and even then the inherent issue would be not wanting to carry a system camera for casual landscape work with a low profile being the intent. Abstracts of an irrational creative brain.

The greatest mistake is conceding to the assumption that any piece of equipment needs to cover all possible use cases. It's just not the case. I justified returning a steal of an acquisition for its failure to apply to use cases for which it was never designed. Now I'm left regretting the shots I won't take because my primary kit doesn't fit them either.

Irrational thinking is frustrating.