Just imagine you’re into street photography and you’re walking around town one day at a time to capture wonderful moments. You carry around a lot of equipment. You’ve got a backpack with all sorts of lenses ranging from wide-angle, prime to tele-zoom with apertures from 1.4 to 4.5 and focal length from 10mm to 300mm. Just name it, you’ve got it all. To make things even more exciting, you’ve got a second body and a tripod attached to your backpack. Although you are more than happy to be able to have all the options, it still somehow occupies your mind.
While looking for great moments, you always check consciously or unconsciously whether your lens is the perfect one for this particular moment. “If only I had the tele-zoom on my cam right now, I could’ve captured that man jumping in the air down the street” might be a thought popping up every now and then. You decide it’s time for the tele-zoom to get moments like these. With your wide-angle state of mind from the last hours you’re still focused on moments right in front of you. To truly make the most of the tele-zoom, it will take a while to really “think” in tele-zoom. But before you get really comfortable with it, you just want to give the wonderful bokeh of your prime lens a try. After a wonderful day out you’ll certainly have a variety of interesting shots, but have you reached your full potential?
Let’s imagine you don’t even own all that equipment. All you are working with is one body and one lens – that’s it. Everything you own is in your hand, say a decent DSLR or Rangefinder with a prime of your choice e.g. 35mm. Wait, wouldn’t a zoom-lens from 18mm to 200mm solve the problem? Not really, because there’s still way too much technicalities involved and the image quality is usually fairly low. Furthermore it wouldn’t challenge you enough to improve your photography.
So yes, all of your beloved options are gone all of a sudden – but so is the agony of choice. There is just this one frame you have. During the first days you’ll certainly miss all that equipment and the different worlds you enter with every lens. But after a while you realize how incredibly unexplored and huge this one world of your new set-up is. You find yourself thinking about your equipment less and less, because there isn’t much to think about anymore. There’s only one thing you can think about and that’s what’s happening right in front of you.
The more you use this one lens, the more it will become your lens. You’ll know the good sides and the bad sides, but one thing is certain – you’ll know it better than ever before. Once you’re truly familiar with it, gear won’t play much of a role anymore. All you’ll think about is what your walks are actually about: wonderful moments.
Martin Dietrich’s Gear: Fuji X-Pro 1 + XF 35mm f1.4 R
The longer you have Gear Avoidance Syndrome, the more you grow as a photographer. Although there are less options available, you’ll find way more creative ways to capture what you feel! In a way all your technical options before turn into creative solutions with your minimal set-up. You’ve done and seen it all with your 35mm lens? Awesome! Why not sell it and move on to a 18mm or 50mm depending on your interests and style? Let’s explore this world!
Picking up Gear Avoidance Syndrome may not only be healthy for your wallet, but also for your growth as a photographer! Again, having high quality equipment is amazing and Gear Avoidance Syndrome is definitely not meant for everyone. But maybe it may be exactly what you need to remind yourself that you already have the most amazing equipment: your Eye, Heart and Soul!
What do you think? May Gear Avoidance Syndrome be something that could help or has already helped you in getting better? Or did your new gear acquisitions in fact helped you improve? Let us know!