I just finished packing my camera bag for a shoot, and as I chose gear I thought about how packing gear was an interesting reflection of a photographer’s maturity.
Novice photographers carry everything they own. At first it’s easy, because they probably have one camera and one lens, and leaving either of those behind doesn’t make sense. Very quickly they add accessories, and those always go in the bag. And then they get a second lens, and maybe a third, and they get a bigger camera bag to carry everything. I confess that I have a behemoth camera backpack that I use fairly often.
After a while a photographer either accumulates too much equipment or comes to his senses (or both) and realizes that he doesn’t need every single piece of gear he owns with him every time he takes a picture. Often this is caused by the sheer impossibility of carrying everything he owns, but it’s still an important growth step. The photographer is now planning his shoot before he goes out, so that he can carry what he needs. OK, often it’s so that he can leave behind what he’s sure he doesn’t need, but it’s still progress.
The third stage of maturity comes when the photographer packs carefully for a shoot, uses every major piece of gear he packed, and doesn’t wish for anything that he left behind. This means that not only is he thinking about what he needs for the shoot, but he’s predicting correctly.
I’m about a 2.3 right now– I plan carefully, and sometimes get it right.
How about you?