As a writer and photographer I travel between my life in Toronto, my life in Antigua, and anywhere else my wanderings may take me ... writing my books and enjoying local arts and adventures along the way.

The Cost of Gearing Up

Vistek is a big photography retailer in Canada. After looking over my anticipated purchases in the Vistek online catalog, I found myself getting nervous. I had no doubt that the book of photographs I would shoot in Antigua would be a great success. It’s going to be a photo documentary about the lives of writers, painters, sculptors, potters, and other artists who’ve made their home there. There are some fascinating stories to uncover among them and I look forward to sharing those stories. But I wanted to create artful photographs of stunning visual impact and rich detail that I could exhibit and sell prints of. I wanted a medium format professional digital camera, but had a budget in which a disposable plastic Fuji Quicksnap was closer to reality. I’m most creative when I’m relaxed and I didn’t want my creativity to be constrained by the anxiety of pushing myself to my financial limit. Any entrepreneur knows from experience how easy it is to do that … you start to calculating how much you could afford if you assume the book sells 2000 copies, then what you could afford if it sells 50,000 copies … before you know it you’ve justified cashing in the retirement savings for a camera as a sure fire investment option. Replace the “camera” with whatever “cost of doing business” is relevant to your entrepreneurial bent and you get my meaning.

After a lot of thought (which perhaps time will determine was not ENOUGH thought) I decided to supplement my F5 with a old used medium format film camera for the trip. Something about this approach suits me deeply. Rather than adopt the scatter gun approach of most digital shooters who take thousands of pictures that they have to wade through on slow computers, I would go back to the old school and plan my shots more carefully so I could get away with taking much fewer ones. Armed with the knowledge that good quality film, in particular the medium format film, can rival that of the sharpest 35mm DSLRs, I’m satisfied I have the tools to capture the poster art that I’m looking for.

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