Posted by: kerryl29 | September 21, 2016

Targeted Fatigue

Note:  On Saturday, September 24, I begin my drive to northern New England for roughly two weeks of what I hope will be colorful-foliage-filled photography in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.  I will attempt to prepare a few blog entries that will post while I’m gone, but I may not have time to do so.  In any event, I should have some new material on the blog beginning in mid-October. 

Maybe I’m just getting old and irascible, but  with each passing year I increasingly weary of the talk of new photographic gear.  Photokina is upon us again.  The biannual show–held in Cologne, Germany–is the world’s largest photographic/imaging exhibition and invariably all of the camera (and photo accessory) companies make important new product announcements before and during Photokina.  This year is no different and recent days have seen plenty of new gear previewed and publicized.  And it’s all made me realize how little I care.

Heart of the Dunes, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Heart of the Dunes, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Oh, it’s not that I don’t care at all.  I check out the occasional announcement, just to make sure I have some idea of what’s out there.  But I don’t hang on every word and I’m not really in the market to buy anything.  I don’t want to sound smug or anything, but I haven’t made a major photo purchase in more than 2 1/2 years when I replaced my old 80-400 mm lens with the new model.  The other three lenses I carry with me have been in my possession for eight to 15 years.  My current camera body–the Nikon D800E (I have two of them)–has been in my bag for more than four years now.  The D800E has already been upgraded and that model is due to have an announced upgrade itself very soon.  I skipped the first upgrade (the D810), obviously, and I can’t imagine that I won’t do so again when the D810 update is announced.

Jordan Pond in Fog, Acadia National Park, Maine

Jordan Pond in Fog, Acadia National Park, Maine

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that there’s anything inherently wrong with people who are looking to upgrade their equipment for some particular reason.  And I’m not saying that I won’t ever buy another piece of photo equipment; I’m sure I will at some point.

But…perhaps, I suppose, because I’m generally satisfied with what I currently own…and possibly because the vast majority of new offerings are largely iterative…and perhaps because what minimal new equipment I might find modestly intriguing is effectively out of my price range…I simply can’t get excited about the new offerings

Spring Forest Floor, Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve, South Carolina

Spring Forest Floor, Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve, South Carolina

This wasn’t always the case.  Back in the heady days of the 2000s, when order of magnitude-like improvements could be expected in the dynamic range and resolution of digital sensors every other generation (and sometimes more frequently than that), the prospect of upgrading was enticing.  In the span of less than nine years (fall of 2003 to the summer of 2012) I went through four different digital SLRs, counting the one I currently shoot with, including a format change (which necessitated some new lens purchases)  along the way.  And while I maintain that none of those upgrades made me a better photographer, they did allow me to make substantially better prints, with each and every update.

Squaw Rock Trail, South Chagrin Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio

Squaw Rock Trail, South Chagrin Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio

That is simply no longer true.  Current upgrades are so incremental–in the areas of concern to me–that print improvements are largely theoretical.  Some of the enhancements and other changes made to cameras today are relevant to some photographers, but I’m not among them.

Teardrop Arch, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah

Teardrop Arch, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah

There is still something that excites me, however:  the opportunity, a couple of times per year on average, to spend extended time in the field and make images.  I would happily forego a new camera body if I could spend the money I saved not upgrading traveling somewhere to indulge my passion for a few days.  And that’s what I’ll be doing for the next couple of weeks (beginning next week).  “See” you upon my return.

Setting Sun, Clingman's Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina

Setting Sun, Clingman’s Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina



  1. *_*

  2. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pics ❤

    • Thanks very much!

  3. I so get this. I have plenty of equipment and have no need of anything (except the new camera bag I desperately needed). My biggest “need” is opportunity. Opportunity to get out in Nature and completely lose myself within it. I’m very happy with my Canon gear, have no need for anything else but time. Lovely post. Thank you.

    • Thanks.

      On many photo forums on the web some percentage of the people who post list their gear wishlist–cameras and lenses–in their signature. (Not sure when or why this became a thing, but there it is.) On one site I used to follow there was a regular poster whose list consisted of one thing: “time in the field.”

      So, yeah…you and I aren’t the only ones. 🙂

  4. I totally agree with you. It is the same with any technology…if it performs to expectations for the job that needs doing, an upgrade isn’t necessary. Too often we get sucked into “gear envy.” Spending the money on getting to beautiful and interesting places where you can use the gear you have is definitely a better choice. Can’t wait to see the New England fall colour photos you come back with.

    • Thanks, Ellen. I’m hoping I catch good conditions in New England. I’ve been looking forward to photographing there in the fall forever.

  5. Have fun! I just returned from that area and I miss it already…the fall colors will be fantastic!

    • Thanks. Weather forecast is calling for significantly cooler temperatures beginning a day or two before I’m supposed to arrive; hopefully this will kick the fall color transformation into gear.

  6. wow Thanks for sharing!

  7. Happy trails and good light, Kerry!

    • Thanks, Tom.

  8. I am happ ywith my equipment, though need to make some minor adjustments since I got new glasses. Otherwise I can’t afford any upgrade. Enjoy the trip, am sure the colours will be grand!

    • Thanks, Jane.

  9. First image reminds me of the deathstar in Star wars somehow, hehe.

  10. Kerry: Great set, my friend.

  11. I grew up with the aphorism, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Today, it’s been reversed, and the marketers insist “invention is the mother of necessity.” Sometimes an upgrade is good — in any area — but more often than not, it’s a way to persuade people to part with their dollars.

    Like you, I’d prefer to spend what little time and money I have traveling, exploring, and photographing — even if it’s in my own county. I’m anxious to see what you bring home from your more extended travels.

    • Thanks. I’m hoping that the conditions I experience in New England are conducive to good photography.

  12. Love the photo series, each shot is really special in it’s own way.

    • Thanks very much!

  13. Beautiful images, Kerry….

    • Thanks, Scott.

  14. (You always get so many comments, I confess to not reading through them all, but I’d be surprised if I’m the first person to say) Given the quality of your stuff, and that the photographer makes the image, not the camera, I see absolutely no reason why you should bother with new gear until something breaks (or something drastically improved comes out). Just my $0.02

    • Thanks. And that’s pretty much where things are. If I don’t see a demonstrable improvement of some kind as the likely result of an upgrade, there won’t be an upgrade (for me, I mean). Right now, I don’t see anything on the horizon that will fit that description, so I plod on.

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