Category Archives: Living Life

Changing Gear

For obvious reasons, caring for my dad in recent years had gradually become my main priority. As a consequence of that, my photographic output fell to an all-time low over the last couple of years and, particularly over the most recent winter months, even stopped completely. 

Now, with Spring here and Summer on the way, I’ve resolved to “change gear” in two respects. Firstly, having so much additional time on my hands than I’ve become used to, to pursue my hobbies, I’ve decided to re-commit to my passion for the photographic medium. Secondly, this being an opportunity to reset in so many ways, I’ve decided to push ahead with an almost complete refresh of my photographic equipment. Below are the main changes I’ve made so far:

Nikon D7000 Nikon D800
Nikon D5100 Nikon D3000 IR590
AF-S Nikkor 12-24 f/4G IF ED DX AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
AF-S Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8G IF ED DX AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
  Samyang 14mm F2.8 ED AS IF UMC

Nikon D800

Upper Wharfedale

A significant gear change for me has been the shift over from DX to FX, (“cropped sensor” to “full frame”) digital photography with the purchase of my first full frame DSLR, a Nikon D800. I haven’t shot full frame since 2004, when I first moved back from the US and could no longer justify the cost of buying and processing film for my (then) Nikon F4s.

I must say, being able to shoot full frame again is wonderful. Especially shooting the D800, which is the camera I’ve most idolised for the last 8 years. It’s no longer the best camera on the market in technical terms but it’s more than enough for me right now, with a 36.6 megapixel sensor and fantastic low light performance. I’m over the moon with it.

Nikon D3000 IR590

Nikon D3000 infrared-converted 590nm

I’m keeping one foot in the DX format with the purchase of a D3000, but one which has been converted to 590nm infrared. This has opened up a new dimension in photography for me. Although I’ve shot infrared before, using lens filters, that process is arduous and very restricting. With an IR-converted camera, infrared photography has become fully accessible and I am enjoying it very much.

See my post, Seeing Red, for a more in-depth explanation of what this camera’s purpose is and how it fits into my photography workflow.

AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D

Nikon AF-D Nikkor 50mm, 1/250 @ f/1.4, ISO 100

At F1.4, this is the fastest lens I’ve ever owned. As I’ve bought a full-frame DSLR I couldn’t resist buying a fast 50mm lens to go on it, harking back to the earliest days of my own photography when I was sixteen, shooting on a 35mm camera with just a 50mm lens. For a while I had a 35mm F1.8 DX lens for my cropped sensor Nikons but, because of the physical nature of the DX format, even though 35mm DX gives an equivalent FOV of 52mm full frame, the 35mm F1.8 couldn’t deliver even close to the same kind of shallow depth of field as a 50mm F1.8 does, on a full frame camera.

AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm, 1/640 @ f/6.3, ISO 50

I needed a full frame replacement for the 17-55mm DX. The obvious candidate, the 24-70mm f/2.8, is more expensive than I really wanted to commit to but the 24-120mm f/4 being a high-end kit lens is quite common and comparatively cheap on the second-hand market. It’s a pretty sharp lens, though it does have some issues with barrel and pin-cushion distortion, and some quite dramatic vignetting at some focal lengths and wider apertures, some of these characteristics are actually appealing to me. On the occasions where they interfere with an image, they’re easily fixed automagically in Adobe’s Camera Raw lens profile package. It’s an extremely versatile lens and is my most commonly used lens now.

Samyang 14mm F2.8 ED AS IF UMC

Samyang 14mm, 15s @ f/2.8, ISO 1600

Quite a long name for a lens that doesn’t even have autofocus! Oh, but it’s brilliant. As an ultra-wide lens, it’s perfectly suited for shooting huge landscape vistas and for capturing the Milky Way on the D800. It’s tack-sharp, too, and with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 it’s no slouch. 

I was initially going to keep the 12-24mm ultra-wide DX zoom for use with the D3000 IR590. However it transpired that, as brilliant a lens as it is in normal use, it did not perform well in infrared. Only the centre of the image was sharp and, towards the edges, sharpness fell off quickly and dramatically. Enter the Samyang and the problem is solved. This lens, with the D3000 IR590, is sharp from edge to edge. It’s perfectly suited for most of the photos I take with my infrared camera and, unless it’s required on the D800, is where it spends all its time.

These are the most significant recent changes in my gear. As well as these, I’ve recently picked up new flash triggers, extension tubes etc. At some point in the future I’ll post a “what’s in my bag” blog, with my thoughts on the use and performance of each item.

Eulogy: “Bye For Now”

John Bernard Hopkinson 21/10/1933 – 02/01/2021

For many years, every time I left dad in Haworth, every time we hung up the phone or disconnected on Skype, our parting words were always “bye for now”. I can’t even remember which of us first used those words to the exclusion of any other concluding phrase. Regardless, these words came to mean everything from “I’ll see you in an hour” to “give me a shout if you get bored”.

Implicitly, they also came to mean “I love you” – for someone as kind and amenable as dad you might imagine the words “I love you” would be easy words, dished out with reckless abandon, but for some reason dad rarely volunteered such open expressions of affection. Not for a moment could I have wondered, though. Never was there an instant of doubt. Dad loved each of us, with all his heart.

In recent months, the words “bye for now” took on a greater impetus for me. “Bye FOR NOW”. Not “goodbye”, but “see you later”, see you tomorrow or the next. Instead of the all-encompassing and loaded mantra, for me it gradually became an advisory, then an urgent appeal and ultimately almost a demand. “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back!” And until he was no longer able, dad would always repeat it back to me, and nod and smile.

Since dad passed away, I’ve found myself thinking often about the words “bye for now”, admittedly while shamelessly wallowing in self-pity that I’d never hear those words from him again, but I’ve pondered about why he and I would settle on those words to the exclusion of any other parting phrase. And I’ve had a bit of an epiphany.

Dad’s time on earth was a stepping stone. With all his heart and with every fibre of his being, dad knew that once his time here was done, a new journey would begin. When dad died, he didn’t “depart”, he “set off”, striding down a new path; while I was stressing the phrase “bye for now” in mortal terms these last few months, dad was embracing the phrase in its spiritual terms. He was excited about the next leg of his journey and there were no lingering doubts about his destination. With absolute faith, dad knew where he was going and he knew that one day he would see us all again.

So, dad, in deference to your infinite wisdom: Bye for now.

Now I Know Why

I really thought I’d lost my photo mojo. Grabbing the camera and heading out had become a chore; something that I did, even though the thought actually wearied me. I thought I’d lost interest in the craft and that I’d had enough, and that the only thing to do was wait for the denial to pass as I moved on to the next stage of grieving for my once-beloved hobby.

Golden Acre Park

Life generally was becoming a struggle. Through last year I struggled more and more to finish tasks at work, the distances I was walking seeming to get greater and greater. At first I put it down to the weather; last summer was hot, weeks and weeks of interminable sunshine and high humidity, and it’s always difficult to do a manual labour job in those conditions. I felt, and I looked, truly worn out.

Towards the end of the season, as the temperatures began to fall, I began to look forward to being out of work. I felt like I needed a rest, and a month or two looking for jobs on the computer seemed a lot more appealing than getting out and working the jobs themselves. Even though the temperatures were moderate and the work was less demanding, still I was struggling just as badly as when the sun had been high and baking, and frequently even more so. Something was wrong.  Very wrong. But I didn’t catch on, instead imagining that I was just getting older and that this was par for the course; the new normal.

Maisie at Adel Crag

Through December and January, and into February, instead of recovering and feeling more like myself, I continued to decline. Now, though, instead of trudging miles and miles at work, I was exercising only by walking the dog. On my shoulder, a camera bag. By March I’d bought a new tripod; smaller and lighter than my old one. That was the most important thing for a tripod, suddenly, rather than it be sturdy and unmoving.

Otley Chevin Country Park

Through March and April I’d begun to scour my camera bag for things that I’d been carrying but rarely using. I removed all but one filter, I left flashguns at home, and flash triggers, spare batteries and so on. The dog walks, too, had become shorter. I’d started to look for routes that were as flat as possible. I felt outfaced by longer walks, and instead began to choose routes where I knew there were benches to rest along the way. Sheryl was concerned and suggested that I go to the doctors. I was losing weight despite eating like a pig and barely exercising. This, she said, was both concerning and also unfair! 😉

Roundhay Park

Through May, I gradually cut down on the lenses that I’d take with me while out with the dog. The number of photos I was taking while out and about dropped to zero on most days, and by the end of May I was down to one camera and one extra lens in my camera bag, and no tripod at all. But even though I’d cut the load to below what I’d ever have considered to be the bare minimum kit to carry around with me, the camera bag was now becoming too much for me to carry at all. I’d finally ground to a halt.

My diagnosis

Sheryl once again ordered me to the doctors, and this time I obeyed. I booked myself an appointment and saw the doctor. I described my symptoms and he sent me for blood tests. A week later, I was summoned back to the doctors and informed that they suspected I have type 2 diabetes. A second blood test confirmed it and, just like that, I was bound to a daily medication regime for the rest of my life.

30 day average blood glucose level.

After a month of medication I am definitely beginning to feel better and I’m starting to understand just how ill I was. Compared with how I am now, I now recognise that I was becoming deathly ill. My blood glucose levels are still very much higher than they should be, sometimes three or four times higher, and experiments with food are ongoing to determine what I can and can’t eat in order to get the numbers in check.

Already, though, my camera bag is back to full strength, with most of my lenses packed in there. I feel my capacity for photography growing again. Notably, my enthusiasm was always there but the energy required was not. This is now changing, and I’m entering a macro phase in time for the summer flowers and associated insects. It seems I’m back! 🙂

Static Interference

It’s been a tough summer. At the beginning of August the workhorse that was my car broke down for the first and the last time after over five years of service. With over 175,000 miles on the clock, my beloved car finally rolled to the side of the road and gently died. I wept.

Betty: Citroën C5 VTR

Maybe not visibly but definitely on the inside I wept, as a little bit of me died with it. I cannot overstate how much I loved my car. We went everywhere together, up and down the country and across the continent too. She started every morning without fail and sipped gently on the diesel I fed her. Although her heater eventually blew cold in the winter and her air conditioning blew hot in the summer, she was always there for me. For us. She did everything that was ever asked of her with grace and poise – her magical pillow-soft Hydractive suspension saw to that.

Yes. My lovely car died. And I’ve been gutted ever since.

Fortunately, for work, I had access to my bezzy mate and partner-in-crime’s car named Burt. A Mercedes A-Class, Burt met the challenge head-on. He got us where we needed to go. But Burt’s from a different era, where petrol was a little less expensive and economy was more something you flew than what you expected from a car. We were able to get to and from work, but a day out in Burt was a costly affair, especially up and down the hills and valleys of our favourite haunt, the Yorkshire Dales.

Add to that Burt’s short-travel suspension and corresponding aversion to bumps and potholes, even when we decided to invest heavily in some petrol to enjoy a few hours of driving, the experience was always less than joyous. In truth it was more arduous. Something isn’t right when you set out for a relaxing drive but find yourself always wishing you were nearly home.

So it was for August, September and October. We missed the late summer evening drives, the fall colours and the first few frosts. These are the things we would normally take off to go and photograph, but we missed it all this year. It’s been tough.

But we’re finally clear of it all. I have a new car. It’s big, comfortable, economical, functional and, most importantly of all, it’s functioning. Meet Benson:

Benson: Citroën C5 VTR+ HDI

And for the record, no, I don’t feel the need to name everything that I own. Sheryl is the one that feels that need. I just roll with it.

Benson is only a couple of years newer than my beloved previous car, but he has considerably less miles under his timing belt and is an improved version of the same. Less the Hydractive suspension, which in truth was expensive to maintain, nevertheless Benson eats up the bumps and holes with ease. He’s designed to be comfortable and economical, and he’s most certainly both of those.

We haven’t been on a run into the Dales with him yet but it is very much our intention to do so soon. We’re feeling liberated. Although we’ve missed out on our favourite three months of the year, there’s time to make up for it now. With our new-found freedom will come new photography content, and I intend to post more frequently in the coming weeks and months to make up at least some of the recent shortfall.

New Muses

I’ve complained before about my dog, that she’s.. shall we say.. resistant to having her photo taken. She’s remarkably adept at dodging the lens. Well, this week things changed a little, and I had a lot of fun.

My neighbours were away working this week and needed help to make sure their two dogs – a Jack Russel and a Miniature Schnauzer – were fed, watered and walked. I’m a dog lover anyway, which is why I have Maisie, but these two boys, on an entirely different level, are a joy to behold. They’re excited and excitable, interested in everything, and most of all they’re self-entertaining. It’s no effort to sit them, because they constantly play together and wear each other out. But for a photographer they provide the ultimate benefit: Target practice!

Ruari (pronounced Rory), Jack Russel

Honestly, there’s no greater gift for a week than a couple of attractive dogs who don’t run and hide when you get a camera out. Not that they make photographing them easy, mind you. They’re active and curious. Unlike Maisie, Ruari and Freddy are more likely to get too close to focus, but that’s part of the fun. They at least don’t make you feel like you’re imposing on them. Maisie does, and it’s surprising how guilty she makes me feel when I’m pursuing her for a shot.

Freddy, Miniature Schnauzer

With it being Easter and a long weekend, Ruari and Freddy’s mum and dad have now (at time of writing) headed away for the long weekend to visit relatives and they’ve taken the boys with them. At least I have the option to borrow them from time to time, when I’m desperate to fire off some pet photos.

Freddy picked his own toy out of the bin. It’s a CoOp tub that once contained Ardennes paté

Freddy is due to get a haircut soon, so I’ll do some before/after photos. I rather like his shaggy look, but it would be nice to be able to capture his eyes. Eyes are so important in portrait photography, although with long-haired dogs you can get away without capturing them.

Until this week, Freddy was a little wary of me, as apparently he is of all strangers, but after the first day any issue evaporated and he and I have become best buds. I’m sure most animal lovers will identify with the fear of rejection. We have to remind ourselves that it isn’t necessarily personal, and we have to remember that dogs are particularly sensitive to bad experiences. Our need to have our affection reciprocated is a powerful thing, though.

Ruari chewing on Maisie’s pink wand. It’s a long story.

Ruari’s tremendous fun and I could take photos of him all day. And, unlike Maisie, he’d let me! Ruari doesn’t usually like men, particularly grey haired ones and large ones. I haven’t gone grey yet but I am a big bloke. For some reason, despite this, Ruari has always loved me. It’s always been a bit of a mystery to everyone, but I think it’s probably because Ruari knows he’s safe with me. Ruari’s come to stay a few times in the last few months and so now he settles in comfortably straight away. He often falls asleep in my arms without a care in the world.

You may have noticed that Ruari is one of those three-legged dogs. For the record, this doesn’t slow him down at all in any way. In fact Ruari, when on the lead, pulls as hard as Maisie ever did, despite being one quarter the size, one eighth the weight and with only three quarters the number of legs. I think it’s a fairly common trait of Jack Russels, that they are bloody-minded in their determination to do whatever it is they want to do. The plus side is that they eventually wear out, resulting in a little bit of peace and quiet every now and again.

Maisie in recovery, too tired or lazy today to dodge the camera.

All in all I had a fabulous week with these two. Although Maisie, being a little older, occasionally took herself to the bathroom and closed the door behind herself to get away, by and large I think she also enjoyed their company. The bottom line, though, is that as well as being happiest when not photographed, Maisie is also happiest as an only dog with one hundred percent of the available attention being on her. Still, I think some additional doggy company every now and again really does do her good.

The Best Camera is the One That’s With You

“The best camera is the one that’s with you” is the title of a 2009 book by Chase Jarvis. With his book about iPhone photography, Jarvis popularised the notion of the smartphone camera revolution. An accomplished photographer, Jarvis’ acknowledgement of the smartphone in a new era of popular photography was significant.

At the time Jarvis released his book (and Apple Store “Best Camera” application) the iPhone was the most feature-rich and impressively performing smartphone camera. Other phone manufacturers were quick to recognise the significance of the camera to the worth of their smartphones and, in the years since, have also advanced fantastic quality camera smartphones to market. In 2010 the release of Instagram to iPhone users, with its plethora of post-process filters and enhancements, and its 2012 release on the Android platform finally meant that expressive smartphone photography had become cross-platform and accessible to everyone.

Usage statistics for Instagram are impressive. As of last year, an average of 80 million photos per day are shared on the app, accruing 3.5 billion likes daily. More photos than were taken during the entire 19th century are now taken every two minutes. Amazing numbers.

How did we get here?

Photography has gone through several significant innovations over the years since it was first invented. From its start as a large format medium, with complicated development processes and huge levels of skill required to produce quality images, through the lower resolution 35mm revolution, the advent of colour film, the digital SLR revolution, the “point & shoot” digital camera and now the smartphone, photography has repeatedly broken ranks with its own advocates. At each stage, the “purist” photographers have resisted these changes. Ultimately, though, each innovation has become the norm and at each stage, directly because of these innovations, photography has become more accessible, photographers more prolific and their images more widely seen.

Where to next?

It’s impossible to predict the future. There are still some obstacles in the path of smartphones, but I can’t say they’re impossible to overcome. At the moment a smartphone can’t match a DSLR for reach. The physical dimensions of the smartphone alone mean that it is not possible, optically, to deliver on telephoto images of comparable or even adequate quality. The image sensor in a smartphone is very small because the optics in the camera’s lens are required to be very compact. In order to capture a telephoto image, a “long” lens is required. A long lens on a smartphone would radically alter the dimensions and form factor of the smartphone itself. Right now, that doesn’t seem plausible. But the leading edge of technology is far ahead of where we think it is. The most recent innovations we tend to see are at most proofs of concept. But this is far behind where technology usually is. So who knows? But we do know that the innovations necessary to make the smartphone camera the only camera you might ever need is still at least some way off.

We do know the digital point and shoot is dead at this point. There is no future for a low quality image camera that may fit in your pocket but doesn’t have the ability to share on Instagram or Facebook, and you can’t make a phone call on or chat and share on WhatsApp.

But there is still no viable pocket device to match the photographic versatility of the DSLR. At least for now, there’s no reason to believe that this particular medium is dead. But, as Chase Jarvis quite rightly says, the best camera is the one that’s with you. The DSLR is cumbersome but the smartphone is not, and that means that it is more likely that the best camera – adequate for the task or not – is not the DSLR that you left at home but the smartphone, right there in your pocket.

Is Photography Art?

This question is as old as the medium of photography itself. How can something as simple as pointing a camera and clicking a button possibly qualify as art?

As a photographer, I spent decades asking that very question. Before we get much further, it’s important for me to make clear now that the answer that I have to offer is far from conclusive, may not be what you want to hear and is even subject to change further down the road. In order to answer the question, you first have to establish what “is” is.

As simply as possible, you can’t answer the question “is photography art?” objectively because what art “is” is entirely subjective. The answer requires a qualitative standard that is unachievable in subjective questions. This simple truth alone precludes any definitive answer to the question which would be accepted by all. So here, instead of finding the answer I’d like to explore the question.

Distinguishing Arts and Crafts

There is no separation in life between the culture we live in and the art which describes it. You can craft a response, fashion a utensil and even draw a conclusion. Art is a medium we use to describe and comment upon life, but it is so intrinsic to our culture that the distinction between the words we use in the life we live and those we use to describe it blurs completely.

Photography has in some ways a similar paradox. The process, or act, of photography is confused with the expression or language of the same. In fact photography is both an art and a craft. The process of photography – i.e. the lens, the camera, the tripod, the shutter, the aperture, the ISO, the editing and the sharing – is the craft. The product – the image that results from the craft – is the art. That seems reasonably simple, doesn’t it? So why is the question, whether photography is art, even a question?

I think that it is in no small part photography’s inherent versatility that is the cause of the debate. Photography is a useful medium not just for artists but also for documentarians.  A photograph for the purpose of creating a factual record, rightly or wrongly, conflicts with our notion of art in the same way that we don’t perceive a story in a newspaper as art in the way that we regard a novel or a poem as art. And yet materially, with both the newspaper and the novel, the medium is the same. It is the written word. Similarly, with the photograph, the image is the result of the endeavour. It is a blend of both the purpose and the content of the image which determines whether that image is art or not.

The Implicit Value of Artistic Labour

To further confuse and conflate, photography is not just versatile, it is also accessible. Who, today, does not have instant and easy access at least to a camera phone? For the past century, increasingly, most families had within them at least one parent who documented the raising of their children. Capturing those moments – assuming kids are willing subjects – is the simple process of pointing and clicking. Today photography is as much part of daily life as breakfast. The days of slideshow evenings by enthusiastic parents and holiday-makers are long gone, replaced by the instantaneous distribution of every first step, spoon fed, high school graduation, dog walk and hearty meal, each trickling down to friend’s and relative’s pockets via Instagram and Facebook.

The accessibility of photography has never been greater, its cost has never been lower, and this is without question a golden era  for the craft of photography. But is it a golden era for the art of photography? Possibly. Possibly not. I think it depends whether or not you recognise the distinction, and what it is that you think art “is”.

If you don’t distinguish between the art and the craft of photography then it’s apparent that anyone can be a photographer and therefore by extension that everyone’s an artist. But it might be equally as reasonable to conclude that, because everyone’s a photographer, therefore nobody’s an artist and that the act of photography is not the demonstration of artistry or the expression of art, because it’s so easy to do. The view you take rests on your perception of photography as a craft and also as an art form, and on your perception of the impact that the reduced skills required in the craft of photography over time has had on the artistic labour required to create it.

Whichever view you personally take, the aggregate result of greater accessibility to photography seems to result in a pervasive reduction in the perceived value of photography as an art form. Simplistic though it is, there’s an entirely subjective but undeniably powerful belief that it’s not really art if anyone can do it.

So, is Photography Art?

A definitive answer remains elusive, complicated by the inherently subjective thing that art is. Rather than being informed (by me or by anyone else) whether photography is art, it is instead incumbent on the asker to find within themselves whether they accept photography as an art form or not.

Ask yourself if an artist could express their art through photography. If you believe so then, implicitly, you accept photography as a medium of artistic expression and, therefore, you accept that photography can be art. In doing so, you are not declaring that every photograph is art, merely that the medium itself can be used for that purpose. You do not have to give consideration for whether it is easy for an artist to produce photographic art, only on the merit of the achievement – does the image function in the desired way to express the intended feelings and thoughts of the artist? Is it good art?

I myself have resolved to this position. I believe photography is a medium through which an artist may effectively communicate. Moreover, I feel that photography is probably the most robust and most widely accepted form of modern art to date.

The question should not be whether or not photography is art. That, it turns out, is the wrong question. Is the potter’s wheel art? Is the kiln art? Is a pot of paint art? Is a sculptor’s chisel or a cross-stitcher’s skein of thread?

Instead, the question that should be asked is whether or not the photographer is an artist. And the answer to that question, at least, is: “sometimes.”

Taking A Camera Everywhere

For the past 20 years one thing I’ve made sure I do is to take a camera with me wherever I go. For the longest time this has meant lugging a not-so-light camera bag everywhere.

These days smartphones mean that you don’t necessarily have to do that, but my experience with smartphones so far suggests that it’s still worth lugging around a weighty bag, just in case. This isn’t a reflection on the quality of smartphone cameras so much as a reflection on my choice of smartphones. My phone is cheap and the camera on it isn’t really all that amazing. Honestly, the camera wasn’t the main consideration when I bought my phone, specifically because I take a camera everywhere with me.

As well as a smartphone I also have a couple of GoPros, a bridge camera and a DSLR, and I even have a dashcam recording every mile in my car. I believe I’ve become addicted to documenting everything that happens, or at the very least having the ability to document everything at all times.

Though it occasionally is a happy accident, not every photo that I take is intended as a work of art. My photography in general has two main facets, one of which is artistic expression and the other which is documentary. Occasionally, and I think these are my favourite photos of my own, my photographs are both. This probably makes sense because, to my mind at least, the best photographs are those which convey a story with an emotion attached, or which invoke an emotion related to the story by virtue of its expressive nature – artistry, if you will.

Not all cameras are created equal. Although the latest GoPro cameras are able to store still images in RAW format, most smartphones and bridge cameras only save images in JPG format. RAW image formats contain significantly more detailed information captured by a camera sensor than JPG, but the extra data results in significantly larger file sizes in an image format which can’t be shared on Facebook, Instagram etc.

For purely documentary photography JPGs are generally adequate, but if your intention is to create art from your documentary photography, beyond very minor contrast/brightness tweaks, then it’s likely that you will want to edit your images after the fact. To do that most effectively requires that you shoot in RAW.

Of the cameras that I own, only my DSLR currently has the ability to store images in RAW format. And because every photograph I shoot, whether documentary or artistic, I want to have the option to create art with, it’s probably inevitable that I will continue to carry a heavy camera bag and lots of lenses everywhere I go.