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The Things He Carried

The Things He Carried by Fletch

The first thing I thought of when my holiday to China was confirmed was, “I need to get a new camera”. I’ve got a collection of old film cameras, and a couple of aging digital cameras lying around gathering dust, and I didn’t think any of these were going to be good enough. I’m sure most of them would have been fine – but I obviously suffer from that disease of thinking the latest and greatest technology will make my shots all that much better.



So I started reading all the reviews, checking the specs on the latest digital SLRs, looking at photos of apples taken at different ISO levels, counting pixels, and weighing up all the pros and cons. This just left me in a state of confusion and my eyes slowly began to glaze over. I really don’t care that the Nikon D800 image retains much more high-frequency detail throughout the ISO range than the D7000. And I have no idea what is the consequence of the  D800 having a pixel pitch of 4.88µm, while the D7000 has a pixel pitch of 4.78µm. What does that even mean?

This research went on for a couple of weeks, sending me around in circles with my thoughts on which camera to buy. Do I get something like the Nikon D7000 or do I go for more of a rangefinder inspired camera such as the Fufjifilm X-Pro1? As the trip loomed closer and closer and my confusion and frustration grew, I made the decision to forget about a new camera, spend the money on dumplings and knock off Nikes, and just take my iPhone5. It was the best decision I could have made.

This approach was so much simpler. I was travelling with my family so it wasn’t like I was going to take photos. I was going for a holiday and I was going to take photos when the opportunity arose. So rather than lugging around a heavy camera all day, and possibly multiple lenses I was free to walk about with just an iPhone in my pocket – something I would have been doing anyway.  This approach also allowed me to look a little more inconspicuous as I wandered through some of the neighborhoods taking shots.

There was only one decision left to make. What Hipstamatic combo to shoot with. This wasn’t too difficult to make. For black and white: JohnS + Rock BW-11. For color: Jane + Ina’s 1982

JohnS + Rock BW-11

JohnS + Rock BW-11

JohnS + Rock BW-11

Jane + Ina’s 1982

Jane + Ina’s 1982

In the end I was reasonably happy with what I got. They were just opportunistic snapshots – but to me they tell the story of the cities I visited and my journey through them. And that’s all I wanted really, it’s not like National Geographic was going to be knocking at my door if I had of taken my shots with a DSLR. I saved money, and my back.

What I carried around with me on previous trips.

What I carried on this trip.

 

22 Comments

  1. Wonderful work on the slideshow – looks great and perfect song choice.
    The Hipsta combos are two of my go-tos too.

    • Thanks a lot Bridgette. Yeah they are the only two I use.

  2. Cooool Fletch, I dealt with the same things on my recent trip out west… Stay tuned! Love these photos!!

    • Thanks David. I will keep an eye out for your post.

  3. Great article. The best camera is the one you have with you!

    • Very true. Thanks

  4. Looks like travelling light worked, great job, DSLRs are becoming obsolete for most travel

    • Thanks Greg – I’m sure there is a time and place they are needed. Most of the people I observed using DSLR’s were using them as point and shoots anyway.

  5. Ahh, these are really wonderful, Fletch; I love being able to see so many photos in the slideshow format. Those Hipsta combos served you well! I’m definitely partial to black & white for documentary style shooting. I hope to visit China someday, so much history to immerse oneself into. You really did the people and the place justice.

    And have to agree with B; the music was perfect.

    Cheers!
    - r

    • Thanks Rachel – and yes you must go. You would love it I’m sure.

  6. That’s the way I roll too. Really cool man, and I’m gonna give that black and white combo a shot.

    • Good on you Mike. It’s a great combo in my opinion. Thanks

  7. A strong body of work, Fletch! Really impressive. And yes, I can totally relate to your feelings about the latest greatest technology. The more advanced things become, the more I lose interest. Good Hipsta-combo choices too!

    • Thanks a lot Dave. Yeah I felt like I lost control when I got my digital SLR – just too many features for my mind.
      Maybe a feature to over or under expose on hipstamatic would be welcome. I might put in a request : )

  8. Bravo Fletcher! The slideshow really takes you there. Wonderful work and some really profound and strong images! xo

    • Thanks a lot Netta. Thanks for your continued support.

  9. Captain, M’Captain! as though you have allowed us to travel vicariously with you through your hipstamatic lens! What an adventure… a beautiful cinematic mood that is timeless and unfold stories beyond their frame… thank you for sharing (throws rose petals in the air)

    • Thanks a lot Kaily – an understated comment as always. I wouldn’t expect anything else ; )

  10. Fantastic work Fletch, I know that feeling when you’ve scoured the internet and fried your brain trying to work out whats the latest & greatest in new photog equipments … You’ve just proved it’s a total waste of time! Love the slide, poignant melody to accompany such beautiful imagery and the hipsta combos – sheer brilliance !!

    • Thanks a lot Leisa – really nice of you to say so.
      And if I had a big SLR with me – I wouldn’t have taken half those shots.

  11. What an inspiring article. In capturing the essence of that very setting, your captures serve as a remarkable chronicle of your travels, and ultimately took me to where you were. Simply brilliant. And I think more photographers need to hear what you have to say about the gear as well. You’re right on with that! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. Enjoyed it!

    Cue

    • Good on you Cue, thanks for checking it out.

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