Ansel Adams is known for the quote “The best camera is the one you have with you”. The implications of this statement are incredibly wide ranging. However, it is important to note that Adams shot with mostly 4x5 cameras. This camera format was large, heavy, and required a great amount of additional equipment. Yet Adams did not let this hinder him from shooting in some of the most desolate locations across the nation.
Why is this important? Because far too often I find myself somewhere without a camera when I eye a great photo opportunity. The very nature of photography recognizes that the moments captured (or not captured) will never return again.
Unfortunately, I let excuses of gear size, convenience, or the need for lens options get in the way of me carrying my camera on a regular basis. To help combat this, one day I stripped my Canon 7D down to the basics with no battery grip or any other add-ons, and installed the smallest lens I own: the Canon 40mm f/2.8mm STM “Pancake”. I then vowed to carry my camera to and from work and anywhere else I went.
The result of this experiment was fulfilled when I spotted a great opportunity just as I was leaving work one day. If I had to run home to get a camera, the moment would have most definitely been gone. Instead I had my camera ready and available to get what is now my favorite image from the campus of my school.
So make it a point to carry a camera with you even when you are not on a ‘shoot’, you never know what you are going to see.