A Question of Gear: A Case for Continued Learning

Photography magazines are full of them. Advertisements! All expounding the benefits of the latest, greatest, best camera or lens ever built. All providing facts, figures and examples to prove that they will enable one to create the best photographs ever captured.

Last week, I read a Facebook post by Kitimat, B.C. photographer, Doug Keech. I enjoy his work and follow his photographic exploits with great interest. In his post he asked a very interesting question.

True or False?

Unless you’re an already an accomplished photographer and you’re looking for a specific upgrade, if you’re at the stage where you’re thinking that a new camera will really make your photos better, then you probably haven’t invested enough time and effort into working with the camera you’ve already got.

True, was my answer. I know that a new camera, especially a full frame camera would look great in my hands. But I know that a new camera wouldn’t make me a better photographer. Yes, I could make bigger prints, with greater clarity and sharpness. Would however, the artistic quality of the image be any better? I think not.

Of course, answers will vary. It is after all a personal question based on where a photographer is on a continuum of learning.

To really answer the question about what would make my photography better I believe that an increase in my knowledge base would be a high priority. I know I need to learn more about utilizing all the many  features on the camera I already own, a Nikon d300s. It’s a great camera that I really enjoy working with.

And I would like to learn more about photography and art. I’m interested in impressionism and painters like Monet, Renoir and Cezanne and Canada’s Group of Seven painters such as Tom Tompson and A.Y. Jackson. Learning about these iconic painters and their work, I feel, would bring a fresh quality to my photography.

The Beach at Parksville with the Coast Mountains in the background.

The Beach at Parksville with the Coast Mountains in the background.

My first digital camera, a Nikon e4300 with 4 megapixels, was used to capture this image. Nine years ago. Its an image  from the bluffs above the beach at Parksville, B.C. I love the expanse of sand at low tide, the white capped blue water and in the distance, the billowy clouds about the Coast Mountains. The children playing on the beach makes this compostion come alive. It reflects what I really I enjoy about the coast of British Columbia. The composition, mood and feeling all captured with a simple point and shoot camera.

This entry was posted in Education, My Work.


  1. Jim Harding February 1, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    I am also an owner of the Nikon 300s and I also love the camera and features it holds, however I have never really got into using it the way that I should and on occasion have become frustrated. Would you consider getting together sometime when you are back to discuss some of the features of this camera. It would sure help getting me kickstarted into my photography again.

    • Stu Dale February 2, 2015 at 7:18 am #

      Hi Jim,
      I would love to get together with you to discuss the d300s. I’ll be in touch when we are back in April.

      • Jim February 2, 2015 at 9:46 am #


        Thank you very much….looking forward to getting together….love your blog. Having lived in the north for 20 years, I found your info on your grandparents very interesting.


  2. Yann February 2, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    I agree, but I would add that gear does not matter until it matters.
    I mean that better gear extends the limits. So when you are doing photography at the limits (low light, indoor sport, wildlife and so forth), no matter how good of a photographer you are or how well you know your camera, you will get a better ratio of keepers with better gear. (nota: if you don’t know how to use the gear, you won’t get good shoots anyway).

    Second point: the better gear does not take your creativity part (unless you take 10 minutes to figure out how to change the ISO on your camera). LOL

    • Stu Dale February 4, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

      Thanks Yann. Your comments are well taken. Good to keep in mind.

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