Friday, February 18, 2011

Buying a New Lens

Tree Lights - Photograph by Tim Irving
Tree Lights - Tim Irving
I've just listened to a very funny interview on the radio with the ex Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. He talked about his obsession with his favourite guitar of the moment, a 1963 Fender Jaguar. When the interview was recorded he had collected over 100 of these particular guitars in various colours, in addition to the hundreds of Gibson, Gretch and Rickenbacker guitars he already owns. In the interview he says his wife recently asked him "why had he bought another Fender Jaguar in blue, when he already owned over 30, blue Fender Jaguars?". He said "but it's a different shade of blue".

Johnny Marr is an extreme example, but some of us like to buy objects that make us happy. I am such a person and I'm very happy! Unfortunately, photographers who change cameras and lenses are somehow frowned upon by certain characters, their theme is "Stick to one camera and one prime lens". To these people I say, mind your own business! You wouldn't restrict a painter to one canvas size, or a guitarist to one guitar, it wouldn't make sense.

For me, changing cameras and lenses can improve my photography. It can inspire me and let me see subjects in a new way. It's all very well knowing your equipment inside out, but my favourite images are usually the result of a happy accident, and I'm not just talking about my photos.

The sign that I need a new piece of equipment is like an irritation that can't be ignored. It starts with an idea, then a Google search and over a few weeks it turns into a desire. Like a hungry dog, all I can focus on is the big juicy bone that gets bigger and jucier by the day. In my case it's a lens that becomes more important to me by the day. I used to try and ignore the irritation, but as I've become older (and wiser?), I see no point in suffering. So if the hunger is there after 2 weeks, I buy. This weekend I'm buying a new lens. I'm exited, it's going to be a big day out, involving catching a train and having lunch, all part of the experience and the pleasure. Using the new lens will follow a predictable pattern, a honymoon, where I initially feel clumsy but eventually, my confidence and technique improves with practice.

Have a great weekend and wish me luck.


  1. Good luck Tim, it's nice to scratch an itch, enjoy ,enjoy, enjoy.

  2. Since I'm catching up on your blog backwards through February, I already know the outcome with your new lens, so I'll skip comment on that. However, I am very drawn your Tree Lights photograph as it contains many attributes that have attracted me to certain images for decades. The lights mimic the path of the full moon over the course of a night.

  3. wonderful picture. i am so glad to found your blog. in fact i was searching for a vintage film camera on etsy (i am now very tempted to buy a vintage camera that not only looks cute but works well enough). i will bookmark your shop for some future shoping and your blog for good advices :)



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