The Camera You Carry

Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming (WY), USA

One of the most frequently-asked questions that we get is…

What type of camera should I get?

Remember… the best camera is the one you have with you even if it isn’t the most expensive or the latest/greatest gear. Your creativity, along with technical knowledge of the camera you have with you, can overcome any shortcomings in your equipment.

Take a look at this image I captured during my daughter’s 13th birthday trip to the Grand Tetons. During a long hike, we came upon this beautiful lake nestled amongst the mountains. It was perfect. The cloud distribution was ideal. And the air was so still that the lake created a breathtaking mirror effect of the mountains and sky.

In regards to photography equipment, all I had with me was a handheld mirror-less Fuji X-E2. No tripod. No filters. The first thing I had to consider was composition. I wanted to capture the stunning reflection on the lake as well as the sky, so I broke the Rule of Thirds and placed the horizon in the very center of the image.

In addition to composition, I had to pay special attention to exposure. Since the foreground was in the shade, the trees were underexposed if I set the exposure for the sunny areas. If I set the exposure for the trees, on the other hand, the sky would have blown out. Using the camera’s DR400 extended dynamic range along with the histogram on the back of the camera, I was able to expand my dynamic range from a normal 7 stop to between 10 and 12 stops. Using the histogram to adjust the exposure, I was able to capture enough details in the shadows without blowing out the highlights. The entire dynamic range was evenly captured.

The third thing I had to consider was shutter speed. It had to be high enough to allow me to take the shot without a tripod. Using a high shutter speed combined with an appropriate aperture, I was able to capture a shot where everything is incredibly sharp and clear.

Remember, no matter what camera you have, your creativity and technical knowledge can guide you in your quest for a breathtaking shot. Try to think your way through whatever situation you happen to be in… develop a workflow that allows you to capture what you see. If you do that, whatever camera you have will become the right camera.

About Author Jay Patel

I could startoff like this – “Seeds of Jay Patel’s appreciation for beautiful places were planted early in his childhood….” but it would get boring really fast. I will just sum it up and say that I am a Landscape and Wilderness Photographer who loves to capture dramatic light. My photographs have been published in various magazines, calendars and advertising materials throughout the world.
Patience is a virtue...unless you are chasing your dreams