Thursday, July 17, 2008

Getting Past the Cost

As some of you may know I've recently taken up photography as a hobby. I know, I know, it's not all that obvious...

Anyway, now that I'm getting more comfortable with The Gadget® and I'm taking better pictures I've also been looking into getting a better quality of lens, or "glass" as we say in photography. Now, the really good stuff ain't cheap, but I knew this when I bought the camera. I've bought a few things for the camera: a battery pack that extends my grip and a 50mm lens. But these things were relatively inexpensive. The lens only cost $75; it's my "beater" glass. The glass I want, however, are all upwards of a grand. Intellectually, it's fine to know this but it's a completely different matter when you've pluncked down yer money and you're actually going to use the thing. A lifetime habit of "taking care of my stuff" must now be broken. Mom you might not want to read any further. ;-)

Yesterday I bought my first expensive piece of glass. A Canon 17-40mm f/4 L wide angle lens. This thing cost me almost as much as the camera kit originally cost me. I'm not saying this to brag about how much money I've just spent; I'm saying this because I keep thinking "holy crap this thing is expensive I've got to take care of it." Which in the past meant "treat it with kid gloves."

Kind of a dilemma, no? It's like when I was in the Army -- my mother spent years yelling at me to "come in out of the rain" as a kid, but when I got to basic training it turns out they wanted me to stand around in the rain. In fact, sometimes, they forced us to actually do stuff in the rain. It was confusing at first, let me tell you. The same principle applies to this lens. I've spent years "taking care of my stuff" because some of it has been expensive. For example: for as much as I use my MacBook Pro, at almost 2 years old, it is still in really good shape on the outside. I take care of it. Now Canon is telling me that it's OK to take this camera and lens to Costa Rica and take close-up pictures of strange insects and plants. I don't even have to treat it with kid gloves. I'm supposed to just use this stuff. Amazing. And liberating in a way. I figure, what else can I "just use" even if it's expensive?

I've got a photography day planned for next week. I'm playing hookey from work (with approval) to go to the Conservatory of Flowers with a friend. I plan to give the new glass a good work out and I hope to come home with at least a couple hundred photos. Hopefully some of them will be good enough for printing and framing.

Next up: the $2000 lens!

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