Last week I ventured out on another photo shoot of Downtown Las Vegas. The downtown area is one of my favorite places for cityscape and street photography style photos. Besides testing a couple new film cameras I went out looking to get some new photos for a couple of projects I’m working on.
My camera bag that night had 3 cameras including 2 film cameras – Canon EOS-3 and Canon EOS Rebel G and my Fujifilm X-T2 which is mirrorless digital camera. Normally I would not go out with 3 cameras and expect to use all of them let alone be productive with them. A few years ago I realized that you can bring too much gear on a shoot like this and then have decision paralysis when reaching for a camera. On last week’s shoot I was able to avoid decision paralysis and create good images with all 3 cameras. When I was done shooting that night I started thinking about what was different about this attempt to carry multiple cameras in my bag versus the other times I’ve attempted this. Why was I successful on this night and not others?
I arrived downtown at about 6:30p and new that I didn’t want to be out there for more than 2-2.5 hours. Having this time limitation forced me to focus and move efficiently. I don’t always shoot with any sort of time restrictions and often time this can hinder as much as help the process but it seemed to work well on this night.
Film Roll Limit:
I could have loaded my bag with a ton of rolls of film and kept reloading but this night was about efficiency and being productive with multiple cameras. In order to facilitate this I limited myself to shooting one roll per film camera, which meant 2 rolls of 36 exposure 35mm film (along with my digital camera). Having the time limitation plus the limit on film shots created a good balance of me making the most of each film frame but yet not being afraid to shoot anything.
One Camera At A Time:
This one may sound obvious but when you have multiple cameras in the bag it’s tempting to rotate them constantly pulling one out because of the certain lens that’s on it or because of the film stock that’s in it. I avoided this. I pulled out a film camera and shot with it until I was done with my one roll, then put it back in the bag, pulled out the next camera and repeated. I saved my digital camera for last since I can shout hundreds of photos on one card I knew I would shoot with this until my time ran out.
One Lens Per Camera:
I decided ahead of time the lenses I wanted on each camera and once they were set I left it alone. Eliminating yet another thing to have to choose from helped with focus and improved the shooting experience in this situation.
Once I mapped out the route, I started walking and didn’t stop other than to take my shots of course. Once I finished with one camera I didn’t worry about returning to specific area or scene with the next camera. This might have been something I would have done before. If I had 2 different kinds of lenses on each camera I would have walked back and taken the same shot with a different camera + lens. Not doing this allowed me to stay in the flow of shooting and getting a variety of shots. Occasionally I would walk past the same spot twice just because that’s the way the route took me. When that happened and I wanted to take a similar photo again, I would.
One of my main goals with this night of shooting was to test out the 2 film cameras I brought with me since I had not shot a roll with either of them yet. Before I wrote a blog or created a YouTube video about them I wanted to make sure I tested them in the field. Normally I would not take 3 cameras out with me. Taking 2 at a time is fairly common since I like shooting with a digital camera as well as a film camera. Often times though, taking a single camera is best. Next time I do take multiple cameras on shoot like this I’ll look back at this and remind myself of the tactics I used to be creatively efficient.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where too much gear became a hindrance instead of an advantage?