I've seen other people post this millions of times, but I'll say it too, the best photo gear is what you have with you. If you aren't out shooting because you feel that what you have is unable to get the job done, you will miss out on a lot of possible photos. A few of my favorite photos from 2009 was taken with my cheapest lens, the Nikon 50mm F1.8D, and it was a landscape photo taken in the cascade mountains an hour east of Hope, BC. Then I consider that I used a consumer grade zoom for almost all of my holiday photos, and I am left realizing that all the professional grade gear in the world does not replace practice and experienced based photographic skills. That being said, I'll admit that I took the majority of my photos with my most expensive lens, the Nikon 300mm F4 AF-S, but I think the point still stands regardless. Sometimes the tool you need and the tool you would like to use are different. If I could afford it, I would have the Nikon 300mm F2.8G AF-S with a TC-17E, which would give me a lot more flexibility.
I have reviewed most of the gear that I used in 2009, so if you are interested in my thoughts on them, make sure you check out my reviews, which are linked on the right hand side of the blog. Most of the lenses that I have acquired since becoming serious about photography have been used versions, simply due to the cost savings gained by going with used equipment. As a result of what I have discovered from gear usage this last year, I will most likely be selling one or two of my lenses, simply because I do not use them enough to keep them. In some ways that will be difficult, because they are good lenses, but I just don't find them very useful overall, and find it hard to justify keeping them in my bag.
Now for a tip for those who are looking at getting a new DSLR, get the camera you want the first time! Yup, I found that you are better off saving to get the camera you want right from the start, rather than getting a camera you can afford right now, because you will end up spending more, because eventually, you'll get the camera you wanted from the start. That was a year long journey for me that started in October 2008 with the purchase of a D80, and ended in September of 2009, when I purchased a D300. In some ways it was good for me to start out with the D80, because I had not figured out what I liked shooting the most, but it became apparent very quickie, that birding was going to be my primary area of photography.
2010: A New Year, Some Ideas
In a post last week I talked about going for photo walks, so I'll make a quick comment here about my thoughts on that. First note, getting out for a photo walk every day, may be harder than I thought. Today, I do not really feel motivated to go out and even start off the year with a photo walk, it is windy, and rainy today. At the same time, I feel like I need to stick to my guns and go out anyway. Tough choice, if I do manage to get myself out of the house, I'll post my reactions tomorrow. Also as part of the start of 2010, I started a new Aperture Library, as my 2009 and early library was getting to be over 60GBs, which meant that load times were slowing down. We'll see how this works out, I think it will help balance out backup times.