This statement is the one which is most commonly used when people see my photos. They normally say you have beautiful photos, your camera must be a professional one. My reply is usually, yes it is good but you also have to be patient. As long as you are not a photographer you cannot understand what is behind a shot and how much work is involved to take a single good shot. For example I have just finished this week sorting out and processing all the photos I took during my trip in South East Asia (almost two months after). I am not a full time photographer, however even if I had more time to spend on photography it would still take quite some time to process over 6,000 photos.
First of all there is a lot of planning beforehand, finding the right spots, making research on the internet for inspiration and planning to go at the right place at the right time. Then there is a lot of equipment to carry around; your camera, lense(s), tripod, laptop for backups ecc. When you are there you have to get up early in the morning to catch a beautiful sunrise or stay out late at the beach when everyone else has left for the perfect sunset. Sometimes it can become quite scary to roam around with an expensive camera and other equipment especially in poor countries, where people might think you are actually rich just because you have a ‘big’ camera. The biggest hurdle is going back home and starting to choose the best shots and process the RAW files, it can become quite a big headache especially if you take hundreds of shots per day like me. It takes a lot of patience and sometimes you can get disappointed as sometimes you may realise that the great skyline you thought was one of the best shots of your trip, turns out to be nothing special. If that shot was taken at home, it is not a problem since you can go again and shoot another one, but if you were on the other side of the world, it might be quite frustrating. However there are always some positive surprises as you always find that unexpectedly great shot which you shot randomly without any expectations.
The photo attached above shows one of the worst days of my life, when disaster stroke: when I was in Malaysia and my camera broke down. It was just the third day of a 3-week long trip and I was panicking so much that I rushed to the first camera store and bought a new one. However the lens I had was not compatible with the new FX camera, so all the pictures I took on that day showed severe vignetting. Luckily on the same day I was able to repair my camera and continued shooting with it, however I still regret all the fantastic photo opportunities I missed that day and will never forget that awful feeling of being abroad and not being able to shoot anything!
So my advice is never say to a photographer ‘you must have a good camera’ because it is one of the most frustrating phrases that you can say to him. It is not the good camera that makes the photographer, but the passion and dedication of the person that is holding it.