181110 Hibernation - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

Winter has arrived early this year, with single-digit temperatures and lots of rain. While it's true that bad weather makes for good photos, it's also true that bad weather makes for a photographer who doesn't want to go outside.

I'm trying to do some indoor macro photography, and still want to get out to the island for one more evening, if I can. I won't stay overnight – it's too long to commit to being out in the cold – but with sunset by 5pm overnight trips aren't really needed these days. So to help with both tabletop and night photography I bought a good multicolour LED panel while it was on sale. I'm already having some fun with it, and look forward to trying it for low-level light painting. While wearing doubled gloves.

This is also a conflicting time of year because I know I won't be taking photos for a while, but when I'm bored I start shopping. Having spent a weekend with the Fuji X-H1 I'm fairly sure that family will be what I upgrade to in my next couple of generations. What stopped me from buying it when it was being announced – the loss of the exposure compensation dial – is exactly what I like about it now. In manual mode I don't need the exposure compensation control, but the added backlit status LCD would be amazing in the dark. It's funny how things change.

The longer-term change that I'm working toward is a drastic condensation of my camera kit. While there will always be lights, filters, and other secondary items, I want to pare down my primary kit until it fits in one backpack. This is a goal that I want to reach over a couple of generations, so it's attrition and retirement more than layoffs, but it's still a big change. All of my film cameras, except the ZM Zeiss Ikon, are going. My remaining Sigma, Ricoh, Nikon, Olympus, and Panasonic digitals will all also be worn out or sold off.

I want my core interchangeable lens kit to be one small body, two big bodies, and one that sees infrared. There's always room for a Theta and a utility point-and-shoot, but those are more incidental. I'm pretty happy with my existing XF lens collection, although I may add a wide-standard lens since sharp-eyed readers will notice that there's no X100 on my list. I do realize that four digital bodies, a film rangefinder, and nine or ten lenses is hardly a spartan collection. Perhaps I could do without one of the big bodies. But I'd rather not, and if I choose the right backpack I may still reach my goal.

Not that I'm saying I'll only own one backpack, of course. That would be madness. I'll still have several, and many shoulder bags as well. But being a minimalist, for me, always means buying at least one more thing.