The Unprepared Shoot
How To Capture Without Your Regular Gear
A couple weeks ago I sent my hot rod D600 back to Nikon to take them up on their offer to replace the shutter. Although I didn't have a very bad problem with the "oil spotting" issue, I figured, why not?

So I sent them my camera body and then shortly realized that I have to have something to shoot. Since I had sold all 3 bodies I had to get the D600, I no longer had a back-up DSLR body.

My regular gear for most everyday adventures and carrying the camera around in general is a Nikon D600 (24MP FX Format) with a 24-85 VRII lens. Most of my exposures are captured at ISO 320 and in shutter priority mode. Although I shoot the preferred aperture, I leave it in "S" mode (see this article for More on my settings) and the white balance on auto with a M1 custom adjustment.

The 24-85 has become my favorite lens because it allows me to get up real close to my subject and take in a wide view at 24mm, and it has some mini-telephoto at 80mm, plus everywhere in between. I have all those focusing boxes turned off except for one that I move around in the viewfinder with the arrow button to choose my most focused area.

Emergency Preparedness
So then what do you do when you are out on an adventure with your back-up D3000 (10MP DX Format) and the 60mm Micro lens attached with an optional 70-300 beside it in the seat of the car?

Although when I first got a 35mm body many moons ago, my favorite everyday lens was the Nikon Micro lens, but now it rarely sees any practical use other than macro shots.

I wasn't about to let a difference in millimeters stop me from pulling into a small car show I noticed going on at The Diner. It wasn't a huge amount of cars but it was enough to get out and walk around and capture some base images.

I knew how I wanted to approach the cars to shoot them and the image I saw in my head I wanted to capture. But the difference in what all I can capture with my favorite lens was quickly noticed when I began to shoot with the fixed length lens.

But... that was with the 24-85 and the same scenes just don't get composed quite as easily with the fixed length 60mm. I did find myself getting frustrated by having to keep stepping back or forward to get the scene composed just how I wanted it. With the zoom, I can usually grab 3 or 4 different captures from the same standing spot. As a result I also found this making me take less shots than with my normal set up since I can change the zoom and not physically have to move an inch, and get a very differently composed image.

You Have To Snap Out Of It
To make your adventure more fun than frustration, you first need to wipe out any ideas you would have with your regular set up. Go ahead an be putting the camera up to your eye and get a feel for the perimeter you will need around your subject. Just as when I spotted the food tray in the window I began picturing the capture and just walked closer and closer with the camera to my eye as I was composing the scene. Only instead of turning a zoom ring on the lens I was getting physically closer to the subject.

The other functions of changing shutter speeds to shoot at different apertures and if any metering adjustments need to be made, are all still pretty similar to my regular hot rod. I also have a good bit of confidence in the metering of this camera and just as with my hot rod, I don't need to look at the screen on the back after every shot and I can just keep moving and flowing through the adventure.

As luck would have it... there just happen to be a fair amount of older classics with cool looking hood ornaments. Having the macro lens today was a great opportunity for the lens to get a little workout at least as I snapped away had hood ornaments. Click here to see my FaceBook Album "Birds, Cats, Dogs & Arrows"

After just a few shots I was already remembering to use my body as the zoom and approach the subject with the camera already to my eye. And to add another curve in the works... the micro lens is an older one that doesn't have the focusing motor in the lens. And the D3000 doesn't have a focusing motor in it, so I also had to manually focus before firing the shutter. After a few captures I had actually forgotten the whole ordeal I originally thought I had in the beginning by not having my favorite glass.

But, after a few cars and captures, I had my system worked out to shoot with this set up, but, you need to keep your mind on the art of the capture and not how easily or differently it is to make the capture. Once you take your mind off what the camera "won't do for you" and you just let the camera do what it can for you, then you will flow as you should.

Always Look Back In Review, To Gain Forward Knowledge
Of course when I look back on these slightly adverse camera outings, I can see where it would actually be good to force yourself go out and shoot with a fixed length lens. It could possibly bring more dimension into your photography and opening up your typical points of view to include some new ones.

In the end I managed to enjoy my walk-through of the cars and to capture about 60 shots, spread out amongst about 16 or so cars that interested me. After opening the files in Photoshop and processing them, I ended up with a nice handful of shots I was very happy with. I also feel certain you will actually find 2 or three of them on-line in the ArtOfAutos.com web shoppe after final processing.

Yes... Hopefully my regular set up will be back in use soon, but if not, I am well prepared and in the mindset to use the D3000 and whatever lens I have on it. And although its only a 10MP file size, the D3000 makes an incredibly good image. Especially since this is the back-up body I recently got for $125 off ebay with less than 300 shots had been taken on it.

Just remember to not think about the limits of your camera compared to how your regular set up works. Allow the camera to be the tool and you make the exposure with it. If you limit your creative ability based upon your gear you have to capture it with... well then you did just that... You Limited Your Ability To Create.

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