All We Need: The Story Behind This Photograph

What if we already have all that we need right here and now? What if that thing we’ve been searching for isn’t out there somewhere but is with us already? What if the riddle has already been figured out, the mystery solved, the problem fixed? What if . . . .

Like a divergent fork in the road, this opening hook could go in the direction of any of this blog’s themes: faith, photography, or stories from the road. And though God’s love is all we really need, this particular post is photographic in nature (but keep can eye open for a faith-focused one in the future).

Last November, I posted this video on Youtube all about the Fujifilm X100V camera. In the video, I claimed that the X100V is a go everywhere, do everything camera, meaning: the camera’s versatility and adaptability to ever-changing environments and artistic inspirations set it apart from others. Well, a recent experience of mine reaffirmed my belief in this notion, and I’d like to take it even one step further, while providing some much-needed context.

The Fujifilm X100V is a fixed focal length camera which means that the lens cannot come off of the body. The 23mm f/2 lens is permanently affixed to the front of the device. This begs the question: how can such a limited camera be versatile and adaptable?

Rather than tell you, I will show you.

During a blustery, windswept day on Cape Cod, we exited our car and made our way towards the luscious trail. The spring colors truly popped with the greens stealing the show. Armed with my X100V, I meandered along a babbling stream as it tumbled, peacefully observing the scene, looking for something worth capturing.

A particular waterfall caught my attention. In my mind’s eye, I imagined a long-exposure photograph that memorialized the gushing water and that was framed by the stone wall and overgrown underbrush. There was only one problem; I didn’t have a tripod or a neutral density filter. In fact, I had no camera bag whatsoever; no lenses, no filters, no cleaning cloths, no gear. Just me and the X100V.

Still, I had a composed image in my mind that I wanted to created, so I set out to find a way.

While crossing a bridge, I glanced at a moldy old ledge. I rested the camera upon the ledge and pointed the X100V at the scene but couldn’t get the right angle. Then I thought of using my phone to prop up the camera to achieve a better angle. The X100V comes with a built in neutral density filter, so I turned it on. I set the ISO to 160, the aperture to f/16, the shutter speed to 1.5 seconds, and then I took the picture. The final result can be seen at the beginning of this post, and my wonky makeshift set up can be spotted a few paragraphs above this.

I am very proud of this story (hence why I’m telling you about it). For me, this story captures a personal truth I have discovered about photography. We don’t need more gear, new gear, better gear. We have all that we need because we have ourselves, our photographic knowledge, our artistic inspirations, our determination and grit and follow-through, and most of all . . . we have our imaginations.

I believe that we have all we need. Be creative, be imaginative, do more with less. Push yourself, and your gear, to its limits to achieve the results you desire.

It can be easy to blame our photography gear for why we are displeased with our images. Our course, if you want to take photos of a flying bald eagle, get a camera with a telephoto lens; if you want to take images of marching ants on a picnic blanket, get a camera with a macro mode. Yes, the gear matters, but once you know what you want to do, and once you get the right gear to accomplish those goals, go make it happen.

We already have all we need.

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