I got to Cairo with high ambitions. It was the first trip I was on with my awesome video camera and a 35 mm adaptor. These adaptor were the shit for the two years between full HD camcorder and video DSLR. For those who don’t know what 35 mm adaptors were, picture a huge contraption on front of your camera with a DSLR lens mount and inside some optical magic that recreates the 35 mm “look”. By look I mean that blurry background. But anyways, there I was with my awkward looking gear ready to capture the city.
Turns out an unusually long camera with a 50 mm zoom, enhanced by some crazy crop factor and no tripod does not make for some stable videos. Very quickly I became conscious of the shortcoming of my setup. Videos were not going to be a thing. As I had no backup plans, I carried on filming but to avoid coming home empty-handed, I used the photo function of my video camera. While the camera was not made for photography, it could take pictures. Shakiness would be less of a problem and taking stills tend to be more forgiving in general.
While it didn’t make my setup anymore ideal, I’ve managed to take pictures that I still like to this day. Would I have taken better pictures if I had the best DSLR at the time? Probably not! Putting aside the fact that this particular setup does have a pleasing look, I think constraints might have had its part in it. The general perception of rules and limits is that they are burdens that cripples your creativity. But as psychological studies have found, choice is not always a positive thing. There is such a thing as too much choice. Choice can be distracting or even overwhelming. Not having the option to change lenses and having to improvise with this long unbalanced barrel of a camera, made me realize that I am creating a unique interpretation of Cairo.
Because let’s be honest, no one would have ever thought of bringing that to the pyramids.