I was out shooting Saturday afternoon at one of my favorite locations when a little old lady (I kid you not) came up to me and asked if I was a “real” photographer like all the other folks lugging around their 600mm lenses covered with camouflage LensCoat, Gitzo Systematic tripods and Wimberley gimbal heads. I must have looked at her a little strangely because she went on to say “you know, the professional photographers that wear those cute little vests”. I smiled and told her that I was just a guy with a new camera.
I know this is going to get me flamed but I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a photo-vest. I don’t know what it is but to me these things look so damn silly I just have to laugh whenever I see a group of photo enthusiasts all standing around looking like bunch of fly fishermen that don’t want to get wet. I even know some folks that bought theirs from Filson and wear them like a badge of honor.
Here’s a hint to folks just getting started in digital photography, forget what you saw in National Geographic in the late 70’s. Creating great looking photographs comes from the head and the heart and has nothing to do with what you wear. Save your money and buy a good quality set of tripod legs and a ball-head. Get yourself a hot-shoe bubble level. Leave the photo-vest in the 70’s where it belongs, along with bell-bottom jeans and powder blue leisure suits.