Undoubtedly, there is a bit of satisfaction on investing in a new bit of kit. The arrival of the FedEx van and the delivery of the anticipated box on the doorstep feels just like Christmas, except of course for the decorations, the excessive amount of food and a home invasion by a bearded fat man, who might find himself facing serious labor issues revolving around his use of elves and reindeer.
It's a wonderful feeling though, taking out the exacto knife, cutting the tape and releasing a flow of Styrofoam packaging that seems to linger around the house months after their initial arrival. Are we sure those things aren't reproducing on contact with air, like some silent, furless tribble?
Such moments create the excitement over the potential of new creative opportunities. It creates a wonderful swell of emotion, which we can experience repeatedly. At least until, your bank account is overdrawn or the credit card has melted from overuse. But before you get there, there might be other signs that may offer fair warning before you end up at a freeway off-ramp with a sign reading, "Will retouch images for food".
1. You have run out of space for all the original packaging material.
The justification of course is to retain the resale value, when something newer and shinier is calling you like the Greek sirens. But now they've displaced the clothes in the closet, which lay piled in a heap on the lounge chair. Now, the only way to discern which clothes are clean or not is the sniff test, which your significant other keeps insisting is not that reliable.
2. Your spine has gone out of alignment because of the weight of the camera bag.
That exhalation of air that you release each time you pick up the bag may be an indication of weight being an issue. The additional thirty pounds that I carry around my waistline is at least well distributed, but the same might not be said for the bag or backpack that carries equipment that you never end up using. What might have looked like a cool walk in your twenties now looks like the initial signs of hip displacement.
3. Your most passionate creative effort is measuring MTF curves photographing brick walls.
Knowing that we got what we paid for is important, especially when it comes to the sharpness and the resolution quality of lenses. However, things may have been gone too far, when you are making critical assessments such as whether the style of the brick wall is American or English Bond and if the gaps between bricks each measure 3/8 inches. The fact you are using GPS data and Google maps to locate the "perfect" wall is verging on the obsessive and is certainly making your neighbors very nervous.
4. You become depressed and angry when the manufacturer releases a new version.
It feels like a betrayal like in grade school when little Debra Martinez gave Phillip Taylor the biggest cut of chocolate cake and which you were sure Debra was going to give you because you let her cheat off your test after she promised you were going to be her new best friend and you believed her because she was so pretty and you already liked her and... Well, it was wrong then and it's wrong now. Damn her.
5. You own camera bags that never carry camera equipment.
They are there in the closet, in the garage, piled in a heap beneath the desk, camera bags that held the promise of perfection: the ideal shape, support strap, compartment size. They seemed ideal, the best and final solution, a bag to rule them all. Now, they are empty as their promise. It doesn't work now, because...there's this new lens