Simple is Better (or, what I’ve been up to the last few weeks) / by Jeremy Mudd

Since my last post, I’ve been pretty busy. And I’ve been placing some restrictions on myself throughout it all in an effort to change the way I shoot/create.

Let me explain.

If you’ve read any of my posts in the past, you will see an occasional theme where I state that I brought way too much gear with me and didn’t use it all.  Not only is bringing too much gear a logistical mess and is often tiring – it can sometimes create other problems, like being frozen in my hotel room in the morning agonizing over which of the 5 systems and 10 lenses I brought to pack and shoot with that day. It’s just too much – and I think my trip to OBX earlier this year really put that nail in the coffin for me.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m NOT selling any of my gear. So if you thought you were going to get a great deal on a Hasselblad or one of my RB67’s – think again.

For the past 6 weeks or so I’ve been living with the mantra of not shooting with a lot of gear and keeping it simple.

April 28th was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, so on that day I went out early in the morning in downtown Dayton and shot pinhole with Doug Brand (@doug.brand). I shot a few rolls and had a blast. Just me and my NOON 612 Pinhole Camera. Can’t get much simpler than that! It was on this outing I learned that I actually like shooting with 400 speed film in the pinhole – up till then I usually stuck with 100 speed film. But I like the look that the 400 speed film has on pinhole – especially HP5+ and Bergger Pancro 400.

Shooting pinhole is freeing – no worry about focus, aperture, lens length, etc. Just point it at what you want to shoot, line it up, meter, open the shutter, and wait. 

Old Montgomery Courthouse Back Door- NOON 612 Pinhole with HP5+ film

Ghost Selfie in front of the Schuster - NOON 612 Pinhole with HP5+ film

Looking Up - NOON 612 Pinhole with HP5+ film

The next weekend I went out and shot with Eric Wright (@ewright523). This time, we shot a few rolls of expired film on some 35mm film cameras. After that I pulled out the medium format gear I had in the back of the Pathfinder and let Eric shoot a Hassalblad 500c and I shot my Yashicamat. Nice simple set-ups with fixed lens lengths and square composition. Again – freeing. Just meter, line up the shot, and fire the shutter. I had a blast.

Nikon F5 with 50mm f/1.8 on expired Kodak c41 B&W film

Nikon F5 with 50mm f/1.8 on expired Kodak c41 B&W film

Nikon F5 with 50mm f/1.8 on expired Kodak c41 B&W film

Yashicamat medium format camera on HP5+ film

The following week, Renee and I went to Cuyahoga Valley National Park for a long weekend, and I packed fairly light. I brought three cameras – my d750, a D2X Infrared camera, and my Fuji GX617 with a 90mm lens. That’s it. In the past I would have had bags of gear but not this time. Most of our hiking was done with only one camera in my pack, and the GX617 only came out to play at one location that I had planned on using it (that also wasn’t far from the car).

I was a great, long weekend.

Fuji GX617 with 90mm lens on ACROS film

Nikon D750 with 24-85mm lens

I stated to notice that during the past few weeks, I was taking a lot more time to compose and shoot, and thinking more about what I was shooting versus whether or not I needed to grab a different lens out of my pack and shoot something wider, or tighter, or whatever. I just got down to business and made what I had work. All the while thinking more about the shot or task at hand.

Also, while I’m on the subject of keeping things simple, I have an update on two images I shot while I was in the OBX in February. Both are simple compositions, and both, now, have won awards.

This image took first place in the Color Landscapes category at the Middletown Arts Center’s 2019 Photography and Digital Art Competition and is on display thru June 20th.

Into the Blue - Nikon D750 w/80-400mm lens

And this image took first place in the same competition in the Black & White Landscapes category, and is also on display thru June 20th.

Mattamuskeet - Fuji GX617 with 180mm lens on ACROS film

I was a bit surprised by the two wins, and flattered. While the OBX trip produced some great images for me, I was frankly a little upset about how bad the weather was during that trip, and the fact that I wasn’t able to make it to all of the locations I wanted to see/shoot. Seeing these two images that came out of that being recognized makes me feel much better about the trip and the time I spent away from home and work.

I know this post has been a bit of a ramble but my point is that simple is often better – whether that’s keeping the amount of gear down that you bring with you on a trip or to a shoot,  or when you are thinking about composition and images.

Right now I am working on some pieces for an upcoming show at the Fairborn Art Association and I’m keeping the simple theme in mind! I’ll post more about the images and the show in the coming month.

Thanks for reading!


Dandelion in the front yard - Nikon D750 with Helios M44-2 58mm lens