Last month, packing for Jamaica, I wrote about my plans for going minimalist in terms of equipment — a single body and a single lens. Now I’m back in the flow of small-town journalism and ready to reflect on the trip.

As is always the case without a full compliment of gear, concessions were made, but all in all I am happy with what I came back with. There were many times I longed for a long telephoto or ultrawide lens. It wasn’t an option. I had a 24-70mm zoom and that was that.

So I adjusted my expectations.

I cannot count the times when I’m approached and told, “Boy, I’ll bet you get great shots with that big lens.” I’ve learned to respond with something like, “Yes, but you can get great shots with any lens. They’ll just be different shots.”

And that is the truth. Don’t stress about the shots you can’t get. Focus on what you can. Many of these shots from my March trip are not first-choice compositions. They are compromises based on the gear I had. And maybe compromise isn’t the right term. I knew what I wanted to shoot, but I often had to step forward or backward  to make up for the limitations of the lens.

It required thinking ahead a lot more as well. This is something I preach to any photographer who’ll listen. Anticipation! Think ahead to what is likely to happen, and be ready for it.

For instance, the shot above of the young boy leaping into the Caribbean. As the group of us walked down to the beach (after a HARD day of home building) we saw this guy and his twin brother leaping, twisting and splashing. From where I saw it, it was a perfect 200mm shot. But that wasn’t an option. So I figured it would happen again and moved level with the rock, framed a shot that included a sampling of the cool tree and waited.

As you take your photography hobby to the next level, take this to heart. Accept the limitations of your gear. Anticipate your shots. And wait!

Good things will come.

Greg Lehman has photographed the Walla Walla Valley for 30 years with the Union-Bulletin and other organizations and as a freelance photographer.

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