What lens did you use?
What camera was this taken with?
I've asked these very same questions which I now find myself being asked. It is, without a doubt, very flattering when someone takes the time to ask a question about a photo I've taken. No matter what that question might be, for a picture to evoke a positive response is a real buzz.
Cameras are exciting gadgets to own and obsession with photographic gear can be a trap which can be all too easy to fall into. However, when it comes down to it, a camera is just a tool. If a carpenter builds some stairs, you don't ask them what hammer they used to build them, because it has no bearing on the outcome of the stairs. A camera is simply a tool for capturing a moment. The hard work is over by the time you decide to press the shutter.
Once upon a time, I would obsess over my camera equipment, always wanting a new lens or more megapixels, and believe me I've owned some 'rubbish' gear over the years. But with every new purchase, I'd take the same photos, in the same way, with the same outcome. Now, Looking back the camera or lens was never an influential part of the process. I eventually learned through studying other photographers work that the best photography was solely down to talent and experience.
Yes, you have the medium format monsters from the likes of Hasselblad and Phase One, along with the full frame snobbery so commonly filling those often toxic internet forums. I used to drool over the fantasy of owning one of those megapixel behemoths. Now I have no interest in any camera other than the one I own. OK, OK, I want a Fujifilm GFX! I did say gear envy was an easy trap to fall into, didn't I?
Joking aside (I'm not, I want a GFX), the way I got over my obsession with new camera gear was to imagine, what photographs would a great photographer take if they wandered the streets with my camera? The answer. Amazing photographs. It's that simple. The internet is full of irritating quotes, such as "the best camera is the one in your hand", and the classic "your eyes are the best camera". And while these sayings do sound like annoying, pompous waffle lifted from a photography book, they're true, and they'll save you a fortune while helping you to identify genuine ways to improve your skills as a photographer.
So, back to the question which kicked off this ramble.
What lens did you use?
I used my eyes. Haha what an arse! But that's the point, stop caring, get out and shoot with the gear you own, confident in the knowledge that whatever tool you use to take a photo, it's more than up to the task.
Now where the dickens is that GFX. Did I mention I want one?