Friday, October 25, 2013

Lessons Learned.............

In October of 2007, I was in the mountains of North Carolina enjoying the fall colors shrouded in fog. Photography heaven.............

I had borrowed a friend's Nikon D200 for the trip because at this time, the only digital camera I owned was the Infrared D80. I had traveled with a tripod and a camera release, determined to capture crisp, sharp photos of this scenic wonderland. I set the ISO at 200, and because of the precautions I had taken, did not worry too much about the slow shutter speed.........that is of course until the wind picked up.

What I failed to remember was this was not film! I could change the ISO at anytime and in doing so, increase the shutter speed. (This important and wonderful feature of shooting digitally was one that would take me awhile to remember and get use to.) This glaring mistake was obvious when I uploaded the files and noticed the blurry leaves on all the trees! I managed to salvage one or two photos from the trip, but every time I come across these images, I feel the pang of lost opportunity.

I have never laid claim to being a knowledgeable "technical" photographer, but after all these years I have managed to learn a few things about camera operation..........especially the operation of my Nikon D300 which I bought shortly after that trip.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I think I sort of screwed up.............

Back in August, I wrote a post about my visit to Washington and how I was thinking about renting a "mirrorless" camera for my trip to Ireland. The idea was to bring a light, small, but high quality camera and leave the tripod at home. I received quite a few encouraging suggestions about which camera to take (with the advice to try them out beforehand), but then the whole idea moved onto the back burner.

I felt pretty certain I was going to stick to my tried and true Nikon until late one night, six days before I was flying out. On this particular night, while trying to fall asleep after a caffeined fuel day, I started imagining the freedom and fun I would have traveling around Ireland, shooting with a camera that gave me the flexibility of my beloved iPhone, but with more megapixels. 

The next morning I logged onto and found myself forced to choose quickly if I was going to receive the camera before I left. 

A week or so before I made this hasty decision, a friend of mine stopped by the studio with his Olympus E-PL5 and let me play with it. It seemed pretty straight forward. The reviews I read were positive so I quickly decided to rent the next model up, which was the Olympus OM-D E-M5, with a 12-50 mm lens. One of the features I was most excited about was the ability to shoot using a high ISO with the promise of reduced "noise" (or grain....which is how I still think of it).

In order to avoid making this post the length of a bad autobiography, I will cut to the chase........taking a camera I was not use to was a bad idea. 

There I said it. A couple of things did not go as I had hoped. First, I think I pushed it too far. Wanting to avoid what happened in North Carolina, I set the camera many times to a very high ISO 1000, 3200 and even on one occasion........4000! You combine that with my dependence on auto focus with a lens I was not familiar with, and what you get are very "noisy", very soft images that had me feeling a little sick after I uploaded them to my computer.

Of course, not all is lost. I am extremely grateful that my style is already soft and textured. Things could have been much worseI am happy with many of my compositions and the light was beautiful most days, but I am not sure how large I will be able to print any of these images. In addition, having sharp clear photographs to begin with makes processing easier, so working with what I have is going slow.

I don't believe any of this is the camera's fault. I am sure it is a fine piece of equipment. I take full responsibility for what happened and you can be sure I won't make the same mistake again.

The other piece of this that makes me feel a little bit better is......this trip was not intended to be a photo excursion. It was a vacation with my husband (an extremely patient one at that....) 

I am thrilled and grateful that we were able to share that experience and a few "less than perfect" photographs cannot take that away.

With that said, here a few of my favorites images which look pretty good at this small size.................

.©2013 Dianne Poinski

.©2013 Dianne Poinski

.©2013 Dianne Poinski

.©2013 Dianne Poinski

So that's the story I have been wanting to share. It took awhile because I needed to sort through it first. It's all good..... I have quit kicking myself and will probably have a few more images to share in future posts. 


  1. I had also been to many places for trips and holidays. Its fun to spend leisure time with friends and family. I also like taking photographs of a place wherever i visit. i just love travelling and exploring new things. The views look very beautiful and that is why it feels nice to capture them so that we can remember the beautiful trip by watching those photographs. I recently visited to Ireland where i saw beautiful places. Mountain ranges are excellent there and i took so many photographs. I hired a car there which was comfortable and it helped me a lot in exploring many beautiful places. You can also read this for further information

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Stela!