Switching Social Media Platforms

Kari Post Photography has existed on Facebook for nearly a decade. While I’ve increasingly become less pleased with social media in general, Facebook in particular is a bit of a sore spot for me. From a business page perspective, using Facebook to reach out to followers, clients, potential clients, and the general public isn’t that productive; algorithms tend to block posts from users that don’t have high interaction with your page to begin with, and without sponsoring (aka paying money to boost) posts, few of my 1.5k followers ever see my posts cross their news feed. This combined with my general distaste for what Facebook has become – a pool of ignorance and negativity, punctuated by frequent advertisements for companies, products, and services that I have zero interest in – has often led me to want to deactivate my account and stop my use of the platform entirely.

As a step in that direction, I have decided to deactivate my personal account starting in December, and along with that Kari Post Photograph on Facebook will go dark. I anticipate that if and when I reactivate my personal use of Facebook, I will delete the photography page and cease to use that platform as a way of engaging fans and followers. I have started a new public Instagram handle @karipostphotography where I plan to post content on a more regular basis; since Instagram is image based I hope it will prove to be a better platform for sharing my work with a broad section of the public without the frustration I associate with Facebook. Alternatively, you can now receive updates direct from my blog itself using the subscribe widget to the right side of this blog post, perfect if you are not an Instagram user or find Facebook and social media as soul crushing as I do.

Before and After: Downhill Mudbath

Here is a great example of how a strong edit can salvage an otherwise unremarkable photo. The original had another photographer in the way and was too low contrast to be anything other than a quick snap shot; the artistic merit of this photo wasn’t very strong straight-out-of-camera. Enter Lightroom and a couple minutes of my time, and the final edit is a major improvement.

I started by cropping the image to eliminate the out of focus mint colored shirt on the right side of the photo. I also took a bit away from the top and bottom to keep the original ratio. Then I bumped up the contrast quite a bit to help bring out the textures in the splashing mud. I played with the vibrance and saturation levels and specifically tweaked the red color of the rider’s shirt just a little bit (I find the color red often blows out when you bump the contrast or saturation in a photo, so I had to selectively dial that back a bit), and then finally added a strong post-crop vignette in Lightroom. The entire process took less than a few minutes.

Before and After: Friendly Bucks

This Before and After is a bit more dramatic than the last one I shared. Unlike the autumn shot near Tippin Rock, I actually changed the scene a bit for my shot of “Friendly Bucks.” It’s not something I do very often, and these days I’m more tempted not to use a shot than to change it significantly, but in this case I justified altering the background due to the unique context of the subject and the fact that the background alteration drastically improved the final image.

The original photo was taken in 2006. I loved the moment captured, but the white corner of sky in the background was very distracting.

To improve the straight out of camera version, I fixed the white balance, leveled the horizon (which resulted in a slight cropping of the edges), and cloned the mountain part of the background to fill in the white sky. All of my images have slight tweaks to exposure, shadows/highlights, blacks/whites, contrast, clarity, and vibrance/saturation, but this one required a little more work than that.

The end result is something that is much more breathtaking.

White-tailed Deer, deer, buck, in velvet, Odocoileus virginianus, Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Friendly Bucks : Prints Available

Two White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) bucks in velvet nuzzle one another while taking a break from grazing in Big Meadows at Shenandoah National Park.

Now there are certainly folks who would frown on the level of manipulation inherent in changing the background of a photo. I don’t disagree with them, and I would never enter the edited version of this photo in a nature photo contest like the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest, which requires that photos are not heavily manipulated or altered, or claim for it to be a photo documentation. By adding or removing an element of the scene, it is altered beyond the point of standard adjustments, and I am honest about that and would never try to pass it off as an original representation of my camera’s view at that time. I don’t regret capturing the scene from this angle, because by doing so I was able to get both bucks in the same focal plane, which might not have been possible if I had shifted slightly to have a cleaner background. This interaction also lasted just seconds, and the fact that I captured it at all is something I am proud of.

The goal of my photography is to show the beauty of the natural world and capture moments in my life that are important to me. This photo does just that. Changing the background results in focus falling right on the two deer and prevents the viewer from being distracted by a bright part of the image that detracts from the subject. It enhances the beauty, and accurately represents what someone standing next to me might have seen. Since the point of the photo is the interaction between the bucks, altering the background helps me accomplish my goal. To me, making this change on this photo was, and still is, the right decision.

Before and After: Autumn Tippin Rock Sunset

This is the first of a new series of Before and After blogs I will be doing, showcasing the straight-out-of-camera (SOOC) images vs the final edited and post-processed versions. I’ve always been mesmerized by Before and After images, especially since I started paying more attention to pet photography and realized that many of the beautiful, dreamy photo illustrations I have seen of pet dogs on Instagram and social media are actually the result of a lot of work behind the computer. The reality is, a lot of the beautiful images you see have been carefully tweaked in post processing, some more so than others of course. Photography is inherently a creative process; the very act of choosing what to include and not include as you compose a scene, the settings you select on your camera, and what film to use or the defaults picked to covert your RAW images in Lightroom are all aspects that alter a photograph’s representation of reality.

I have always advocated for truth in photography, and will forever completely disclose any and all edits and manipulations and tricks used to create any photograph if asked. Not only is honesty important, but I feel that the public and other photographers can learn a lot about what goes into creating an impactful image. Typically, photographers (myself included) won’t reveal every and all details used to create an image in the caption or every time the image is shared or shown, because that simply isn’t realistic, but the goal of my Before and After blog posts is to shed a little more light on the post-capture creative work that goes into creating a final image.

To start, I am going to share this recently snapped photo of a fall foliage scene in New Hampshire. As you can see, there are some pretty trees but my camera didn’t do a good job of capturing the subtleties of the colors of this scene.

In the edited version, I brought out some of the color and texture in the sky, increased the contrast and saturation of the image slightly, and cropped the view further, to emphasize the colorful trees on the distant mountain and de-emphasize the green foliage surrounding the edges of the frame. I’ve also added a slight vignette by darkening the outer edges of the image; I do this frequently with wide landscapes and images with a clear animal or human subject as it helps prevent the eyes from wandering and pulls them into the image.

None of the edits I made were particularly drastic and I didn’t end up adding or removing anything from the original image, but the overall impact of these changes is significant. The straight out of camera version is one that doesn’t encourage a second look, while the edited version encourages eyes to linger.

One of the reasons I chose to share this image is because it is not very dramatic or exciting. Truthfully, if I had gotten out to shoot more this autumn this might not even be an image I would end up sharing. Yet, it shows the big difference even a little editing can make.

GoPro HERO5 Black Review Update: Doesn’t Play Nice With Water

Apparently GoPro and I have different definitions of waterproof. About 19 months ago, I received a brand new in package GoPro HERO5 Black as a gift. I was so excited! I had the original GoPro Hero and said I would get an upgrade once GoPro introduced RAW into their cameras. The HERO5 Black is the first that did it, and my super wonderful partner heard me talking excitedly about it and surprised me with one for my birthday. There is a lot I like about the new GoPro (note: there is an even newer model out now, the GoPro HERO6 Black). On the HERO5, the image quality is MUCH improved over the first generation GoPro, menus are easier to navigate, the device is more intuitive, the profile is sleeker and smaller, and the voice control feature (which is something I didn’t even know I wanted) is a game changer and makes hands free operation so much easier. It also works well in colder temperatures and is easy to operate with gloves on, unlike my phone, which is the only other camera I have that fits in my pocket. Where this device fails is its ability to handle water sports.

My GoPro HERO5 Black has been submerged in water exactly twice; once at a freshwater lake last summer and once this weekend while paddleboarding. In both instances the device was submerged to a depth of no more than three feet (waist deep with a person’s head above water) in fresh water for just minutes at a time. When SUPing this weekend I noticed a large blob of water in the front LCD and immediately brought the camera to shore to dry out. Now the camera won’t turn on at all, moisture is visible inside all of the ports (which were securely shut at all times when the device was in or near the water), and the final video I have on the memory card is corrupt.


My GoPro’s dying video. As you can see, the device is clearly above water, and I’m standing in waist deep, shallow water when the device fails.

The manufacturer claims this device is waterproof to 10m (33ft) without a housing as long as the ports are securely shut. This was definitely not the case with my model, and because the one year warranty period has passed I’m pretty much out of luck when it comes to replacing or repairing my device. GoPro doesn’t do repairs, which is a tragedy for the environment especially considering that my experience is not unique and many others are probably chucking their flooded GoPros into the trash and into landfills. Customer service wasn’t very helpful, although they did offer me a standard, 20% off one time discount on any camera (that must be purchased directly through GoPro’s website and cannot be combined with any other offer). While that might seem like a nice gesture, consider that we already paid for one at full price ($400 when the device was first released, which is what we paid, they now retail for $300), I’m not interested in paying another couple hundred for a replacement with the same faulty design ($400 for the original + $240 for a replacement = $640 spent on something that doesn’t even work as advertised). Thanks, but no thanks, GoPro.

Unfortunately, I think this company has gotten too big to care about their customers anymore.

The GoPro HERO5 Black honestly isn’t a bad little camera, but GoPro shouldn’t claim it to be waterproof. I’d actually probably still recommend it if to someone if they had plans to never use it in or near water. Unfortunately, this device is not as advertised and customer service was unhelpful and unwilling to admit that their device failed nor did they make a sincere effort to rectify the situation and retain a customer. At this point, I’m pretty disappointed and have very little confidence in this company or their products.

My wet little GoPro, shown in the images below, is currently sitting in a bag of rice. I am hoping for a miracle, but have little confidence in one. If it gets resurrected from the dead, I’ll let you know.

Please feel free to share this far and wide. I would hate for someone else to buy this device thinking it will be a great camera for snorkeling or other water sports and then ending up as disappointed and upset as I am.

To see my original “First Impressions” GoPro HERO5 Black review, click here.
Or you can search for all GoPro articles on my blog.

Update 7/24/18: After fussing a bit, I was offered a greater discount – 40% off a new camera, bringing the price down to $180. While certainly a more reasonable discount to replace an item that failed to live up to manufacturer’s claims, I still was not expecting to have to replace my GoPro after less than 2 years and don’t think I will buy another one at that price. Online, many other users have complained of similar issues with HERO5’s flooding, and a $180 is a lot to spend on a camera just because it’s small. I love the idea of having something I can use for swimming, snorkeling, and water sports without getting an expensive, dedicated underwater housing for my DSLR, but it’s clear that the HERO5 doesn’t fill that niche. Frankly GoPro should just market the HERO5 as splash resistant instead of waterproof and/or they should include the optional $50 waterproof dive housing with the camera; their failure to do so makes me distrust them as a company, and I’m not sure I want to buy and be disappointed by yet another one of their products.

I’ve asked GoPro to combine the 40% discount with the $50 off trade-in option, as I have an older generation GoPro that I never use and would happily trade in for a new device, and $130 is about what I feel comfortable paying when we already spent $400 on on Hero5 just a year-and-a-half ago. Unfortunately, GoPro won’t let me combine those discounts, so it looks like I’ll be GoPro-less for at least the near foreseeable future.

Additionally, after leaving my HERO5 in a bag of rice for more than a week, the device still won’t turn on or show any signs of life, and there is still a small(er) water bubble visible in the front LCD. Looks like that one is DEAD dead. RIP birthday GoPro. Thanks for all the memories and a handful fun photos along the way.

The Nik Collection is Back!

I have been using the Nik Collection, a series of plug-ins for Lightroom and Photoshop, for nearly the past decade. Over that span of time, the software transitioned owners three times, from Nik, where each module would set you back $149, to Google, where the entire set of plug-ins became free, to it’s new home at DXO, where you can buy the collection for the introductory price of $49 until July 1st, after which the price will jump to $69.

If you haven’t been using the Nik Collection, I urge you to try. The product now consists of seven modules that make it easy to do many things from applying antique filters to reducing noise to applying spot adjustments and vignettes and even combining multiple exposures into an HDR image. I use two of the modules, Viveza and Color Efex Pro, on probably 90% or more of my final edits. DXO is offering a 30-day free trial of their improved product, so you can give it a go before making a commitment to purchase the collection.

While those with a free version of Nik might be hesitant to pay for a product they already have, one of the issues with Google giving away the product for free is that they stopped providing upgrades and support for the product, which has become an issue with the cloud based subscriptions for Adobe products. With every Lightroom or Photoshop upgrade, new compatibility issues were introduced, a problem that I think has been more pronounced with Apple and Mac based systems. My current version of Nik Color Efex Pro causes Photoshop to crash completely. Even if you aren’t already having issues with your free Google version of the Nik Collection, chances are you will in the future as Adobe continues to improve and modify its products, which it has to do constantly in order to provide support for new cameras.

The plug-ins are super easy to download and install. If spending $50 on computer software isn’t your cup of tea, download a trial version first and see if you can actually apply it to your work. Once you try Nik’s products, I bet you’ll find it hard not to justify buying the package outright. Just be sure to buy before the July 1st deadline if you want to save $20.

To download or learn more about the Nik Collection, visit DXO’s website.

Putney Brook Photos on a Rainy May Day

I love rainy spring days when it’s not too hot or too cold or too muggy and the world explodes in green and smells amazing. Wednesday was one of those days.

I left work fully intending to find local waterfall to photograph. This particular falls also happens to be a popular swimming hole, so a lot of people know where it is, but I apparently am not one of them. After driving past the waterfall a few times (I could hear it through the trees, but couldn’t find a place to pull off the road and was wary of several “Private Property” signs I saw nearby) I parked near a crossroad and found this pretty brook scene farther downstream. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so I shot only 11 frames before deciding to continue home and try to find the waterfall again another day.

The shoot was so casual that I didn’t even download photos from it until the yesterday (I usually transfer my memory cards as soon as I get home). Somehow though, in a half hour stop only a few miles from work in which I didn’t even find what I was looking for and took less than a dozen photos, I ended up with multiple keepers.

Here are three different takes on the same scene.

brook, green, May, Putney, Putney Brook, spring, Stream, Vermont, VT, waterfall
Eternal Spring : Prints Available

Bright green leaves mark the arrival of spring along Putney Brook on a rainy May day.

brook, green, May, Putney, Putney Brook, spring, Stream, Vermont, VT, waterfall
Babble On : Prints Available

Green spring foliage frames small cascades along Putney Brook in southern Vermont.

brook, green, May, Putney, Putney Brook, spring, Stream, Vermont, VT, waterfall
Life Itself : Prints Available

Baby ferns take root among the moss on a lichen covered rock bordering a small cascade on Putney Brook.

I do like them all, but I think I have a favorite. Which photo do you like best?

Beware the Contests You Enter

This post isn’t on anything new. If you are already familiar with so called “image grab contests” and they piss you off, feel free to skip everything I write below. Or read it if you feel like being infuriated today.

If you don’t know about image grab contests and why photographers hate them, read on.

Today, a user in a Facebook Group I am a part of called “Outdoor Women – New England” posted the following link to a photo contest by the Green Mountain Club, a Vermont based non-profit conservation group.

On the contest website it says:

By entering the contest, entrants grant GMC a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to display, distribute, and reproduce the entries, in whole or in part, for any GMC purpose, including, but not limited to, GMC publications, merchandise, and website. Any photograph reproduced in GMC publications will include a photographer credit. GMC will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.

Photographers hate these type of contests, because its essentially a legal way for contest organizers to sneakily get a bunch of photographs to use however they want without paying a single cent for any of them. If you have ever taken a stab at being a professional photographer and trying to earn a living off of your work, you have probably figured out that its really challenging to sell what other people are willing to give away for free. Organizations like the Green Mountain Club absolutely 100% depend on photography to do what they do. Without photographs, they can’t effectively advertise their programs, appeal to donors, or make guidebooks, interpretive displays, or decorate their buildings and lodges. Access to photography isn’t a human right, like the right to clean water and air. So if photographs are so important to the work this non-profit does, shouldn’t they be willing to pay for them?

The answer is YES they should, but too often, non-profits play the “we are poor” card. It’s bull.

When I said something, the woman who posted the contest tried to use the same excuse I’ve heard many of times before, by strangers in emails asking to use my photographs for free or “for exposure” – as have literally tens of thousands of other photographers. I’m calling her and the GMC out.

“I’ve literally heard that same excuse dozens if not hundreds of times and heard at least as many photographers complain about these contests. I’ve also worked for dozens of environmental and outdoor non-profits, and worked as a professional photographer, so I am very familiar with both the budgetary constraints and limitations of non-profit work, particularly in the environmental conservation field, as well as how hard it can be to survive off of photography alone.

By paying nothing for photos, contests like this and the organizations that back them make it harder and harder for professional photographers to earn a living. Contests like this devalue the work of professionals, the same people who are vital to helping conservation groups gain support for their work by capturing compelling images and video of places and species needing protection. Stealing photos, which a contest like this essentially does, is saying that those photos have no value. $0. If that is true, try not using photos on a website, in brochures, for campaigns, on interpretive displays, etc and see how well that goes. Photographs are vital for the work that GMC and other organizations do. If you relied solely on printed words, word-of-mouth, and NPR, you wouldn’t get half of the donations or attention you do. Why should photographers not be able to pay their bills or feed their families because your organization is too cheap to pay them?

It’s one thing to use the winning images in this way because the photographers of those images get some form of compensation, but just using any of the entries however you like without any further compensation is wrong. I like to believe that organizations like the GMC and other trail and land use groups have people behind them with strong ethics and a moral compass, but trying to justify image grab contests like these because “we are poor” really makes me question that assumption. Contests like this are exploitation. As a photographer and outdoors woman with a strong belief in both social and environmental justice, I strongly urge the organizers of this contest to revise the the language of this contest so that only winning images can be used and reproduced without further compensation. It would show that the GMC not only cares about the land, but the people that use it and it values the partnership between the non-profit and all who make the work that non-profit does possible.”

Please, if you are not an a-hole, boycott these contests. Even if you are not a professional photographer, and don’t care if you make money from your images, and you generally support the organization running the contest, boycott them. Call out the contest organizers for being cheap. Demand they change the language of their contests so that entrants retain the rights to their photograph, including the right to fair compensation. It’s possible for organizations to sponsor photo contests and drum up publicity for their work in ways that are equitable and respect the hard work and talent of the photographers who enter. Stand with photographers.

Cameras I Currently Use

We’ve all heard the adage “It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer.”

While true to an extent, having a capable camera that allows the photographer more control does make a difference in creating a compelling photo. Sure a good photographer can take a good photo with a 35mm disposable camera, but the chances of getting a good photo of the aurora borealis or capturing the fraction of a second it takes for a frog to extend its tongue to capture an insect with one is highly unlikely, if not impossible. On the same note, you can throw the latest camera and sharpest, fastest lens available into the hands of an unskilled snap shooter and the likelihood of them producing a compelling image is not much better.

It’s not just the camera, but it’s not just the photographer either. The truth is, it’s a little bit of both.

I have four different “cameras” I use regularly. Each camera fills a unique niche. There are photographs I’ve taken with my DSLRs that I could never replicate with my smartphone, but there are some pretty unique photos I have with my smaller cameras that I would have missed entirely if I had tried to shoot them with a full frame professional bodied Canon. Photographers should learn how to use every camera tool available to them, as well as recognize the limitations of different systems.

My two current DSLR cameras are a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 1D Mark IV. The 5D2 is a bit more compact than the 1D4 and has slightly higher resolution, making it a better option for carrying while hiking to get landscape photos. However, the 1D Mark 4 has a much better autofocus system (shooting moving subjects with the 5D2 is frustrating to say the least) as well as a cropped sensor, so it is my preferred camera for shooting sports and wildlife. In general, when I am shooting photos with the intent to sell them, print them, and get the highest quality image, I prefer shooting with DSLRs. However there are times when my other cameras are better options.


Photo with my 5D Mark II. For waterfalls, you can’t beat a DSLR. Shooting with a DSLR allowed me to shoot with a slow shutter speed, use a polarizing filter, and mount to a sturdy tripod, all of which are less easy to do with smaller cameras. This photo would make a gorgeous statement art piece hung on a wall, and thanks to shooting with a high resolution camera, it will hold up to being printed big.

One of the biggest advantages of shooting with my iPhone 6 is that I usually have it on me. Sure it’s a phone and an older model; the newest iPhone and smartphone models have higher resolution front and rear cameras, as well as the option to shoot RAW (DNG) using the Adobe Lightroom app. Yet even shooting 8MP jpegs, I have gotten some great images; I have had folks request to buy quick shots taken with my phone and posted to Instagram more than once. My first DSLR (a Nikon D70) was only 6 megapixels, and when I started shooting with it I only shot JPEG because I was too poor to afford higher capacity memory cards and RAW processing software – the photos on my website from 2005 and sports photos from 2006 were all shot this way. My iPhone is great because it fits in my pocket, captures high dynamic range sunrises and sunsets quite beautifully thanks to its built in HDR, records video with the swipe of a finger, and allows me to share and post images instantly. When I am shooting everyday life, convenience goes a long way, and even if the iPhone lacks a lot in terms of professional features, its portability and ease of use makes it the camera I probably use more than any other.


Photo with my iPhone. I didn’t bring my DSLR to Montreal with me to celebrate my birthday with a friend a few years ago, and even if I had I would have needed a tripod to capture a still image of this beautiful old building in the fading light. My iPhone enabled me to capture a shot of this beautiful sunset, even when it wasn’t a part of the plan.

The other camera I have that I really like is my GoPro Hero 5 Black. Like the iPhone, the GoPro is small and portable, but it has the advantage of being waterproof and weatherproof. Whenever I am doing water sports or headed out in the cold, I bring my GoPro with me. It’s super easy to operate with gloves on and doesn’t suffer from non-existent battery life in cold weather (my phone pretty much dies whenever temps drop below freezing, which is pretty much all of winter here in New Hampshire). It is small enough to wear while doing activities, such as mountain biking or snowboarding, where carrying a larger camera is not only impractical, but also dangerous. The wide angle of view makes it the perfect point-of-view camera, as it was intended, and its small stature makes it one of the best “selfie” cameras, especially if you are a fan of capturing more of your surroundings. Like my iPhone, the GoPro is pretty easy to use when it comes to taking snap-shots – no focusing is required – so it’s a much easier camera to hand to friends so they can take your picture if needed. The Hero 5 is the first GoPro to capture RAW stills, which makes editing and polishing your photos even easier.


Photo with my GoPro. The GoPro is an ideal wearable camera for when you want to capture an image but need your hands free. The GoPro Hero 5 also allows you to control the camera with your voice, an added benefit when you need your hands for something other than pressing the shutter. Bonus: It’s waterproof, and while I trust myself to keep my DSLR dry while kayaking on flat water, all bets are off when you add a dog to the mix. Kayaking with Winston is like having a bowling ball in the boat. My GoPro enables me to capture images like this without taking huge risks.

I’ve resisted posting photos taken with the latter two, smaller, “inferior” cameras to my website, but those images regularly end up on my Instagram feed and personal social media pages. Maybe I’ll get bolder about sharing them more widely. When presented in the right way and printed appropriately sized, photographs taken with these cameras are just as beautiful as those taken with my professional cameras, and sometimes, because of the unique opportunities shooting with these cameras present, I cherish the images even more.

Traveling Light Without Sacrificing Photography

Georgia, Chattahoochie National Forest, Woody Gap, fog, mist, autumn, fall, forest, woods, panorama, pano
Tamed Chaos : Prints Available

A layer of fog tames the chaos of the forest, bringing order to this late autumn scene, photographed while driving through the Chattahoochie National Forest in the southern United States.

Last week, I hopped on a plane for the first time in two years. Bound for Atlanta, Georgia, I packed light, wanting to avoid the hassle and expense of checking bags. My trip was a short one – a late flight to Atlanta, two hour drive to Chattanooga for the weekend, then back to Atlanta for just a couple of days before heading home.

When I vacation with my partner, I generally don’t plan our itinerary around photography. Photography isn’t exactly a spectator sport, and there are plenty of other things we both enjoy that we can do together while on vacation. Two years ago, when we went to Arizona on our very first vacation together I brought a DSLR and didn’t use it to take a single picture, despite all of the incredible scenery. On this trip I anticipated less mind blowing natural landscapes, but packed my DSLR again, just in case.

To pack as light and compact as possible while still having some flexibility to shoot a variety of subjects, I brought my smaller 5D Mark II body, a single 50mm f/1.4 lens, a 32GB memory card, two batteries, and a charger. That’s it. No tripod, no filters, no accessories likely to take up space and slow me down. When I take snapshots using my phone just for the fun of it, I never use the built in zoom and always move around to get the composition I want or crop after the fact, so I was not at all phased by only having a prime lens to shoot with. The nice thing about my 50mm 1.4 is that the lens itself is pretty small both in weight and physical dimensions, the focal length is a pretty normal perspective and fairly versatile to shoot with – it works for most subjects from landscapes to people, and the wide aperture gives me more options for shooting hand held in various lighting conditions.

Over the course of the trip, I shot many photos with my DSLR. The package was small enough to fit in my handbag so I was able to take it everywhere with me. The older camera lens combo and basic functionality made it easy to hand off to others so they could take pictures too (which also meant I could actually be in some of the pictures), and because the combination was portable and uncomplicated taking photos was less of a process than when I am out specifically shooting. Not having a tripod, various lenses, and filters to mess around with simplified the way I shot, and made taking photos less of a distraction from actually enjoying all of things we were doing. Packing light and using a simple set up allowed me to focus on being with my partner and having fun on the trip instead of getting wrapped up in taking photos. Another perk: Since I wasn’t hauling a ton of gear it wasn’t very obvious that I had a fancy camera on me most of the time; while being a target for thieves is something I generally don’t worry much about in the states the ability to be discrete is something I have often appreciated when traveling overseas.

I still used my iPhone for some photos – the wider focal length and built in HDR was easier to use when photographing the city from our hotel balcony, and its rear facing camera and small profile was much easier for shooting couples selfies. Unfortunately, I still have an iPhone 6 and the Lightroom Creative Cloud app only allows DNG shooting on newer models, so generally even my coolest iPhone shots don’t make it on to my website (although they do often end up on my Instagram).

In the end, I got some really cool photos. From being able to capture a cool cloud shot from the plane (which I couldn’t do when my photo gear was stored in the overhead bin) to shooting an underground waterfall in a dark cave (which would just not have been possible with my iPhone), having my basic DSLR setup ended up making the trip just a little bit more exciting. Below, you’ll see just a few of the images I’ve managed to go through since returning home just a few days ago.

The only thing I would probably change next trip would be to invest in a different handbag – one maybe a little bigger and with a more substantial crossbody strap or handle. The bag I brought had a narrow 1″ crossbody strap and carrying a camera around in that all day ended up making my back and neck really sore. My bag, which was my personal item on the plane, could also just barely fit my camera and a slightly bigger bag would have let me carry more on the flight.

Chattahoochie National Forest, Georgia
Chattahoochie National Forest, Georgia