I got it in my head that I wanted to take a long exposure photograph of the Atlanta skyline from the North Avenue Street bridge at night. The problem was the weather. All week, it was terrible. Cloudy, windy, rainy. But, after being indoors all weekend and with my significant other out of town, I thought I'd try. It would be good practice.
I found a hole in the fence and setup my tripod. I took some bracketed exposures before realizing I had a problem. All of my photos were suffering from camera shake. The longer the exposure, the worse the shake. It made no sense - I was using a tripod and my optical image stabilization was turned on (some of you already know where this is going). After a while, I resigned to the fact that the vibrations of the bridge, or the wind, were causing the camera to shake and it just wasn't possible to take the shot I wanted with the gear I had.
Figuring I was already downtown, I tried to create some different photographs around the area, found a location I liked, set up shop, and started taking photos. Same problem.
I started to believe that there was something wrong with the lens or camera. I sat down and started thinking it over.
Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) is pretty genius. It's a feature that detects vibrations in the camera and compensates, keeping photographs sharp even at longer shutter speeds. I despise using my flash, so I love being able to capture more light with longer exposures.
However, on tripods it's death. The OIS mechanism works by looking for vibrations to compensate. When shooting handheld, it works well, as often there is some shake. However, on a tripod, the process of looking for vibrations to compensate can actually introduce camera shake. The longer the exposure, the worse the effect.
I turned off OIS on my lens and, of course, the images were sharp.
So, I went back to the bridge to try again and captured the photograph. I think it turned out well, but I felt like I had already wasted so much time trying to get the shot I wanted that I wasn't as diligent as I should have been. I bracketed aperture instead of shutter speed and probably used the wrong neutral density filter when trying to create a high dynamic range image. I should have regrouped and took my time. Still, it was good practice.
And, as for the weather, I think it actually made for a more interesting photograph.