An Obscure Question

Discussion in 'UK All Regions' started by Strokebloke, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. Strokebloke

    Strokebloke Member

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    For those who haven't read the Introduction thread, I have had a number of strokes & getting into photography is part of the rehab process/programme.
    Being new to photography I have a lot to learn [& have already learned a lot, with much more yet to come:wink:], but one issue is causing practical problems at the moment & I have little or no idea how to overcome it. So some practical advice would be very welcome.
    One of the consequences of the strokes is a lack of balance & an inability to 'fine-control' the dead weight of my left arm. The result of the dead weight is that it is very difficult to hold my arm & the left side of mmy body perfectly still whilst composing a shot & releasing the shutter. The muscular motor control is no longer there. On my digital camera I have an anti-shake button (IS) but on my film cameras I have no such facility. Therefore whether a shot comes out blurred or not is very much a matter of pot luck.
    I have a very good tripod. I similarly have an equally good monopod. I have a beanbag for resting the lens or camera body on. But when I can use none of those things & need to shoot 'freehand', I get into a conflict between trying to support the weight of the camera+lens+maybe also a flash, & control the dead-weight of my arm, and trying to relax sufficiently to enable my arm to stop shaking. The more I concentrate on relaxing, the more my arm shakes.
    It might a be a mind-over-matter issue. It might be a physiotherapy issue. But if anyone has any experience of this sort of thing - or any ideas, I would be very appreciative. :smile:

    Regards,
    Jack
     
  2. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Geez that's rough. I can't give you any medical advice. I'm not a doctor, and I don't know a whole lot about these things. I can tell you that I have seen people who have made incredible recoveries from brain injuries. A friend had a brain tumor, along with a substantial amount of brain tissue, removed a couple of years ago, . Six months later, half her face was paralyzed and her eyeballs wouldn't move together in concert. She had balance problems and motor control problems on the left side. Today you wouldn't know that she'd ever been through that ordeal. The only obvious lasting effect is the loss of hearing in one ear. She credits her recovery to a lot of hard work at therapy.
     
  3. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Are you able to use a lightweight monopod? That would help to keep the Camera steady.
     
  4. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Jack, have you tried focusing (no pun intended) on your breathing techniques? Frequently when people try to stay still, they hold their breath, which makes the shaking almost instantly worse. If you concentrate on controlling your breathing with slow, controlled breaths, releasing the shutter as you exhale, you may find you have less trouble with camera shake.

    Just an idea to consider if you haven't already.

    - CJ
     
  5. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    I would go for the monopod aswell.

    In order to relax your left arm: have you tried a sling ? I am thinking about a way to naturaly relax your arm without asking your brain to do so.
    If you give it a try: keep the part of the sling that is in contact with your neck well padded, so it gives you the best comfort possible.

    Hope everything will work-out for you with best wishes,
    Peter
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Jack:

    Can you adapt a bracket so as to permit operation of your cameras with just your right hand?

    I have very limited dexterity and strength in my right hand, so I tend to favour cameras that can easily be used (often with a grip) with my left hand. All I tend to do with my right hand is focus, wind and steady the camera. If I had trouble keeping the right hand from shaking, in most cases I could probably limit it's involvement to focusing and winding.

    Matt
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The less expensive solutions: a monopod and higher speed films with faster shutter speeds.
    The more expensive would be lenses offered for Nikon and Cannon SLRs with image stablization.

    Steve
     
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If the anti-shake button(IS) on the digi works for you, then isn't the analogue equivalent on a Nikon a VR(vibration reduction) lens. They aren't cheap of course and I am making a big fat assumption that a VR lens will work on your Nikon but it might be worth looking into this.

    Again this might be "hot-air" on my part but a cheaper( as in free) alternative may be leaning firmly against a wall, rock tree, lampost etc and wedging the dead side to prevent any movement. Except in very open spaces( becoming rarer in the U.K.) there is often an object to get wedged against even if it means that the camera to object distance isn't then what you'd want it to be for the picture you want. Zooms will usually overcome this.

    Finally membership of a camera club can give you what membership of an internet club cannot. Namely the chance to try other members' lens. With a bit of luck there might be someone with a VR lens who is willing to lend it to you on club night or organised shoot to take a shot(s) which can then be checked for success when developed and printed.

    Best of luck

    pentaxuser
     
  9. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    How about a cable shutter release? With a tripod, no shaking would get transferred to the camera, and without the tripod it should at least help with the shaking. Might be worthwhile trying to integrate one into what you're trying now.
     
  10. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2009
  11. Strokebloke

    Strokebloke Member

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    Thank you all. I never expected such a response. I have & do use the monopod/tripod/cable shutter release options whenever possible, of course. I also lean/wedge myself into relatively stable positions whenever possible. The situations which most often cause the problem are where I'm faced suddenly with the opportunity for a shot & I have very limited time to compose myself, :smile: let alone the shot. And certainly not set up a tripod or monopod. It's probably the result of my inexperience, but in my effort & determination to get the shot onto film that I can see before me, the adrenalin flows, the expectation rises and the frustration at not being able to move quickly/efficiently enough all contribute to an end result which has all the bodily stability characteristics of a water divining fork. :smile:
    I do like the look/idea of the chest support Andy which, complimented by Cheryl's breathing techniques might well provide a very considerable component of the solution, if not all of it.
    I certainly have plenty to think about from all of your suggestions. All of which are genuinely appreciated.

    Regards,
    Jack
     
  12. Strokebloke

    Strokebloke Member

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    You're right my friend. The trick is to win the battle in your mind & you'll go at least a considerable way towards winning the battle in your body too. :smile:
    I also have cancer. Deemed, by the ooncologists, three years ago, to be terminal. There is no doubt that it will get me eventually, but in the meantime I am living my life to best of my ability & to its fullest potential.
    So thank you for your encouragement & best wishes to your friend.

    Regards,
    Jack
     
  13. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    Welcome Jack. It si inspirational ro hear of someone who is going through your experience and continues to live their life to the fullest. I believe others have suggested VR lenses, and that could help. You could visit a shop and try them out to see if they meet your needs. Rgds, Kal
     
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  15. Strokebloke

    Strokebloke Member

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    I'm goping to have to look into this VR lens issue :smile:
    But first of all I need to be sure that I understand what VR is. I assume it is some sort of IS system, but in the lens rather than in the camera body [as is the Sony IS system] The problem is that I have a whole bagful of Nikon Nikkor lenses & a Tokina and Tamron and Vivitar.
    If The VR system is indisputably the only sure way to solve the problem I'll set aside my present lenses & buy new ones. I must admit that my preconditioned response to the problem, until I raised it here, was to use the lenses I'd got - but be selective about the discipline areas within photography that I engage in. i.e. Portrait-Landscape-Studio. The sort of things that don't require quick and rock-steady reflexes. :smile: And in which I can reasonably be expected to use a tripod, with isolated shutter-release.
    Are VR lenses particularly expensive? And are they easily available through normal photographic retail outlets?
    Can I buy good quality second-hand components on eBay?

    J
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    VR, IS ... the camera companies like throwing around digrams now. Anything that sounds like.

    I suggest you look at KEH.com for these lenses. Yes I know the shipping is expensive to the UK but they have a great return policy and they are very conservative about the equipment grading. I find that their EX is quite good.

    If the price tag for a lens that you like is high, just divide the cost by the number of photographs that you will take during the next year!

    Steve
     
  17. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Canon uses "IS" for "Image Stabilization." Nikon uses "VR" for "Vibration Reduction." Both companies incorporate most of their respective stabilization system mechanisms into the lens itself, with electronics in the camera bodies to support them. Sony and Pentax incorporate the stabilization systems completely into the camera body, though not in any film capture cameras. There are arguments supporting and denigrating both systems. Honestly, I don't know which is the better system. I've seen and tried both types and both seem to work well. All things being equal, I like the approach that Sony and Pentax have taken - Pentax especially. The Pentax DSLR bodies (please forgive me for mentioning these things, but they really are good machines and don't get the credit they deserve) will accept any lens made for any Pentax back to the M42 screw mount days via an adapter and the image stabilization system will work. Try that with your Nikon and Canon bodies.
     
  18. aparat

    aparat Member

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    I am also a disabled person. I have to use a walker most of the time. I have attached a tripod center column to my walker by means of a clamp (I used a clamp for cymbal stands - I used to be a drummer). It works perfectly! I get great support for the camera without having to lug around a tripod.
     
  19. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Hi, sorry to hear about your extra challenges. But on the other hand, this is quite inspiring. I'd love to see how you progress!

    There are a number of tools that may help. Foremost I think you'll need to try some tripods and heads and/or camera stands.

    It seems to me that the easiest approach would be to work with an autofocus body and cable release or electromagnetic release. Concerning VR/IS: when shooting from a very high and wobbly tripod (actually a ~20ft ham radio mini-tower), I used an film AF body (Nikon F100), a remote, and an inexpensive VR lens, the 24-120 VR. The results were actually quite successful. I have also shot a Nikon DSLR in that configuration, shooting tethered by USB cable to a laptop. Something along these lines may work for you if getting into position behind a camera on a tripod is too laborious. Or if you definitely want to shoot film but need more flexible viewing options, perhaps a waistlevel viewfinder would be advantageous?

    Mind you, you needn't use any modern doodads or digitals or fancy stabilized equipment; all of us know very well that optimal results are gotten from a tripod, with careful technique, resorting to MLU or a timer or such if necessary.
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I was also going to suggest something with a waist-level viewfinder, like a Rolleiflex or Yashica or Minolta Automat, to name a few. You can ignore the issues with your malfunctioning limb, and let your entire body act as the tripod. Keep a cable release fitted to the shutter button, and you can shoot relatively hands-free, taking a lot of the vibration from hand-holding out of the equation.
     
  21. phenix

    phenix Member

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    I think the cheapest way to go for hand-held shot would be to combine a fast film with a wide-angle lens. As for portraits and wildlife a tripod is generally required. This should allow you to employ a slow film and a tele-lens too.
     
  22. tac

    tac Member

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    I, too, had a massive stroke a while back; my solution was switching to tlr's as Theflyingcamera suggests. Now if I could just walk more than 50 feet, . . . .

    I prefer the Yashica Mat (not the 124 or 124G), for ease of use, and cost.
     
  23. alistair56

    alistair56 Member

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    I agree with Cheryl: focus on your breathing. A good strategy is to take a few extra seconds and take two or three deep breaths - before you let out part of that last one and start your shutter squeeze. You will find other tips like this on rifle shooting websites. Once I have the camera set up and the photo framed I try doing things like pressing the shutter in sequence with my pulse.
    I am also enjoying photography while recovering from a brain injury. Although my left brain analytical function is not what it was, I am finding my right brain function greatly enhanced. I find I have much greater awareness of light and form - or maybe I am just taking the time to notice. I have slowed my pace right down these days and live life in my own time. I like to chill out and tune in with my natural body rhythms while taking photos. Life's great :smile:
     
  24. Strokebloke

    Strokebloke Member

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    tac, I'm sorry to hear about your stoke. You obviously have it a lot rougher than I do. I can walk a lot more than 50 feet, though I clearly remember the frustration of being able to walk such a short distance. I, like you I'm sure, can also remember when being able to walk 50 feet was a seemingly impossible task & an unobtainable goal. So we've both come a long my friend. (with a long way yet to go, I'm sure - but we'll get there)
    I do get about well now. Slowly, ;-) but well. I'm four & a half years down the line from my stokes and I've made considerable progress.
    I have much to be grateful for. not least being able to explore this new and alien world of photography :smile:

    PS: as a young man I rode the Appalachian mountains ona bike.

    Regards,
    Jack
     
  25. Strokebloke

    Strokebloke Member

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    Good for you alistair :wink:
    People I know, who have been traumatised in any life-threatening manner, suddenly begin to appreciate the finer things in life &, all of a sudden, 'living life to the full' takes on a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

    At this rate we'll be able to set a Blue Badge Holders Section :D

    Regards,
    Jack
     
  26. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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    Hi Jack

    Well I see you made it here from epz and it certainly is the best place to be for film photography. I had kind of guessed there must be a medical history to your username, but hadn't realised all that was involved and kudos to you for getting it together with photography! The one thing that comes to mind is the Gorillapod http://joby.com/products/gorillapod/2 which can either be used freestanding or can be wrapped around anything handy like a tree or a fence, plus they seem to be quite compact for carrying. I haven't used one myself, but maybe it would be worth a try or even a play in the shop?

    Peter (aka Snapper)