It’s All About Me When It Comes To My Emotions – Responding Not Reacting

It’s been a challenging week for me on many levels’. I felt hurt and frustrated by a friend’s behaviour and, have had a professional organisation failed to keep their commitment, and two professionals involved in my care are leaving their posts.

I find it very difficult to be authentic and express my emotions in response to somebody’s behaviour. However, I had to say something this week so that O could remain true to myself and protect my self esteem. My friend’s behaviour isn’t the issue, it’s my feelings that I need to focus on. It doesn’t matter how you behave, that’s your choice and your right, so if I feel upset or hurt in response to your behaviour that’s my responsibility. My telling you how I feel doesn’t mean that you have to change your behaviour. As your behaviour is your responsibility you can choose whether to act differently, or continue to behave as you are. This means that you can remain true to yourself.

Self-portrait in which I photographed myself as a reflection in a mirror.
(Please click on photo for a full size image) I am slowly becoming comfortable with displaying self portraits, but I still need to cover my face.

So this week I took responsibility for my emotions and spoke to my friend about how I was feeling with regards to our friendship. I did this in a manner that owned my feelings and didn’t blame her for my emotional reaction. In order to do this I needed to give myself a couple of days to allow my emotions to calm down and so that I could prepare what I wanted to say without it being an attack on her. It would have been so easy to react but that would have been damaging to both her and myself (There have been recent news stories about students trying to get their lecturers sacked because they have differences of opinion. This behaviour is completely inappropriate because it apportions blame rather than taking responsibility for your thoughts and feelings, it’s also very arrogant and self righteous).

With a professional organisation letting me down my approach is firmer, more descriptive and without emotional content. They have provided me with some software called Dragon Nuance, which is voice to text software, and am using this to write this blog today. They are currently training me how to use and make the most of this technique. I had an appointment with them which they failed to keep. I’m very pleased that in both instances I have been able to respond, to take responsibility for my thoughts and feelings without resorting to criticism or blaming them for how I feel.

(Please click on photo for a larger image) Macro photography is my mindfulness. It is something that I enjoy immensely and it also calms me down.

My eating disorder therapist has been off work for several months,. We had an appointment this week, during which she informed me that she is changing role in two weeks and I won’t have a therapist until the new person is in post. On top of this, the junior psychiatrist that I have been working with whilst my therapist has been off sick, is moving onto a new rotation in two weeks and I’ll have to get used to a new doctor. My care coordinator is also changing. I feel quite vulnerable with having these three changes at the same time.

Acceptance is the answer, and the only way of responding to these changes I don’t like and that I feel unsafe with. So my response is to allow my vulnerability to be as it is, and to discuss this with my friends as often as I need to.

By Thursday afternoon my thoughts were along the lines of “what else is going to go wrong today?”. So I wrote a gratitude list and made a note of all the things that had happened during the day which I felt grateful for, I spoke with a friend, and my mood and thoughts improved. Making some macro photography also helped to keep me focused straight after my psychiatric appointment.

(Please click on the photo for a full size image) Macro photography is my mindfulness. It is something that I enjoy enormously, and it also calms me down.

Testing New Purchases – Prep For Farnborough – C-AF – Macro Learning

Recent Purchases

Mzuiko 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 ed ii

When I decided to go fully Olympus and trade in my Nikon D7100, I purchased this lens, primarily because it’s coming up to Farnborough airshow. This lens and the OMD’s Micro four thirds 2xcrop ratio, gives me a 150mm – 600mm lens. Which is pretty good for aircraft. Armed forces day was on 30th June so I took the lens over to Scarborough, knowing that they had three mini air displays. The lens is heavy, as to be expected, and on full zoom, 300mm, handshake isn’t always cancelled out by the OMD’s 5 axis image stabilizer. However, when panning the camera to follow the movement of the aircraft, the hand shake becomes irrelevant to a large degree. It’s much more noticeable on those shots when the lens is not panning. This is despite using shutter priority and keeping in between 1/800 and 1/4000. I also have a neuro-muscular condition and this makes hand shake worse sometimes.

There is a down size to this lens, and it’s the same one you get with most cameras at full zoom, and that’s vignetting. Although to give credit where it’s due, this is really apparent on an under exposed image, and decreases as you get closer to the correct exposure, at which point it’s sometimes apparent and others not. So the vignetting is really down to me under-exposing the photos and not keeping my eye on what I was doing.

The Blades Aerobatic Display Team ISO 100 Shutter 1/1000 aperture f6.7 300mm

The above is clearly an underexposed photo. The next image I have developed a little in Lightroom, but I wanted to show one of my favourite photos from the afternoon. There is still a slight halo around the aircraft, which shows that even good exposure doesn’t eliminate the vignette completely. However as you decrease the focal length to around 200mm the vignette isn’t there at all. This is no different than any other non prime telephoto lens.

The Blades Aerobatic Display Team ISO 100 shutter 1/800 aperture f6.7 300mm

C-AF – Continuous auto focus. In preparing myself for Farnborough I wanted to put the OMD and the Mzuiko through their paces, and test the continuous autofocus as I will be shooting fast-moving aircraft. Having completed some research online I ensured that I did not include focus tracking with the C-AF, which is an option with the OMD. The reviews were clear that the tracking works best when much closer to a slower moving subject. Before leaving home I changed the metering to centre weighted instead of the spot that I usually use, and increased the focus area slightly, again instead of the centre point that I often use. It was a mixed result to be honest. At times the C-AF worked wonders, and at others it kept refocusing and going completely out of focus, or focusing on the clouds or passing gulls (which incidently began to mob the aircraft as if they were birds of prey – common behaviour during the breeding season, but with aircraft? That’s a new one on me).

Maybe the inconsistent auto-focus is down to my lack of experience using it, or maybe that’s the way with C-AF for distant objects which are very fast-moving.. The OMD EM10 mk iii doesn’t have the added element of phase detection auto focus, it’s known to not be as quick as other Olympu’s, but when it worked it was exceptional and I have some very clear, crisp photos, and during some highly complex aerobatic maneuvers. The EM10 is probably performing better than its enthusiast+ level, I can’t expect it to be as good as the pro camera OMD EM1 mk ii, and the auto focus on the EM10 is reportedly better than the Pen F, which is aimed between the EM10 enthusiast+ and EM 1 mk ii Pro level in the market. Overall the results were good, and the defects were mostly mine. I need to be more aware of shutter speed and exposure, the camera did what it could to keep up with the fast speed that I was using, but I either needed to increase the ISO or decrease the shutter speed, and that’s completely down to me. Very good preparation for Farnborough, and I know what I need to do to improve my photography of aircraft, including pan more smoothly.

Meike Extenders 10mm and 16mm with electrical contacts

I purchased these so that I could get closer to the subjects in macro photography, and capture sharper details of the eyes and wings of bugs and bees, and closer to the inside of flowers. The Meike extenders for the 4/3 mount has electrical contacts that actually work, so autofocus and aperture changes can be controlled in camera. I have previously had extenders where the electrical connectors didn’t work (for the Nikon), not good.

Iam really impressed. I only used the 16mm (you can combine the two and create a 26mm extender, but you then need to shoot almost touching your subject and the depth of field is so narrow that its difficult to shoot anyway. It was a very windy day, so I had little opportunity to use the set up, but the results were impressive when I was able to. Depth of field is best controlled by using auto focus, half press on shutter release, and in one smooth action press right down and take the shot. If you pause you’re gonna lose the focus. The other way is to use auto focus, and then move your head very slowly backwards and forwards until you have the focus and the focal range that you are seeking for the image. Macro photography is a very gentle, slow, getting to fall in love with your subject before pressing the shutter release – if you want good photo’s. You can’t rush. here are some photos of the same subject – in the last one I hold a 20 pence piece so that you can see just how close the set up brings me and how small the subject is.

The third photo shows just how narrow the depth of field is. The stars are out of focus, but between them they have these little brown leaves – the tips of which are in focus. Only the first photo is good, but I wanted to highlight how narrow the depth of field is. I know that I can get that close now (and take better photo’s than these). The strengths of the extenders are that you have more control eliminating background distractions, you can get closer to your subject and capture the minutiae in fine details (can’t wait to get to shoot more Bee’s), you can create very large photo’s of tiny subjects, the electrical contacts work. The difficulties, you need to be incredibly aware of depth of field, double-check that you have got the focus how you want it where you want it. you lose a couple of stops of light, so it’s better to shoot in bright, sunny conditions, there’s no point shooting in the wind. Theres too much movement to control depth of field. Here’s one more just because I love, love, love macro photography.

ISO 500 shutter 1/125 aperture f2.8 60mm

Dot.foto batteries for OMD EM 10

When I shoot aircraft I do so in burst mode. It’s the last part of the technical elements that I use to capture crisp images of aircraft in flight. With going away to Farnborough, and burst shooting, there is no chance that the one battery I had was going to last me 5 hours of flying and three hours of static and street photography. I took a risk and decided to but the Dot.Foto battery for the OMD rather than the brand version. I got two batteries this way for the same prices instead of one Olympus branded battery. Did the risk pay off? Most definitely. 1127 frames shot, plus an in-camera review and evaluation of half of those (to delete the crap). The frame count sounds high, but shooting in burst you are able to shoot more frames with less battery depletion than when you are constantly turning you camera on and off for individual photos, and this is most certainly the case for the Olympus brand battery as well. My belief is that these batteries are as good as each other, however, I am aware that the performance of the Dot.foto is likely to reduce with repeated charging, whereas the Olympus are more stable and will deplete more slowly. I will keep an eye on that.

One final photos, OK, so the aircraft are not sharp, but couldn’t resist adding this one.

The Blades Over Scarborough Castle

Flowers Macro

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Limited Understanding Of The Male Gaze – Improving Macro Photography

Several women’s football clubs have recently dropped the name … ladies, i.e. Arsenal ladies are now Arsenal Women. This is a huge step to women being treated as equal to men, and progress towards becoming citizens.

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When women are referred to as Ladies they become a myth, they are symbolised as being pure, virginal, chaste and as needing special treatment by men (mustn’t swear in front of a lady, must hold a door open or give up a seat for a lady). This is objectification. This may appear as respect and decency but it is not. When women are objectified in one area they are treated as non citizens. According to the declaration of Human Rights, All men are created equal, and this gives them status as citizens who are given the right to freedom and protection under the Nation’s law. As women are revered as an untouchable, mythological being, they are therefore not equal and human rights are not afforded to them and neither is citizenship. The objectification of women, may appear loving and protective, but as soon as this objectification happens it opens the door for women to be objectified in a myriad of ways.

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With regard to justice it means that women are less likely to go to prison and be given a lesser sentence than men for the same crime. But it also means that if a woman is convicted of a serious violent crime or murder then she is vilified. The case of Ruth Ellis is a good example. Having committed murder she was humiliated in the press, her sexual conduct was brought into question, she was seen as disgustingly promiscuous, immoral and was tried very quickly and hanged. Because she had broken status with the mythological pure woman she was demonised. Also it wasn’t until the 2002 amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 that promiscuity by women was removed as a treatable mental disorder, and during the late 1980’s it became a crime if a man raped his wife. Before this there was no such thing as marital rape, a man had the right to sex with his wife, whether or not she consented. Currently a woman’s sexual morality is still used against her in some rape trials even though it is not permissible to do so. An immoral women will not be successful in gaining a conviction against the man that raped her. Rape trials have an extremely low conviction rate and consequently many allegations of rape never go to trial.

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Objectification in one area creates objectification in others. Women can be seen as sex objects, the object of a man and an object to be owned, an object to be persued for ownership by men. A lady is mine, you cannot have her, I can treat her as I wish.

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As an untouchable object that is persued for male possession women are romanticised, beautified and glorious, to be viewed by as precious, beautiful sex objects with special status. Their beauty is then subject to art, to sell products, advertising, photography, film and pop. This male gaze is either overtly or covertly sexual in nature and is clear evidence that women are not equal, not citizens and consequently unworthy. The sad truth is ladies are glorious myths worthy of honour and protection, who are also slaves and subject to all manner of abuse.

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Removing the status of the lady and becoming women, is a step towards equality.

Being on holiday, connecting with nature and slowing down has cleared space in my brain to understand Ariella Azoulay’s description of the male gaze in her book The Civil Contract of photography.

Slowing down in nature has meant that I have been photographin birds and making macro photography of flowers.

 

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It’s often said that having a new camera or new equipment will not improve your photography. For a complete beginner this is true, however this isn’t the case once you have gained some small knowledge with regards to making good photography. Having just purchased a prime macro lens the quality of my macro photography has improved considerably. The photos on this post are from my phone not from my Olympus and new prime macro lens.

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Having already learned something of good and bad macro photography from my previous set up, I have been able to make some truly “wonderful to me” photos of flowers. Distractions moved out of the way, knowing whether I’m documenting the flower (neutral background), creating a pretty scene (aesthetically pleasing background), using aperture to make a beautiful background and sharp, crisp subject, avoiding moire, and exposing for the highlights (ignoring cameras exposure guide and using settings based upon what I see in the view finder). All of this means I can now make macro photography of a decent standard.

 

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I’m a happy bunny. My smart phone has a pro manual mode which means I’ve also created some good macro shots with this device. The photos throughout this post have been made on my Huawei mobile phone.

My final photo wasn’t taken in pro mode. You know how much I love a windfarm.

 

 

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This Is Mzuiko

A very quick post to show how pleased that I am with my new Mzuiko 60mm f.28 macro. I am so impressed, completely overjoyed. Thank you Olympus, Thank you Mzuiko. I am impressed with the clarity, so much so that the crop of the fly has removed  three-quarters of the frame and is still clear, The depth of field is wonderful and far more intuitive than my previous macro set up, and of course using the OMD EM10 mk iii means that I have a lightweight camera for a lightweight lens. I am so stunned.

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