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Just a short drive down West Tamar Highway there is a gem of a place to visit, its the Tamar Wetlands Sanctuary. Its an easy 4km walk over bridges and along boardwalks. We counted six species of water foul and they seemed to relatively accepting of humans walking through their habitat.
I don’t often write about photographic equipment but because I have been forced to find new ways of adapting lifes tools. In this case my EM1 to be functional for my purpose, this is an opportunity for any one else use what I have found useful or indeed advise me of anything better!
Since I became afflicted with this insidious condition I have lost maybe 80% of my right hands tactile functionality less with the left hand. I can’t hold a pencil anymore, I can’t write my name without it looking like a three year olds first attempts. I had a look at my daughters first scribbling of her name at two and a half and her writing was better!. Fortunately I set up digital signature a few years ago so officially I have the legal parts of life covered. Chopsticks are out, I can just about manage light cutlery, heavy cutlery just falls out my hand eventually unless I concentrate on just hold on! I have deduced that this happens because there is no continuos tactile feed back from the fingers to the brain. Typing is ok with index finger and thumbs. There is good audio and movement feedback from the Apple keyboard. Which brings me to camera shutters I have lost the sensitivity to press and half the shutter on my Olympus Cameras.
Fortunately I can use the touch screen but the physically holding the camera is tedious cause two fingers on the right hand seem to want to go there own way and close up.
To this end I took a good look at all of the grips available on eBay and found this attached to my EM1 it arrived today and took nearly a month to get here. I think they are made for torches of some sort but have the std 3/8ths inch thread so it works quite well. These grips cost USD6.32 from ebay seller okcatzone item 291111851149
if any one is interested. These handles would also work on collard lenses as extra support. I used something similar years ago and it allowed one to hold a Canon 400mm at a stop or so lower than without. This could be very useful with a stabilised cameras and long lenses. This was shot on Fuji Xpro1 with the 35 f1.4 The Fuji is slightly more adaptable than the EM1 for this problem I have, simply because I can use a large flat softshutter button. Further, back button focus is a standard setting with Fuji and all the buttons are larger than the Oly. I will however continue to use the EM1 its a lovely camera to work with and I think with a bit more experimentation I will be able to customise the EM1 to be more adaptable to my needs than it is currently.
Jet Star prevented me from getting home, they couldn’t even follow their own regulations!
A couple of months ago I was diagnosed with a spinal condition that demanded very prompt attention. Within the preceding few weeks I had successively lost about 75% of the tactile sensitivity one finger at a time spreading from the right hand gradually to the left. With that rate of progression I was threatened with quadriplegia or at the best the loss of the use of my arms. For anyone that is a life sentence to utter helplessness, under no circumstances could I bare to even think about inflicting that on my family. The procedure required meant a long wait in the public health health system. With the rate of progression of this insidious condition within me there was no time to loose so I had to go to Melbourne in Victoria. Fortunately there is a highly regarded surgeon, Professor Richard Bittar who was able to complete the work brilliantly in very short order.
The spinal decompression and fusion operation took place on Thursday and the hospital discharged me two days early on late Friday. Because all the flights were fully booked I decided to stay on till Sunday at a really great Air BnB in GlenWaverly. With keyhole surgery that which was once a dangerous procedure is now safe, but still scary stuff for the un-clinically minded. Since the op some feeling has returned to my L hand, but its the R that I need to come good I can type with two fingers and thumbs but my speed and accuracy is now horrid. I rested all day Saturday and tried to travel home Sunday. But just before boarding Jet Star in their autocratic way cancelled my ticket to Lunceston. I gave my boarding pass to the staff at the departure desk to make sure that confirmation had been completed as I had only limited web access for the previous few days. When questioned I confirmed that I had been to a Melbourne hospital, I also had a large dressing on a swollen throat not to mention my newly acquired bass baritone voice. After several tepid exchanges I was then told you can’t fly, I complained, whereupon the ticket officer phoned a medical officer who confirmed that I was not permitted to travel. I complained again and pointed out their regulations didn’t include keyhole surgery, once out sight of the redcoats I proceeded to the boarding gate anyway – just incase! By this time the boarding pass had been flagged and I was not permitted to board. The same brainless minions then charged down from the information counter and threatened me with airport security. I made my presence thoroughly felt and left the terminal. The type surgery I had undergone carries no risk to Jetstar or more important to me! We had thoroughly checked jetstars regulations and of course with Professor Bittar ahead of time, but Jetstars mindless minions ever eager to substantiate their existence made life difficult for me at a time when I really didn’t need the hassle of it all. Quantas / Jet star in my 30 odd years experience of them have always had a bad attitude towards their passengers compared to say Singapore Airlines.
Anyway long story short I managed to get a seat on Virgin and arrived back in Launceston three hours later than intended…