1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

I need your advice.

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by bilzmale, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    I'm seeking advice on how to proceed so that I can again enjoy taking photos. I hope you will indulge me a little but be warned there is soul-searching from me to follow - if you prefer click on a new thread now but I trust some will read on.

    Except for Christmas day I have not picked up a camera since late August 2013. It is no coincidence that in August I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. I had a new Fuji X-E1 bought in July with four lenses (plus a Samyang fish eye) and I took some 900 images in July/August and then virtually overnight I just stopped dead in my tracks. Even worse I upgraded to an X-E2 in December last in the vain hope that it would get me started again. I have taken ONE test photo with that camera. At Christmas I used my little Sony RX100 as I couldn't bring myself to use my new gear.

    A little background may be pertinent. I resigned my job 13 years ago at age 54 and went on a disabilty pension due to depression leading to a major mental breakdown. My psychiatrist labels me as having 'treatment resistant major depression' and I've tried every drug on the market and had two courses of treatment (20 sessions altogether) with electro-convulsive therapy and a month long course of magnetic brain stimulation. I also have mild to moderate OCD which served me well as an education administrator but is not much good in retirement. OCD = GAS. :mad:

    I realise that I am a 'gear head' and religiously follow a number of forums and about 10 photography RSS feeds. I read or view most camera or gear reviews/videos. I really enjoy post processing and have tested and often bought many, many pieces of software. I suppose I'm more into the technical than the artistic side of photography. I also have a fair dose of buyer remorse at the moment for investing so heavily into Fuji gear, the IQ of which far exceeds my own skill level and the expense was not welcomed by my lovely wife.

    If you're still reading thanks for indulging me but I still need advice on the next step(s).

    1. My 'gut reaction' is to sell all my Fuji gear and fall back on the little pocket rocket (Sony RX100).

    2. I'm toying with the idea of adding a quality bridge camera in place of the Fuji gear. Possibly a Sony RX10, a Fuji X-S1 or an Olympus Stylus 1. It may be wiser to delay this decision until I'm shooting somewhat regularly with the RX100 though.

    3. I guess I've let the PD 'beat me' so far. I do not (yet) have a serious hand tremor but have hand weakness and clumsiness with some moderate balance problems. I am aware that PD sufferers adapt (with tripods for example) like Peter Tacheur who does amazing work.

    Enough from me - do you have any advice.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Bill,

    First off, I'm very sorry to hear of your illnesses. If the cameras aren't being used, there is no point hanging onto them. It sounds very much like they won't be used any time soon. And if the photo bug does bite, the RX100 is quite capable. Sometimes the buyers remorse can be so strong that it kills the urge to shoot. You may find that after you sell off the Fuji gear, the cloud of remorse that is covering your joy of shooting will reverse itself and perhaps you can have a prolific spring of shooting.

    That little Sony also has some neat tricks that can be useful if you develop hand tremors with your PD.

    And I'm no doctor, but I'm fairly certain that one who suffers from OCD (and the related GAS it causes) should not be following gear reviews. :wink: Try to enjoy your Sony (or just not worry about not shooting if you're not "in the mood").

    Good luck with however you proceed.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  3. jloden

    jloden SC Veteran

    266
    Jun 30, 2012
    Jay
    Sorry to hear about your troubles Bill. Only real advice I can offer is do what will be good for your heart and soul.

    I'm a gear nut as much as the next guy, but hopefully somewhere deep down there is the reason you love the photography itself, the seeing or capturing of moments your own way. I'd suggest you look for a way to focus on kindling that passion rather than thinking about gear. Find some new events, places, or people to photograph, and try to enjoy the process itself.

    Don't rush into a decision on selling your equipment either, give it some time to sort out what will make you feel best and give you the most joy. And most importantly, don't let the PD stop you from doing something you care about!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Dear Bill-

    I'm sorry that you are going through this. I hope and pray that you will not let PD beat you, and that you will continue to enjoy your life to the fullest -- whether or not that includes photography. That being said, a bridge camera is great if you want something longer and yet versatile. However, the RX100 is indeed a great little camera, although I have found it to be a little too small for my hands. The Olympus Stylus 1 is a camera that intrigues me due to its size, focal length flexibility, fast lens, and built-in EVF.

    Hang in there! You can do this!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    There are a few generic guiding principles I fall back on when some new challenge presents itself to me, which may (or may not) be of some use.

    First, figure out which aspects of the situation (the things you do, mostly) are helping, and which are hurting. At this point, your brain will begin to try to muddle things up on you and insist that some of the hurtful stuff isn't hurtful, or is unavoidable, or etc etc. Much of your ability to eventually get over this hump will hinge on your ability to shut up that part of your brain that's lying to you, make a cold calculation, and follow through.

    Second, do something. Often, I can imagine what "much better now, thanks" looks like, even if I can't imagine how to get there. In your case, "much better now, thanks" looks like you out on a stroll, happily taking pictures of things you just suddenly noticed were in a nice light. You aren't motivated to go do it, but see if just getting up and trying to do it helps. Try more than once. There's a decent chance that just getting out there, especially somewhere you've never shot before, will net you a few shots you actually like. That, in turn, will give you something to work on in post. That will give you something to put up here and talk about. That wil get you some good feedback and kudos. Perhaps the cycle will kickstart itself into running again... you just need to "bump start" it, as we said down south.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Bill
    Bill, sorry to hear about your illness I know what depression is like and it can be difficult for others to understand unless they have experienced it.

    I can only give you my views from a photographic standpoint that works for me, (I am not a medical expert although as I said I have had experience of depression and I am sure that you are aware of the treatments for depression).

    There is a tremendous amount of beauty in photography and nature. I enjoy my natural surroundings and you live in a marvellous country for natural beauty.

    If you can focus on a specific subject that you are interested in and develop your skills in that subject through taking shots and researching what you have taken, I think that you may get great pleasure from the subject and seeing your photographic skills develop.

    One of the first improvements that is advised for taking better shots is to use a tripod and I can sit for an hour + on early summer morning with my cup of tea and a few biscuits behind my tripod in the garden…. you don't have to go far to find an interesting subject … "it's in your back yard" as our Colonial friend say!

    As far as "gear" is concerned you know from everything that you read that it is the image taken by you that counts and the latest "new" camera will be no better than the one you bought a few years ago, (look back at your images and you will see that), it's your improvement in technique and understanding that counts.

    So whether you sell your cameras or not - choose your favourite camera and get out there and focus on a subject that you are really interested it - you will find that it works and it will improve how you feel.
    Cut down on the forums you visit …… they can be all consuming.

    There is real natural beauty in the world and it's there for everyone at no cost

    Good luck my friend, lets see you posting some wonderful images that are heartfelt.

    (PS - I am still very unhappy about the 5 nil whitewash we suffered in Oz, [I hate Johnson who also stuffed the Proteus, although I am a semi fan of Michael Clarke] - so watch England play cricket and you will realise that nothing is as depressing as that!!!)
     
    • Like Like x 5
  7. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Bill, I am really sorry to read this, on so many levels.

    Let me offer a couple of things that may help.

    First, take a big (A3 or bigger) sheet of paper. Put a plate in the middle, face down, and draw a circle around it, preferably with a thick red pen (don't do this with your finest china...)

    Write on that piece of paper all the things that are pissing you off, holding you back, making you miserable, keeping you awake at night, etc. Put the things that you can do nothing about (eg death and taxes) in the centre circle, and everything else around the outside.

    Do this as quickly as you can. 20-30 minutes. Then walk away, for 2-3 hours. When you come back, really look at what you have written; the stuff in the centre - the "Doughnut of Doom" is immutable; any effort you expend worrying about it is wasted; take a big black marker pen and cross out every entry in that circle. Number the things outside the doughnut, in order of things you can do something about, easiest first, then start dealing with them. You will find this a very helpful way of putting things into perspective.

    As to your kit, put it all back in the boxes, and either give it to a friend or relative for safe keeping or put it somewhere "out of reach" - somewhere where it doesn't "look" at you every day, making you feel guilty for not using it. Then write, on a calendar, or in your diary, six months hence, "CAMERA LIBERATION DAY!" in big friendly letters. Do NOT think about, look at, or touch that kit until then. If you still feel you want to get rid of it, you will have only "lost" six months of depreciation, but you will have stopped things piling up on top of you.

    Make sense?
     
    • Like Like x 5
  8. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Bill
    Bill, should have said that your posting takes "guts" - true Aussie grit

    and there's really nothing wrong with GAS - we all have or had it in more than one area - at one time I had 13 motor bikes - as they say "go figure"
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. nippa

    nippa SC Top Veteran

    561
    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    Dennis
    So sorry to hear about the PD and health issues. Bill's right - It takes guts to post what you did and we all wish you well.

    My instinct would be to sell up the gear except for one camera and one zoom and go travelling while you can , taking images on the way to play with later.
    Go and see those places that you've only read about.

    It took me a while to realise that the wonderful RX100 has poor inbuilt stabilisation so would an Olympus with its famed IS be a better choice for you in future?
    Is a video stabiliser useful to you ? I've seen some impressive results with some of them.

    I'm sure whatever you decide will work out for the best , keep posting.
    Hey , how about some pictures of Perth.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Bill, I saw your post first over on the xspot so I posted there and will add my words here as well. One thing is for sure, we're all behind you 100% with our support. You've already gotten some very good ideas and words of wisdom here.

    First, Bill, let me say that you're a very forthright person and extremely generous with what you're sharing here. I have always admired your ability to recognize your personal challenges so well because I think many of us are not always so good about this in our live's realms - including the almost ubiquitous G.A.S. that a huge number of us folks suffer from.

    My bet is that Pete will probably have some very helpful feedback for you in regard to your recent diagnosis of Parkinson's and how that in itself, regardless of your other challenges, may be coming into play in a big way.

    My initial reaction having known you for so long and having just read this is that if the expenses on the Fujis are a burden to you - either financially or psychically - then why not sell them and relieve yourself of that weight? If down the line you decide you want a system type of camera like the Fuji you'll be able to get one again when you feel like the timing is right.

    I can't speak to the "bridge cameras" because I don't have experience in that realm, though it might be a great tool for me, as well.

    (Since my own family went through multiple changes and challenges since our move, etc., I have predominately used my iPhone for my photography and my X100 has been languishing along with my X10 and, um, my XF1. I believe I have used them but haven't downloaded into LR etc., again for a variety of reasons.)

    There is nothing wrong or right with using any means one chooses and feels good about in order to achieve the end result - the photograph. Each of us has our own aesthetics when it comes to the art of photography and the old sayings along the lines of "it's not the camera, it's the photographer" ring just as true today as they did back in ye old early film days.

    My best advice is to go with what you feel comfortable with and enjoy using. Perhaps if the G.A.S. is uncontrollable perhaps set yourself a time limit when it comes to buying anything else? Not sure how OCD works when it comes to trying to control one's self, Bill. However, I believe in simplifying one's life as much as possible when one is feeling overwhelmed. I hope this is of some help.

    P.S. Bill's advice about the circles on the paper sound very helpful - and something I'm going to do myself. It's way to easy to get lost in the mess of life if one can't see clearly.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  11. Fiddler

    Fiddler SC Veteran

    241
    Dec 5, 2010
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Colin
    Sorry to hear about your health troubles. I think I'd hang on to the cameras a bit longer if I were you, so that you can be more sure about what you want to do with them.

    As regards life in general, here's my best shot at useful advice:

    • Spend as much time out in the beauty of nature as you can - even if it's just your garden or the local park.
    • Eat delicious and healthy food that's been lovingly prepared.
    • Drink lots of spring water - minimum 2 liters a day.
    • Sleep one hour longer than you think you need to.
    • Exercise every day, but don't overdo it. Easy is better than hard.
    • Consider keeping a pet if you don't have one.
    • Keep away from people, places and things that make you feel unhappy, or drained
    • Don't allow yourself to become isolated - make sure you have some human contact every day.
    • Listen to uplifting music that fills you with awe.
    • Avoid films and books that are violent, or disturbing in any way.
    • Seek out beautiful art, of any and every kind.
    • If you can't 'beat' your problems, accept them, and adapt to them.
    • Treat yourself as you would treat a beloved friend.
    • Spend some time being lazy and unproductive.
    • See your doctor and dentist often enough.
    • Get your eyes tested.
    • Wear nice clothes when you go out.
    • If you have a religion, practice it in a way that makes sense to you. If not, that's OK too.
    • Be kind, and allow others to be kind to you.
    • Ask for, and accept help, when you need to.
    • Try to remember that the world is a better place for you being part of it.

    Wishing you all the best,

    Colin
     
    • Like Like x 6
  12. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Bill, let me say that I can relate first-hand to issues with depression. Let me also say that the advice from Bill Palmer (Lightmancer) and Colin (Fiddler) is excellent. But Kyle's (KillRamsey) encouragment to do something rings especially true. I have often found it almost impossible to get started with anything - even activities that I have traditionally loved the most - when under the influence of depression.

    Perhaps, just before putting away your camera gear for the six months, as suggested by Bill, you should tell a close friend or relative to "force" you to go out with them on a photographic outing. Make it a location or subject that has always been particularly attractive or interesting to you. It could be a half day if that's all you can manage. But a full day or weekend outside of the home would be better. Outdoors may be best. Determine, once you're forced to get started, if the act of photographing has a positive impact on you. It may take longer than just a few hours. If the answer is no, then put the gear away for six months and follow Bill's advice.

    I have usually found that, once I get started, much of my depression and/or anxiety subsides. But I may not have ever experienced what you are going through now. All you can do is keep trying and follow whatever path works for you. Everyone is a bit different. And as far as PD and photography is concerned, there are plenty of ways to adapt in terms of equipment as time goes on. Let's focus on your interest in photography first. Good luck and know that we're pulling for you.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  13. Petach

    Petach SC All-Pro

    Oct 22, 2011
    UK, Essex
    Peter Tachauer
    Bill, I am pm'ing you
    Pete
     
    • Like Like x 5
  14. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Thanks everyone for your thoughtful and helpful replies. I am already finding that 'putting it down on paper" in the forum is helping. I can see that the solution lies in my own hands and hopefully I can begin to break the 'creative paralysis' I'm presently feeling.

    Once again thanks - the genuine warmth of your replies is touching.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  15. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Bill,

    Sorry to hear about your troubles. A friend's son has OCD, and it can be difficult.

    One of the earlier posters to this thread had it right,I think; you shouldn't be checking ten gear forums a day. Why? Because there is no such thing as the perfect camera (and, as I understand it, "perfect" is what your OCD is looking for). Perfect depends on your viewpoint, and your viewpoint can change. So if you are checking the gear forums looking for the next best camera, you are chasing a moving target.

    Perhaps it would be helpful to focus on the photographs. What is it that you like to photograph? Take a look at your old photos; which ones give you joy? Perhaps you might consider giving yourself an assignment. Choose one camera and one lens at random and commit to taking a photograph a day with that combination, and no other. Make it a check-off item on your to-do list. Perhaps you could create a small photo-diary on your computer that includes day's photo and why you took that particular photo.

    There is bound to be something in your environment that is constantly changing and would be interesting to photograph: plants, animals, people in a park, a construction site . . . there are lots of possibilities. Me, I like to take pictures of the daytime sky. Where I live, it's always changing and frequently fascinating.

    I hope this helps.

    Cheers, Jock
     
    • Like Like x 3
  16. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    "One step at a time" comes into play in so much of life. Perhaps we can make it "one picture at a time", as well - along the lines of Jock's suggestions? I look forward to whatever you choose to share here, Bill. Putting it all down on this virtual paper was a big achievement. And I have a strong feeling that your candor has helped a lot of readers out here in the ether. Your words certainly got me thinking.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  17. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    [​IMG][/url][/IMG]

    Grabbed my new X-E2 and took a few shots of Deacon last week. I was happy with the results.

    Also saw my Neurologist on Friday and got some better news. He thinks I have secondary Parkinsonism meaning my symptoms (weakness, clumsiness, balance issues etc) are caused by the medication I was on for about 3 years (Zyprexa) and not primary PD. Good news is my symptoms should not get any worse and may well get better. Here's hoping.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  18. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    Bill: First off, thank you for your courageous original post. Second, congratulations on the subsequent good news. Here's hoping, indeed.

    As someone who has suffered debilitating depression through the years, I can understand the desire to get rid of the gear, and the feeling that it will never get used again. I've dumped some great shooters in like situations. So my advice -- since you asked -- would be to hang on the the stuff for now and see if the depression lifts enough for you to enjoy the craft with them again. I decided years ago not to make important decisions in the middle of a depressive episode -- except necessary ones about treatment with the help of professionals. I'm lucky. medication, which I've been on for years, and will likely be on for the rest of my life, does help, even if the whole regime has to be redone from time to time. Winters can still be gruesome, but I function.

    The shot above is wonderful. I'd say, hold on to anything that can give you joy, even if that joy is presently postponed. I have GAS, and I have an LP record addiction, but music soothes the soul, and the film camera I did not need but bought anyway a few months ago, is an absolute joy to use, one of those cameras I sometimes fire just to hear the particular music of its shutter. It's a keeper; it helps me fight against the darkness. Taking pictures of the world beyond myself connects me with something outside my depression, if it happens to be on, and just knowing there is life, and beauty, forms of things and things at play, is a bulwark against what at its worst I called The Thing, a force beyond one's control that seems to take over. It's awful, and I have a deep sympathy for your situation. But keep the things that on the good days will help you enjoy. There are many more good days to come.

    OH! I think Colin's list of helpful hints is very good.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  19. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Bill, perhaps you didn't realise it at the time of your starting this thread, but you have stimulated some profound and thought provoking replies. As yet another sufferer from bouts of depression, though in my case I've not sought help with the condition having sufficient side effects from medication I'm currently on for a straight medical condition, I take encouragement from the replies you've received.

    I don't feel able to add to the excellent suggestions already given by many posters. Your photographic contribution above hopefully marks a turning point for you and also perhaps points to one abiding aspect in your life, your family and the support they can offer you, if only as shown above as photographic subjects for whatever camera you decide to use. Speaking as one who doesn't have the support of a family I can only imagine how a close and supportive family can add to one's enjoyment of the world we live in.

    I trust the latest medical opinion offered to you is a good one and that things will at least stabilise, if not improve, albeit slowly.

    Good luck,

    Barrie
     
    • Like Like x 3
  20. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Thanks Lawrence and Barrie - my step is a little lighter now.
     
    • Like Like x 3