Tuesday Photo Challenge – Reflection by jansenphotojansenphoto
Is it live, or mirrored?
I was home most of this week. On Monday I worked from home; one of the benefits of the current client contract. At some point, I went out for a quick walk around the neighbourhood. It was raining and I remembered the challenge topic for this week was reflection.

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling less than my full self. My thyroid was still swollen; enough so that it put some pressure on my throat. I felt like throwing up. So I did. I called in sick and spent most of the day in bed or watching re-runs of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) on BBC America. I had other options but I grew up watching the original ‘60’s series and was hooked when the TNG aired in the ’80s. For me, Star Trek is television chicken soup.

My condition did not improve the next day (Wednesday). My thyroid was just as swollen. I called out sick again and continued to watch TNG re-runs.

On Thursday, I worked out of the Metropark office but on Friday I chose to work remotely.

A former co-worker sent me an SMS to invite me to hangout out with a former team for drinks, the following week. It sounded like fun but I knew I would be in recovery from my thyroidectomy. He was surprised that my disease had progressed to that point. I explained to him that stress was a trigger and that Bhavna thought that the head of the department was to blame for putting the whole team under stress. She thinks that the development of my hyperthyroidism is a consequence of that person unprofessional behaviour.

He wished me well but I found myself in serious consideration of the past year. The diagnosis that added two more auto-immune diseases to my life in March. The end of the New Jersey State contract and the start of a new contract with a banking client in Manhattan. The struggle to handle the stress of major changes in work, a daily 4-hour commute, and balancing my medication led to a near physical collapse that landed me in the emergency room.

I was chatting with my Mom and she tried to give me a pep taught. She told me that I would survive this just like I survived all my other challenges. She told me that I almost didn’t survive birth; I was a breach birth. I learned that I had an emergency appendectomy when I just six years old. That at ten, I had an emergency gall bladder operation. Yikes!

Reflecting on my life, I realized that it indeed one full of challenges and I have survived each one.

On Monday, I am scheduled for a thyroidectomy. I know I will be fine.

reflections, water
Reflections — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR@ 25.7 mm, f/2.8, ISO250

The images below were taken two years ago at Whitesbog Village.

Whitesbog Village—Nikon D5100 + 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

Whitesbog Village—Nikon D5100 + 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6
Tuesday Photo Challenge – Contact by jansenphotojansenphoto (Dutch goes the photo)
Making contact…
Action photography often means shooting in shutter priority mode which in many cases means a high shutter speed to freeze the action.

In 2011, my kids competed in the New Jersey Martial Arts Alliance (NJMAA) Invitational Championships. I showed up at the event with my Nikon D40 and my trusty Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 and Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR. With the yellowish subdued lighting in the North Hunterdon High School gym, I was not expecting to get any good shots. Near the end of the day, John Kanabay, the instructor and owner of Montgomery Martial Arts in Skillman approached me about taking photos. He was doing a demo in the late afternoon and he was attempting to break ten bricks at once. The previous year, he had successfully broken seven bricks.

He stated:

You took some great photos last year. Do you mind taking some photos when I do the demo?

No pressure! I told him I would do my best given that I did not have the right equipment.

I spent the next half hour fiddling with my camera as the other black belts performed. I tested every combination of shutter and aperture priority – with and without flash – that I could think off. Nothing looked good to me. Then I saw the “M”. I said to myself, “What the heck. It’s worth a try”. I practised a few more shots in manual mode trying to dial in the correct setting on the camera.
Action photography often means shooting in shutter priority mode which in many cases means a high shutter speed to freeze the action. If the lighting is poor, it could also mean shooting in high ISO with a wide aperture.

In 2011, my kids competed in the New Jersey Martial Arts Alliance (NJMAA) Invitational Championships. I showed up at the event with my Nikon D40 and my trusty Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 and Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR. With the yellowish subdued lighting in the North Hunterdon High School gym, I was not expecting to get good shots.

Near the end of the event, John Kanabay, the instructor and owner of Kickside Martial Arts (then Montgomery Martial Arts) approached me about taking photos of his demo. He was doing a demo in the late afternoon and he was attempting to break ten cement bricks at once. The previous year, he had successfully broken seven bricks. He had never attempted this many bricks.

”You took some great photos last year. Do you mind taking some photos when I do the demo?”

I was excited. I told I was still learning how to shoot action. I assured him that I would do my best given that I did not have the right equipment.

For the next thirty minutes, while the other black belts performed, I fiddled with the ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings on my camera. I tested every combination of shutter and aperture priority, with and without flash, that I could think off. From the back of the LCD, nothing looked good to me. Then I saw the “M”.

“What the heck”, I said to myself. ”It’s worth a try.”. I practised a few more shots in manual mode trying to dial in the correct setting on the camera.

The moment came. I had to make sure that I could time my shot at the moment just beyond which his elbow made contact with the first block. I took the shot at 1/500 s at f/2.8 and ISO 320. The result was not what I expect.

Mr. “K” (that’s what the kids call him) got five of the ten bricks and I got a mostly in focus shot. But … just like Mr. “K”, I had pushed myself beyond what I had done before. I was liberated from self-imposed thoughts about my abilities.

At that moment, I felt that I have crossed a point in the learning process where I could take off the training wheels. Over the years, I continued to practice timing my shots to capture the action. I observed the Tae Kwon Do tournament competitors learning how to anticipate the moment when their feet, arms, and legs would make contact with boards, bricks and other competitors.

The moment came. I had to make sure that I could time my shot at the moment just beyond which his elbow made contact with the first block. I took the shot (1/500 s at f/2.8 ISO 320). It was not what we both had expected. Mr. “K” (that’s what the kids call him) got five of the ten bricks and I got a mostly in focus shot. But … just like Mr. “K”, I had pushed myself beyond what I had done before. I was liberated from self-imposed thoughts about my abilities.

“” “”

At that moment, I felt that I have crossed a point in the learning process where I could take off the training wheels. Over the years, I attend more Tae Kwon Do tournaments and observed the black belts. I learned to anticipate the moment when their arms, legs and feed would make contact with the wooden board and cements blocks. I improved the timing of my photographs. My skills got better and so did Mr Kanabay’s.

“” “”

In 2015 John Kanabay was the North American Sports Karate Association (NASKA) World Top 10 Black Belt in Martial Arts and in 2016 he was International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) World Breaking Champion 2016.