Birthrights Launch (and some thoughts on flash photography)

Birthrights Launch

Last night was the official launch of Birthrights, a UK organisation devoted to protecting human rights in childbirth.

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Birthrights is dedicated to improving women’s experience of pregnancy and childbirth by promoting respect for human rights.

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Birthrights believe that all women are entitled to respectful maternity care that protects their fundamental rights to dignity, autonomy, privacy and equality.

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As ever, the topic of respect for mothers in childbirth is something close to my heart. The experience my partner Louisa and I had of the birth of our son was very poor indeed.

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Louisa was abused, ignored, subject to unnecessary procedures and interventions and botched epidurals.

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I don’t want to recount the whole thing again (having done so in earlier posts), but suffice it to say I’m very proud of Louisa’s involvement in Birthrights. Aside from her general work for Birthrights, Louisa has become a trustee.

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I was certainly delighted to be asked to take the photos at the official launch of Birthrights, at Matrix chambers in Gray’s Inn. I may (despite being a lawyer) know nothing about human rights law but I can at least (occasionally) take a half decent photo!

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Flash Photography

This is a topic that has left me confused and frustrated… How many awful photos have I created with in camera flash over the years? Lots!

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I was very excited (and terrified) to have the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with flash for the purposes of the Birthrights launch. It became an opportunity to really push myself and go beyond what I was comfortable with from a photography point of view. I had sold my old Sony flash together with my DSLR when I finally ditched it, so I decided to reinvest the proceeds in a new EF-42 Fuji flash.

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Luckily, I was given some great advice from the Fujifilm forum on DPreview, and used it to experiment lots with Louisa and our son (to the extent both of them were running away whenver they saw me with a camera by Wednesday night).

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I decided that the room might be very crowded and that I might need two cameras. So I took along my X100 together with the X-Pro1.

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Largely I used the 35mm between F1.4 and F2.8 (I mostly kept the 35 on the X-Pro1) and the X100 between F2.8 and F4. I kept the shutter speed about 500-1000 on the x100 and 160 on the X-pro1 (both within their respective flash sync speeds). Both cameras were set to ISO640-800 depending on the ambient light.

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I didn’t find the AF superfast or great but it wasn’t the problem I expected it to be. I flipped between SAF and CAF depending on what I was shooting. In the final analysis AF wasn’t an impediment to this exercise and (the test for me) I don’t think I would have got any better shots with a DSLR or M43s camera.

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The X100 was invaluable for crowd shots and close work when the room was packed but I did end up slightly missing the resolution of the X-pro1 sensor on those shots (bring on the x100S!).

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Oddly enough, looking at my photos (about 250-300 odd) I achieved a ludicrous number of keepers. I normally take about 120-200 pictures, of which I’m happy with about 10-20. Last night I was happy enough with over 50 of the images. Even more were technically fine if uninteresting.

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I don’t claim these shots are perfect, or that I’ve discovered photographic alchemy, but I really enjoyed the experience and I think I learned a lot about shooting flash in manual. I do need to pay attention to my EV compensation though! Suffice it to say I’m a very happy camper – I’m planning to take the X100 out to experiment with fill flash when the opportunity presents itself.

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Thanks again to Louisa, Rebecca and Elizabeth for letting me “help” with the launch!

Taken with my Fujifilm X100 and X-Pro1. Lenses used on the X-Pro1 were the 35mm and 60mm

9 thoughts

  1. Great pix, and they really capture the excitement of the launch – which I think could turn out to be the best thing to happen to childbirth in this country this century. Legal support for mothers – hurrah.

  2. Pingback: Birthrights Dignity Forum | sgoldswoblog

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