Graham Moss: Blog en-us (C) Graham Moss (Graham Moss) Sat, 17 Sep 2016 19:46:00 GMT Sat, 17 Sep 2016 19:46:00 GMT Graham Moss: Blog 90 120 This is it! So here is the latest update on my journey. It has been a surreal few weeks since my diagnosis, sometimes it has been hard to believe and digest because most of the time I generally feel OK, although I have noticed that my voice is becoming more hoarse again and I am also having a little trouble with eating certain food types. However, this sense of surrealism was quashed within the space of a few minutes yesterday when I was telephoned with the time and date of my operation to remove my cancer.

I like to think that I have prepared myself for what is coming; I have watched numerous videos, read pages and pages of literature, visited and bookmarked many websites and generally tried to educate myself and the rest of the family as to what we can expect in the days, months and hopefully years that will follow as a 'laryngectomee'. We have registered with various agencies to ensure that we get all necessary materials I might need and have tried to remain positive and strong throughout.

The phone call drove home exactly what we were going to face and although it wasn't a shock to get the call, in fact I have been kind of hoping for it since I learnt I was undergoing the procedure, it was a sobering thought that this was 'it'.We have been given a date when my life will change quite drastically. I will have to learn how to eat and speak in a different way to that which I have done for the past 52 years. There are lots of things I will be unable to do, for instance I won't be able to lift heavy objects and I thought about this when I got my bicycle out. Will I still be able to lift the cycle to put on the roof rack of the car? I have no idea. It's not just the physical side either, there is the psychological effect, I'm almost certain to have good and bad days. Lots of things like this are going through my mind and I won't have an answer to them until I can get back on my feet and get back to being my old (but new) self. I will still be me, just with a few nasty cells eradicated and with a bit of cartilage and tissue removed. I'll still talk, perhaps not as loudly and not as fluently as before but I will still be the same person. The challenge before me might seem formidable to begin with but it is not insurmountable, it is something I will get used to as will those around me and after a couple of months it will be the norm.

Anyway the date for my diary is 0700 hrs on the 22 September 2016

]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss cancer laryngectomy Sat, 17 Sep 2016 19:46:10 GMT
MIOPS MOBILE: The world's most versatile camera remote Those good people at MIOPS are at it again. Not content with providing us photographers with one of the best camera triggers on the market in the shape of the MIOPS Trigger, they have now started on their next venture to provide what they are promoting as 'The world's most versatile camera remote', the MIOPS MOBILE.


Having used the two previous incarnations of the MIOPS trigger, the first was named the Nerotrigger, (you can find some images and a write up in the blog) I have no reason to doubt their claim. If you're quick you can help the MIOPS team help build this new remote and be some of the first people to receive the new product by signing up to their Kickstarter project. I have signed up, it's too good a chance to miss. Don't hang around too long, I guarantee the pledges will be achieved is a short time. 

]]> (Graham Moss) Kickstarter MIOPS pledge Tue, 13 Sep 2016 18:12:12 GMT
Speech and Language Therapy I had an appointment at the Royal Sussex County Hospital to speak to a Speech and Language Therapist who went through what would be the plan after I have had my laryngectomy in two to three weeks time. The therapist was very good and very understanding. She was able to show me and Tina all the paraphernalia that would be attached to me and how it works and what will be necessary to keep it all in good order. She also arranged for us to meet with someone who had had the operation and he was able to explain how he dealt with the operation and how his life has changed in the three and half years since he had it done. The meeting was a mixture of education and to be honest some despondency on my part. The realisation that this was how I was going to live the rest of my life in the not to distant future was starkly portrayed to me. In actuality, after I have adapted to the change, there will not be much I will be unable to do but there is a lot of things that we all take for granted that I will still be able to do but in a different way if you like. There are other things that will be gone for ever, for instance one little thing such as 'sniffing' will be gone, I will not have the ability to draw air through my nose or mouth and I have a little trouble coming to terms with that at the moment.

One of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest, will be the psychological effect on me and my family. At the moment I am fortunate enough to be able to speak clearly, this was due to the surgeons removing a large part of the tumour on my larynx when I had my biopsy, not only making breathing easier but also leaving me able to speak normally and this could inadvertently have a negative effect as our voice is a large part of our identity; people recognise you through your voice, we have mannerisms in the way we speak and communicate and I am going to have to relearn all of this and so are those people around me. Perhaps it would have been easier for us all if that part of me was gone already. On the other hand I get to speak to everybody in a normal way for as long as possible.

However I do not intend to let this change in my life affect the way I live my life and my lifestyle, I still intend to be as active as I have been previously; walking, cycling and being out and about are big parts of my life that I will not let go of and it is these goals that help keep my sanity intact. The other big influences are family and friends and I couldn't wish for a better support network. I'm also looking forward to returning to work as soon as realistically possible, The only other sick leave I can remember taking was when I damaged my shoulder and that was just for one week.

The nicest part of the day was meeting my friend Sharon from Lewes Road Bus Garage where I used to work for a quick coffee before my appointment began and it was great to see the friendly face of Lee Perry on the bus when we came out of the hospital.

Once again, we thank everybody who has been so encouraging and supportive and who have given us the strength to remain positive for the future.


Updates to follow as and when.

]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss cancer laryngectomy Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:50:13 GMT
Cancer Update So here's the update to my unintended journey that began for me on the 1st August. Today was the day that I would be finding out the results of all my tests and scans and the extent of the cancer in my throat. We have adopted a saying in the Moss House of 'Hope for the best and prepare for the worst' so in that sense we go to each of my appointments with a perhaps slightly pessimistic approach..

Today's appointment was a mixture of good news and not so good news. The good news was that my chest was clear and that the cancer was localised to my neck area, the not so good news was that the cancer has gone into some of the cartilage that surrounds my voice box and this has a big impact on the way it can be treated.

I was therefore given two options to consider. Radiotherapy on its own to attack the cancer or a laryngectomy and radiotherapy to attempt to completely eradicate it. This was just a snippet of the details of the appointment and we did discuss the options in far more depth than I can put here.

In normal circumstances the radiotherapy used to attack the cancer would be enough, however, as was explained to me, the radiotherapy is not that successful when it comes to cartilage and the prospect of the radiotherapy not being successful was quite high. If I took the route of radiotherapy only and it did not completely clear the cancer or the cancer returned I would still have to undergo an operation to remove my voice box, but due to the nature of radiotherapy and its effect on tissue, the operation would be difficult and the chances of success would reduce significantly.

The other option and the option recommended to me by my Multi Disciplinary Team was to undergo a laryngectomy and radiotherapy, the chances of success and cure are far higher and although it is a major operation there would be likely to be less complications then if I went down the other route.

Obviously the laryngectomy is an operation that has life changing implications but after chatting with my consultant and other members of the team, I was assured that once I was back on my feet and had adapted to the differences, then a normal life style was completely achievable.

And that is the decision I, along with my wife Tina, have elected to take. I will be having the op in the next 2-4 weeks with a recovery period of approximately 8 weeks thereafter and will hopefully be looking at returning to work shortly after that.

So, is the glass half full or half empty? Obviously I'm a bit pissed off and disappointed that I have to undergo this procedure, but it is what it is, I cannot change anything and I have to be pragmatic about what is best for me, my family and our future.

I'll leave you with a quote from Hubert Humphrey to ponder:

“Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left.”

]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss cancer laryngectomy Mon, 05 Sep 2016 09:09:32 GMT
Results day Results Day Appointment


I have been given a date to discuss the results of my scans and tests on Wednesday. It's a weird feeling of relief that the results are in and trepidation of what the results will reveal.

]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss cancer Sat, 27 Aug 2016 08:54:40 GMT
Biopsy Day Biopsy Day at the RSCH on Monday 15 August 2016


I knew that this was the big one for me in these tests, I have never been under a general anesthetic before and I wasn't particularly looking forward to it, I wasn't sure what to expect and was a bit nervous. I was accompanied by Tina and we arrived at the hospital at about 0635 via Megan's taxi, my appointment being at 0700, (Thanks Meg). If any of you have had to attend an appointment at the RSCH the layout can be a little confusing and it took us 10 minutes to actually get to the correct reception point from the main entrance. There were several other people arriving for the same time and the waiting room soon filled up, there was one particular person who had a leg in plaster below the knee and he decided that he needed to take up four seats. There was plenty of room however so not too much of a problem. When we 'booked in' the receptionist indicated that my notes were unavailable at the moment, not a big deal, my appointments had been chopped and changed throughout the week from RSCH to PRH in Haywards Heath. The TV was on and we watched that. It wasn't until 0825 that they were ready for me, during this 90 minutes of waiting I could hear the 'laid out leg man' offering up many deep sighs of discontent.

We were taken downstairs to the prep ward and put in a cubicle with a couple of chairs. I had my vitals taken; B.P., heart rate and had to answer a series of questions regarding my general health, history, allergies etc. Then the Consultant, Drs and anesthetists who were undertaking my procedure came in for a chat, there were 4 in total. They got the camera up my nose for a look down into my larynx and in photographers terms we had a little bit of chimping. For those non-photographers out there: Chimping is a term used in digital photography to describe the habit of checking every photo on the camera display immediately after capture, often accompanied by noises such as 'ooohs' and 'arrrrs'. We all had a quick chat and they briefly explained the procedure to me and Tina that was to be undertaken . Shortly after they had all left one of the Drs returned to my cubicle and went through the procedure in far more detail, what would happen, what they were going to do, how long it would take and invited both of us to ask as many questions as we liked. The Dr explained that the first step would be an anesthetic spray that he would squirt in through my nostril, it would go down the back of my throat and and numb the whole area, he warned me it was unpleasant, tasted disgusting but the reason they were doing it was that I had to be awake for the first part of the process, I would then be given an anesthetic that would keep me semi-conscious, then I would have a breathing tube put in and they would go in for the biopsy after that.

The time came for the procedure and I was wheeled away to the operating theatre, it was smaller than I expected and there were 6 people in total in the room as we had been joined by a trainee anesthetist. After hooking me up to the machines and placing the cannula in my hand we began the process. The Dr sprayed the aforementioned anesthetic up my nose, I felt it running down the back of my throat and was prompted to try to get as much of the liquid around my throat as possible. The Dr was right, it tasted awful but this paled into insignificance when the effects set in. Despite his warnings of how uncomfortable it would feel, this felt like nothing I have ever experienced before, it was as if a large marble had been placed at the back of my throat, I could feel it sitting there but could do nothing to move it, I felt that my saliva was building up and that I would soon be drowning in in it. I was halfway off the trolley aiming for the door when they managed to settle me down, it was still disconcerting to say the least but they kept talking and reassuring me at all times and I began to relax a little. The doctor explained to me that he knew how I felt as during his time of training he had some put down his throat and he was able to talk me down and relax me a little more and eventually I was able to lean back in the trolley and control my feelings, The doctor than shoved some very large cotton bud type things up my nostril and explained that if the anesthetic had not worked, one of two things would be likely to happen; I'd either punch him on the nose or go through the ceiling. I admit that I was focused on his nose at that point. Fortunately I could feel nothing.

They then told me that I was going to have some anesthetic pumped into my cannula and I might feel a bit woozy. 'Bring it on, anything to calm down' was my last thought before I was woken in the recovery room by my Recovery Nurse, Alberto.

So the procedure was over and I didn't feel too bad at that point. About 30 minutes after I was in there the Consultant came in for a brief chat. He explained that he had removed all the samples he needed, and the next step was to collate all the results from my scans and test and they (my Multi Disciplinary Team) would determine the next course of action, unfortunately for me the stuff up the nose is likely to be necessary again, but at least I know what's coming.

After an hour and a half in the recovery ward I was wheeled back to the prep ward I was in earlier. I had my vitals monitored and was kept an eye on until they let me home at about 1620.

Remember, the patient with the broken leg. He was in the cubicle next to me and his procedure had been delayed. He wanted to go outside for a cigarette but they wouldn't let him so he proceeded to call every nurse who tried to explain to him what was going on a 'F**king bunch of cu**ts' not just once but on several occasions. If it was my decision I would have wheeled him outside for a cigarette, I would have wheeled him to the top of the road and I would have let his trolley go, stopping only when it had reached the English Channel and hopefully continuing on for a good few feet. What was even sadder was that my nurse told me it wasn't an uncommon event.

For the record over the two weeks that my scans and tests have been conducted I have been treated with the utmost respect by everybody. The Drs who undertook my procedure see dozens of patients every week, not once did they make me feel like I was, just another patient, I always felt that they looked upon me as their patient if that makes sense. The nurses who monitored me were attentive and you could see they genuinely cared, I have been treated with respect and courtesy throughout. It's a shame that some morons are only concerned with getting outside for a fag.

Today I'm feeling good, I was warned to expect to be sore for a few days but it is nowhere near as bad as I was anticipating. The worst part now will be the waiting but I've been reassured that the time spent waiting will not be adverse to my health at all, so that's a relief.

Updates to follow as and when.

]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss biopsy cancer Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:25:40 GMT
Contemplative Guff Contemplative Guff

After a hectic week driving up and down the A23 for scans and tests last week, I have the weekend off. I did go out on Saturday to meet up with a group of fellow photographers in town but to be honest I wasn’t particularly enthused to be taking photographs and bailed out quite early. Today I’m at bit of a loose end too; I have to be at RSCH for my biopsy at 0700 tomorrow morning, so I’m not in the mood to be doing anything overly energetic or hectic. I’ll watch the footy, Arsenal are on the TV this afternoon (there’s a 50/50 chance I’ll be cursing the TV) but in the meantime I sit here in a contemplative mood and so I’ll put some thoughts down. I’ll try not to get too deep though as it’ll end up as a load of ‘contemplative guff’

When the news was broken to me of my condition, or I should say when it was confirmed, I obviously had all kinds of different thoughts and feelings going around in my head, having said that, there was no swirling maelstrom of emotions; it was more ‘matter of fact’ type of thoughts and one of these was that the primary cause of throat cancer is caused by smoking and drinking alcohol (I’d done my research) and one of the first thoughts that struck me almost immediately, and I actually did bring it up with the ENT consultant and the nurse in the room at one point, was that I was going to be ‘that bloke’. We all know of him, we’ve all heard others tell his story; he is the bloke that didn’t smoke or drink but still got cancer, the bloke that some people refer to when they inform us that their Grandad smoked 30 fags a day and drank 5 bottles of whiskey every week and lived to be 92, so they don’t see the point in giving up or reducing their smoking and drinking habits.

Well I don’t want to be ‘that bloke’; I do not want to be somebody’s excuse to keep smoking. I would rather my adversity be one of the reasons that helps somebody to give up their habit by turning the argument on its head and say that I am proof you should give up smoking. If cancer can strike me, somebody who last smoked about 25 years ago, then the chances of it striking a smoker is far higher. This isn’t news, we all know this, we have warnings everywhere and it has been common knowledge for a gazillion years that smoking is harmful to us, so my little story will not make one iota of difference to those who don’t want to give up smoking, but if you are one of the many people who do want to quit, put my tale in amongst all those other reasons we know about and hopefully it’ll make it a tiny bit easier for you to stop.

In short, don’t let my misfortune be your justification to continue smoking, but if you’re looking to give up, use my story as just one more incentive to quit the habit.

On the other hand once this is all over I might take up smoking, drinking and crack cocaine.




]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss cancer hope Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:22:25 GMT
Family Fun - Making Memories 12 August and the whole family is together, it's a bright, warm sunny day. Time to take some pictures and make some memories. So we all poodled off to the South Downs:

Family Circle Family Circle I sent the drone up and put the onboard camera on self timer then dived to the floor to get the shot.

Drone and familyDroning


The following day Tina and I took a trip on the

TinaTina on the i360Tina on the i360

]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss cancer drone family Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:16:57 GMT
A Man With a Plan My New Life Journey


Day 3 A.D. (After Diagnosis)


I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the many messages of support and good wishes I have received from a whole host of people. I've had messages from people who I haven't seen in years, from people who I've never met, from colleagues old and new and of course from my close friends and family.

Every single message has been read and re-read a number of times, each message and gesture of goodwill, every little emoji and smiley face gives me strength and hope in these new topsy-turvy days. 🙃

I am truly very appreciative for every message and I thank you all for your kind thoughts and words. I will try to thank each person personally as soon as I can.

I have been given a date for my first scan, an MRI. It will be on Saturday at 1800 at the RSCH. I'm trying not to think too much about the MRI, whilst I'm pleased that things are moving forward and I can begin my treatment, I'm also filled with a sense of trepidation about the outcome. In the meantime I have another appointment with my GP and I'll be trying to keep busy and occupy myself for the remainder of the week. I have a plan to take my drone out at some point as I want to get a particular photograph from it.

It's also Pride Day on Saturday so rather than battle through the hoards of revellers who will be in town, I'll make a day of it. I shall probably go and take some photographs of the parade and the participants and then wander around town for a few hours hopefully getting some good shots. I'll meet up with Tina for a light snack and then we can make our way to RSCH when we're ready. A man with a plan.


I have several scans ans test lined up after the MRI. Ther is a CT scan followed by an ultrasound and biopsy of the swollen lymph nodes in my neck and the last scan before any treatment can begin will be the biopsy of my throat. This is undertaken under a general aneasthetic.

This was the first photo I took at the Brighton Pride Festival


]]> (Graham Moss) Brighton Pride Family Graham Moss MRI cancer Mon, 22 Aug 2016 08:47:59 GMT
The First Day of the Rest of My Life Today, Tuesday 2 August 2016, was the first day of the rest of my new life. Today I learnt that there are some things in life that transcend everything. Today I learnt that the little things in life matter and some of the bigger things in life do not. Today I was diagnosed with cancer.

It was not an unexpected diagnosis, I'd already done lots of research on my symptoms and when I saw the consultant at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton I already knew what he was going to do and what he was going to say. Before going in I'd explained to Tina to hope for the best but to prepare for the worst and I wasn't wrong. That doesn't give me any satisfaction to say that but it meant the initial blow wasn't quite so harsh; at least to me. The hardest part for me was telling my children. I tried to be strong for them as they will be strong for me, they will be my rock that I will grasp with all my might and cling to when times get hard.

I first noticed something was wrong about 8 weeks ago, I had an earache and sore throat that I couldn't shift. I visited my GP and after I explained my symptoms she looked in my ear with her 'ear looking in instrument' and told me I have a wax build up. She advised to put some olive oil in my ear for a few days and make an appointment with the nurse to have my ear cleaned out. I was in the examination room for probably less than two minutes. Two weeks later I had my ear syringed and a couple of days after that I went on holiday to Wales. I still had the earache and the sore throat but thought this was due to the ear cleaning out procedure.

It was while we were in Wales that I discovered a lump on my neck. I was a little worried at that point but didn't suspect anything sinister; I thought it was just an infection but to be on the safe side I went to the hospital with the aim of getting some antibiotics. I saw a nurse who triaged me and I explained all my symptoms to a her. Earache, sore throat and now lump on neck. I was asked to wait in the waiting room and I would be seen when somebody was available. After three hours of waiting a nurse called my name and told me that the consultant on duty had advised me to go to my own GP when we got back home. And so that's what I did. A different GP to the last one gave me a thorough examination and referred me to the ENT Specialist. This wasn't what I expected and when I walked out of the surgery without a prescription for antibiotics I knew that this was potentially something more serious than a waxy ear!

I have laryngeal cancer, there is a growth in my larynx and one of my lymph nodes in my neck is swollen, indicating that it has spread to there. I face a series of tests: MRI, CT and a biopsy where the consultant explained I would be 'put to sleep' which made me chuckle once all these are done and the extent of the cancer is established I will have treatment that could include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The tests should all be conducted within 3-4 weeks.

The irony is that one of the main causes of this type of cancer is smoking and drinking, neither of which I've done for at least 25 years. 

At the Ear, Nose and Throat clinic at Royal Sussex County Hospital all the staff were very professional, attentive and helpful, they went through all of what was likely to happen and when.

By completing a journal I hope to be able to keep my family and all my friends informed of my progress and my road to recovery.




]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss cancer throat cancer Mon, 22 Aug 2016 08:20:43 GMT
Using the MIOPS LASER Trigger Function Here's a quick video of how I was using the MIOPS trigger to capture a small satsuma dropping in to a vase of water. Apologies for the quality, I didn't check the settings prior to filming, it was also in a very enclosed environment so I had to use a fisheye to get everything in. 


To begin I set up all of the equipment I needed for the exercise this included:

  • My camera 
  • MIOPS Trigger
  • 1 Yongnuo Flash with a flash rogue bender attached
  • 1 Yongnuo Flash Trigger and Receiver
  • A large reflector
  • A LASER pointer
  • 2 x stands (anything that will hold the laser and trigger steady) 


The flash and trigger are relatively cheap items available from Amazon and eBay etc, but if your camera supports it the flash could also be attached directly with a PC Sync cable saving the need for the remote trigger/receiver. 

Here are 3 photographs of my set-up.

Set-Up for the Satsuma Drop Set-Up for the Satsuma Drop Set-Up for the Satsuma Drop

The pencil placed on top of the vase was used to ensure correct focus. The lens was focused manually and left in this state so when the MIOPS triggered the camera it did not hunt for correct focus.

Prior to taking the shots I configured the MIOPS by dropping the satsuma without the water, this allowed me to set the appropriate delay, although I changed the parameters after a couple of shots to obtain the best result, this was easily done, I could have used my smartphone to change the settings but as the MIOPS was in such close proximity this was not necessary. 


This was a very easy exercise to undertake with the MIOPS and there are countless variations on this theme that one could use, obtaining consistent results each time.

Here's the video

Satsuma DropDropping a satsuma in to a vase of water using the MIOPS trigger system to capture the results

The Results, each one with different times set on the MIOPS

LASER (1 of 6)LASER (1 of 6) LASER (1 of 6)LASER (1 of 6) LASER (1 of 6)LASER (1 of 6) LASER (1 of 6)LASER (1 of 6)



]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss High Speed Photography LASER MIOPS nerotrigger Sat, 31 Oct 2015 16:00:40 GMT
MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger Review (Part Three) MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger Review

Part Three: The LASER Sensor


Today I tackled the LASER Sensor on the MIOPS trigger. I used a cheap laser pointer, easily and cheaply available from Amazon and other online sources or perhaps in your local shop. It doesn't matter which colour is used. To use the MIOPS with the laser sensor, one has to point the laser in to the light diode on the top end of the unit. When the laser is beram is broken, either the flash or your cmarea will be triggered, depending on what you are doing and your needs. For my purposes today, I had the MIOPS connected to my flash. 

To use the sensor one has to adjust three settings: The threshold, this determines how sensitive the trigger will be, the delay; once the beam is broken the sensor triggered my flash. This is very much a trial and error exercise and if you are working with items of different weight and size it can be a little frustrating. If you are able to set up some kind of rig whereby the height and weight of an item to be dropped is constant, it can be much easier and a more repeatable process, this is in the perfect world though and I don't live there :-). Finally set the number of shots you would like to take after the beam is broken. I can think that this would be great for wildlife, capturing a burst of activity. 

The Three Values to Set on the Laser Sensor
Screenshot_2015-05-15-15-29-15Screenshot_2015-05-15-15-29-15 Screenshot_2015-05-15-15-29-19Screenshot_2015-05-15-15-29-19 Screenshot_2015-05-15-15-29-23Screenshot_2015-05-15-15-29-23


Once you have done all of this you are ready to go. Today I experimented by dropping some balloons on to a dart and also by dropping a ball bearing in to a small shot glass filled with talc. The timings on each of the balloons were different, one too early, one too late and one just about right, although this will  obviously depend on what you want for your purposes.

Laser-6-EditLaser-6-EditA balloon dropped on to a dart.

Laser-7-EditLaser-7-EditA balloon dropped on to a dart.

Laser-8-EditLaser-8-EditA balloon dropped on to a dart.

Laser-2-EditLaser-2-EditA ball bearing was dropped into a small shot glass that was filled with talc. A brief word of warning, don't point the laser in your eyes are those of anybody else.





]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss High Speed Photography LASER MIOPS Sensor Fri, 15 May 2015 15:15:11 GMT
MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger Review (Part Two) MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger Review

Part Two: The Sound Sensor

Of all the high speed devices I have tried over the last few years, my favourite trigger to use is without doubt the Sound Sensor. It is probably one of the easier and most flexible sensors to use. The sound sensor allows one to use a multitude of tools and items to trigger the camera. I've used air pistols, air cannon, catapults, my own voice, clapping, etc, in fact the list of sources to trigger a sound sensor is endless. Having said that I've used some sensors that are better than others. So how does the MIOPS rank on my list?  Again, this is another easy one to answer, it's simply the best I have used to date. From start to finish the unit was flawless. Ease of use combined with consistency of result and the ability to change settings via the smartphone was a dream set up. 

For this shoot I set my shed up with a master flash connected to the MIOPS unit and illuminating my subject matter. The MIOPS unit in this instance does not trigger the camera but the flash. I had a second slave flash with a blue diffuser attached to it on the opposite side but pointed to the background to illuminate that, both flashes were set to minimum power of 1/128 second. The camera was manually focused and set to self timer. The timer gave me the opportunity to swing the glasses and get out of the way before the noise of the glasses crashing together triggered the master flash. The camera was on a 2 second exposure to also aid with me getting out of the way. I checked all was set up ok and then adjusted the MIOPS settings, making a few dry runs to ensure I had all me the settings as I wanted them. I knew exactly how sensitive I needed the sound sensor to be, not to low that the MIOPS wouldn't pick up the sound of the glasses coming together, but also not to high that the sound of the camera would trigger the sensor. Then away we went, I closed the doors ensuring there was not too much light coming in and pressed 'Start' on the app on my phone.  After reviewing the image on the phone, I was able to adjust the delay of the flash so as to get the best (or different) result.

MIOPS, High Speed PhotographyMy set-upMy set up for the wine glasses crashing together.

The App Settings

Sensitivity was set after a little trial and error in dry runs, this picture is for illustration purposes as I used a slightly lower setting than this. My delay settings varied after reviewing the images on the back of the phone, very often it only takes a few milliseconds either side to make a substantial difference, especially when using faster moving objects such as pellets from an air pistol. To avoid the sensor triggering your camera more than once whilst the shutter is open, it is important to set your app to trigger only once.

sound-3sound-3 sound-2sound-2 sound-1sound-1

 After all that, here are one or two of the results.

sound-4sound-4Sound trigger test 1 sound-5sound-5Sound test 2 sound-6sound-6Sound test 3

]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss High Speed Photography Mon, 04 May 2015 13:50:56 GMT
MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger Review (Part One)  

MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger Review

Part One: Overview and Lightning Trigger

This is my review of the high speed photography trigger device from MIOPS who previously gave us the excellent Nerotrigger. The MIOPS is an updated version of the Nerotrigger. The MIOPS unit retains the basic shape and size of the Nerotrigger and although some of the trigger features remain the same there are many new features and additions that make this new trigger very interesting.

Opening the box reveals the MIOPS to be a polycarbonate unit with soft touch orange buttons on the face. These control the various functions and allow you to adjust the settings of whichever particular function you are employing at the time. The same orange soft touch material hides the input sockets on one side. The inputs are 2 x 3.5mm jacks; one for connecting the flash sync cable and one for connecting an external device, a 2.5mm jack for connecting to your chosen camera, (cables are supplied separately but are inexpensive), and a standard USB socket that can be used for charging the units battery and updating the software (one of the new features). The top of the unit has a light sensitive diode for the Laser and Lightning triggers and a small microphone hole is on the underside. Another new feature is the rechargeable 1020 mAh battery this should last for however long your shoot lasts and it can be charged via the USB to a laptop if required. The small screen is easily readable and the buttons are responsive.

The unit size is approximately the same as a standard pack of playing cards both in width and height and weighs about the same too. There is a hot/cold shoe mount for placing the MIOPS on a camera or tripod and there is also a standard screw thread for putting the unit on a light stand or small tripod if You want to.












What's new? Simple answer: Lots.

Apart from the facility to update the software and the rechargeable battery, the unit now boasts connectivity to smartphones. Android and iOS apps are available in their respective stores. The connection is based on Bluetooth technology and each unit has its own individual identifier so you can shoot with buddies at the same time and not interfere with each  others connection.

The trigger functions on the unit are what we have come to expect and were on the previous model: Lightning, Sound, Timelapse, Laser, HDR, DIY, and a new addition named Scenario. But that's not all, the developers have included the facility to use your smartphone as a wireless remote control with the additional functions of a simple 'cable release' that acts just like a normal shutter button,, 'press and hold' keep your finger on the button and release when you want to, 'press and lock' whereby you tap your app to open the shutter and tap again to close it, 'timed release' and 'mobile dongle'. These are all simple modes and self explanatory (with the exception of the 'mobile dongle' mode that I will revisit later). Simple they might be, but incredibly useful nonetheless.

Remote Release Modes


So, how do they all work?

First of all you need the app, (assuming you have also charged your battery), I have an android phone and a search for MIOPS in the Google Play store took me straight there. Once you have downloaded the app, you need to marry your two devices together. Turn on the MIOPS and start your app. The app will ask for permission to turn on your Bluetooth and then once that is done it will locate your MIOPS. Mine was a very simple exercise to pair them up and make the MIOPS a trusted device so as to ensure this is just a one time process. One minor niggle of the app was that the symbols did not appear on my phone, not a deal breaker and I'm sure it will be remedied soon.

OK, so you have your app, your phone and your good to go. As much as I would have loved to play with the MIOPS all day, I do have time restraints :-) so today I will just be playing with the Lightning function, the trouble being of course that where I live in the south east of England, lightning is not that common, especially less so on demand!

A check around the house for a suitable lightning substitute revealed a box of matches and an idea formed. I have a small shed/studio and set my Olympus OM-D E-M1 on the tripod with a macro lens attached, I also had a Yongnuo flash on board as it was a bit dark . I placed the MIOPS off to the side and clamped the matchbox securely so I could just concentrate on the 'strike'. And then began the magic. I opened the app and made sure the devices were talking to each other, I then began experimenting.

The app performed flawlessly and was very simple. Just run your finger around your screen either clockwise or anti-clockwise to set the sensitivity of the MIOPS unit. The action was smooth and it was easy to select the sensitivity value in single increments even though it goes from 1% to 99%. When your are ready, press start on the phone, the MIOPS blinks and the settings are uploaded. If you have got it wrong and the camera keeps triggering, press stop and lower the value. Simples! After a bit of trial and error I was able to get consistent results of matches bursting in to flame. Adjust the settings a little and get a bigger flame as the unit needs more light, keep the settings low and a tiny flame from the match head  is recognised as a change in ambient light and the camera is triggered.

These are a few of the photographs I took. When I do get some lightning around here, I will definitely be attaching the trigger to my camera.


MIOPS, Lightning TriggerStrike 1The MIOPS unit was set to low sensitivity for this shot. As you can see the match has only just ignited and the ambient light change was very small, yet the MIOPS easily picked it up and fired the camera.

MIOPS, lightning triggerStrike 2A higher value on the MIOPS meant that the device needed more light to trigger the camera, hence the larger flame on this one.

MIOPSStrike 3I was able to get consistent results once I had established the correct settings.

Initial impressions of the MIOPS are very favourable indeed and I can see this being an ever present in my kit bag.Next up, I will be putting the sound trigger to the test.



]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss High Speed Photography Lightning trigger MIOPS MIOPS Review Olympus 60mm Macro Olympus OM-D E-M1 macro Sun, 03 May 2015 15:52:10 GMT
The Big Dog and the E-M5 Mark II I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a seminar at Park Cameras in Burgess Hill, with 'The Big Dog' Damian McGillicuddy. The seminar was originally meant to be for several people, but by a stroke of luck (for me) I was the only attendee. Damian was accompanied by a very patient model, Zara Watson and Olympus ambassador Claire Harvey May, who can work the camera blindfolded I think. 

After brief introductions Damian showed a quick slideshow of some of his impressive work taken with Olympus M43 cameras and lenses. I was surprised to learn that a lot of shots were taken in jpeg, Damian explained that he will have access to cameras for testing purposes before general release and as such software developers, such as Adobe, have yet to develop the post processing updates required for the new cameras. Damian says he has coined a new catchphrase for this workflow and it's 'pre-processing'. This is done with the software within the camera using  the installed filters and and other in Olympus in camera facilities such as the 'colour creator' and 'live time' features. 

We then went on to have a play with the new E-M5 Mark II. I have only been using Olympus cameras for a little under a year after my jump from Nikon, and only had very limited time with the new camera, but once again I feel that Olympus have hit upon a winner. The new focus shift feature works well, taking eight shots of a scene and then combining all the images within the camera to produce a shot with stunning detail. It's only available for static subjects at the moment, so it's ideal for macro, still life and static landscapes, but the way Olympus are progressing I suspect the feature will be available for all types of shot in the future. I saw some of the E-M5 Mark II video capabilities also, and whilst I'm not a huge video shooter the example I saw, a 'McGillicuddy Production', was more than acceptable and possibly something I'll explore in the future. 

Here's one of my 'better shots'. We were using slow flash to try to get some movement in Zara's dress while she was spinning around. Clare was holding a speed light just to the left and there was another placed on a stand approximately 45 degrees behind Zara on the right. I don't think I can enter the world of fashion photography just yet!

Big Dog and Zara WatsonZara and The Big DogDamian McGillicuddy attempting to teach me how to photograph a model.

Overall I had a great couple of hours, Damian McGillicuddy is a very personable bloke, down to earth, friendly and certainly knows his stuff.  I was also I was pleasantly surprised to note that he doesn't use all high end gear but was using a pair of Yongnuo speedlights on the day, although having watched him work for an hour or so, I think he could get a decent shot with a couple of cheap torches. Clare from Olympus who has given me many tips and some great advice in the past was her usual bright and bubbly self and Zara the model was great. 

For a look at the new E-M5 Mark II see this video on Damian's You Tube page


]]> (Graham Moss) Graham Moss Damian McGillicuddy E-M5 Mark II Olympus Zara Watson Sun, 22 Feb 2015 22:41:48 GMT
All Change - Nikon to Olympus. Well, I've gone and done it. After much thought I have finally taken the plunge and jumped ship from Nikon to Olympus. The swap came about after I purchased the Olympus O-MD E-M10 as a lightweight, second camera to complement my Nikon full frame. The OM-D E-M10 was to be my 'grab' camera, to be used for when I didn't want to lug around my Nikon gear. It came with the 14-42mm lens that due to the 2x crop on the MFT system translates to a 24-84 mm lens. To say I was pleased with my new camera was a bit of an understatement. The image quality, for my needs, was excellent, the handling, although I found it a little small at first, soon became very comfortable. I added the ECG-1 small grip that can be attached and the handling improved even further.


After a couple of months using the E-M10 I began to find that my D800 was becoming neglected and I began deliberately taking this out with me. The D800 is a fantastic camera, of that there is no doubt, I also had some fantastic glass to put in front of it, but I once again found myself leaving this camera in the bag and tasking my E-M10 out instead. Eventually I found the courage to make the leap, as much as I loved the Nikon gear, I just wasn't using it, and it all went on eBay. With the proceeds of that sale I was able to purchase the OM-D E-M1 with the 12-40 mm lens. This was a step up in class from the E-M10 but still lightweight and again the image quality is second to none. The 5 axis image stabilisation can only be described as magical, it works so well. I've added the free grip and the balance of the camera and lens is perfect. I have little of the proceeds left and will I hope be able to add the new 40-150mm 2.8 lens in the not too distant future, I also have a few other Nikon leftovers to part with. One thing I did miss was a super wifde angle, I have previously used the Sigma 10-20 and the Nikon 16-35mm. Both sterling lenses and and a focal length that I do miss. However there are plans for a 7-14mm Oly lens so I will need to save some pennies. 


I am now the proud owner of several lenses to match my two Oly's and still use the E-M10 as a grab camera for street photography with the 17mm 1.8 M Zuiko lens. It will also be my 'go anywhere with me camera'. 


I've also tried the E-M10 with a bit of High Speed stuff and it's fine for that too. This was covered in a previous blog post.


I've just recently returned from a week long trip to the Scottish Highlands where I was able to put both cameras through their paces. The splash proofing was a bonus on the E-M1 as we had a lot of rain. Both cameras performed as well as expected.


Here are a few samples:

Country Road. Taken with the E-M1 + 12-40 mm lens Country RoadCountry RoadThe road down Glen Etive that eventually arrives at Loch Etive in the Scottish Highlands.

Steall Falls: E-M1 with 12-40mm lens Steall FallsSteall FallsThe magnificent Steall Falls in the Scottish Highlands.

Pencils: E-M10 with 60 mm macro lens PencilsPencilsThe ends of some pencils up close

PHWOAR: E-M10 with F/8 bodycap fisheye lens


Market Trader: E-M10 with 17mm 1.8 lens

Market TraderMarket TraderA market trader explaining his wares to a potential customer.

]]> (Graham Moss) E-M1 E-M10 Graham Moss MFT Micro four thirds OM-D Olympus Fri, 31 Oct 2014 21:46:04 GMT
MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger Those very clever people who brought us the Nerotrigger haven't been resting on the laurels but have been busy working on bringing us an even greater product named MIOPS that utilises the flexibility of a smart phone and which promises to take your photography to a whole new level.


The system will eventually work on both ios and android smartphones and will have a lifetime of free software upgrades.  

The MIOPS project is on Kickstarters and if you want to be involved and get your hands on one of the first available units go ahead and pledge. 

Here's a short video from Emir Bayraktar, Co-founder and CEO of Nerotrigger, explaining how the MIOPS system will work.

This looks like it's going to be an awesome addition to the world of high speed photography and I'm looking forward to the release date. 

]]> (Graham Moss) HDR High Speed Photography Kickstarter LASER Lightning MIOPS Sound Trigger Timelapse nerotrigger Sat, 19 Jul 2014 12:13:45 GMT
Nikon Photo24 I went on a 24 hour photo shoot in London on the Summer Solstice. The event was sponsored by Nikon UK and organised by the good people at Advanced Photographer Magazine

The event began at 6pm on the Friday evening and ended at 6pm on the Saturday. I heard that approximately 250 people registered, about 200 turned up on the night and at the end of the event, I counted about 50 people at the Hotel where it began.

There were set themes to follow such as "Iconic London" and "The Shard" and prizes for the best shot

Lots of other images from the event can be found on Flickr 

By the time I got home, I had been up for about 37 hours and it was a looooong train journey home. 

The event was great fun and I hope to be able to take part again next year.

Some of my photographs taken during the event

London EyeLondon EyeThe eye on a long exposure

The Eye at NightThe Eye at NightThe London Eye on a long exposure at night.

Lloyds BuildingLloyds BuildingThe Lloyds building, London.



]]> (Graham Moss) Advanced Photographer London Nikon photo24 Wed, 25 Jun 2014 20:42:37 GMT
Art Bracketing Out and about this morning with the Olympus OM-D E-M10, I thought I'd try out the Art Modes. This is not something I'd normally use as at best I consider them to be a gimmick and if I was going to get all 'arty' I'd do it in Photoshop anyway. Having said that, there is a mode on the OM-D E-M10 that allows the user to apply all of the Art Filters to the same shot. Not only do you get all of the images that the filter is applied to, 12 in all, but if shooting RAW the original RAW file is also kept untouched for post processing later. So you really haven't lost anything by applying the filter apart from a little bit of space on your memory card. 

Not only can these filters be applied but there are also a multitude of differing effects that one can adopt in camera. Not all of these filters are appropriate for the image I chose, for instance the Diorama filter (essentially a tilt/shift effect) doesn't work at all on this type of image. As I said, not something I'd use often but it's nice to have the facility to mess about a bit if I want to.

The following images are the same shot with the Art Filters applied.The first is the untouched RAW file. Can you guess which is which? Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Colour, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pinhole, Diorama, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia, Dramatic Tone, Key Line and watercolour?

Art BracketingArt BracketingWe have the original untouched file, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Colour, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pinhole, Diorama, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia, Dramatic Tone, Key Line and watercolour. Can you guess which is which? WatercolourWatercolourOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Gentle SepiaGentle SepiaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Dramatic ToneDramatic ToneOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Key LineKey LineOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Cross ProcessCross ProcessOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA DioramaDioramaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA PinholePinholeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Light ToneLight ToneOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Grainy FilmGrainy FilmOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Soft FocusSoft FocusOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Pop ArtPop ArtOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



]]> (Graham Moss) Art Bracketing Graham Moss Olympus OM-D E-M10 Sat, 19 Apr 2014 15:36:20 GMT
Comparative Fun I have recently acquired an Olympus OM-D E-M10, a 16mp compact system camera. The idea was to use this smaller camera as my 'out and about' camera for when I didn't want to lug about my Nikon D800 plus lenses etc. Some time ago I bought the Olympus Xz-1 point and shoot compact and I was extremely impressed with the results from that. So I went and fiddled with the OM-D at the Photography Show in March. 

To say this is an impressive little camera is an understatement. I haven't had time to use it to its full potential yet but I will be carrying it everywhere with me. 

As an experiment, I thought I'd see how it does against my D800 in the High Speed Photography stakes. I set up the equipment in my shed and got to work. I was using the Camera Axe with the microphone sensor attached. Both cameras were fired by using the self timer so getting the timing right was a little tricky and to make things easier I elected to leave the shutters open for longer than I normally would so to ensure both cameras caught the action. Two flashes at either side of the balloons at approximately 45 degrees. Both cameras were set to F/8 and ISO 400 and 4s exposure. I tried to keep the post processing identical but as the space to work was very limited (4 tripods and a multitude of cables) plus all my other gear, it meant a little cloning was necessary in places. 

Here are the comparisons, just for fun. Please don't contact me telling me the results are flawed, this wasn't a science experiment :-)

The first shot with the three balloons was timed all wrong. The first and second balloons are going but the third is not affected.





]]> (Graham Moss) Balloons Graham Moss High speed photography Nikon D800 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Sun, 06 Apr 2014 10:28:08 GMT