Photography With Poor Eyesight.
By : Carl Ingamells
Photography With Poor Eyesight Volume 2 ... Nov 2010
My previous article has now been archived on Way Back Machine.
Although I enjoy photography as a hobby, I only have very limited vision.
This is as follows:
Only a small percentage of normal eyesight.This small percentage of sight is fuzzy.I have no color vision. (I see things like you would see them on a black and white T.V.).
I also need to have favorable lighting in order to do things such as read.
This does not necessarily mean bright lighting, e.g. I can see very little in strong sunlight. These sight defects do leave people wondering, how on earth can I do photography. It often puzzles many people, most of all employers. After they have taken the difficulties into account, this causes, such as a close reading distance and an inability to see things from a distance.
How on earth can you take photographs or video films of anything if you cannot
see things as a normal sighted person?
How can you ever get things composed in the viewfinder?
How do you ever keep tabs on moving objects when filming?
It is however, worth mentioning that although it has been and still is a mystery to many people, including professionals who have been involved with my education and employment. For example, the first careers officer with whom I had an appointment, was regularly employed to give advice to pupils
who were getting ready to leave, the special school, for children with poor eyesight, that I was attending.
After having taken what I had to offer in to account, he despite being fully aware of my eye defects, suggested that I may well be suited to a career, as an industrial photographer.
Although this did not turn out to be a suitable option, it does represent the different ways that people view this situation. I have however done some informal photography in places of work. Some of which was passed on to a careers officer. On other occasions I have had professionals who have been involved with me in similar ways, who have noticed the fact that I successfully take photographs and video films and I think that they may have begun to wonder if I am misleading them about my poor eyesight.
After 33 years of Photography In 2006 I went digital. It became essential to highly up grade all my computer equipment in order to keep placing photos into my article at an acceptable standard. I bought an iMac 20 ins intel computer.
As this had to be done on a limited budget it took some considerable time.
My new iMac 20 ins Intel computer also enables me to edit movies to a much
higher standard and burn them on to DVDs.
I did buy a digital 8 camcorder in October 2002 The Sony Handy Cam DCTRV240E. This suited me well. Having already up graded to a Hi8 Camcorder and super VHS recorder when I was videoing my sisters wedding in May 1998.
At this stage I bought a Canon UCX-10Hi8 Camcorder and a Panasonic NV-HS950 SVHS recorder along with a number of other accessories. I found I needed to make use of the facilities this up grade had to offer when I was getting ready to video my sister’s wedding. The end results were much liked by all concerned.
I bought my first digital still camera in 2006. The Pentax Optio WPi, this turned out to be very good for my requirements. It is very small, light and very versatile, offering as many if not more facilities than the SLR I had in 1981. Pictures placed in my previous article from 2006 onwards are digital.
In June 2008 I gave my first photographic lecture which was held at Cardiff Camera Club where I am a long standing member. The aim of this lecture was to
show some of the movies I have made over the last few years to a large audience.
The evening was a huge success attracting a large audience which increased
during the half time interval and there were some interesting questions asked at the end of the lecture. I presented the same lecture in December 2009 to another Camera Club in
Manchester where from childhood I have been a member. Again the evening was a success.
Both these clubs had suggested I showed them some of my movies some considerable time ago. But it is only recently the equipment needed to carry out the task to the standard I had in mind has become obtainable. In order to show my movies to a large audience at a standard which could challenge there high standards was no easy task. First it was necessary to purchase a Sony VPL-AW15 Video Projector and a Sony DAV-DZ231 DVD Home
Theatre System with accessories. Both Video Projector and DVD Home Theatre System did a very good job enabling me to project the movies on to a 60 inch screen while putting out a very clear audio track in surround sound. For the lecture I needed to buy this equipment late in October 2007 and understand it very intensively. Also have several lengths of audio cable made to spread the speakers out round the large club room.
Included with the Home Theatre System came an auto Calibration Mike. This
makes it very easy to calibrate all the speakers. The main thing you need to do to make this work is have the room completely silent for a few minutes and clear of obstructions between the mike and the speakers.
Now that I have a large amount of equipment which needs to be transported to where ever I am giving a lecture, it was essential for any equipment I bought to be portable. So I have designed my system to be packed into two suitcases that can be transported in the boot of a car.
In the mean time I bought my 2nd digital still camera in September 2009. The Olympus Tough 8000. It is a help to have a 2nd still camera which is highly water proof and shock proof.
I also now have my first tapeless camcorder the Sony HDRTG7VE,CEH. Which I bought in June 2010. This camcorder is also very small and light. I should have this up and running in time for the cruise I have booked on
the new Queen Elizabeth which departs in November this year.
I have found that small and light cameras are suiting me more and more as time goes on. Many people do not yet realize that small cameras will very often take photos and movies at a high standard.
One thing I do miss on the new small cameras is the optical view finder. The screens on modern cameras can be difficult to see when outside.
With all these changes it has finally become essential to reluctantly sell or dispose of much of my older equipment.
In my experience it is fair to say that modern day equipment plays a large part
in things, but this is by no means the whole story.
It is worth noting that my eye defects are static. This means that as far as my
eyesight is concerned any suitable equipment I buy, will always be able to be used for a long time.
In order to successfully enjoy photography as a hobby, it is essential that I have the right equipment. This means choosing the equipment myself and having a very careful look at it before making any purchases.
All these findings and occurrences prove what can be done in the right conditions, where many people would think things are impossible.
I will also point out that I have won awards in open photographic competitions. These competitions were judged by external judges who did not know who the authors were of the photos.
One last thing I will say is that people regularly ask me.
"Why do I take all my photos in color when I am totally color blind?"
It is usually made known that they would expect to see all my photos taken in black and white.
My reply to this is that although, I do not have any color vision, I know that in general photos are often far more appealing to people in color than in black and white. It is true that the keen photographer with full color vision will sometimes see subjects that he decides would look better done as a black and white picture. You do however need full color vision to make this distinction.
Therefore, in my position I am far more able to produce a color picture that
would appeal to people than I could a black and white one. This would have
been a different matter in the days when black and white photographs were the usual product of photographers.
Carl Text Update
Dec - 23 - 2011
When it comes to doing things such as reading instruction manuals and editing movies. Not only do I need to have the right equipment for the job such as a very good computer and a good CCTV although not necessarily a color one. (A CCTV is a Low Vision aid which enables text and small abject to be enlarged and displayed on a monitor. I own one made by MagniLink model MgniLink C Reader 75 Hz. These items also need to be set up in the right conditions.
All the equipment required needs to be placed on a large and very ridged desk, close to a large number of mains sockets (I have a bank of about 30 outlets behind my desk at a hight that is easily accessible). A good and conformable Swivel Chair is needed and last but by no means least a good window blind which is a total light excluder. You do of course need a good sealing light in the room.
If this set up is compromised in any way the whole set up becomes virtually useless.
Having been fully diagnosed with my eye defects for over 40 years and have always been in favour of finding ways and means of helping myself e.g at the age of 7 years old I took it on myself to lump together 1 months tuck money to buy a simple magnifying glass in order to help myself learn to read. I now find it appropriate to draw attention to the fact that I have now reached a stage where I have successfully lived with my eye defects for longer than the working life of many eye consultants. Although the input from consultants is very valuable and essential. In my experience additional self help is also often very valuable.
Since the late 70s I have been wearing Reactor Light Glasses which I find very good all the time. I first met someone in the 1960s who owned a pair of these. I thought they would be a big help to me even then. I managed to obtain a pair in the late 70s.
In the middle 70s I saw a CCTV set up in a library. Once again I felt this could be very useful to me. In 1984 my first CCTV was supplied in my place of work and that I subsequently bought and it still is of very great use.
Both these items mentioned were a unknown quantity to many professional in the field at the time when I first discovered them.
After a number of years of trial and error with various low vision aids some suggested by professionals and others I have discovered myself.
This is my list of low vision aids that I have found to be of good general use.
Reactor Light Glasses
(It is essential that the lenses are a large size in order for them to be
of use. Glasses with small lenses that have been fashionable in recent years are not suitable in this situation.)
A small Magnifying Glass that will stand on a page
A small pair of Binnacles
A TAXI sign
A Folding White Stick used on occasions for identification and insurance purposes
It is fair to say that no 2 people are the same so what is of great use to me is not necessarily suitable for someone else even if they have the same eye defects.
One last thing that is worth noting is that even though I have a collection of low vision aids that I do find of universal use, often if there is something which is difficult to see the obvious and common sense answer is to simply go close to the item concerned. Although you may expect this to be obvious, this is not always the case and not always permitted when needed. Which can cause huge problems.