Disabled Photography

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Fraser
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Since suffering a massive stroke 3 years ago I am really struggling with my mobility.

Don't get me wrong - I am incredibly lucky to be alive but I am really struggling to get out and about taking photographs, I am almost wheelchair bound - I can walk a few hundred yards on tarmac and thats it.

Looking for ideas of subjects to shoot.

Thanks in advance
 
I'm sorry to hear that, Fraser.

As Neville said.
Also, do you have a garden with plants?
It's getting a bit late in the season, but there are still plenty of Macro subjects at the moment.
Both plants and insects.

Set up a bird feeding station, They'll be looking for free hand outs soon, as the weather turns colder.
 
I'm sorry to hear that, Fraser.

As Neville said.
Also, do you have a garden with plants?
It's getting a bit late in the season, but there are still plenty of Macro subjects at the moment.
Both plants and insects.

Set up a bird feeding station, They'll be looking for free hand outs soon, as the weather turns colder.

Hi Chris,

I have recently purchased a Leica (Camera of my dreams and life is too short etc) so not the best for Macro. I used to have a DSLR but it's now far too heavy for me as my hands shake like a s***ting dog now :-(

A mobility scooter is good but I live in a small town so it gets a bit boring!

I've joined a local camera club to see if there is any help there.
 
Well I guess I'd need to know what you like to shoot. I don't get around to well anymore but pace myself carefully and do a bunch I didn't think I could do. Of course I haven't had a stroke either! I'm sure that makes a difference. I think Plain Nev's idea might be the thing, mobility scooter. I pretty much gave up big game hunting but my son talked me into getting a 4 wheeler so once again I'm good to go if the son goes with me on his. Worst come's to worst you could still go out in your car and shoot out the window! Want animals, that scooter and a local zoo!
 
Huge oppertunity with still life at home , See the Lego images , Basically anything you like , Food , ornaments , cutlery , Glass , Booz , coins , You name it you can take photos of it , Experiment with different lighting , The list is virtually endless, Have fun.
 
Just my tuppence, but getting exotic flowers from the florist and photographing them, loads of options with natural lighting and post processing. Macro, still life etc. If that works for you.
 
A mobility scooter is good but I live in a small town so it gets a bit boring!
Think about some projects, e.g. through the glass, men & women at work, colours, shadows & contrasts, inside/outside churches or other public buildings, etc.
Is there somewhere larger with a 'Park & Ride' that you could drive to catch the bus ... take photos near stops, then take the bus back to the car?
 
I think that the starting point is to think about and decide on the type(s) of photography that you want to do. There are usually ways of overcoming (or at least mitigating) challenges, but it's pointless to find the right solutions to the challenge before you know what the challenge actually is . . .
 
I'm sorry to hear that your mobility has become a 'bit of an issue', but it comes to the majority of us at some juncture in our lives. When it comes early, it's a real pig to come to terms with as you're discovering. However, don't give up hope - you will learn to deal with it. :) (y)

I was always a bit of an action man - gymnastics, trampolining, parachuting, hang gliding, paragliding, martial arts and then twenty five years as a flying instructor before I was forced into early retirement with spinal problems after surgery. :crying:

I've been stuck in a wheelchair for about seven years now and I used a mobility scooter and sticks before that. Thankfully, I can still stand (with sticks) to swap seats etc. and use the loo, but that's about it. I can't walk anywhere - just one or two steps. As you can imagine, this cuts my options down a bit with regards carrying kit, but I always manage somehow - in fact only last weekend I shot a wedding for the first time in years and apparently I still haven't lost my touch. :snaphappy:

I use an electric wheelchair - manual ones are fine if you're young or very fit, but no good for old farts like me. I wear a rucksack on my chest and hang various bags around the chair - I even manage a tripod occasionally. As well as lugging all that stuff I have to steer the chair and an Assistance Dog (who's a bloody marvel). Although I'm often tempted to throw the towel in, I'm a stubborn sod and just keep pushing.

Feel free to contact me if you want advice and although I don't use them myself, there is a Disabled Photographer's Society.
 
This isn't directly relevant but might give you some ideas..

A guy I know is wheelchair bound and almost completely paralysed - he has just enough mobility in one hand to use an iPad.

His interest is in portrait & fashion photography. He has a motorised camera mount fixed on his electric wheelchair so he can steer the camera; he uses a wifi tethering system to control it. And makes fine work.

I thought he was on here on TP but can't find him now.
 
I'm sorry to hear that your mobility has become a 'bit of an issue', but it comes to the majority of us at some juncture in our lives. When it comes early, it's a real pig to come to terms with as you're discovering. However, don't give up hope - you will learn to deal with it. :) (y)

I was always a bit of an action man - gymnastics, trampolining, parachuting, hang gliding, paragliding, martial arts and then twenty five years as a flying instructor before I was forced into early retirement with spinal problems after surgery. :crying:

I've been stuck in a wheelchair for about seven years now and I used a mobility scooter and sticks before that. Thankfully, I can still stand (with sticks) to swap seats etc. and use the loo, but that's about it. I can't walk anywhere - just one or two steps. As you can imagine, this cuts my options down a bit with regards carrying kit, but I always manage somehow - in fact only last weekend I shot a wedding for the first time in years and apparently I still haven't lost my touch. :snaphappy:

I use an electric wheelchair - manual ones are fine if you're young or very fit, but no good for old farts like me. I wear a rucksack on my chest and hang various bags around the chair - I even manage a tripod occasionally. As well as lugging all that stuff I have to steer the chair and an Assistance Dog (who's a bloody marvel). Although I'm often tempted to throw the towel in, I'm a stubborn sod and just keep pushing.

Feel free to contact me if you want advice and although I don't use them myself, there is a Disabled Photographer's Society.

Thanks for this excellent reply and everyone else who has replied.

I am looking at getting a folding electric wheelchair to fit in my car but worried about getting off trains and buses, any tips regarding this?

I have joined a camera club and projects are set which is good.

It hit home when my best mate shot some stunning landscapes but I couldn't even dream of getting to the location.
 
I think that the starting point is to think about and decide on the type(s) of photography that you want to do. There are usually ways of overcoming (or at least mitigating) challenges, but it's pointless to find the right solutions to the challenge before you know what the challenge actually is . . .

Pretty much anything & everything, here is my Fickr account; the Leica Photos are post stroke:

 
It really depends on what exactly you enjoy photographing.

If you are in to documentary photography, documenting yourself and how life is with a disability. Could be an option.
 
I am looking at getting a folding electric wheelchair to fit in my car but worried about getting off trains and buses, any tips regarding this?

Buses are easy to deal with and they're mostly easily accessible - a bonus is you won't have to pay because you should be entitled to a Disabled Person's Bus Pass. The only downside is dealing with selfish women with baby buggies who think they're entitled to use the wheelchair space - they're not and as it's the driver's responsibility they 'should' eject them if they fail move the buggy. Also, occasionally you'll be left at the bus stop waiting for the next one because another wheelchair user has beaten you to the only space - there is only one wheelchair space on the majority of buses.

Trains on the other hand are an absolute nightmare for wheelchair users - by pre-booking you should be able to arrange for a ramp (often not), but if you need to get a connecting train, it just won't happen. I don't even bother trying any more, it's far too stressful and being left stranded is a common occurrence and you'll end up in a taxi. Although, to be fair some train companies are better than others so do check in your local area or intended destination.

As for the wheelchair, anything that folds is going to have small batteries which will very much limit distance and duration as well as having very little torque, so forget kerbs, ramps and hills. Also, small, hard-tyred, narrow wheels will mean very little traction so forget any terrain other than you'll find indoors. As a general rule, if you want to go to shopping in a mall or large supermarket where the ground is easy going and flat, they'll be fine - anywhere else, they won't be. There will also be no suspension, so you'll rattle out your fillings and get spinal compression with any bumps or rough ground - they're a HUGE thumbs down from me I'm afraid.

When buying, beware mobility 'experts' as they'll generally say anything to make a sale and it'll mostly be bulls**t as very few know what they're talking about and make it up as they go along. Even people at the NHS Wheelchair Services are mostly clueless too. A few days on a training course and they know everything - NOT! :headbang:

I've just been quoted for a new wheelchair and it comes to £15,800 - the prices are horrendous. The good news is that second-hand they can be picked up for two to three grand - a much better prospect and they're often in excellent condition, but you MUST know what you're buying.

A useful website for wheelchair issues can be found here. They have a forum which is very useful too . . .
 
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Since suffering a massive stroke 3 years ago I am really struggling with my mobility.

Don't get me wrong - I am incredibly lucky to be alive but I am really struggling to get out and about taking photographs, I am almost wheelchair bound - I can walk a few hundred yards on tarmac and thats it.

Looking for ideas of subjects to shoot.

Thanks in advance
You have my sincere sympathies owing to knowing what a stroke can do. I had a 'mini' stroke 2 years ago which fortunately has not left me with any difficulties but I seriously damaged/tore one of the major muscles in my right thigh, 5 months ago and still no where near healing.
As some of the others have suggested close up photography with a really good macro lens is something I am trying to save myself looking outside and wishing I could go there instead of staying indoors. That, together with sorting out all my negs both colour or B&W will keep me out of mischief for a while. (Besides I don't like the cold!)
 
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You have my sincere sympathies owing to knowing what a stroke can do. I had a 'mini' stroke 2 years ago which fortunately has not left me with any difficulties but I seriously damaged/tore one of the major muscles in my right thigh, 5 months ago and still no where near healing.
As some of the others have suggested close up photography with a really good macro lens is something I am trying to save myself looking outside and wishing I could go there instead of staying indoors. That, together with sorting out all my negs both colour or B&W will keep me out of mischief for a while. (Besides I don't like the cold!)

I have just got an electric wheelchair that I used last weekend in a busy city centre; I was very impressed with it and has cheered me up. (y) :cool:
 
I'd agree with those stating macro.

I got some plants out the back last summer (just crappy ones from Asda) and had a great time just outside in my garden taking shots of the flowers and various bugs (as my 13 yr old daughter calls them). Got some really good keepers and a lot more not so good ones, but I didn't have to travel far.. you can set the camera on a tripod and most allow the use of your phone as a trigger if that would help?

I wish you all the very best on your photography journey (wherever it takes you).

My mother is severely disabled due to a hereditary illness (very similar to motor neurones disease) and cannot stand / walk / hold anything. She has an electric scooter but I believe it was via the hospital / social services and isn't a standard one (if that makes sense).

We've purchased various bits of kit for her over the years (chairs that lift up and such). If buying just take your time and do some research as unfortunately we had instances of people in the showrooms not being 100% honest / transparent.
 
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I have just got an electric wheelchair that I used last weekend in a busy city centre; I was very impressed with it and has cheered me up. (y) :cool:
A wheelchair electric or other other will not get me to places I like to photograph - over the moorlands of Northumberland and Durham
 
A wheelchair electric or other other will not get me to places I like to photograph - over the moorlands of Northumberland and Durham
I recall seeing mentioned somewhere (Countryfile?) "All-terrain Wheelchairs" though I surmise not suitable for the roughest of terrain but possibly more useful than the 'city' ones to get those less mobile photographers out in the countryside as needed???
 
I think joining a camera club (why don’t they call them photographic societies?) was a good idea. They come in for some bad press on forums like this but, in my experience, they are not ALL bad. The one I’m in at the moment would be very welcoming to someone in your position. Good social chat, few gear snobs ( apart from the usual lighthearted Canon v Nikon v Fuji, v Sony barracking etc)

the occasional informal outings where people would car share with you and offer support. If the first club you try doesn’t offer this, try som alternatives.
 
A wheelchair electric or other other will not get me to places I like to photograph - over the moorlands of Northumberland and Durham
Have you seen the
These are all terrain scooter , 30 mile range with decent battery pack x2
Not cheap , I have one that I picked up second user with a trailer , Drive to location , Unload the scooter ( very easy ) , Off you go,
Also see the disabled ramblers site
https://disabledramblers.co.uk

Used on that bay and f book

Lots of videos on youtube re scooters in use.

Some tourist sites hire them out on a hourly rate.
 
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I'm in need of some help. I had to have some major upper spinal surgery that's left me with some physical limitations, basically I can't walk without crutches, can't walk far without needing to sit down and when stood struggle for balance.

This has stopped me doing pretty much any of the interests I had before the surgery. I was a keen photographer for 30 years but drifted away from it a few years ago (another story) but want to re-engage with the world through the medium again.

I've bought a Panasonic S5 and three lenses (Panasonic 14-24, 20-60 and 75-300) and need some suggestions for a backpack and tripod. I'll need to carry a waterproof jacket, small folding camping stool and a tripod plus the camera and lenses. Comfort and pack stability are high on the list of needs followed by ease of access and weatherproofing for the bag? The tripod needs to be reasonably light, easy to use and not too big.

Can anyone help with suggestions of products to look at that would fit the criteria. Budget of £300 for the pair and I don't mind secondhand. The Three Legged Thing Travis looks suitable but I've not dealt with twist to adjust legs and that many sections before (I carried a manfrotto 055 for many years but my carrying capacity is somewhat reduced now). The backpack seems more difficult to pin down as seeing them in the flesh is difficult.

Any help will be much appreciated.....
 
I think joining a camera club (why don’t they call them photographic societies?) was a good idea. They come in for some bad press on forums like this but, in my experience, they are not ALL bad. The one I’m in at the moment would be very welcoming to someone in your position. Good social chat, few gear snobs ( apart from the usual lighthearted Canon v Nikon v Fuji, v Sony barracking etc)

the occasional informal outings where people would car share with you and offer support. If the first club you try doesn’t offer this, try som alternatives.
Camera clubs do have a bad reputation, sadly in some cases well deserved. I've been a member of a few over the years, most have been terrible. I'd say camera snobbery is probably the most comon issue, with everything else from fiddling the competitions to theft (club property not members kit) Some are also not welcoming to new members.
Then you go to a different club, walk in the door and right away get asked fancy a pint after, we all go over the pub after a meeting. Totally different feeling and lots of laughing and joking.
 
I'm in need of some help. I had to have some major upper spinal surgery that's left me with some physical limitations, basically I can't walk without crutches, can't walk far without needing to sit down and when stood struggle for balance.

This has stopped me doing pretty much any of the interests I had before the surgery. I was a keen photographer for 30 years but drifted away from it a few years ago (another story) but want to re-engage with the world through the medium again.

I've bought a Panasonic S5 and three lenses (Panasonic 14-24, 20-60 and 75-300) and need some suggestions for a backpack and tripod. I'll need to carry a waterproof jacket, small folding camping stool and a tripod plus the camera and lenses. Comfort and pack stability are high on the list of needs followed by ease of access and weatherproofing for the bag? The tripod needs to be reasonably light, easy to use and not too big.

Can anyone help with suggestions of products to look at that would fit the criteria. Budget of £300 for the pair and I don't mind secondhand. The Three Legged Thing Travis looks suitable but I've not dealt with twist to adjust legs and that many sections before (I carried a manfrotto 055 for many years but my carrying capacity is somewhat reduced now). The backpack seems more difficult to pin down as seeing them in the flesh is difficult.

Any help will be much appreciated.....
Cant help with the tripod, I bought a Benro mefoto roadtripper recently expecting small and light, well it's small.... but I'm not convinced it's much lighter than the Manfrotto 055.
Backpack, best I've found so far is the Lowpro flipside aw400 or 500 if you need more room (the 500 holds 2 FF bodies with grips and 24-105mm mounted, 2 flashguns and 6 lens, plus small video light and mic, and thats not counting the large front pocket which will hold a lightweight jacket or sarnies.
 
Thanks for this excellent reply and everyone else who has replied.

I am looking at getting a folding electric wheelchair to fit in my car but worried about getting off trains and buses, any tips regarding this?

I have joined a camera club and projects are set which is good.

It hit home when my best mate shot some stunning landscapes but I couldn't even dream of getting to the location.
We used to have a guy in our club who had serious mobility problems due to hip failures and a never ending NHS waiting list. He was still a very successful landscape photographer because he always claimed that anything worth capturing was always withing 200m of the boot of his car. I had a mini-stroke in 2019 but fully recovered. However, a weak back and old age now limit my range for walking but this has not been too much of a problem as there are so many possibilities from sport, street photography, studio photography, macro etc. You could also try the odd event like a Time Line Event. I have attended a few when one or more individual had a disability and they made efforts to accommodate but it would be worth asking them in advance.

Dave
 
Steve,
Here is a photo of a "table Top" shot that I recently did. I have a small studio upstairs in my home, but a real photo studio isn't necessary for this kind of shot. It can be your living room, or dining room, or even a garage or basement. You will need about an 8-10' square minimum area for this kind of shot. For my table, I use a table top that my son found in a flea market. It never had legs, so I place it on top of a wooden stool with a piece of the foam tool box drawer liner between them to keep the top from slipping around, It stores easily, so this is what I use for a table. A "real" small round or square table would do, but in my case I like the ability to dis-assemble and store easily, since I don't have much storage space.

Now that I have reached the stage where I can no longer work low, I add bed risers under the legs of the stool to raise the stool and table top up to an easier working height, which in my case happens to be 33". Because I do these setups and similar photo shoots often, I have bought a bunch of 54" square table cloths in different colors to use, but red, burgundy, black, and white seem to be the most used. I'll likely get a plaid and black/white or red/white checked the next time that I buy some.

I like to do this type of setup and then try different props and lighting to achieve a bit of "mystery" in the shots. The one of the "Roses" was lit using a 400 w/s Godox SK400 strobe with a 7" diameter reflector and a 10 degree grid was located 4.5' away and slightly higher than the roses was added to allow lighting only the roses. Of course, there is a bit of light spillage, but it was just enough to light the vase and table top enough to give some orientation to the shot. There is a bit of glare off of the vase, but a little re-touch in post will fix that. This shot is untouched, and direct from the camera, a Canon 90D with a 24-55 Canon lens. It is mounted on one of my Regalite Camera Stands. Since I found that they add stability and require less of a foot print than my tripods, so are perfect for small studio use, but a tripod will do this job just fine if that's what you have. In my earlier days of shooting this type of work I hand-held the camera, but that prevents repeat shots that are identical except for minor camera and lighting adjustments.

The ability to control and direct the light the way that you want, becomes the key to taking shots like this. Most any strobe and some kind of grid over it's face to restrict the direction of the light will be needed. The 10 degree grids that I use have a very fine honeycomb to achieve this light direction control, but even taping parts of a speedlite lens can be done with Gaffer Tape to narrow the beam of the flash. If you can locate a piece of honeycomb material with holes about the size of a standard #2 pencil lead and about 3/8" thick should work. You can buy the 7" diameter grid set of 10-30-50 degrees from Amazon for about $20 USA. A camera with full manual control is also necessary, but most any camera with this capability will work fine. Learning what each light can do and how to get it where you want it and the shape that you want it then becomes the challenge.

Charley
 

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are you interested in animals ?

assuming that you have a car to get there getting around most zoos is pretty easy in a wheelchair as far as I understand, I’m not a wheelchair user but a guy at our local zoo has an electric chair and does really well most of the enclosures are accessible by wheelchair
 
Steve,
Here is a photo of a "table Top" shot that I recently did. I have a small studio upstairs in my home, but a real photo studio isn't necessary for this kind of shot. It can be your living room, or dining room, or even a garage or basement. You will need about an 8-10' square minimum area for this kind of shot. For my table, I use a table top that my son found in a flea market. It never had legs, so I place it on top of a wooden stool with a piece of the foam tool box drawer liner between them to keep the top from slipping around, It stores easily, so this is what I use for a table. A "real" small round or square table would do, but in my case I like the ability to dis-assemble and store easily, since I don't have much storage space.

Now that I have reached the stage where I can no longer work low, I add bed risers under the legs of the stool to raise the stool and table top up to an easier working height, which in my case happens to be 33". Because I do these setups and similar photo shoots often, I have bought a bunch of 54" square table cloths in different colors to use, but red, burgundy, black, and white seem to be the most used. I'll likely get a plaid and black/white or red/white checked the next time that I buy some.

I like to do this type of setup and then try different props and lighting to achieve a bit of "mystery" in the shots. The one of the "Roses" was lit using a 400 w/s Godox SK400 strobe with a 7" diameter reflector and a 10 degree grid was located 4.5' away and slightly higher than the roses was added to allow lighting only the roses. Of course, there is a bit of light spillage, but it was just enough to light the vase and table top enough to give some orientation to the shot. There is a bit of glare off of the vase, but a little re-touch in post will fix that. This shot is untouched, and direct from the camera, a Canon 90D with a 24-55 Canon lens. It is mounted on one of my Regalite Camera Stands. Since I found that they add stability and require less of a foot print than my tripods, so are perfect for small studio use, but a tripod will do this job just fine if that's what you have. In my earlier days of shooting this type of work I hand-held the camera, but that prevents repeat shots that are identical except for minor camera and lighting adjustments.

The ability to control and direct the light the way that you want, becomes the key to taking shots like this. Most any strobe and some kind of grid over it's face to restrict the direction of the light will be needed. The 10 degree grids that I use have a very fine honeycomb to achieve this light direction control, but even taping parts of a speedlite lens can be done with Gaffer Tape to narrow the beam of the flash. If you can locate a piece of honeycomb material with holes about the size of a standard #2 pencil lead and about 3/8" thick should work. You can buy the 7" diameter grid set of 10-30-50 degrees from Amazon for about $20 USA. A camera with full manual control is also necessary, but most any camera with this capability will work fine. Learning what each light can do and how to get it where you want it and the shape that you want it then becomes the challenge.

Charley

Hi Charley,

I used to do a number of still life shoots on film with a small studio in my garage. My garage is a bit full at the moment but must sort it out as I loved it!

Here are some shots:


Little & Large by Fraser White, on Flickr


Vices - naturally a waste of money! by Fraser White, on Flickr


Match 1 by Fraser White, on Flickr


JD 2-099 by Fraser White, on Flickr
 
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