Photography From A Wheelchair

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Trevor
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#1
Apart from one other local person (who's not particularly friendly); I'm the only photographer I know that uses a wheelchair.

As you can imagine, I have some limitations, but I try not to let them get me down and prefer to concentrate on what I can do rather than what I can't.

I'd just like to swap tips and experiences with any other 'raspberries' and thought this may a good place to start. ;)

When I first started using a wheelchair a couple of years ago, the most frustrating thing was finding a suitable bag as most are designed to go over your shoulder or sit on your back - neither work as I'm sure you can appreciate. Anyway, I solved that problem initially by getting a Loweprowe Inverse 100AW, but found it too small so returned it in exchange for the 200AW.

This served well as a day bag and sat on my lap nicely as I was hoping it would, but I was still limited as to how much I could carry. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, thanks to another member on here posting about an offer on one, I picked up a Lowepro Flipside 400 AW II - this has the opening on the inside as opposed to the outside so it works well for me when I need to carry some extra gear. I carry it on my chest and when opened, it sits comfortably on my lap.

Any tips you can pass on?
 
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matt
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#2
One of the Mods on here uses a wheelchair I believe, my guess is he'll be along soon enough.
 
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Dave
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#3
No tips as such, but what is it you like to shoot?

I have a back-burner project about accessibility for Lake District photos I'm working on, which has an interesting twist in a charity there that has all terrain wheelchairs so much of the Lakes can be far more accessible than ever

Urban photography I'd assume was much more accessible (stupid kerbs aside)

So forgive me if I just follow this thread with interest :)

Dave
 
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#4
Hi Dave,

Thanks for your input.

I like to photograph anything really, but the things I'd like to be able to photograph more than I have in the past, are wildlife and landscapes - the two topics with the biggest challenges, so accessible place recommendations are welcome. I can walk a few steps with walking sticks, but can't stand to take pictures.

I'm currently experimenting with a newly put together home studio which is probably going to keep me busy for a while. It's all new to me and I'm having a great time improving my results by experimenting and studying others' techniques (YouTube).
 

Nod

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#5
@Marc is the mod who uses a chair. If he hasn't already seen this, he should get a nudge from the @!
 

Nod

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#6
Where are you based, Trevor? Members with local knowledge will probably help with accessible sites/hides for wildlife and easy-to-get-to landscape viewpoints.
 
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#7
Quite a few years ago we had a project to help a wheelchair user with disabilities. Camera was mounted on a magic arm type mount, feeding into a separate mounted screen so they could see it easier. One of TP's finest hours. I guess it depends on your disabilities as to suggestions

Thinking differently, how about saddle bags on either side of the wheelchair for storage. You get ones for bikes/motorbikes even big dogs...
 
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Peter
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#8
Are you in the Isle of Wight?
If you come North Leighton Moss has a decent wheelchair facilities, (check out their website) and some good hides for bird photography.
In the Lakes from memory Latrigg fell near Keswick I think is accessible.
 

Marc

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#9
I don't own a camera at the moment but had a CSC with 2 small primes that fit into one of those single camera + lens bags. As someone has already asked, it depends what you like to shoot as to whether a bag is suitable or not so, if you've found one you're happy with, that's half the battle.

The biggest challenge of course is accessibility, especially if you're into landscapes. If you're into sports, it can be an advantage. ;)
 
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Leroy
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#11
I’m. Paraplegic wiheelchair user. I use a mobility scooter and have been trying various ways to make my photography easier. When I’m in my wheelchair I sometimes use a monopod, but it’s not ideal. When I’m on my mobility scooter a use a tripod for wildlife, this has been trial and error, I’ve now got it so one leg goes between my legs in the upright position. I then splay out the other two legs which parse down my sides till they touch the floor, but again this is far from ideal.
I’m currently thinking of ways I could make some kind of u shaped fitting that would attach to my wheelchair and parse arcross my body and have a central post which could be adjusted up or down so as the camera is held in front of my face leaving my arms free to manoeuvre the chair. I’ve have a Manfrooto magic arm, but once it’s attached to the frame, it sits far to low Although I can think a good design, I have no real way of making it. I will be watching this thread with interest.
 
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#13
Thanks for the input everyone - I shall reply to you all tomorrow, but my daughter and grandkids have just shown up and won't be going home until a lot later.

In the meantime, keep 'em coming. :D
 
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#14
Where are you based, Trevor? Members with local knowledge will probably help with accessible sites/hides for wildlife and easy-to-get-to landscape viewpoints.
I'm on the Isle of Wight - retired here about seven years ago. There are quite a few places I can get to when it's dry, but wet grass and mud are guaranteed to stop play. :(

Quite a few years ago we had a project to help a wheelchair user with disabilities. Camera was mounted on a magic arm type mount, feeding into a separate mounted screen so they could see it easier. One of TP's finest hours. I guess it depends on your disabilities as to suggestions. Thinking differently, how about saddle bags on either side of the wheelchair for storage. You get ones for bikes/motorbikes even big dogs...
I'm very lucky in that I can actually still walk a few steps with walking sticks, but I can't stand for more than a few moments without them. The problem is severe back pain after surgery and damage caused by tests done before that surgery (Arachnoiditis). My hands and arms although a lot weaker than they should be are OK.

I have tried a couple of bags that hang over the arms, but they make getting through most doorways impossible. OK outdoors though. :)

If you come North Leighton Moss has a decent wheelchair facilities, (check out their website) and some good hides for bird photography.
In the Lakes from memory Latrigg fell near Keswick I think is accessible.
Thanks for that - I have made a note of it for future travels. I intend to start taking short breaks around the UK in the future. I've always taken foreign holidays, but flying isn't easy with a wheelchair and most countries are behind us when it comes to accessibility.

I don't own a camera at the moment but had a CSC with 2 small primes that fit into one of those single camera + lens bags. As someone has already asked, it depends what you like to shoot as to whether a bag is suitable or not so, if you've found one you're happy with, that's half the battle.

The biggest challenge of course is accessibility, especially if you're into landscapes. If you're into sports, it can be an advantage. ;)
I've always been very fit and active, but now I have to rely on battery power - my arms and back aren't strong enough to use a self-powered chair.

I’m. Paraplegic wiheelchair user. I use a mobility scooter and have been trying various ways to make my photography easier. When I’m in my wheelchair I sometimes use a monopod, but it’s not ideal. When I’m on my mobility scooter a use a tripod for wildlife, this has been trial and error, I’ve now got it so one leg goes between my legs in the upright position. I then splay out the other two legs which parse down my sides till they touch the floor, but again this is far from ideal.
I’m currently thinking of ways I could make some kind of u shaped fitting that would attach to my wheelchair and parse arcross my body and have a central post which could be adjusted up or down so as the camera is held in front of my face leaving my arms free to manoeuvre the chair. I’ve have a Manfrooto magic arm, but once it’s attached to the frame, it sits far to low Although I can think a good design, I have no real way of making it. I will be watching this thread with interest.
I have a mobility scooter that I use occasionally in my most local areas - that is about the best way for me to get around off-road for sure as it has great ground clearance (TGA Breeze). The problem is I can't carry my powerchair on the back for use when I need to go indoors.
 
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#17
When I had to use a motability scooter last year I found a gorilla pod very useful, wrapped around the handle bars it gave a safe secure platform and with the fully articulated screen on my G2 meant I could easily manoeuvre the camera to get different shots.
 
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#19
@scoped may have some input, but he's not around very often. He'll turn up sometime :)

It may be worth looking at his threads.
 
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#22
feel free to pm me or ask any questions here, hopefully I can be of some help
Thanks. :D

The thread needed a bump too - I expected a bit more input TBH, but it seems that us 'wheelie togs' maybe a bit thinner on the ground than I thought?
 
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#23
Thanks. :D

The thread needed a bump too - I expected a bit more input TBH, but it seems that us 'wheelie togs' maybe a bit thinner on the ground than I thought?
It's a bit of a niche market, to be fair. :)
 
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Dave
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#24
I'm a wheelie tog too. I'm not too bad as I've got good upper body strength. I do find carrying a tripod as well as a camera bag a bit 'interesting'. I have tried a magic arm type set up that clamped to the chair but found it a bit too low for my eye line
 
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#25
I'm a wheelie tog too. I'm not too bad as I've got good upper body strength. I do find carrying a tripod as well as a camera bag a bit 'interesting'. I have tried a magic arm type set up that clamped to the chair but found it a bit too low for my eye line
There are ways around that - extending pole/monopod comes to mind, if used with a tilting screen.
Or, how about a remote screen like videographers use?
This way you can put the camera where it needs to be without you having to be at the camera's position - whether it be at ground level or above your head.
This is the subject of one of Scoped's threads.
 
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#26
I've recently acquired a mono-pod (a freebie - thanks Manfrotto), but haven't tried it yet. As it looks like we may have a few dry days around here; I'll try and get out later this week to see how I get on with it. I have a ball-head I can try on it so fingers crossed. :)

I can usually manage to sling my tripod (in its bag) over the back of the chair by hooking it on the head-rest - I have an electric chair. It's not easy to get at once it's there though . . . :(
 
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#27
I'm a wheelie tog too. I'm not too bad as I've got good upper body strength. I do find carrying a tripod as well as a camera bag a bit 'interesting'. I have tried a magic arm type set up that clamped to the chair but found it a bit too low for my eye line
The Manfrotto arms finish in a standard mount peg that you can attach to another arm, and extension etc.
https://www.manfrotto.co.uk/magic-arm-with-bracket

Things like the single arm extentions etc
https://cvp.com/product/manfrotto_196ab-2

Try looking at the car rigs to see how they work (although obviously not the 5m carbon poles) :D
https://cvp.com/catalogue/category/camera+support+rigs/subcategory/articulated+support+arms/page/1

I've got quite a lot of rigging that usually ends in a magic arm for positioning the camera. What you'll need will be specific to your chair/needs.
 
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#28
Actually - two superclamps to the chair holding an aluminium pole, another superclamp to hold the magic arm - sorted
 
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#29
Wow! That's quite a selection to be going on with - I'll take a good look in a minute. The thing I noticed first is that they're for round tubes - my chair has no round tubes. :(

I'll have to look at getting an upright tube mounted somehow . . .

 
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#30
manfrotto superclamps
https://www.wexphotovideo.com/manfrotto-035-super-clamp-10994/

clamp onto anything, although I'm not sure where on that. Perhaps on the joystick extention, a custom mount piece onto the bolt?

Nice chair.

The thing with these mounts are that they take the weight of the camera. I run with a ball head on the car rig to help position the camera, perhaps a pistol grip would be more suitable?
 
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#32
Thanks, that clamp looks good. I shall have to get planning . . . :cool:

Thanks for your help with these clamps - whatever you do, don't tell Manfrotto that they may be used for wheelchairs or a mobility issue - if you do; they'll stick another zero on the end of the price.

As for the wheelchair's advertising - it's a joke isn't it? I really don't know what halfwits dream this stuff up, but I know I find it demeaning. :mad:
 
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#34
As for the wheelchair's advertising - it's a joke isn't it? I really don't know what halfwits dream this stuff up, but I know I find it demeaning. :mad:
Nah - I thought it good. A strong and stable wheelchair capable of speed and range. We should stick this in the EV car thread :D

Does your seat tilt or is that an extra?

Also - might be worth a shout out in the local area - Facebook perhaps? to see if anyone has a car rig as they'll have superclamps, magic arm etc. Then you could try before you buy.
 
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#36
Does your seat tilt or is that an extra?
Everything is extra. I'm sure if they could get away with it, they'd charge me extra for being a human. :rolleyes:

It has a seat lift (I can't sit up to the bar in the pub otherwise ;)) as well as an electric tilt and adjustable back rest. The base price is £8,000.00, but with those additions it puts the price up to £11,200. :mad:

This is my third one, all used and sourced through Ebay - first one less than a £1,000.00, second one £2,000.00 and this one £3,500.00 - each one a little better and newer than the last. There is no way I could ever afford a new one and the NHS Wheelchair services are beyond useless - although I did manage to get them to put some money towards the latest purchase after two years of haggling.

Also - might be worth a shout out in the local area - Facebook perhaps? to see if anyone has a car rig as they'll have superclamps, magic arm etc. Then you could try before you buy.
Indeed - I keep my eyes open to all in the local adverts etc. I won't go near Faceache though - I'd rather pull my own teeth than give them my custom. :shifty:
 
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