May 30, 2011

Managing My Star Guard Disease

I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a photographer almost a year ago.I have always wanted to do what I love, to take pictures but there was something holding me back.

 In the 5th grade I was diagnosed with Stargardt's disease. This is an inherited form of juvenile macular degeneration. I can not see very well and there is no cure for it but that's OK because I can still see and I have figured out a way to achieve my dreams.

When I decided to go for it, to become a photographer I was not going to tell anyone about my condition. I wanted to be judged on my work and my work alone. However  I was thinking about all of the doubts that I had when I first started pursuing my dream. I was worried that I would not be able to take professional quality photos because of my limited vision.

I came across a video online of other visually impaired photographers and that gave me the hope that I needed. If I don't share my story than I will never be able to inspire anyone else who feels like they cannot do what they love because of a disability. I would like to share my tips for how I accomplish my photography.

School classes have always been very hard for me because I can not see the teacher's expressions, the boards or the books. I wanted to learn about photography but I would not benefit from taking a class. The way that I learned about photography was all online,  watching videos on a large computer screen.

 All you have to do is go to your web browser and type in what you would like to learn about. For example I wanted to learn about a particular kind of lighting so I typed in, What is the best lighting for men,s portrait photography and I found many helpful videos on that exact subject.

When I decided to purchase a new camera I had a few specific features that I needed. I wanted to make sure that I would be able to see through the view finder so I went to several stores to try them out. I also wanted the biggest LCD screen available and one that could take many pictures at one time.

I have a hard time seeing facial expressions so I made sure to find a camera that would let me take a burst of pictures all at once. This way I would have a better chance of capturing the picture that I wanted. After taking the pictures I view the them on my large screen computer and sort through them.

As far as I know, there are no cameras big enough for me to see all of the controls. There are so many buttons and settings on each camera and when you have a hard time seeing it makes it even harder to set.

On the bright side, high quality cameras usually have an automatic setting that can take great pictures for you. Also I am very lucky to have my boyfriend Justin who will set my camera when necessary. Thanks Justin!

Overcoming some of these obstacles can be frustrating at times but I don't let  that stop me because I absolutely LOVE taking pictures. When someone tells me that they like my work it means so much to me. I really do appreciate everyone's kind words. Thank you to everyone who supports me. You all  help drive me to keep on doing what I love. I hope that I can pass that on someday to someone who needs it.

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