Tag Archives: Landscape

close-up of a white and pink blossom with yellow in the middle

Interview with visually impaired photographer Chelsea Stark

Tell us something about your self and why you are passionate about photography.

My name is Chelsea Stark and I am a 36-year-old visually impaired woman. I started taking photos when I was about 12. I found that it was a great way for me to see the world around me. And I really enjoyed it. Over the years I have had several kinds of cameras. The two cameras I really enjoyed using so far are my IPhone 6 and my Sony a 6000.

 

How did you and do you learn to take good photos?

I have not taken any formal classes or training. All I know comes from practice, practice, practice. I tend to take a picture when I see something that interests me, or something I want to see up close. And sometimes just that little act of wanting to know what’s around me helps me to get some amazing shots.

 

Do you get inspirations from works of other photographers?

My inspiration comes from my loving husband Robert Park. He is a fine art landscape photographer. He has some amazing skills and amazing images. I learn so much from him every time we go out.

 

Small waterfall surrounded by green

What equipment do you use and did your visual impairment play a role in choosing the right camera and accessories?

 I have used several different kinds of cameras. Recently I have been using a Sony a 6000 and an IPhone 6. For each piece of equipment that I have used or purchased over the years one key factor was that it must have a live View Setting or capability. It is the only way I can see what’s around me and compose a photo.

 

What are your preferred subjects to photograph and do you think your choice of objects and styles is influenced by your visual impairment?

I like to photograph animals, flowers and occasionally landscape when it moves me. I use the camera mostly to get a better view of my world around me.

silhouettes of horses on a beach

How do you find your subjects as a legally blind person? Do you have an idea in your head before you go out to take pictures?

I do not go out with any plans or ideas. I find that my best images just appear. I just go out with my equipment and shoot what presents itself to me. I have found that planning sometimes leads to disappointment. And that random photo that you never expected tends to be the best photo you’ve taken all day.

 

How do you choose which photos to post on your blog and social media? Do you get sighted people to describe them to you?

When I decide that I want to post something on my block or social media, I usually just post what I like. Sometimes I will get an opinion here or there. But It is my page with my rules and my images and I just go with it.

 

You always write a short text to each photo where it was taken. How important are the location and the story behind the picture to you?

I give a location if possible because the first question I always hear is: where was that taken? By putting the location out there that question is no longer a problem. I believe it’s very important to write a little something about each image that you post. It helps people to get in the right frame of mind while they look at your image. Plus it helps with Google’s indexing.

 Inside of an Southern European looking restaurant

Do you use photo shop programmes and how accessible do you find them?

I use either a program called Aperture or IPhoto. But often I will use built-in features on my IPhone or IPad. The latest version of IOS does a decent job on photo editing. If it needs more work than that, I will have my husband or someone else do some minor tweaks to the image in their photo editing program of their choice. But a lot of times it’s just straight from the IPhone or IPad. The already mentioned Aperture is fairly accessible and also allows me to catalogue photos.

 

Do you think photos taken by visually impaired people are different to those sighted people take and do you think it is fair to compare them?

I believe every photographer has their own style. And everybody’s images are different, regardless of whether they are blind, visually impaired or fully sighted. I’m not sure if it is fair to compare photographer’s work based on whether they have vision or not.  But if vision is left out of the equation being compared to other photographers is perfectly fine with me.

 

Would you disclose your visual impairment if you were to enter a photography competition and why yes or no?

Yes I would disclose my visual impairment. I belief letting people know about my visual impairment helps them to understand my work better and makes them see the artwork in a different way.

 

How do people on the street react when they see you taking pictures?

I’m not really sure. I’ve had nobody say anything to me regarding me taking photos. But I’m sure I’ve gotten some weird books once in a while.

 Three bottles of sauce

Could you imagine making photography your profession? And what are your aims for the future with regards to photography?

It would be cool to make photography my profession. Right now my goals regarding photography are just to take some interesting images around me. And maybe sell some here and there. But at the moment it’s just for fun.

 

Do you have some general tips for blind and visually impaired people who want to take up photography?

My suggestion for any visually impaired or blind person who wants to get into photography, is to get yourself an IPhone 6. It may sound like a silly thing to start with. But it is easy to learn and will cost a lot less then a good camera.  If you find that you actually enjoy photography and you want to get something that will give you the ability to have larger images, the next step would be to do some research on cameras and see which one fits your preferences and your capabilities with your hands and eyes.

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Windmill of Memory by Darek

Windmill in front of blue sky

Although it is less of a problem since our phones automatically add the location to our pictures, we all know the problem: You take hundreds of pictures and when you need space on your camera you just transfer all of them into the same folder on your computer. When you go through them months or even years later, you just can’t remember where and when they were taken. This becomes even more of a problem, if you can’t see what’s in the pictures. The best thing for blind and visually impaired photographers to do would be to give their photos precise names immediately after they took them or at least to put them into folders with meaningful names. Pleas let us know, if you developed a good filing system that works for you.

This photo of a windmill was taken in 2011 during Darek’s summer holiday on an island called Rügen, located in the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Germany. It’s a popular holiday destination and maybe someone even recognizes the windmill. Or maybe even Darek himself remembers, when he reads the picture description.

Description

This description is the result of a question –and –answer type dialogue. The notes resulting from this talk were only later rewritten as text.

The photo looks as if it was taken on a bright summer’s day, because the upper half of the background shows a very clear blue sky. Approximately three fourths of the foreground is occupied by a windmill in the centre of the picture. Its house is made of dark grey stone or timber. Four sails are fastened on an axle located on the upper part of the house near the apex of the roof. The Sails stand in the air forming a capital X. They resemble ladders or trellis fences used in gardens and are made of a material in a lighter colour than the house. The dark grey shadow of one of the sails crosses the house from the top left to the bottom right, reproducing the trellis pattern on the wall. This seems to be the back of the windmill, since there are no windows on this side. The windmill stands on timber stilts built on top of a stone foundation. In relation to the people in the photo, the stilts may be approximately four metre high. It looks as if there are steps up into the windmill on the far side.

There is a roof with bright orange tiles behind and on the right side of the windmill at the height of the stilts. The roof is all there is to see of this outhouse which could be a shed or a visitor centre. There is a sliding door in this extra building.

There are four people in the photo, but the main focus is the windmill. Close to the left of the windmill is a group of three persons. The young woman in the middle wears a sleeveless shirt with a flower pattern and white shorts. She has short blond hair and leans slightly to the man on her right, while simultaneously looking at the windmill. The man to her right has dark hair and wears an orange shirt. He looks sideways at the woman and holds an object in one hand. The object could be a white cane. On the left of the woman stands a young man in a dark shirt. He looks straight at her. Maybe the woman is explaining something to the two men. Their lower bodies are partly covered by a wooden fence and the stone foundation of the windmill.

There is another blondish woman at the left edge of the picture a short distance away from the group. She wears a light coloured short-sleved shirt and a white sweater is thrown over her shoulder. This second woman rests her elbows on the wooden fence and looks away from the mill over the outhouse into an adjacent green field.

The stone foundation of the windmill is built on a semi-green area where wild grass and weeds grow between some rocks. On the right of the mill grow two scraggy and rather thin evergreen trees, perhaps pine trees. They are approximately the same height as the main house and if their two stems weren’t visible one might think they are one tree. In a greater distance are more trees with green leaves growing in the background behind the roof of the extra house and left of the mill. A long pole like a streetlamp is sticking out into the blue sky between the mill and the trees on the right and a floodlight on a pole leans into the photo from the very right. It looks un-proportionately high and slightly out of place.

The photo is a spontaneous snap of a windmill on a beautiful summer’s day. The people seem to enjoy themselves. Maybe they are on a day trip.

 

To Describe: Spooky Moon by Tina

Spooky Moon

This is one of my pictures of which I’m really proud. Often the best pictures present themselves to us, when we least expect it and are not even looking for good shots. This was certainly the case with this one: I was walking back home from the gym and looked up at the moon, trying to find out whether it was already full or not. I guessed it was and I wasn’t too pleased, because I find it hard to sleep in nights with full moon. Anyway, it looked pretty. I took a picture with my phone camera and walked on without even looking at the result.

Several days later, I scrolled through my photos in search of some I could delete to make space on my phone. It took me a while to recollect what this photo was and where it was taken. I didn’t expect the moon to be so clearly visible. Usually shots in the dark are blurry and overexposed because of the automatic flash. I didn’t even see the branches of the tree and how they reflect the light, when I took it. This is what I love about photographing; I have more time to look at the taken pictures and can even zoom in on details, which I’m not able to see in the original scene.

I suppose this picture is rather difficult to describe, because it consists mainly of light and shade, not distinguishable objects, but maybe you see some more details in it.