Sunday, 5 July 2009

The camera sees better than I do!

I may not have mentioned on this blog before that my eyes don't work properly.

It's hard to explain... I have low visual acuity (6/9, which is the equivalent of about 13/20 versus 20/20 for normal vision), but I also see multiple images through each eye, and because my eyes don't work properly together I don't have depth perception. I'll never be allowed to drive and I can't read normal-sized print without a magnifier.

So what business, you may well ask, has someone with such poor eyesight got with trying to be an (albeit amateur) photographer?! I've asked myself the same question, believe me. And when I got my new SLR, I asked myself whether it was really worth spending all that money on a camera which has so much better vision than I do - but over the course of the last couple of weeks it's really proved its value, largely because it sees better than I can.

Being able to take highly detailed photos and zoom in on them gives me the chance to see things I've never seen before. I've shown you before some photos I took of bees in my garden - I've seen hundreds of bees, but before I took those photos I'd never seen the hairs on their legs or the veins on their wings.

Last week, my husband spotted a massive jellyfish in the sea, and with the help of the camera (and polarizing filter) I got a picture that meant I could see all the little details that he can see normally:


Likewise, on Handa when we went to see the puffins, I'd never have been able to see the fish in this little guy's beak without my 250mm zoom:

Puffin with fish

And I'd never have been able to spot this little razorbill family:

Razorbill family

Or this baby oystercatcher:

Oystercatcher with chick

And although I could hear crickets making their usual racket, I only managed to find this one by scanning the ground on full zoom:


So having a good camera certainly benefits me, and my increasing trend towards wildlife photography is a side effect of tryng to see birds and animals more clearly than I ever have before. But, weirdly, I also think my eyesight gives me one advantage for my photos. Because I don't see in 3D, the way I see the world is already flattened into a 2D image - I'm less likely to grow a tree out of someone's head because of that. And because I see multiply, I tend to prefer simple landscapes which might also be an advantage, I'm not sure.

Anyway, I thought it was time to explain my weird eyes to my readers - and hope that you still like my pictures!


Si's blog said...

Absolutely fascinating. The ability of humans, and other animals, to overcome is astonishing. Mother Nature enjoys giving us a lot of hurdles, but she also gives us the wherewithall to beat her at her own game. Great post.

Kim said...

Your pictures, as always, are amazing. Some of the things - the fish in the puffins beak and the baby chick I didn't notice until you'd pointed them out! Enjoy.

Kazzy said...

Very cool. I remember my husband saying something similar about using binoculars. Love the photos.

Louiz said...

Interesting. Your photos are amongst the most clear and... precise (if that's the right way to describe it) ones I've seen - and how you see just makes more interesting, not to mention meaning that you can see the details in... detail.

gigi said...

These are just to cool.

A Scattering said...

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel...thanks for sharing information about low visual acuity so we can understand it. Your photos are wonderful and vibrant - love the jellyfilsh!

Anonymous said...

I love your pictures. I'm glad that you've found a passion that brings so much to your life.

Anonymous said...

I love all the details. That jellyfish is amazing. And I never realized you could see PUFFINS in Scotland!

{leah} said...

Those pictures are BEAUTIFUL!!!! I am truely amazed!

Thanks for stopping by on my SITS day, and being my first poster!!

Bitsy Baby Photography said...

WOW, that jellyfish photo is so cool =)

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