The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

The Blind Photographer

pll_10-11yot_070908_128.jpgIronic isn’t it? Blind people see the most.

Not something I normally discuss with clients, my vision. But you are scratching your head wondering, how does he do it?

The answer is simple really. I let the camera work for me. With the advances in Auto Focus, and shutter speed there is almost nothing I can’t shoot or attempt to shoot… with some limitations.

The equipment I use is nothing short of the best money can buy. The Nikon D3 and D2x Digital SLR system and Nikon Professional lenses. My cameras are set to my vision, with glasses; I set a negative -3.0 (could likely use -4.0) Diopter Adjustment (finder correction), and use the Nikon DK-17M Magnifying Eye Peace. It adds about 1.2x power to the camera finder, making it easier for me to read the camera’s internal meter.

With out my glasses, I can not shoot. With out the Diopter Adjustment I would not be able to see. The Magnifying Eye Peace, just makes things nicer. Auto focus is your friend! (and enemy some times too).

You’re a sports photographer, how DO you manage that?

Practice, Practice, Practice… Know the sport… and stick to what you know. Threw my camera I can see amazingly well, but in real life, you don’t walk with a camera and 300mm lens strapped to your head.

It is true also; I have extremely sensitive pin-drop hearing. So while at a game, I listen to coach, listen to the players. I watch every thing threw my lens. That little twitch, woops their he goes.

Know the plays… Guys on 1st, chances are he’s going to steal 2nd. Guys on 3rd, you better watch home. Pitcher throws the ball to home plate (Duh!) … Most right-handed hitters hit to shortstop! Anticipate the play, and be ready for any thing. Get the idea?

pll_majors_050608_142-edit-2.jpgSome things are harder then others. Softball for me is easier to shoot then baseball (Big friggn yellow ball vs little white ball). Wrestling is easy, all the action is in front of you. Football (for me) is hard. The ball is dark, blends in, and you have 100-yards to cover, no matter what level of play.

It’s not easy for sure, lots of editing after games. But that’s always fun, because some shots, I never knew I had. I usually get a WOW shot from every game. I also enjoy in game portraits of the players “in the moment“, as it’s always my best work.

Want to know more? Just contact me. Or leave your comment for the post.

Down the Rabbit Hole…

Morpheus GlassesMorpheus: I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.

A great quote form a frik’n awesome move. But life is not like the Matrix now is it? I don’t know Kung Fu, but I do know judo (We’ll get to that some other time).

So, how do you start this blog thing? You just type and others reply to your rambling thoughts? I’ve thought hard about how to start this, and what to expect. But I guess you could say I’m tired, tired of it all.

I was borne with Congenial Nystagmus; I have a visual acuity of 20/400 with out correction. Legally Blind as they say, stuck between seeing and not seeing, seeing enough to get around and do many normal things, (including photography) but not enough to be able to drive, or at least at this point for various personal reasons get around independently. Congenital Nystagmus affects about 1 in 2000 people. One survey in Oxfordshire, England identified 1 in every 670 children by the age of two. Like all vision problems there are many levels. Each person is different.

I’m in a bit of a; I guess you would say, mid life crises. I’m 28 years old, living at home, do not drive, and from a sheltered life have had little get around experience. Though I am not blind, I feel as if, maybe I would have been better off blind.

To get over the fear of traveling and other such things. In school, there was my Mobility Instructor from the schools Intermediate Unit… But with over protective parents, I was never sent to suggested camps, bus rides, and public transpiration outings. Only simple around the block skills.

I find this severely limiting now… As mom gets older, I am scared to death at where this leaves me. And the realization of childhood, and the well-meaning aunts, uncles, and grandparents who professed “We will always be there for you, and take you where you need to gois not the reality of my life today.

This innate fear of independent travel and alone travel has potentially cost me a spot on the USA Paralympic Blind Judo Team, to say the least an opportunity to train with them.

I am at this point taking steps to overcome this, the fear of travel, and the fear of independence. This web site is the start of a journey. With the inspiration of a friend, and his own journey, a will to walk with his service dog, and be less limited by Cerebral Palsy.

Cole and Ilia… simply… THANK YOU!
Yes Cole, even sensei is scared sometimes… 

Readers, please submit your comments, questions, thoughts. It’s what will keep this blog going.

  • Filed under: Personal
  • 2008 ASPCA Dog of the Year!

    Some great news from our friend Cole Massie.

    Cole’s Skilled Companion Dog, Ilia, has been awarded the 2008 ASPCA Dog of The Year! Heres the official press release from ASPCA ~

    Meet the 2008 ASPCA Dog of the Year

    ASPCA Dog of the Year: Ilia, a 5-year-old black lab/golden retriever mix. Ilia lives with Cole Massie, a 10-year-old boy who has cerebral palsy. As Cole’s service dog, Ilia accompanies Cole everywhere — even traveling more than 7,000 miles on six airplanes to be by Cole’s side during surgery.

    Ten-year-old Cole Massie of Los Angeles, CA, may live with cerebral palsy, but he has all the support a kid could want, thanks to a very special black Lab/golden retriever mix named Ilia.

    Recently crowned ASPCA Dog of the Year as part of the 2008 Humane Awardsprogram, Ilia performs service duties like bringing items to Cole in his wheelchair and opening and closing doors. But the pooch also has that special healing touch that can’t be taught. “He provides amazing incentive to Cole during therapies, doctor’s appointments and procedures,” says Cole’s mom, Michelle Massie. “He calms, inspires and motivates my son far better than anyone ever has.”

    Or, as Cole sums it up: “I like when he lies next to me in bed at night and we listen to Harry Potter on CD, and that he helps to clean me when I’m in the bath by licking my face and arms. He’s my furry brother and best friend—and a serious bed hog!”

    This past July, three years after boy and dog were paired by the nonprofit Canine Companions for Independence, Cole was faced with a difficult, but life-changing surgery. “He had walked on his toes, and his feet were totally rolled in,” says Massie. “The operation would allow him to use his feet and free him of the wheelchair.”

    “Cole was frightened by the idea of surgery at first,” remembers Massie. “We explained how much more independent he’d be afterward, but he wasn’t buying it. Finally, we told him that if he had this procedure, there was a very good chance he’d be able to walk Ilia on his own—with no parents and no walker.” After that, says Massie, “Cole would stroke the dog’s head in bed each night and whisper, ‘I will walk you, Ilia. I will walk you.'”

    After much coaxing, Cole underwent the surgery in Summit, NJ, and Ilia traveled more than 7,000 miles to be by the boy’s side. The ten-year-old is now on his way to becoming an independent walker—and his dedicated service dog will be with him every step.

    The entire family will attend the ASPCA Humane Awards Luncheon in New York City this October 30, where Ilia will be honored along with seven other extraordinary animals and people.

    P.S. We’d like to remind you, pet lovers, that even heroes have their quirks. As Massie reveals, “Ilia knows 46 commands, but he won’t fetch!”

    These animals and six other winners will receive their awards at the ASPCA Humane Awards luncheon at New York City’s Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center on Oct. 30.

    Congratulations guys…

    I proudly support Canine Companions for Independence so kids like Cole can get teamed up with great dogs like Ilia! Please make a donation to CCI!