Archive for May, 2008
Being legally blind presents new challenges on a daily basis. While the irony is that I used to photograph the human retina for a living and I now have a rare genetic condition that affects my vision, I have somewhat reversed the irony by using photography to assist how I see the world.
I can no longer enjoy the around me in real-time, but I can take a picture of it, blow it up on my huge monitor and I can study the image in detail. At 20/400 vision, I can’t read, drive, look at wildlife and people’s faces, still image photography allows me to stare at the enlarged image at will so I can finally see things.
I invested in a Canon 40D and a few lenses – a 17-105mm zoom, a 70-200mm zoom, a 135mm fixed and a 2x extender. The camera is “spectrum enhanced” which means the IR filter was removed at the factory. This is a benefit to astrophotography but requires something called an IDAS filter for daily use.
My wife and I go for walks and she acts as the spotter. I frame the subject the best I can and take an image – many images. I rely heavily on the auto-focus of the 40D which happens to work very well.
If you use a DSLR, I highly suggest you pick up a copy of Lightroom by Adobe. It is a wonderful program that manages the images, does some basic image enhancements and creates a web gallery. Using Lightroom, I can look at my many images so I can choose the best ones for upload to my new image gallery – Second Site Image Gallery. I think the name is fitting.
For astrophotography, the enhanced 40D is quite a performer. I would like to share a few with you now – they are also posted on the gallery.
This first image is of the Orion Nebula – M42. It is a single 30 second image taken with the Canon 40D through a Meade 80mm apochromatic.
This second image is of the moon through the Meade 80mm apochromatic. The IDAS filter is in place in the Canon 40D.
For those who wish to do astrophotography with a DSLR camera, I highly recommend “Digital SLR Astrophotography” by Michael Covington. This book discuses how the camera works, techniques for imaging, techniques for image processing and much more. I was able to read the book before I lost my vision. Because of this, my wife helps me to recap on things I forgot.
For those out there who have lost their vision, don’t let that stop you from doing what you want! Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Please enjoy the Second Site Image Gallery.