Professional Photographer Who’s Born with just 5% Normal Eyesight

My name is Bruce Hall and I am a photographer and disability advocate. I was born legally blind with about 5% normal eyesight and severe nystagmus – rapid uncontrolled eye movement, as well as severe myopia and a a few other conditions. So, how does my eyesight affect my day to day life.

I do not drive a car…legally. I can’t read street signs unless they are very large, and I’m next to a sign. I won’t know the color of your eyes unless I’m about 3” from your face. And the nystagmus, rapid eye movement, makes focusing a real challenge. Reading even large text is very difficult so I occasionally use a screen reader on my desktop computer. I use VO (voice over, the IOS screen reader) on my iPhone and iPad most of the time. The good news, for me, is that I can see detail at about 3’ from my face. This allows me to study photographs, and look at what I’ve taken or made. I have used photography to see for over 50 years.
I use a variety of equipment depending of the situation, and find that all photographic equipment has pros and cons. For me, fast and accurate focusing is my #1 requirement. I’ve always appreciated gear that is quick and responsive. My Nikon D750 with the 70-200 2.8 VR is a joy to shoot and allows me to accurately capture subjects that are just a blurry impression. Yet, large cameras are often too cumbersome for my needs. I’ve been a fan of the canon G series compact cameras for many years. They’re relatively fast, have manual controls, and they’re rugged. When asked, “what is your favorite camera?” I usually answer, “the one I have with me at the time.” Most of us carry smartphones with decent cameras and I usually have my Canon G16, and always carry my Olympus TG-4. The TG-4 is tiny, waterproof, and shoots raw files. Water is incorporated in much of my photography and I always want something with me I can get wet.

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