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Physical Challenges

Lately I’ve been dealing with a prolapsed aka herniated aka slipped disc. No bending. Really? I’m not supposed to bend down or over? Weakness in the legs means no clamoring over rocks, taking a bunch of stairs or wading into moving water. I’m trying to be a good girl and follow doctors’ advice but………

Then I started remembering a fall foliage trip a few years ago. My husband and I were going to travel all over New England to capture the gorgeous color our area offers. Right off the bat, the first morning out, wearing new trail shoes with cleat-like treads (makes sense right? didn’t think about actually crossing any streams with them), I slipped down on wet rocks and gave myself a terrible sprain.

These experiences have made me think about others with temporary or permanent injuries or disabilities. If you ever fall into that category, I urge you to push onward. If you want to create great photos, just go out and do it. It might mean finding scenic spots which are only steps from the car or smooth paths which are easily walked without strain. Given my current situation with my back, I’m even considering a recumbent bike or trike. Think of alternatives rather than obstacles. I sometimes carry a step ladder, with a tall grab bar, in my trunk. That could give at least a little bit of elevation for a shot while still providing stability. If you are not able to drive, is there someone who will shuttle you around? Sit in the back seat with your limb elevated and keep an ice pack on it between stops, if necessary. Are you able to at least get out in your own backyard? If so, think in terms of abstract photography. Focus on tiny details. Let macro become your mantra. Think around your restrictions. Consider some urban photography of downtown. If you are in a wheelchair, you are lower than the typical eye level, so you can create photos with interesting angles. If your camera does not have an articulating screen, consider buying a flip bac to attach to it. About two years ago, I added one of these to a camera which does not have articulation. I love it. I can say that honestly and I can tell you that I have no affiliation with the company and am not receiving any compensation for the plug I’m giving their product. Having clarified that, I’ll say with a tool like flip bac, you can shoot over your head or down low or out to the side. Be creative. Don’t let a physical restriction keep you from documenting your vacation or from being an artist.

The following photos were taken from spots within easy reach without any climbing or bending.



The following two photos (cropped a bit for collage) were taken from scenic overlooks. I was only a few steps away from the vehicle.

The photo on the left was taken at a lodge with the sun streaming through the window.  The one on the right is of a beautiful old quilt in a cabin.

The next two are both from an open-air market. I took these from a standing position at eye level.

The next six shots were taken, literally, from the roadside.

The hosta in this next shot was photographed from a seated position in a chair in the garden. Early morning light made all the difference.

Even if you can’t ride, you can still get great shots of horses from the fence.  If there are stables nearby–get there!

Yes, I know, everyone takes pictures of sunflowers but if you happen to come upon a gorgeous patch or field of them, how can you pass up the opportunity? These are so tall, you can shoot face to face. Why not use a wide angle lens and get super close for a bit a distortion or try a macro lens to focus on one petal or a small area of seeds or the furry looking backside of a flower head?

As you travel, look for quirks, a play on words, or unusual scenery. I took this one from a sixth story window in Japan. Cranes (the birds) are often associated with the far east and Japan is known as the land of the rising sun. With that in mind, I wanted a sunrise shot of the construction cranes. How’s that for fun documentation?

Often photography is restricted in museums and galleries. I took this, however, in a long hallway leading to an exhibit, from a standing eye level position.

The following shot was taken from a path which is wheelchair accessible.

Just like the open-air markets, a great way to remember a trip is by photographing the street musicians and vendors.

Aren’t dogs fun? I’ve had strangers’ dogs come running up to me on the beach. Don’t you always meet dogs on a trail? This photo was taken on a dock which was easily accessed and level. That guy was so very friendly and playful and then……….what exactly was in the water??


I hope you’ve found some inspiration and encouragement in these photographs.  Get creative and get out there!

Wishing you good health,





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