It is surprising what you take for granted. Most people have 2 eyes and when it comes to taking pictures we just put the camera up to our ‘good’ eye and shoot, then we can process in software and when everything looks good we publish, or show our friends or whatever. We just do it – and it is easy.

Yesterday I was told by an eye surgeon I will probably lose an eye – I had an accident recently and am effectively blind in my right eye. It couldn’t have come at a worse time as I have just been asked to provide photos for a ‘coffee table’ type of book, and several articles for a magazine.

I am not asking for sympathy, and this isn’t the point of why I am writing this post. I am luckier than a lot of people as I still have a good eye I can see out of – and it doesn’t impair too much on my day-to-day activities such as working etc.

But it does mean that I have to shoot my pics through my left eye (if you are right-eyed, try it and see how weird it seems). Composing is very difficult (I have been using ‘live view’ for awhile but I don’t like it). Oh I know I will get used to it – in time, but it is strange and ‘unnatural’ at the moment.

But the worst thing is processing the photos. I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop 6 and I just can’t tell if the pics are in focus. I trust the Nikons’ focusing system, but I can’t tell if it is in focus on the computer screen. In order to focus properly you need two points of reference (eyes) – also I don’t have 3D vision anymore, seeing the world through a single eye has knocked that on the head. So now if I look at a photograph I can’t see which parts are in focus (ie – the depth of field)…where does the line of focus stop? For instance, if I shoot a meadow with mountains in the background, I aim the focussing point at the meadow but are the mountains in focus? I can’t just tell anymore.

I am sure in time I will get used to it – I have been told it is a bit like a cd with scratchs on it – the ‘computer’ makes up the missing bits, and that is what my brain will do in time. And I can see the colours and textures, I just can’t tell if a photo is in focus. At the moment I have to ask Shirl if the photo is sharp. But I know it is early days yet and I will get there. I am not worried by it – it is just inconvenient at the moment.

But on a positive note…I think it will make me a better photographer. I will have to take my time composing and be really careful of the fstops and other settings. No more ‘machine gunning’ an image on auto – I will have to stop and really compose and make each shot count. If I do this properly then I won’t have to worry about depth of field and what is in focus on the screen 🙂 And maybe my photos will be better too 🙂

There are lots of photographers who shoot through one eye (look up James Fabri) and their photos are excellent. It is a minor handicap and I know I will get over it. But for someone who has seen the world through two eyes for nearly 60 years it is a bit of a shock now seeing it through one.

So for putting up with a ‘rant’, here is a shot of some meadows near Lippersley on Blubberhouses moor. Taken with one eye and ‘verified’ by the lovely Shirl.

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