Monday, 20 August 2018

Photography & My Health

I thought I'd get a little bit more personal in this post. I'm not sure whether I've actually mentioned this in a post on this blog before, but I think I've mentioned it over on my Photography Instagram quite a while ago.

Five years ago last month, I was diagnosed with a Chronic Illness called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or M.E. It's a Neurological disease & there's no cure for it, hence for it being a chronic illness. It impacts every single thing I do or want to do & that includes my photography, as exercise & activity can cause the symptoms of the illness to worsen. This means I have to plan & pace out everything I want to do & have precautionary rest periods before an activity & also after to recover  - so I cannot do numerous things on consecutive days. Of course there is so much more to it but that is a basic overview, if you'd like to know more, feel free to send me a message with any questions, leave a comment below or head over to my other blog, Lo's Little Life as there is more information on there.

So like I said having M.E has impacted my Photography greatly. When I began to get more into photography again, it was motivated by the fact that most of my other hobbies where just too active for me to part take in anymore. But I felt that maybe I could make photography work within my new limitations.

Macro of McKay, one of my cats.

I started by simply using my phone to take photos of my days in & around the house & then when I was bought my Nikon D3200, {I have since upgraded to a D7200} I began using that too. Now I have always loved Landscape Photography but trying to practise that was proving a bit difficult & I realised that I needed to venture into other avenues of Photography, as having a creative outlet is definitely beneficial to my mental health.

In time I invested in a couple of new lenses, I opted for a Macro lens & a Telephoto one. I began to make use of my little garden & realised I absolutely loved Macro Photography! So on days when I feel okay enough, I pop into the garden with my Macro lens, now the Micro NIKKOR 85mm {my first one was the 60mm} & make photographs of the flowers & items in the garden. The best thing about this is that it means I can play & experiment without having to go off to find a location which I would really struggle to do now.

Gerbera Macro
Then if I'm having a day where I'm really unable to manage getting in the garden but feel okay enough to pick up my camera, then my Cats make the perfect subjects! I'll either use my 35mm, 50mm or if I want to get some more detailed photos of them, I'll use my 85mm Macro. Once the Cats get fed up of the Camera, {though a couple of them actually love having their photo taken} & I'm still feeling okay, I'll swap to my NIKKOR Telephoto 55-300mm & if there's birds in the garden, I'll grab a few shots of them from the window.

I do still try, my health allowing of course, to go to my local beach & get some Landscape & Sunset photographs but those trips, {though I'm only a 10 minute drive from the coast} mean I have to make sure I get plenty of rest before hand & have nothing else going on that same week. I also still love using my phone to take photos & the camera on my iPhone 8 plus is just lovely, especially in portrait mode! This also means I don't have to leave my bed if I don't want to to take a few images of my surroundings & it helps me to document my life living with a chronic illness.

First Photograph taken in Portrait Mode on my iPhone 8 Plus

I think that is one of the things I love about Photography: it can be adapted to your given situation. You can make it work for you. Due to the limits on my energy supplies, I try to make every hit of the shutter button count. I take my time & really think about how I want the image to look & always try to get it right in camera rather than capturing anything & relying on the editing afterwards.

Also like I said, it can be such a benefit to your mental health as a creative outlet. Even though it can have a negative impact on my physical health, I've found that even the post processing stage is beneficial {though I only do minor tweaks} & helps me remember that the few days in bed recovering were worth it. It also helps me cope on the worse days, looking back at images I've taken or reading through comments on my Instagram really does give me a little boost!

Sunset at the Beach

To me Photography is such a special thing & to be able to make it work within my limitations, is something I'm so very grateful for!

I'd love know what Photography means to you? Has it helped you find an outlet for a mental or physical health condition? Leave me a comment below to share your story if you want to.

Take care everyone,


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