Summer was full of activity: family and friends gather at cabins, beaches and at events around town. Through pictures and videos, everyone likes to document time spent together. Photo books, picture albums, digital pictures and interactive videos are easy for people with disabilities to manage with just few simple to advanced adaptations. A good imagination and a little spare time will make the perfect photograph and project to share.
Today’s digital cameras are small as are their control buttons. This might make the camera more difficult for some people to operate. However, the advanced commands and customization options allow users to change how a device works for greater control and capabilities. In most cases, camera settings allow users to set reaction time, voice output, saving options, face control and lighting.
With modern cameras, it’s easy to locate adaptations for switches and mounting that can be used by photographers with a range of disabilities. Here are a few options in devices and adapted cameras.
The gentLED IR Remote Control is a shutter release extension that uses infrared wireless control found on many newer cameras to trigger the shutter. Wireless camera controllers are available with a stereo 2.5mm jack that plugs into specific cameras. They can also be used with the gentLED- TRIGGER to activate IR capable cameras.
Timers are also available with a stereo 2.5mm jack designed to plug into specific cameras. They can also be used with gentLED-TRIGGER to also activate IR capable cameras. IR signals can be set up to work through some wheelchairs and communication devices. Other IR devices such as an X. 10 connects to the camera.
Some cameras have a built-in Bluetooth option which can be set up for operation through different switches. This is more cumbersome and may need to be set up by an outside wheelchair dealer or someone who can program an electric wheelchair.
A mouth or tongue switch from Conceptus Inc is also an option. The device is available in both stereo and mono 2.5mm shutter release plug options. gentLED-TRIGGER has an internal link for sending single pulses or bursts of pulses to simulate continuous triggering.
Conceptus makes switches for skydiving photographers. Its Bite Switch is perfect for people with limited arm/hand mobility. Users bite down on it to operate the camera shutter.
A Kodak EasyShare C530 digital camera is adapted for use with a single switch. The point-and-shoot simple design has more than five megapixel resolution and many accessories, including a docking station that makes transferring photographs easier. A zoom and video option is also available, as are articulated arms with mini-clamps that can be easily attached to a table for wheelchair for camera positioning.
A variable friction arm with superclamp is a good option with the adapted Kodak EasyShare C530 camera, as well as camcorders and pan and tilt controllers.
Numerous models are available. These clamps are easy to install on a table or wheelchair for appropriate positioning of the camera. The variable friction arm is sturdier and is recommended for heavier camera equipment and in situations where the photographer needs to frequently move equipment.
The Bescor Motorized Pan and Tilt Wired Controller works with digital cameras, camcorders or any camera with a standard mounting receptacle. It can be mounted on the variable friction arm with superclamp mounting system for camera positioning. The unadapted Bescor Motorized Pan and Tilt Control uses a hand-held controller to move the camera left, right, up and down.
A great resource for photographers with disabilities is a worldwide group, The Disabled Photographers Group. Get inspiration for pictures, view galleries and learn about resources at www.disabledphotographers.co.uk Once photos are taken, it’s time to put them to good use in some attractive and useful items. Next column will cover ways to make those photo projects look professionally designed.
Jennifer Mundl, MS, ATP, is Lead Assistive Technology Specialist, Courage Center
Its very easy to see photography and disability in terms of physical disabilities and physical access to cameras, the issue is much broader than this. Another good resource is Photographers with Disabilities in the UK who run an accessible studio, website and active facebook group.