Seeing Photography In a Different Light with Peter Maiden

Iceland, Peter Maiden

Peter, can you tell us a little about yourself and your photography?

I retired a few years ago and although I'd been frustrated taking photos over the years, thought I'd give photography another shot. With my sight problems, even point and shoot cameras were difficult for me to use, for instance, my classic shot of of Big Ben with only half the clock showing is still a family joke. But one day my daughter lent me her DSLR camera and wow! I found I could take proper photos. So my retirement hobby began. Modern DSLRs overcame all my past frustrations. Finally what I see through the viewfinder is what comes out in the photograph.

You say you have problems with your sight – Can you tell us more about that and how it effects your photography?

I suffer from retinitis pigmentosa which is basically tunnel vision and the inability to see much in both very bright and poor light. I have less than 5 degrees field of view which to the uninitiated is a bit like looking through the viewfinder with a 500mm lens on. Luckily what central vision I still have is quite clear and I can still see things in the distance but do live with the prognosis that one day I'll be totally blind.

One ‘advantage’ of having a very limited field of view is that you can frame a shot without being distracted by peripheral distractions. This does mean I may use zoom lenses more than I should. But on the other hand, when I use a wide angle lens, the resulting capture is not how I see the world - That gives me some wow moments like ‘is that how beautiful the world really is’. I suppose it’s all a matter of different perspectives.