Tag Archives: camera

A break through …

The lack of left handed cameras is frustrating, as is the lack of understanding on the part of major manufacturers. However, we are undeterred and yesterday saw a breakthrough for us.

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We were in a cafe when Tommy put his camera onto the table and looked at the live view screen, he shook his head and said ‘can’t see you mama’ He was actually trying to line up his shot! I am so incredibly proud of him. He usually balances the camera on his little arm and presses the shutter with his left.

JMH_1252  Later on I put my own camera away and realised I was thinking about tripods in the wrong way – he doesn’t need a proper size one just a miniature one. I had a very small gorrilla pod and attached it to his camera – we then laid on the floor – RESULT – look at this photo of LJ – Now look closely in the bottom right hand corner – total fluke but you can see myself and Tommy in the reflection in the cooker. Its not an ideal solution but it’s one we are going to continue to experiment with.


#tenfingersareoverrated #luckyfinsrock


Opening doors

I love my camera. I feel naked if I leave the house without it. I have a bad shoulder from its weight, I have a permanent red mark on my neck from the strap. I broke my coccyx falling down a set of concrete stairs whilst taking photos in the Outer Hebrides. I see life in rectangles. I have a constant crick in my neck from looking at different angles. I use a rucksack as a handbag as it’s the only bag that will fit my lenses so nothing fashionable for me. BUT I would not change anything – my camera has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined.

I’ve written my own books, illustrated books for amazing educators who I admire greatly and from whom I’ve learnt so much. I’m an associate of Independent Thinking Ltd a group of the funniest, kindest most innovative people you could ever wish to meet.

I’ve run courses at places such as The Hepworth, Chatsworth, and YSP in the future, all places where real artists work.

I’ve been to Kakuma refugee camp which was a life changing experience and so far removed from our daily life here it’s indescribable – the photos I took have been instrumental in educating people about life there and inspiring others to become involved, in turn raising money for new classrooms. I’m spending 3 days a week this Summer blogging for my local RSPB site and learning so much along the way. I can now identify black tailed Godwits, Great Crested Grebes and fox poo!!

I love the fact that Tommy is already a keen photographer, always ready to use the compact camera I keep in my bag. He gleefully cries ‘cheese’ whenever he spots it – I will have to teach him to call it a camera but love the idea of it being a cheese.

I’ve had the privilege of working with the amazing Barnsley Youth Choir since 2009 and watched them grow into the world class choir they are now, as well as meeting the inspirational Laszlo and the Aurin girls. Edinburgh fringe next week.

That’s not forgetting the number of fantastic schools and children I’ve been invited to work with.

I’m going to Shanghai in October to work at the Festival of Education at Wellington College alongside Ian Gilbert and Paul Clarke ( I am beyond excited!)- all of this from being a #grannyfrombarnsleywithacamera 😃

I love my camera

So you want to buy a new camera…

‘Which is my favourite photograph? The one I’m going to take tomorrow’

I Cunningham

Several of my friends have asked for advice about buying a new camera and so I decided to write a blog post with some pointers and advice. However, the disclaimer is – if you are a professional photographer please don’t read this and criticise my choice of lay man’s terms rather than photographic ones as I’m trying to help newbies not scare them off with jargon!

Firstly you need to ask yourself 3 questions:

  1. What do I want my camera to do?
  2. How much do I want to spend?
  3. Is this a one off purchase or am I going to continue to add to my ‘gear’?


This will affect what you buy. If you just want an everyday camera to keep in your pocket you will want a small compact. I have THIS as a back up camera – you can still use manual settings and have control over your shot. It has a good zoom and is very sturdy as my grandson has proved!


If you want to spend time learning your craft and then ‘specialise’ you will need to look at buying into a system – e .g Canon, Nikon etc and buying a camera body with a range of lenses. There are different lenses for different ‘types’ of photography.

For instance if you want to take close up shots of flowers, insects etc then you will need a specialist Macro Lens These were shot with THIS BUT before you panic at the cost there are cheaper options (I have been doing this for around 10 years and have built up my kit gradually)


PicMonkey Collage

If you want to shoot wildlife or birds then you will need a zoom lens – anything over 300mm I did buy a 100 – 400mm lens as my ‘retirement present ‘ and love it as I can also use it for portraits. See the two images here.



I tend to have what I call a ‘workhorse’ lens which is 24mm – 100mm HERE – again this is expensive but there are cheaper alternatives – look at the range of the lens as your guide. This will cover most eventualities and is the one I use when shooting weddings as I don’t need to constantly change my lens I can shoot portraits and reasonably close up as well as group shots, landscape etc. Examples below from a wonderful Wedding of friends in December.

PicMonkey Collage

You can have specialist wide angle, fish eye, prime lenses (these don’t zoom in and out) but these would come later I would suggest.

A good place to start is to buy a ‘body’ in a deal which has a couple of lenses such as this deal HERE


Warehouse Express is a reliable and reasonable supplier if you are interested in looking at a whole range.

I’ve based this on Canon as that’s what I use. I do have tutorials etc as I taught GCSE photography – am happy to share these if they would be of use. Get in touch if I can help.

@janeh271 on twitter and my BOOK has a whole section around the basics and getting started as well as ideas for projects


Supplementary resources

  • TRIPOD – if you just buy one extra item I would recommend a tripod. This will allow you to work on creative images using the shutter speed setting and will also allow you to take photographs in situations where you do not have a great deal of light. It does not have to be a really expensive one and if you are working on compact cameras you can pick up mini tripods for a few pounds.
  • Card readers or extra camera leads. A card reader will allow you to download photographs from the card in any camera – prices for these start at £2.99 so they are worth having.
  • Memory cards – it is helpful to have a couple of spares, prices vary according to the type of card.
  • A camera bag – this will obviously protect your camera whilst out and about

Why are there no left handed cameras?

Surely in this technological age it wouldn’t take too much to design and manufacture a left handed camera?

I’m a right handed photographer so didn’t give this a thought before Tommy was born with a missing right hand. He is now at an age where he is curious about everything but he loves my camera. Let’s be honest he rarely sees me without it. He is awesome and can do most things with one hand and the support of his little arm. He uses his mouth, his feet and his little arm without thinking – it’s the norm. BUT he can’t cope with a camera without my help. Yes I know I could set up a tripod, a remote release etc etc but where is the fun in that – he wants to play!

I love this photo – not because of its technical quality, not even because it has my beautiful Layla- Jane in it BUT because Tommy took it! (with help from his doting grandma)

Even toy cameras are all right handed so very difficult for Tommy to use alone. I’ve googled and researched but although there are societies which help people with different needs – to me it seems simple – can someone just make a left handed camera so I can share my love of photography with my grandson?!

His little arm doesn’t stop him doing anything – he’s a normal, loving mischievous little boy  can anyone help us?