Friday, October 18, 2013

Wildlife Photographer in a Wheelchair

By Jean Henry Mead

Judy Peterson is a talented photographer who captures beautiful outdoor scenes, despite the fact that she's confined to a wheelchair.

Judy, when did you develop an interest in photography?

My parents gave me my first camera when I was 10 years old. I'll never forget. It was a Kodak Instamatic and had a green button on it. The flash bulbs clicked on top of the camera. What fun I had with this camera! The fun hasn't stopped!
Why do you prefer to photograph birds and outdoor scenes?  

My first love is taking photos of those precious to me. Always will be. I have been the family historian ever since I can remember. Taking photos of the family and friends has been my first passion. Looking back at the photos of when our son was born and other important moments, brings a smile to my face. I'm glad I have all of the photos.

As far as taking photos of birds and outdoor scenes, it calms me. Each time I go outside, I see something new. We live in a beautiful world. The birds that inhabit our part of the world, sing and add a new dimension. Going out with my camera and enjoying the glorious world we live in has taught me patience. Can you sit or stand and watch a bird or butterfly for minutes on end so that, when it moves, you see how it moves? Does it return to where it was? This is animal behavior. I have learned a lot of animal behavior. It's been a moving experience. A calming experience.


How are you able to photograph wildlife when you're confined to a wheelchair?

I sit and take photos whenever possible. Sometimes, my husband helps me stand and move. If I see a bird coming or in a location that is impossible to see in my chair, my husband supports me while I shoot. Being able to take photos has helped me stay relaxed in a body that's filled with physical pain.


If you were teaching photography to youngsters, what would you tell them are most important aspects of the art form?

Photography is what you make it. It's what you see when you look around you. Your camera is a tool. No matter what camera you have, you can take beautiful photos. Knowing your camera is all it takes. All cameras have limitations. Work within those limitations to take photos.


How do people get in touch with you to order your prints? Do you have a website?

 I do not have a website. If you would like to order prints or blank note cards made with my prints, simply email me (



Carola Dunn said...

Beautiful, thanks.

Jackie King said...

What an inspiring story! Thanks for introducing us to this lovely woman.

Jean Henry Mead said...

She's an amazing person who's battling a painful condition.