Capturing the fastest horse at the Kentucky Derby

Derby photographer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- In a sport of raw speed where champions are determined by milliseconds, it's Barbara Livingston's job to freeze time.

Barbara Livingston CBS News

"What makes the perfect photograph?" CBS News' Don Dahler asked the photographer.

"I'll let you know when I get one," she said with a laugh. "I look for color, light and to keep distractions to a minimum from the subject matter so you're drawn into the moment. And there are so many beautiful moments here."

Many of those moments happen off the track.

"To actually get something that evokes feelings as opposed to something that is technically a good shot, there's a world of difference between the two. It doesn't always happen, but it sure is fun when it does," she said.

Livingston as a young photographer Barbara Livginston

Livingston fell in love with horses as a young girl. Beginning with her dad's Instamatic, she has been photographing them all her life. Now chief photographer for the Daily Racing Form, she's won more of her industry's Eclipse awards than anyone.

Not bad, for someone who's nearly blind.

Due to an unsuccessful childhood eye operation, she can only see blobs of color with her left eye and extremely blurry images with her right.

The viewfinder on Livingston's camera CBS News

Her cameras have special viewfinders that help somewhat. But she has zero depth perception.

"I don't actually know if you're closer to me than the horse. I just know by going like this," she said, moving side to side. "I think that helps me."

"You think it helps you?" Dahler asked.

"Sure. I see like a photograph. The world is a photograph," she said.

And what a world she sees.

One of Livingston's photos Barbara Livingston

On race week, the 56-year-old's days begin before dawn, and her pace is, well, exhausting.

But the smile never leaves her face.

"Every day I wake up, I'm happy to be coming here. Every day when I go home, I'm happy that I was here. And every night I go to sleep, then I can't wait to be back here," Livingston said.

"You found your place in the world," Dahler said.

"Yeah. And how lucky am I to have that?" she replied.

No, how lucky are we?