Lee Ballard Photography

A photo journal

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The road to………..

Follow the road ahead.....

Follow the road ahead.

A picture of a straight road in a foreign land. And why not?

To be honest, for many years I have always wanted to a take a “lost highway” type of shot. My recent trips to Iceland gave me a number of opportunities to do this. And here is one of the results. Taken from the middle of Iceland’s National Route 1 and this is about as busy as it gets. This is the country’s main ring road. It doesn’t really understand congestion. More freedom.

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Seals and the old green eyed monster

One of the things that, for some years now, I have been meaning to do since living in Lincolnshire, was to visit Donna Nook on the coast in winter. Now Donna Nook is not a resort of any description, in fact the RAF spend a lot of time bombing it as it’s a NATO bombing range and it’s formerly been a prisoner of war camp, so it’s hardly the destination of choice for a fun day out. Or is it.

Donna Nook is also a nature reserve with a wonderful claim to fame. Firstly, it was the first national nature reserve on Ministry of Defence land and secondly, it is home to one of the UK’s largest Grey Seal colonies. For the most part of the year the seals are out at sea or on distant sand banks but in November/December they move onto the dunes on the mainland to have their pups. Between them they have up to 1300 pups each year and the spectacle of the seals and their pups lounging on the beach is a sight to behold.

Thanks to the wonderful work of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and it’s volunteers, the viewing of the seals is managed by wardens and the public have a rare chance to get within a few feet of the seals with only a fence to separate them.  This gives a wonderful chance for photographers and children to get close to seeing these beautiful animals.

This brings me to my main point. I took my boys there a couple of weeks ago. We had a wonderful time, they each gained a soft toy seal from the shop on the beach and I gained a few photographs of the seals. This however led to the green eyed monster. You see there were a number of photographers on the beach with large equipment. Well, large lenses at least. I spotted one photographer with an £11,000 Canon lens and another searching through the SELECTION of large lenses in his car’s boot, deciding which one to use. Whilst I will be the first to say that equipment doesn’t maketh the photographer, in some cases, it does help a lot.

For my next trip there, I will hire a large, fast lens if I haven’t won the lottery and been able to buy one myself.

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Phone cameras

I loathe phone cameras. I have yet to find a decent one. Not that I have been actively looking but you get what I mean.

The photo below I took yesterday morning using my N97 as I had not SLR with me and I am actually pleasantly surprised with the result. Okay it’s not publishing quality but in using the phone I hoped just to capture the ‘feel’ of the view. I tweaked the curves a little but nothing more.

In case you are interested it is the village of Anwick in the scene across the field.

N97 camera showing what it's capable of

Mobile phone sunrise

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Introducing the page sliders

I thought I would take a moment to introduce you to the images in the page sliders at the top of this website. Firstly, the sliders are part of the ‘sliding door’ wordpress theme created by Wayne Connor so all due credit to him.

Now my slider images……..

1. Sarah-Jane Blackner

Sarah-Jane is a very talented,  stunning model that I have worked with a couple of times. The image used in the slider is actually the reverse of the original as otherwise, only her legs, lovely as they are, would show when the slider was closed. This was taken during her progress from black hair through to platinum blonde and shot in Nottingham.

Sarah-Jane Blackner

Sarah-Jane, the right way round

2. Woolvestone Marina

This image was taken in August 2010 during a sailing trip which had us spend two nights just outside Ipswich in Woolvestone Marina, located on the River Orwell. The image was a tripod mounted long exposure, with a time of 30 seconds. I couldn’t use a longer exposure having left the camera’s remote shutter release at home.

Woolvestone Marina on the River Orwell

30 seconds of the River Orwell

3. Little Red Riding Psychopath

This was a shoot for which I suffered. The lovely Gypsy Rhodes and I shot this in a wood within Whisby Nature Park just outside Lincoln. The suffering to which I refer to was in the inordinate number of insect bite which I endured that day. Gypsy, luckily, was not bitten. Not once. Not a nip.

Anyway, the shoot featured a disgruntled Little Red Riding Hood, post killing spree. Images from the shoot as a whole will appear in the gallery soon.

Little Red Psychopath

Gypsy-Only a little psychotic

4. Team Chaos

My connections with the fundraisers known as Team Chaos go back a few years now. I shall dedicate a post to them on the Team Chaos page soon. This shot was taken at 2am at the Land Rover Owner Peterborough show in September 2010. It is my longest exposure to date, being 15 minutes in duration using an ‘big stopper’ filter to lower the exposure time by ten stops. My biggest fear when taking it was that a car with headlights on would drive past. Luckily, none did though the bright light you can see in the right hand side was someone in the distance with a torch. Incidentally, stars begin to ‘trail’ on exposures over 30 seconds as the planet rotates.

Team Chaos' Discovery by night

Watching the universe pass by

5. Stevi-Marie

Zombies galore. Well, maybe not but Stevi was a blood coated zombie during a group shoot back in March with Perfect Storm Models. For those wondering, the ‘blood’ was in fact domestic honey with a lot of food colouring. It was incredibly sticky and staining. Hence I now keep a litre of stage blood in my make up box for any future occasions that demand ‘blood’.


She's coming for you...

6. Champ de Mars, Paris

This is a dusk view, south-east from the top deck of the Eiffel Tower. The Champ de Mars is a large public ‘greenspace’  between the Eiffel Tower and the Ecole Militaire. I shall wax lyrical about the Tower itself in a future post as it was a very profound visit.

Champ de Mars

Champ de Mars from over 900ft

7. Autsin Healey

This last slider was merely a stunningly, nut and bolt restored, Austin Healey that I saw outside a pub I had just had lunch in. I desaturated the image and added a vignette to give it an aged feel.

Restored beauty

Beautifully restored classic

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