Lee Ballard Photography

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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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Updating the sliders

As part of my mission to raise my online presence and update my sites I am updating some of the pages on this site which the “sliders” above link to. Today I have put a temporary update onto the Gallery page that you can find here.

And as this is a photographic website I always like to try and add a photo and so here is one of my youngest child on a ride I have dubbed the “noeffingchanceinhellamIgoingonthatthing” for shorthand!

He's braver than me!!!

He’s braver than me!!!

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Countdown is progressing

Well the countdown to my working trip for Land Rover World (Facebook page) to Iceland is beginning. Flying out this Sunday and returning the following. Honest, it is work. Well, I’m sure there will be some work involved somewhere along the way anyway.

I’m looking forward to the trip, so much so, I’m returning to Iceland in June for another article! I’m really looking forward to meeting many of the people I have been communicating with and something I am already aware of is that it seems that “they” are right. Icelandic people are very friendly. All along the way in the planning of this trip I have received nothing but help and friendliness from everyone I have spoken with. And the level of English spoken by Icelanders is astonishing. Better than many English natives I have met.

This will also give a new life to this blog as I am planning on blogging daily during the trip (where internet availability allows) and plugging and linking as many companies and products as possible along the way that have helped bring this trip fruition.

Iceland, here I come

Iceland, here I come

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Bath time

I know, it’s been a while. And it’s not like I haven’t had things to blog about, I just keep getting otherwise distracted. Anyway, new year (well, 8 weeks ago) so new approach to blogging. I’m going to make a bigger effort (again).

 

So much to tell. I have launched a new string to my bow that I’ll explore in a post of it’s own soon but check out Cherry Picked Photos to see more and “like” it on Facebook.

In May I am travelling to Iceland to spend a week visiting companies and exploring the country for Land Rover World and as part of that some companies have sent me some equipment to try out and review out there. Most of it I’ll blog about in due course but two items that were delivered this week to me were E-Cases from Cascade Designs for my HTC phone and my iPad (yes, I have an iProduct now!).

 

These are basically, fabric and plastic “pockets” that you place your device into and seal with a trademarked “SealLock” zip. The joy of these things are that not only is the device fully functional behind the plastic window but also it’s waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

 

I have a number of friends that I know have dropped their phone in either the bath or the sink to it’s demise and one of these would have saved it. I’m awaiting details on pricing but will let you know as soon as I know it.

 

Oh, they do work too!

Testing an E-Case

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Slightly deviated

Once upon a time in a land far far……….you get the idea. I was a drummer in a band and we were doing quite well. Things however fall apart, people move on and time passes and then one day, you’re in your late thirties and you realise how much you miss drumming. It’s Dave’s fault. Well, partially it is but I’ll blame him entirely for now.

It's Dave's fault

Dave is an old friend of mine. He runs a successful drum, guitar and bass tuition studio near Tunbridge Well called One8e and he’s also in a few bands, The Mighty Worm, 4th Wall and the seminal punk band, The Anti Nowhere League. On a recent trip to Kent I spent an afternoon and evening with Dave catching up, having a nice pub lunch and for the first time in over a decade, having a play on a drum kit. It was awesome and I didn’t suck anywhere near as much as I thought I would with the lack of practice. Then in the evening I went to the last venue I played to watch Dave and 4th Wall perform, the Tunbridge Wells Forum along with All the Above. Obviously I took photos whilst there too, after all it would be rude not to. The full album can be seen here or here.

4th Wall

Next, more recently I spent the evening in Sleaford cricket club photographing Bear Makes Ninja (awesome name if ever there was one) and Kill the Ideal oh, and a bloke named Dan. The album for that can be seen here and here.

All of the bands I have photographed recently have gone a long way to remind me what fabulous local bands there are around. In this age dominated by the drivel put out by X-Factor and it’s like, it’s nice to know that people are still getting together and making fantastic original music and are a joy to see.

So if you’re Saturday evening plan is to sit in and watch the latest pseudo talent show on the box, why not pop to a local pub and see a live band and have a great evening instead. You’ll thank me for it.

 

Bear Makes Ninja

Kill The Ideal

 

Anyway, unusual for me on this blog, I decided to post a few videos by bands I have shot recently or know members of, including Zipperface which my dear old friend Richmond batters the skins for and the video includes cake so it’s worth it for that.




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Exposing a repair

I had the pleasure last week of spending two days with Andrew and Emma Walsh and their amazing team at the new, hi-tech premises of AW Repair Group in Sleaford.

Lincolnshire's only Porsche approved repair centre

Approved by vehicle insurers and manufacturers they are now one of only 32 Porsche approved repair centres in the UK, being able to offer the high levels of workmanship expected by the manufacturer.

It had been many years since I’d set foot in a bodyshop and AW is far more than just a bodyshop. It’s a state of the art facitily. From they days past when a car would be baked for hours after painting, paint can now be dried in just 8 minutes using the latest in drying equipment.

Paint drying in action

This technology, saving not only time but also huge amounts of energy, means the repair can be lower cost and more environmentally friendly than the long bake methods.

Then there is panel repair. Until recently, many repairs would involve a costly new panel but not with the company’s Flatliner equipment. A number of ‘eyelets’ are tack welded to a damaged panel (being already taken back to bare metal) then a rod is inserted through then eyes and with the aid of other equipment, a panel can be pulled straight. Obviously it makes sense when you see it and it’s a bit more involved but it’s a great device and again, cost and waste saving.

Flatliner demonstration

 

How about plastic bumpers? Surely once cracked, no respectable repair is possible? Wrong, with modern techniques even split and fractured bumpers can be repaired. And even scratched plastic headlights can be made pure and clear again.

 

All in all it’s pretty impressive what can be achieved with the right know-how and equipment and the service offered by AW is probably the best you’re find anywhere and I’m proud to have worked with them.

In a move to widen the range of services they offer, AW now also offer vhicle servicing and tyres along with air conditioning maintenance and same-day repairs. Yes, SAME DAY.

I urge you to have a look at their new website and bear them in mind should you need anything from a shopping trolley dent to a trip through a hedge repaired (the car, not the hedge).

 

On a lighter side on things, I did also get up close and personal with Herbie, KITT and a 1960’s Batmobile, so a few childhood dream fulfilled there!

Childhood dream cars

 

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Official positions

This June (23rd and 24th) I will be performing official duties as the event photographer for the new Bristol and West Land Rover show . There is also due to be a world record attempt to form a mosaic of a Defender 90 out of Land Rovers. This will involve two things; 1. My Land Rover in the mosaic and 2. Me up high in a cherry picker to take the final mosaic image.

The height doesn’t worry me but I now need to calculate the height I need to be at the fit a 300 x 300 meter field into the frame without going too wide. Must get the calculator out.

Bristol and West Land Rover Show

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Chris Giles

 

I like to try and promote friends and sites that I like or feel would be interesting to others whenever I can.

 

With this in mind I’d like to share with you  an interview with Brighton based photographer Chris Giles. Chris (who is in fact an old friend of mine) spoke with Friday-Ad, where he discusses his love of photography, gives some good advice on how to choose a wedding photographer and shares some thoughts on where he thinks the industry is heading.

Yes it’s a blatant link in to a commercial site but if it helps a friend get even more exposure then all is good in my book.

Friday-Ad meets Brighton photographer Chris Giles

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The Inverse Square Law

I’m a geek at heart. I love numbers and maths so the inverse square law and photographic reciprocities all make sense to me. But, they’re not above the non-maths geeks level of understanding. In photography you may already use reciprocities and not realise it. If you drop your shutter speed by a stop, from 1/250th to 1/125 for example, you might close your aperture down from f/4 to f/5.6 to achieve the same exposure.

That in itself is using reciprocity.

Now, the inverse square law states that if you double the distance from a light source, you need four times the amount of power to light the same item. I would go further but instead, and the purpose of this post today, I’ll introduce you to a friend of mine’s site,  DIY film. It’s a site in it’s reborn infancy but already has some very well written and educational articles. Even if you’re not technically minded you’ll find something of interest for you there.

Anyway, I’ll leave you to make your own minds up and you can also follow the site’s page on Facebook should you wish to.

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Meet the Fro!

I must admit, I have only recently (past few months) discovered the talent of Jared Polin, aka “The Fro”. 

He has a YouTube collection of videos close to a thousand in number and he makes some of the easiest to watch and interesting videos on photography. For free. Sort of.

Whether you’re a total beginner or a time served professional, I’m sure most people can find something of interest in his videos. From his well rounded and extensive rant on the virtues of shooting RAW over just Jpeg to his 5 minute portraits shoots with other well known photographers, there is something for pretty much everyone.

This is the bio from his own site,

Jared Polin is an accomplished photographer whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin Magazine and countless other international publications. He has recently pointed his talents to the business world and established himself as an entrepreneur with incredible vision and impressive results. In 2010, Jared launched FroKnowsPhoto.com, a fun and informative website for photographers that provides guidance in the art, process, equipment and experience of capturing moments in photos. Jared’s unique style and media savvy helped him grow the site’s audience to over one million unique visits within the first 15 months, while his playfully instructional YouTube videos have exceeded 10 million impressions in the same amount of time. The popularity of his “I Shoot Raw” brand of merchandise has catapulted Jared and FroKnowsPhoto to worldwide recognition, creating a legion of fans and photographers of all skill levels who flock to the site for education and assistance.

In addition to renowned photographer and online superstar, Jared has become a trusted advisor and consultant to brands and companies looking to expand their visibility online. A recognizable personality at social media business and photo conferences around the United States, Jared is a sought-after speaker and a leading expert on photography and the use of content development and marketing.

 

When I say it’s sort of free. He funds his site from advertisers and from sales of merchandise such as the awesome “I shoot RAW” t-shirts.

 

So please, take a look at Fro Knows Photo, visit the advertisers and then go buy a t-shirt as Jared is an awesome bloke and from the few emails we’ve exchanged, very helpful too so his site and videos are worth helping him to keep producing. Oh, and he does know his stuff and is also not too proud to admit when he doesn’t.

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