Lee Ballard Photography

A photo journal

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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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Snakes on a DSLR sensor

Well, the old saying goes “Never work with children or animals” and while I usually disagree, after spending some time informally shooting some hungry Royal Pythons and a Boa, I can admit that shooting a fidgety snake is difficult.

Just as you get the shot they disappear over someone’s arm or turn their head. I swear, hyperactive children move about less. Anyway we did get some decent shots and will be re-visiting later in the year to capture them again, in a calmer state hopefully (I doubt the smell of dead rodent, ie dinner, in the room really helped them stay calm!).

Incidentally the snakes are all named after characters from Rob Zombies films, ‘The House of 1000 Corpses’ and ‘The Devil’s Rejects’.

Too big to eat so I'll just sit here

One in the hand is worth.......

Hello over there Mr Rat.....

The Boa

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