Lee Ballard Photography

A photo journal

Long time waiting

Last night I spent a few hours with some wonderful people, fellow photographers, wandering around Nottingham city centre and boy, do my feet know it today. I don’t think I have walked that far for years. But, it was worth ever single step. See our plan for the evening was to do some night shooting of Nottingham and it was a success. I love long exposure photography, I always have. I love the way it can turn even the most mundane scene into something magical. The camera can capture things in a way the eye just cannot see. Light trails reveal themselves and water blurs to give a wispy effect.

You also have the ability to play around. You can expose for different areas and create a totally different view of the same scene.

Anyway, a small selection of my images are here and you can view more on my Facebook page.

Market Square Nottingham

Market Square Nottingham

Passing traffic

Passing traffic for 30 seconds

Tram descending into Market Square

Tram descending into Market Square

Nottingham Tram

Tram in Nottingham's Market Square

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Star results

And here is the best result from last night’s star photography. It’s technically a ten minute exposure but rather than one 600 second exposure I tried 20, 30 second exposures and layered in Photoshop.

Ten minutes

Ten minutes

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Stars in the lens

Tonight was a beautiful night for stargazers and photographers alike. The moon is but a mere slice of it’s cratered beauty and the night was cloudless and clear. A real time to have a go at star photography if you have yet to try it. Now I have had a go at this aspect of life behind a lens in the past with some success. I hadn’t planned on doing any shooting tonight but then thought I’d pop out and stand in the field at the end of the road for an hour and experiment a little.

The main experiment I wanted to try was to utilise different ISO’s. In the past I had always used 100 or 200 as a speed and was happy with the results however I read an article a while ago where it was suggested that more stars were visible to higher ISO’s. Obvious really but I didn’t expect quite so many more. The camera really does see far more than the naked eye when the settings are right. The picture below was shot with an ISO of 1600, shutter open for 30 seconds and an aperture of F/3.5. Now noise does start to creep in so I think next time I’ll play more with 400 and 800 and I shall also drive a little way to try and reduce the light pollution. I have the venue in mind so as they say somewhere or other, ‘watch this space’.

The image below is not quite straight out of the camera, I tweaked the contrast a little and turned it mono to reduce the effect of the light pollution.

Stars at 1600 ISO

More than the eye can see

And in true ‘Blue Peter’ style, here is a moon image I shot last year.

The Moon

The Moon, enlarged from a shot through just a 250mm lens

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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’.

Stevi-Zombie

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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